A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Orc in the Playground
     
    AssassinGuy

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    Dec 2015
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    Wyoming

    Default Preparing to run a CoC flavored game- Tips?

    Greetings all,

    I am getting ready to run a 1-shot that is Call of Cthulhu flavored, but not with the actual RPG system from Chaosium.

    It is flavored much more like a Hammer gothic horror movie, with some mythos elements. Any tips for how to pull off a good 1-shot for something like this? How to set the right theme and tone?

    Thanks in advance.
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  2. - Top - End - #2
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Batcathat's Avatar

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    Nov 2019

    Default Re: Preparing to run a CoC flavored game- Tips?

    In most horror fiction, the people in it usually start out as regular people who don't know about anything supernatural, so if you think it could work (and that your players would be okay with you tricking them a little) it might be fitting to present it as something more mundane and have the players start realizing what's going on at the same time as their characters.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Orc in the Playground
     
    AssassinGuy

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    Dec 2015
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    Wyoming

    Default Re: Preparing to run a CoC flavored game- Tips?

    Great idea, but the nature of the game was revealed in the pitch meeting. :(
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  4. - Top - End - #4
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    SamuraiGirl

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    Jan 2019

    Default Re: Preparing to run a CoC flavored game- Tips?

    What time period are you setting this in? 19th century? 60's era Hammer? Or modern day?

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Orc in the Playground
     
    AssassinGuy

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    Dec 2015
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    Wyoming

    Default Re: Preparing to run a CoC flavored game- Tips?

    1890's in upstate New York (i.e. not the city)
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  6. - Top - End - #6
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    SamuraiGirl

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    Jan 2019

    Default Re: Preparing to run a CoC flavored game- Tips?

    Ambience helps a LOT. Darken the room/have the players shut off their lights if this is over Zoom (playing by monitor light is surprisingly effective). Build up how isolated it is upstate New York with fog and towering trees and cobblestone roads. Modern day conveniences we take for granted aren't gonna be in use. Literal gaslighting is still a thing...which means being affected by gas leaks from a poor connection can be a thing. Is it some eldritch beast from beyond or are you just overwhelmed by fumes?

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Orc in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

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    Feb 2016

    Default Re: Preparing to run a CoC flavored game- Tips?

    Quote Originally Posted by Easy e View Post
    Great idea, but the nature of the game was revealed in the pitch meeting. :(
    Or you could do the reverse and have their suppositions be superstitions, Sherlock Holmes style.

    If you need some more action minded inspiration than Sherlock Holmes, the french movie "Brotherhood of the Wolf" from 2001 did a quite RPG'ish take on the genre, starring the werewolf of Gevaudan as the antagonist.
    Last edited by Misereor; 2022-04-26 at 06:43 AM.
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    What is dead may never die, but rises again, harder, stronger, in a later edition.
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  8. - Top - End - #8
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Mar 2022

    Default Re: Preparing to run a CoC flavored game- Tips?

    Quote Originally Posted by Misereor View Post
    Or you could do the reverse and have their suppositions be superstitions, Sherlock Holmes style.
    It would be awesome if they came for CoC but ended up in a Scooby Doo story - "So the mad fish monster was Caretaker Parker all along!"

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Orc in the Playground
     
    AssassinGuy

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    Dec 2015
    Location
    Wyoming

    Default Re: Preparing to run a CoC flavored game- Tips?

    That would twist their expectations.....

    Good advise so far. Thank you. I am running it tonight, so I will let you know how it goes.
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  10. - Top - End - #10
    Orc in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

    Join Date
    Feb 2016

    Default Re: Preparing to run a CoC flavored game- Tips?

    Quote Originally Posted by ImmanuelRant View Post
    It would be awesome if they came for CoC but ended up in a Scooby Doo story - "So the mad fish monster was Caretaker Parker all along!"
    "And that dark stalker of unfathomable madness you encountered? A flashlight and some cotton balls"
    "But it ate my character! I had to put a bullet in my brain to escape the horror of being eaten alive!"
    "Well, that's the power of belief for ya'..."


    Or for a darker twist, maybe the players were escaped mental patients, and the monsters they killed along the way were peaceful citizens and farm animals minding their own business. (Or possibly wind mills.)
    Last edited by Misereor; 2022-04-27 at 05:06 AM.
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    What is dead may never die, but rises again, harder, stronger, in a later edition.
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  11. - Top - End - #11
    Orc in the Playground
     
    AssassinGuy

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    Dec 2015
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    Wyoming

    Default Re: Preparing to run a CoC flavored game- Tips?

    I got to run the game last night and it went well. I had a single 3-hour session, and to unravel all the mysteries a second session would probably have been needed. However, we managed to get to the a suitably CoC climax with 2 characters losing their minds, 1 dying from wounds, and 1 barely escaping as everything burned up around them leaving them isolated and alone far from help in the winter.

    The first 1 hour was setting up atmosphere, introducing NPCs, and teasing the mystery. The next 1.5 hours was investigation and interactions. Oddly, the party split up and all went their separate ways investigating leads. This forced me to run 4 different mini-adventures with a lot of spotlight shifting and may have led to some of the games pacing issues. This led up to a 30 minute climax. I am 100% certain that the Players did not have all the pieces together, but they knew enough to confront the bad guys and trigger a narratively satisfying climax.

    The players leaned into the 1890s setting really well. All their characters were legit, with no joke characters. They took the game seriously, and embrace the fact that it was essentially a death/insanity spiral. I think I did a good job setting the spooky, gothic atmosphere; but the I was not happy with the pacing of the game. Too much was left unresolved or undiscovered; and I barely got to place them into sanity destroying positions; but it must have been enough considering the outcome.

    Fun, was had BUT I think I could have run it better/smoother. This was the first game in a long time where I actually did prep work and I am unsure if that made it better or worse!

    If you want my 1 page Rules Lite NOT CoC rules, PM me and I can send you the 1 pager. If you are a total masochist, I can also send you the 10 page adventure to run for your group.
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  12. - Top - End - #12
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Batcathat's Avatar

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    Nov 2019

    Default Re: Preparing to run a CoC flavored game- Tips?

    Nice to hear it went well. In my experience, games where the party have to solve mysteries are tougher to pace properly in general, since it's hard to tell how quickly the party will proceed, as they might miss the obvious and solve the nigh-impossible in moments.

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Orc in the Playground
     
    AssassinGuy

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    Dec 2015
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    Wyoming

    Default Re: Preparing to run a CoC flavored game- Tips?

    A player suggested that next time, when character lost insanity, they should be allowed to ask the GM one question about what is going on. Essentially, as they started to go mad, they gained greater insight into the nature of the horror/plot around them.

    I thought that sounded pretty cool. Anyone have experience with anything like that?
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  14. - Top - End - #14
    Orc in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

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    Feb 2016

    Default Re: Preparing to run a CoC flavored game- Tips?

    Quote Originally Posted by Easy e View Post
    A player suggested that next time, when character lost insanity, they should be allowed to ask the GM one question about what is going on. Essentially, as they started to go mad, they gained greater insight into the nature of the horror/plot around them.

    I thought that sounded pretty cool. Anyone have experience with anything like that?
    Yup, but we had to make a check. The player decided what kind of check, and our GM would give us something related to that check.
    Also, we could only check when the SAN loss was permanent. Permanent knowledge = permanent SAN loss.

    I suppose if you lost the memory (Knock on the head? Therapy? Substance abuse?), you should then be able to regain your SAN, but that's another disussion.
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    What is dead may never die, but rises again, harder, stronger, in a later edition.
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  15. - Top - End - #15
    Orc in the Playground
     
    BarbarianGuy

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    Mar 2020
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    Texas
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    Male

    Default Re: Preparing to run a CoC flavored game- Tips?

    Nothing specific to add to the OP, but Seth Skorkowsky has very good advice on running a proper horror game.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0SG01FV_zd4

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