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The Eternal Champion (--ish)


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Hivemind, I need some ideas. I am about to start a 7e CoC campaign with my friends. Back in the olden days, we played 2nd ed. CoC and Stormbringer. I would like to try and create a multiverse campaign that springboards off of CoC. The PCs would have different avatars, or iterations, of their characters in different worlds (like the Dreamlands, a fantasy world, a sci-fi setting, etc.). Sounds cool, right? Michael Moorcockian. 

Here is my issue: the CoC guys die really, really easy. So I have them spin up a few variations of a central character (the main avatar would be in the Dreamlands, since--in my thinking--that's the world that all others have in common) but in session three, the CoC guy gets splattered by something gooey. Now they need a new character, BUT, they already made a bunch connected to said splattered by gooey CoC guy. See what I'm saying?

Any thoughts or work arounds? I was thinking that, maybe, instead of an individual, it could be like a family or bloodline. Not sure. Ideas are most appreciated.

I would also like to say that role playing, Chaosium, and D&D5e have kept me sane during the pandemic. So that's a positive.

 

GothmogIV

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When I ran the Masks of Nyarlathotep, I decided investigators were all members of an "explorators club". One of my players even decided to use the Dalton brothers (those from the Lucky Luke belgian comic book, not the historical ones) basis for his characters. 

However, it was only really introduced in the first session of the campaign, and when I remembered them months after that they could introduce characters through that club, they vehemently said that club had never been mentioned...

Edited by Mugen
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10 hours ago, GothmogIV said:

Here is my issue: the CoC guys die really, really easy.

This bit is easy to get around, use Pulp Cthulhu, players are essentially Indiana Jones - punching Deep Ones in the face then running them over. Plus if you want a multiverse spanning CoC / Million Spheres type adventure - and I did mention this years ago. But Cthulhu does not need to be same beast in every universe. In some he would be a space alien, in others more akin to a god (Into the Void), but when all is said and done, in a full Million spheres adventure, he is from a higher dimension, and could easily be Pyray's brother.

For each different set of timelines, have magic work in a particular way - so in CoC use Grand Grimoire, they could into Runequest then use their magic. But if players ever learn sorcery - the ability to control the energies of the multiverse that trumps everything. But you may need to devise some caveats on that.

Edit: In fact you could have a set on timelines for each D100 product, each time the Mythos is reflected through a different lens. It would allow you to present both the Mythos, and the Higher beings in a different light every single time.

 

Edited by RogerDee
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2 hours ago, soltakss said:

I have never had an Investigator survive past 1 session in CoC.

Never saw the point in that to be honest.

Playing the victim gets really old, real fast. It is okay now, and again, but long term boring AF.

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5 hours ago, soltakss said:

I have never had an Investigator survive past 1 session in CoC.

I’ve never understood why anyone plays or runs any RPG with such ab approach... but then, I don’t understand why people play RPGs at conventions either.

*shrug*

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5 hours ago, soltakss said:

I have never had an Investigator survive past 1 session in CoC.

Wow, this sounds to me like a dungeon crawl keeper running CoC. In my last CoC games, I ran 5 (published) scenarios over 18 sessions. No one died. Admittedly a few investigators were nearing a degree of madness, but that is the point of the game. One received a gunshot wound (minor), another was badly beaten by another investigator with a hockey stick (madness related) and one fell down some stairs in the dark and broke some ribs. There were a few other minor hit point losses. 

17 minutes ago, NickMiddleton said:

I don’t understand why people play RPGs at conventions either.

Tournament games can be a lot of fun, where everyone knows the limit of the scenario and are competing to be the winner. I myself am not keen on one-off scenarios unless they are demos for new players. The one-off scenarios I have enjoyed were the Blood Brothers books.

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17 hours ago, GothmogIV said:

Any thoughts or work arounds? I was thinking that, maybe, instead of an individual, it could be like a family or bloodline. Not sure. Ideas are most appreciated.

There's a whole chapter about this in the Investigator Handbook - Chapter Six: Investigator Organisations. It gives ideas on how to set up your players and provides 9 examples of organisations, that you can use as is, adapt or just inspire:

Quote

This is where investigator organizations come in. Investigator organizations provide players with a framework on which to construct meaningful, long-term groups. An organization can take any shape, and there is a wide spectrum of reasons as to why such groups might exist and what their ultimate purposes might be. e essential ingredient is that such a group gives players a concept in which they can create groups of investigators who have a reason to work and stay together to defeat the Mythos.

 

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2 hours ago, David Scott said:
8 hours ago, soltakss said:

I have never had an Investigator survive past 1 session in CoC.

Wow, this sounds to me like a dungeon crawl keeper running CoC.

Different GMs, different games, same outcome. I once ran away from cultists, through a wood, fumbled my run-away roll and ended up impaled on a branch. I am lucky like that.

OK, one Investigator survived, but he was shrivelled, or something, so had a useless arm and leg, so immediately retired.

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Even with published CoC scenarios, no need to dungeon crawl to lose characters. On the Orient Express, no starting character went further than Venezia. 100% were dead, even with no monsters, nor cultists.

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19 hours ago, Chaot said:

Just trying to understand. You plan on killing off the PCs in the third session?

No, no, not at all. It’s just that they tend to die much more quickly than, say, D&D. I think I came up with a good idea for a solve! Thanks to all for the input. 

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I think it's a style...

I am in the camp that have a hard time killing players.... Though I plan to be more merciless for my upcoming scifi campaign... but I plan t have lots of NP kind of around the NPC.. and good hospital...

A player killer need good social skill to have player coming back.. but I guess if everybody is expecting it and on board... plus it's real horror that way ^_^ 
As long as the story is good hey? :) 

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There was a CoC adventure called Ripples from Carcosa which had three Hastur-related adventures set at different times, from medieval to the far future. The investigators in each were linked by a kind of 'past lives' effect. The Dreamlands can also be a nexus which can link different realities, and even allow them to co-exist.

My experience of Call of Cthulhu characters has always been somewhere between 'they die in the first session' and 'they survive an entire campaign'. I've found that you need some sort of connection between your old investigator and the new. If a character dies mid-campaign, there needs to be an excuse for a new person to associate with his or her presumably increasingly crazed and paranoid former colleagues with minimal friction. Old friends or relatives of the deceased adventurer are quite good picks, or someone who might have been in close correspondence with them. That way the new Investigator can justify knowing some things the former one did etc. You could also use some kind of past lives/nephilim or mystical (maybe via the Dreamlands) connection.

Referencing the Eternal Champion, remember that there was also an Eternal Companion to the Champion as well -- a Moonglum for every Elric. In Call of Cthulhu, characters are ordinary men and women. Not everyone has to be the Hero. In game terms that gives every player (at least) two mystical analogues in every plane.

Edited by Questbird
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20 hours ago, soltakss said:

I have never had an Investigator survive past 1 session in CoC.

I heard this many times, indeed, but saw it only a few times, as a player and as a keeper. As a CoC keeper, I ran many CoC campaigns (Masks, The Mountains of Madness, Realms of Shadows...), and I always tried to translate Lovecraft spirit if not the "letter". Then, in Lovecraft stories, the main characters usually survive - it's so much awful to remember the truth than dying... I think there's a balance to find there. In my campaigns/one-shots, only a few circumstances ended in the death of investigators:

  • one-shot scenarios made especially for that with pre-gens characters. Fun from times to times, but do not abuse!!!
  • real real bad decision of a player, who kind of forgot he's playing CoC, like attacking directly Nyrarlathotep's manifestation in the Kenya chapter of the Masks (and not after a failed SAN check, I must precise). Honestly, I saw that only one time!!!
  • one (or several) player(s)' decision to kill another. Example: at the end of the Mountains of Madness, the party abandoned one investigator on the ice floe because of his homicid madness, and after that, another one in the german zeppelin when they blew it away (and they DID remember their fellow investigator was still there!!!). Then it was their only chance to overcome the Germans, and it was the very last session of the campaign...

And I never killed an investigator for just a failed check, even a fumble. Mutilations and madness are far more fun (and then I have no mercy!!!)... 😁

Edited by Loïc
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In the Masks campaign I mentioned above, I also had a huge number of PCs deaths.

But, to be honest, I think I was nice to them, as they were always too brash and jumped into every occasion they found to die or otherwise have their character disappear in space and time. On the other hand, one of my players was careful enough to lose only 1 character.

Edited by Mugen
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On 8/22/2020 at 5:14 PM, GothmogIV said:

No, no, not at all. It’s just that they tend to die much more quickly than, say, D&D. I think I came up with a good idea for a solve! Thanks to all for the input. 

Ok good. Sorry. I was having trouble parsing your post.

On 8/21/2020 at 7:01 PM, GothmogIV said:

Now they need a new character, BUT, they already made a bunch connected to said splattered by gooey CoC guy. See what I'm saying?

Any thoughts or work arounds? I was thinking that, maybe, instead of an individual, it could be like a family or bloodline. Not sure. Ideas are most appreciated.

I would also like to say that role playing, Chaosium, and D&D5e have kept me sane during the pandemic. So that's a positive.

Couple of ideas.
First. If the main character dies, can they be replaced with one of the ec clones they've already created?

Second. Instead of creating these multidimensional clones, what about just coming up with a generic description? You have the main character, then you have 'the cybernetic kiltsman', ''the tree-hugging wizard', 'the land whale hunter', and whatever else. Doesn't matter if the original character dies, when you meet the tree-hugging wizard it will be the EC of whoever the current character is.

 

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On 8/22/2020 at 11:51 AM, NickMiddleton said:

I’ve never understood why anyone plays or runs any RPG with such ab approach... but then, I don’t understand why people play RPGs at conventions either.

*shrug*

Probably so that they can try/get a taste of a game that they otherwise don't get the chance to play.

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On 8/21/2020 at 7:01 PM, GothmogIV said:

See what I'm saying?

Yes. I think what you need to do is run a form of BRP that is more heroic than CoC, and closer to the Eternal Champion cycle in terms of style and tone. The EC and his companions usually don't die off until the end of current saga. RogerDee's idea of Pulp Cthulhu isn't a bad one either. It does the same sort of thing by making the PCs larger than life heroes who can get away with more than a typical Lovecraftian (weak) hero.

Want you want is to present the Cthulhu Mythos as it would be done by Michael Moorcock rather than H.P. Lovecraft. You can look at fringe Mythos stories written by other authors to get an idea of the feel. For instance, Robert E. Howard used some Mythos stuff in his Conan stories. 

On 8/21/2020 at 7:01 PM, GothmogIV said:

Any thoughts or work arounds? I was thinking that, maybe, instead of an individual, it could be like a family or bloodline. Not sure. Ideas are most appreciated.

Well other than the above, some other alternative would be to come up with a way for the PCs to come back from the dead. Some possibilities:

  • The PCs are some sort of otherworldly beings that can inhabit/possess a mortal body. When the body dies, they move onto another body.
  • The PCs magically reincarnate. This works well if the PCs are some agents of a cosmic power such as the Balance and have to do something.
  • The PCs are somehow immortal, and either cannot die, or don't stay dead when they do die.
  • The PCs are clones and when one dies the next one get's activated to replace it. This could involve the Mi-Go, who are monitoring the PCs memories and keep everything updated for the new clone.
  • The PCs are androids that resemble humans. In this case they can be repaired when damaged, and they upload their memories to a central computer which can program a replacement, if needed. 
  • The whole thing takes place in a virtual reality, perhaps as part of a training exercise before the PCs go out into the real world. Whenever thewy fail the programmers try something else.
  • The PCs have some sort of time travel device that acts as a panic button, allow them to jump back in time a bit to avoid death or other unpleasant outcome. Think Groundhog Day.

Note that any of the above could work without the players being aware of the specifics. They could be surprised and puzzled when, after a grisly death, they wake up an hour or so later  (or earlier) in perfect health.

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6 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

Probably so that they can try/get a taste of a game that they otherwise don't get the chance to play.

Given how important the personal dimension is to my Roleplaying I cannot imagine the circumstances in which I would do such a thing. Role playing is something I do with friends, not strangers. I can think of few things more unappealing than trying to roleplay with a group where I do not know anyone else.

Edited by NickMiddleton
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On 8/22/2020 at 8:51 AM, NickMiddleton said:

... I don’t understand why people play RPGs at conventions either.

*shrug*

When I go to a con, I look (generally in this order) for:

- my favorite games; because I can find new/interesting takes on my favorites, and come home enriched

- particular games I'd like to play, but haven't / cannot because my local group(s) / player(s) aren't interested or I haven't convinced them; or because something in the game has me stumped or bollixed in some way, and I want an "example of play" to educate myself.

- particular games I *might* like and *might* be able to recruit a group, as a "try before I buy" (full gamesystems are getting damned expensive these days!)

- interesting blubs/teasers in the Con schedule that intrigue or inspire me

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