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Talmor

Invictus or Dark Ages?

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Talmor

I'm interested in checking out some of the "ancient" Cthulhu games, but wasn't sure if should start with Invictis or Dark Ages. I love both historical eras, and I loved the Simon Magus series, but I and my players are more familiar with medieval gaming. Any recommendations?

I'm sure this has been well-trod in the past, but I'm using an app to read this, and searching is a bit lacking.

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wombat1

It could go either direction, but it also depends, to some extent, upon whether you want to write your own campaign, or rely on published things.  There are probably more things published for Invictus than there are for Dark Ages, however, there are so many other medieval and fantasy swords and sorcery things out there that can be given a Mythos twist, that you can probably go for months if not years picking up either one.

 

If on the other hand, you want to write your own, you can ask yourself whether there is some element in your reading that can be expanded, by examining what happened in some period before the stories, or after the stories, during the Roman Empire (this would incline one to an Invictus campaign).  In this case what would matter is less what is familiar in the gaming realm than what is familiar in the literary realm. 

 

Consider the Simon Magus tales--does anything in them say to you "Pick me up, re-read me, and write a derivative scenario based on me?"  This could be in the way of a prequel, or a follow up sequel, in which the investigators have to tie down a loose end.  Perhaps there is something in the news or in a historical source that triggers a similar reaction.  That would lead to an Invictus game, but you can do the same thing with any medieval tale, of course.  The unfortunate Archbishop Hatto of Mainz was devoured by a plague of mice at the Mouse Tower at Bingen, in 974.   Nothing Mythos-y to see here, folks, move along.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mouse_Tower .  There are all manner of things out there, with only a tiny bit of rummaging around; it really does write itself.

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The_Tatterdemalion_King

Which one do you have more research resources at-hand?

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Talmor

Which one do you have more research resources at-hand?

 

Well, I have more Dark Ages material (both gaming and non-gaming) on my shelves. But, as a former Classics-minor, I still have all my old college material in boxes down in the basement. So, it's a bit of a draw.

 

I'm really interested in running some pre-published material, at least initially. Which sounds like i should be looking at Invictus? Any recommendations for cool modules or the like?

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wombat1

Besides the scenario in the Cthulhu Invictus sourcebook, there is Legacy of Arrius Lurco by Oscar Rios.  There are three scenarios in a separate Cthulhu Invictus scenario book, called, I think, Cthulhu Invictus Companion.  The most recent Halloween monographn Horror Stories from the Red Room, has my (not terribly good) "Three Maidens of Bingen."  There are some other monographs as well, and a couple of free scenarios used to  be on the resources section of the old site.

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WinstonP

If you search the YSDC forums and, I hope, the Yog wiki, you should find lists of all the Invictus and C:DA material.

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Eudaimic

Do any of the Invictus scenarios come particularly well recommended?

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Tigger_MK4

While there are no "first class classics" in the Cthulhu Invictus canon, there are a number of good ones.

(The one i am currently writing for an upcoming kickstarter is, of course, a sheer masterpiece :-P)

 

The first part of Ripples from Carcosa is set in Roman times, and was enjoyed greatly by the group I ran it with.

 

The Legacy of Arrius Lurco also has a terrific first act. The last act is maybe slightly less strong, but still enjoyable..

 

Sadly,I must say I've yet to find a Dark Ages scenario that I felt was better than merely ok and Ive found several of them very poor.

 

I'd advise going Invictus. Currently the Cthulhu material is of a far higher standard than Dark Ages .

 

Thqt said, there is always Ars Magica, which has a terrific set of Dark Ages/medieval sourcebooks, and you could always swap the devilish aspect for more cthulhu related shenanigans.

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wombat1

I agree with Tigger to a certain extent.  There isn't much material for either Invictus or Dark Ages to choose from, so much of it is merely ok, just as much of the 1920's material is merely ok, but there is so much of it to choose from the pools are larger.  I actually rather like the scenario in the current edition of Cthulhu Dark Ages, but it is set in a rather odd location, on the Germanic/Magyar frontier.  I ran it with some slight revision (for I really wished to use it as a sort of explanatory prequel to a 1920's game I planned to run set in Romania and Hungary.)  It went down quite well and I could have used it to launch a medieval campaign right there and then.

 

But I revert back to my earlier post of 28 June--since, compared to the wealth of material for 1920's CoC the choices simply are not there, whether good, bad or indifferent, one is going to end up writing one's own to a large extent.  The literature, both Mythos and non-Mythos fiction, and historical source material, is there, and can be tapped for inspiration.

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neorxnawang

 There isn't much material for either Invictus or Dark Ages to choose from.

 

We're going to fix that starting Sept. 12th with the De Horrore Cosmico kickstarter.  Six scenarios from Rios, Bowser, Love & Morrison, Boon, Groves, Moeller, and that's just the core book.  Osk has stretch goals planned including up to six more scenarios (heaven help you if y'all get to my stretch goal extra), plus patron organizations.  It'll keep you out of trouble for a while.  There are nerdy debates going on behind the scenes about plot details among we history nerds.  Rumors that Osk has broken out his toga can neither be confirmed nor denied  :evil:

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Gol-Goroth

We're going to fix that starting Sept. 12th with the De Horrore Cosmico kickstarter.  Six scenarios from Rios, Bowser, Love & Morrison, Boon, Groves, Moeller, and that's just the core book.  Osk has stretch goals planned including up to six more scenarios (heaven help you if y'all get to my stretch goal extra), plus patron organizations.  It'll keep you out of trouble for a while.  There are nerdy debates going on behind the scenes about plot details among we history nerds.  Rumors that Osk has broken out his toga can neither be confirmed nor denied  :evil:

 

Oh yes, filming in the Toga took  place last weekend...

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wombat1

That is good news, and would be a welcome addition.  Rather, the scenarios certainly would be a welcome addition.  Whether a toga suits the estimable Mr. Rios is a question for which I shall eagerly await the answer.  I will freely grant he is braver than I am.   I know if I were to try it the crowd would go wild and begin to chant, "Put it on---put it all on!"  And they would not be satisfied until I was better attired for the "Mountains of Madness Kickstarter."

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fox01313

I'd say between the two, it seems that Invictus has a bit of a richer cultural setting tied to it which I personally find a little more appealing but after getting both core books not too long ago, you can easily take the scenarios from either one & go with that in the other as well as a few from Strange Aeons2 (or taking some of the haunted house scenarios from the classic 1920s then just stealing enough bits to put it in another earlier time period).

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eternalchampion

I have not checked the Invictus material thoroughly, but as of “first class†scenarios there is the “Pagan call†free campaign which I would rate as such.

Unfortunately it remains unfinished…

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Tigger_MK4

While there are no "first class classics" in the Cthulhu Invictus canon, there are a number of good ones.

 

I've yet to find a Dark Ages scenario that I felt was better than merely ok and Ive found several of them very poor.

.

Having read that back this afternoon , let me add the phrase "that I know of".

 

I've seen many scenarios for both settings, but I cant claim to have seen them all....and of course, imo, ymmv and all that.

 

Oh and yes, if you like Cthulhu Invictus, please support De Horrore Cosmico - If nothing else, it'll give you a chance to criticise my scenario writing too (one of the six stretch goal scenarios)

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WinstonP

Part of the impetus behind my starting the Arkham Gazette was my desire to see more Lovcraft Country material. Maybe there's enough interest in either C:DA or Invictus to do something similar? I lack the time myself, but would be happy to offer my advice based on my experience.

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The_Tatterdemalion_King

There did seem to be a lot of CDA material in Worlds of Cthulhu, so people are making it...

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wombat1

Part of the impetus behind my starting the Arkham Gazette was my desire to see more Lovcraft Country material. Maybe there's enough interest in either C:DA or Invictus to do something similar? I lack the time myself, but would be happy to offer my advice based on my experience.

This idea sounds most intriguing, tell me more.

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WinstonP

This idea sounds most intriguing, tell me more.

In a nut-shell: decide on your focus - CDA, Invictus, Gaslight, etc. and your goal - historical background, scenarios, NPCs, some mix, etc. I asked myself what I'd want in a periodical on this topic.

 

Decide on a format. Unless you are loaded, start with a free PDF.

 

Find a home to refer people to - lots of free blog sites out there. Pick one you're comfortable with. Set up a page telling people what you're doing, how they can help. Practice using the site so to present a good face to visitors. When ready, make site public.

 

Recruit and publicize. Post a call for submissions. If possible- have a demo ready. Seek out interested contributors. Contant likely ones you and ask directly. Have a social media presence but don't assume everyone is on Facebook. Spread he word.

 

Set a deadline to get an issue ready. Word allows conversion to PDF so no investment in software required. Lots of free layout prigrams out there too. Publicize. Publicize. Publicize. Find ways to keep unterst high.

 

Release an issue. Set a simple goal 25 pages or five articles - what ever yiu are comfortable with. Get feedback. Build a reputation with readers and contributors. Grow. Consider next move.

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The_Tatterdemalion_King

Don't forget about a cool name.

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cjbowser

This is neither here nor there because it's not out yet, but latest edition of CDA (a very different book from the first) will have three scenarios and close to one hundred hooks. There are also three more scenarios in progress.

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wombat1

I do look forward to the new edition of CDA, though I still very much liked the first edition scenario as well; hopefully it can be reprinted at some point.

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cjbowser

I do look forward to the new edition of CDA, though I still very much liked the first edition scenario as well; hopefully it can be reprinted at some point.

 

Like we've chatted about, the change in direction for CDA means the Tomb isn't a good fit for the core book. It will hopefully see the light of day in a follow-up book on the continent.

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Cosmoline

I've toyed around with these, but while I like the tabula rasa aspect of the dark ages setting, it's often darn handy to have civilization in place for plot purposes and to deal with unexpected twists during game play.  Rome has some law and order to it, transportation, facilities, literacy, etc.  So you can send out little missives (I forget the name of those Roman post cards) and summon help or advice.  And you've got your wonderful system of roads and red tape to have fun with.  Plus a pretty impressive system of industry and supply all the way to Hadrian's wall.  Go forward to the dark ages and you're back to post hole living in much of Europe with frothing northern raiders as the main source of trade and commerce. Even getting something as simple as quality steel could be a real chore.  

 

Personally I like the idea of kicking it forward a bit to the high or late medieval period, where there was a lot more movement and you have hierarchies to provide plot points and NPC fodder.  Getting kitted out got a heck of a lot easier and there was enough infrastructure to support pilgrims wandering all over the place.  Plus you have more fun stuff to play around with by the 1300's.  War hammers, longswords, sword and buckler, a bewildering array of pole arms, lances, etc.  Not just your one cruddy old spear and shield of the typical dark ages denizen.  So you can put on your harness, draw your shiny blade and look *really cool* when you get eaten!  

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golfsale

I have not checked the Invictus material thoroughly, but as of “first class†scenarios there is the “Pagan call†free campaign which I would rate as such.

Unfortunately it remains unfinished…

I agree wholeheartedly: even in its unfinished form, the scenarios in Pagan Call are far and away the best that I've seen for CDA. I wasn't keen on the scenario in the rulebook (over-long and the mi-go have been done to death) or the one in Book of Dark Wisdom or any of the monographs I've looked at. The CDA material in Worlds of Cthulhu is mainly set in Clark Ashton Smith's Averoigne; nothing wrong with that, but it's not real Dark Ages. I wrote a scenario of my own based on the film Black Death with a little addition of a Shub-Niggurath cult in the isolated village. My players forgave me the anachronism; I figured there must have been some plagues in the 10th and 11th centuries. The players were disappointed when they were told that disease is merely a physical symptom of spiritual sin and the only protection they were given was the relic of a saint's knuckle-bone, that and "a good old pray".

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