First Look: Chthonian Stars from Wildfire–Cthulhu Meets Traveller

Update: Please check out our GTS 2011 coverage for a major update on this release.


“Chthonian Stars” (pronounced ‘thonian’ the ‘ch’ is silent) is the new Traveller supplement from Wildfire LLC releasing in October 2010. I spoke with Matthew Grau, vice-president of Wildfire  about the upcoming release, the history of Wildfire and what makes “Chthonian Stars” different from Wildfire’s other Mythos-themed release, “Cthulhutech.”

Chthonian Stars Temp Cover by Trevor Claxton

A bit about the history of Wildfire LLC before jumping in to their product line. Matt returned to gaming after a long hiatus in the film industry and started working in game development in the early ’00s. Wildfire came into being in 2004 and their “Cthulhutech” book released in 2007. In addition to Matt, Mike Vaillancourt, Fraser McKay and Rob Glass are the other partners in the company.

Beyond the RPG line, Widlfire also released a casual card game entitled “Poo,” which just won an Origins Award. This is the first product in the “Wild Things” imprint for Wildfire that focuses on more casual games.

Mongoose Publishing’s successful release of “Traveller” and some discussions between Mongoose and Wildfire resulted in “Chthonian Stars,” a Cthulhu-mythos supplement for “Traveller.” “CS” inserts the traditional H.P. Lovecraft Old Ones and their minions into the science-fiction setting of “Traveller.” Although both have Lovecraftian themes, “Chthonian Stars” is a very different animal than “Cthulhutech.” Matt described “Cthulhutech” as “Lovecraft meets anime meets near future.” It is very much “over the top.”[pullshow]

The world of [pullthis] “Chthonian Stars” is a “gritty” and “realistic” take on the sci-fi/horror genre[/pullthis]
. The year is 2159 and the earth is at relative peace under the auspices of the “Unified World Council,” essentially the United Nations but more competent and powerful. While there is certainly high technology, Jovian colonies and space travel, technology is not fantastic or magical . Matt cited some films used for inspiration, including “Outland,” “Aliens” and “Event Horizon.” In “Traveller” terms, it is a tech level 8 universe with a bit of tech level 9.

Against this background of advanced technology and peace comes the “Chthonian Star.” Locked in a billion-year orbit, the Star draws near to our solar system and the unusual becomes usual. Creatures of legend and myth appear, cults to forgotten gods grow powerful and whispers of “Old Ones” once again strike fear into mankind. The “United World Council” is not blind to the threat posed by the Star and actively works against the changes. “Wardens,” specially trained operatives quietly work against the oncoming mythos. Sometimes directly with guns or magic, but always in secret lest mankind learn too much…

Wardens are the focus of the supplement and while players may choose any “Traveller” PC class they like, the supplement leans towards a Warden campaign. There are also new rules added to the “Traveller” system to handle the usual mythos problems; insanity and horror. As well as an optional point-buy character generation/experience point system and the ability to select advantages and disadvantages for your PC.  Regardless how you build your PC, he must face terrifying horrors…

Matt kindly forwarded some images of those horrors and the art is quite impressive. Both of these critters are the work of Tom Garden.

The Seethari
The Seethari
The Ghast--with Improvements
The Ghast--with Improvements

“CS” is the first in an ongoing series tentatively called the “Cthulhu Saga.” Each supplement from Wildfire will exist in the same universe, but in different time periods. Also planned is a three book epic story arc campaign series and a book of pre-generated adventures. Both are planned, but do not have confirmed release dates yet. Watch the Mongoose release announcements for more information on these products. Matt also mentioned that an Open Play/Living campaign has been discussed, but there are no firm plans as yet.

For some further information, check out the Cthulhutech forums, within which the “Chthonian Stars” forums live until the official site is up and running. There is some additional preview material in the Mongoose Publishing’s “Signs and Portents” free newsletters #81 and #82.  For those attending Gen Con, Wildfire has a booth at Gen Con 2010 and will have some copies of the game to check out, but it does not go on sale until October. For the Gen Con 2010 bound, Wildfire is running “CS” and “Cthulhutech” games, but they are sold out.

I would like to thank Matthew Grau for taking  the time to chat with me and let me get an early look at Wildfire’s “Chthonian Stars.” If you have any specific questions about this book, post a comment and I will do my best to get it answered.

Trask, The Last Tyromancer



Trask is a long-time gamer, world traveler and history buff. He hopes that his scribblings will both inform and advance gaming as a hobby.

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