Kidnapped Investigators in Call of Cthulhu

Investigators will face a wide variety of threats throughout the adventures, and, per the campaign book, cultists will frequently attempt kidnappings to allow their superiors to question meddlers before sacrifice or summary execution. While kidnappings can serve to forestall death and increase the drama, they can disrupt player agency and engagement. Removing an Investigator from the game almost guarantees player dissatisfaction, and trying to concurrently run events for the kidnapped and the rescuers during a session can be a real nuisance for everyone. We offer three potential methods to smooth these challenges and create interesting scenarios for your players.  To the Rescue: The first option removes the kidnapped player from active gameplay and operates under

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The Pause

Roleplaying requires constant improvisation by both players and Keepers. The MoN campaign materials provide us with a wealth of material to draw from with many detailed characters and location descriptions, but sometimes we find ourselves portraying bit players or describing unexpected locales.  We frequently discover our groups getting interested in something that may not be plot-relevant or fleshed out. Rather than wave off their interest or block them, we can instead use a whammy (or bang) to institute a pause by interrupting the player’s pursuit of that lead allowing the Keeper inter-session time to engineer campaign links and flesh out a rewarding encounter. Of course, you can skip all that and just improvise, but let

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Mythos Corruption – Random Cosmic Horror Effect Tables

We return to our Mythos Corruption framework, which provides an alternative to the classic Call of Cthulhu Sanity mechanic allowing the Keeper and players to move away from Insanity and mental health associations used in the traditional ruleset. We have previously discussed Vulnerability to address Mundane Horror and optional rules to help tailor Corruption to your game. Here we offer alternative tables for Cosmic Horror (Bouts of Madness) and Unsettled Reality (Indefinite Reality) for completeness sake. While the effects of Mythos Corruption may appear outwardly as Insanity, they represent profound alterations of the Investigator’s reality.  Rather than purely punitive events, some Psychic Detonations may have both negative and positive features, which may be exploited by both

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Mythos Corruption – Optional Rules

Call of Cthulhu encourages many different styles of play and formats, such as one-shot survival horror, short and deadly investigative modules, and long-form heroic campaigns to name just a few. The alternative Mythos Corruption framework we have presented may not mesh well with every game, but we would like to present some optional rules that could facilitate its incorporation at your table.  Modified Mythos Resistance (Sanity) Costs You may wish to compensate for the fact that your Investigators no longer suffer losses related to Mundane Horror by making a simple cost adjustment. Every check will result in the loss of at least one point of Mythos Resistance (Sanity). That means your Investigators will always experience

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Zahra Shafik & Player Dilemmas

At the heart of every good roleplaying game are players making meaningful choices, which lead to exciting consequences, astounding victories, or shocking revelations. Sometimes, those meaningful choices can prove challenging for players to make and may present a dilemma, which is defined as a difficult choice between two or more equally undesirable alternatives. An effectively implemented dilemma can provoke a strong emotional response that your players will return to long after the campaign has concluded. They may view these decisions as campaign crossroads for their Investigators. We think that the England Chapter presents an excellent opportunity to present dilemmas to your players in the form of the crafty, upstart Brotherhood cult leader, Zahra Shafik. Before

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Vulnerability & Mundane Horror

In our current Masks of Nyarlathotep campaign, we have introduced Mythos Corruption as an alternative framework to the classic Call of Cthulhu Sanity mechanic. This modification to the existing 7th edition rules provides a slightly different means for tracking the effects of Mythos and mundane horror. By shifting the emphasis from deteriorating sanity to progressive cognitive corruption by incomprehensible forces, we have altered the effects of mundane horrors on our Investigators. Instead of the banal disturbances and terrors of our mortal world working in tandem with the Mythos to chip away at an Investigator’s mental health, these events lead to vulnerability and weaken a character’s resistance to the effects of Mythos exposure. In developing this simple

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Mythos Corruption, an alternative to Insanity

  The Sanity mechanic dates back to the original version of Call of Cthulhu from 1981 and has remained a fundamental aspect of the setting providing Keepers and players a means to convey and roleplay the effects of horror in the game. Many other game systems have incorporated, adapted, or been inspired by this concept. Throughout our MoN campaign, we have been challenged to reframe the “Sanity” mechanic to more convincingly reflect its role in both the campaign and the broader Mythos world.  Part of the impetus arose from recurrent concerns about the depiction of mental illness and insanity portrayed by both the players and the NPCs.  Our playgroup consists of health care providers with

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Magic in Masks – Tomes & Spells

  The length and scope of MoN allow Keepers and Investigators to dig deep into magical resources and practical applications that may not often be available in shorter campaigns and brief scenarios. As many players will begin CoC games with Mythos-naive PCs it will take time for them to acquire knowledge, as well as the necessary artifacts and tomes to practice magic. In MoN, they will brush up against some of the most prestigious grimoires available in the setting and have the opportunity to study these incredible and world-shattering texts. To maximize the value of spells and tomes for your campaign, you may want to tweak some of the rules for everyone’s benefit. There are

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Chapter Prepping

Once you have an overview of the entirety of the main campaign, either by a full read-through or a preliminary first-pass, you can begin prepping your first chapter. If you’re an experienced Keeper/GM and have a preferred prep style feel free to disregard all the suggestions here and stick to the approach that works for you. If you feel daunted by the information contained in each chapter, try some of these suggestions. First, we’ll re-read all the introductory chapter information, including the connection to the main campaign, Carlyle Expedition, Jackson Elias, as well as the chapter’s feature cult. If you wish, you can breeze past the information about the NPC and plan to return to

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Feedback – An Easy Campaign Diagnostic

Perhaps you just ran your first session with a new group of excited Investigators or you’re wrapping up an epic chapter. Or maybe things felt a little stale and subdued at the table during the last game. Whether things appear superlative or sub-par, gathering player feedback allows us Keepers to continue actively improving our campaign and developing our skills. To obtain useful, candid feedback, you will want to rely on some simple, open-ended questions for your players. After our first Peru session that included an extending roleplaying introduction to Larkin, de Mendoza, and Jackson at Bar Cordano, as well as some high-tension sneaking around the Hotel España while distracting the proprietor and discovering Larkin in

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