The Coldest War

Apocalypse World Meets the Cthulhu Mythos

The world ended, but you’re still here. Yes, there were nukes. Yes, there were plagues. But none of that might have happened without the Madness. Nobody really knows how it occurred, but one night millions of people went insane, their minds consumed by alien obsessions, their lips spouting unpronounceable syllables. Others disappeared. Some walked inexplicably into the sea. A number killed their families and friends in bizarre rites they seemed intensely certain would save the world.

It’s been about thirty years since the Madness tore the world apart. Only a rare few remember that the year was 1984 when it happened. Such numbers are ultimately meaningless. Those lucky few, the old, the ones who remember, can occasionally be convinced to tell the younger generation fantastical tales of when the Spires were gleaming and unbroken, when ships floated on the sea without fear of the deep, when you could talk to a friend thousands of miles away just by dialing a few numbers into a machine. Most of the young just shrug, however, and go about the task of keeping their small communities alive.


This is a post-apocalyptic game inspired by the Cthulhu mythos, and specifically the novella A Colder War by Charles Stross. What if the events of Lovecraft’s stories were true? What if the secrets of the Cold War included such cosmic occult horrors? What if Reagan’s slip of the tongue on August 11, 1984 had precipitated a Final War that wasn’t fought with nukes alone, but also with the unleashing of Elder powers? This game explores what such a world might look like thirty years later, and what sorts of people might carve a life from the wreckage.

The Coldest War

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