Saturday, November 7, 2009

Halloween Call of Cthulhu Parts I & II

Halloween Call of Cthulhu Parts I & II

So, last weekend, DJ Lance Rock, Chef Boyardee, John Wilkes Booth and one of the experts on the Cottingley Faeries gathered to play Call of Cthulhu. (Our wives, a Poodle Skirt Dancer, a Faerie, and my lovely wife, who was taking this picture who was dressed as a Flapper, suffered us gladly.)

I cracked out one of my favorite of the more recent Cthulhu tomes, Secrets of New York. As all of the players grew up in the suburbs of New York City or the city itself, it was fun to see our stomping grounds through the eyes of 1920s Lovecraftian horror. (ooo scary) BRP/CoC is one of our favorite systems to play, and although we only get to play it a few times of year, it was like putting on an old pair of sneakers (albeit ones that are creepy and can summon a demon from beyond the abyss).

Stephan (Expert on Faeries, above) created the characters (thanks, man!) and he played a mystic. Josh (Chef Boyardee) played a young man from Spanish Harlem who was taking classes at Columbia. Mark (John Wilkes Booth) played a street urchin with the voice of a wise-cracking New Yawk kid from a Depression era radio serial ("Aw, jeez..." was muttered frequently...). I GMed the game and NPCed a Columbia professor and a jazz trumpet player.

We played the "Transgression" scenario out of Secrets of New York, which was a lot better than I thought it might be! The source book itself is fantastic, but the scenarios seemed to fall a little flat when I originally read them when the book came out, but the story of a Columbia professor gone mad and about to open a gate to the beyond came across less hackneyed than I thought it might, especially with the fine roleplaying of the party. The image of baseballs appearing mysteriously in apartments all over the city somehow being connected to a horrifying end-of-the-world scenario worked a lot better than I thought it would! The background of NY for Cthulhu also provides a very rich framework to jump into, which is something else that I was surprised at. With so few Lovecraftian and Mythos tales taking place in New York, I wasn't sure if it would seem forced, but the folks at Chaosium - like always - created a very deep campaign to leverage. Great stuff!

The day after Halloween, I got to do it all over again at Time Warp Comics in Joisey. While the Jets game played in the background, we played "Masks of Halloween" by Oscar Rios (see earlier post for background on that scenario and the "Halloween Horror Returns!" product). Josh, Susana, Martin and I played through the Masks scenario, with Josh playing his character from the previous night, Susana playing the Columbia professor, Martin playing a charlatan mystic, and me NPCing a gentleman's boxer. The Chaosium line of monographs have some excellent stuff in them, and this scenario (a haunted farm stand where Nyarlathotep is trying to bring about as much mayhem as he can) was well worth running in your own campaign, or as a Halloween one shot.

Stay tuned for more ghoulishness as winter - and in turn gaming season - progress!
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