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awokendreamer

Writing a "Campaign" -- Help me pick a big baddy?

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awokendreamer

Hey everyone,

 

I'm new and just finished up running Amidst the Ancient Trees, which was a lot of fun. My group of players are new to CoC, but not new to ttrpgs. Anyway, I'm writing up a campaign to play next that's set in the 1980s. I'm really enjoying building up the setting, aesthetic, locations, atmosphere, etc. Largely inspired by Beyond the Black Rainbow, The Thing, Vaporwave, Stranger Things, Stephen King (in general), a little TRON, Poltergeist, Paper Girls, etc. I'm thinking of having something involving a government/university facility running tests, as well as an arcade in town. I imagine Stranger Things has inspired a lot of people to write up some plots to play. 

 

The issue I'm running into is I can't decide what eldritch horror is going to be present in some way. A tip that I saw around online is that it doesn't have to be an Elder God per se. Hell, my group was thoroughly creeped out by Servants of Gla'aki, and not so much Gla'aki itself.

 

I guess to explain a little more, I have this scene in my head that sounds cool and involves light-bending or physical-space-warping. Not to the players (at least, not yet), but they witness it happening from a distance. But there's a LOT of entities that can move freely through space-time, and so I can make several work.

 

Ideas? Suggestions? Also I'm new to the system, so any tips would be great. 

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MasterFwiffo

I'm new to the system too, but I do have a pretty good grasp of mythos monsters. For time bending, I'd go Hounds of Tindalos, or you might try Dimensional Shamblers.

 

I really like the idea behind the Hounds - they can only appear from right angles, and they usually only hunt down those who have also broken time barriers. They're relentless once they have a target so they make good repeating villains, and their completely "alien" to the normal way of life.

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yronimoswhateley

I think that Dimensional Shamblers would probably be a fair equivalent to the creature from "Stranger Things".

 

"Poltergeist" actually plays around a bit with the more ancient legends of mischievous "little" people who play malevolent pranks on humans who intrude onto their territory (according to film legend, the films "Poltergeist", "E.T.", and "Gremlins" all started out as the same film about a family tormented by a race of little creatures that move into their home and begin playing nasty pranks on the family, only later evolving into three separate films that couldn't be more different from each other!)  It might be fun to take the basic idea of Machen's "little people" (or "faeries", part goblin, part flesh-eating ghoul, part angry ghost, and a partial inspiration for Lovecraft's Ghouls and Deep Ones and Robert E. Howard's Worms of the Earth - I'd use the stats for Deep One Hybrids as a starting point for these should the investigators want to engage in any gun-play), and work them into a story about a Poltergeist-style haunting, culminating in the family being dragged off to some netherworld which they might hope to be rescued by some intrepid investigators.  Perhaps the family contact the investigators for help with a poltergeist problem, and when the investigators arrive at their home, the family is mysteriously gone, the door is open, dinner is set out on the table and still warm, objects are left laying about as if dropped in the middle of being used, a journal of notes describing the signs of activity, leading up to the investigators finding their way to the "thin spot" between worlds that leads into the shadowy "Dark Side" where the family have been kidnapped and dragged away to by the grotesque faerie folk.  (For what purpose?  I suppose you could borrow a bit from the related UFO abduction lore - the faeries mark their victims with implants, conduct sadistic examinations and experiments, breed monstrous hybrid changelings, etc....)

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awokendreamer

Both of these are great suggestions. I used to play Changeling: The Lost on NWoD and it had a very similar feel to what you were describing. Hell, it actually had an entire race of elves/faerie that *looked* like Greys with a mythos/story that the "abductions" from the last century and beyond were actually just elves doing their thing. 

I'll definitely start looking more into Dimensional Shamblers and the hounds of Tidalos. Anyone else who's got other ideas, I'd love to hear them. :)

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The_Tatterdemalion_King

The issue I'm running into is I can't decide what eldritch horror is going to be present in some way. 

 

Yog-Sothoth is the vaporwave-ist option. You have your connections of time, space, their correlates of identity (both personal and phenomenological); psychic phenomena (clairvoyance, telepathy, prophecy) in humans, animals (recall the whipporwhills!), and beyond; gates and openings to the world 'beyond,' alternate realities and the correlate of cyberspace and information (see 'Fractal Gods' from The Stars Are Right!) and the looming threat of a self-induced apocalypse. 

 

You could also go hard on the 80s connections and use the thing from Prince of Darkness.

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CthulhuBob

Yog-Sothoth is the vaporwave-ist option.

 

Excellent choice.  You also could make your own variant of The Color Out Of Space.  Always feel free to take the rules version of a creature as a suggestion. I like the suggestion of The Hounds of Tindalos, made above by MasterFwiffo.  Plus I loves me some Hounds.

 

Never forget the charm of Mi-Go science.

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mvincent

Yog-Sothoth is the vaporwave-ist option.

Agreed. The "Fractal Gods" scenario (from 'Stars Are Right') present Yoggy that way. I ran the scenario in an 80's setting and I was very happy with the results. I also tied it to the Polybius video game (which seems apropos for the above campaign), and used the following as handouts:

 

- Old-style computer printouts

- 5 1/4" floppy disks

- VHS tapes

- Cassettes

- Brick cell-phone

 

I'm thinking of having something involving a government/university facility running tests

The Dawn Biozyme scenario (from "At Your Door") might provide material for that.

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WinstonP

What about Daoloth? That's dimensional whammy action there.

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Graham

If you are thinking of using Daoloth, the scenario "The Gates of Delirum" also from The Stars are Right, would make for a good campaign starter.

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awokendreamer

Definitely thinking of using Yog-Sothoth, who is a personal favorite of mine. Hell, Yog sort of (sort of) shows up in Stranger Things. 

 

@mvincent holy cow that article on Polybius is amazing. I'm probably going to use that. I'm a big fan of using pre-existing real world mythos in my campaigns. Plus one of my players LOVES urban myths and creepypastas. This is right up their alley. 

 

Still looking at all the other suggestions though. Yog is a big name and I think maybe too obvious.

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The_Tatterdemalion_King

Just call it 'the Aeon of Set-Thoth' or just the Beyond One, or dig through the kabbalistic, gnostic, and hermetic sources that went into the stuff HPL cribbed when writing Yog-Sothoth-related stories for other names for the entity. Philip K. Dick's later novels and Charles Robert Wilson's 'The Perseids' are also good Yog-Sothoth-themed fodder. 

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awokendreamer

You also could make your own variant of The Color Out Of Space.

Wait, is it implied that the what crashed in the country in The Color Out of Space is Yog?

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CthulhuBob

Wait, is it implied that the what crashed in the country in The Color Out of Space is Yog?

No, I didn't mean to imply that. I was just thinking of it because of your reference to light. Having re-read your initial post, I'd have to retract my COOS suggestion however.

 

I do think ol' Yoggie is probably the way to go.

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SunlessNick

Azathoth might be an option - it's chaotic energy at the heart of the cosmos, which means both light and space are fit to be warped as its presence draws closer.  A twist might be that the people summoning it are doing so unwittingly - taking CthulhuBob's suggestion of Mi-Go technology, perhaps the researchers have acquired some somehow, and are tryng to study it, perceiving a new source of energy - but they're not using it properly, and each experiment gets closer and closer to properly summoning Azathoth, which would be an all-round disaster.  If you need a human villain, you could have a sorcerer who thinks he can use the event for his own purposes, someone who's fallen into such nihilism that summoning Azathoth seems cathartic, or a scientist whose thirst to know the ultimate extent of this technology outweighs his concern for his own life or the lives around him.

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JeffErwin

Azathoth might be an option - it's chaotic energy at the heart of the cosmos, which means both light and space are fit to be warped as its presence draws closer.  A twist might be that the people summoning it are doing so unwittingly - taking CthulhuBob's suggestion of Mi-Go technology, perhaps the researchers have acquired some somehow, and are tryng to study it, perceiving a new source of energy - but they're not using it properly, and each experiment gets closer and closer to properly summoning Azathoth, which would be an all-round disaster.  If you need a human villain, you could have a sorcerer who thinks he can use the event for his own purposes, someone who's fallen into such nihilism that summoning Azathoth seems cathartic, or a scientist whose thirst to know the ultimate extent of this technology outweighs his concern for his own life or the lives around him.

 

The PCs could even start working for such a figure (such as a scientist) or group and end up discovering the (unsuspected?) end result of their plans as they help them assemble their "experiment" that makes them turn against their employer -- or friend...

 

Azathoth isn't a "big bad" so much as a plot device of course.

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MonkeyPrime

With the arcade how about The Tick Tock Man? It's one of N'arlhoteps masks and is about innovation and will often manifest through technology. I'm using him in my World War Cthulhu campaign and he's using four bringers of Chaos to compete to use innovations in magic, technology, forgotten objects of power and human capacity for greed to attract the attentions of the Tick Tock Man.

 

With the 80s being the time of development for the internet and computer games it just screams to me Tick Tock. He has his angel like creatures called Harbingers(?) that could be brought interdimensionally.

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Gaffer

What if the ritual was set in motion years ago, or decades ago, or centuries ago? As it continues to completion, local space-time is warped.

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CthulhuBob

What if the ritual was set in motion years ago, or decades ago, or centuries ago? As it continues to completion, local space-time is warped.

 

Nice.  This would also be a way to bring the Hounds of Tindalos into play, as mentioned above.

 

Additionally, all sorts of events, people and objects from various time periods and locations could be in and out as space-time warp, flex, splinter etc.  "Wow, that's a really well-preserved 19th Century carriage."

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awokendreamer

All great ideas!!!

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