Spawn of Azathoth – Introduction

First edition cover. © Chaosium, Inc, 1986.

From the Mind of Keeper Jon Hook

Welcome to the Cult of Azathoth. My plan for this series of articles is to describe how I upgraded the classic Call of Cthulhu RPG campaign, Spawn of Azathoth, so I could run it with 7th Edition rules for the Into the Darkness players on their YouTube channel. You can find my run of this campaign here. This series of articles will contain spoilers for this campaign. You’ve been warned. If you’re a player who hopes to play in this campaign, please send your Keeper here; it’s my hope that they’ll find the inspiration here to run this most excellent campaign. 

The Spawn of Azathoth campaign, (also known as Spawn of Azathoth: Herald of the End of Time), was written by Keith “Doc” Herber, and it was originally published as a box set by Chaosium, Inc, in 1986 with box cover art by Susan Seddon Boulet. Kevin Ramos did all of the interior illustrations. The box set included three booklets, one physical prop, and a house ad flyer. The physical prop is a business card for E&E News Clipping Service. The first booklet is titled From Beyond the Grave, the second is The Spawn Approaches, and the third is a book of handouts titled The Azathoth Papers

First edition box contents. © Chaosium, Inc, 1986.

Chaosium published a second edition of the campaign in 2005; this time as a single softcover book. The cover artist for the new edition was Tom Sullivan, with some of Kevin Ramos’ original interior art but also new art by Mislet Michel, Andy Hopp, and Paul Carrick. Chaosium has also published a PDF copy of the second edition book, which is available from Chaosium’s official website or  DriveThruRPG .

Second edition cover. © Chaosium, Inc, 2005.

Herber wrote the campaign with eight sections, but really the very first section is more like a “pre-credits” scene in a movie. So, effectively the campaign has seven main sections. Those sections are: 

    • A Ghostly Presence (the pre-credits scene) & Providence, Rhode Island
    • Garrison, Montana
    • St. Augustine, Florida 
    • The Andaman Islands 
    • Ulthar and Beyond (set in the Dreamlands) 
    • The Eternal Quest (also set in the Dreamlands) 
    • The Tibetan Interior

Herber’s campaign design is such that only the first and last sections are required, with the other sections being optional. A Keeper introduces the campaign to the players by running the A Ghostly Presence and Providence, Rhode Island chapters. These chapters contain a massive dump of clues that can lead the investigators to any other chapter other than The Tibetan Interior chapter. Herber’s intention was for the investigators to dictate the order in which the mystery is investigated. Once the players have collected enough clues and are ready to progress to the climax of the campaign, the Keeper triggers the final chapter. 

As previously noted, this series of articles documents how I recently ran this campaign. Each article will focus on one chapter and will include any lessons I learned or changes I made as I ran the campaign. So, my next article will cover the pre-credits scene and the first chapter together, A Ghostly Presence and Providence, Rhode Island. Welcome to the Cult of Azathoth!

For more Call of Cthulhu madness from Jon, check out the Modern Mythos Podcast.

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1 thought on “Spawn of Azathoth – Introduction

  1. Owen says:

    I look forward to reading more! There is such an enormous wealth of old campaigns and expansions for CoC that would benefit from this treatment. Very interested to hear what’s changed and the general approach taken towards adapting rules etc

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