Review: Modiphius Entertainment – Gamemaster’s Guide (Achtung! Cthulhu)

Gamemaster’s Guide
Gamemaster’s Guide is a core rulebook for the historical action horror RPG Achtung! Cthulhu, written by Richard August, Brad Bell, Richard L Gale, Benn Graybeaton, Bill Heron, John Houlihan, Mari Tokuda, and Sam Webb and published by Modiphius Entertainment.
By Aaron T. Huss

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Gamemaster’s Guide is the GM’s core rulebook for Achtung! Cthulhu. Like many other GM’s core rulebooks, it contains a large amount of mechanics only the GM can take advantage of. Piled on top of these mechanics are a bestiary, setting guide, and an in-depth analysis of the movers and shakers in Achtung! Cthulhu. However, possibly the most important section found within this guide is the secrets behind what makes this setting unique – these are all the background details the players will need to discover.

This is a difficult book to describe without spoiling the secrets of the setting; so I’m going to avoid those types of details. Instead, I’ll gloss over the other chapters that make this book worthwhile.

Gamemaster’s Guide has a lot of utility to it. It’s not the type of GM’s guide that says “here’s how to solve the setting” and instead focuses on what everybody is doing, why their doing it, and who is doing it for incorporation into any game as desired. It would be very easy to take all the content at face value and just run the game straight through as presented in this guide (not presented in adventure format, just as the timeline is presented and not introducing your own bits and pieces). But I don’t really think the book wants you to use it that way. Instead, it’s presented like this…

1) Here are the major points in a storyline that is occurring regardless of what game is being run.
2) Here is an in-depth analysis of everyone involved and how you can get them more involved.
3) Here is a whole bunch of extra stuff for you to drop in where desired.

I will point out that Modiphius has effectively released adventures that follow this storyline, and the GM’s guide supports that. However, it offers so much more content that you can break away from that adventure series, use them as a starting point and let the PCs go where they please, or use them as a framework for creating something unique.


Now, I like this book, but at the same time there is some content I don’t like. Achtung! Cthulhu features a few organizations that really drive the given storyline… but it also includes Deep One and Mi-Go. But not in a way that is normally done for Cthulhu Mythos. Instead of presenting these two in the typical weird fantasy/horror way, they are presented as coordinated organization akin to a nation’s military force. To me, this is awkward. But then, I’m a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to the Cthulhu Mythos. This does not make the decision a bad one, especially since it is executed very well. I just don’t prefer it.

All in all, Gamemaster’s Guide is a must have for all Achtung! Cthulhu GMs! You could easily run years of memorable games with nothing more than the two core rulebooks; they are that concise! If you prefer to run published adventures, this book will give you the depth you need in the setting to allow the PCs to fully immerse themselves in the action!

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