How About Kult? Anybody Still Playing this Game?

While we're on the topic of niche 1990s role playing games, I'd be remiss if I didn't give a shout out to this one: Metropolis Ltd.'s Kult.

Kult is one of those games with which I have a deep love-hate relationship. In this case, that means that I love the game and I hate the fact that I haven't been able to spend more time enjoying the Hell out of it.

I discovered Kult at a time in my life (1991-92) when I was really embracing the horror sub-genre that I like to call modern dark fantasy (which would probably get lumped under "urban fantasy" these days). I'd recently been introduced to DC Vertigo's Sandman and Hellblazer comics, and was working my way through such Clive Barker works as The Books of Blood, Hellbound Heart, and Imajica. (The latter book I wanted very badly to like, but I started it four times in two or three years, and I could never get more than ten percent of the way through it. It just never hooked me.)

Around that time, I was also toying with a World of Darkness mash-up featuring characters from Werewolf, Vampire, Mage, and the Vampire splat book, "Hunters Hunted." That particular creation only saw play once, but it was a memorable game session with a few memorable characters. Also, by 1991-92, my group was solidly entrenched in our Bureau 13 modern horror campaign. We played at least once every weekend (more often, it was two or three times) so we had plenty of time to try out new material, and we were way into the horror genre.

When the group's other primary game master introduced me to Kult, I was at once entranced by the setting and repulsed by the game system. It was a clunky system (granted, far less clunky than our beloved B13) at a time when system design was undergoing a renaissance and moving away from clunky, toolkit-like systems toward sleek, focused ones. It was that, more than anything, that drove me away from Kult, initially.

Furthermore, given Kult's built-in setting (which is where it really shines) it wasn't likely to become a contender to replace our existing horror campaign. It was just too dark. (Which, interestingly enough, is why the brief campaign I ran a decade later crashed and burned: too nihilistic, according to the players.)

So, in honor of a game that I would really love to have played more but never did, here's a character sheet for Metropolis' first edition of Kult:

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  1. Christopher---I've loved Kult's setting for strange aeons now (I reviewed it for Pagan's _The Unspeakable Oath_ back in the day), and have always wanted to run a Mage/Kult/HPL crossover game where the underlying veils of reality of Kult were leaching into the reality of the World of Darkness, with shades of Carcosa and Twin Peaks thrown in for good measure. I considered running it under the old Event Horizon _Heaven & Earth_ 1e system, but I'd want a more capable magic system for such a game, I think, hence leaning on Mage/Ars Magica. Hasn't happened yet, though....

    Anyway, I'm writing now in case you missed the recent announcement and quite-successful Kickstarter for Kult 3e @ The game will employ a new system, and some old campaigns are being updated to it and published for the first time (including the infamous _Black Madonna_). I thought it might catch your eye.


    1. That would have been an awesome mash-up. Allan! If the day comes that it does happen, I hope we get some actual play action. ;)

      And yes, while researching this article, I discovered the new edition Kickstarter. Thanks for pointing it out again, though! We'll see how it turns out - but before I buy any new books, I need to replace my 2E books that I had to sell off a few years back. Under duress, of course!

  2. Loved Kult back in the day. I didn't get to play it much, but I did steal ideas from it for my own WitchCraftRPG games of the late 90s, early 2000s.

    1. Ah, WitchCraft. Another game for which I had a great fondness, but which I only got to run once. So many games, so few interested players!


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