Running “The Dare” – Some Tricks and Treats

WARNING: SPOILERS FOR “THE DARE” BELOW! As the leaves begin to change and the smell of apple cider and pumpkin spice waft through the air, many a Keeper commence their annual search for an excellent adventure to capture the Halloween spirit. Surprisingly, Chaosium offers no dedicated Halloween Call of Cthulhu scenario for the 7th edition. For our seasonal scares, we must turn to third-party supplements, out-of-print modules, the Miskatonic Repository, and alternative systems for dedicated selections. In this post, we intend to spotlight our second favorite Halloween adventure while offering some constructive analysis and posing suggestions to optimize the experience for your players. If you’ve already played “The Dare,” you can look forward to a follow-up

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Mythos Tomes – True Magick

Location:  Stored in Ho Fang’s booby-trapped teak cabinet in the Shrine to the Bloated Woman (China) Alternative Location: On the desk in Carl Stanford’s room (China) Physical Description:  Bound in fine red Chinese silks depicting various Mythos creatures and symbols Author:  Theophilus Wenn, 17th-century Hermetic philosopher, produced no additional works believed to be a pseudonym, possibly Arthur Dee (eldest son of John Dee) or Elias Ashmole Publication History: Only a single copy exists, last recorded in the possession of the early 19th-century bookseller and American wizard John George Hohman. Records reveal it seemed to be a small and crumbling manuscript bound in disintegrating leather. According to scholars, medieval records from the University of Salamanca detail

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Adding “The Vanishing Conjurer” to Your Campaign

Warning: Vanishing Conjurer Spoilers Below Presented as an introductory-level investigation, The Vanishing Conjurer is suggested as an “intermission” in the Masks of Nyarlathotep campaign during the England Chapter. The Masks of Nyarlathotep Companion also notes it as a suitable sidetrack adventure. We thoroughly enjoyed this scenario as a one-shot featuring a stage magic act, but we also incorporated elements and easter eggs tying it to our larger Masks of Nyarlathotep campaign. In particular, we used it as an opportunity to introduce our players to both Mickey Mahoney and Carl Stanford, as well as foreshadow the importance of the Order of the Bloated Woman. In this post, we share our experience in running this scenario as

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Scenario Remix – The Vanishing Conjurer

    WARNING: Vanishing Conjurer Spoilers Below Stage magic and the Cthulhu Mythos pair beautifully. Lovecraft himself collaborated and ghostwrote for Harry Houdini. Over the decades, several scenarios have capitalized on this thematic association, including the two-pack of adventures from Games Workshop published in 1986 featuring The Statue of the Sorcerer and The Vanishing Conjurer. Other notables include The House of Memphis in Mansions of Madness, volume 1, and Miskatonic Repository offerings, Death is the Final Escape and The Maw. Of these, our personal favorite is The Vanishing Conjurer by Mike Lewis and Simon Price, which features evocative cover art by Lee Gibbons, a promising hook, and a novel roleplaying opportunity baked into the scenario. As

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Survive the Con – Origins 2023

Origins became an annual pilgrimage for me starting in 2019. It feels like a dozen lifetimes have passed since my friend Augur and I enjoyed an assortment of games. Some standouts included Survive the Night’s “Carnage at Camp Ojibwe” with its creator Brian Crenshaw and the now classic Call of Cthulhu con scenario “The Shooting Party” with Matt French. These were the days of yore in the Rogue Cthulhu era, pre-COVID, back before I gave in to the Keeper’s compulsion…back when I actually went to cons and played games. My experiences with conventions and gaming have evolved substantially over the last several years, and this trip to Origins nicely encapsulates those shifts.  Though I wish

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Adding “Swamp Song” to Your Campaign

The latest edition of MoN includes the Peru Prologue to introduce Jackson Elias before his inevitable demise at the Chelsea Hotel. This addition helps form a bond between the investigators and their ill-fated quest-giver. Our Miskatonic Repository scenario, Swamp Song, aims to deepen this Peruvian connection and offer the investigators a chance to save Elias’ bacon at least once. The scenario contents also aim to foreshadow, provide resources, and lay some groundwork for future campaign events without altering the plot. Here, we intend to elaborate on our goals and provide some notes on integrating Swamp Song into your MoN campaign, even if you’ve already moved beyond New York! WARNING: SWAMP SONG SPOILERS BELOW Timing: The

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Returning to the 4th Edition, part 2

We return to our review of the fourth edition of Masks of Nyarlathotep to survey the Kenya, Australia, and China chapters. As the campaign moves further away from America, a lot of the poorly-aged choices and depictions become more apparent. The intent is not to belabor them in great detail but point out some of the more salient decisions made in the latest version. Once again, we engage the older edition with an open mind and an eye for discarded components that could be re-incorporated or further modified to augment your campaign.  Kenya: “Expect massive Sanity loss in this chapter. Don’t be squeamish in applying it.” Previously Kenya served as a near-direct path to a

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Chaosium Con II: Totally Mad(Re)cap

Disclaimer: Advance apologies. I wrote this on a 9-hour flight after four amazing, sleep-deprived days in the company of mind-blowingly fantastic people.  Thanks to anyone correcting my errors. Last year, even with the pains of COVID and minor first event hiccups, Chaosium Con stood out as my spring highlight. I anxiously awaited the announcement of the sequel. In the meantime, I resolved to spend just a little less time at the gaming table, attend the auction, hit some of the great panels, and slowly peruse the vendor hall next time. The moment the dates dropped, I had my schedule blocked, the vacation requests in, and spousal approval pending review.  As the convention schedule rolled out,

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Inside the Mind of a Convention GM with Matt McCloud

On the eve of Chaosium Con II, we sat down with veteran Keeper Matthew McCloud, the chief organizer, hype-man, and dark heart of Lurking Fears, a collective of dedicated gamemasters offering “the very best in horror and grimdark roleplaying.” In addition to offering some of the finest Call of Cthulhu events available at conventions across the United States, they have grown an impressive assortment of relationships with companies like Free League, Mongoose Publishing, and Bloat Games to name a few. Players can expect a wide and constantly growing variety of incredible games in a Lurking Fears room with an equally impressive array of GMs. Lurking Fears will be running games at Gen Con for Chaosium

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Returning to the 4th Edition, part 1

The creative team behind the latest edition of Masks of Nyarlathotep brought some great changes and a wealth of useful information to Keepers tackling this epic adventure. This version is far and away the best version of this campaign, but it stands atop four phenomenal earlier editions. In this process of growth, some interesting pieces of the campaign fell away. Some things changed for the sake of balance, consistency, and inclusion. We particularly appreciate the presence of Zahra Shafik over Tewfik al-Sayed.  Others alterations stand out as creative choices. A few, surprisingly represent a loss of granularity, for better or worse. We will tour some of the smaller differences between the fourth and fifth editions

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