Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Continuity and the Cthulhu Campaign

Hint: African magic is never beneficial

How is a second batch of investigators meant to pick up the pieces from a failed investigation? The various conceits such as prior investigators leaving detailed notes always rang false to me. One option could be to play policemen investigating the disappearance of the prior investigators and then trying hard not to act on knowledge these fresh characters wouldn’t have. I must admit I find it hard not to meta-game in these situations. How do you keep sensible continuity vital to the believability of a clue laden Cthulhu story after a party wipe? Which leads me to a second thought.

Can you fail in a role-playing game? As people say character death and insanity in Cthulhu are expected and yet it’s still an odd feeling to have a character perish. My character in Cthulhu is probably dead and that’s OK. I suspect my next character will be a lot more paranoid and I’ll probably power game his stats as much as I can so that I pass those critical rolls. I have to wonder if you’re playing Cthulhu in the spirit of the game if you have martial arts, explosives and shotguns at 95%? Here’s what could well amount to Monty’s last tale:

Well this is a grim situation we find ourselves in. It seems the questionable folk of the Juju house were indeed cultists. I had suspected as much but chose the noble path of not giving in to racial stereotyping and this is the result it seems. Struck down by invisible Nubian warriors. In the dead of night the blighters are difficult to see. I would tell you of events from the start so that in the likely event that I am sacrificed to some nameless bloody tongued god you may pick up the pieces and continue the investigation. I trust you shall be more paranoid than I and shoot all those of colour on sight. This could of course become problematic should your investigations lead you to Kenya. Regardless here is what transpired before my present predicament.

Our first trip to Harlem was an unpleasant affair. Drunks abound in this ghetto. The Juju house sold African gewgaws of little consequence. Our enquiries of the old shop owner got us an introduction to Mokungo who we were to meet late that night. I noticed a key about the shop owner’s neck and ascertained that there was a basement beneath the shop. An inner voice told me to pull a gun on the owner but I resisted the temptation for such would be the actions of a mad man. Oh how I regret not acting on that instinct now.

It's ones duty to formulate an escape plan
We left the Juju house with little to show for our efforts except for the feeling that the African was hampering our investigations. Instead we turned our attention to Erica Carlysle, sister of the clearly doomed expedition leader Roger Carlyle. We got her attention by hinting that her brother was still alive. This got us our audience, where Erica told us of a Nubian princess who had bent Roger to her will. She also provided us with several texts that gave her the heebee jeebees. In addition she told us of Roger’s constant nightmares but not what they were about, as Roger would not tell anyone. Finally she signed a letter giving us access to his psychiatric records.

We had an 8 o’clock appointment with Mokungo and returned to the Juju house. Suspecting skulduggery we staked out the shop for a good 10 minutes. Seeing no one enter and deciding we had best see what was afoot we headed in. Mokungo was there as was Silas the storeowner. Not liking the situation I chose to remain at the door and watch the alley while Dr Raymond Howser approached the Africans and engaged them in a short conversation. I recall a panicked shriek from Dr Raymond just prior to being struck on the head by a metal object. We had fallen into a trap and it is most unlikely that we shall survive. 

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