Call of Cthulhu: Keeper’s Rulebook & Screen Review

Cthulhu by Danilo Neira
Cover Image: Cthulhu by Danilo Neira

Call of Cthulhu, Seventh Edition: Keeper’s Rulebook & Keeper Screen Pack
Publisher: Chaosium
Get it Here:

‘The Call of Cthulhu’ is one of the most prominent short stories written by H.P.Lovcraft which sparked a cultural phenomenon. In 2013 Chaosium successfully kickstarted the 7th Edition of ‘Call of Cthulhu’; an updated version of the adaptation of the original novel as a tabletop roleplaying game. Just like all of Lovecraft’s work, the game is also full of secrets, mysteries, and horror. As a player, you can travel to strange places and stand against the terrors that come with the Cthulhu mythos.  I’ll be reviewing some of the new line-up, such as the Keeper’s Rulebook.

For those unfamiliar with the term keeper, it is equivalent to that of A Game Master or Dungeon Master. The Keeper’s Rulebook contains a plethora of goodies for someone wanting to take on the task. It begins with  background and lore about the game then followed by the core rules. These rules include; the basics of the games, character generation, how to build an encounter, spellcasting and more obscure rules like how to handle investigations into the occult. As with most of these style of books, at the end is the many monsters a Keeper might want to use to make their players’ lives miserable.

One of my favorite things about the book is that this is the only book a Keeper would need to get started. While having multiple resources to use is great, it can get overwhelming having to flip through multiple books to find a specific rule or item. If you prefer not having a physical book, Chaosium also offers a PDF version of the book, and what’s easier than Ctrl+F? Speaking of the PDF, purchasing the physical copy of the book to grant you the PDF version free, which is nice for when you don’t want to carry a heavy book around.

Another good resource for Keepers, although not required, is the Keeper Screen Pack. The screen itself is 34 inches long and is made of a sturdy cardboard similar to that of hardcover books. It’s two sided, the player side has more of the stunning illustrations, while the Keeper’s side is full of rule summaries, tables for damage, examples of manias, and some stats. It’s a great tool to have for when you have to make things up on the fly. It doesn’t just come with the screen, though, it also comes with maps of Lovecraft Country, the World of Cthulhu, and Arkham, two scenarios: “Blackwater Creek” & “Missed Dues” with twelve pre-generated characters for when you just want to get playing. Personally, my favorite part included in the pack is the 24-page quick reference booklet. This booklet contains the page numbers for everything that could be found in the Rulebook, the base percentages for all the skills available, resource tables, and even another way to create characters.

Personally, I can’t wait to get behind the Keeper’s screen once again and summon horrors onto my players and now with the 7th Ed From Chaosium, Keeper’s can get an abundance of knowledge from their Keeper’s Rulebook and screen. With these resources, a Keeper can learn the rules, keep track of spells, and reference all sorts of information tables. Both of these are great resources to have for running your own Call of Cthulhu game, cultists, however, are not included.