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Best book for stand alone adventures?


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#1 CharlesRampant

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Posted 09 November 2017 - 07:29 AM

Hey all, 

 

I'm a dedicated D&D DM, running two games a week, but I own - and have run, albeit years ago - both 6th ed Call of Cthulhu and Trail of Cthulhu. One common thread with Cthulhu roleplaying and D&D is the ready access to a large library of adventures, which can certainly make things easy! However, there is also so much that it can be difficult to assess where to look. 

 

What I'm hoping for is a recommendation on a book of adventures. Looking over my collection, I already have a few adventures represented, but many seem more like scenario frames than ready-to-run adventures. (Available books: Trail of Cthulhu core, Call of Cthulhu core, Keeper's Companion, Secrets of Morocco, Cthulhu Invictus, H.P. Lovecraft's Dreamlands). Is there a book of really good and standalone (i.e. not an Adventure Path) scenarios that I can buy and feel confident in a couple month's worth of low-effort gaming material? I'm not that fussed about whether the scenarios are in Trail or Call - I've run both, like I say, and it seems easy enough to convert a scenario on the fly.  

 

I can see that Trail of Cthulhu has several adventure compendiums, but I'm less certain about Call of Cthulhu, and wanted to see what the options were on that side of the fence before I put down too many pennies.

 

Many thanks for any help that can be offered! :)


Edited by CharlesRampant, 09 November 2017 - 07:29 AM.



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#2 boulash

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Posted 09 November 2017 - 08:58 AM

This is a very tricky question. The quality of Chaosium books is very variable, same goes for published adventures. It also depends on the "flavour" you're trying to give your games.

 

For CoC, Mansions of Madness is a good compendium, but with a single "theme" (houses...). Tales of the Miskatonic Valley seems good, but I have run only one scenario in it. If you can read French, "Le musée de Lhomme" is pretty good. Have a look at the download section here, I find most adventures in The Unbound Book excellent.

 

For Trail, Final Revelations is a good choice. And you could link the scenarios in it if you wanted to.

 

Have fun !


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#3 MikeM

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Posted 09 November 2017 - 09:27 AM

Nameless Horrors, Doors to Darkness, are both recent (ish) scenario collections that sound like what you are looking for.


Mike M, Line Editor for Call of Cthulhu, Chaosium Inc.

#4 DeUniversumMysteriis

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Posted 09 November 2017 - 11:20 AM

If you want stories set in the modern era, there is The Things We Leave Behind. I haven't read the entire book yet but it looks promising. The adventures it contains are said to focus more on human nature than on classic Mythos. I'm currently preparing the first adventure of the book (Ladybug, Ladybug, Fly Away Home. An adventure inspired by crime-shows where the players must search for a little girl who was kidnapped) and it's very well done and well explained.

There is also a free supplement for it called The Mark of Evil on Drivethrurpg with all the game aids a Keeper may need to run the adventures in The Things We Leave Behind.



#5 neorxnawang

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Posted 09 November 2017 - 12:25 PM

If you want stories set in the modern era, there is The Things We Leave Behind. I haven't read the entire book yet but it looks promising. The adventures it contains are said to focus more on human nature than on classic Mythos. I'm currently preparing the first adventure of the book (Ladybug, Ladybug, Fly Away Home. An adventure inspired by crime-shows where the players must search for a little girl who was kidnapped) and it's very well done and well explained.

There is also a free supplement for it called The Mark of Evil on Drivethrurpg with all the game aids a Keeper may need to run the adventures in The Things We Leave Behind.

 

I really should do some sample NPCs reminiscent of the Criminal Minds crew. Garcia though is such a deus ex machina that it would suck the joy out of things :-)

 

Jeff Moeller



#6 DeUniversumMysteriis

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Posted 09 November 2017 - 12:38 PM

I really should do some sample NPCs reminiscent of the Criminal Minds crew. Garcia though is such a deus ex machina that it would suck the joy out of things :-)

 

Jeff Moeller

 

Whoa, never thought I would bump into one of the authors here. :D

 

Yeah,  crime-shows and psychological thrillers are a good source of potential NPCs (Never watched Criminal Minds, though). I think I'll put together some very secundary characters (Police officers mostly. But I was also thinking about the store manager who is begging to clean the mess in the Fish Tank section). Also, Movies and shows offer a lot of great photos to illustrate the characters. (For instance, Elijah Wood in The Last Witchhunter makes a very good John Balfour IMO!)


Edited by DeUniversumMysteriis, 09 November 2017 - 12:49 PM.


#7 eternalchampion

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Posted 09 November 2017 - 01:33 PM

From my experience,

For CoC:

If you want a modern day game, you should go for “The Stars are Right”. We have played three scenarios out of it and we liked them a lot. Most of them were written in the 90s, so they need some modernization, but this is not hard.

Since you play D&D, you might like games set in various eras. Then I can recommend “Strange Aeons II”. There are scenarios in it set in Prehistoric days, Ancient Greece, Medieval China and more.

If you would like more classic era scenarios then you can certainly try “Resurrected III: Out of the Vault”. It also has at least one modern day scenario, the famous “In media res”.

 

For ToC:

I have certainly played fewer scenarios, always converted to CoC. I like the presentation of the scenario form ToC. It is very helpful for the Keeper. Anyway from what I have tried, I will double “Final Revelations”. The scenarios are very good, can be played linked to each other, but this also means they have a similar tone, while the collections mentioned before are comprised of very different scenarios.

For a good collection of different scenarios I can recommend “Out of Time”.



#8 CharlesRampant

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Posted 09 November 2017 - 07:20 PM

Thanks everyone for the suggestions, they're kindly appreciated! I'll take a look at those mentioned, and see if any tickle my GM bone.

For ToC:
I have certainly played fewer scenarios, always converted to CoC. I like the presentation of the scenario form ToC. It is very helpful for the Keeper. Anyway from what I have tried, I will double “Final Revelations”. The scenarios are very good, can be played linked to each other, but this also means they have a similar tone, while the collections mentioned before are comprised of very different scenarios.
For a good collection of different scenarios I can recommend “Out of Time”.


How do you find running ToC adventures for CoC? I have to say that I also quite like their no-nonsense and consistent layout. I presume that you can get far by just being adaptable in which CoC skill you allow to apply for each ToC clue?

#9 Aries04

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Posted 10 November 2017 - 02:30 AM

I’ve found ToC scenarios to be consistently good. I’ve run The Murderer of Thomas Fell and Keepers of the Woods (both free), and they were a blast.

Doors to Darkness is pretty good too, plus they’re great for newer keepers (I come from a DnD background as well)

#10 Mysterioso

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Posted 10 November 2017 - 02:38 AM

If you go to Golden Goblin Press, you will find many excellent scenario collections:  http://www.goldengob...ress.com/store/

 

Also, as you listed Cthulhu Invictus, you should know that GGP has great scenario collections for that setting. 



#11 dulcamara

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Posted 11 November 2017 - 02:01 AM

I'll second Mansions of Madness - I've done a couple of them as standalones and they worked well.

 

IIRC they don't come with pregens so it'd probably help to create a batch of investigators that have a focused reason to look into each place, but beyond that they've got most of the detail you'd need. Some of them even work in one evening  - "Crack'd & Crooked Manse" is probably the most enjoyable single session (about 5 hours) scenario I've run.



#12 eternalchampion

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Posted 11 November 2017 - 12:30 PM

Thanks everyone for the suggestions, they're kindly appreciated! I'll take a look at those mentioned, and see if any tickle my GM bone.

How do you find running ToC adventures for CoC? I have to say that I also quite like their no-nonsense and consistent layout. I presume that you can get far by just being adaptable in which CoC skill you allow to apply for each ToC clue?


Well, they need some preparation. I usually make a lot of notes on the document, about what CoC skills would apply, or the probable SAN loss of an encounter. Since we usually play stand alone scenarios I also convert some of the pre-gens to CoC characters. Thankfully the way ToC scenarios are written helps the Keeper to keep track of the adventure and focus on the atmosphere.

#13 MonkeyPrime

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Posted 13 November 2017 - 11:00 AM

Shadows Over Scotland is part source book, part adventure book. It has 5 good length stories that really work well with the setting and are fairly diverse. Would recommend it! Its for CoC, wouldn't have a clue for ToC
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#14 CharlesRampant

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Posted 13 November 2017 - 12:14 PM

Shadows Over Scotland is part source book, part adventure book. It has 5 good length stories that really work well with the setting and are fairly diverse. Would recommend it! Its for CoC, wouldn't have a clue for ToC

 

Hah, that sounds fun! I've been a huge fan of the Cubicle 7 Adventures in Middle Earth line, and running a game set in Scotland for people here in Glasgow might help make things atmospheric. I'll definitely take a look at that!



#15 tjgreenway

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Posted 13 November 2017 - 05:04 PM

Another big vote for Shadows Over Scotland here-Cubicle 7 really outdid themselves with this one. The sourcebook section is a great mix of detailed locations and atmosphere and along with the five actual scenarios, there's some great adventure seeds spotted throughout. Of course, if you live in Scotland, you'll no doubt be familiar with the flora and fauna etc. but there's an abundance of original characters, plot hooks, new mythos locales tied in as well.

Their scenarios do tend to be quite NPC heavy, so be prepared for that, but really well written. I'd originally been planning my British campaign to stay mostly in London and surrounds, but thanks to this book, I'm dropping clues leading to Scotland after a couple of sessions!

Can vouch for Mansions of Madness and Doors To Darkness being stellar collections, too. Doors has a lot of advice for the 'keeper peppered throughout and a nice mix of styles and locations, whereas Mansions has a few great looking scenarios that are all set in a 'house's as it were-although The Plantation and The Sanatorium do mix that up a bit.

I've read a lot of good things about Tales of the Crescent City as well, which I intend to couple with the New Orleans Guidebook to run a few adventures in that part of the world when I get around to picking it up.

#16 DavePerry

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Posted 13 November 2017 - 07:53 PM

I would back up some of the recommendations made by previous commentators in this thread.

 

For modern day scenarios, "The Things We Leave Behind" from Stygian Fox is absolutely superb. I can't recommend this collection highly enough.

 

For classic era, "Mansions of Madness" and "Shadows Over Scotland" are excellent too. All of the scenarios in Shadows Over Scotland are very much sandbox affairs, giving the PCs a lot of leeway to shape the direction of how they play out. I've run two of them now and both went off in very different directions to how I imagined they would (in a good way). I'm looking forward to run the Glasgow set scenario next.

 

Another collection I would recommend is Golden Goblin's "Island of Ignorance", which contains five scenarios and a number of articles. I've run three of those scenarios and they were all excellent.

 

It's always worth checking out reviews of scenario books and supplements. I've been very influenced by the reviews on Diehard Gamefan.