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WeAreAllUs: download 'The Lightless Beacon' for Call of Cthulhu, in remembrance of Greg Stafford

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To mark the first anniversary of the passing of Chaosium founder Greg Stafford, we're encouraging Chaosium fans and gamers in general to play a tabletop game in his memory from October 10 to October 31.

Here's THE LIGHTLESS BEACON for Call of Cthulhu, one of the five free scenarios we're releasing in remembrance of Greg. It's a short standalone introductory scenario, by Leigh Carr with Lynne Hardy. It's designed for novice Keepers and players - though there's plenty here to enjoy for more experienced players and Keepers, too. It comes with four pre-generated investigators and should take around an hour to play. Advice is also given on adapting the game for 2–6 investigators, as well as how to expand the scenario for longer sessions.

Download The Lightless Beacon:

 

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Update: 

In prepping my game, I've found the text for Handout 2 to be very difficult to read due to the text size and font and my personal vision limitations. No offense intended to the artist/writers or Chaosium. In a game situation, there is always the chance that players get frustrated not being able to read text, especially tiny cursive text in a darkened room. I understand that there is some mystique to struggling to decipher clues, but sometimes it just leads to frustration. I typed out the text from zooming into the PDF to have handy as a backup if I see players getting frustrated. Transcript updated from feedback.

Here it is in case anyone else may find the typed text to be useful as a resource:

February 13th, 1926

I found something on one of my walks. A coin! I kept walking and found another and another! I know it’s gold. Found some mechanical parts as well. Looks like it might be from a ship. Must have gone down recently, but I don’t recall hearing anything about no wreck of late. Unless it went down in last night’s storm when the light was out.

I better keep this quiet. Don’t want the other two here to get a slice of the action. I will keep this journal as a means of documenting my findings. This has to be worth a mint!

 

February 16th, 1926

That coin catalogue I bought in Folly Point is useless. One thing I know is that the coins are old. Real old.

I’ve asked if I can stay on for as long as I can until I’m sure there’s nothing left here for me to line my pockets. And I have to find a good lead on these coins and go where the money takes me. Maybe I should write to some of my old “colleagues” to see if they can help. Should probably try some of those fancy antique stores in Rockport while I’m at it.

 

March 10th, 1926

The coins are getting hard to find. The two new crew members aren’t helping matters. Makes it difficult to search without being noticed. Hope they don’t cause me any trouble. Even so, I’ve filled a small purse which I keep on me at all times.

 

April 3rd, 1926

I’ve got a good lead now. I’ll be sending one more letter to Innsmouth then. I’m confident I can get off this stinking island for good.

 

April 11th, 1926

Smith said he will leave the lighthouse tomorrow morning. He says he doesn’t care if it voids his contract – he’s had enough of this island and everything on it. Least that’s one less pair of eyes watching me. Still stuck with that sneak, Michael, though.

Smith says the radio busted again half way through talking to the bosses. Said he’d fix it before he leaves.

Counted my coins just to be sure he didn’t lift any off me in my sleep.

I’ve seen Michael peering out the window, spying my daily walks. I’ll have to be a bit more careful.

 

April 12th, 1926

Smith left without a word. Me and Michael didn’t even see him go. Didn’t take his paintings with him, which is a bit odd. Lousy rat didn’t even repair the radio before he left. I’ll get to it later tonight.

Michael has gone to check something outside. Seems paranoid. Think there’s more than just tobacco in that pipe of his. At least I get more time to write. No word from

 

Edited by klecser
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18 minutes ago, klecser said:

Update: 

In prepping my game, I've found the text for Handout 3 to be very difficult to read due to the text size and my personal vision limitations. No offense intended to the artist/writers or Chaosium. In a game situation, there is always the chance that players get frustrated not being able to read text, especially tiny cursive text in a darkened room. I understand that there is some mystique to struggling to decipher clues, but sometimes it just leads to frustration. I typed out the text from zooming into the PDF to have handy as a backup if I see players getting frustrated. The only word that I couldn't make out or figure out from context clues was in the April 12th entry after Lousy. It looks like an -at at the end but I can't make out the first letter. I'm tentatively at "cat," as in "he's such a cool cat" but it doesn't seem to fit. Suggestions are appreciated.

Looks like ‘Lousy rat’ to me. 

I agree that handout is not the easiest read, though as handwriting fonts go it works well. Thanks for the transcript. I usually rewrite such things and print them out on suitable note paper, so that’ll save me some typing. 

Edited by Cloud64
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59 minutes ago, Cloud64 said:

Looks like ‘Lousy rat’ to me. 

LOL, in hindsight that makes total sense. Thanks. Happy to help. Yeah, it is less the font and more the size on the actual page that I struggle with. Visually-impaired unite!

Edited by klecser

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On 10/14/2019 at 2:00 AM, klecser said:

LOL, in hindsight that makes total sense. Thanks. Happy to help. Yeah, it is less the font and more the size on the actual page that I struggle with. Visually-impaired unite!

I'm prepping my first run and came to this thread exactly with a kindly request to help me transcript Cassidy's diary, since I need to adapt text to non-English speakers.

Looks like you can read minds. Great job outer!

As for the adventure itself, I must admit how perfect it matches with ongoing Organized play campaign as early introduction of Deep Ones or intermediate short-adventure..

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This is a useful thread - when I started at Chaosium I made a conscious effort to ensure handouts were readable (some older books had some quite hard to read handouts). Sometimes, like in this case, we don't get it quite right - but thank you klecser for posting a plain text version here to help everyone out.

It's always a knife-edge  - trying to deliver an authentic realistic handout (usually a handwritten letter/journal) versus readability. We'll endeavor to keep this in mind as we go forward.

Thanks again for everyone's comments.

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19 hours ago, Mike M said:

trying to deliver an authentic realistic handout (usually a handwritten letter/journal) versus readability.

Yeah I know that in the past couple decades I've played CoC, I've definitely ping-ponged between "What is this handout? A simple cursive font? How lazy of Chaosium! It doesn't look authentic at all!" and "Man this handout looks awesome but I can barely read it!". It's... difficult :)

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On 10/19/2019 at 3:29 AM, Mike M said:

It's always a knife-edge  - trying to deliver an authentic realistic handout (usually a handwritten letter/journal) versus readability. We'll endeavor to keep this in mind as we go forward.

@Mike M, I do VERY MUCH appreciate efforts made to make handouts look authentic. Please don't stop doing that! That has been one of the best visual design decisions of 7th, in my opinion. But, I know that page count is a factor as well, and splitting this one across two pages may have lead to confusion.

Thanks for releasing this free scenario into the wild! Definitely not complaining. This release is a great way to honor Greg.

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I think it's mostly having both on the same page. Perhaps if just 1 entry/image per page, in landscape orientation, it'd be easier to read.

I whipped up something in LibreOffice, just using a bitmap background and choosing a free/open handwriting font. That font def. has to balance between readability and looks, so feel free to change it in the ODT if you prefer.

LightlessBeaconHandout2.odt LightlessBeaconHandout2.pdf

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On 10/19/2019 at 11:09 PM, lordabdul said:

Yeah I know that in the past couple decades I've played CoC, I've definitely ping-ponged between "What is this handout? A simple cursive font? How lazy of Chaosium! It doesn't look authentic at all!" and "Man this handout looks awesome but I can barely read it!". It's... difficult :)

I suspect part of Chaosium's challenge is that a lot of its core market is getting older. Speaking for myself I use to see like a hawk but for the last two years have struggled to read unless the room is bright and the font is large. Younger customers probably don't experience this.

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On 10/25/2019 at 7:22 PM, rsanford said:

I suspect part of Chaosium's challenge is that a lot of its core market is getting older. Speaking for myself I use to see like a hawk but for the last two years have struggled to read unless the room is bright and the font is large. Younger customers probably don't experience this.

Indeed - the dividing line between readable and authentic is sharp! And it isn't necessarily an age thing.

In our books we strive to achieve both, but it is always hard to get it right - if I have to err on one side, I always try to go with readable. In some cases, we may make the player version handout as large as possible, so cursive script is easier to read, or if the handout is meant to be almost unreadable, then I'll try and include a plain text version for the Keeper, who needs to know what's been written.

 

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I'm 42 and I've had this level of vision since I was 8. And my story is really common. This isn't just an "older person" issue. Many of us are visually impaired. We often find it difficult for people with good vision to understand that this affects people of all ages. So, @Mike M, know that it affects your whole marketing demographic. :)

Incidentally, I handed my 20- and 30-somethings the handout and they squinted. And then, a few seconds later I handed them the typed text and a sense of relief spread over the room. Not complaining. Just saying that my Keeper gut instinct was correct.

Edited by klecser
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@klecser

Could you please fix your post with transcript? I've found lost phrase. April 3rd, 1926 record should be like so:

 

Quote

 

I’ve got a good lead now. I’ll be sending one more letter to Innsmouth then. I’m confident I can get off this stinking island for good.

I think Michael is watching me. I've bought a gun just in case.

 

 

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