How to Create a Great Character in Achtung! Cthulhu

By John Houlihan
Art by Boris Martsev


Great characters are the lifeblood of any TTRPG and Achtung! Cthulhu offers a wealth of options for creating diverse, powerful and just plain intriguing agents in its thrilling world of pulp adventure. 

Whether you want to play a rough-tough commando, a studious academic or an occultist wielding strange and potent magics, or a combination of all three, Achtung! Cthulhu has you covered, with a straightforward, flexible character generation system which allows you to mix and match a variety of components to create a truly unique agent.

Let’s take a look at your recruitment into the Secret War in more detail:

As Easy as ABC 

For player characters, there are three fundamental components of their agent, Archetype, Background and Characteristic (ABC), which offer powerful but flexible options for roleplaying. 

Archetype is like a character class in other systems, it’s the fundamental identity of the agent and their main role within a group. These are eight of these and they are: Boffin, Commander, Con Artist, Grease Monkey, Infiltrator, Investigator, Occultist and Soldier. Each has a speciality in a particular role.

Backgrounds offer further refinement and are usually the main jobs and careers which agents have pursued in the build up to the Secret War. These range from Academic to Athlete, Criminal to Entertainer, Journalist to Physician and Police to Spiritual Leader. 

Characteristics mark agents out as interesting or unusual in some way and they’re a bit of a wildcard. These range from Bookworm to Dilettante,  Dreamwalker to Street Kid, The Lucky One to Young at Heart. These often describe how and why agents were drawn into the Secret War itself. 

While each of these three facets offer distinct mechanical advantages, it’s the interaction between them which makes great for character building. An agent who is just a Soldier would be a fairly standard almost mundane character, but if you add in a  backstory as both Bookworm and a Street Kid it starts to spark the imagination. How did a street urchin get an interest in reading? What transported them off the streets and prompted them to join the army? Are these facts linked? You can use this to create an interesting backstory, perhaps writing a short paragraph at each stage of creation before combining them into one overarching biography. 

The final parts of character creation are name, physical appearance, languages and personal belongings, and these too can add some character forming details. If your agent has a high attribute score, say in Brawn, they’re likely to be physically imposing, what does the mean for their personality? Do they embrace that fact or shy away from it? Are they large but timid or a real brawler? Further things to consider are how do they walk, talk, and move? Do they have any quirks and habits? How do they express this kind of personality in a pulp universe? 

It’s when you begin to ask (and answer) these kinds of questions that you can often unlock the key to a great character, helping you inhabit and understand that agent at the table. 

Talents are extra abilities that mark them out as special and can form part of the equation for creating great characters. For example, what part of an agent’s story earned them a talent as a Smuggler, granted them a Canine Companion, or made them Numb to the Horrors? These are all excellent ways of making your character truly unique – and your own. 

When you combine all these elements together you add real depth, authenticity and plenty of roleplaying material for each agent. 

You could even say they’re character forming! But great characters make for great roleplaying and Achtung! Cthulhu offers you plenty of tools to create them. 

Now, imagine a table full of such rounded and well-defined characters interacting during a mission and the possibilities are intriguing, enhancing the richness and flavour of any gaming session and allowing you to really leave your mark on an adventure.

Find out more about Achtung! Cthulhu’s amazing world of pulp adventure and the characters your create with it in the Achtung! Cthulhu Starter Set. This contains Basic Rules, an explosive three act campaign Among the Wolves, quick reference sheets, six pre-generated characters, six full colour maps, over 120 tokens, and an exclusive Elder Sign dice set! 


Or check out the whole Achtung! Cthulhu collection in the UK and US for the full core books, dice, accessories, missions, campaigns and much more!

You can also join a host of existing fans on our official Modiphius Discord Channel. There’s a friendly and welcoming fan group on Facebook and you can sign up for the newsletter to hear all the latest news and take advantage of some very special offers!

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