New to the VAE Library: The Golden Dawn

We’ve finally gotten a hold of a rare Call of Cthulhu supplement for the Victorian Adventure Enthusiast Library: The Golden Dawn.

A Sourcebook of Victorian Occult Intrigue for Call of Cthulhu.

The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches toward Bethlehem to be born?
–from William Butler Yeats,
“The Second Coming”

Join the most notorious occult society of Victorian England — The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn — alongside luminaries such as W.B. Yeats, Aleister Crowley, and others. This book includes extensive source material (including rules for astral projection and Hermetic Magick) and four Call of Cthulhu scenarios offering a look at the dark side of Victoria’s Empire.

Details on this treasured tome come from

Publisher: Pagan Publishing
Product Code: 1004
Publishing Year: 1996
Pages: 192
Author(s): Scott David Aniolowski, Garrie Hall, Steve Hatherley, Alan Smithee (Kevin A. Ross), John T. Snyder, John Tynes
Artist(s): Dennis Detwiller, Daniel Gelon, John T. Snyder, Heather Hudson
Setting(s): 1890s
Format(s): Softcover
ISBN: 1-887797-02-5


This sourcebook presents an alternative view of Victorian London, one revolving around the real-world Hermitic Order of the Golden Dawn. This famous occult society is presented in detail, allowing Investigator characters to be either members of the Order or interested outsiders.

Unlike most adaptations of real-world societies to games, this book does not aim to intricately intertwine the Golden Dawn with the existing universe of Call of Cthulhu. In particular, there is little to directly connect the occult beliefs and practices of the organisation with the Cthulhu Mythos. Instead, this belief system is mainly presented as a standalone “setting” in which Victorian occult scenarios can be played.

The book is divided into an introduction, a “Resources” section, four scenarios and a collection of appendices.

The Resources section contains information about the Golden Dawn society, broken down into:

  • Victorian London,
  • Call of Cthulhu & the Golden Dawn
  • A Keeper’s History of the Golden Dawn
  • A Timeline of the Golden Dawn
  • Important Members
  • Meetings & Meeting-Places
  • The Library & the Cypher
  • The Outer Order Curriculum
  • The Inner Order Curriculum
  • The Astral Plane
  • The Once and Future King
  • Other Mysteries of the Dawn

Four Scenarios: The Room Beyond, Hell Hath No Fury*, La Musique de la Nuit, Sheela-na-gig*
(Hell Hath No Fury and Sheela-na-gig are linked and collectively form part of a longer tale called “The Once and Future King”.)


  • Appendix A: Bibliography & Suggested Reading
  • Appendix B: A History of the Golden Dawn (Players’ Version)
  • Appendix C: Creating Victorian Investigators
  • Appendix D: The Outer Order Curriculum (Players’ Version)
  • Appendix E: The Inner Order Curriculum (Players’ Version)
  • Appendix F: Miscellany (Photography in the Victorian Era, Swordfighting Rules, New Skills, New Spells)
  • Appendix G: Player Aids (Handouts for the four scenarios, special Character Sheet)
  • Appendix H: Calendars & Notes (calendars for the years 1893 to 1900)

Comments / Trivia

Dedication: This book is dedicated to “The New Victorians” — Tim Powers, James P. Blaylock, and K.W. Jeter — whose (literally) wonderful novels inspired these fin-de-siecle adventures.

The section on Victorian London is a reprint from Cthulhu by Gaslight, and credited to William A. Barton

The Sheela-na-gig / One & Future King material presented in The Golden Dawn sourcebook was further carried on by Garrie Hall in ‘The Whisperer’ magazine # 1-2 (1999-2000)

It has been suggested that the several sections of this book written by Kevin Ross were credited to “Alan Smithee” due to creative differences between members of the production team. The Smithee name is a commonly used pseudonym in the film industry, where it most often denotes a director who has requested his/her real name not be associated with the finished product because they do not approve of some element of its final presentation.


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