Eldritch Texts in Cthulhu Awakens

Eldritch Texts

Art by John Anthony DiGiovanni

 

As we noted in our update about powers and eldritch workings, anyone can “cast a spell” in Cthulhu Awakens as long as they have a text to work from that contains the proper instructions rendered in a language they can understand. This of course leads us to the question of what these references are, and how they’re presented in the game.

Each text’s description passes on the following information.

Content and Effects: A general description of the text’s contents, followed by any special effects they may have.

Decipher: Ability tests and any other conditions required to understand the text.

Praxes and Workings: Eldritch workings—the “spells” of Cthulhu Awakens—are divided into categories called praxes. Each praxis is a bundle of workings with related effects so that, for example, Geometry is the praxis of manipulating spacetime.

Alienation Test: Studying a text deeply is potentially disturbing and may trigger a test to avoid the effects of Alienation: how the Mythos alters minds who witness its phenomena.

The following example lays out this information about itself. Yes, the Necronomicon is covered, though the entry is too long for an update.

Euler Manuscript of Esoteric Mathematics

Beautifully bound in red leather and inked on cotton parchment, this manuscript holds the lesser-known mathematical musings of 18th Century Swiss polymath Leonhard Euler. The only copy now sits in a forgotten storage room at Miskatonic University’s school of Physics, though MU’s librarians are aware that it was lost somewhere on campus in the 1890s. They have not entirely forgotten to keep an eye out for it. Euler’s contemporaries described its contents as “perverse theology,” and implied it was an attempt to solve physical and metaphysical questions with the same pragmatism Euler devised to his other mathematical work—and that its conclusions were abhorrent to science and faith.

Content and Effects: The Euler Manuscript contains graphs, calculations, and beautiful, full-color illustrations of mathematical theories involving the movement of the universe. Using a series of superficially simple formulae, Euler further claims the nature of the universe must parallel the nature of God—or whatever entity is constructed from first principles, which takes God’s place. Subsequent calculations show that the cosmos is simultaneously moving and unmoving, and in attaining greater self-organization only intensifies its eventual breakdown into chaos. Time only exists as a flaw in human perception designed to ignore these contradictions, and any Creator could only have set things in motion to enjoy their destruction. Nihilism is nothing new, but nihilism backed by rigorous math is another thing entirely.

As a result, upon first deciphering the Euler Manuscript, the reader must make a TN 13 Willpower (Faith) test or suffer one level of the Fatigued Condition. Furthermore, casting from the text reminds the reader that the cosmos is meaningless, prompting the test each time the Euler Manuscript is used for this purpose.

Decipher: The reader must succeed at a TN 13 Intelligence (Mathematics) test.

Praxes and Workings: Geometry (angular travel, counter geometry, hyperbolic rotation), Outsiders (intrusion, outsider correspondence)

Alienation Test: Phenomena, TN 14, when studying praxes from the text.
Eldritch Texts

Author

  • After writing and designing games as a freelancer from 2000 on, Malcolm Sheppard is pleased to join Green Ronin as developer at large: the one who works on any number of games, from the Adventure Gaming Engine to Ork! Malcolm’s experience before Green Ronin includes Exalted, Mage: The Ascension, Onyx Path’s Chronicles of Darkness and Scion lines, as well as Shadowrun and Eclipse Phase. Outside game design, Malcolm’s worked in community development and education, and as a professional historical re-enactor, where he gave large metal swords to children. (They were blunt!) Malcolm lives in semi-rural Ontario, Canada.