Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Suggested Call of Cthulhu Scenarios?

Last Sunday, I got the opportunity to run Call of Cthulhu as a fill-in game in our group’s schedule. They were all novices to CoC and I had the great joy of running them through “The Haunted House.” Despite playing on a bright, Sunday afternoon in a gaming store where a CCG tournament was underway, they were still terrified by their experiences in the Old Corbitt Place. It seems I still have a knack for the spooky.

The game was so well-received that we’ve all agreed that CoC will become the backup game whenever the current referee needs a week off. With that in mind, I’m looking for suggestions on what Call of Cthulhu scenarios to run for the guys. I’m looking for shorter ones, the kind that can be completed in 4-5 hours of play, but I am interested in hearing about people’s experiences with some of the longer campaign series as well—just in case CoC becomes the next game after our current Labyrinth Lord game wraps up.

If it helps, the investigators are operating out of a town near the Catskill region of New York State—one roughly the size of Arkham. I own a few Call of Cthulhu supplements, but by no means have a complete set. I’ve got a sizeable collection of White Dwarf magazines and I know that they published a slew of scenarios in the past.

So what are your favorite scenarios to either play or run? I’m all ears.


J.M. said...

I've run a couple of COC one-shots over the last couple of years, with novice players, both old Chaosium scenarios: The Auction and The Sanitarium. Both went great and can easily be finished in a single session. The Sanitarium, in particular, is very tight and really surprised my players and defied their expectations. Both can be bought from Chaosium as PDFs.

Anonymous said...

There's nothing like in-bred folks and frog like bi-peds to make one's skin crawl. Thanks again dude!
-Carlo Moabdi

Beedo said...

My favorite campaign was Beyond the Mountains of Madness. These days, all my favorite scenarios are the "purist" adventures put out by Pelgrane Press for Trail of Cthulhu, but they'd be easy to convert. The Black Drop is like BTMOM -lite and is like $4-5 in PDF.

brady said...

I ran "Malice Everlasting" from New Tales of the Miskatonic Valley for a group recently. It went over really well, and only took an afternoon.

Anthony said...

One of my favorites is "The Secret of Castronegro." Southwestern setting, and the (potential) end is just chilling.

sirlarkins said...

I'll second "The Auction"--players always have fun bidding on the goodies in addition to the turn the scenario later takes. One the biggest scares of my just-wrapped campaign came during that scenario. And, from a campaign standpoint, the players got their hands on the scenario's McGuffin and several sessions later tried to use it, much to the mortal chagrin of the PC who activated it.

An old favorite of mine (I've run it twice) is "Mr. Corbitt" from Mansions of Madness. Since you've run "The Haunted House" you'll want to change the name (unless you like the eerie coincidence), but it's a great creepfest that's easily complete-able in one session.

Also, anything in Fatal Experiments is pretty much gold.

As for longer campaigns, I've been itching to try out Tatters of the King; it's supposed to be closer to the "Purist" end of the scale than other campaign-adventures like "Masks" or BtMoM. It's set in London, so I don't know how hard it would be to transfer events to upstate New York, but you might give it a look.

Pat said...

I've been a player in the scenarios in the "Secrets" book, those were all pretty good. I've both played & referee'd the sample scenario in "Bermuda Triangle," that's also quite fun.

Andreas Davour said...

The Sanitarium, definitely. Very good stuff. It's in the Mansions of Madness book, which is a great buy.

Neil Ford said...

I'd recommend looking at Cthulhu Britannica from Cubicle 7. It contains scenarios that were originally written as convention games, so they are designed to be run in the time you have available. They are for a number of different time periods, but could be time shifted.

- Neil.

Michael Curtis said...

Thanks all for the suggestions. I have one or two of the mentioned books, but it sometimes hard to judge the quality of a scenario until the rubber meets the road.

For what it's worth, I have Tatters of the King and hope to run it one day. I think the KiY is my favorite aspect of the Mythos. The current group has a decided lack of psychologists at the moment, however...

kelvingreen said...

I'll be cheeky and offer my own creation first; it's modern-day and British by default, but it is easy enough to convert back to 1920's America.

"Spirit of the Mountain" from White Dwarf #99 is quite good, although it's fairly epic in scale, and is set in Arizona, so may not be a good fit. "The Surrey Enigma" from #69 is a strong yet gentle scenario, although that too is set in Britain, and may be difficult to transfer.

I have Tatters of the King, and it seems quite strong, although it strikes me as a bit disjointed in parts. I don't see why it couldn't be transferred to the US, as there's not anything particularly British about it, aside from a cameo from Aleister Crowley.

"The Secret of Castronegro" is quite good, while "The Auction" is okay on its own and excellent as a start to a campaign. The latter was printed in The Asylum and most recently in 1990's Cthulhu Casebook. "Castronegro" was printed in Cthulhu Companion and Cthulhu Classics, as well as the third edition core rules, or at least the Games Workshop edition of them.

kelvingreen said...

Here's a list of White Dwarf scenarios and articles, in case you're interested:

WD 42 (June 1983), Cthulhu Now!, Part 1: Skills and Weapons
WD 43, Cthulhu Now!, Part 2: Mini-scenario Outlines, Dial 'H' for Horror , Trail of the Loathsome Slime, Cthulhu Now!
WD 50, The Watchers of Walberswick: England, 1934
WD 60, The Bleeding Stone of Iphtah: Final scenario of 1984 Games Day CoC Competition, for 3-5 players in Jerusalem
WD 62, Crawling Chaos: Creatures from Brian Lumley's Beneath The Moors, Bokrug (Lesser Independent Race), Thuun'Ha (Lesser Servitor Race)
WD 63, Draw the Blinds on Yesterday: Modern-Day Adventure for 2-5 British Characters
WD 64, Crawling Chaos: The Bearers of the Mark - CoC Society
WD 66, Crawling Chaos: Once Risen, Twice Shy, Clues for Tempest Manor
& The Horse of the Invisible: Scenario
WD 67, Haunters of the Dark: Ghosts, Non-Mythos Adversary
WD 68, Crawling Chaos: Free the Spirit, The Clergyman, Hypnotism
WD 69, The Surrey Enigma: Scenario for 3-5 Characters
WD 70, Crawling Chaos: The Price is Right - Prices in 1920s Britain
WD 71, Cults of the Dark Gods - The Assassins, The Knights Templar
WD 72, Fear of Flying: Scenario for medium to long air journey
& Crawling Chaos: Recommended Reading - The Gemhetep Papyrus, The Sphingien Manuscript
WD 73, Cults of the Dark Gods 2 - Freemasonry, Bavarian Illuminati, Nazi Party
WD 74, Gentlemen and Players: A Guide to Creating British Investigators
WD 75, The Heart of the Dark: An Illuminatingly different scenario
WD 77, The Cars That Ate Sanity: 1920s Car Chases
WD 79, Ghost Jackal Kill: Prequel Adventure to GW CoC Scenario The Statue of the Sorcerer
WD 80, Ancient & Modern: A Scenario for Schizophrenic Roleplayers - Part One of an epic adventure across time and space
WD 81, Ancient & Modern: A Scenario for Schizophrenic Roleplayers - Part Two of an epic adventure across time and space
WD 83, Then Everything Went Black: Optional Plot Device Rule for Knocking Out Investigators
WD 86, Curse of the Bone: Modern Scenario in London
WD 87, With a Pinch of Salt: Zombies
WD 88, The Paddington Horror: 1920's Sub-Plot for use when an Investigator is Captured by Cultists
WD 89, Be Afraid... Be Very Afraid: New Phobias
WD 90, Green and Pleasant Language: British Period Slang
WD 91, Ghosties & Ghoulies & ... Squid?: Cthulhu Mythos
& A Hard Act To Follow: Public Order for British-based campaigns
WD 93, Letters From A Foreign Land: Multi-System Adventure for 3-5 PCs
WD 94, Situations Vacant: Alternative Employment - New Careers
WD 97, Trilogy of Terror: Three Cases for CoC , The Book, The Séance, A capital Offence
WD 99 (March 1988), Spirit of the Mountain: Adventure in Navajo lands of Arizona

(copied from here

Neil Ford said...

And I have all of those, should anything take your fancy which you don't have direct access too.

- Neil.

Badmike said...

Cthulhu Classics, Cthulhu Casebook, Curse of Cthulhu, Mansions of Madness, and The Great Old Ones are all great collections of classic (pre 1990) CoC adventures, very old school, and ready to be plopped into any game for a session or two of fun. Frankly except for a very few releases (Mountains of Madness, Walker in the Wastes) there haven't been many "essential" releases in the last 20 years of so.

Akrasia said...

I second the suggestions of "Mr. Corbitt" and "The Sanatorium" from the excellent Mansions of Madness. I've run both recently with great success!

Marcus said...

I'd suggest looking at some of the Purist scenarios for Trail of Cthulhu: The Dying of St. Margaret's, The Watchers in the Sky, The Dance in the Blood, and The Rending Box. They're easily convertible to CoC, and all excellent for a single evening's worth of play.

Personal faves in this bunch are the Watchers in the Sky and The Rending Box, but they're all top notch.

iron said...

"The Asylum and Other Tales" and "The Curse of the Chthonians" have some of my favorites scenarios. I especially like the ones Dave Hargrave did. their kinda like mini dungeon adventures and pretty gruesome.

iron said...
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JohnH said...

In Mansions of Madness is Crack'd and Crook'd Manse, which is also very good. The monster in that one is very strong, but not omnipotent and definitely beatable.

Dead Man's Stomp in the core rulebook is pretty great too; there are surprisingly few Call of Cthulhu scenarios in which the mob plays a role, and as a bonus race relations are important too.

One thing about Call of Cthulhu is that most campaigns are connected sequences of scenarios that can usually be pretty easily removed from their setting and adapted for other purposes. The first two scenarios in Shadows of Yog-Sothoth are like that, and they're also atypical in that they're more about infiltrating an organization, which is relatively rare from what I've seen.

Dom said...

The Sanatorium and Crack'd and Crook'd Manse are indeed two awesome scenarios from Mansions of Madness. I'd like to also put my vote for The Auction.