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How much non-mythos stuff is in your games?

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#41 The_Tatterdemalion_King


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Posted 03 December 2017 - 12:17 AM

Frankly, I'd be somewhat disappointed going into a CoC game if I knew for sure it was always going to be a literally supernatural problem. You're kind of spoiling the game of figuring out what's going on a bit by saying that up front, and I think the first incontrovertible evidence of the supernatural in a scenario should be a big deal.

I've only run one out-and-out Scooby Doo mystery, but it ended up including the supernatural as the players contacted Tsathoggua to ask for a favour and then used a hefty dose of Black Lotus to get revenge on someone. One of the DG scenarios I ran came close—although they knew going in that they were looking for Yithian activity, the actual action mostly involved stalking a waitress and shooting a rapist.

Even in the scenarios I run which have a supernatural or science-fiction element, I try to avoid making supernatural entities or pure alien thinking or 'insanity' the prime movers of the situation. Instead, I often take a real crime and swap out the means, motive, or opportunity with something made possible by the supernatural.
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#42 JeffErwin


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Posted 07 December 2017 - 05:34 AM

I like to have purely mundane desires and wants as a major part of the story, rather than "let's summon Azathoth!" as a motivation for opponents. This naturally limits the prominence of the Mythos, though I separate the supernatural from the Mythos proper: a ghost story need not involve the Mythos at all.

#43 jlynn


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Posted 09 December 2017 - 10:26 AM

I think mundane threats and horrors, or even other occult types are totally fair game in CoC.  Let's face it, the entire early part of each HPL protagonist's life was perfectly normal (in so far as antiquarians and professors can be said to be normal).  In fact, the very first scenario I ever ran for CoC was a home-brew where the players were asked by a realtor to investigate a "haunted" mansion that he wanted to sell (in effect, to "debunk" the haunting).  Back then, of course, the only non-homebrew was "The Haunting" in the 1st edition Rule Book.  The only thing actually in the house (other than a lot of atmospherics I used to scare the players and make them think something was actually going on), was a muskrat that had gotten into the place and made a nest in one of the rooms of the house.  They never actually got that far -- the clown doll underneath the rotting crib in the nursery (it was after Poltergeist hit the theaters) caused them to open up with tommy guns (everyone wanted a tommy gun, back in the day), and literally shoot out the back wall of the house.  They then fled the scene, and never returned to the realtor to say whether the place was haunted or not (and they had a wanted poster after that for a while -- for destroying property).  After that, they were so hooked by the game, despite the fact that I told them afterwards that there was absolutely nothing in the house other than a small mammalian woodland creature, that we were off and running.  Throughout the next couple of years, as we played I would periodically ensure that there was a "nothingburger" of a scenario, just to remind them that the world was, for the most part, completely sane, and unconcerned with their weird, insane sounding, "Mythos" stuff...


To my mind, the mundane serves as a window on normality for them, and they ought to be forced to face the fact that they are drifting further and further from normality as the pace of Mythos events accelerates in the game.  It goes back to Petersen's original "onion skin layer" theory of how the game should be run; by the time you get to the center of the onion, the horror is omnipresent and inescapable -- when you're still prowling around the edges, there should be a lot of false trails, mundane issues, and normal foes to space out the horrific stuff.


My $0.02 worth on the topic...