"The Myths of Cthulhu by Sandy Petersen" is a manual for the fifth edition of Dungeons & Dragons, brought to Italy by Raven Distribution, which provides the rules for incorporating elements of ancient Cthulhu myths into D&D. After its use, as announced by the page Sex Drugs and D&D on 4 March, he was authorized and promoted in Codex Venator, we decided to give it a serious reading.
Composition of the manual
The 426-page manual is divided into nine chapters, to which must be added the general index, the monsters listed by challenge level (very convenient) and a list of objects and artifacts. Good binding and excellent layout and localization, except for a small typo on the first pages.
How to use this manual and introduce Horror into your fantasy campaign
A long and detailed introduction comes from Sandy Petersen's pen, which will illustrate to readers the main problems of introducing elements of horror into fantasy and how to overcome them. Reading is absolutely recommended because, as you will notice, it has nothing to do with the manual itself but with the philosophy of a campaign.
I can only add to Sandy's words that this manual contains a great deal of material, from which one should draw with extreme parsimony. The horror of HP Lovecraft's tales doesn't add to a session by slamming Cthulhu as the final boss, I can assure you. Guide the players to the discoveries by leaving small crumbs of bread. The result will be incredibly more explosive once you get to the truth.
New Playable Breeds
These are again the three magic words a player wants to hear before purchasing any XNUMXth Edition supplement. For those who want to try their hand at new tests, abandoning the classic races to which D&D has now accustomed us, six new races are introduced, complete with descriptions, culture, abilities, subraces.
Particularly recommended is the breed of Cats of the Realms of the Dream, as they offer significant challenges from the point of view of roaming.
New options for players, madness and objects
After the additional races, the manual continues its fantastic conquest of our heart by offering us brand new archetypes, talents and backgrounds, complete with a new skill in which to have competence: the myths of Cthulhu.
Two new concepts are introduced that indicate a character's sanity: terror and madness. The first will be a counter that can go from zero to seven, to be increased whenever the character fails a wisdom save or comes into contact with something particularly alien to his mind. Once we have passed half of this bar which, by continuing to fill up, will bring the character to immobility, we will run the risk of madness.
Obviously the chapters on spells and objects follow, which will exploit the alien power of non-Euclidean geometries to make spells cast even for non-magical classes.
The Myths of Cthulhu
This section of the manual is, without any doubt, the most fascinating and most beautiful to read. Recommended both for those who want to use the myths in their campaign and for those who simply want to find out more about the imaginary created by Lovecraft.
The list of cults of the Great Ancients, of the External Gods, of their servants and minor but equally dangerous entities, the thousand faces of Nyarlathotep and his servants. You can find all this within wonderful pages, rich in information, cards and descriptions to read aloud at your table.