Product– Achtung! Cthulhu 2d20 Quickstart
TL; DR– Let’s kill some Cthulhu Nazis! 97%
Basics– The Weird Wars are back! Achtung! Cthulhu is a horror/action RPG using the Achtung! Cthulhu world and the new(er) 2d20 system put forward by Modiphius. Let’s dig into this historical horror.
Base mechanics-The 2d20 system is a roll-under system. Every time you do an action, you use a skill and an attribute. You add your skill and attribute together and try to roll under that total on each individual die. If you roll under your skill, you score two successes and if you roll under the total you just score one success. Get enough successes, you do the action. You need between 0 and five successes.
Momentum, threat, and fortune- Since you only get two dice and you might need up to five successes, you need more dice in a hurry. You can get more dice from momentum. Every success above what you need earns momentum for the group. You can spend momentum to get more dice. You can also give the GM threat to get more dice, but threat is GM momentum. You also have fortune. Fortune is story candy. You automatically crit and earn two successes.
Combat-Combat works just like skills, but if you hit, you roll six sided dice with either 1, 2, or 1 and a bonus event on them. The bonus things might start fires or do extra damage and depends on the weapons and the person using it. When you take damage, you subtract either armor or your resolve (mental armor) and take stress. When your stress fills up, you are out and you take an injury. This could be from going crazy or from taking a hit to the face. Too many injuries and you’re out for good!
Ok, now my thoughts on this.
Mechanics or Crunch– I like what’s here. I love Call of Cthulhu, and 2d20 feels enough like that but it has some things that feel like DnD. There are feat like traits. There is a more combat emphasis, and the flow of threat and momentum makes things a bit more dynamic than either parent game. There are parts I want described more like spending threat. This is a quickstart for free, so it’s ok if it’s not a complete rules book now, but I want more of that in the final product. That said, the crunch here feels good and full of combat goodness with hints of story built in to keep the action rolling. 4.5/5
Theme or Fluff– Hate Nazis? Want to hate Cthulhu Naizs? I’VE GOT A GAME FOR YOU! The ultimate killable bad guys are the main villains here, so it always feels fun to fight those guys. It is Weird War, so get ready for some strange elements, from spellcasting Americans to Australians with combat dogs. But, here is where things shine. 2d20 is built on this back and forth of rolls, story, and tension. Momentum and threat roll back and forth across the table making things fun. There is absolutely nothing wrong with some old school gaming, but for story and theme, I love when the mechanics build into that. This system does that well. 5/5
Execution– PDF? YEP! Hyperlinked? No, but it’s a quickstart, so I’ll forgive it. It reads well, reads quick, and has great pictures. Now those pictures are from the original Acthung! Cthulhu, so I hope for new art, but it’s all good. The player section is at the back and easily prints out to a separate PDF, so my players will not be spoiled. Honestly, it’s 45+pages of good introduction to the system that you can read in under half an hour and get playing your first game. 5/5
Summary-This is a free PDF, so check it out! It’s also a solid RPG with a great mix of theme and mechanics. Lots of fun to be had from this quick read that you will be playing fast. Go kill some bad guys and save the day in the Weird War! 97%