Monday, September 26, 2011

Call of Cthulhu - Conversation on EnWorld

There's a good thread on right now about Call of Cthulhu.  A GM who will be running the game for some players is trying to wrap his head around Lovecraftian fiction and the best way to run the game.  Lots of great thought on their part, as well as the other posters. 

I added my two cents - nothing groundbreaking, but rules I try to live by when running the game for new players, which I often do around Halloween every year.  (ooo spooky)

Chime in on the thread over there and add your thoughts.

(my thoughts cross-posted, here)
Yeah, there are such a wide variety of authors of the mythos - even Stephen King, if you find some of his early stuff in his collections of short stories - that there's something for everyone. Chaosium has released tons of collections over the years that are worth browsing through in their online catalog, to see if something resonates more with you. A lot of folks like the August Derleth/Clark Ashton Smith stuff more, as it takes the stories and weaves together the mythos around them.

As to the game, I've been running it for about 20 years, and many of the published adventures have been handy for getting players who aren't terribly familiar with the Mythos into the game. The adventures in Mansions of Madness come from earlier collections and editions of the game, and many are good one-nighters to get folks used to the rules and feel. Secrets of New York and the New Orleans sourcebook are good for a sandbox game. If you get players into the idea of a long campaign, I still like Shadows of Yogsothoth a lot (although some veterans will say it's rather contrived - it works well for folks who don't necessarily eat sleep drink). Spawn of Azathoth, Return to Dunwich, Return to the Mountains of Madness - these campaigns work better with seasoned players who eat, sleep and drink Lovecraftian fiction.

For running the game, my biggest rules have been:
1) Make sure that the characters have appropriate skills to solve the tasks at hand - not to the level of it being a cakewalk, but if the only way to get off the glacier is the ability to pilot a plane, don't leave it to chance that no one took the character with the right skill to do that.
2) Make sure that players - going in - understand that they don't use their guns like swords in d&d.
3) Make sure they understand that years ago, when you needed info, you went to a library, not Google.
4) Role play. It sounds obvious, but CoC sets up some of the best opportunities for roleplaying I've ever seen. Take advantage of them!
5) Continuity - it's ok if the universe implodes on itself and ends in a game. You can play another another time and continuity doesn't matter - that last catastrophe didn't have to have happened. (There is a short story collection somewhere about what the world is like after the Cthupocalypse...)

Enjoy. It's a great Halloween game, if nothing else, for the party that would rather slay goblins and orcs.


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