Thursday, October 13, 2011

Preparing For The Scaring

A few posts back I mentioned that I have been preparing a one shot Call Of C'thulhu adventure for my gaming group so I figure its time to take a look at just what I'm talking about.  The adventure that we are going to play is actually one of the most played adventures for CoC ever written (makes sense since it has been their introductory investigation for years).  Only seems fitting since no one in my group has ever played the game, not to mention you have to figure they would have the bugs worked out of the adventure by now.

In the book they give you a basic layout of the story (including plot hooks for further investigations if your players want to pursue them) but a lot of it is left open so that you can give the adventure your own personal touch if you want.  To do this I decided to focus on a few things so that I could add a little flavor to the game and also make it easier for my players to get into the swing of things.  The first thing I did was take a look at the location.

The investigation is set in Boston, Massachusetts in the year 1920 and I decided to stick with this.  The game can easily be changed to other time periods but I like the idea of using the twenties.  Technology was definitely on the rise but no where near as advanced as the present day.  As for the location I really like the idea of this all happening near Arkham since it is the heart of Lovecraft country and Boston does have a rich history to draw form as well.  A few quick Google searches were enough to not only help me find some of the key locations but also give me a basic idea what the city was like then.

Another point in favor of setting it near Arkham was the fact that most of us had played Arkham Horror recently.  This made coming up with the mostly pre-generated characters a snap as I based most of them off of characters that we'd used in that game.  This gave me a loose background for each of them that I was able to work into a back story so the investigators actually had a reason to be together.  With it being a one shot the last thing I wanted to deal with was trying to get everyone out of the tavern and into the adventure.

You may have noticed that I said the characters were mostly pre-generated.  In Call of C'thulhu your character has occupational skill points that are assigned to specific skills and personal skill points that can be used for anything.  To give the players some freedom to add a personal flair to their character I left most of the personal skill points unassigned so that the players can add their own personal touch without having to go through the whole process of building the character from scratch.

I also took their character sheets one step further by making them into small files about the different characters.  In addition to their character sheet I included a one page bio about each investigator complete with picture.  This was all put into individual manila envelopes that were labeled with the character's name and occupation.  Since they are based on the Arkham Horror investigators, I was also able to get some pre-painted minis for all for of the characters as well.

When it comes time to play I'm going to lay out the four envelopes on the table with their respective minis, let the players choose which one they want to be, then crack open the envelopes to see just who they are playing.  All of this was very easy to do and I'm excited to see just how the group reacts to it.

This particular investigation also makes reference to some newspaper articles that the players might stumble upon that could give them clues about just what they are dealing with.  Unfortunately there isn't an actual handout for these bits of information but after a few minutes on Word I was able to whip up my own articles instead.  Admittedly I could have just verbally given them the information but I really like the idea of being able to actually hand them to the players.

With all of these bits of prep done, the only thing left is find a time when we can get the group together for a game.  Not exactly sure when that will be but I'll definitely be doing a write up for it so expect more on this in the not too distant future.  Until next time...

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