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Best logical progression of 1920's individual scenarios?

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#1 ThisOldWoodenShip

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 02:22 AM

Hi, I'm relatively new to this forum. Just as a brief intro I've played in two really amazing, long running, CoC games. One in high school and one as an adult. I've run a lot of games, but I've never run CoC before. I'm starting a new group with two players I've gamed with before and two or more entirely new (to me) players who also have RPG experience.

 

Largely due to not knowing who will stay in the game long term and who might play a few sessions and either drop out completely or play only some of the time I would like to run a series of individual scenarios before launching into a long campaign.

 

But there are SO MANY scenarios written I feel a bit overwhelmed. *SPOILERS MAY FOLLOW*

 

From the core rulebook:

 

The Haunting - May want to run this, particularly using some of the Quickstart book's suggestions for tying in other campaigns, but I also realized I could probably use the same technique to drop plot hooks into other one-offs.

 

Edge of Darkness - I definitely want to run this, and probably want to run it first. It is a -really- well written scenario IMHO.

 

The Madman - I personally don't see many ways to run this without either the characters failing/dying or it devolving into a gunfight, which is something I specifically want to stay away from. I don't want my players to think shooting their way out of things is the preferred path (or I'd just be running some other game). I could see them learning more about the Mi-Go beforehand, in other scenarios, and then facing this more well prepared.

 

Dead Man Stomp - The premise is good, but I just got to the part where the first killer basically -must- escape. Of the two players I do know, one -will- play a PI or Police Detective as a Paladin, and if I railroad this part of the scenario will be extremely unhappy. I also don't want to kill him off here, though I would like him to understand running in guns blazing he may die or be seriously injured.

 

Otherwise, I have no idea where to go or what to run. I want to give them some different flavors of scenarios -- trapse into the backcountry to deal with some minor horror, live it up in high society, standard haunted location, face off against cultists, mostly so I can see what they take a shine to the most and decide which campaign to run from there.

 

So, after all that preamble (TL:DR) what stand-alone scenarios would you recommend? What order would you suggest them in? What stand-alone scenarios or campaigns are notoriously bad and should be avoided altogether?

 

Also *SPOILERS*

 

I think I've decided on a running gag for my game... both Edge of Darkness and Dead Man Stomp have an instance of one unfortunate investigator getting showered with blood and viscera. I think I'm going to find a way to work this into every scenario, so when I ask, "Where exactly are you standing?" it should have a more horrific effect than if I'd said, "Roll Sanity."




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#2 Graham

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 05:56 AM

I throw in this magazine published scenario, "From the Trenches" in Challenge Magazine 63 (Available from RPGNow/DriveThruRPG) - IMHO it is a good starter scenario, makes good use of the Arkham sourcebook and it does not have to end in gunplay.

 

Yog-Sothoth Wiki: From the Trenches


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#3 DrMonster

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 06:49 AM

I recommend "Murder in the Footlights," a free download from Chaosium. It is a straight mystery that doesn't require the supernatural. There are also some expansion notes for it at BRP Central.

#4 MrHandy

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 10:01 PM

The Madman doesn't have to end in gunplay. I was in a recent play-by-post of it (http://www.callofcth...forum.php?f=415) where the Keeper allowed a noncombat way to resolve it. There was still some combat in it (my character managed to kill a Mi-Go all by herself), but not much.
 


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#5 rsanford

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Posted 06 September 2017 - 03:56 AM

I highly recommend The Haunting using the revisions found on Scribd. I don't have the link right now but if you can't find it email me at rsanford AT pobox.com and I will send you the document.

#6 boulash

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Posted 07 September 2017 - 12:49 PM

I'm a big fan of Edge of Darkness as an introductory scenario.

 

It is, as you said, nicely written and has pretty much everything a first CoC experience should have, while usually not being that deadly. And it's set in Arkham so you're covered even if your players want to do something else :).

 

It also gives so many hooks for future investigations that you might actually meta-explain that not all leads have to be thoroughly followed, some are just here for the flavour. You can link it to most classic Chaosium campaign (Fungis first comes to mind) or just start elaborating around Merriweather's past and activities. I actually love to use Merriweather's funeral as a setting for whatever cliffhanger I could come up with.

 

I also like "Crack'd and Crook'd Manse", it's more of an atmospheric scenario without much mystery to solve, but is a really good take on the "haunted house" style. It's a nice combo with EoD because it shows the "creep/action" side of the game.

 

I discovered "The Unbound book" here (available from the download section) and while I haven't run one of its scenarios yet, I find them really well conceived and with lots of room for personal touch and integration in a bigger setting.

 

In the "don't" column, beware of older Chaosium scenarios. While some have great stories, many are extremely pulpy and will need major overhauls to get playable. The first example I have in mind would be "Dark Carnival", which gives an interesting and very scary setting but no clear goal and pretty much no chance of survival given the sheer number of baddies around.

 

Shadows of Yog-Sothoth is also tricky, you'll need to work a lot on continuity and links between the scenarios to avoid chokepoints, and probably to skip "the worm that walks" entirely.

 

Even Masks of Nyarlathotep, while being overall absolutely awesome, isn't without its flaws : big choke points with an "end-level-boss" for which you'll need to create alternative ways to deal with than bloodbaths, or very deadly red herrings.


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#7 ThisOldWoodenShip

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Posted 07 September 2017 - 02:59 PM

I'm a big fan of Edge of Darkness as an introductory scenario.

 

It is, as you said, nicely written and has pretty much everything a first CoC experience should have, while usually not being that deadly. And it's set in Arkham so you're covered even if your players want to do something else :).

 

It also gives so many hooks for future investigations that you might actually meta-explain that not all leads have to be thoroughly followed, some are just here for the flavour. You can link it to most classic Chaosium campaign (Fungis first comes to mind) or just start elaborating around Merriweather's past and activities. I actually love to use Merriweather's funeral as a setting for whatever cliffhanger I could come up with.

 

I also like "Crack'd and Crook'd Manse", it's more of an atmospheric scenario without much mystery to solve, but is a really good take on the "haunted house" style. It's a nice combo with EoD because it shows the "creep/action" side of the game.

 

I discovered "The Unbound book" here (available from the download section) and while I haven't run one of its scenarios yet, I find them really well conceived and with lots of room for personal touch and integration in a bigger setting.

 

In the "don't" column, beware of older Chaosium scenarios. While some have great stories, many are extremely pulpy and will need major overhauls to get playable. The first example I have in mind would be "Dark Carnival", which gives an interesting and very scary setting but no clear goal and pretty much no chance of survival given the sheer number of baddies around.

 

Shadows of Yog-Sothoth is also tricky, you'll need to work a lot on continuity and links between the scenarios to avoid chokepoints, and probably to skip "the worm that walks" entirely.

 

Even Masks of Nyarlathotep, while being overall absolutely awesome, isn't without its flaws : big choke points with an "end-level-boss" for which you'll need to create alternative ways to deal with than bloodbaths, or very deadly red herrings.

 

Everyone has given great suggestions, and thank you all in advance.  I am going to run Edge of Darkness on Sunday for a group of players whom mostly have not played CoC ever.

 

I really like the idea about Merriweather's funeral, I had not thought of that one.  I have created Farmer McPhirter as an NPC both to help during the banishing and as a contact/source of info for other dark happenings in the hillcountry.

 

I think I may move to Song of Spheres next though.  I want to run them through several very very different flavors of game to see what they really latch onto, and Song of Spheres also leaves them in NYC and could easily go into Dead Man Stomp (which, now that I've read it completely definitely has issues, but none of them are un-fixable).  I was thinking maybe the "wrap party" (the epilogue) in Song of Spheres could be at the Blue Heaven and start Dead Man Stomp immediately (without the Angel of Music undefeatable monster).

 

And you totally read my mind re: Dark Carnival.  It's a really interesting premise for a work of short fiction or a short film, but what would my investigators even want to do in that situation?  There's literally no hook that would make any reasonable player OR character want to do anything.  "Ok, there's a Deep One here... that's sure to ruffle some goosefeathers.  Let's go get a burger."

 

I would like to hear more reviews of long campaigns, but I expect starting one will be a bit in the future.  So far Horror on the Orient Express has most piqued my interest, but I admit to not having read more than the setting and general plot framework.  I was also considering The Fungi from Yuggoth if my players seem to prefer that dark inbred New England setting, with The Madman (reworked heavily) as a lead-in.  And of course Farmer McPhirter could help them along...



#8 ThisOldWoodenShip

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Posted 10 September 2017 - 06:02 PM

Ran the Edge of Darkness tonight.  Just finished.

 

I only had three players, two canceled.  A Rabbi, using one of my premades, who had never played any RPG before (but took to it like a duck to water), a New Zealander combat engineer who had played many RPGs but not CoC, and a Police Detective who has played CoC many times.

 

They stalled a few times.  Most notably was they wouldn't go to the farmhouse without the full banishment info, so I eventually allowed them to find Marion Alien's banishment notes via Armitage.  And they did not stop in Ross's Corners at all.  They had zero interest in a New England village.

 

What I'm posting about, though, and what really struck me the most, is how they dealt with the idea of an uninterrupted chant.  They decided to have a Catholic priest record the chant, and play it on repeat, backwards, hooked up to an automobile's alternator, as opposed to chanting it personally.  The raised dead of Ms McPhirter (and Mr McPhirter after they convinced him to check out the attic) attacked the car.  The rabbi went insane and was shot in the back before he could embrace the Lurker.

 

All in all a pretty good game.

 

Oh, and during their research they pressed Armigate had for whomelse had even read Der Vermiis Mysteriis, so I gave them Walter Corbitt.  Seems I may be running "The Haunting" next.


Edited by ThisOldWoodenShip, 10 September 2017 - 06:39 PM.


#9 ThisOldWoodenShip

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Posted 17 September 2017 - 04:44 PM

So, I ran Song of Spheres tonight.  It's from In The Shadows, a fairly old scenarios book with only three scenarios.  It deals with a mad musician trying to record all the parts to a song which drives people mad if they listen to it.  Two of my players are musicians so I thought they would get a kick out of it.

 

Song of Spheres in general, and this session in particular, were interesting in that there was no combat, and no real direct sanity loss.  There was an underlying sense of dread, but it all remained hidden just beneath the surface.  The characters could have faced combat in the final scene, but opted to call in the police (as there had also been a kidnapping perpetrated by the same mad musician) and instead of hiding bodies and taking bullets made a contact on the NYPD.  Mostly they did a lot of research, character roleplaying, and puzzle solving.  I would strongly recommend this game to Keepers who want to take a break from all the shooting and the sanity loss.  I will, as I had planned earlier, dovetail this into Dead Man Stomp with a few rewrites.

 

Does anyone know any more scenarios that deal with music and the Mythos?



#10 WinstonP

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Posted 17 September 2017 - 05:20 PM

This monograph should be of interest:

https://www.chaosium...ange-songs-pdf/
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#11 Graham

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 05:10 AM

Something else you should be aware of, some scenarios can have an 'end of campaign' feel to them. The two I am thinking of in particular are "Behold The Mother" (Dead Reckonings) and "With Malice Afterthought" (Adventures in Arkham Country). The former is also one that needs to be introducing a particular NPC into the ongoing campaign for best effect.


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#12 Kuroutesshin2

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Posted 28 September 2017 - 08:42 PM

I recommend "Murder in the Footlights," a free download from Chaosium. It is a straight mystery that doesn't require the supernatural. There are also some expansion notes for it at BRP Central.

 

I used Murder in the Footlights as an intro session for a longer campaign, but sadly it looks like Chaosium no longer have it up on their site. 



#13 ThisOldWoodenShip

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Posted 23 October 2017 - 12:39 AM

I've managed to push them into Fungi from Yoggoth whilst still dangling threads from Dreamlands and Shadows of Yog-Sothoth. Since Fungi is non-linear and doesn't have a strict timeline I think I can push some intro sessions from the other two into interim spaces. My flow thusfar has been: Edge of Darkness Song of Spheres (from Into the Shadows, Chaosium 2357, and excellent IMO) The Haunting (this was a prequel to link the "twin brother" of a character who died in Edge of Darkness to everyone else, a move which I didn't really condone but happened none-the-less) Dead Man Stomp (occurred directly after Song of Spheres as the PCs were invited to an afterparty for the opera at the Blue Heaven speakeasy) The Dreamer (Fungi from Yoggoth pt. 1) In Walter Corbit's Diary from The Haunting instead of giving them summon/bind dimensional shambler I'm giving them summon/bind mi-go and leading them into The Madman next, after which I plan to continue on Fungi from Yuggoth. The Knights of the Silver Twilight will start construction on their lodge in Boston (on the site of the Chapel of Contemplation). Antonia Balsalmo (from Song of Spheres) also featured as a red herring in The Dreamer; she had introduced the group to Paul LeMond at the afterparty for the opera and also acted as a foil for Paul's girlfriend's accusations. This was the type of information I was looking for... not just a suggestion of one scenario you found useful, but HOW TO LINK THEM TOGETHER into a larger picture instead of my campaign feeling like the X-Files Monster-of-the-Week campaign. Hopefully what I've done thusfar will be helpful for other Keepers.





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