Trail of Cthulhu

Trail Cover

Trail of Cthulhu is an award-winning standalone game produced under license from Chaosium, set in the 1930s, now in its third print run, and produced in five languages. Trail of Cthulhu uses the GUMSHOE system, which is finely tuned for investigative play – the challenge is in interpreting clues not finding them.

It supports both Pulp (for Indiana Jones, Robert E. Howard, thrilling locations sorts of games) and Purist styles of play (for intellectual horror and cosmic dread). HP Lovecraft’s work combined both, sometimes in the same story.

It includes a new take on the creatures, cults and gods of the Lovecraft’s literature, and addresses their use in gaming. It adds new player backgrounds, and bulk out the GUMSHOE system to give intensive support for sanity, incorporating into the rule set the PCs desire to explore at the risk of going mad.

Trail of Cthulhu won two Ennie awards for Best Rules and Best Writing, as well as receiving an honourable mention for Product of the Year.

Trail of Cthulhu is a very well supported game, with award-winning supplements by Ken Hite, Robin Laws, Jason Morningstar, Adam Gauntlett, Graham Walmsley, Gareth Hanrahan and Bill White.

Review Highlights

See the complete reviews to date here.

…I was concerned that my traditional style of low prep freeform gaming would have trouble with the GUMSHOE clue system included here… I quickly discovered that this was not an obstacle at all, … it was very easy to constantly push new clues through different Investigative Abilities. In fact, I found that the game worked spectacularly well with this style as the nature of these Abilities encouraged me to constantly engage each of the players thereby resulting in a mystery that was continuously moving forward to its PC driven conclusion. My play experiences have been far more satisfying than I would have expected, though my group has largely avoided physical conflict whenever possible.

CW Richeson on rpg.net

Overall, this is a masterful melding of the Gumshoe system with classic Cthulhu Mythos gaming, an inspired match. There’s so much goodness in this that I’ll be back again and again, not just to play but to mine for ideas whatever I am doing.

Megan Robertson on rpgnow.com

By now it should be evident that I really love Trail of Cthulhu. I think it manages to capture the feel and style of HPL’s stories, particularly when played in Purist mode, with rules built to complement the stories. GUMSHOE is a perfect fit for investigative type adventures, and well-suited for a plotted out set of scenes. It also is simple enough to be run in a more “off-the-cuff” improvisational style and doesn’t require a great deal of prep on the part of the Keeper.

Michael Harnish on RPG Geek

…the section on the Cthulhu Elder Gods/Outer Gods is superb and packed with so many incredibly insane ideas for running plots it is hard to talk about it without waving hands around incoherently. One small sentence about Elder Gods as meme loads was so compelling it was a hot topic in my house for three days. If you’re into CoC at all, this is worth getting to juice up campaigns and take them to 11.

Emily Dresner

The Gumshoe system is an investigation-oriented one, and this orientation is well suited to many Mythos scenarios. We enjoyed playing our characters and didn’t have too much trouble picking up the system. I’d recommend it.

Duncan Hunter on rpg.net

This book is gorgeous; my copy is a lovely 248 page hardcover. Jérome Huguenin does a masterful job with art and layout. That art is consistent throughout– something not to be underestimated as a key to make a game feel complete … Worth buying for any gamer interesting in horror or Lovecraft.

Lowell Francis on rpggeek.com

With enough for everyone and a system flexible to have from a purely investigative adventure to a action fuelled Indiana Jones style game, if you like Lovecraft, you simply can’t go wrong with it

Paco G Jaen of G*M*S Magazine

Related Links

  • Sample pages from Trail of Cthulhu.
  • Order from the Pelgrane Press Store
  • Visit Yog-sothoth – the Trail of Cthulhu forum.
  • See the complete reviews to date here.
Stock #:PELGT01D Author: Kenneth Hite and Robin Laws
Artist: Jerome Huguenin Format: 248-page, two-color, smythe-sewn hardback

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66 Responses to “Trail of Cthulhu”

  1. […] Warum? Zum einen wegen Hillfolk, zum anderen aber wegen der Stretchgoals in denen es heißt das Gumshoe von Pelgrane Press als System und eben auch Hillfolk unter eine offene Lizenz veröffentlicht […]

  2. […] Hite är inte bara en av världens mest kända spelmakare, med spel som Trail of Cthulhu och Night’s Black Agents på cevet – sedan ett år tillbaka skriver han också […]

  3. […] game publishers and allowing Pagan Publishing, Miskatonic River Press, Cubicle 7 Entertainment, Pelgrane Press, Goodman Games and Sixtystone Press—to name a few—to produce sourcebooks, scenarios, and […]

  4. […] the Call of Cthulhu version, although it is available for other systems, notably Savage Worlds and Trail of Cthulhu. All of this is a very good idea, as it quickly became clear that for most people, the game will be […]

  5. […] the second-best roleplaying game (Trail of Cthulhu), […]

  6. […] mythos. Where The Deep Ones Are and The Antarctic Express introduce children to cosmic horror. Trail of Cthulhu is an award-winning roleplaying game that draws players into the world of H.P. Lovecraft. What […]

  7. […] are Chad Bowser (writer of Cthulhu Invictus), Adam Gauntlett (writer of numerous historically based Trail of Cthulhu scenarios), Stuart Boon (line developer of Cthulhu Britannica), Bret Kramer (editor of the Masks of […]

  8. […] one-shot adventure using the GUMSHOE game system from Fear Itself. If you have The Esoterrorists or Trail of Cthulhu, though, you can probably still make this scenario go—the ability lists and mythologies are […]

  9. […] My conversions provide statistics and rules, including, of course, Trail of Cthulhu‘s method of providing clues. While these scenarios have more opportunities for furious action than Lovecraftian ones stereotypically do, they have many of the familiar qualities of investigation, cautious approaches, and mind-shattering horror. If you are unfamiliar with Ken Hite’s Cthulhu Mythos version of Robin D. Laws’s GUMSHOE rules, more information can be found on Pelgrane Press’s website. […]

  10. […] post is part of the H. P. Lovefest. TL;DR: I have rapidly become a fan of the Trail of Cthulhu roleplaying game, a modern, player-facing alternative to Call of Cthulhu that highlights the […]

  11. Luis Dantas says:

    Is there an errata file for the Trail rulebook? I think I found a couple of mistakes in pages 27 and 49.

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