Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Twenty Questions About My Campaign - Cthulhu Edition

As I finished up the questions about the 20 questions about my old D&D/Hackmaster campaign, I figure I would do a variant of it for my Call of Cthulhu game.  I started running Cthulhu because it was getting too hard to run a fantasy campaign once a month (at best), with a rotating casts of 3-5 players.  Twenty sessions done over the last 6 years or so, with a rotating cast of over 12, has been great, and for some Doc Millheim and Brian Nichols, the longest running active characters that they've ever had (in real time). 

All scenario numbers correspond with my Call of Cthulhu Campaign Log.
What is the deal with all these different cultists?
Although there are some themes running through the campaign, sometimes we just never get back to some topics.  

In twenty some odd sessions, we've dealt with The (Catholic) Church of Contemplation, two separate Cthugha cults (Georgia, USA and Crete), some dark god being worshipped in Pa and NY during the Revolutionary War, an unknown cult in Brooklyn, another more powerful unknown cult in Queens, and a bunch of wack-a-doos running amok in New York City.  Do they actually need to deal with Mythos creatures?

Where can we go to buy standard equipment?
We are in the greatest city in the world (NYC), so obtaining anything is pretty easy.  As the Mythos knowledge and paranoia starts to kick in, the investigators have developed a penchant for Tommy Guns, Elephant guns, and luggage with hidden compartments.  I guarantee you, this isn't helping them sleep easier at night. In fact, they've already begun the hard road of realization that these weapons are more a burden than a blessing.

Where can we go to get the weird stuff I need for this ritual I found in the book?
They haven't gone completely into "book-learnin'" mode quite yet, but one investigator did find a nice little African curio shoppe in Harlem and picked up a large ceremonial knife that works quite well in summoning a creature from beyond.  Of course, he blew off part of his hand from a weapons malfunction while being accosted by two bums in the nearby alleyway, so perhaps it wasn't worth it.

Who is the mightiest wizard in the land?
They've felled head cultists/Grand Wizards of the KKK with a single shot from a long-range rifle, so as long as they're mortal humans, the group has little fear.  There is a certain trepidation, though, when dealing with New York philanthropist Ambrose Mogens, whom the group has deemed "The 300-Year-Old Witch of New York"  Unimaginable wealth and an apparently immortal soul is not something the group really wants to deal with, especially since they have only the slightest inklings as to his motive and his dark designs with the Mythos.  (Note: All this will be covered in the next episode #19: The Half-Moon.  Release: TBD).

Who is the biggest badass of them all?
Define badass?  In Episode #20, Francis Dresden tries to be a badass, but only turns into a hero, while Mr Piccolo, the Canadian Syrup Salesman, tried the same and turned into Shoggoth food (allegedly).    Most NPC badasses also tend to be short-lived, so I present the three nominees for three different reasons:
  1. Steven O'Hara - Professors of Physics usually don't get into this category, but he has been largely unfazed by all he has encountered, including possibly getting fired at work, and a possible divorce from his pregnant wife.  Let's see: When the rest of the group got captured by cultists/KKK in Georgia (Episode 4-6), he was the only one to escape back North, assemble a rescue party and get everyone back home.  He also was the man who blew off the the head of the Grand Wizard with a single shot... in the middle of the ceremony, right in the middle of his "James Bond" speech.   He's also encountered the Mythos infused research in the physical sciences and not only understood it, but could improve upon it!  Best yet, through it all, he's carried himself in a cool controlled manner more akin to a slow motion walk in Reservoir Dogs than a CoC game.  Outside of his recent issues, which, c'mon, is called the Columbia Turkish Prostitution scandal, that has a badass ring to it, he has actually INCREASED his sanity!
  2. Angela O'Hara - Steven's wife with the remnants of a Pennsylvania Coal fortune.  She's been called in for nagging wife/NPC back up early on, and with a phenomenal shotgun, has blown away walking dead, cultists, and sheriff's deputies with impunity.
  3. Jessica Carson, Private Eye.  While her secret past hasn't come to light, and she's performed admirably since the death of her husband and being thrust into the celebrity limelight, it was episode #10, when the possessed cook attempted to kill the psychic medium trying to exorcise the spirit away, when Jessica calmly pulled off her scarves, walked behind the cook, and choked her the fuck out.  While I create the bulk of the avatar PC concept, I didn't expect her to put a bulk of her free points into Garrote.
What's the biggest monster to be faced?
The Ancient Byakhee (#14-16) and the the Minotaur of Knossos (#20) are the closest things to epic level conflicts.  I don't think they want to encounter anything bigger unless they absolutely need to.

Who is the richest person in the land?
The above-mentioned Ambrose Mogens, although Jessica and Brian know Mr Robert Carrington, a millionaire industrialist with an itching for knowledge of the supernatural.
Where is safe?While the spa Doc Millheim's been staying at is safe, with the group pissing off the 300-year-old Witch of New York, the only safe place left (for know) is the Belvidere Club, an organization of eccentric writers, tinkerers, and adventurers.  Doc Millheim prestige as a successful writer and helped bring the others into the fold.

Is there a magic guild that I can join in order to get more spells?
The group is still putting around with spells, but they do know that they are organizations to have "played" with the Mythos for if not good, then neutral reasons (#2).  They've also learned that the government is aware of some of the Mythos threats, and has dealt with them as early as the 1770's (#3)
Where can I find an alchemist, sage or other expert NPC?
Dr. Bob Wintermute, Professor of History at Miskatonic University, has actively sought the consul of Henry Armitage and Harry Houdini, with mixed results.  The Belividere Club has three crackpots for every legitimate researcher, and it's hard to tell the difference sometimes.  They are still in contact with Paul LeMond, physic medium, from his home in Buffalo, but most of the time it's recordings of his odd dreams that hopefully do NOT foretell the future.  Besides that, they have Robert Carrington's money and industrial research capabilities, noted author Jackson Elias, Rudolph Pearson, Professor of Medieval Literature at Columbia, Eric Bowsfield, Professor of History at Miskatonic, and anthropologist Maurice Petty.
Where can I hire mercenaries?
Wasn't Smitty a mercenary, per se (#3, 18)?  We did run "Red" as a mercenary PC (#6), and I bet with a little luck and a lot of money you could hire the mob (#7, #17)

Is there any place on the map where swords are illegal, magic is outlawed or any other notable hassles from Johnny Law?
So far the group has understood that in remote places, the long arm of the law is more like a midget trying to dunk a basketball.  And don't piss off the Indians, living or dead.

Which way to the nearest tavern?
See the Belvidere Club, under "Where is safe?"  Their Manhattan Juleps are suddenly all the rage.

What monsters are terrorizing the countryside sufficiently that if I kill them I will become famous?
Better worded as "What have the investigators NOT resolved?"
  • The creature in the basement of "The Haunting."  It did kill Adam Mosher, and then disappeared. (#1)
  • Did Professor Merriweather's group die of natural causes at early ages, or were they hunted down? (#2)
  • Why was General Sullivan really sent up into New York after the Wyoming Massacre (#3)
  • There is still a Negro with a magic trumpet, and the mysterious man who gave it to him.  (#7)
  • Where did Dr Ephraim Harris run off to?  Is he still angry that Steven destroyed his dimensional portal? (#8)
  • Did the Great Raspini get vaporized in the same explosion that killed Jessica Carson's husband? (#11)
  • Was the mysterious "IHME" cult a harmless gathering, or something more sinister? (#12)
  • Was Pennywell an isolated incident with a group of rogue soldiers, or were they following orders from much higher up? (#14-16)
  • Is the Yithian threat part of Paul's odd dreams (#17)
  • I'm not even going into the whole "300-year-old Witch of New York" thing again. 
Are there any wars brewing I could go fight?
While there are plenty of wars fought around the globe, the Prohibition era mob wars are just starting to heat up.

How about gladiatorial arenas complete with hard-won glory and fabulous cash prizes?
More like speakeasies and wild clubs to tout your glory and spend your cash?
Are there any secret societies with sinister agendas I could join and/or fight?
I think I covered those earlier in a pretty thorough manner.

What is there to eat around here?
It's New York City in the 20's.  What can't you find?  Although the investigator go up to Sheila's in Harlem for fried chicken.

Any legendary lost treasures I could be looking for?
  • Did the Warlock have a second tower in Newtown, New York during the 18th Century (#3)
  • Did the Wideawakes have any other items from "the future?"  Did the Boston police acquire them, or are they squirrelled away at a different location? (#4)
  • Previously mentioned trumpet that makes the dead rise? (#7)
  • Can one rebuild, nay, improve on Dr Harris? Trans-dimensional portal? (#8)
  • Just what is going on inside the Mogens Institute for Advanced Human Studies (#19)
Where is the nearest dragon or other monster with Type H treasure?
It's Cthulhu.  You can't enjoy your Type H treasure after you lose 60 SAN in one swipe.

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