Cthentacle: At the Mountings of Madness review

From Shane O’Connor, you can buy Cthentacle etc HERE

Cthentacle, I’ve learned from experience, is one of those games where everybody looks at you funny when you suggest a game of it. After all, most people would think it odd that you’d want to play (and want them to play) a card game based around tentacle-rape. This is only compounded if you mention that you’ve also got the expansion sets for the game. But you know what? If you’re going to pull out something this nasty and perverted, you might as well go all the way (innuendos intended). It’s with that thought that we turn to the second Cthentacle expansion: At the Mountings of Madness.

Like the previous expansion (The Dunbitch Horror), At the Mountings of Madness introduces two new characters and twenty new cards, along with the generic card-backs. There’s even a scenario behind this expansion to the game, though it’s little more than “an explorer and her sailor companion set out for the Antarctic to see what they can find.” Of course, what they find are some ancient and horny Mythos monsters.

The cards have a fairly even distribution of number cards (which range from 1 to 5) along with some new ! and SP cards. However, I’m still frowning over the uneven distribution of cards. It was perhaps inevitable, given that there are seven card types (note that I’m not counting character cards) and twenty cards in the set. Still, the staggered number of card types means that playing some number cards will be more difficult since you must play them sequentially and there’s less of some numbers than others.

One interesting tidbit to the game is a variation on normal Cthentacle play called Investigation. In this version, there are six “locations” (which the game says you should just lay out some sort of markers to represent) and your goal is to have your character advance through them to the final destination, which is the lost city of O RLYEH. The method of advancement requires you to give up a card, but otherwise this plays much like normal Cthentacle, with numbered cards played on your character until your “spooged,” though this doesn’t disqualify you but rather sends you back to the starting location.

I was a bit disappointed to see that this expansion pack didn’t take into account the cards from the previous expansion that required some explanation. Some of the cards in The Dunbitch Horror required explanation for ambiguous powers like “works on humanoid-looking cards.” That expansion listed explicitly what cards in it and the base game phrases like that referred to – a further listing should have been provided for this set so that things stayed clear.

Of course, for all these minor flaws, this expansion pack stays eminently true to the dark eros of Cthentacle. Artist Darkzel continues to draw full-color artwork for all of the cards, showing the lovely ladies (and oftentimes other things) in situations ranging from bending over provocatively to being bound and violated by tentacled horrors. It’s great stuff, in other words, and almost distracts from the awful card names; if you’re a Lovecraft fan, you’ll roll your eyes at titles like “Pnacocktic Manuscripts” and other bad jokes. It all just goes to show that Cthentacle has still got it, so whip our your deck and get to the Mountings of Madness!


From yesterday’s Twitter madness:

From @Grimachu

  • Having trouble getting players to listen to your descriptions? Pay R. Lee Ermey to shout them instead.
  • To increase randomisation ‘train’ your cat to chase dice.
  • Don’t play Conspiracy X, it’s ALL TRUE!
  • Create the RIFTS atmosphere by injecting your players with testosterone and LSD, then bashing their skull with hammer
  • Help counter power-creep in your games by replacing experience points with head.
  • Make your rolls better by clubbing a leprechaun to death with your dice bag
  • If they give you lip, threaten to outsource your players to India.
  • Tattoo important rules onto your body so you always have them to hand.
  • Play Exalted with more than four players.
  • Use your moobs to conceal dice rolls from your players.
  • Save on game prep time by not learning the rules.
  • Recreate a NASA feel for your SF game by filling your play room with 70s computers and giving everyone’s money to a soldier.
  • Form an all-star player group to show your group how it’s done, GMS, Justin Achilli, Me, Ron Edwards and RPGPundit would be a good start.
  • Increase game immersion by running LOTR entirely in Sindarin.
  • Defeat Rules Lawyers by claiming The Terrorists Win if you uphold their complaint.
  • Justify out of character shitty behaviour by NPCs with the phrase ‘bitches be crazy, yo’.
  • Get tips on suspension of disbelief from Col. Gadaffi.
  • Don’t feel like GMing? Summon the unquiet spirit of Gary Gygax, ask him about 4e and then have him run Tomb of Horrors.
  • Get the best out of your game by threats to start a new one with blackjack and hookers.
  • Show your players how it’s done by introducing a GM PC to pick up the slack when they fail.
  • Medical waste is a great source of game props.
  • Increase player attendance by having their partner and children killed by the Serbian Mafia.
  • Get your players emotionally invested in the game by sleeping with them.
  • Want to get more girls to play in your games? Rohypnol.
  • Create a peasant look by eating 1lb of sugar pulling out three teeth and smoking this will also give you a medieval lifespan.
  • Your descriptions aren’t good enough to scare players in horror games? Keep Goatse flashcards to hand.
  • Having attendance trouble at your sessions? Addict your players to crack. They’ll come back!
  • Create that all important Steampunk atmosphere by playing up a chimney and smacking any female player who opens their mouth.
  • Beholder encounter? Shine a high-powered laser pointer at your player’s eyes.
  • Worried about cheating? Make everyone play naked and roll their dice for them.
  • Give that session of  Gamma Worldan authentic edge by feeding your players polonium in their pizza.
  • Make that inn-based downtime a session to remember by dressing up a homeless man as a wizard and hiring prostitutes to be wenches.
  • Add verisimilitude when the adventure in the sewers by shitting your pants during the game.
  • Condition your munchkins to avoid combat by slapping them in the face every time they take damage

From @Cavalorn

  • Amuse and amaze players by explaining that the gruelling six-hour dungeon they have just laboured through was ‘all an illusion’.
  • Add that indefinable ‘Ridley Scott’ atmosphere to your games by setting fire to some rags in a plastic bucket.
  • If the text says ‘read this aloud to your players’, then you’d better fucking do it. If you mess up, just start all over again.
  • Don’t neglect player handouts! They’ll never forget the trouble you went to when you use proper offal.
  • Don’t waste cash on expensive miniatures. Langoustines make ideal Mi-Go and one block of lard can yield over 50 Gelatinous Cubes.
  • Pyramidal dice make ideal caltrops when players try to flee.
  • Avoid the age-old problem of stained, unwashed gamer clothing by simply GMing naked.
  • Remind your dice who is in charge by ‘executing’ the ones who ‘fail you’ with a hammer.
  • Save valuable playing time and avoid arguments by simply telling players what they decide to do next.
  • Authentically recreate Olde English speech by simply adding ‘-eth’ to the end of every word.
  • Plastic ‘pizza savers’ make ideal towers for unambitious wizards.
  • Bring ‘power gamers’ down to size by insisting they suck helium from a balloon before being allowed to speak.
  • Cultivate players’ attachment to their characters by enacting a simple ‘one nose hair pulled per hit point lost’ rule.
  • Keep an air horn ready under the gaming table to liven up dull ‘what shall we do next’ moments.
  • Simulate the tension of a collapsing dungeon ceiling by dunking a hob-nob in hot coffee and holding it above your player’s head.

From @Fnordland
The Rules are there for everyone’s benefit. If they won’t play by them, sue your players.

From @Pookie_uk
Increase game immersion by making Hobbits in a LOTR kneel barefoot throughout and Elves stand on chairs

Awesome review of A Place Beyond Hell

Nice to get some acknowledgement of my writing skill and plot ideas 🙂

Check it out and then buy Obsidian Twilight books for Pathfinder 🙂

Good news everyone!

After a titanic battle on what was supposed to be a half day, I have FIXED a problem with the print versions of 6-Pack Adventures where they were being obscured by egregious barcodes but, after a long battle and lots of talk with Lulu support, I seem to have fixed the issue.

You can buy them HERE

You can also get them on PDF but I’ve kept the print price as low as is practical and these really are things you should buy in hardcopy to get the best use out of them as the book covers form the maps.

6-Pack Adventures: Desecration RELEASED!

Buy it HERE

The second in a series of 6-Pack Adventures, pick-up-and-play adventures designed to fill 2-4 hours of play and containing everything you need.

  • Battle Map
  • Tokens
  • Pre-generated characters

For longevity you can use the tokens and the map for anything else you care to do and the adventures should be fairly easily adaptable to fit into your existing campaign if you want.

Desecration has a group of elven adventurers investigating strange goings on in some of their holy woodland – at the behest of a goddess no less…

Pathfinder and associated marks and logos are trademarks of Paizo Publishing, LLC, and are used under license. See paizo.com/pathfinderRPG for more information on the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.


I seem to tackle or arouse controversy in a lot of things that I do. This isn’t necessarily through any deliberate attempt to be controversial or difficult but more to do with the fact that I simply don’t give two tugs of a dead dog’s cock, at least when I’m producing my own stuff. There are limits of course, but they’re my limits, I’ve no real respect for other people’s particular prejudices or tastes and I don’t expect them to have any real respect for mine.

I’m interested in controversial subjects, religion, politics, sex, violence, different interpretations of history and events. Controvesial subjects attract and interest me and I’ll tend to pursue ideas regardless. Self publishing gives me that freedom to pursue these topics without having to be fearful or to concern myself with purely commercial considerations. Controversy DOES sell sometimes, but it doesn’t always. Hentacle and Cthentacle do very nicely thank you but Final Straw – arguably a better game to play – didn’t do very well at all. The subject was, perhaps, a bit too near to the knuckle for the US market and that pretty much doomed it. Shame, because I bloody love that game. Controversy isn’t  a seller by itself, good gameplay isn’t a seller by itself and even the two together isn’t a seller. (Sex, apparently is though).

Satire’s always a bit controversial and the whole Shadow World line is nothing but satire really, cutting it fine on various things, including most lately the kind of perverted shit that turns up in fanfic and slashfic. How that’s going to pan out… well, we’ll see how people react over time.

Where I seem to run into problems is with people who either read too much or too little into what I write. When I talk about the English language they presume there’s a concern or goal there that goes beyond correct use of the mother tongue, when I write about hentai tentacle porn, hookers or female gamers they take it on its face and don’t bother to explore the subtext which, most often, conforms to their viewpoint. You really can’t win and, much as I like argumentation, I like argumentation where a point can be made and stick.

If anything recent encounters with these sorts of reactions have strengthened my resolve to keep exploring these topics in this way because, if nothing else, it makes life interesting, creates buzz and engages the community in discussing interesting things.


Cantrip Comprehensive: The School

(Shamelessly ripping off from my own school experiences)

Cantrip Comprehensive is situated in the small town of Blackchurch in Wiltshire, England. Blackchurch is an almost entirely unremarkable town noted only for a brief zombie infestation* and the fact that the local populace seem to consume more drugs than the population of a much larger town, perhaps a side effect of the presence of the school.

The school was originally built to cope with an influx of magic(k)ally interested children in the mid 1960s. It was built to replace an old TB hospital that was present on the site before and has lead to the presence of a couple of coughing ghosts that make assemblies a noisy event and one that’s often even less interesting than they normally are.

The school is divided into four ‘blocks’ which surround a ‘lovely’ expanse of asphalt which passes for a recreation ground. A rather sad patch of grass is at the back of the school is where Bigpitch and other sports are played, half the size it used to be since part of the playing fields were sold off for a new housing estate to be built.

1. The Old Block – Once the site of the TB hospital this red-brick victorian building is hot in the summer and cold in the winter, creaking, draughty and – frankly – in need of pulling down. Magic(k) and history is in its every brick which is part of the reason they don’t dare tear it down.

2. The New Block – Not so new really since it’s a concrete and sheet-metal, brutalist monstrosity from the early 1970s. It’s grubby, smells faintly of plastic, has a depressing atmosphere and houses most of the alchemical and other more technical classes, which means it has burnt out a few times, though never been destroyed. Each time it is redecorated as cheaply as possible and somehow ‘flame retardant’ is never on the list of priorities.

3. The Community Block – This is where the indoor sports ‘arena’ is, along with the ‘community area’ which is used for fund-raising events and as a clubhouse for the sixth form.

4. The Huts – ‘Temporary’ buildings that have been there as long as anyone remembers, they’re even worse than the Old Block, even though they’re much newer. They’re due to be replaced ‘any day now’.

The whole area is protected from prying, mortal eyes by a massive Nerf spell that bolloxs up the eyesight of anyone looking towards the school so that they only see normal goings on. A variety of pocket realms serve as special classrooms and as the staffroom, away from troublesome and interfering students.

*Referencing the infamous Blood! scenario with the deadly Fray Bentos Pies.

Cthentacle: At the Mountings of Madness UNLEASHED!


New characters and new cards for Cthentacle, expanding the game into the exploration of the frozen antarctic and the strange, horny, terrors that dwell there.

  • Explore with Inga Hostein and doughty sailor Bligh.
  • Thrill to the things of the elder things.
  • Gasp in horror at the Brain in a Jar and the power of SCIENCE!

Includes a new way to play, The Investigation!

You can buy At the Mountings of Madness HERE

You can get the base game Call of Cthentacle HERE
You can get the first expansion The Dunbitch Horror HERE
Or the Squamous Value Pack (All together) HERE

Cthentacle’s originating game Hentacle is also available in bargain-collection form HERE

There is a Hentacle art book HERE and a Cthentacle art preview book HERE

We also have limited hardcopy of Call of Cthentacle, Dunbitch, Hentacle and Sloppy Seconds available for purchase, please contact via our website for information on ordering these.


@grimachu on twitter.

Cantrip Comprehensive: Magic(k)al Comprehensives

There have been several instances during which the existing structure of ancient, privately owned and run magic(k)al schools hasn’t been able to cope with the influx. Never have things been so bad as they have been since the late 1990s, since when there has been an ongoing ‘perfect storm’ of occult interest amongst tweens and teenagers that has resulted in far too many of them stumbling into the true magic(k)al arts.

Not all of these kids have the money or the magical heritage to justify their attendance in the best schools such as the Wobbly Academy, Orcsford, Wheaton or the others. It became necessary given the massive influx to go to the government for help. The same government that has previously caused problems for the magical fraternity but, since one hand doesn’t seem to know what the other is doing they help – sort of – at the same time as they’re causing problems, after all, it’s better to have all these magic(k)al problem-causers a) owing you and b) all collected in one place.

With government funding a series of buildings were re-purposed to become the new magic(k)al comprehensives, a series of substandard, underfunded, shoddy buildings where anyone who has shown a passing capability for magic(k) is rounded up and flung in order to be taught by all the magicians, wizards, soothsayers, warlocks and witches who couldn’t pass muster to educate at one of the older academies.

Needless to say this results in a rather brutish school environment in which learning is not a priority, where black magic(k) is traded around the playground like pokemon cards and where nobody really wants to be, not the teachers, least of all the kids. All this amateurish magic(k) flying about the place is dangerous, tears holes in reality and makes the comprehensives magic(k)ally as well as physically dangerous. If you’re not breathing in asbestos or clinging in vain hope to a Victorian radiator you’re getting your head dunked into a toilet by a half-orc or falling into a dungeon pocket-realm that’s spontaneously appeared under the boiler room. That’s if the teachers – who haven’t been properly cleared due to the haste and desperation with which they’ve been hired – don’t get you. Then there’s the exchange students who are termed ‘extra-strange’ students with good reason.

The ivy-clad private magic(k)al schools get all the kudos, but there’s something to be said for the school of hard knocks and it’s a more useful life skill to deal with that sort of real world situation rather than the self-important bullshit that goes on elsewhere.