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History of Horror RPGs (Part One: 1981-1990)
Lowell Francis
United States
South Bend
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Call of Cthulhu 7th is on the horizon- a game and system which has had many editions, but remains roughly the same game. CoC has to remain interesting in a time with many competing horror rpgs, including brethren Lovecraftian rpgs like Trail of Cthulhu, Cthulhutech, and Realms of Cthulhu.

Call of Cthulhu kicked off horror gaming as a standalone genre. You could point to Tegel Manor as the first real haunted house product (maybe), but it doesn't put the horror elements at the center, and still focuses on the dungeon crawl. For this list I'm going to focus on products lines offering a full horror rpg. I'll subsume some interesting sub-products under their main entry (if they're produced by the same company). Some things, like S.H.A.D.O.W. over Scotland, offer a horror diversion or twist on the main system, but don't rise to the level of sourcebook or core rules.

I'm sure I've left something off, feel free to add a line I missed (if published up through 1990). I've arranged these in chronological order by year.

See also: History of Horror RPGs (Part One: 1981-1990)
History of Horror RPGs (Part Two: 1991-1995)
History of Horror RPGs (Part Three: 1996-2000)
History of Horror RPGs (Part Four: 2001-2003)
History of Horror RPGs (Part Five: 2004-2005)
History of Horror RPGs (Part Six: 2006-2007)
History of Horror RPGs (Part Seven: 2008-2009)
History of Horror RPGs (Part Eight: 2010-2011)
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1. RPG Item: Call of Cthulhu (1st Edition) added by edige23 on 2012-08-17 10:43:42
2. RPG Item: Bureau 13: Stalking the Night Fantastic (1st Edition) added by edige23 on 2012-08-17 10:44:04
3. RPG Item: Chill: Adventures Into The Unknown added by edige23 on 2012-08-17 10:44:17
4. RPG Item: Ghostbusters added by edige23 on 2012-08-17 10:44:37
5. RPG Item: GURPS Horror (First Edition) added by edige23 on 2012-08-17 10:45:02
6. RPG Item: Beyond the Supernatural (First Edition) added by edige23 on 2012-08-17 10:45:15
7. RPG Item: Realm of Chaos: Slaves to Darkness added by edige23 on 2012-08-17 10:48:31
8. RPG Item: It Came from the Late, Late, Late Show (with Adventures) added by edige23 on 2012-08-17 10:45:41
9. RPG Item: Blood! The Roleplaying Game of Modern Horror (1st Edition) added by edige23 on 2012-08-17 10:46:23
10. RPG Item: Nightlife (1st Edition) added by edige23 on 2012-08-17 10:47:08
11. RPG Item: Dark Space added by edige23 on 2012-08-17 10:47:33
12. RPG Item: Ravenloft: Realm of Terror added by edige23 on 2012-08-17 10:47:56
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