Almost at the same time as the German version of Tiny Dungeon 2e, there was the PDF version for supporters of Tiny Cthulhu. Like Mythos World, Tiny Cthulhu wants to present the myth of H.P. Lovecraft in a significantly smaller framework. Since I liked TD2E very much and we may get a German version of Tiny Cthulhu through Obscurati, it is worth taking a closer look at it.
The founder of the Mythos is the author H.P. Lovecraft. It is an alternative version of our world. Often times, adventure takes place in the 1920s, mostly in New England. Tiny Cthulhu is specially designed so that you can play in modern times, the Middle Ages or the future. In the Mythos there are forces that hardly anyone knows about. In my opinion, it is actually very good for players to know little about the setting, because it makes the feel of the game much different. The entry to this setting is still very easy, due to the other, few differences to our world.
Tiny Cthulhu, like Tiny Dungeon 2E, uses the Tiny D6 engine. A test is regularly made with two six-sided dice and every 5 or 6 is a success. If you have an advantage you can roll 3d6, if you have a disadvantage you only roll 1d6. A disadvantage beats an advantage. As a new feature there are corruption tests. If this test fails, you lose 1d6 days from the madness you are going through. Depending on the archetype, you have a different number of corruption points that you can spend to get around this madness. If the points drop to zero, the character goes insane and is out of the game. These points can be regenerated with experience points, treatment or idle time (downtime).
Fighting is also very minimalist in Tiny Cthulhu. Combat with ranges is recommended, for this everything is divided into zones. In your own zone you can move freely and depending on the distance you have to use a different number of actions to go to the desired zone. If you want, you can also play with normal rules of movement. Each combat participant has two of the actions that he can use as he likes. The game only distinguishes between light and heavy weapons, as well as melee and ranged weapons. This limits the tactical options, but makes the rules easier to remember. As in all Tiny D6 games, there are tons of optional rules. If you want, you can use consumption samples for objects (e.g. torches, batteries, ammunition, etc.) or adapt the way in which characters develop to your own wishes.
Unlike Tiny Dungeon 2E, there is no heritage since all play as humans. Instead, there are a number of archetypes to choose from. Here you get the typical professions such as investigator, soldier, explorer or writer. The list is very short with nine archetypes and I miss a few of the otherwise ubiquitous professions like antiquarian, psychologist or librarian. The archetype defines the life points, the number of corruption points and you also get a trait. The characters can be individualized with further traits; here you can also get the necessary basis for the use of magic. However, if you want to master magic, the maximum number of corruption points is permanently reduced.
If you want, you can further customize your game with optional rules. In addition, there is Tiny Pulp and Tiny Noir. In the pulp variant, the characters are given more tools to withstand the Mythos and generally endure more. If you want to focus more on the mystery and the investigation, use Tiny Noir. Here the game master gets help with the conception of an adventure and the hints for solving the mystery. Both versions take up a double page of rules and help.
I really like the selection of Mythos books, spells and the so-called innovations, i.e. the weird science items. The scope is manageable and everything should only serve as a suggestion, but you have more than enough choices to get started. The environmental traits can also add tension. The game master can determine, for example, that a place is more dangerous or even corrupting. When it comes to the selection of Mythos creatures, there are many known creatures, of course, the list is not complete here either, but the most important creatures can be found in the book. There is a short section on the great ancients, their cults and important places from the Mythos, and you get referenced to the respective stories of the Mythos. If you want to find deeper knowledge, you definitely have to do your own research. The book closes with the microsettings and in my opinion this is the most ingenious part of Tiny Cthulhu. You get a total of ten such settings and they are all very different. With the microsettings you get ideas, adventure hooks and settings in one. The inspirations are very different; sometimes there is a high school setting oriented towards Breakfast Club, Buffy and Sabrina and sometimes a setting in the future that is definitely reminiscent of Alien. With these settings, you can jump straight into the adventure very quickly without having to prepare much as a game master.
Tiny Cthulhu has 181 pages, is in English and in black and white. There are relatively few, but very consistent images. The layout and the font are easy to read. In addition to the book, you can get cards for monsters, tomes, environments, spells and innovations, and cults that the game master can use for support.
Who might be interested in Tiny Cthulhu:
- Players and Game masters, who want to experience the Mythos of H.P. Lovecraft with a light ruleset
- People, who like to create and invent things for their group
- Players, who want to focus on the roleplay
Who might not be interested in Tiny Cthulhu:
- Players and Game masters, who like extensive and tactical rules
- People, who want to have everything given for a setting
- Players, who need many options in character generation and character development