Jump to content

Joe Kenobi

  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by Joe Kenobi

  1. This post cannot be displayed because it is in a password protected forum. Enter Password
  2. I'll throw a vote toward Dead Reckonings as an older scenario collection I'd love to see reprinted. It predates my time playing and running Call of Cthulhu, but I hear good things.
  3. @sgtscott658, can you say more about the quality and breath of the driving chase tables in Highway of Blood? My group plays almost exclusively 1920s adventures, so I'm unlikely to run the scenario, but I'd be willing to shell out the $11.95 for the PDF for the inspiration tables alone if they're decently comprehensive--feature a large number of hazards & barriers, preferably with offerings intended for city driving and separate ones for more rural car chases. I bought Bayt Al Azif #1 primarily for the foot chase inspiration tables and have no regrets. But $11.95 is a little more than I'd want to spend to "risk it" without some good intel that they're likely to prove a broadly useful tool with high reusability in multiple car chase settings.
  4. Thanks, all! Additions & revisions made.
  5. Bridgett was a great addition in the most recent episode of the Miskatonic University Podcast—great to hear she’s taking on even more in the community and expanding her voice!
  6. I will also point out--not to undermine your point, but as a counterpoint to soften it--there is a documented perception of increased crime counter to underlying crime statistics that is often driven by improved communication, technology, and media coverage. I have not done my homework on changes between the 1870s and 1920s, but I have seen studies showing this change in perception with the dawn of the television, then the dawn of the internet and social media. It wouldn't surprise me to learn some (not all) of the increased perception of violence in society was actually driven by improved news communication, not just changes in the true underlying statistics.
  7. I love the idea of a player-facing, “in universe” guide to the Miskatonic Valley! It would be so much fun to provide something like that for my players.
  8. My coauthor and I submitted Prisoners' Dilemma. Honestly, would be thrilled to see ENnie recognition of any of the great titles in the Miskatonic Repository!
  9. Thanks, @AlonsoAguilurk! That's a helpful list. I've run Edge of Darkness and Dead Light, and played in Missed Dues; you're right, those definitely fit the bill. And I have copies of Crimson Letters and Whispers of Harlem by virtue of owning their respective books, but admit I've never read through those scenarios specifically. Will definitely give them a closer look! The others I'll have to look into--though while I've heard great things about Crack'd and Crooked Manse, I've also heard to expect it to result in a TPK (not sure the veracity of that intel?).
  10. I like the penalty die solution: it's not that your player can't--especially if the player insists they want to give it a try--it's just that the attacker is so close he can't wield the rifle as effectively as he would under other circumstances.
  11. This is all sensible advice, especially the bit about inserting real-world consequences when players become too murderous or prone to gunplay. But I'll second @MandilarasM's concern: Despite the notion that in Call of Cthulhu, violence isn't a good answer, a great many of the most popular scenarios condition and encourage players to see it as a solution (in many scenarios, it is the solution). So I can advertise the game to my players at the start as, "Using violence will only get you into trouble," but then playing through -- to name just a few common early scenario examples -- immediately demonstrates otherwise and often punishes them if they didn't load up on combat skills. I'm currently running for a group; good luck making it through that one without an ability to hold your own in a fight (or, indeed, without turning to violence as your solution at least once in nearly every scenario). I've also found it's often difficult for players to detect when they are "supposed to" stand and fight, versus when they are "supposed to" surrender, versus when they are "supposed to" flee. Many modules feature a similar buildup where the scenario then "expects" one of these outcomes--are two PCs supposed to try to hold their own against four Deep Ones, or is surrender/accepting capture a better option? Many modules assume one outcome, without direction as to what happens if the PCs surrender in the former scenario or fight to the death in the latter (well, it's clear what happens there, but not very satisfying and generally not clear how the PCs should know the NPCs aren't going to fight them to the death in this case). Certainly I've found ways to get around this as a Keeper, but it often amounts to railroading a capture. That's a long buildup to this question: What are good scenarios to run that involve no assumed violence on the part of the investigators, that have at least a moderate degree of survivability, and that are set in the 1920s? (I know there are Modern scenarios that do this well, but I prefer to run Call of Cthulhu in its classic era.) Running these kind of modules early would seem to do a lot of the legwork toward training players away from becoming Murder Hobos.
  12. Eh, I'm a little more skeptical that it's a reflection of a discerning analysis on the part of buyers. My guess is it has more to do with "Ooh, pirates!" That's a flashy, eye-catching theme (vs. the other Kickstarter project that didn't have nearly as clear a unifying theme). Regardless of publisher, the Call of Cthulhu Kickstarter projects defined by a clear time period & locale seem to be among the most successful. But I'm admittedly someone who backed the other project and will probably sit this one out--because I prefer my Call of Cthulhu in the 1920s, and because while I wish more Kickstarter publishers were clear-eyed and up front about their actual production timelines, I've come to accept that a project delivered to completion within 12 months of the advertised finish line is more-or-less on time. I'm probably part of the problem for accepting that.
  13. Bumping up this thread to share the news that Rolling Boxcars has published a review of our scenario! We've also picked up a couple of nice reviews over on DTRPG itself.
  14. Looks cool—putting it on my Wishlist!
  15. This post cannot be displayed because it is in a password protected forum. Enter Password
  16. I am the co-author of a new scenario released via the Miskatonic Repository today: Prisoners' Dilemma. Inspired by the true life Dyatlov Pass Incident, "Prisoners' Dilemma" winds back the clock a bit and takes place in 1920s Russia. The investigators, all prisoners of the Russian State, have been press-ganged into service in the barren, frozen wilderness of central Russia. With a survival horror tone and heavy doses of cosmicism, "Prisoners' Dilemma" is a slow burn scenario intended for an experienced Keeper and 3 to 6 players. This 55-page module offers a linear plot tinged with heavy degrees of distrust and suspicion, including elements that might lead players to distrust one another. It comes ready to play with 6 pre-generated investigators. You can view a two minute trailer here, and for a limited time, we're offering $2 off the listed price when purchasing via this discount link. We hope you play it, and can't wait to hear your thoughts!
  17. I assume "Uncategorized" are the games where Roll20 doesn't know what's being played, while "Other Games" are the ones where Roll20 has the data, but individually they add up to very small slices and so are best lumped together.
  18. @TheEnclave, I don't want to pick a fight here--you're making a valid point and overall, I even mostly agree with you. Characters can have a lot more longevity than the discourse sometimes suggests. But I also think, moving from almost any other RPG to Call of Cthulhu, players are going to find their characters to be a lot more fragile. It clearly depends on your reference point; you're responding to a certain strain of thought sometimes found amongst Cthulhu Keepers, while I wrote that sentence for people new to Call of Cthulhu but likely with a background in other RPGs. Maybe for some people, a warning up front that "ultimately, your character's probably not going to ride off into the sunset" will dissuade them from playing because then they can't get invested in their investigator. In my experience, it's useful information in that it informs how a player approaches the game and orients them up front not to rush in where fools fear to tread, which actually helps keep their character alive. And as for the thoughts on Keeper psychology, well, anything in any roleplaying game becomes a problem when it it's approached as taking precedence over roleplay, story, and fun. People would do well to read an implied "your mileage may vary" at the end of any description of any RPG and how it's "supposed" to run. Long story short, "Characters will usually die or go insane" is certainly an oversimplification, but I don't think for a broad-brush characterization it's unfair.
  19. Let's be clear: I don't say "Characters will usually die or go insane every single time you play." But if you have a long-running Call of Cthulhu campaign, do most PCs make it to a friendly retirement? How many starting PCs make it to the end of Masks of Nyarlathotep? Even after 6 months of regular play through scenarios, how likely are you to have all your starting PCs in place? That's a pretty notable differentiator from most RPGs.
  20. These are good suggestions. I agree with the approach suggested above--lean toward simpler at every turn, and map onto Extreme/Hard/Regular/Fumble to the degree possible.
  21. I haven't listened to the BBC Radio Lovecraft Investigations, so can't say if it's a perfect analog, but perhaps the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society's Dark Adventure Radio Theatre would scratch the same itch? They do have a cost attached (not free like a podcast), but I've found them to be high quality and a lot of fun.
  22. Bumping this thread to add a new option I see in the Miskatonic Repository: Red Skies.
  23. This post cannot be displayed because it is in a password protected forum. Enter Password
  24. ***SCENARIO SPOILERS FOLLOW*** Last night, we ran Gatsby & the Great Race virtually for 17 players! We ended up with 5 Keepers (three running reality rooms, a primary EK, and an assistant EK). I'm pleased to report it went very well--I would say 90th percentile outcome within the range of what I expected/feared--and virtual presented very few hangups! Technology platform: Zoom Zoom turns out to be just about perfect for G&tGR, given its breakout room functionality. I'm by no means a Zoom expert, so if you have information that contradicts the following, go with it, but here are my Zoom tips: Your primary EK will need to be the event host, with a paid Zoom account, so that they can manage the breakout room assignments. You'll want to configure Manual breakout room assignments, and then turn on "Move all participants into breakout rooms automatically," with the other options all unchecked. (So no one can choose to return to the Main session, the Breakout rooms won't automatically close at a certain time, and no Countdown is needed to close a breakout room.) You definitely want these automatic transfers, as otherwise players will have an option to join a new assignment, and you want to force them to jump with no warning. We read online that Zoom breakout rooms don't work with Chrome OS, so we emailed our players that they would need to use a device with a different operating system to connect. This only affected one or two players, who used either a tablet or phone instead, which worked just fine. In our technology pre-tests (which I highly recommend!), we found issues with pre-assigning breakout rooms. Specifically, the automatic/forced movement didn't seem to work with pre-assignments; people logging in had an initial option to either accept or decline a breakout room assignment. To avoid this, we turned on the Zoom waiting room and our EK let players in one by one, acting briefly as a hostess and asking for "the name that appeared on your invitation" before assigning them to a breakout room. With this first appearance in the main room and the breakout room assignment coming at that point, the auto-assign to breakout rooms worked as planned and they had no choice, the system forced them to go. Ask players to open their Zoom chats at the start of the game. It's an easy thing to overlook in Zoom, but especially since Zoom allows private message to any of the players, you want it open before you actually need it. We asked players to change their Zoom display names to "Character First Name (Player First Name)"--so if I was playing Amelia Cosgrove, it would be, "Amelia (Joe)." That grounds players when new faces appear in their Zoom breakout rooms, and crucially, leaves out character last names for the women characters who've taken a spouse's last name in certain realities. We skipped the investigator photos, given no clear approach for including online. While they no doubt lend an air of the surreal, I found something fun in having a player drop into a room, and then 15 minutes later say something like, "I grab Felicity's hand," only for Felicity's player to respond, "Wait... what?!" The slow reveal that the realities were less similar than assumed worked quite well for us. I'm pleased to say we didn't have a single technology hiccup throughout the entire game. Some of that was luck--with a group this large, you can usually count on someone to have headphone or internet connectivity issues--but I was also pleased we didn't make any unforced errors, and credit our 2.5 hours of technology testing and prep that occurred in the week leading up to the event itself. (Although I did play off the initial Amelia disappearance following her fainting as a likely technology issue--"Hopefully she'll be back soon! I guess she stays fainted.") Keeper communication platform: Discord I expect Slack would've worked just as well, but it definitely helped to have a text chat program up and running, as opposed to texting or something. It's relatively easy to consult without your players noticing you're looking away (I was quite surprised to learn none of mine had realized I had a live text chat going throughout the full game); I used a second monitor to display it. It's a huge help to have instantaneous communication, especially around things like when to pull someone, or when the end time has triggered. Our EK would give us a 10 minute warning for which player cycle was about to start, and the order the rooms would be hit. That gave us time to plan and maneuver the looming investigator to a place where the trigger would make sense and/or have the greatest dramatic effect. Our EK let us Room Keepers drive on when to do the grab, so there were some nice dramatic moments where I'd chat a, "Now!" to the EK, and our player would disappear within 15 seconds, and usually within 5. We also used Discord to chat about how quickly our players were piecing together the mystery, and on who had the disk shards in each room--which leads me to... Online play challenge: The disk shards Compared to an in-person game where you have actual disk shards, virtual play means you need to be verbally explicit about who's picking up a disk shard and what they're doing with it, if they're holding onto it, etc. Additionally, communicating that the disk fragment travels into the extra dimension and to the next reality with the player is more challenging. One place our game suffered for being remote was when the Sylvia from my room jumped to the extra dimension and then to another room, where the group had the other two disk shards. The player didn't realize Sylvia still had the disk shard after traveling through dimensions, and even the Keeper of the room privately chatting him in Zoom that "It's your choice what you reveal about your shard" didn't trigger it for him, and it took a follow-up message several minutes later to make him realize the shard was still on his person. My advice: Be 100% explicit about the disk shards. When a player arrives with one (which a Keeper should know from your Discord chat), the Keeper should chat them immediately, "The shard of the disk you had in your possession before is still with you!" Extra Dimension: Multicam approach For our extra dimension, we had a breakout room with our two EKs with video off and the display names "Operator" and "Voices in Your Head," plus one camera fixed on a table with several items on display--a clock, an open journal, a couple of ancient-looking books, etc. The EKs would do some creepy voice and interrogation stuff, tee up the Frozen Moment, and then ask the player, "What would you like to do?" Most of them understood immediately they could interact with the equipment on the table--the very first player asked to write her name on the journal page, and that started a cascade of messages written by players, as well as some attempts to reset the clock hands, etc. Summoning: High tech meets low tech Our possession approach was to have our primary EK chat via Discord to the relevant Room Keeper (with proper warnings that this might be/is approaching) that the summoning was occurring, then to call that Keeper on their cell phone. The Keeper would then answer their cell, and immediately mute it and put it on speaker phone. Then they'd invite their group to ask questions, which the Room Keeper would type into the Discord chat, which the EK would then read to the summoned player, who would reply--both of which could be heard over the speaker phone, piped through the computer mic into Zoom. It worked well enough, although we had a Reverse Summoning that left the recipient very confused--he mostly made statements that went into the Zoom chat and were then read to the summoned individual (including, "Oh great, more timey-wimey stuff"). I can't decide if that bizarre experience was a bug or a feature. Time management: Regularly-scheduled breaks & run-time It's simply true that playing online wears folks out in a way that playing in person doesn't. To help combat this, we built in a 5 minute bio break every 90 minutes, which we communicated to our players in advance (so no one would step away to use the bathroom 10 minutes before a break, when perhaps they were about to be grabbed for some dimension hopping). We were scheduled to run 7 p.m.-midnight (with the true kick-off planned for 7:15, which worked perfectly), so we broke at 8:30, 10, and then 11 so we could finish the rest of the game uninterrupted. We ended up pushing past midnight, with the first room wrapping at 12:25 and the final room (mine) wrapping our end time at 12:40. Post-game: Large group Zoom I expect it's true of the in-person game that tables can wrap a few minutes apart, but it's a little different in Zoom where you're stuck in a breakout room until all rooms are ready to end that setting and jump into the main room together. Of course, the real issue is this means instead of players breaking up into groups to discuss what happened, we had 22 people on one Zoom call at 12:40 a.m. Large group discussions are inherently difficult, and are prone to domination by a few people. I wish I had a better solution for how to make this discussion more like an in-person post-game debrief. On the bright side, people were animated and we still had 8-10 people online and discussing at 2 a.m. when we shut it down. Finally, a big thanks to @Paul Fricker for writing a brilliant scenario that translates so well to online play! At least one seasoned roleplayer said afterward, "I've never played anything like that before!" It was an awesome, memorable experience, and I'm pleased and little proud of how well it went--which really just reflects back on you and how strong the scenario is.
  • Create New...