About Me

Paul Baldowski, 2011Hi, I’m Paul Baldowski.

I’m a UK born and based writer who has been involved in role playing since 1984. That year, I played my first Red Box Dungeons & Dragons game and got a copy of the Games Workshop edition of Iron Crown’s Middle Earth Role Playing game for my birthday.

In my teens, I contributed to eclectic fanzine Delusions of Grandeur, wrote several play-by-mail games (amongst them, Darklands and NXS), and spent time as a columnist for Roleplayer Independent magazine.

Leaving university, I carried my growing game collection with me and took to working rather than playing. While I wrote a couple of pieces for Games, Games, Games (long-running small press ‘zine) and attended a few conventions, nothing more happened.

In 1999, I finished running Play-By-Mail games out of pure exhaustion. I married in the following year and discovered (or re-discovered) collectible card games, having dabbled in the early 90s. Several thousand Pokemon and Magic: The Gathering cards later, I rediscovered a bit of gaming mojo.

In the mid-Noughties, I stumbled across Allen Varney‘s project to re-launch PARANOIA and offered my services, writing a couple of dozen pages in the new XP edition (which have found their way into the new edition as well). After that, I became part of the Traitor Recycling Studio – and participated in the writing of Crash Priority, Flashbacks, Stuff, Stuff 2, Service Service; culminating with The Underplex, my first major solo writing project.

Later in the Noughties, I found Arion Games‘ Graham Bottley looking to revive Maelstrom, a paperback game of my youth popular when Fighting Fantasy made its mark. I assisted with the writing of The Maelstrom Companion, a supplement to the original volume, before writing The Sward and The Stone, an adventure, and The Beggars Companion, a larger volume providing considerable detail on running a Tudor beggar character or beggar troupe.

More recently, I have had the chance to dabble across a broader range. I wrote a neanderthal versus zombies adventure for the small press Outlive Outdead (Happy Bishop Games) and had the exciting opportunity to add to the Dracula mythos for Night’s Black Agents in the Director’s Handbook of the Dracula Dossier (Pelgrane Press).

Currently, I’m writing and developing The Cthulhu Hack, a quick and simple investigative roleplaying game set against the horrors of H.P. Lovecraft’s classic stories, and The Dee Sanction, an in-development game of espionage and dark magic against the backdrop of Elizabethan Europe. I’m also posting like a corruption-riddled abomination on The Iron Pact, a blog devoted to Järnringen‘s grimdark fantasy Symbaroum, distributed in the UK by Modiphius.

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20 thoughts on “About Me

  1. I just purchased the Cthulhu Hack a few hours ago and love it! A very sublime ruleset that I’m eager to run. My question is about having the books printed. I’d love to print a compendium of the books as a single digest/pocket sized (4.25″ X 6.87″). I wanted to check with you to confirm I have your permission to print the PDFs as a digest. Thank you!

  2. Firstly, thanks for your kind comments. Spread the word. Play games. Tell me what happened!

    I certainly can’t stop you from printing up the books in whatever format suits you best, as long as you do so for personal usage only and don’t make it openly available anywhere.

  3. Just purchased The Cthulhu Hack, and it looks pretty intriguing. Are you planning on releasing more source books and adventures? I don’t have a lot of time to be creating extra material for my games, and it would be a lot easier to just rely on published stuff.

  4. Any chance to pick up the old rules in book format. I like some of the changes for upgrades and resource mechanic for wealth but I still like the old system for classes. I’d rather add the parts from the new book and use the old setup. Either way I really think you bring a fresh approach to the game.

    1. Absolutely. I’ll add the v1.0 rules into the All Rolled Up web store when I get back from the States. I have a dozen or so copies left.

  5. Played Cthulhu Hack today at Grogmeet in a fantastic scenario run by Richard. Terrifying and fun. Immediate purchase from you (I was the guy who couldn’t find a cash machine and so had to get the Core book alone). I’ll be picking up the other books – it’s a delightful system.

  6. Thanks for adding optional rules to play the bruiser again. I have two members of my group who will be happing to know they can convert their characters to the new rules.

    1. The old Bruiser never really went away… I have always had a card in my Cthulhu Hack deck that was like a calling card saying they’d attempted to make a delivery, that I wasn’t in and that they’d be back later to beat the cr*p out of something.

  7. Just begun running a couple of games over the internet as a result of Covid-19. Got to say its a great game to pick up and play almost immediately.

    Quick question. Any advice on how to determine Supply Dice type for everyday items like batteries, matches, water, etc.

    Also would you roll a Supply Dice everytime you used a crowbar to get through a door etc. to simulate breakage of the bar

    1. Firstly, thanks for picking up the game and giving it a try.

      Regarding supplies, only assign a Supply Die if it matters enough to track. It isn’t worth tracking batteries if the Investigators are somewhere in daylight or well lit. Unless it does (i.e. you know where the investigation leads and darkness matters) or you want to sow the seeds of a Red Herring (i.e. worrying about rationing water becomes a problem for the party, even though – as it turns out – there’s never any danger of dying of thirst).

      If in doubt, use a Supply Die of D8.

      For a crowbar, the original guidance applies. I wouldn’t give a crowbar a Supply Die because I wouldn’t expect it to break in an average adventure. However, if the investigation takes place in an abandoned bunker that has gone into lockdown then it probably does matter. In that instance, as a piece of robust, straightforward, old school kit, D8.

      Also, see:

      1. Wow, thanks for the reply. I really appreciate you taking the time to respond.

        Got say again this is one hellavuh game. The local game store got a few books in so I got Wendigo to see if I could convert it to Pulp Cthulhu/Call of Cthulhu.

        When the lockdown hit I had all my player char sheets, so to keep us up and running I grabbed a copy of the Cthulhu Hack off of DriveThruRPG.

        Now I’m starting to think this might be my go to rule set for all things Cthulhu, its simple and avoids all the tables that seem to bog most RPGs down. (I moved from D&D to Cthulhu, as it had less book keeping). I had my local crew up and running in one session, converting the CoC characters to Hack characters in about 15 mins.

        We’ve had two sessions now and are thoroughly making the most of the lockdown thanks to your game.

        Are there any plans for more expansions? maybe circa WW II. 🙂


  8. Dee and Kelley were enthralling individuals. If you’d like to use it, I have extrapolated Enochian grammar and word creation. For instance, the words governor, government, and governing all share the same root. I’m not sure how familiar you are with Dee’s 91 Nations, but he used them for his political magick. The grammar is very English, but a little Biblical Hebrew & Greek.

  9. Hello. Just bought Cthulhu Hack and I have a question about Flashlights and Smokes (F&S).

    What if an investigator had terrible luck and actually exhausted their F&S in the first scene, let’s assume the adventure is going to last roughly six sessions. Does that mean the investigator can no longer investigate, and if so, doesn’t that mean the player will be just a spectator for six sessions?

    Thank you.

    1. Check out page 6 (1st Edition) and page 21 (2nd Edition). If that happens, you can insist the Investigator take some downtime to get their head back in order. Breaking that hard means that they’ve been truly triggered by their situation – everything seemed to be personal and horribly connected to the individual’s past. They need to distance themselves – and then the GM can discuss the specifics.

  10. Hi Paul,

    Dave here from Beyond Cataclysm (UK based rpg micro-publisher & distro) – we love Cthulhu Hack & Dee Sanction and stock them in our distro. We run a podcast called ‘What Is Roleplay’ and would love to interview you for it. If you’re interested please drop us an email

    Thanks a million – Dave

  11. Is the new edition of Cthulhu Hack creative commons licensed? I see no mention of it in the book.

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