Lovecraftesque – playtest now open

The first draft of the Lovecraftesque rules is now complete, and we’re looking for playtesters to try it out.

A reminder: The game is all about creating your own story of brooding horror in the mould of Lovecraft, but without using any of Lovecraft’s material. It’s a GMless game, in which you spend most of your time as a narrator whose role is to intrigue, torment and terrify the Protagonist. You and the other players create strange clues for the Protagonist to investigate and, ultimately, draw them together into a compelling Final Horror to drive the Protagonist to despair or insanity.

The game takes about 3-4 hours, and requires 2-5 people to play.

If you would like to playtest the game, leave a comment here or email me at lovecraftesque at vapourspace dot net. We’re looking for feedback by Saturday 14th March – if you can’t play before then we’d still love to hear from you, but we’ll be moving forward with the next stage of the project after that.

Admiral Frax adds “I’d really value hearing from people who don’t know any Lovecraft.  The game should be set up so it is equally enjoyable with or without knowledge and I’d really like to know if that holds true.” Good point.

Josh Fox

Rabalias grew up wanting to be a pirate. But a band of evil bureaucrats kidnapped him and forced him to work for The Man. Even so, Rabalias was patient and cunning. He escaped by gnawing his way through the walls of his prison and concealing the hole behind a picture of cthulhu. He fled to the coast, and stowed away on the Black Armada, where he worked his way up to the rank of Admiral.

20 thoughts to “Lovecraftesque – playtest now open”

  1. I would be very interested in reading over your playtest document and offering it to my group of interested players. Send me an email at nickwedig at with more details.

  2. As an author I rely on playtesters so much I’m always delighted to try and participate and give useful positive feedback. If you want me email chrisjensenromer at

    I have a suitable group and the time..

  3. More than a little interested! It just so happens that I started a Cthulhu-esque game today, and I’m looking for a rules system.

    1. Thanks Mike – I’ve emailled you the link.

      I’ll be interested to see how the game copes with an established game; it’s designed to be zero prep, with characters, setting etc agreed collaboratively at the start. So you may need to tweak it a bit for your purposes.

      Let me know if there’s any problems, and enjoy!

    1. Hey Scott! Yes, that would be great. Frax’s comment was made in the expectation that non-Lovecraft buffs might assume the game isn’t for them. But we definitely think Lovecraft fans will enjoy it, even if it isn’t quite your typical Call of Cthulhu type experience.

      I’ve emailled you the files – let me know if any issues.

  4. Hi 🙂 Lovecraftesque sounds very intriguing. I’d be interested in playtesting. I may only be able to test with 2 players, but this world needs more 2-player GMful games.

  5. I would be very interested to playtest. I have never read any original Lovecraft works, but I am familiar with the use of his mythos as a theme. Very interested to see how the clue/investigation mechanisms work in this design.

    1. Hi Ryan, Fagner, thanks for your interest, and I’ve just emailed you the file link. Let me know if it doesn’t arrive.

      Ryan: one thing we’re going to do with the game once it’s ready to publish is take a pro-active stance on racism, sexism and other isms. Our examples and art will support this approach. At the moment we don’t have any of either, though. For now, it’s great to hear you’re thinking about this too, and the game should give you the tools to create your own racism-free Lovecraftesque vision.

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