While listening to the Miskatonic University Podcast they mentioned an actual play 'cast that they were listening to that they were all enjoying. Always interested in listening on other peoples games I decided to give them a try. Fifteen episodes later and numerous sanity blasting feedback loops later its time to listen in on...
Focus: Call of Cthulhu rules actual play
Audio Quality: Four barbers out of five... except when Skype explodes
Content Quality: Four and a half G-men out of five
Average Length: from an hour and a half to just over three hours
If you ask gamers to describe Call of Cthulhu I think one of the common themes would be "that game where everyone dies or goes crazy in the end" and perhaps rightly so. CoC can be a brutal game and character mortality is a major factor. A few good shots/punches/claws to the face, and you'll be rolling up a new character while the rest of the group runs for their lives.
That said you might be surprised to hear that I've listened to the first three adventures the guys at Skype of Cthulhu recorded and... are you ready for it? They are still using the same characters! Now if that's not sanity blasting on a whole new level then I don't know what is! The great thing is that its not because the keeper is pulling any punches. Instead it is a combination of some crazy luck (such as fighting off a Deep Ones with hands and feet tied...) and the stubborn tenacity of the players that has kept these characters alive. The keeper has also introduced almost an X-Files aspect to the game as there have been two occasions when the men in black have made an appearance which is a really interesting touch.
The only downside so far has been the aforementioned Skype explosions. Over the course of the first fourteen episodes there are several times when feedback noise will blast over the game. The worst ones are edited out and the group does a great job pressing on in spite of them but it can be a little distracting to say the least. Thankfully it seems like they have solved the problem as of episode 15 so hopefully its smooth sailing from then on but even with this distraction I really recommend giving them a try as it really shines a new light on the concept of an ongoing campaign in Call of Cthulhu without repeated character generation. Until next time...