View Full Version : Call of Cthulhu - Replacement Character

2009-06-21, 12:58 AM
Hello all.

My current face-to-face diversion is a game of Chaosium's famously lethal Call of Cthulhu. Tonight, my Miskatonic astrophysicist and would-be megalomaniac mage was introduced to the business end of a Mi-Go ray gun while trying to rescue a friendly rancher from their depredations. Somehow, the rest of the group survived (and even the NPC victim, dammit), which means I get to roll up a new investigator. Since I don't really have any concepts in mind, I thought I'd ask the playground's opinion.

If it means anything to anyone, we're playing through the "Spawn of Azathoth: Heralds of the End of Time" campaign module. Currently, the group is investigating a highly suspicious observatory in Garrison, Montana that is looking for the star "Nemesis", which everyone, including my late character, seems to believe is going to bring about the destruction of Earth by passing too close to this solar system, only no one can find the damn thing. Garrison is also home to sasquatches, hillbillies, a now-deceased Mi-Go scouting party, and whatever plot-important thing the Mi-Go were looking for. I heard the GM let slip "Seed of Azathoth".

Only requirements are that the new character has some excuse for being in Garrison, Montana, or can reasonably meet up with the group when they travel back to their homes in Arkham or to their next planned stop, Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

I really liked this previous character: his knowledge in physics and astronomy was really relevant to this part of the game, and having a high Int and Pow, and a skeptical, scientific attitude toward Mythos lore, made for a lot of potential to learn awesome magic tricks (should have used a Dimensional Shambler as a meatshield, really, but I didn't have time to summon one). I just like playing smart characters who are probably going to go insane versus physical characters who are probably going to get killed - this guy's death was more bad luck than throwing himself into combat regularly.

2009-06-21, 12:14 PM
Nothing? No help?

Okay, anyone play Call of Cthulhu?

2009-06-21, 12:23 PM
You entirely neglected to mention the era!

Just pick one of the basic trope characters that's not already in the group: professor, antiquarian, librarian, private detective, police detective or patrolman, artist, idle rich, medical doctor... and so on. Pick a skillset the others don't have, so the characters have a reason to involve you.

Involving the character will require the Keeper's help, or it's going to be really awkward. Basically, the character needs to be tied to the ongoing plot somehow. Through the other PCs can work, too - just agree with a shared background and get asked to help with some specific thing, then get drawn in.

2009-06-21, 12:24 PM
Ah yes, I forgot to mention, it's the 1920's.

2009-06-21, 12:34 PM
I've played an awful lot of CoC over the years. I recommend playing a janitor at the observatory. A blind janitor. Maybe deaf, as well. In fact, forget the janitor job... a blind, deaf man living in China... yeah, China might be far enough away from Montana.

It probably wouldn't hurt to be illiterate, too. And you certainly don't want any trace of curiosity.

2009-06-21, 12:38 PM
It would be easier if you told us your characteristics. I mean, I assume you are running by the book and rolling the characteristics in order, right? I find CoC's concept of using the characteristics as inspiration for the character works really well.

Otherwise, some of the more memorable characters I've seen in my group were:
- a German officer, highly conservative, from a noble family, sent to the USA as spy, and the most bad-ass character I have ever seen in any game, ever. His reaction to Mythos entities: "Still not as bad as Verdun (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Verdun)."
- a doctor of medicine, who however was not entirely competent in his area of expertise, more of a charlatan, and more interested in seducing women than healing people.
- a young good-for-nothing heir of a rich family, an occultist to the bone - horoscopes, seances for contacting spirits, feng-shui, magical properties of crystals or light, bizarre philosophies, there was no superstition or odd belief in which he did not engage, and his life consisted of huge parties he threw for likewise minded rich people.

2009-06-22, 09:44 AM
If you want another party sorcerer, create a theosophist. Nothing says "period occultism" quite like that.

2009-06-22, 12:48 PM
Winterwind: I hate basing a character on rolls, and will probably browbeat my GM into using the optional "fit characteristics to a concept" rules until I get something that fits what I like.

Theosophy is intriguing, but its wiki page is kinda tl;dr just to base a character with a life expectancy of two sessions off of.

2009-06-22, 01:03 PM
Theosophy is essentially the late 19th/early 20th century version of New Age crap: karma, reincarnation, crystals, astral projection, and everything else mashed into a ridiculous cross-cultural melange of nonsense philosophy and faux-wisdom. It's really easy to do because it's so inclusive.

2009-06-22, 01:06 PM
When I need a quick replacement character for CoC, I usually go for the classic.

The previous character had a brother/sister/uncle/father/friend. This someone has heard of the previous character's mysterious (or gruesome) death.
He/She needs to find out what happened. He/She travels to wherever the game takes place, finds the surviving characters and joins them to bring peace to his/her predecessor.

Not so subtle, but effective.

2009-06-22, 01:13 PM
Here's an idea: the old character had life insurance. The company isn't that keen to pay it out, so they have a private investigator check out the circumstances. That's your new character. You've researched the group and their circumstances, and determined something odd and secretive was definitely going on, so you're going to infiltrate them under an assumed identity and figure it out. Then you get pulled into the insanity surrounding them...