There must be something in the Arkham water at the moment as another Cthulhu gaming magazine makes its debut.
After the launch of Bayt al Azif last month comes Hypergraphia, this time from @gladius at Gladius Games. Hypergraphia is a "...digital fanzine of dark horror gaming for multiple systems including Call of Cthulhu and Cthulhu Dark". The 58 page publication is available in PDF from DriveThruRPG and the first issue includes a short Call of Cthulhu scenario.
It's great to see a resurgence in magazine support for Cthulhu gaming. Long may it continue!
Hypergraphia Magazine Issue #1
A digital fanzine of dark horror gaming for multiple systems including Call of Cthulhu and Cthulhu Dark. In this issue we look at the many ways that language, writing, and books can be used in your horror games. We bring you a plethora of NPCs, artefacts, and scenario seeds about writing, words, iconography, and occult tomes to jumpstart your own scenarios or inject linguistic concepts into an existing story you're telling. Including A Remembrance of Things Past, a short Call of Cthulhu 7th edition scenario, wherein your players will discover that language really is a virus.
Contributions from members of the Miskatonic University Podcast, Skype of Cthulhu, Weird Works, and Squamous Studios.
Yes, it's that time of year for more Shoggy Secrecy in Secret Shoggoth XIII! (I've always found 13 a rather nice number.)
Secret Shoggoth is our annual festive mystery gift exchange. This year it's ably run once again by Helen who has posted details in the Yoggie forums of how to take part in this rather fun and enjoyable community event.
The deadline for entry this year is Friday, 16th November 2018, so plenty of time to join in!
Come join us for another year of mystery, surprise and (modest) gift-giving with Secret Shoggoth XIII! (I've already signed up. 🙂)
This edition of NfP marks the sad news of the passing of Greg Stafford, founder of Chaosium, legendary game designer and creator of Glorantha. I first encountered Greg's cosmos when introduced to RuneQuest (II) over thirty years ago and for me, his approach to Arthurian roleplaying, Pendragon, remains a personal favourite and one of the shining lights in the history of games. He will be missed by many.
Greg Stafford: 1948-2018
Greg would no doubt have wished us to play on and and we still have plenty of news (and views) to bring you in our own light-hearted style, including another look at the HPLHS Masks of Nyarlathotep Gamer Prop Set (so big it would need multiple shows to do it full justice), a new RPG magazine, digital Cthulhu gaming, upcoming YSDC events, and of course – more.
Patrons have access to the complete NfP archive (see below).
Thought traditional RPG zines were dead? Not so. Out from Bayt al Azif comes the eponymous first issue of a new Cthulhu Mythos gaming magazine, courtesy of @JS113.
Inside Bayt al Azif's 80 pages you'll find three scenarios (and a solo adventure), reviews, interviews (Rogue Cthulhu, Chris Spivey) history pieces, comics and more. You can pick up a copy (PDF and POD) via DriveThruRPG.
With The Unspeakable Oath moving to a Patreon model, Bayt al Azif joins The Arkham Gazette as another traditional-style Cthulhu gaming magazine on the market.
Bayt al Azif #1
A magazine for Cthulhu Mythos roleplaying games
Issue #1 includes:
3 adventures dual-statted for Call of Cthulhu 7th edition and Gumshoe (Trail of Cthulhu/The Fall of Delta Green ).
A group of teenagers must survive the night in an abandoned school (Modern Era).
A team of investigators must determine the truth behind a massacre of Vietnamese civilians by American soldiers (US-Vietnam War).
A band of secret agents must discover what has been smuggled into Damascus (Dark Ages).
1 solo adventure set in the Miskatonic University library.
Tables for running random chases.
A overview of every Cthulhu mythos RPG release of 2017.
Classic Cthulhu RPG reviews.
Interviews with Rogue Cthulhu and Chris Spivey.
Advice, history, comics, and more...
Price (USD): $6 (PDF), $10 (Print + PDF)
My latest scrape of the internet reveals that Hideous Creatures: A Bestiary of the Cthulhu Mythos for Trail of Cthulhu has been released.
Hideous Creatures... is officially on pre-order at Pelgrane's web site, but an article comment reveals that you'll receive the PDF as soon as you place the pre-order for the print edition. – That means it's out. – The content is there for you to purchase and peruse now; the fact it's digital bits rather than the 352 page hardback doesn't alter the content (just the way it may be consumed).
If you're after a new bestiary of Cthulhoid creatures then have a look at Hideous Creatures... Pelgrane promises you something a little different.
For historical info. and discussion see: [Hideous Creatures] A Quick Thought on this Series
Hideous Creatures: A Bestiary of the Cthulhu Mythos
In Hideous Creatures: A Bestiary of the Cthulhu Mythos, we [Pelgrane] present a comprehensive look at Lovecraft's hideous creatures, from as many angles as we can. Our goal is contradiction, surprise, and most especially the uncanny: the recognition of something familiar as something weird. As in the "Gods and Titans" section of the Trail of Cthulhu core book, this book deliberately contradicts itself, blurring boundaries and erasing certainties in the name of the uncanny. In your campaign, these variant truths might be misunderstandings, legends, heresies, or deliberate lies spread by the creatures to lull their foes into a false sense of familiarity.
Hideous Creatures: A Bestiary of the Cthulhu Mythos is the Trail of Cthulhu bestiary written by Kenneth Hite, Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan, Becky Annison, Helen Gould and Ruth Tillman, in the tradition of the award-winning Book of Unremitting Horror and the 13th Age Bestiary. Creatures are not just antagonists to fight or flee from; they are entire adventures by themselves, leaving physical traces, occult clues and madness in their eldritch wake.
Featuring seven new creatures [for ToC]: Bholes, Colour Out of Space, Elder Things, Flying Polyps, Moon Beasts, Night-Gaunts and Spawn of Yog-Sothoth, and full write-ups of nine Foul Congeries, opening the books on Lovecraftian monsters that have never taken stat-block form before in any game: Bat-Things, Black Winged Ones, Gaseous Wraiths, Medusas, Raktajihva, Ultraviolet Devourer, Vampirish Vapour, Worm-Cultist and Y'm-bhi.
New art and in-world documents for each of the fifteen original Hideous Creatures: Byakhee, Dark Young of Shub-Niggurath, Deep Ones, Ghouls, Great Race of Yith, Hounds of Tindalos, Hunting Horrors, Lloigor, Mi-Go, Rat-Things, Serpent Folk, Shoggoths, Star Vampires, Tcho-Tchos and Wendigo.
Authors: Kenneth Hite et al., Artists: Gislaine Avila et al.
I’ve had a lot of fun re-skinning “Standard” scenarios and linking them together.
For my Purple Haze campaign, I combined Mister Corbitt (Mansions of Madness), Heart of Darkness (6th Ed Rulebook) and Crimson Letter (7th Ed Rulebook.)
I’ll be referencing these scenarios so spoiler warning if you haven’t read them and apologizes if I reference something you don’t know about.
The Campaign was based around the Creatures From Beyond and the Ultraviolent Spectrum. Adding these creatures to each scenario wasn’t hard but linking the scenarios required a great deal of planning and note-taking.
The Overall Plot was that the Dark Brotherhood in Heart of Darkness was instead a group of students and professors who had come across some ancient Middle Eastern documents that explained how to build an electrical device (I based a lot of this on the Baghdad Battery) which would provide perpetual energy. Experimenting with this they hoped to achieve professional fame and fortune. However, the plans were actually to a Tillinghast Resonator that revealed to them the Beyond. This is what caused all the death and destruction in the house. Most people died but others fled including a Young Professor Leiter with the blueprints.
The campaign opened with Crimson Letters, everything was exactly the same with the exception that rather than copying a Witch Book Leiter made a copy of the Battery Blueprints. These blueprints were bid on by Abner Wick and Mr. Corbitt. Corbitt won and got the copy but Wick was angry and killed Leiter and stole the original. The players tracked down Wick, who had some spells in his house for the players to learn and was a man with an overdeveloped pineal gland rather than one with the Ghoul taint. They attacked him in his basement where he had a primitive Resonator set up and then got the blueprints as Abner fled.
While exploring Leiter's house for clues they found a box with all of the usual Heart of Darkness handouts. A deed to a house, a key, a journal of what the kids got up to. This scenario is basically just a location, there is no son trying to take control of the estate or dead lady who gets reanimated. The monster is instead a Resonate which connects to a battery in the roof and the basement. They encountered and killed Red Jake and then learned that the power turns on and off in random cycles. They got caught in the cycle and suffered badly as the creatures attacked. They survived by destroying the machine and using magic on the creatures from beyond.
Finally, they had to deal with Mr. Corbitt. They found out about him during their research into Leiter as a man who had some exchanged but Leiter's assistant told them he had been asking around. The investigators when to investigate him. This scenario was also basically turned into just a location with all of Corbitt’s personality and the house being the same but without the monster in the basement and body part stealing. One player went into to distract him while another snooped around back. The one in the back learned what he was up to, using Resonators as lamps for his strange plants, while the one talking to him got his tea poisoned. When a third player showed up to save the day he got his throat slashed (and lived) before Corbitt ran to his basement. Here he activated his proto-type generator and released a bunch of captives he’d been bombarding with Resonator Radiation for weeks. These captives were now hungry for brains like the From Beyond movie and it ended when the PC’s killed them all and Corbitt at the cost of some limbs.
One thing I will warn is that most “Standard” CoC scenarios have climaxes or monsters in a basement. This can become repetitive I would advise finding other places for things to happen. Outdoor sheds, attics and what not.
We often hear about how the creatures of the Cthulhu Mythos are hyperintelligent. With mental faculties far exceeding humans. Even the creatures who aren’t as intelligent as say the Great Race or the Elder things typically have intelligence on par with humans.
Yet often I see in scenarios, game stories or live plays that when the creatures fight the investigators, they do so by simply charging in and bashing them to pieces. Often the creature’s intelligence is only shown through its larger plot, whatever its long-standing goal may be, but is absent as soon as the investigators get in the same room as it.
This is something I’ve been trying to fix in my own scenarios and so I’ve had a few successes looking back.
Once I had a creature that was trying to get the players to come to its lair, so it could eat them. It had access to a few spells including the Cause/Cure Blindness Spell. I fudged the magic point cost but it decided to use its power to blind two of the players any time they move away from it’s lair (A cave they were at the mouth of). Needless to say, it was a bit railroady but it put a lot of fear in them and they reacted very intensely.
Most recently a team of heroes found themselves at the bottom of a well. They had fought and hurt a protoplasmic creature halfway down but learned only fire could damage it. As soon as they did it raced away up the well and covered the well by stretching itself over it. The players continued on lighting torches and getting as much fire as they could. But soon they realized that all of the smoke was collecting in the area and wasn’t able to escape because of the creature forcing them to fight it with a host of penalty dice.
In another scenario my players encountered some Elder Things in their lab. Rather than initially fight them I had the Elder Things treat the investigators like one would an escaped lab animal. They pointed with their arms, gave the characters a lot of room and made gentle noises trying to get them into a particular holding area. The investigators were utterly befuddle and after several attempts the Elder Thing grabbed a hold of one player and tried to guide them in. When they fought back the Elder Things revealed their strength and hurt them as an example to the others.
I’m hoping to see if other people have had this problem or have solutions of their own.
If you have specific tactics for a particular monster let us know, or if you have generic tactics you think for other monsters let us know.
If you’ve had a particular incident of a monster using tactics in combat feel free to share.
Players feel free to hare an anecdote about a time you felt that a monster had you outmaneuvered.
I've given it a little thought, and I think the pooling of stats works pretty well. As @Merudo said, 3 average investigators would tally up to 4 Build, which means they'd each get a Bonus Die tackling a Ghast, and only a single Penalty Die each towards a Dark Young, but I think for the maneuver to work, it would require all 3 to succeed, which would keep the chances of success at a reasonable level. I don't want it being too easy. Thanks for the communal brainstorming, guys