“I shall never sleep calmly again when I think of the horrors that lurk ceaselessly behind life in time and in space, and of those unhallowed blasphemies from elder stars which dream beneath the sea, known and favoured by a nightmare cult ready and eager to loose them upon the world whenever another earthquake shall heave their monstrous stone city again to the sun and air.”
–H.P. Lovecraft, The Call of Cthulhu
In our last preview of The Sleeper Below deluxe expansion for Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game , we looked at how its new Dormant mechanic will soon give new shape to the nameless, unfathomable horrors that lurk just beyond the edges of human perception. Today, as we continue to tremble with fear at the mere thought of their arrival, we turn our attentions toward the many dark and evil Cultists who dedicate themselves to summoning forth and unleashing these terrors upon the world.
As we begin our exploration, developer Damon Stone leads us deep into the Cult of Cthulhu , exploring its origins and its evil intent.
Developer Damon Stone on the Cultists of The Sleeper Below
The Cthulhu Mythos describes a cold universe, one that is neither malign or evil but, worse yet, utterly indifferent to the existence of humankind. We are not even pawns being played by vastly superior beings. We are not even considered. As members of the human race, however, we seek to find some sort of meaning in our actions and to feel that we are in some way relevant to the world around us. As we explore these concerns in the face of cosmic horrors and beings so vastly ancient and alien to us that they are like unto gods, the human mind slips, shies away, or shatters.
However, in their attempts to assert control or prove themselves worthy of continued existence, some people choose not to cower in terror or fight against intrusions from beyond. Rather, they choose to serve and bring about the return of the Ancient Ones, even if that means they will serve their new masters only as pets. These are the Cultists of Cthulhu Mythos.
Each Cultist has his or her own reason for siding with Cthulhu and his ilk, so we wanted to ensure that the majority of the Cultists in The Sleeper Below would be able to find a home in any Cthulhu deck, not just one dedicated to the Cult. This means that each finds its own ways to contribute to the cause, from the lowly Initiate of Dagon ( The Sleeper Below , 1) to the Bone Sculptor ( The Sleeper Below , 10), who pillages graveyards for the bone to work his magical craft.
However, there are also some Cultists who don’t just serve the Cult, but direct it. These include the likes of the harbinger Gustaf Johansen ( The Sleeper Below , 3), who announces the coming tide, and the tortured artist Henry Anthony Wilcox ( The Sleeper Below , 13), who becomes more intractable each time a new member is inducted to the Cult of Cthulhu, even as he inspires them to more terrifying actions. Figures such as these may prove useful in a range of decks, but they derive tremendous benefits from a deck with numerous Cultists .
Meanwhile, the cultists themselves serve a singular purpose, and that is to awaken Cthulhu. While each, in some fashion, makes sacrifices to help prepare the way, there are some more dedicated worshipers, like Fiona Day ( The Sleeper Below , 15), who are just as willing to sacrifice the lives of the cultists themselves if it will help further the reach of Cthulhu. Moreover, these Followers of R’lyeh see all who do not serve the Ancient Ones as enemies to be sacrificed under their long knives.
With his mind warped by the whisperings from beneath the sea, a single crazed cultist can lead a whole team of investigators along a trail of murder, madness, and mayhem, but in force these cultists are flexible, fierce, and not to be ignored, despite their ravings…
Iä! Iä! Cthulhu Fhtagn!
Of course, as is their wont, the Cultists from The Sleeper Below will work to insinuate themselves into as much of the game as possible, and this should be relatively easy for them since Cultist is one of the game’s most wide-spread traits and themes.
Within the Cthulhu faction, itself, your Cultists will find numerous opportunities to explore foul Tomes and summon creatures of unfathomable power. Cultists willing to sacrifice themselves to the cause can help you bring into our world such calamitous beings as the Ruinous Star Spawn ( The Sleeper Below , 14) and the Ancient One Kassogtha ( The Sleeper Below , 18), or their blood may fuel the sorceries of characters like Carl Stanford ( Secrets of Arkham , 28).
Also, since their ultimate aim is to wake the great Cthulhu, you’ll never want to take any Cultist at face value; you should always remain mindful of the greater dangers Underneath the Surface ( The Twilight Beckons , 5).
In fact, the Cultists from The Sleeper Below give new fuel to cards like Underneath the Surface and, in a way, reinvent them in a new context. Such cards come with truly steep costs, demanding that you sacrifice resources, characters, and card draw. However, these costs are now significantly mitigated by the card draw that Gustaf Johansen provides, the search effect of Summon the Sleeper ( The Sleeper Below , 24), and the necromantic powers of the Spell Foul Induction ( The Sleeper Below , 31). In the right deck, these cards allow you to have your Cthulhu and your Cultists , too.
Moreover, since the Cultist trait is so prevalent throughout Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game , many of the cards that you’ll find in The Sleeper Below , like Foul Induction, may grant new strength to decks that also incorporate Cultists from other factions. Who knows what unholy resilience the expansion will add to such Cultists as the Performance Artist ( Core Set , 87), Victoria Glasser ( Core Set , 82), Corrupted Midwife ( Ebla Restored , 51), or even a lowly Dabbler in the Unknown ( Core Set , 152)? It’s unclear how much they’ll benefit from the new expansion, but it’s certain that they’ll hear the winds of change howling around them.
Pre-Order Your Copy Today
The Cult of Cthulhu is gaining in strength, and The Sleeper Below is soon to wake! This seventh deluxe expansion for Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game is coming soon. In fact, Gen Con Indy attendees will find early copies on sale at our booth.
If you haven’t already dedicated yourself to the Cult of Cthulhu, it’s not yet too late, even if you’re not headed to Gen Con Indy. Don’t allow yourself to be devoured. Head to your local retailer and pre-order your copy of The Sleeper Below today!
Note: The Sleeper Below will not be legal during the Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game 2014 North American Championship Tournament held on Friday, August 15th. It will, however, be legal for the Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game Summer Tournament , which takes place on the afternoon of Saturday, August 16th.
Based on the fiction of H.P. Lovecraft and his literary circle, Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game takes two players deep into the Cthulhu Mythos where investigators clash with the Ancient Ones and Elder Gods for the fate of the world. The Living Card Game format allows players to customize their gaming experience with monthly Asylum Pack expansions to the core game.