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London in 1888 - Jack the Ripper, Opium drug and The Star.


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#1 Karoluthu



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Posted 05 December 2017 - 09:21 AM

I'd like to introduce myself before I will ask anything: my name is Karol, I play roleplaying games from back when I was 13 years old.


I had to move to a much bigger City searching for job, future and maybe love. I also found new friends and Players who love rpg's and mythos just like me. We finished the first chapter of my D&D camping set in Eberron but now I have bought books for Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition - which are very rare in my country.

I talked with them and they were delighted to know that soon we will descend into madness and horror with Call of Cthulhu.

Our goal: Victorian Era - London 1888, the year of Jack the Ripper, opium dealers and The Star newspaper.

They are so hooked that after our game we sat till 3 am in the morning talking about ideas for their investigators.

No one knows who plays who in the end and so we have:

- Romanian Bojar - a member of the eastern European aristocracy who's family is cursed and in possesion of three pages of English copy of Necronomicon (John Dee).

- Chinese Immigrant - who runs his own Tea shop in London, but under the shop is located an opium drug hole.

- Indian Carriage Driver - who is a war veteran and came to London looking for a better future, he deals opium too.

- a mental asylum doctor - who is so mentally unstable that he belives he is a sorcerer, also knows much about the occult.

- A private detective - who is also veteran.

I already thought about connections between investigators: The Romanian heard something about "insane sorcerer" living in London (thats our asylum doctor) and will try asking him about his copy of Necronomicon.

Both opium dealers know eachother and run business together and are hunted by our detective.

Our detective and carriage driver served in the Sikkim Expedition where the man from India betrayed his unit and fought with detective - leaving him for certain death.

No one knows who plays who and How the characters are connected. But I do not have an interesting plot or scenerio to run. We are aiming in the mystery and investigation themes with mythos barely peeking out of the corner. They are present but far more powerful and far beyond imagination of our investigators.

Could you please help me out brainstorming ideas or plot hooks? I dont want to dissapoint them. Also only two of them had played Call of Cthulhu before.

Thank you in advance, have a nice Day!

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#2 boulash


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Posted 05 December 2017 - 10:34 AM

I'm right in the middle of my prep so I can't really brainstorm with you, but I can give you some advice. First, I think it's absolutely awesome that you've decided to tailor your campaign to fit your players where most beginner keeper would try to run a published scenario.


Then, you need a master plot. A conspiracy, an evil brotherhood, a sinister plot to topple the monarchy, an arch-villain who's using ressentment in the colonies and burgeonning independance movements to fuel unspeakable cults. Whatever. (I actually like that last one, feel free to use it, it could fit the driver and the shopkeeper while generating interesting dynamics within the group).


Then start with a limited scope, a haunted house with something bad within the walls, or maybe adapt "Crimson Letters" from the rulebook, it's more of a sandbox but reasonably easy to manage.


As you said, it's probably better to leave the supernatural aspect out at the beginning (at least from the characters ' perspective), that is always have a "reasonable explanation" at hand.


Have fun !

Sanity is way overrated

#3 Karoluthu



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Posted 05 December 2017 - 03:59 PM

Thank you for your answer.


I found an Old scenario book called "Sacraments of Evil" which helped me a lot. I modified the first one a bit, so all our investigators would be connected with the main character of the scenario.


But I want to erase the alien race completly - there will be Masonry, Chinese gangs and a strange artifact but alien invasion sounds too much at the moment.

#4 Gaffer


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Posted 05 December 2017 - 04:33 PM

Bear in mind that laudanum (tincture of opium) is legal for over the counter purchase and available from any apothecary shop. It is used to treat many cases of chronic pain. Smoking opium in dens in Limehouse and White chapel and other East End rookeries is much less socially acceptable, being seen as the vice of foreigners --Chinese, Lascars, Egyptians, etc-- and the debased poor. I recommend the Dan Simmons novel Drood, a long read but full of interesting detail. Your doctor or your aristocrat might have an opium addiction which could connect them to your Chinese dealer, who might be an herbalist as a front..

The Indian driver might function more as a 'steerer' than a seller, bringing slum touring toffs to the opium den.

In which war did these fellows serve? There are a lot of campaigns to choose from.

If your players haven't experienced it yet, I'd recommend The Haunting, adapted for the time and place. Maybe the Chinese merchant has acquired a townhouse in an only moderately decayed neighborhood. He assembles the detective, the doctor, and the aristocrat to inspect the premises with the driver to transport them. He knows there is something 'off' about the place, but not what. And maybe he's looking for the more well-to-do members to help finance a conversion to an upscale opium parlor. You can probably do a Google images search to find a 19th century house to use. It might even be a long-disused Manor house in the center of a tenement block.

Edited by Gaffer, 05 December 2017 - 04:36 PM.

"Two in the head, you know he's dead." <heh-heh>

#5 Karoluthu



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Posted 05 December 2017 - 04:55 PM

Thank you very much sir!


With Chinese and Indian dealers - what about legal rights to sell it? It can only be buyed in Apothecary right? I think that your idea about Indian driver taking the poor and socially unaceptable clients to the drug hole is wonderful! Thank you so much for this.

The doctor will be an addict, thats for sure. Also he rolled a "lost child" for his background - thats why he has connection with much younger detective (he tasked him with finding his now adult son) who is an orphan - the detective is doctor's lost child.

And I think I will definetly use the Haunting for the starter investigation. I already have an idea How everyone will meet, a bit of cliché but everyone got a letter with invitation for a banquet held by John Bidwell - who appears in the "Eyes of the Stranger". He will ask the investigators to check his new townhouse he inherited from his ancestor. Maybe the same abandoned house is the place where the Chinese and Indian store their drugs?

Oh and I meant Anglo - Egyptian war in 1882 or Sikkim Expedition in 1888.

#6 rsanford


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Posted 06 December 2017 - 04:23 PM



Just to make sure I am understanding properly are you planning on running the game in 1920s America or in Poland? Like Gaffer indicated Opium was legal in the US at that time though it might not have been in Poland...


Also there is a variant of The Haunting on Scribd (its kind of hard to find as there is so much Cthulhu stuff there) that fills in a lot of story and addresses a few weaknesses. If you would like a copy send me an email to rsanford AT pobox.com and I will send you a PDF after work.  Also check out the first post here -> http://www.yog-sotho...-fun-and-scary/. He provides some good ideas for The Haunting.


Good luck!

#7 Karoluthu



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Posted 06 December 2017 - 04:35 PM

No - Im running the game set in 1888 London. And now I know How to approach the opium topic, also the first scenario will be a homebrew version of "The Haunting" - where each character will be in possesion of an VIP sort Invitation for a banquet held by John Bidwell - who will task them with investigating an Old townhouse he inherited.


The doctor was once treating Bidwell in his Asylum so to keep his mouth shut, they want to invite and bribe him.


The dealers will be sent by one of their higher-ups to know what John Bidwell may do with the house (the Chinese gang warehouse is in the cellar).


Detective will loot the invitation from a bar fight with a thug from the Chinese gang.


Romanian guy's father is a friend of John Bidwell, so he invites his son to the party.

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