Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
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Evangelion + H.P. Lovecraft + Macross (Robotech version) + Guyver + Akira.

Aeon War Syndrome isn't losing your mind. It's losing your friends. It's losing your family. It's losing whatever hope you might have had left. They say war is hell. I've seen hell. This is worse.

CthulhuTech is a tabletop roleplaying game.

The story begins when a scientist by the name of Teresa Ashcroft makes the discovery of a Tome of Eldritch Lore, The Mysteries Within, which outlines how to create Magitek. Although she was unsurprisingly driven insane, she remained coherent enough to help her apprentice Simon Yi, who designs the Dimensional Engine from it, basically an infinite-energy device that draws its power from another dimension. He goes insane before he can test it. The first working D-Engine is finally constructed and tested by the team led by Golvash Czeny, Simon's colleague, and it successfully draws power from another dimension. It usually doesn't bring anything other than energy through from the other side...

Pretty soon, the D-Engine makes the development of Humongous Mecha feasible, along with other futuristic technology (hover cars and antigrav being two commonplace examples).

This did not sit well with the local Starfish Aliens, the Migou, who view humans as a threat with their new technology. In order to nip this potential enemy in the bud, they used the human genome to create a society of Proud Warrior Race Guys, the Nazzadi. This leads to the First Arcanotech War, which ends only when the Nazzadi realized they have more in common with humans than Migou, and decide to become part of Earth's population. Undeterred, the Migou themselves attack next, bringing both their own, semi-biological mecha, as well as a nasty "Assimilation" process with them.

Bad enough? Apparently not.

You see, while all this was going on, various Eldritch Abomination cults were enjoying a resurgence due to the discovery of Functional Magic by the populace, even taking over their own Mega Corp, the Chrysalis Corporation. That would be bad enough, except one of said cults, the Children Of Chaos, invent the Rite of Transfiguration, which transforms a mortal being into a shapeshifter Super Soldier, called a Dhohanoid. It gets even better for the New Earth Government when another cult, the Disciples of the Unnamable, successfully summons an avatar of the Old One Hastur into the world, who happily wreaks havoc by having part of his cult become the trigger-happy Rapine Storm, and the other becoming the criminal Death Shadows, despite the efforts of the Defector From Decadence cult, the Eldritch Society. Meanwhile, the Esoteric Order of Dagon, who'd been quietly breeding a Deep One army for millennia, are taking over strategic locations in and around the world's oceans while searching for R'lyeh so they can awaken Great Cthulhu.

Rather than ally with the NEG to combat this obviously greater threat, the Migou decide to war against them both, tracking down and killing the servants of the Cosmic Horrors while at the same time still trying to wipe the NEG off the map.

Needless to say, the NEG, realizing it was less than equipped to fight not one, but two Bug Wars, they decide to develop a super-mecha that can stand up to both threats. The result? The Evangelion-ish Engels, alien Empathic Weapons with a lot of firepower and a chip on their shoulder, finally making it seem as if the NEG might be able to win—or at least, hold off their enemies long enough to get the hell off the planet.

This leaves you in the midst of a brave new world. Earth's managed to pull through the war, a bunch of new allies have joined the fight, and the NEG is a government of limitless potential—trying desperately to cover up the fact that the Great Old Ones are walking again, there are mad cultists trying to call forth Cthulhu everywhere, and the Migou may be coming back for another sweep. You quickly find yourself on the frontlines, with either a sorcerer's license, an empathic mecha, or your own illegal psychic powers as the only barrier between you and the eldritch things beyond reality. Good luck.

Tropes used in CthulhuTech include:
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Possible for powerful sorcerers. Not safe. Wait, is that really a spoiler?
  • Audio Erotica: A character asset.
  • Badass Normal: Eldritch Society Operators will sometimes go into the field with Tager packs, despite not having the combat skills, damage resistance, and Healing Factor that the latter's symbiotes confer. Also, pilots of normal mecha can be seen as this when fighting alongside the mighty biomechanical Engels.
  • Body Horror: The Dhohanoids and their Dark Is Not Evil kin, the Tagers.
  • Black and Grey Morality: Would you prefer the paranoid Police State of the NEG sir? The amoral Eldritch Society? The genocidal Migou? Or would you like to go all out and join the Eldritch Abomination cults?
  • Butterfly of Death and Rebirth: The Chrysalis Corporation uses one of these as their insignia. Incidentally, they also specialize in turning people into hybrid monsters. Symbolism anyone?
  • Blessed with Suck: Congrats, you've survived a brush with the Zone, and now have incredible Psychic Powers. Now all you have to deal with is constant Burn, being slightly insane (ranking up to moderately and severely after a few days), and being a Weirdness Magnet. Oh, and did we mention that you're unable to control your powers (always on) and pretty much every group wants to kill or experiment on you? You know, screw it, being a Zoner is a perfectly good reason for saying I Just Want to Be Normal.
  • Bond Creatures: Project Nephilim. See Mons below.
  • Brain In a Jar: Harvested human brains, kept alive indefinitely in metal jars, form the core of Migou computer systems.
  • Brainwashed: The Migou have a process known as "Assimilation" which is a perfect brainwashing system: it creates fanatically loyal subjects, is irreversible and can only be detected with advanced brain scans.
  • Bug War: The Aeon War, with both the Migou and the Rapine Storm's various monsters attacking humanity, certainly comes under this category.
    • Not to mention that the Migou themselves see the Aeon War as this, since for them humans are bugs to squash.
  • By-The-Book Cop: The FSB is presented as this, in contrast to the OIS, who openly operate as State Sec.
  • Captain Ersatz: The Engels are alive, they go berserk when the wrong person gets in them or when the right person is knocked out, they're the only proper defense Earth has against unstoppable Cosmic Horrors, and their pilots tend to be a little bit nuts. Sound familiar to anyone else?
    • Also, Nazzadi=Zentradi, Tagers and Dhohanoids=Guyvers and Zoanoids, and so on.
    • It's worth mentioning that the core rulebook acknowledges the various anime influences on the series, and lists them all out.
  • Cast from Hit Points: If a psychic runs out of MP, he can choose to do this. Just don't go near him for a few hours afterwards.
  • Child by Rape: Most Deep One Hybrids, though hardly all.
  • OIS Evil, FSB Good: The OIS gets a far worse rap than the FSB in the books; while it's portrayed on the whole as Necessarily Evil, the moment a criminal goes into OIS hands, all concepts of human rights go out the window. The FSB, by contrast, have an organizational culture of integrity, their largest division is Internal Affairs to keep the cults out, and generally play their cases by the book.
  • Cloning Blues: The Nazzadi have mostly gotten over theirs, although the game mentions they still get sore when something reminds them of it.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: The Chrysalis Corporation takes it to a whole new level, insofar as their Director is actually Nyarlathotep. Don't think anyone else is gonna be toppin' that one any time soon.
  • Cosmic Horror Story
  • Crapsack World: The phrase "Neon Genesis Evangelion meets H.P. Lovecraft" should tell you how bleak it is. Thankfully for the NEG, there actually is some hope for humanity. (Or at least for whatever humanity evolves into.)
  • Crossover Cosmology: The setting is a fusion of Macross (Nazzadi=Zentradi), Guyver (Tagers v. Dhohanoids = Guyvers v. Zoanoids), and of course Neon Genesis Evangelion, all with a healthy dose of the Mythos added. And the players' guide adds Akira into the mix...!
  • Cute Monster People: Subverted with the Horned Ones: they appear as this, but they are brain-bending rape machines living to breed the armies of Shub-Niggurath.
    • Non-particularly malicious Deep One hybrids can be this in the first stages of the transformation.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: The Eldritch Society, despite happily worshiping Eldritch Abominations, is pretty much the only thing keeping the Chrysalis Corporation from corrupting the NEG from within. You can also play a sorcerer, who indulges in what one would probably consider Black Magic in any other setting, albeit at a significant cost to their sanity. Then again, everyone else is paying that cost too.
  • Death World: The area around the the Zone.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Finding out there's a second Hive Ship headed towards Earth. The section of the adventure that this happens in is even called "That's It, We're Totally Effed." GMs are advised to have a supporting NPC or two blow their brains out right there. It's a tad bleak.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Played straight. Frequently. It's Hideaki Anno and Lovecraft!
  • Empathic Weapon: The Engels, which the core rulebook admits are essentially Evangelions.
  • Fake Memories: The Migou made the Nazzadi think that they were millennia-old galactic conquerors instead of a newly-made clone race. The Nazzadi finding out that these memories were fake led to their Heel Face Turn.
  • Free-Love Future: Casual sex is seen as perfectly normal in the 2080's, although most people use it as a way to eventually meet someone with which they want to have a monogamous relationship - and, y'know, because sex feels good.
  • Fridge Brilliance: Why is it called the Aeon War? Eh? Eh?

"That is not dead which can eternal lie
And with strange aeons even death may die"

  • Functional Magic: Parapsychics have an Innate Gift, sorcerers use a mixture of Rule Magic and Force Magic which is taught as a science.
  • Gender Bender: "Beckon the Unexpressed", a spell that changes the target's sex over a period of three days. Often used as a college prank.
  • Green-Skinned Space Babe: Nazzadi women are often treated as such by the artists on this project. Seriously, go through the books and try to find one Nazzadi female who isn't Stripperiffic.
    • The fact that they have no nudity taboo doesn't help matters.
    • Justified in that the Nazzadi are basically humans with some minor changes.
  • Grim Up North: The Migou mostly inhabit the polar regions.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: In three different flavors!
    • Nazzadi—Human hybrids are justified—since they are essentially the same race, it is natural that they would be able to interbreed.
    • The Deep One Hybrids are...pretty much the same as they are in "The Shadow Over Innsmouth," except that they can't pass down their Deep One genes if they marry an ordinary mortal—at least until they become fully Deep Ones.
    • The Outsider Taint drawback, which doubles your Orgone at the cost of the NEG's trust, the ability to become a Tager or pilot an Engel, and a physical deformity.
  • Hopeless War
  • Human Aliens: Very, very subverted—if a person is even remotely humanoid and native to the local dimension, that's because they come from Earth.
  • Humanoid Abomination: An entire subrace of them (white xenomixes), and then some.
  • Humongous Mecha: In five basic varieties, as well size differences between 10-foot-tall Powered Armor to 55-foot-tall Behemoths.
  • Innocent Fanservice Race: The Nazzadi have no nudity taboo. They don't run around naked in public or anything, but they think nothing of stripping down if the situation might possibly call for it.
  • Internal Affairs: Sectarian Crimes at the FSB fills this role for the entire NEG, though they aren't there to irritate Cowboy Cops, they're there to clean out Cult infiltration in the NEG, and they have quite a few Cowboy Cops on their own payroll.
  • It Got Worse: In the first story book, The Rapine Storm overruns China completely, the Deep Ones find something, and the summoning of an Outer God is barely averted. There are five books remaining.
    • And the big reveal at the end of the book? There's another Migou Hive Ship on the way to Earth. The presence of one has driven mankind nearly to extinction. Yeah. It's about to get much, much worse.
      • The book Mortal Remains has some interesting information, but the opportunity it opens up is so minute as to be nonexistent. The two hive ships hold the entirety of the Migou in our solar system. Pluto, their homeworld Mining colony, is going to have a skeleton crew once the second ship launches. Some may question the rationality of leaving Pluto defenseless, but according to Migou intel, there are no threats to it since nobody is capable of getting there (and the Earth is locked down by the first Hive ship).
  • "Join the Army," They Said: The NEG runs a recruitment program that allows citizens to sign up for temporary enlistment. In theory, a recruit would join the armed forces for two years, and they get a ton of benefits from it. In practice, the wording of the small print at the bottom of the contracts is so vague that the NEG can keep them for as long as they're needed.
  • Jump Physics: Cthulhutech is animesque, so characters are allowed to pull wicked jumps.
  • Just Before the End: Sure, it may not seem like it in NEG-controlled territory, but the government has become quite adept at hiding just how utterly screwed humanity is.
  • Knight Templar: The Office Of Internal Security has a lot of these on staff.
  • Lovecraftian Superpower: Dhoanoids and Tagers have this as their schtick; the dhoanoids are closer to the strict definition of the term.
  • Luck Manipulation Mechanic: Drama Points. Spending them adds to your dice pool or subtracts from your opponent's dice pool.
  • Mad Scientist: Most scientists in the setting, considering that its science concerns itself with Things Man Was Not Meant to Know.
  • Magitek: Well, sort of. The line between science and magic is basically arbitrary in Cthulhutech, based off the ability of humanity to understand the underlying principles without going crazy. The D-Engines, with their whole infinite-energy-but-finite-power nature are a clear example of this trope, though.
  • Masquerade: The NEG with its Ministry of Information tries really hard to hide how utterly screwed humanity is.
  • Melee a Trois: The Migou, Humans/Nazzadi run NEG, and Cults all want each other dead/conquered/changed.
  • Metaplot: Present and integrated into the game mechanics. By the rules as written, the largest available XP award available to characters comes from witnessing the end of a metaplot arc.
  • Mind Rape: Oh so very common. It happens just from looking at some of the things that humanity has to fight. It can also be done by parapsychics, and the OIS does it to people it suspects of involvement in cults.
  • Mons: Project Nephilim introduces Cthulhu Tech's own take on the anime genre, with genetically engineered mini-mecha horrors that have to be kept under control by psychic handlers. There's also a plethora of spells which allow sorcerers to summon various Eldritch Abominations, usually to serve as assassins or bodyguards.
  • Mission Control: The Eldritch Society Operators are this.
  • Multiple Endings: Right now, none of them look very good. Likely endings include human extinction and surviving to become a Mythos race. The best possible one may very well be getting the hell away from Earth through whatever means necessary—and it would still imply only a fraction could escape.
  • Mutant Draft Board: All parapsychics (people born with innate abilities, which can range from mind control to having control over gravity) have to register with the Office of Internal Security, be tested, are subjected to surveillance, and if their powers are deemed Invasive or Dangerous, they have to wear badges in public to inform people of it. On the other hand, looking at what kind of place the Cthulhutech setting is, it's fairly justified.
  • Nail'Em
  • Negative Space Wedgie: The Zone, which is what happens when you try to compress infinite dimensions into just three. As it turns out, it doesn't work out well at all.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Pick a member of the Rapine Storm. Any member of the Rapine Storm.
  • Only One Name: Nazzadi don't use surnames. They identify themselves by occupation, instead.
  • Orcus on His Throne: Hastur. Sure, the Rapine Storm does all of his dirty work, but if a Great Old One - even a weakened one - actually entered the Melee a Trois himself, it would be over very quickly. It's implied that he's actually unable to leave his domain on the Plateau of Leng, but he's an Eldritch Abomination, so it's hard to say for certain.
  • Outgrown Such Silly Superstitions: Subverted. In the time of the Strange Aeon, Christianity and Islam are effectively dead, but most people are very much spiritual. Also, Buddhism, Judaism and Hinduism are still around, essentially unchanged.
  • Path of Inspiration: The Church of All, which is actually a front for the Esoteric Order of Dagon. The basic beliefs of the cult are innocent enough for the NEG to leave them alone, but once an initiate is introduced to Harmony, they're well on their way to being a full-blown Dagonite.
  • Pet the Blank: Migou turn humans into "blank" slaves by invasive brainwashing...on the other hand, blanks retain their memory and identity, are allowed to have a vaguely normal life, and are treated very well by their masters.
  • Petting Zoo People: The Horned Ones are a rather disturbing kind of this.
  • Phlebotinum Overload: The Parapsychics have to be careful of overusing their abilities, since it will involve Burning. But Burning is when their abilities increased more than usual.
  • Physical God:
    • Hastur's avatar, the Ragged King.
    • Nyarlathotep as well, being the physical avatar of the soul and messenger of Outer Gods.
      • Consistent with his portrayal as having many simultaneous "Masks", Nyarlathotep currently has two avatars on Earth (at least): the Director of the Chrysalis Corporation (the ultimate Corrupt Corporate Executive), and the Blind Lady (who rules The Circle, a splinter cult made up of powerful Evil Sorcerers).
  • Plot Armor: Yog-Sothoth's Guard is designed to be used as this. It grants Nigh Invulnerability and immunity from any kind of restraint to a character for five minutes, is completely indestructible, and is, by design, extremely inconvenient for PCs to use (though it's not impossible if they're planning ahead and willing to spend a significant amount of money in exchange for guaranteed victory). In any published adventure that includes an NPC with the Guard, the writers will put in a statement to the effect of "keep this guy alive regardless of what the players do."
  • Police State: The NEG, which is understandable given the amount of threats they face from internal enemies and the Migou's Mind Control. Though the New Earth Government can also be seen as a more dystopian example of The Federation, which has to follow policies more suited for the Imperium of Man in order to survive.
  • Power Incontinence: When para-psychics overexert themselves, they can enter a state called Burning, wherein they can still use their powers... With the catch that their powers don't turn off for quite a while. Zoners are in a permanent state of Burning, so you can probably figure out why they're considered a public menace.
    • For reference, a para-psychic whose skill at pyrokinesis can barely heat up cold coffee are capable of making a house explode when they Burn. No pun intended.
  • Powered Armor: Smaller mechs, such as the Crusader and Centurion.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: Q Batteries. Gotta love the Chrysalis Corporation!
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Pick a Nazzadi, though they are a subdued example-see Warrior Poet below.
    • the Deep Ones have instances of this.
  • Psychic Powers: Parapsychics, who can vary quite a lot in power. At the low end, they can keep their coffee hot. At the high end, they can crush a Humongous Mecha into a little tin can, set fire to entire buildings with a thought, and rebuild your personality from the ground up. For this reason, they're subject to mandatory registration with the OIS, and those with powers deemed Dangerous or Invasive have to wear public identity tags. On the plus side, both the government and corporations love their abilities, so they tend to migrate to high paying jobs.
  • The Quisling: Many people who believe (perhaps correctly) that humanity will lose the Aeon War become this. Despairing Humans tend to go to the cults, and Nazzadi seek to return to the Migou's service, believing that they will be spared if they work for their former masters. If they aren't killed outright, the Nazzadi tend not to last long.
  • Rei Ayanami Expy: The Whites are essentially Cthulhutech's take on Rei Expies: essentially asocial not-quite-humans, with pale skin and hair, near-perfect control over their selves and emotions and psychic abilities beyond the human norm. Also, as of the beginning of the game, the oldest Whites are teenagers.
  • Religion of Evil: And how! Subverted in the form of the Eldritch Society—see above.
  • A lot of Sex Tropes: As a part of a process that legalized a lot of illegal stuff (like drugs) in order to keep the general population sane, sexual morality became a lot loose (average age when someone loses virginity is 12, prostitution is legalized and resembles modern-day Dutch practices, the porn industry rivals modern Hollywood and major porn stars are minor mainstream celebrities, and the sex in mainstream media is borderline softcore). Of course, Death Shadows and various other cults are trying to take this into squick territory.
    • There are indications that the cults are the ones who set it up this way, and simply want to make it worse.
  • Science Is Wrong: Averted. Science was wrong (well, technically incomplete). And then science got let loose against magic, and promptly stole it and then did it better.
  • Screw You, Nazzadi: According to some, the authors of Mortal Remains overemphasized the Nazzadi's natural fitness, and made their culture too aloof.
  • State Sec: The Office of Internal Security. They're supposed to just be the police for Functional Magic-related crimes, but in practice, they seem a lot more like a more democratic Ministry of Love, which is probably a good thing considering what kind of enemies they have.
  • STD Immunity: STDs have essentially been eradicated in the NEG, and any new outbreaks can be quickly solved with a little arcanotherapy.
  • There Are No Therapists: Heavily averted, every NEG government person working with sorcery, arcanotech, or the sanity-straining bond with the inhuman Engels gets regular psychiatric care from well-trained therapists to keep them sane. Well, sort of sane. Functional at the very least, so they won't (hopefully) have a breakdown in the middle of an attack and be unable to pilot.
    • Even psychiatry has its limits.
  • Training from Hell: How Tagers are prepared to bind with their symbiont. First, they're practically tortured and emotionally manipulated by their instructors for at least six months, in order to learn how to maintain complete control over their bodies and minds. Then, they undergo the Rite of the Sacred Union, a three-day ritual in which they can't eat, drink, or sleep, having to remain focused the entire time. If everything goes correctly, they permanently fuse with a monster from beyond space and time. If something goes wrong, well...
  • Transhuman Aliens: Humanity is in the process to doing this to itself. Dhohanoids are examples of this. Tagers are examples of this. Engels (which use human and Nazzadi DNA in their template) are examples of this. Deep One Hybrids are an example of this. Even the fact that humanity is acclimatising to the unnatural, that it can do things that would have driven earlier humans mad, is an example of this.
    • And the thing is, it's a choice between this and extinction.
  • Warrior Poet: The Nazzadi were specifically created by the Migou to be intelligent ass-kickers, and it shows.
    • Also, one of the things that gnaws at the Nazzadi is that as a cloned race with no members chronologically in their 40s, they have no true culture of their own, and are desperate to create one. Therefore, any of the 2nd generation Nazzadi who take up one of the arts are highly prized by their families and the Nazzadi as a whole.
  • We Will Wear Armor in the Future
  • The Windy City: Chicago is a capitol of NEG.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Engel Pilots? Check. Sorcerers? Check. Zoner Parapsychics? Check-squared.
  • White-Haired Pretty People: The Whites, a rare type of xenomix known as Sidoci. They all start with the Alluring asset, and are white head to toe, meaning skin, hair and even eyes are white. They also are para-psychics since birth.
  • You Have Failed Me...: the Migou consider the Nazzadi as failed experiments, and mercilessly kill them at sight.