Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Greetings fellow Cultists!

Just last night, I had the fantastic opportunity run A Time To Harvest episode 1, so I thought I'd share with you all my experiences and thoughts about the adventure. Before I begin, I will mention that I ran ATtH with six players; I usually run Cthulhu games with three to four. Two of the players were new to Call of Cthulhu; one played other RPGs before, the other had played none before. (Cult mission: accomplished!) Naturally, I played the game with the 7th-edition rules in which the campaign is published.


I ran the entire episode in one session; it lasted me about 10 hours all in all; this included a brief dinner break and character generation (I used the point-buy system from the core rules), so I would say about three-quarters of that was the game itself. The devs weren't joking when they said that it was long, but I didn't mind: nobody realised the time until it finished and we looked at our watches to find that it was 4 am! I could have cut more from the game, but I chose to balance time with immersion as I wanted Cobb's Corners to make a lasting impact on the players. I repeat: the writing and the story was so solid that the players really didn't care one iota. It was brilliant.


The game was really well written, and Dean's props were magnificent. All in all, from a writing point of view, I thought it was really fun, but I also found the structure to be quite strongly 'on rails'. I have not run a Cthulhu campaign before, and not knowing what comes next made it difficult to keep things on track without breaking immersion. Nonetheless, the events were very clear and very easy to run because of their clarity. I would have liked to prepare a little more and re-arrange a few bits and pieces in the scenario; I thought the setup was difficult to move through as Joe was the first character mentioned but the last I introduced, and a description of Cobb's Corners would have been nice to have repeated within the scenario itself. Perhaps even putting info about Cobb's and Miskatonic (which we have been promised for episode 2) into a separate 'campaign supplement' book would have been nice.

I found the zoogs to be the hardest creatures to describe as I found the descriptions lackluster in the book. I chose to do the classic Cthulhu trick: vague description. This proved to be quite reasonable.

I found it very difficult to keep them on track towards the end. After Joe died and they killed the drunk (who attacked them in the night) and had found bones under the flower bed, a few of them were keen on simply packing up and leaving. This was eventually accomplished, but not the way they wanted. I think they found this part to be a bit of a stretch, and the weakest point in the 'railroad' for this adventure. (Understand: railroading is in many ways important. I am not against it, but one must be very cautious with it so that the players maintain the sense of agency. This was what was stretched - the sense of agency - toward the end).


I opened the game with a military march playing (see MUSIC below). I had all my players line up as Blaine did the roll call. Everyone enjoyed this aspect. I also gave everyone a note pad with which to jot notes. Because I'm running one session a month, I don't expect people will remember all of the details, so giving them paper to take notes was useful as it helped them order their thoughts but it also means they can look back over them later -- and boy did they take notes! They had a blast with that!


Throughout the game the characters were split in two groups. To run this, I had two rooms of the house organised for the game. One group would leave for the other room when they split up to the dig and the folklore-ing. This was tricky, and I could have done this better. The folklorists had a lot they wanted to get done, and took a lot of time to do it, humming and hawing as they went through. I would have liked to cut this short - have them interview unnamed PCs - and then have everyone spend some time in town to talk to named ones together. This is something worth trying for next time. Beyond that, the splits worked really well, as everyone compared notes afterwards and discussed their options in a way I haven't seen before.


They fell for Jason's witchcraft and were really suspicious of him from the get-go (they found him reading occult texts in the truck). Suspicion quickly fell on Blaine, too, but then they lost suspicion when he gave them whiskey.

They did not fall for Sarah's shade, though they did chase up the doctor's vampiriphilia.

They also noticed the large number of children's deaths. They kept trying to chase up the folklore stories but I did not have much to give them (and the more I gave them, the hungrier they were. They kept returning to Wendell with another scandal so they could search through obituaries to see if the people really had died or not). They believe at the moment that there are sacrifices, and the children are being sacrificed to the things in the hills.

They have no idea what is going on, though some Dreamlands talk is going around when I gave them points in Dream Lore.


When Jim attacked the farmhouse things got very out-of-hand and two investigators suffered a major wound. Nobody died, but the zoogs dropped one investigator to 1 hp after she was separated while running from the moon-beast. No-one was unscathed, though after healing only two characters remained seriously wounded.


I selected tracks for each main 'scene'. If anyone is interested in my choices, please find them below.

Scene                         |  Song - composer/OST

Blaine's Debrief             Palmetto Quickstep - performed by the 2nd Carolina String Band

Vermont Country           Naval - Yann Tiersen

The Farm (day)             The Land of Wind and Shade - Homestuck Gaiden - Land of Fans and Music

The Farm (night) AKA THE DREAMS        Neji - Elfen Lied OST

Cobb's Corners I           River Waltz - The Painted Veil OST

Cobb's Corners II AKA FOLKLORE        The Trap - Chad Fifer's Sense Impacts

Deputy Cutter AKA THE TOUR         It Don't Mean A Thing - performed by Duke Ellington

Ghost Stories                 Core Chant - Meredith Monk (True Detective OST)

The Deluge AKA NOAH'S FLOOD         EIRE - Yann Tiersen  (plus storm sounds from YouTube)

The Accident                 AMAZONA - Epic Soul Factory Volume One (plus the YouTube storm sounds)

The Bellweather Witch    Main Title - Fahrenheit OST

Sugar Maple Serenade   The Promise of Shadows - Peter Gabriel

The Moon-Beast              Water Snake - Sphere OST

Cabin in the Woods          Adgt Vpaah Zong - Dante's Inferno OST

One Way to Go Down (Blaine clears the farmouse)             The Whisperer - Chad Fifer's Sense Impacts

Chaos (Mi-Go Attack)       The Necromorphs Attack - Dead Space OST

Jail/Professor Harrold       Ben Heals Kerrigan - Jeff Beal (Carnevale OST)

End/The Train AKA TIME TO HARVEST THEME      When Johnny Comes Marching Home - Canadian Brass


The players still don't know what happened at the dig/the farmhouse, as most of them were in the forest. Only one player chose to go to the dig site, and she ended up fleeing for her life. Harry Higgins accompanied her for a bit, but when he fell and broke his ankle, she left him for dead.


I think we're in a good place for the next scenario. I can't wait to get my hands on it! This is a five-star product, and the props, the writing, and the roll-out are all to Chaosium's credit. Have we got the next Big Campaign on our hands? It certainly feels like it. I highly recommend this to any Cthulhu GM.


Edited by Ebon
Fixed some formatting that I missed
  • Like 6
Link to comment
  • 1 month later...

Thanks for sharing this, @Ebon

On a side note, I apologize for necroing this, but I just joined the Cult and I found a few posts that have some awesome information and help on running the scenario. Only way I found that allowed me to "mark" a post for future references is replying to a post so I can mark it and see it in "My Activity Streams -> Content I Follow".

If only there was an Activity Stream of "Content I Liked"...

Link to comment
  • 1 month later...
  • Create New...