Chad Bowser, writer of Cthulhu Invictus
In 2011, Chad Bowser wrote Cthulhu Invictus and ran a few sessions of it at MACE 2011. He was kind enough to answer a few interview questions.
Thanks for taking the time to talk with us. Tell us a little about yourself and your gaming accomplishments?
Thanks, Ron. I’m not sure what you want to know, but I’ll try. I grew up in Buffalo, NY. Except for the time I was traveling with the carnival, I was an upstate New Yorker. I moved to NC in 1997 to go to graduate school for medieval history. After earning that degree, I immediately shifted fields and went to work in IT. I’m now an engineer for a major financial institution.
I’ve been gaming since 1989, when I started playing AD&D 2e. I haven’t looked back. My first published item was a Call of Cthulhu scenario published in the now defunct Demonground magazine.
Tell us a little about yourself and your gaming likes/dislikes? What kind of gamer would you characterize yourself?
To be honest, I like most games. I prefer unified mechanics, but that’s by no means a deal-breaker. My favorite games are, in no particular order, Call of Cthulhu, Pendragon, Fiasco, and Victoriana. In case you can’t tell, I’m also a sucker for historical games.
If you look at the GSN scale of gaming, I’d classify myself as a simulationist/narrativist depending on how the mood strikes me. At the end of the day, I’m the type of gamer who just likes to have a fun time playing games.
Tells us a little about the Cthulhu Invictus?
Cthulhu Invictus is the brainchild of me and my wife, Andi Newton. She’s also the co-author. It’s a horror game situating the Cthulhu Mythos in ancient Rome. I think the Roman Empire’s a good analogue for Lovecraft’s New England. You have the civilized center (Rome/Boston) surrounded by these peripheral villages where all the weirdness happens (the provinces/Arkham/Dunwich).
CI, as we call it, is a melding of history, mythology, and the Mythos. I worked on the history, Andi worked on the mythology, and we collaborated on tying in the Mythos. We view it as a toolbox where Keepers can pick and choose which elements to include in their game. If you include everything we present, you’ll have a very crowded world!
One of our other goals was to include enough of the mythology from every part of the Empire that you could ignore the Mythos and run a straight sword and sandals game. If you ever enjoyed a Ray Harryhausen film, you know what I’m talking about. Andi worked overtime to make sure the mythological beasties presented in CI stayed true to the myths and legends.
When CI won the 2010 Golden Geek Award for best RPG supplement, Andi and I were thrilled. It really meant a lot to us that we won a fan-sourced award like that.
Since then, we’ve released the Cthulhu Invictus Companion, which is a collection of three scenarios and six more cults.
If anyone’s interesting in learning more about Cthulhu Invictus, look for Andi or me at MACE. We’ll have copies to show you.
What is your latest work? What is in the future for you?
We have several irons in the fire right now. I can’t divulge a couple of them, though. Two that I’m really excited about are a Steampunk book for the Victoriana line and an alternate history game set in 19th century Russia. The Russian game will combine Russian folklore with the revolutionary politics of the late 19th century.
Tell us a little bit about your plans for MACE?
First, I want to thank you, Jeff, and everybody else behind the scenes at MACE for putting on an excellent show. You guys have been really supportive in ways you can’t imagine.
I plan on running a few games this year. I’m demoing Delta Green for Arc Dream on Friday. On Saturday, I’ll be play testing material for a new Cthulhu setting. If you want to help shape a setting, or at least get your name in a book, make sure to sign up. I’m not 100% sure what my Sunday game will be, so keep your eyes on the schedule. If there’s something in particular you want to play on Sunday, email Ron and let him know.
One of my MACE goals this year is to play in a game of Harnmaster. I’ve wanted to play that game since the early 90s, but have never been able to work it out. Since there’s a MACE fixture who runs Harnmaster, I hope to sit in on a game.
I also look forward to meeting a couple of people I know from the rpggeek.com online community.