Looking back to look forward (part 3)

In part 2 we looked at the figures of total downloads (Call of Cthulhu Investigator Character Sheets) from 2017 and how things had grown. Here we take a closer look and make some conclusions.

The Critical Role Effect

Prior to Critical Role streaming their Call of Cthulhu game Shadow of the Crystal Palace by in July the average growth (in Investigators being downloaded) was ticking along at a respectable 5.25% month on month.

The downloads in August shot up by 33% on July’s total, an actual increase of 1729 downloads and September’s total was about the same number of actual downloads.

October saw a huge spike in activity with an amazing 10,193 Call of Cthulhu Investigator sheets downloaded. That was an increase of 56% on September’s total. There must have been a LOT of Cthulhu gaming for halloween. Although that’s a big increase it wasn’t quite as high (percentage wise) as 2018 where the increase was 62%.

November and December 2019 saw a return to more modest numbers but still at the same levels as Aug/September.

Allowing for an expected 5% month on month plus an October spike I’d have expected around 60,000 total Investigator sheets to be downloaded. Whereas the actual total figure for 2019 was 69,958.

I guess we can attribute the extra 10,000 downloads to the ‘Critical Roll’ effect.

I wonder what 2020 will bring? January 2020 usage was 15% more than December 2019 (and is 93% up on January 2019).

Looking back to look forward (part 2)

Part one of this retrospective looking at The Dhole’s House dealt with the origins and early history of the sites development and eventual launch. Here I want to focus on how quickly people started to use the site and how popular it was

Didn’t we do well?

Following the release of the site things started to take off, there were just over 400 registrations by the end of November and another hundred by the end of 2016. I can’t say how many Call of Cthulhu Investigators were created at this time because until August 2017 the date wasn’t recorded.

The only time you should ever look back, is to see how far you've come.

I could see the that the total band-width or data transferred each month was increasing and tried to keep tabs on what was happening.

Here are the statistics that I can calculate for 2017.

  • Accounts created – 2,144
  • 7th Edition Call of Cthulhu Investigators created – 4,643*
  • Character sheet downloads from the ‘Library’ – 11,477**
  • Character sheets downloaded by site members – 4,874**

*This figure includes any Investigators made in October to December 2016. **From February 2017 onwards.

By the end of 2018 things had grown, a LOT! Of course there were a lot more options as to what type of Call of Cthulhu Investigator you could create. There was support for the classic 1920’s era, Gaslight and ‘Modern’ as well as Pulp Cthulhu! Pulp Cthulhu had made a great impact on the Call of Cthulhu gaming scene in 2017.

Here’s the headline statistics for 2018.

  • Accounts created – 4,870
  • 7th Edition Call of Cthulhu Investigators created – 10,265
  • Character sheet downloads from the ‘Library’ – 25,899
  • Character sheets downloaded by site members – 13,905

Here’s the headline statistics for 2019.

  • Accounts created – 9,073
  • 7th Edition Call of Cthulhu Investigators created – 20,663
  • Character sheet downloads from the ‘Library’ – 41,853
  • Character sheets downloaded by site members – 28,105

It must be said that quite a bit of the upturn in site usage last year was influenced by the streaming of Shadow of the Crystal Palace by Critical Role in July.

Almost 70,000 Call of Cthulhu character sheets that have been downloaded from the site last year, that’s 190 per day, and over 125,000 times in a little over three years, that’s amazing. It’s also a little scary when you take into account how much data that actually is and the fact that so many people have made the choice to create their Investigators on the site. That’s mind-boggling.

Part 3 unpacks these figures.

Looking back to look forward (part 1)


I wanted to kick things off with a look back at what has happened at The Dhole’s House in 2019 (compared to 2018), part 1. Then move on and take a peek at what I’m hoping to develop and introduce in the year to come. It’s fair to say that when I first started on creating The Dhole’s House I had no idea of how popular it would become.


Back in the 90’s I, like many Call of Cthulhu players, was using the excellent Windows program Byakhee by David Harvey to create Investigators and print out their character sheets. You could even create and update rulepacks for the program to introduce new skills and keep things up to date.

Byakhee Character Generator

That was the inspiration for The Dhole’s House but making it accessible to anyone (as long as they had access to the internet). One of the first things that I cobbled together was a version of the calling card creator, a simple way to create an in game prop. Then followed a module that allowed for the creation of an Investigator conforming to the 6th edition rules which culminated in producing a PDF character sheet that could be used in play, this was back in late 2015.

I then got talking to Mike Mason at Chaosium about obtaining their agreement to releasing this to the unsuspecting, but fully deserving, public. Mike was great, extremely supportive and offering advice. There was only one sticking point, Call of Cthulhu 7th edition was really gaining traction and Chaosium would rather the site focussed on those, the latest edition, rules. So I then went about creating the Investigator creator following the 7th edition (best edition of Call of Cthulhu, in my opinion) this took some time and the site was finally released in October/November 2016.

After that it seemed a constant blur of development work, fixing bugs and adding support for different eras of the game.

That’s enough history, on to part 2.