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Chthonic Side View

Occasionally I get cool RPG stuff in the mail and immediately post it to my g+ stream because it’s cool. Sometimes, however, the stuff I get is so damned cool that I put it aside so I can rave about it properly. Often this means I never get around to doing so (like some of the brilliant packages I’ve received over the years from the genius of Simon Forster…). This is one attempt to rectify this problem.

A while back, Paolo Greco was offering custom boxed sets of his work and custom hand-bound book editions of the same. I went for the boxed set, although his hand-bound codexes look fucking brilliant.

Boxed sets are something we don’t see enough of these days and they turn on the nostalgia systems big time for me. You’ll have to excuse the quality (or lack thereof) in the following images, I’m not much of a photographer it seems.

The Cthonic Codex

The Chthonic Codex

So there’s the boxed set. It looks good. It is STURDY AS FUCK. This isn’t the flimsy box of the Sword & Wizardry White Box, nor even the standard boxes from Villains & Vigilantes, the classic D&D boxed sets and so on. This is a sturdy fucking box. Heavy too.

Cthonic Contents

Chthonic Contents

And here’s what we find inside – five books, a map, and a bunch of useful-looking sheets to go with the above. It’s basically a Paolo Greco collected works in a box. A heavy sexy box.

Let’s look at the box again:

Cthonic Cover Closeup

Chthonic Cover Closeup

Written lightly in pencil is the Chthonic Box title along with the number of the edition (it looks like 44/33 but it’s 11 out of 33) and the signature of the dignitary who crafted this masterpiece. It’s when doing this close look that you might start to notice the material that the cover of the box is made of… it’s almost cloth-like. And it’s distinctly been hand-pressed with the cover image.

When you look inside the box, however, you get the proof – this is a layer that’s been glued to the box proper after being hand printed by the craftsman. It’s insane:



This photo is from the inside of the box lid, where the outer layer has been wrapped around the box and you can see the edges of the stretched paper.

So yeah, wow.

And this is just me drooling over the physical artifact involved, without actually getting into the nuts and bolts and awesome that is the contents thereof. It’s almost like buying a classic Zoviet-France CD back in the day when they hand-crafted their CD covers with gouache and feathers.

Oh, here’s a photo of the press where he made the cover paper in question:

Now this awesome boxed set sits on a shelf beside an ancient beat-up copy of the K.A.B.A.L. boxed set that for some unfathomable reason has managed to keep itself on my living room book shelf instead of being consigned to the back room where it should be. It really doesn’t deserve to sit in the company of this wonderful box.