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The Edge of Darkness

CoC 1-6e

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#1 drone232

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Posted 11 March 2015 - 06:55 PM

My brother is having a birthday party a week from today and I plan on doing "The Edge of Darkness" from the back of the 5.5 edition of the rulebook. It will be the third scenario I have kept and I would like to know everyone's experiences with it. I want to make the expereince as memorable as possible. Only my brother has actaully played the game before (he plays a french antiquarian). What are everyone's experiences, opinions, and comments on the game so that I may better this scenario for when I run it. I will post the results here in the blog section or possible record the scenario. 




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#2 NFVD

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Posted 12 March 2015 - 12:40 AM

In my most humble, limited but unreserved opinion, "Edge of Darkness" is absolutely the very best CoC introductory scenario ever. It is vastly superior to "The Haunting" which for some bizzare, unexplained reason seems to always top the charts. There isn't much advice one can give as it practicaly runs itself but here's what I counsel:

 

 

- Have each player tell everyone else around the table where their PC knows Ruper Merriwheather from and why he is an important person in their life. It is good to have the man's dying wish imparts a sense of duty on each PC, no matter how odd it sounds, and makes the scenario more meaningful. Involving each player personaly in the process rather than simply saying "you really respect this guy" works for the better.

 

- Make sure to have Rupert impart on the PCs and their players) that the farm house creature has to be dealt with NOW. This isn't a scenario that allows extensive research taking whole days before getting to the actual problem.

 

- Have the diary handouts from Merriweather be read aloud by a player to the rest of the group. For some reason new players would always get enraptured by their fellow's reading when I ran this.

 

- Remove the De Vermiis Mysteriis/Miskatonic connection from the scenario. It is a useless red herring that will waste time. Or, have Prof. Armitage be away in a conference somewhere and unavailable during the scenario's timeline, making access to the Miskatonic rare book collection impossible.

 

- Don't have the zombie of Maggie McPhirter bother to pretend to call for help when the ceremony is underway. Have bang on the door or on a window instead.

 

- Expect a good period of "track covering" after the creature is banished (assuming it is). Even on a successful banishing there is going to be at least one dead body around, maybe more and maybe an insane person.  Everytime I ran this the players spent the better part of a real-life hour dealing with how their PCs would "sanitize" the farm house and make sure none of the events would come back to bite them in the arse (the two most extreme solutions I remember were, on different occasions, burning down the house, and spending the weekend there while cutting a dead body to pieces and cremating them in the fireplace).

 

 

That's about all I can remember right now. Best of luck and do let us know how it went. I'm always up for promoting Edge of Darkness and I hope one day it will be widely recognized as vastly superior to The Haunting.  "A dying old man's last request leads to facing an Invisible spirit from another dimension in an isolated farm house" is movie-worthy material and beats "Boston landlord will give $100 to checkout this house where tenants tend to go apeshit" every time.

 

Also, Mr. Corbitt is a wuss compared to that most ancient of alien evils, the unholy, quasinvisible, horribly twisted, taloned and mawed Egyptian spirit that sprouts and flails multiple appendages, ululating horribly as it makes the very house upon which you stand tremble it its howling, screeching rage at being banished to whatever aeon-forgotten demoniacal abyss it came from, until finally, only its unearthly foulness is left behind like the miasmic stench of some lost and forgotten pre-human stygian tomb where dark, mind-shatering secrets best never seen by the ken of Man are kept hidden till that fateful, far-off day when the Stars Become Right!. MwahahahahaHAHAHAHAHA!!!   :twisted:

 

 

Btw, did I meantion I really like this scenario? :)



#3 drone232

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Posted 12 March 2015 - 01:01 AM

An idea I have is to make the monster not be able to pass through solid matter. Because I think it "might" make it scarier not to just phase effortlessly through unwarded walls, but to BASH effortlessly and invisibley through solid unwarded walls. Of course, since the investigators are supposed to be inside the house all throughout the banishing then that probably won't come into play unless something goes horribly wrong...horribly entertainingly wrong.



#4 NFVD

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Posted 12 March 2015 - 01:22 AM

I would not mess with the the writeup of the monster. Yes, it can pass through walls but the whole house except the attic and roof is warded.  This makes it an inexpugnable haven for the PCs but also traps them inside once they get there. That catch-22 is the whole point of the scene once the party gets to the farm house.

 

As for things going horribly wrong, well brawiling with zombies while the ritual is ongoing ,or the sight of someone be killed by the thing at the very last moment making the rest of the chanters loose their minds can kind of do that. But everytime I ran this the players were successful in banishing the creature.

 

Another word of advice I'd give is to not fudge dice rolls, either way. And do not force an outcome on your players because it sounds "cool" or "scary". Don't kill someone going to the attic, don't make someone seeing the creature at the end go mad. Let the dice decide all those outcomes.



#5 BenJoss

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Posted 12 March 2015 - 12:14 PM

I second this being one of the best introductory scenarios for Call of Cthulhu and I also prefer it to The Haunting.  I've run it three time now to introduce new players to the game and as a starting point for Horror on the Orient Express.

 

It's hard to give pointer as to where it could be improved as in my view it is fairly complete as written.  I've certainly embellished it a little by adding my own handouts of some of the clues, i.e. pages from the journal etc.

 

Good luck!



#6 Professor

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Posted 12 March 2015 - 03:00 PM

Ditto

 

Just play it as written and you won't go far wrong

 

Great scenario and yes, better than the Haunting (which is also very good)



#7 AdamAlexander

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Posted 12 March 2015 - 03:26 PM

I ran The Edge of Darkness with my group a month or so ago as their second case following The Haunting and have to say I and my players much preferred the former. NFVD's suggestion about Miskatonic has merit. My group spun their wheels in Arkham and at MU for a couple of hours of game time, but I used it as an opportunity to introduce a couple of characters from Crimson Letters, which I plan to run soon. Edge is the only one of three adventures we've played that came to a successful conclusion, so by itself would make it my favorite.

#8 NFVD

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Posted 12 March 2015 - 04:15 PM

I never liked The Haunting from the first moment I read it, and I find it hard to belive that most people who played were "baffled" by it as the intro blurb claims. The scenario has potential as a concept but as-is it comes with a host of design problems that a newbie keeper may not notice. But I won't delve into that as thos thread isn't about poo-pooing The Haunting.

 

 

I ran The Edge of Darkness with my group a month or so ago as their second case following The Haunting and have to say I and my players much preferred the former.

 

This sentence is a bit ambiguous, both Edge and Haunting can be interpreted as "former", one chronologically and the other in terms of offer listed. Which one did they prefer exactly?



#9 AdamAlexander

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Posted 12 March 2015 - 04:31 PM

Sorry, we preferred Edge of Darkness. With The Haunting they wound up in a panic and set the house on fire.

#10 NFVD

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Posted 12 March 2015 - 05:21 PM

LoL, that reminds me the one time I saw another keeper run The Haunting. House burning was what happened too. :)  Well, there was less panicking and more general incompetence, and some shooting of shotguns at a flying knife, but the end result was the same.

 

The players had quite a lot of fun with the scenario and were laughing their arses off by the end. But the keeper was kind of a douche, one of those "RPGs are serious business and Call of Cthulhu is supposed to be scaaaaary" types that got his training from White Wolf games. He was surly and seemed genuinely pissed that his players were enjoying themselves and laughing.  He never ran CoC for that group again, which was his loss, as they were the most active players in town and gamed any systems they could get their hands on. Most of them were also GMs themselves.



#11 AdamAlexander

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Posted 12 March 2015 - 06:15 PM

That's definitely not my approach. I thought it was funny myself. In our game Sunday they had one conversation with Mr. Rooger in The Madman and hightailed it back to Boston saying they weren't cut out for the countryside.

#12 Emrys

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Posted 12 March 2015 - 09:35 PM

Handouts are, of course, a boon in CoC games.

One thing I wish I'd done when I ran Edge of Darkness was provide the players with the words which they have to keep chanting. We settled on "Chanty chanty chanty. Chanty chanty chanty" repeated ad infinitum. Even with these silly words it was remarkably effective with real panic when one of the investigators almost stopped chanting to answer a question. I can only imagine how much better it would have been had the chant been rather more immersive.

In hindsight I should have used a Lorem Ipsum generator and provided handouts with something along the lines of:
 

Morbi in dui tempor, ultricies purus et, feugiat libero. Fusce nibh diam, mattis sit amet venenatis vel, venenatis quis sem. Sed sit amet volutpat lectus. Vivamus quis elit vel quam sodales maximus. Nulla ligula lorem, lobortis nec orci id, sodales ultrices diam. Aenean massa odio, auctor ut ex et, sagittis iaculis quam. Aenean eget leo vel velit pellentesque dignissim eget at leo. Nunc id egestas risus, in malesuada sapien. Donec venenatis condimentum dui in hendrerit. Morbi tempus risus vel justo vestibulum, molestie blandit metus consequat. Praesent ac augue sit amet urna cursus eleifend. Vivamus quis massa id orci sodales eleifend. Cum sociis natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus.


The handout would, of course, be in barely legible handwriting so that the investigators aren't 100% certain that they're chanting the right words (but that goes without saying).
Nightmares in Norfolk did come back, albeit briefly, with a brand new group of investigators! Why not visit and see if you see when I went wrong (and, for the love of Dagon, comment)?

#13 NFVD

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Posted 12 March 2015 - 10:39 PM

You mean you made your players LARP the chanting?



#14 Emrys

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Posted 12 March 2015 - 11:16 PM

You mean you made your players LARP the chanting?


Yep. Worked a treat.
Nightmares in Norfolk did come back, albeit briefly, with a brand new group of investigators! Why not visit and see if you see when I went wrong (and, for the love of Dagon, comment)?

#15 AdamAlexander

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Posted 12 March 2015 - 11:46 PM

Brilliant!

#16 drone232

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Posted 13 March 2015 - 03:04 AM

I understand that the scenario states that it requires four players, but can it be done with three if I only have three who happen to come?

 

That's definitely not my approach. I thought it was funny myself. In our game Sunday they had one conversation with Mr. Rooger in The Madman and hightailed it back to Boston saying they weren't cut out for the countryside.

The last game I ranwas the Madman and the investigator who had learned summon dimmensional shambler just had it kill most of the mi-go while the others fled. In that game, I also tried to play as seriously as possible and stressed that the players not be funny. But that was only because one player was being unnescesarilly silly. While he went to see Rooger, she went to wander the town so I split up the players. She mostly just shopped at the town's market place, and then found and befriended a stray dog. When she did meet back up at Rooger's house, she attempted to convince the other player to investigate a dead body she supposedly found (she didn't) and didn't reveal what little information she did find.



#17 NFVD

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Posted 13 March 2015 - 06:45 AM

I understand that the scenario states that it requires four players, but can it be done with three if I only have three who happen to come?

 

I don't know why the scenario states that at the start. It could technicaly be run with as little as two PCs, one to chant and another to keep watch. Or maybe even just one if he barricades the house.  I'm not saying I'd recommend it, just that it could be done.  With 3 PCs you should be fine; I think one of the times I ran it I only had three players too. And they were all newbies, not just to CoC but to RPGing in general.

 

 

I also tried to play as seriously as possible and stressed that the players not be funny.

 

I think you are mistaking silly and funny. The former does not imply the later and it is unfair to funny players that they cannot be so because of a disruptive element.

 

And that female player doesn't sound silly at all. She sounds like she's high, drunk or simply took upon herself to derrail the game...or maybe some combination of those. Shopping? Stray dogs? Lying to the party about dead bodies and not sharing information? What the heck?...



#18 AdamAlexander

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Posted 13 March 2015 - 10:50 AM

I understand that the scenario states that it requires four players, but can it be done with three if I only have three who happen to come?

The last game I ranwas the Madman and the investigator who had learned summon dimmensional shambler just had it kill most of the mi-go while the others fled. In that game, I also tried to play as seriously as possible and stressed that the players not be funny. But that was only because one player was being unnescesarilly silly. While he went to see Rooger, she went to wander the town so I split up the players. She mostly just shopped at the town's market place, and then found and befriended a stray dog. When she did meet back up at Rooger's house, she attempted to convince the other player to investigate a dead body she supposedly found (she didn't) and didn't reveal what little information she did find.


We had four for Edge, but that was more by accident than design. You could do it with three.

About your shopping player all I can say is sometimes players do the unexpected.

#19 drone232

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Posted 13 March 2015 - 12:51 PM

And that female player doesn't sound silly at all. She sounds like she's high, drunk or simply took upon herself to derrail the game...or maybe some combination of those. Shopping? Stray dogs? Lying to the party about dead bodies and not sharing information? What the heck?...

She is my sister and she very much just enjoys being silly. She also enjoys Bram Stoker and Edgar Allen Poe so I assumed she would like horror roleplaying. In the first roleplaying scenario I ever ran (Trail of Cthulhu) her character (a mentally unstable private detective she created) went to a bar with another investigator to interrogate the bartender. She had her character get drunk, begin dancing in a drunken stupor, and then pass out. The scenario was resolved monophobia style with the remaining player. Still, I have hope that she may one day take a scenario semi-seriously enough.

 

More importantly, I have a question. I know that in real life, people can be startled and thus momentarilly stop what their doing. Can this be said for when the players are chanting. Can I have them roll to see if they didn't stop chanting when the house rattles, the zombies start bashing at the door, the players get dripped on by acid. That last one seems like a POWER roll to remain focused is needed to see if the player remains chanting whie weak acid burns them. 



#20 NFVD

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Posted 13 March 2015 - 07:42 PM

She is my sister and she very much just enjoys being silly.

 

My advice is to not game RPGs with family members, unless you are playing exclusively among family members. I also advise against having romantic interests or couples the gaming table.  Everyone else's milleage may vary, but due to my empirical experience I would now refuse to play in a group where one of the players is a relative/romatic interest/spouse  of the GM, or where two players are married or romantically involved.  People can simply not avoid being affected by the nature of those interpersonal relationships, it will bleed into the game and eventually bite you in the arse...unless the game ends before that.

 

her character (a mentally unstable private detective she created)

 

Bingo! We have a Malkavian fan here. Making lunatic characters even before the game starts that are useless and/or disruptive is grounds for not allowing that person in the game.

 

 

I have hope that she may one day take a scenario semi-seriously enough.

 

Well, hope springs eternal doesn't it?  Seriously, you are in for a world of hurt.  From what you have said this behaviour was not a one-time occurrence, she has a tendency to do it and since she is your sister she knows she can can away with this kind of stuff to a degree that you would not tolerate from someone else. 

 

You should give her an ultimatum that if she doesn't start taking the game seriously she must leave. She'll most likely refuse, or pretend to agree and then pull crap again, and be expelled from the game leadign to some grief and bad blood between you two. Or you can bow down, keep tolerating her bad gaming and hope the rest of the players don't have an issue with either her antics or the preferential treatment she's getting from the GM.

 

Good luck either way.

 

More importantly, I have a question. I know that in real life, people can be startled and thus momentarilly stop what their doing. Can this be said for when the players are chanting. Can I have them roll to see if they didn't stop chanting when the house rattles, the zombies start bashing at the door, the players get dripped on by acid. That last one seems like a POWER roll to remain focused is needed to see if the player remains chanting whie weak acid burns them. 

 

The players will already have to make SAN rolls for the house trembling and the zombies, and Luck to avoid the acid. I wouldn't make them roll anything else (and it would reek of setting players up for failiure). However, if you are hit by the acid or jumped on by a zombie then there is no roll needed to determine you can't keep on chanting. It is impossible to chant when your are screaming due to the pain of 1st and 2nd degree burns or having an undead gnash your flesh.







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