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How do you deal with cell phones?


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#41 yronimoswhateley


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Posted 12 October 2017 - 10:57 PM

The "no connection" thing is a fact of life, and I've been there many, many times, but yeah - in horror, it's sort of a cliche, and as a cliche, it's best used with care, or at least with some sort of surprise twist attached to it.


For my part, as a player I've used horror cliches like the car that won't start, the flashlight that won't stay on, or the phone that won't get reception more often than I ever have as a keeper or GM; I actually don't mind the cliches too much as a horror fan, and sometimes they just feel right in a story to me (I like making things rough on my own characters), but in my experience I get a lot more as Keeper/GM from letting other players use their gadgets and other assets if they want to - the old "yes, and..." thing and all.



I don't remember if it was touched on in this discussion already or not, but, although comparing cell/smart phones with traditional library research is a fair comparison, it's perhaps not the best comparison.  A better comparison for cell phones might be to any investigator friends or allies listed on character sheets - and, as that comparison implies, a cell phone listed on a character sheet is as much an asset to the Keeper's game as it is to the player's, with much of the same emotional attachment and potential for horror and other kinds of storytelling involved in characters' cell phones as there is in their family, friends, allies, and such.  (In this light, it is, perhaps, no surprise that modern horror movies, "creepy pasta", urban legends, and such are loaded with horror stories involving cell phones!)  It's not something you want to abuse with over-use, but it's an opportunity:  find out who is on the character's speed-dial, who the character sends texts to regularly, what websites the character is addicted to, what apps the character depends on regularly... and find different and colorful ways to work that kind of information into the horror stories, fantasy, science fiction, mystery, and adventure stories you write and tell about the investigators.  I bet you would gain more from one mundane phone call from an NPC college professor to his colleague, the party's college professor, asking for advice or inviting the PC and his wife over for a faculty dinner party, interrupting the party at an odd point in your story (like while the investigators are preparing to interrogate a cultist or burn down a police station or whatever it is that investigators normally do), than you'd ever lose from letting your players consult the phone for information or use it to try to call for help - and that's before you even introduce a real plot element involving the phone.

Edited by yronimoswhateley, 12 October 2017 - 11:04 PM.

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#42 Graham


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Posted 13 October 2017 - 12:58 AM

Something else to keep in mind, back in the early 80s when Marcus L. Rowland first came up with "Cthulhu Now!", one of the three outlines he wrote was based on the idea of cultists 'digitizing' Mythos Tomes (Well, hand typing them into .txt files rather than scanning as .jpgs, this was 1983...), the point being, as I remember it, the only way for the Mythos to retain it's potency when this was done was via divine intervention, in this case the cultists had done a deal with Nyarlathotep. So it may be that they find the information online, but it's useless to them unless they have the actual text...

"If you do good, you'll live forever, if you do bad you'll die hearing a single note for I am the one true sound...", Fragment found in a cult hideout.

#43 The_Tatterdemalion_King


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Posted 13 October 2017 - 06:52 PM

What do you roll to have retroactively remembered to charge your phone? 

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#44 GBSteve


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Posted 13 October 2017 - 08:53 PM


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#45 Vladd


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Posted 20 October 2017 - 05:40 PM

vincentVV if you are having trouble with an authentic looking wiki printout try using this.




Now you can build your own Wikipedia giving as much info to your players as you want. You could even give them the site address so they can search through it themselves instead of doing a printed handout.

#46 MonkeyPrime


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Posted 23 October 2017 - 11:39 AM

Yeah I would consider cell phones to be a new opportunity and even a way to point to NPCs.

Firstly you have the power to say how a cell phone interacts with the mythos. A wrote a recent game on an AR (augmented Reality) game like Pokémon Go based around catching dragons but it turned out the filter that it used on the camera also let the user to see a shade of a little boy. Every time they used the App that they were asked to beta-test, it made the little shade appear more strongly until it was able to manifest and kill them. You get to decide if the magnetic field of the phone attracts shoggoths or if they can use the phone against the investigators. I wouldn't do it whim but it can be used to add to the terror as the device in their pocket makes their job more dangerous.

Secondly research found online can be set up to point to an NPC. A local folklorist may have set up a page to publicise their new book, and provide an email address or their next appearance at a local WI group. This points them towards the NPC rather than cut them out completely. While a lot of stuff is online, some bits are still fringe enough that they will prefer to meet in public. Use it!

Thirdly whose to say who put up the info. Maybe certain groups or races have put the info up in order to track who is searching. Whose to say that the Mi-Go haven't red flagged certain info to trace those who would look into their operations? Or by searching certain things brings other interested parties to bear on the investigators? Government groups, Delta Green, shadowy NWO (not the wrestling stable in the late 90s) may come into play just by their interest in things making the investigators job harder! Not as a punishment but as a way to add agency or create more tension.

Fourthly completely agree with what people have said about the reliability of info online. Anyone can post anything online, have fun with it. Nothing more fun than an investigator facing off against a Dark Young armed with a silver spoon as KillaKlown576 said it definitely worked for his cousin Ritchie!

Cell phones connect us all and connect your investigators with more opportunities to spread a little madness around!
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#47 Gaffer


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Posted 23 October 2017 - 06:44 PM

Some wag might use the Internet handle Doc Armitage Son to troll all sorts of mis/disinformation.
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