The CULTISTORM a cooprative cosmic horror tabletop game in universe of H. P. Lovecraft.
The background story of the Cultistorm game is a novel of Sandor Szucs, the title is A Window into Infinity, you can read it here.
Since the investigating authorities found the journal of Robert S. Kleiman, who had disappeared without trace, and the journal caused a small academic outcry in the Miskatonic University, more and more strange figures have appeared in Essex county. They hide themselves behind long capes and radiate some unexplainable darkness. One would think that they belong to a secret order for whom the most important thing is to keep their identity secret. Nobody has ever seen their face and the authorities have searched in vain, but they couldn’t find anybody who as much talked to one of them. Their arrival is just as unexpected and unexplainable as their disappearance a few street corners later.
Nobody knows where they came from or what their purpose is, but a few weeks after Arkham town’s Bureau of Investigation had closed the unsolved case about the disappearance of Mr. Kleiman, the strange visitors have appeared more often and more numerously in some distinct cities in the county. As one of the university teaching assistants compared news about the visitors with the notes in Kleiman’s journal, he discovered that these eerie creatures appeared at the exact places that the terrifying night visitor, mentioned in the missing researcher’s description, marked on the map scratched into the windowpane.
The backstory of the game
The players assume the roles of investigators who work for the special department set up by the Massachusetts Bureau of Investigation and the Miskatonic University. The investigators have to work together to stop the schemes of the cultists. Their aim is to invite their masters, who reside in cosmic space and time, to our world through the open dimension portal. Since the mere appearance of these Great Old Ones would be devastating, it’s imperative to stop their followers, ideally even before they open the portals.
Summary of the gameplay
Every player chooses an investigator with a special ability. Then they draw two equipment cards, but keep only one of them. Every player receives the starter action card deck.
During every turn, one or several cultists appears on one of the five location cards. The cultists who had appeared before but haven’t been vanquished stay on their location.
Then the players decide who fights the cultists (and where), goes to search for new equipment or uses other special actions. In the fight against cultists the players can use their action deck, their special ability, the support of others and an investigation die – these help the players to create the combination of symbols they need to defeat the cultist. The cultist’s value is modified by their own die roll, their special effects or rules and their location.
The majority of the cards in the investigators’ action deck consists of two parts: not only do they provide the magical symbols for combat, they also have a supporting effect enabling the fight of the other investigators. Whenever the players use a card, they have to decide if they want to use the symbol or the supporting action. The starter deck also contains some other types of cards.
At the beginning of the round, the investigators complete their hands from the draw pile then discuss who would attack which cultist and where and if someone would want to do a different type of action. Some of the investigators can only attack the cultist in the entrance of the location, while others have the ability to attack those further back.
After each investigator has occupied their chosen place, they play their actions in an order defined by their location: we research, fight, heal or support the other investigators by using the possibilities offered by the special locations.
If an investigator defeats a cultist, they receive a magical trophy they can later use in combats and they can also draw another combat card from the draw pile, thus making their action pack stronger and more varied.
If there are too many cultists in a given location at the same time, they open a portal to an Other World and a Great Old One appears on the other side. The opening mystical location sucks in the investigators who have been defeated by the cultists there. In the next round the Old One steps into our world through the dimension portal and he devours the unvanquished cultist on that location. The cultist’s life force and dark magic is added to the power of the Old One. If the Old One arrives to the location card of our world, an investigator has to fight him. If the investigator wins, we are saved for a while, however, if he fails, we lose the game immediately.
We’ll be honest: the game is very had and oppressive, but those who have read Lovecraft’s stories know that only this atmosphere is worthy of the Master. The investigators have to work in a well-coordinated manner, carefully contemplating in the case of every card if they want to use it for their own goals or to help the others. Although luck plays only a tiny role in the fight against the cultists, because of the game’s fragile equilibrium this small part can turn out to be fateful. The players can also unearth some important and unexpected things during our research. If there are too many cultists in play at the same time, we lose as investigators. If even one Old one gets through the locations, we lose. If we fail to seal every location in time, we lose. If even one of the investigators dies, we lose. We can only win if we seal all five locations successfully before the cultist pack runs out, if we manage to kill the summoned Old Ones or if every cultist in every location is vanquished.
However, winning is only the beginning. There are nine rule modifiers in the base game only and we plan to add more during the campaign. The modified rules can be combined. Different cultist sects have different abilities, the special locations opening on their wake have completely unique effects and the elements added on during the campaign would vary the game with numerous new mechanics.
Elements of the base game:
5 City location cards
1 Hospital location card
3 Special location cards
6 Investigator cards
40 Cultist cards
9 Great Old One cards
9 Other world cards
27 Object cards
5 Gate Seal cards
120 Action cards
6 Investigator rule modifying cards
4 Cultist rule modifying cards
5 Local action and reference cards
Further game elements:
6 Investigator stands with bases
5 Special D6 cultist dice
5 Special D6 investigator dice
1 Threat track
1 Threat maker
25 Madness tokens
25 Trophy tokens
5 Gate seal tokens
5 Status tokens
2 Closed location tokens
3 Target tokens
10 Success/Exhausted tokens
Addition Elements for the game expeience (in the core box):
+ Narrative Script Book
+ Novel Anthology Book
+ Printed Artbook
+ Graham Plowman: Storm of Cultists: Soundtrack CD