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Hay my writing buddies. I'm in a bit of a pickle. I want to run a Call of Cathulu Game with my friends but my mate wants it to be western themed. I thought "oh that's unique, could have fun with that" So I have a plot and a wicked bad-y but I'm really struggling on how to make it scarier in the town. Like the Bad-y's layer is super scary and deadly but everything else feels meh. If any scary writers wanna help out it would be greatly appreciated. Also should mention this is my first time running COC and I'll be using 7e Plot: The town of Pleasant Valley is well rooted near a rich coal filled hill. Already hooked up to the railway that runs every week on Tuesday, the town also has all the classic needs of a western town such as a saloon, brothel, doctor, bank and even an ice-creme parlor. Miners set up camp along the hill, they come and they go making their money from the town owner Mr. Hank Trudy to mine at the coal. One day a miner digs up a strange silver seed pod, he takes it to his tent secretly hoping its worth something big. In the middle of the night the seed pod whispers to him about riches if he follows its orders. The man plants the seed in an abandoned mine shaft and it grows. Major Points- -Seed pod is stationary and spreads as it grows. Its purple, slimy, pulsating, vein-y and smells flowery. -The seed pod creates eggs that when inserted into a female human grow into Brood -The miner helps infect three women, three brothel workers. They get pregnant and just think it part of the job. when its close to their time they are kidnapped and taken to the cave to be devoured by the babies inside. -Now the new brood can enter the town on their own and impregnate more women without them knowing. Using sleeping gas -I was playing with the idea that the big plant also makes more seed pods. these seed pods look like silver cases holding a slime covered glass ball. This slime when applied to the skin makes it soft and smell of flowers. This slime is actually enzymes that help the eggs inside the women but the miner has begun selling these seed pods as a cosmetic item. The pregnant women get their enzymes without knowing it and the miner gets money as promised. END Game- at the start of the week the three brothel workers go missing and the town doesn't know whats going on. One missing sure but three at the same time. On top of that Mrs. Kitty take good care of her girls and knows they are not the types to run away. The players have one week to figure out whats going on before the train arrives on Tuesday, once it does there will be enough seed pods disguised as cosmetic creme and brood babies to send on the train to hundreds of town just like this one to plant more and more seeds.
I'm new here - so apologies if I'm posting in the wrong place - or not spoilering things I should be. I've not RPG'd for a long while, but with lockdown upon us it seemed it'd be a good idea to try my an RPG via Zoom with 3 regular boardgame pals. I decided CoC would be my weapon of choice, having played it waaay back (and I don't really like Orcs, Goblins, etc). My group are not previously role players at all - but are keen boardgames (preferring quite heavy eurogames), so I knew this would be a little out of their comfort zone. I rpg'd years ago regularly, but haven't played for ages - but I have bought and read lots of RPG stuff in the interim with the intention of starting up again at some point. This is that point, it turns out. I own the CoC 7e Keeper's (core) Book, and the Investigators Book - but the Starter Set seemed cheap enough that my players might enjoy the slimmer rules to possibly read through themselves beforehand (of course none of them did!). So I wanted to launch into Paper Chase the first scenario - which is written as a one-keeper-one-investigator to keep things relatively easy for the Keeper to control. I didn't fancy running this scenario three times with each of the players - and as I had hoped that I might be able to keep the investigators for the next scenario (edge of darkness), I thought three investigators having solved the same crime, three times - each in potentially differently ways, would be a bit jarring. Here's how 'Paper Chase' went (for us) ... I slightly modified the setting to allow, and justify the three investigators. I first used the full rules (Keeper's Book) to build investigators with the players, rather than using the pregens or 'quick build', of the Starter Set - because I wanted to give the players some agency over who they created and their respective specialisms - plus I reasoned that I could explain a little of what the characteristics and skills meant whilst they were rolling then up. I think that worked well, and I was surprised how quickly their stats led to them choosing professions. They had a free choice, and I mapped them to professions in the Investigator's Book. We ended up with a Cook who used to be in the army, a British socialite visiting the area and an American born mechanical engineer of Chinese heritage. These choices led to their skills options which the players enjoyed distributing their specialisms in (even if they barely knew what they meant at this point). Looking at the skills chosen, the mechanical engineer was an amateur magician, it turns out. I explained to them that the Arnoldsburg Library hosted the monthly meetings (first Tuesday of the month) for the "Society for the Exploration of the Unexplained" and told them they had turned up to this month's meeting... But immediately asked them to explain why weren't they in attendance last month? (Encouraging them to think a bit about why their character might not have been there, and gently develop the character a bit - the cook had a special order on at his bakery that he runs, the socialite wasn't even in the country last month, the mechanical engineer wasn't well). I'd decided that just the three of them were there to this month's meeting, because as they'd not been there last month the weren't aware that this month's meeting was cancelled. Then I moved into the 'hook' of the scenario - n.p.c. Timothy entering and looking for help from the Society with the mysterious robbery of some of his late/missing uncle's books. The scenario is quite simple, and not particularly dangerous for the investigators, so I'd gambled on them surviving this one - thus being able to use the same investigators for the next one. Luckily, they did survive - despite the cook blundering in somewhat recklessly during the sole dangerous vignette. I also deliberately had them leave the 'verbose' character traits and 'connections' from their investigator sheets free - and I'm going to revisit that before the second scenario. There was definitely a more gung-ho investigator emerging, and one much more nervous and considered. We discussed afterwards how the Socialite's ineptitude in rolls during the game, and bout of cowardice seemed entirely in fitting. I'll let them formalise this next time to make the 'role playing' more explicitly a part of them choosing their investigator's actions. I was happy to let the player rather than the character guide the actions for this scenario though. (As beginners to RPGs I think baby steps are probably needed). I'd considered using Roll20, but we chose Zoom (we're already Zooming socially, and one of them is a bit resistant to trying too many new things at once). We also had a web based dice roller for all the public D100 rolls - which I made them do often. I also nudged then away from "can I roll?" to describe "what you want to do, and I'll decide if it's a roll". By the end, they'd got that. I'd downloaded some extra handouts (diary entries, photo of a character) that I found online as "Paper Chase" as written in the Starter Set actually only had one handout (a map) and I thought that sending them to them via Zoom would 1. Break up the experience for the players and 2. Give me a chance to glance at my notes. The full Investigator's Book (not the Starter Set or Keeper Book) provided me with a list of typical names from the period. These were essential when players wanted to quiz other n.p.c.s, and I'm ad-libbing people that the scenario doesn't cover. If I had one criticism of the Starter Set for keepers (aside if that first scenario being a little handout light) is that it doesn't really warn you that your ability to come up with unscripted n.p.c. stuff can (will) be called upon - and having at least a few names to hand can be the difference between a character being seamlessly integrated or bring blindingly obviously not important. ("He says his name is ... Erm... Erm... Hang on....er John" being a particularly obvious way to spot an npc as being someone insignificant). My players (as you'd hope) defied all rational logic, and took surprising decisions in where they went and what they tried - but only on a couple occasions did "Timothy" have to return to nudge them into trying something other than creeping around his house. I don't think they felt railroaded though. I was also pleased my players encountered temporary madness through sanity loss, physical injury and opposed rolls which came up naturally within the scenario. Combat wasn't required (despite the gung-ho cook's efforts), but that'll come next time I think. Anyway - the unified skills and characteristics rolls make CoC 7e (my first experience with this iteration of CoC) a doodle for new players to understand how performing a "check" works, and "hard" and "extreme" is also very easy to implement and comprehend. I really like that, and it's very easy to explain to new players as you go. I ended the session with them rolling to see if their skills they successfully used were improved - which is also intuitive and logical in its operation. All in all I'm very impressed with 7e and the Starter Set. The whole thing - including rolling up and explaining what they were expected to do took the best part of 4 hours* - which I think we all felt was time well spent. Looking forward to next time (hope my player are too!). *obviously not including my preparatory reading of the rules, keeper book, investigator book, scenario and other people's hints/comments about running this scenario.