Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Call of Cthulhu session report

I finally got to game again (tentacle fist-pump)!  This was last weekend.  The twins are over 2 months old now and things finally settled down enough where I could organize a monthly session of roleplaying.

I gave the players their choice of games, a variety of stuff that I already had and knew how to run.  The first voters chose Call of Cthulhu.  Figures, that's the one game that can't be GMed on the fly.  I had little time to prep, probably a total of 2 hours.  That was barely enough time to read through a scenario, let alone take notes and consider changes.

I decided to just create a new scenario from scratch.  One hour spent creating the basic framework the night before and another hour fine-tuning it the day of.  Below is a quick rundown of what happened.

If you're interested in my Call of Cthulhu hack, check it out.  It effectively cut our character creation time and effort in half.

The characters were an odd assortment from the 1920s - gangster, archaeologist, journalist, occultist, etc.  I read over the motivations in Trail of Cthulhu.  When I came to the entry for "ennui," I braced listeners for my ignorance on how it was pronounced.  Minutes after learning that it was pronounced "on-wee," I purposely referred to it as quinoa... which made everyone laugh.

It began with a ski trip to the Alps organized by The Outdoors Society - a Miskatonic University club.  The PCs were on the ski trip for a variety of reasons.

After the obligatory warning that something ominous might happen (a comet was seen overhead last night), the PCs were settled into the ski lodge, either socializing or retiring for the evening... when some kind of starship landed a mile away.

These icy shoggoths with tentacles shambled out of the ship, attempting to grab a human specimen from one of the many onlookers.  That specimen just happened to be the party's Austrian bodybuilder.  There was a struggle, a second alien, and a couple of NPCs getting melted by a milky discharge that came out of their tentacles.

Luckily, all the PCs made it out ok.  The aliens decided to cut their losses and flew away in their ship.  However, the force from their departure caused an avalanche!  Two of the PCs were buried in snow.  Thankfully, they were buried out in time and all returned to the lodge.

A year later, each of the PCs receive a telegram inviting them to Herr Zandyke's castle in Austria.  Herr Zandyke being an alumni of Miskatonic and generous donor, everyone attended.

Upon arrival, the celebration was in full swing.  About 50 attendees were present and all wearing fanciful masks.  One was a peacock with shimmering blues and greens, but also suckered tentacles hanging from where the mouth should be.  Another was a demonic spider with bulbous scaly head and membranous sacs inflating and deflating as the mask wearer breathed.

Each of the PCs was being wooed to join a certain faction and wear a particular mask pertaining to that faction.  Unfortunately, I didn't have time to work out the intricacies of these factions, but I want to flesh that out in the near future if I run this scenario again or self-publish it for The Outer Presence.

Regardless, the PCs ended up below the castle on the shore of a subterranean lake.  At the center was a small outcropping of rock, a grotto which contained something of great value.  Each PC was given a ceremonial knife and locked down there for an indefinite amount of time.

Deep Ones came for those who stayed on the shore and another Deep One protected the grotto from those who tried to swim to it.  One loss of sanity was so great the character went temporally insane. A swimmer almost drown; being at zero hit points from a vicious claw attack, he fell unconscious before reaching the rocks.

Luckily, the occultist swam over to save him before he drowned.  Meanwhile, the others were trying to break through the door in order to get back into the castle.  Thanks to the bodybuilder, they managed it.  Taking out a couple of cultist guards, stealing a car, and engaging in a high-speed chase / firefight.

Eventually, the PCs evaded the cultists and flew back to the United States.

It turns out that 3 of the players had never played Call of Cthulhu before.  So, it did my RPG fanatic heart good to pop a trio of tentacled cherries!


p.s.  For the record, "69" was rolled 5 times over the entire evening.

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