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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

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.

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Make it less obvious the bodies were eaten, misdirect everyone into thinking there’s a horrible disease loose. Make it a big town.

Town goes into quarantine, enforced by the army (quarantine was deadly serious back in the days of smallpox and plague).

Your bad guy could be one of many selling patent medicine cream containing exotic herbs to ward off the sickness. 

Edited by EricW
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Hey, welcome to the forums, @Dracona!!!

1. First and foremost, a caution to know your players!

A plotline that centers on rape & forced-impregnation may be a hard-Nope for some (notwithstanding "but it's a horror game, dammit!").   I've known players for whom that would be a "never again play with that GM (even as a player), under any circumstances."   Yes, plotlines have broken gaming-groups; I've seen it happen... 

Even if it isn't a Nope, it may provide some very-touchy areas for play.  I know (for example) that for my own wife, anything that has cast "offspring" (children) as evil-monsters-to-slay is FAR over the line into non-fun... she'll probably be a "good sport" and finish a game if everyone else is enjoying it, but would NEVER play that game again (scratch CoC from the "can ever play that" list).

Possibly take a leaf from the Alien playbook:  make it more like an implanted parasite.  Yes, one or two of the brothel prostitutes goes missing... 

... but so does the town drunk... and one of the PCs' key informants/witnesses/allies... and a ne'er-do-well miner... and the schoolmarm... and one of the chinatown settlers, who were abandoned there when the railway was done with them... and the bullying son of a local VIP-type... and... and...


2.  +1 for "Down Darker Trails" -- this is the Wild West Cthulhu book!  There's also a town-sourcebook for DDT -- Shadows over Stillwater.


3. Also check out -- for BRP, not CoC, but 90% compatible! --

  • Devil's Gulch
  • Blood & Badges
  • Aces High
  • Aces High New Mexico


4. Inspire from Dreamlands &c -- a good solid nightmare can be terrifying!

 When the players go to sleep one night, run a horror-adventure in which they all die (everyone in the town becomes zombies, the PC's take a Heroic Last Stand in the saloon or the jail or whatever, but the zombies break in and eat them alive) -- they wake up in cold sweats in the middle of the night, and are shocked when/if they discover they all had more-or-less the SAME dream.  The next day, the Mayor (or whoever -- but featured prominently in the dream, as an extra-tough zombie) keeps TSK'ing through his teeth, and complaining of something stuck there he can't get loose...

Another night, have them dream about some fancy olde-timey (i.e. Regency-Bonaparte era, or roughly USA War-of-Independence; or any other era that suits your fancy (Cthulhu Invictus in Rome???  Cthulhu Dark Ages???)), and just straight-up run an adventure there.  Use the same NPC's; some in similar roles but some in wildly-different roles.  Tie in some element of their Pleasant Valley situation, provide a clue to the mystery, etc; but it's just a dream (or is it?).

The town itself gets much creepier if they have the zombie-imagery to go with it; if they look around at everyone there and wonder if the olde-timey dream was somehow prophetic, and what does it mean that the brothel-madame was a Regency Grande Dame, the train-station manager was a murderous duelist, &c &c &c...?


5.  Cross-pollinate from Deadlands (any edition, as you're just after fluff/ideas, not mechanics)  -- probably the biggest & most-supplemented of the "Wild Weird West" Horror/Western RPGs.


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Thank you @g33k and @EricW

I think combining your two ideas would make for great fun. With medicine anyone can get the enzyms needed for the babies inside them and making it an injected parasite means anyone can be a target.

one question @g33k
If i do the dream thing does that tend to give too much away of the end plot? or in a horor setting do you find it easier to show the players what they need to prevent makes it scarier?

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5 hours ago, Dracona said:


one question @g33k
If i do the dream thing does that tend to give too much away of the end plot? or in a horor setting do you find it easier to show the players what they need to prevent makes it scarier?

I think the "clues" in a "prophetic" dream aren't to the solution of the whole mystery; they direct the players to the real clues, they cut through the clutter of red herrings or misapprehended clues to highlight what (or who!) matters, etc.  They can be symbolic, not literal.  A dream about meat gone bad & poisoning the town might be about some corruption among the ranch-hands outside of town, or it might be about some "staple" source of strength for the town, that is actually corrupt & undermining them.

I don't think you need to "reveal" the final threat.  Your purple vine growing in the mines might be shown in the dream as windowboxes in town growing a plant with odd purple flowers; maybe which houses have these windowboxes shows where the thing has influence and/or is paying particular attention, etc.

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