Call of Cthulhu | Blood king Rising - Entry 1 (Investigators)
Jenny is a self-made woman.
She's been a con-artist and grifter, but slowly built up a reputation as a locator of esoteric material and set up her own bookshop from the proceeds.
Jenny likes the good things in life and has an eye for valuable objects - she is especially interested in supposedly magical tomes (they sell for the most money to buyers with deep pockets).
She is currently a director of M.A.D. (Malloran, Astrid & Dargo) Investigations who investigate strange occurences - usually in and around Boston.
She didn't believe in the supernatural (it was just a good story for suckers around a seance table) but now she's experienced so much that is unexplainable, she has had to revise her opinion.
Carla is a woman who has faced adversity and overcome it against all odds.
She rebelled against her restrictive parents at a young age, went wild, and ended up in prison for a bank robbery in which the love of her life was killed.
When she was released, she ran into more trouble and was saved by Jenny. She then worked as Jenny's bodyguard and driver.
Circumstances changed for her when she became a director of M.A.D. (Malloran, Astrid & Dargo) Investigations. She has taken this opportunity to gain a first-class education in a wide variety of topics - all so she can do her job better.
Corwyn is rich.
He inherited his money and his company after his father committed suicide.
He is a man who believes that people just need the right environment in which to become the best that they can be.
He started his own investigation firm to give him something interesting to do and has never looked back.
Nearly a decade ago, he met a group of strangers who banded together to investigate some peculiar goings on - if only to save their own lives.
Five years ago, he closed his own investigation firm and brought those strangers (now his friends) together as directors of a new firm: M.A.D. Investigations.
His life has never been more interesting.
Call of Cthulhu
This is the second time my adventuring group has ventured into the world of Cthulhu.
The first time consisted of an introductory adventure - where I learned how to be Lore Keeper (just a little different from DM) - followed by a longer set of adventures that pitted them against a cult leader, a very dangerous artefact, and an equally dangerous mob leader with mutated children.
That first set of investigations were pretty much a side-quest from the AD&D campaign that they've been involved in for the last few years. Their adventurer's souls merged with a set of investigators and gave them a bit of insight into the type of monster they were ultimately facing. In game, they forgot all about what they had been (retaining only dream snippets and odd intuitions). Out of game, they enjoyed the experience as it flexed a different set of mental muscles from AD&D.
When the investigation was over, they wound up back in their original adventuring bodies and fought to prevent an eldritch entity from entering their plane of existence at the side of an Angel (who they had rescued earlier). Their characters again retained a little bit of knowledge of their other selves, but essentially went on as though nothing untoward had occurred. It was touch-and-go for a while, but they all survived relatively unscathed.
When the AD&D campaign reached another end-point, it was time to revisit the CoC investigators. Time had passed. Approximately 9 years. Their investigators were more seasoned, more confident, and more aware of the dangers surrounding them. I needed to give them a feel for what had happened to their characters in the intervening years and provide a kind of hint as to what they would be facing, so I wrote a little bit of a story for each of them.
AD&D to CoC
There were six original investigators and, for this game, we were adding a seventh. Someone who had never played CoC before (and was also new to AD&D) - so they had to be younger, less experienced in some ways, but still capable of looking after themselves when push came to shove (or fist came to tentacle).
What Are They Investigating?
I needed some time to revamp their AD&D character sheets, so I needed to pick a decent size scenario. I also needed something that could be tied in to the events occurring in the AD&D world (Besk) without a great deal of readjustment. Looking through the modules I had available, I was left with pretty much just one.
Masks of Nyarlathotep.
Yep, second time out of the gate and I'm picking the biggest, scariest story. Based on my reading, experienced Lore Keepers have balked at running this one.
But, the benefit I have is that I don't have to use all of it, and it is quite easy to make it work with a nasty piece of work known as the 'Blood King' rather than the multi-faced Nyarlathotep - though there is absolutely no reason they can't be the same being. I just add in a few events for colour and let the investigations unfold as they will - steering only when absolutely necessary (and as subtly as possible).
Amount of Preparation Needed
What always gets me about Call of Cthulhu is the amount of preparation time needed to keep on top of the investigations.
First, there's the reading (and re-reading and re-reading) of each scenario.
Second, there's the mapping of the various clues - who has them, where they can lead - just to make sure that there is a cogent and reasonable set of pathways through to the endgame. You would not believe the number of times my players have started at what should be the last set of clues in a logical sequence, forcing me to think fast and map out another way to the end without spoiling their game (or bringing it to a close before they've even had time to get a taste for it).
Third, there are the handouts. I have generated some handouts for my AD&D sessions, but CoC relies on so much more. It's all very well just photocopying the dull and boring handouts as they appear in the module, but it's much more fun for the players to hold a page or two of a broadsheet in their hands and have to work out which article is the one they need to focus on. Photographs should be printed on photo paper. Letters should be "handwritten" and rumpled from being read so many times. Notes taken in haste should be nearly unreadable and have coffee stains. Telegrams should look like telegrams. Matchbooks should be matchbooks, etc.
I've seen the deluxe handouts that have been generated for this adventure, but the cost is prohibitive to get them delivered to this side of the world. Not to mention the fact that I'm taking liberties with times, dates, people (to some extent), so I need to create my own variations. In later posts, I'll provide pictures of what I've managed to do.
In further posts, I'll finish introducing the investigators and their introductory stories, then I'll record how the investigators went about their business. It's going to take a while and more than a few nerves will be shot by the end of it, I'm sure.