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Achtung! Cthulhu spin-off Cohors Cthulhu takes the historical-horror series to the Roman Empire

SPQR'lyeh.

Achtung! Cthulhu is spinning out with a new mash-up of history and Lovecraftian horror set during the peak of the Roman Empire.

Cohors Cthulhu swaps the World War II backdrop of Achtung! Cthulhu for the second century AD, with the clash between the Roman legion and Germanic tribes complicated by the arrival of cosmic horrors from the Cthulhu mythos. Players will be able to play both Roman and Germanic characters, united by the need to investigate cults and halt the otherworldly threat.

The setting will blend real places, people and events with fantasy elements, including the pantheon of Old Ones and the mystical ruins of Atlantis. The setting will likewise mix magic and eldritch powers with real-life ancient technology.

Future expansions would cover locations from Brittania and Byzantine to Aegyptus and the city of Rome, publisher Modiphius said.

Cohors Cthulhu is described as being an expansion of the existing Achtung! Cthulhu universe and storyline. Modiphius co-founder Chris Birch said that the setting was the “next step” in throwing open the series to explore other periods of history.

“Working on this project has let us massively expand the universe,” Birch said. “In the Shadows of Atlantis campaign for Achtung! Cthulhu we teased a connection to Atlantis, and in The Mountains of Madness, we promised an epic sequel that showed what would happen at the end of World War Two if the Nazis finally woke the sleeping gods. We have always planned to build this world out, and now we can.”

Cohors Cthulhu’s setting will serve as the setting for a tabletop RPG, narrative wargame - including a range of miniatures that can be used in other titles - and fiction fleshing out its lore.

The upcoming RPG will use a variant of Modiphius’ 2d20 system seen in Star Trek Adventures, Dune: Adventures in the Imperium and its adaptations of video games Dishonored and Fallout. The Cohors system will be an evolution of the ruleset used in Achtung! Cthulhu and will introduce elements to make it easier for newcomers to get started, the publisher said.

The RPG’s first book will focus on the walled fort town of Laurium, which splits the northern European border between human civilisation and the dangerous lands occupied by supernatural monsters. The book will also touch on Atlantis and Cohors Cthulhu’s connection to the World War II seen in Achtung! Cthulhu.

The lore of Cohors Cthulhu will also be explored via a story-driven wargame that can be played cooperatively or in a solo mode, with a campaign set across the entirety of the conflict. Modiphius has previously released narrative miniatures games based on roleplaying video games Elder Scrolls and Fallout, along with rules for an Achtung! Cthulhu skirmish game.

The wargame’s miniatures will be part of a wider range of 28mm figures designed to be compatible with “other major historical lines”, Modiphius said, allowing characters and creatures from the setting to be used with other systems.

The RPG and wargame will be supplemented by a line of fiction, including a Cohors Cthulhu novel and a short story anthology following notable characters from the games.

Working on the shared universe alongside Birch are writers, designers and artists with credits spanning RPGs such as Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder and Star Trek Adventures; miniatures games including Warmarchine and Hordes; comics from Marvel and DC; and video games such as League of Legends and World of Warcraft. The team includes lead writer Douglas Seacat, 2d20 developer Nathan Dowdell, RPG lead writer Matt Goetz, artists Bjorn Barends and Phroilan Gardner, and authors John Houlihan and Nick Brown.

Modiphius said that Cohors Cthulhu would “encompass many different cultures across the Roman world”, adding that it was seeking diverse writers similar with the cultures depicted to contribute to the setting.

A release date for the first Cohors Cthulhu titles is yet to be announced.

About the Author

Matt Jarvis avatar

Matt Jarvis

Editor-in-chief, Dicebreaker

After starting his career writing about music, films and video games for various places, Matt spent many years as a technology, PC and video game journalist before writing about tabletop games as the editor of Tabletop Gaming magazine. He joined Dicebreaker as editor-in-chief in 2019, and has been trying to convince the rest of the team to play Diplomacy since.

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