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Trail of Cthulhu


"That is not dead which can eternal lie.
And with strange aeons, even death may die."

- The Necronomicon

You uncover mysteries in dusty libraries and bloody crime scenes. You walk the mean streets of Chicago or hack through the jungles of the South Pacific. You battle vile cults, or recoil in terror at the alien enormities they worship. You follow the clues wherever they lead, whatever the cost in life or sanity. But do you dare to follow...greate_race.jpg

The Trail of Cthulhu

Trail of Cthulhu is a complete game of investigative horror set in the 1930s based on the work of HP Lovecraft. The game uses an adapted and enlarged version of GUMSHOE system which offers a laser-like focus on investigation, with characters driven to explore and investigate, even at the expense of their own health and sanity.

Using the revolutionary GUMSHOE investigative roleplaying system, this game features:

  • Sanity which measures your blissful ignorance of the true nature of reality, and Stability which defines how robust your mental health is.
  • Investigative abilities such as Cop Talk, Interrogation and Occult which help you find the awful crypt, and maybe even tell you what you might find there.
  • Drives such as In the Blood and Arrogance to get your character into that crypt at night.
  • General skills such as Sense Trouble, Filch and Scuffling to get you out again.

Keepers are offered:

  • Rules you can tune to Purist cosmic despair, or to lurid two-gun Pulp
  • Comprehensive support for adventure and campaign creation, as well as suggestions for improvisation.
  • Three exciting campaign frames, for tweedy academics, jut-jawed G-men, or grimy traffickers in the eldritch, plus "The Kingsbury Horror," a complete introductory adventure.
  • Techniques to run the game and maintain the atmosphere of mystery and malice.

And we reveal a new view of the Mythos:

  • Gods, tomes, and magic, presented with mystery and drama in mind, and including Cthulhoid lore never before revealed in any game
  • Alien races, including their spoor, their killing techniques, and the forensic clues their victims reveal.
  • The original grim horror setting - the 1930s - set against depression, looming war and totalitarianism.

Related Links

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.
 Customers Who Bought this Title also Purchased
Reviews (13)
Discussions (5)
Customer avatar
wayne B February 01, 2022 9:23 am UTC
Is this compatible with choasium published material?
Customer avatar
Pelgrane P February 01, 2022 3:44 pm UTC
Hi Wayne. Trail of Cthulhu has different mechanics to Call of Cthulhu, so the systems are not compatible.
Customer avatar
Jason L November 28, 2022 5:28 pm UTC
That said, there are rules for converting between BRP and Gumshoe in the core rulebook.
Customer avatar
June 06, 2018 12:11 am UTC
I played this around 2x a month for maybe 4-5 months. In the end I dropped out of the group because the game is dull.

There's very little to do as a player in this game system, and especially in the published adventure we played in. Finding clues is mostly automatic, which is fine. But what does that leave exactly?

Many of the encounters give you choices of how to spend points but it feels like the outcome is capriciously predetermined and your idea of what do has little impact. In addition the spending of points often barely moves the needle on expected outcomes. Often a choice of "roll to probably lose two points or spend a point to slightly less likely lose three points" presents no compelling reason to spend time on it, but these choices come up over and over.

Those are small complaints, however. The big problem is that the entire adventure as written is far too on rails. It hardly matters what you decide to do, as you'll end up in the same place no...See more
Customer avatar
Brandon B April 05, 2016 1:29 pm UTC
I have created a chart for Trail Of Cthulhu, showing when it is a good idea to spend Stability to improve a Stability roll, and when it isn't. Maybe this will be useful to someone.
Customer avatar
Luis O Moura D March 29, 2017 10:39 pm UTC
Don't you want to publish it in RPGGeek?
Customer avatar
Nicholas A March 18, 2016 10:12 pm UTC
Anyone know how long this will be on sale? I'm interested, but can't buy it for a little while due to my current location.
Customer avatar
Michael L March 29, 2016 2:25 am UTC
Until the end of the month :)
Customer avatar
Ryan H June 23, 2015 4:28 pm UTC
i cannot buy this yet, but is there a D20 version?
I do not want to invest in any "gumshoe" system...
I only want d20.
Customer avatar
Harper J July 10, 2015 9:28 am UTC
Customer avatar
Shogen J March 22, 2016 8:57 am UTC
if you dont want gumshoe you dont want this. BTW you should try gumshoe.
Customer avatar
Luis O Moura D March 29, 2017 10:40 pm UTC
@Alan S has the right of it!
Customer avatar
Jukka H September 29, 2023 6:04 am UTC
Hope you've come to realize that D20 is not the way. Definitely try different systems, they aren't that hard to learn in contrast to most D20 systems.
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File Last Updated:
February 06, 2009
This title was added to our catalog on April 30, 2008.