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Phil Hendry

Newish Keeper seeking scenario/campaign

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Hi folks,

My group of experienced role-players/friends (we’ve played together for 30+ years) decided, on lockdown, that playing our usual sort of combat-orientated games was probably not going to work - particularly as one player is a complete technophobe and really wouldn’t cope with Roll20 or any of the other on-line tools for playing (don’t tell me they’re easy - I know - this is a phobia we’re talking about: ergo it’s not exactly rational)... So we’re ‘stuck’ with good old PBEM. So, we started playing Call of Cthulhu - and we’re having a blast: it lets me think out my keepery bits properly, and write some suitably descriptive, creepy-when-appropriate, settings and responses to their questions and turns, and they discuss and plot and plan and... It’s just a whole lot of fun!

So, we’ve been playing ‘The Haunting’ and the scenarios out of the starter set, and now we’re looking to move on to ‘greater things’. And I’m a bit confused as to what next...

The choice seems to be between ‘one-shots’ on a similar ‘scale’ to those in the starter set, or some humongous campaign like ‘Masks of Nyarlathotep’ or ‘Horror on the Orient Express‘ - there don’t seem to be any ‘smaller’ campaigns - either that, or I’m looking in the wrong places?

Anyone got any good ideas as to what we should do next? What do people do - does everyone just play ‘one-shots’ unless they’re prepared to take on one of the biggies? I’d love to play one of those, obviously, but PBEM is, by its nature, quite slow, so I’d rather save it for if/when we can play across a table again.

Thanks,
Phil

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You might consider some of the intermediate collections: The newly released Mansions of Madness Volume 1, or Nameless Horrors.

 

I would still recommend Doors to Darkness even though it is an "introductory" story collection, simply for ideas. Most of  those scenarios can be modified for more experienced players.

 

Also, the two scenarios in Deadlight and Other Dark Turns work really well for groups of all experience levels.

 

At present, published campaigns are either Pulp (A Cold Fire Within or Two-Headed Serpent) or niche (Shadows Over Stillwater, and Terror Australis and Berlin:The Wicked City aren't truly campaigns and are set in specific settings.)

 

I'm thinking that Lynne Hardy's forthcoming Tibetan Campaign is going to be filling the gap of "shorter non-pulp" campaign that is missing in the 7E catalog.

Edited by klecser
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a lot of groups serialise the 1 shots into a grander campaign that you can tailor to your own needs, I've just finished a year long arc of these. However you can make the arc as long or short as you feel you would need for your groups tastes. 

I recommend Crimson Letters as a gateway into something grander. Its a scenario that should take about 6-10 hours to complete and is fairly open ended, and has some nice NPCs to build contacts and receive work (or build as reoccurring villains) from such as Abner Wick, and Dean Fallon. From there i'd have a look at some of the mentioned collections of 1 shots, Doors to Darkness, and Mansions of Madness. 

Threading the 1 shots you find appealing into their adventures with a bit of personal spin. I took a bunch of witch based scenarios and tied them into the opening of Shadows of Yog-Sothoth, where their quest givers were all members of the silver twilight and they went to their gentlemen's club for downtime and talking to the NPCs. worked a charm when thats where the opening is for SOYS. 

Edited by 4Acrossisemu
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Dear Phil,

I have recently started a campaign from the Blackwater Creek scenario, that can be found in the Keeper's Screen. We are playing as a group of Miskatonic University students + janitor + one professor and it worked very well as a "not-too-simple" introduction to CoC. The adventure is very flexible: you can make it straightforward and easy for your players, or very complex/ hard, depending on what are your needs. It is very well written and has a lot of potential for linking it with other MU-related scenarios (e.g. from Doors to Darkness). 4Acrossisemu mentioned Crimson Letters and I also think it is a good starting point.

If you need something for more experienced players, I would suggest an old but great supplement, The Great Old Ones. It has five scenarios that can be played as one campaign. It would probably need more work than 7th edition adventures, but seeing faces of your players when they reach the last one, Bad Moon Rising, is absolutely worth it.

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Our Call of Cthulhu group began as you did with the three Starter Set scenarios and then The Haunting. After that, we moved on to the four scenarios in the Keeper Set slipcase: Amidst the Ancient Trees, Crimson Letters, Missed Dues, and then finally Blackwater Creek. Returning to Arkham from Blackwater Creek, we ran the one-shot Dead Light scenario. We are now in Doors to Darkness, on the second scenario, "Genius Loci." All of this was about a year's worth of biweekly Saturday evening sessions.

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In case you didn't know about them: Daniel Harm's The Cthulhu Mythos Encyclopedia is an invaluable resource for Keepers wanting to understand the lore of the Mythos better. 

There are also two major Podcasts with an incredible backlog of tips for running the game: The Good Friends of Jackson Elias Podcast, and The Miskatonic University Podcast. Both have major authors/designers of Call of Cthulhu as hosts.

Edited by klecser
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13 hours ago, Tranquillitas Ordinis said:

If you need something for more experienced players, I would suggest an old but great supplement, The Great Old Ones. It has five scenarios that can be played as one campaign. It would probably need more work than 7th edition adventures, but seeing faces of your players when they reach the last one, Bad Moon Rising, is absolutely worth it.

It's been a very long time since I have played any of the scenarios from The Great Old Ones, but I was just thinking about it the other day. Has there been any discussion of a new edition of this supplement? If it's not on the "to be updated" list, I wonder how challenging it would be to update to 7th edition rules... 🤔 

Edited by Defile959
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Copies of the Great Old Ones are difficult to find, but it is available on DriveThru. I don't recall that specific supplement being on the "short list" of updates that have been referenced by Chaosium employees at Cons. I want to say that Shadows of Yog-Sothoth is near the top of the list of old campaigns to get a redux?

Regardless, Black Moon Rising is a classic scenario and deserves a look.

Edited by klecser
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We're starting another one-shot (which will probably take us several weeks to play through)... Blackwater Creek. I'm struggling with it a bit though - it feels as though it wasn't properly proofread/edited - for one thing, the handouts are supposed to be in an appendix, but they're scattered throgh the text and, though Page 8 refers to a "history of Cade (Blackwater Handout 6)" I can't find it anywhere in the PDF!! Anyone know where it went? Anyone know of a source of 'pretty' handouts for the scenario please?

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On 6/15/2020 at 6:35 PM, Phil Hendry said:

Hi folks,

My group of experienced role-players/friends (we’ve played together for 30+ years) decided, on lockdown, that playing our usual sort of combat-orientated games was probably not going to work - particularly as one player is a complete technophobe and really wouldn’t cope with Roll20 or any of the other on-line tools for playing (don’t tell me they’re easy - I know - this is a phobia we’re talking about: ergo it’s not exactly rational)...

You can also check out this thread below, where I asked for advice around playing with a group of more role-playing oriented rather than combat-oriented players. In it, there are links to other threads, and discussions you may even want to build on. Keepers even discuss how they have built campaigns out of solo scenarios, which truly helped me think about what I wanted to do.

 

Edited by Fred
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21 hours ago, Phil Hendry said:

We're starting another one-shot (which will probably take us several weeks to play through)... Blackwater Creek. I'm struggling with it a bit though - it feels as though it wasn't properly proofread/edited - for one thing, the handouts are supposed to be in an appendix, but they're scattered throgh the text and, though Page 8 refers to a "history of Cade (Blackwater Handout 6)" I can't find it anywhere in the PDF!! Anyone know where it went? Anyone know of a source of 'pretty' handouts for the scenario please?

Answered by @ColoradoCthulhu in a thread from March (forum search can help): 

Quote

3. Where is handout nr 6, I realized after a while that it is the background text on page 5, maybe a small text telling it is handout 6 like the other handouts.

You're correct. On page 8, there is a reference to "information regarding the history of Cade (Blackwater Handout 6)," which is then nowhere to be found in the print version of the scenario's pages. However, there is a "Summary of The Confessions of Ezekiel Cade," Blackwater Handout 6 in the PDF version of the scenario near its end, on page 40.

So, if you don't have the PDF that sucks. I would contact Customer Support and ask them if they would send you the Handout.

There are audio recordings of the Handouts posted at Blasphemous Tomes:

https://blasphemoustomes.com/downloads/

@Mike M there is no reference to this issue in the Errata document for the Keeper screen pack.

Edited by klecser
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22 hours ago, Phil Hendry said:

We're starting another one-shot (which will probably take us several weeks to play through)... Blackwater Creek. I'm struggling with it a bit though - it feels as though it wasn't properly proofread/edited - for one thing, the handouts are supposed to be in an appendix, but they're scattered throgh the text and, though Page 8 refers to a "history of Cade (Blackwater Handout 6)" I can't find it anywhere in the PDF!! Anyone know where it went? Anyone know of a source of 'pretty' handouts for the scenario please?

Dear Phil Hendry,

It is funny, I have completely missed that handout when running the scenario. However, I wanted to connect "Blackwater Creek" to "Amaranthine Desire" from the "Nameless Horrors" so I added one handout of my own. It is a letter of the Hawkins widow, that she had not been able to send to prof. McTavish, her lover from the undergrad (in my campaign McTavish is much older), before she was killed. Inside she explains the story of Cade and of the artifact from the "Amaranthine Desire" scenario. I am not sure how useful it might be to you, but maybe could serve as an inspiration. Here it is: Hawkins Widow Letter.pdf

The link that klecser provided has also a pdf version of the "Journal of Roades" (find a link at the bottom), which I found useful. I have created letters using HPLHS templates for MU letters, but was too lazy to rewrite the "books" handouts.

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4 hours ago, klecser said:

@Mike M there is no reference to this issue in the Errata document for the Keeper screen pack.

Many thanks  - I have updated the errata for the Scenario Booklet from the Keeper Screen Pack to include a note about Blackwater Handout 6 - and included the full text of the handout for those that require it.  Please see errata thread.

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