View Full Version : How do you end a Cthulhu game? (Any system)

2010-09-02, 08:21 PM
How do you end a Call of Cthulhu game if the PC's dont's go insane? Epic battle with the big bad? Noo. Saving the world from its inevitable fate? Noooo... Really, how can you end it in such a way that maintains the mood of the game and mythos, but feels awesome and satisfies the PCs? Anecdotes, ideas... All are welcome. Thanks in advance

2010-09-02, 08:24 PM
Pyrrhic victory is the most common way I've seen.

Having some member of the party, PC or beloved NPC die or go insane, is a nice way.

But with that there is always the sense that they have only delayed the inevitable, not stopped it altogether.

2010-09-02, 08:27 PM
End with the vague implication that they are about to be killed through possibly unknown means briefly after you finish up.

2010-09-02, 08:29 PM
A cosmic horror game is not complete until all the protagonists are locked in an asylum screaming "the darkness comes!" :smallcool:

Lord Vampyre
2010-09-02, 08:36 PM
A cosmic horror game is not complete until all the protagonists are locked in an asylum screaming "the darkness comes!" :smallcool:

And a few of the players, if you can manage it.

2010-09-02, 09:06 PM
With the few surviving P.C.s crippled and mentally scarred fro life and just glad to have got through the experience alive and sane

2010-09-02, 10:12 PM
I wouldn't pull some other punishment out just because they didn't go insane. They are probably less sane than when they started, so there are negative consequences for the characters. If they finish/defeat the adventure and are still somewhat sane, then yay! Congratulations! Your character has survived an encounter with some unspeakable eldritch horror! Your character now gets to spend the rest of his life having nightmares about it and being isolated from the community if he ever tries to tell the public about it (because they won't believe him).

That's an appropriate ending for a cthulhu game when they aren't insane. And you can use the characters again for another adventure some time later. They'll already have a good background, having experienced (and overcome!) some kind of horror in their past. Which makes them more likely to go insane this time round. :smallsmile:

2010-09-02, 10:28 PM
Send them to the Far Realms, to keep fighting. That way you as the player have "won" in the sense that you aren't dead and you are making (an admittedly small and futile) difference by continuing to fight back.

2010-09-03, 02:11 AM
The longest CoC campaign I ran - about two years real time - began with a minor conflict with something that looked like a Freemason Lodge and ended with the draft for the First World War, heavily hinting that they all gonna die. Not by supernatural means, but as a result of the trench warfare.

Zen Master
2010-09-03, 02:19 AM
Hm ... well I always assumed you killed everyone.

It doesn't truly strike me as Cthulhu if the players win, even a little bit. Sure, they should have their moment of partial victory, but then ... total dismemberment by tentacles and teeth.

Or in other words: They should succeed in saving the world, but only at the cost of their own lives, in some suitably messy way.

2010-09-03, 02:23 AM
Actually, since almost all Cthulhu stories are told from a first person perspective, and usually take the form of a report or interrogation, and in many cases the protagonists are alive and mostly quite well. This whole "everyoen will be driven insane - insaaaaane!" nonsense is pretty much an invention of the game and doesn't feel right from a purist perspective. It is also quite ridiculous.

2010-09-03, 03:28 AM
With tentacles. Squamous or otherwise.