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Postscript or future as prequel, has anyone tried this in a CoC game?

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Alright, this may take a moment to lay out fully so bear with me.

Occasionally in starting a CoC campaign, or other role playing campaign, I have used a prequel scenario, perhaps far removed in time or genre from the actual subject material of the game itself.

So, in starting a wild west game, set in the 1860's, I introduced part of the subject matter by writing up a little Braunstein style wargame scenario about a raid on a monastery in Mexico set in the 1690's followed by a British raid on a French gulf port set 5  years later.  This introduced that idea to the players without a lot of tedious explanations, or a handout, which may or not receive attention, and it let more people play than just the folks playing in my game, which was important, since I am part of a larger club.

However, all of those were essentially 'historical' in nature, taking part before the time period the game was set in.

Now, has anyone tried running a scenario set AFTER the main events of the campaign, perhaps, let us say, a 1920's scenario which shows some aspect of the outcome or action of a Roman era campaign.  What might be the problems arising from the presentation of this?

 

 

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If you're running a game before another but set after it then the obvious problem is what you include of the past. Careful choices would need to be made so that you could present the players with something specific enough to tie it to the historical game without forcing that game to a predetermined conclusion.

Certainly not impossible, and rather intriguing, but very easy to mess up I suspect.

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In some scenarios I have players roleplay pre-created investigators who will usually die, disappear or go through a mystery. Then, months or years later, they will investigate what happened to the previous characters (at this point they create their own investigators connected in some way with the previous ones).

I've done some time-related scenarios, with players rolplaying multiple members of the same family over 100 years. It was a short campaign, but it was interesting because each new scenario was a prologue to the next and so on.

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Many thanks for the responses!  Let me refine this a bit further.  Consider the mythos cult of Carl Stanford, which sends members forward in time to grab something from the future, bring it back, and make some use of it in that particular present.  

Now consider that activity from the other end, that scenario's future but our scenario's present.  Some jerk shows up, grabs the magic thingummy, and then disappears.  That particular problem is insoluble for those particular player characters, without much more, which makes it a poor scenario for itself BUT as a prequel makes it potentially quite interesting.

Of course, if that particular spell has been handed out once in the 1920's CoC world, there is no particular reason why it cannot be discovered multiple times...

So, my thinking runs along these lines.

Background, the Miskatonic University archaeology department has been at it again, and has retrieved the magic thingummy from excavations, this time along either the Hadrian or Antonine Wall in Britain, and of course brought it back triumphantly for display in the university museum.  There is of course a reception with much wine, cheese and magic thingummy on display.  Our heroes, such as they are, are invited.

Episode 1, at the reception, some rather mysterious individuals appear, steal the magic thingummy and disappear.   History of magic thingummy discussed.  Our heroes are placed in a compromising position.  End of first episode.  (Because fundamentally insoluble).  Could become the characters in a different campaign if they manage to clear themselves.

Episodes 2 through n, start of actual as such campaign proper.  Our different set of heroes, set in Roman times, have to obtain magic thingummy from improper cultists, who shouldn't have it.  Hijinks ensue, and our heroes, such as they are, either win through or are beaten with magic thingummy most heinously.

This seems to me to be a more interesting way of introducing the magic thingummy than simply creating a handout or narrating the saga of the magic thingummy.

 

 

 

 

 

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I would run both time periods and sets of protagonists simultaneously within the same "episode," bouncing back and forth.  So when characters in time period A finish their turns, the time period B PCs spring into action.  My reasoning is that events in the past will immediately cause the future to shift and change -- and you'll be able to adjust the plot on the fly as NPCs, information or artifacts alter of disappear entirely.  An investigator in the past breaks up with his fiance, and a future adventurer's wife and kids vanish or become someone else.  Allies become cultists or vice-versa, Mythos tomes crumble into ashes or expand like shaving cream to double length, neighborhoods or cities or even technologies ooze into new configurations around the heroes as the story progresses.  

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I suspect PCs who make excessive use of gates for time travel would likely see their sanity wither away fairly rapidly, especially if they cause some kind of paradox, or cause a significant shift in historical events. A one off trip into the past or future maybe. But tinkering with history, say killing or saving an important historic figure, who know what they would return to?

Given the slight margin by which many mythos conspiracies have been defeated, the consequences of a disturbance to the timeline, even a small disturbance, could be incalculably tragic - after disturbing history, the adventurer might return to a present when the world was a threshing horror show under the control of the Great Old Ones.

 

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Very cool concept.

Anything that breaks out of the standard Call of Cthulhu 'gather up the shotguns, here we all go investigating' mode is very appealing to me.

Reminds me of a video game...Gamecube...grrrr..what is it. There was narrative time jumping in that too. 
(Eternal Darkness) Damn I miss my gamecube.

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On 12/23/2019 at 11:55 PM, Fábio Silva said:

In some scenarios I have players roleplay pre-created investigators who will usually die, disappear or go through a mystery. Then, months or years later, they will investigate what happened to the previous characters (at this point they create their own investigators connected in some way with the previous ones).

I've done some time-related scenarios, with players rolplaying multiple members of the same family over 100 years. It was a short campaign, but it was interesting because each new scenario was a prologue to the next and so on.

I did a 'Run Lola Run' based scenario where there were two TPK's before they got it right.

The first time I killed everyone off there was a mini-outrage, because I had so casually killed off their beloved Investigators.

Then without breaking character (Keeper mode) I started the intro music again (I played intro music before starting each session) and started the session again.

Went over pretty cool....it was my April Fool's session.

3rd times the charm. It actually revolved around a charm as well.
 

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The scenario published 'Ripples from Carcosa' by Oscar Rios takes place across three times: in the Roman Empire, the Dark Ages and in space in the near future post 'End Times' when Earth has been taken over by the Mythos. Different Investigators are used for each adventure, but they have some sort of 'past life' memories of the others. I've not run the adventures though they seem interesting.

The sci-fi scenario is good but involves some human co-operation with the more 'benign' of non-aligned Mythos creatures (Yithians/Elder Things) which reduces their horror factor a bit.

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Dr. Who / The Pyramids of Mars is a past / future Cthulhu story, except instead of Cthulhu the bad guy is Sutekh .

One powerful scene the Doctor's assistant Sarah asks why they can't escape the horror of fighting Sutekh and simply return to 1980. The Doctor hops in the Tardis and takes Sarah and Laurence, a local from 1911, forward to 1980 to show her why they can't simply run away; because they haven't yet stopped Sutekh, the 1980 Sarah sees when the Tardis doors open is a ruined wasteland.

...
LAURENCE: So a man can change the course of history? 
DOCTOR: To a small extent. It takes a being of Sutekh's almost limitless power to destroy the future. Well? 
SARAH: We've got to go back. 
DOCTOR: Yes. 
...

 

Edited by EricW

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I recently ran a CoC campaign where the sting for a good portion of the start of the game was that their first couple of adventures were being manipulated by one of their future selves with the help of a Yithian child called "little Johnny Smith", who had a series of agendas to fulfill in Arkham circa 1920 on behalf of "the Collective".  The look on the faces of the players when they realized that they themselves had been the adversaries operating behind the scenes (and had been correct to do so) was worth the effort.  Suffice to say that as the campaign wore on, the characters became far more suspicious of the motives of little Johnny Smith too.  It all ended in tears eventually.

Edited by Darius West
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