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Valyar

Which campaign would you recommend me to run (conditions apply)?

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Thanks to Seth Skorkowski and utterly boring business trips and living abroad, I discovered the magic of Call of Cthulhu roleplaying game and since then I was lucky enough to have a group where I introduced the game. The system perfectly fit the spirit of the game and we had great success with the short adventures I ran for them: The Haunting, The Derelict, Missed Dues, Blackwater Creek, Dead Light and Amidst the Ancient Trees. I also played in few very old, from the ancient days such as Uncle Timothy's Will. Everything was a blast! I also linked few of those together, so some players carried over their investigators (or to be more precise - gangsters :) ).

Now, the group (we play online in FG only) wants me to run something longer than adventure or two. They want a campaign and I have no more room to maneuver. I also want to introduce the game to my second face to face group, but condition applies there:  there are people who don't want to play one-shots or short adventures, and the only way to introduce and hook them is by having something longer.

Having said that, I am looking for recommendation from more experienced with CoC campaigns community members. I want to run a single campaign for both groups... :) I did my research and I can outline the following campaigns that seem commercially successful and can deliver longer playtime. I didn't put the "Two-Headed Serpent", as my plans for Pulp is to introduce it after we are done with this and the players are eager to test something new.

  1. Shadows of Yog-Sothoth
  2. Beyond the Mountains of Madness
  3. Masks of Nyarlathotep (the new one)
  4. Horrors of the Orient Express

People suggest to start with "Shadows of Yog-Sothoth" as it is light compared to BtMoM and MoN. They recommend to prepare the stage for this campaign by connecting "Edge of Darkness" to it my making Merriweather member of the Lodge or even use "The Haunting" (Mr. Clerk as the lawyer who sends the investigators to Corbitt's House).

Other suggest me to ignore those and go for the loosely connected adventures in "The Trail of Tsathogghua" or "The House of R'lyeh". The overall feeling is that HotOE and MoN require significant efforts from the Keeper, due to the huge cast and also capital investment, which I prefer to avoid at the moment. Also I will have a lot of things to add to Fantasy Grounds, as those are non-existent as modules.

I really don't have physical time to read every suggestion, watch every stream on YouTube and most importantly - purchase everything just to check it, so any recommendation, advises are welcomed. :)

 

 

Edited by Valyar

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I haven't run any of those in their entirety yet (I've only run pieces of MoN and HotOE as part of my own campaign) so I can't give you a specific recommendation. I'm just posting to say that it makes me happy that you've played the game and enjoyed it with a group. I'm excited to hear about your continuing experiences. :)

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I wouldn't start with Shadows of Yog-Sothoth.

Its the earliest campaign ever published and appeared soon after the CoC rules debuted, so its a first attempt at the campaign format. It's little more than a series of barely connected scenarios.

I ran it back in the 1990s and interspersed the chapters with other scenarios to make the transition between chapters less jarring. I dropped the 'worm that walks' chapter as that is an investigator death trap. If I was doing again, I'd keep the Twilight, Cannich, Hollywood, Easter Island and R'lyeh chapters and replace the others with something of your own devising that connected them together.

If you want something out of the box and less work, I'd recommend something not on your list, 'Day of the Beast'. It's playable with just the PDF and is on a lesser scale than MON or HOTOE.

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Thanks for the suggestion. There is no condition to be something from the list, therefore I will try to check it and see where it is available.

Indeed you are right on the meat-grinder that is "The Worm that Walks", it is even stated in the introduction that few should die and I was a bit surprised.

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I ran Shadows of Yog-Sothoth when it was first released. My players and I had an amazing, top-notch experience with it. I agree that Masks and Orient Express will require a huge amount of effort to run. By contrast, Shadows was a breeze to run.

If you're playing CoC, I would say that you should expect PC attrition. If you don't like that, either change the rules or the scenario. But that doesn't make Shadows any less than a great campaign choice.

Alternatively, I would suggest Arkham Unvelied / Miskatonic University as a great campaign setting. If you want an over-arcing struggle against a Big Bad, it's simplicity to introduce.

Good luck to you and your players.

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6 hours ago, Gundamentalist said:

If you want something out of the box and less work, I'd recommend something not on your list, 'Day of the Beast'. It's playable with just the PDF and is on a lesser scale than MON or HOTOE.

Day of the Beast is not available as a PDF currently and it routinely goes for 100 plus on eBay.  Sold out on Noble Knight.

Edited by klecser

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I'd also suggest running The Day of the Beast aka The Fungi from Yuggoth - it's a great campaign and a nice introduction for both you and your players to campaign-style play, if you can pick up a secondhand copy somewhere.

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100 bucks for second hand module is a bridge too far. I will stick to what is available today in digital or in print. Thanks for the suggestion so far.

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Give pulp another look for one particular reason, it's so much easier for characters to survive, and thus the same character last for an entire campaign. I'm running 2HS for that reason with a newer group. Also for me the keeper there's some great content out there, such as Seth Skorkowsky's youtube videos on it and even better, the How We Roll podcast liveplay through the campaign that really helps paint a picture to how to run these things.

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17 hours ago, klecser said:

Day of the Beast is not available as a PDF currently and it routinely goes for 100 plus on eBay.  Sold out on Noble Knight.

I wasn't aware of that, I had assumed that Chaosium had PDFed it.

Looks like its a good candidate for a 7e update and reprint then.

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Have you looked at A Time to Harvest, the free organized play campaign from a couple years back? https://www.chaosium.com/a-time-for-harvest/

We had a pretty good time with it. Bit-sized campaign chapters that don't require a ton of Keeper work, but provide all the essentials: clues, big cast of NPCs, maps and plans, and tons of terror-filled moments. Chapter 2, set in Miskatonic University, and chapter 5, which includes a spectacular other-worldly summoning, are especially enjoyable.

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3 hours ago, Matt Ryan said:

Have you looked at A Time to Harvest, the free organized play campaign from a couple years back? https://www.chaosium.com/a-time-for-harvest/

We had a pretty good time with it. Bit-sized campaign chapters that don't require a ton of Keeper work, but provide all the essentials: clues, big cast of NPCs, maps and plans, and tons of terror-filled moments. Chapter 2, set in Miskatonic University, and chapter 5, which includes a spectacular other-worldly summoning, are especially enjoyable.

Thanks for this suggestion, I was not aware of this! I will definitely check it. Do you know if the investigators can be with different than student occupation?

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I've run each of these several times, and my recommendations (in order) are:

  1. Masks of Nyarlathotep: highly recommendedthere's tons of resources for it, everyone is running it now, and it's available for Fantasy Grounds.
  2. Horror on the Orient Express: very well made, if you can get a hold of it. The players are 'railroaded', but this is a good thing (especially for newer groups and GMs).
  3. Day of the Beast: less expensive if purchased as Fungi From Yuggoth (same campaign). Also, HPLHS has a deluxe prop set that can (mostly) be used with it (if you don't mind that they use different dates)
  4. Beyond the Mountains of Madness:  hard to run, focused on NPCs, and set in the 30's. If you really desire to run it, better to do so after your 20's campaign(s) (also: let your players play the central NPCs)
  5. A Time to Harvest: I don't believe this is still available. I was not happy with it (definitely felt unpolished). Better to wait until it's published as a dead-tree product.

I haven't run "Shadows of Yog-Sothoth", "The Trail of Tsathogghua" or "The House of R'lyeh" yet, but since those are already on Fantasy Grounds, they sound like better options for you to start with.

Edited by mvincent
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If it is still available, “Murder in the Footlights” was a free download from Chaosium briefly presenting a simple mystery that could be played straight or in a Scooby Doo-ish manner.

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Fungi from Yuggoth is a great "easy" campaign to start with, I would recommend this without hesitation. Easy plot and characterisation with a teriffic conclusion.

 

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On 5/8/2019 at 3:04 PM, Valyar said:

Thanks for this suggestion, I was not aware of this! I will definitely check it. Do you know if the investigators can be with different than student occupation?

I'm sure with a little finagling you could pull that off. I can see private investigators or investigative newspaper writers easily slotting into the scenarios. Chapter one includes enough "missing student" elements to include those roles. Might be more challenging using non-students in later chapters, but far from impossible. I can't remember if the authors included suggestions for other investigator characters; you might have to alter it yourself.

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My recommendation is SHORT.

If this is your first attempt to run CoC and your players are new also I would not begin a campaign that will take months of real time to play out.

I would suggest something smaller for a first outing. 

Berlin the Wicked City is a good starter and can be run as a mini-campaign.

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