Product– Sandy Petersen’s Cthulhu Mythos for 5e
Producer– Petersen Games
TL; DR-How the mythos is meant to be played in 5e! 99%
Basics– Ia Ia Cthulhu Fhtagn! The grand cleric of the elder gods is writing for DnD 5e! Sandy Pertersen’s Cthulhu Mythos for 5e is a MASSIVE book with new races, class options, feats, spells, monsters, and mechanics that you can throw into your 5e game. Let’s break down the pieces to see what’s in here.
The tcho-tcho in the room-Ah Lovecraft…I love his work, but MAN he would not fly today. From mental illness to racism, Lovecraft in his original form isn’t post #METOO or #BLM friendly. So, how do you handle the insanity and cosmic horror with the subtext or just text of Lovecraft? Sandy Peterson walks this line extremely well with sidebars dealing with handling mental illness to just dropping the racist parts of the mythos monsters and human acolytes. We can go mad with terror from learning the true history of the universe without having to go to HR!
New Eldritch Toys- This book is a BEAST of content. This book features THREE new races with race specific class options. The old standards of 5e all get some toys as well with feats for everyone, class options for all the core classes, books of unholy lore, and a boat load of new spells. There are also several new items that all cover the fan favorites of star mead to things I haven’t heard of before.
New Mythos Monsters-A hero is only as good as the monster is bad. Then let’s make your heroes LEGENDARY! This book has everything from simple monsters you can throw into your game just because you want something weird to freak out the power gamer who memorized the monster manual to GAME ENDING TITANS who would be the final bad guy in your campaign. Again, you have the fan favorites here like cthulhu to some of the more esoteric, even for the Lovecraft alicionadio, like Byatis. This book also adds in new options for you to throw onto worshipers so your bland cultists into true harbingers of the mythos even at low levels.
New Mythology Mechanics-This book isn’t just a highlight reel of Lovecraft’s old toys. This book adds new crunch to 5e. There is a whole revamped madness and dread system. All characters can now learn how to cast some spells called formulas. There is even a whole new skill dedicated to understanding the cthulhu mythos. The final boss of a campaign now has a solid progression system where the fight becomes epic tales you will tell for years to come.
Ok, now my thoughts.
Mechanics or Crunch– Sandy Peterson is one of the foremost game developers in the Lovecraft mythos, and it shows. This book isn’t just a reskin book where you take a scary monster and now it’s cthulhu. The crunch here is truly Lovecraftian. Monsters feel like they are beyond human ken. There are DEEP dives into the mythos, and not just into the new stuff from people writing in Lovecraft’s shadow. Stuff that gets a small mention that even I forgot like the gnorri get a full race write up. The stuff that is in the base DnD 5e book gets revamped well. I don’t like the madness system in DnD 5e, but this book provides an amazing system that has a great write up that you can drop into a non-cthulhu campaign. I like most of what’s here, but there are a couple of things I have some minor quibbles with. The new mythos skill is called yog-sothothery. I just want it called mythos lore or even to borrow from Call of Cthulhu- cthulhu mythos. Also, I want stat bonuses you get from eldritch tomes to be permanent. But honestly, those are pretty small issues. This book is a solid addition to the Dungeons and Dragons 5e crunch regardless of if you want to run a Cthulhu based campaign or not. 4.9/5
Theme or Fluff-Sandy Peterson is one of the foremost Lovecraft scholars today, and it shows here too. This isn’t just a pile of reskins with tentacles so Lovecraft. This is a well crafted library of Lovecraft eldritch lore. I MYSELF learned stuff about the Lovecraft world from this book. This will teach you not only how to run a solid horror game but also about the world of Lovecraft. But, let’s say you just want a splat book to draw some scary stuff from? This has you covered too. This book is a solid addition to my collection as both a DnD DM and a someone who love the mythos. 5/5
Execution– PDF? YEP! Hyperlinked? YEP! AND IT NEEDS IT! This is a BEAST for 20 bucks. It’s over 400 pages. The base DnD books are not that long and cost twice as much! It’s easy to read but still feels familiar with the font and backgrounds looking like the base books with a decidedly eldritch flare. Monsters have TONS of pictures, so I can throw pictures to my players quickly without having to do a google image search. This book is a solid example of how to produce a 3rd party book. 5/5
Summary– I love Lovecraft. Any idiot can stab me, so that’s not scary. Any punk rogue can sneak attack my character and kill him-not scary. But learning the horrible history of my family and what cost I too have to pay to keep the thing in the basement “pleased” so my family prospers? That’s horror. This book will help you do that. I can’t heap enough praise on this book. I have my minor issues, but those are so minor it almost doesn’t matter. For the amount of content alone for 20 bucks, you can’t go wrong. If you want some monsters to throw at your bored players? Done. You want a book that will be the key and the gate to a world of horror you might never have known existed? This is that book! 99%