Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A practical review of Dubious Shards


Dubious Shards, written by Ken Hite, is a collection of essays on different aspects of the Cthulhu Mythos. Hite covered a very wide spectrum of topics relating to H.P. Lovecraft's literary work from Dagon to vampirism with an unreleased Delta Green scenario included for good measure.
The essays are well-thoughout and researched. The two that stood out for me the most are The "How" of Hastur and The Man Who Shot Joseph Curwen. Both deal with the Call of Cthulhu Roleplaying Game. Hastur, explains how Lovecraft composed mythos stories by fusing his interests with real life events. The Man Who Shot Joseph Curwen compares Call of Cthulhu investigators to the gunslingers of the western genre with the intent of giving an answer to CoC's lifelong dilemma: "why do investigators investigate." These two scenarios should be read by every Of Cthulhu keepers or players that wish to take their games beyond the introductory one-shots like Dead Man Stomps. They are invaluable for anybody interested in writing scenarios. 
The other essays trace creatures and events present in Mythos stories to their forkloric and mythological origins. They offer valuable literary studies for people interested in writing mythos stories. (And Keepers that REALLY take their job seriously.)
I haven't read the Delta Green scenario, The Winslow Project, because there's no Delta Green GMing in my horizon for the time being.
The only flaw I can find with the book  (after purposely looking for one) is the short lenght of it's essays.  
Dubious Shards transcends the RPG genre into full blown literary study comperable to anything writen by S.T. Joshi.
 

Thursday, March 26, 2009

If I was a millionare playboy in charge of a huge RPG club, I would play the following games (in no particular order)

  • Twilight 2013
  • Dying Earth 
  • Shadows of Cthulhu
  • Chill RPG
  • Esoterrorists
  • Dark Heresy
  • SLA Industies (Savage Worlds conversion)
  • Kult
  • Witch Hunter
  • Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay
  • Recon 
  • King Arthur Pendragon: 4th Edition
  • Unknown Armies
  • Masques of the Red Death (2nd Edition "Box Set" Ravenloft)
  • Dragon Warriors
  • Spirit of the Century
  • Adventure!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Concerning Gerald "Gerry" Cohen

Gerry Cohen is dead. 

In a very Lovecraftian turn of events, my Trail of Cthulhu character died during a one-player prelude I played with my Keeper.  I'll pick up where he left off:

Gerry drove to the Paper Mill owned by the Aimrics soon after he wrote his last journal entry. He couldn't make heads or tails of what was going on, so he figured he may be able to find some more clues to compare with the ones he already had. 
The Mill was unusually busy that night. Patrols of security guards walked around the perimeter every few minutes and giant strobe lights illuminated most of the surroundings. Gerry managed to sneak inside through an unattended cargo door. He perused around an office or two till he was discovered by a mischapen security guard. The guard knocked him out.
Gerry awoke in a murky office. A well dressed man warned him to stay away from Aimric and his secrets. He said that James Aimric was fine, but he avoided answering Gerry's questions about Mrs. Aimric's where-abouts.He gave him back his empty gun and was allowed to leave. 
On his way out Gerry saw an opened door that had a blue hue pulsating from it. He decided to run to the light to try to get away from his escort. He entered a machine room of some sorts. There were 8 or 10 sarcophagi that housed wart riddled corpses. Tubes that were connected to big generator like machines were hooked up to the sarcophagi. 
A man in a lab coat was working in the room when Gerry ran in. Without saying a word, he drew a gun and fired at him. Gerry bullrushed the man knocking him to the floor. He picked up the man's gun just in to see two guards run into the room. A shootout ensued. Gerry collapsed after the third bullet hit his shoulder. 
The man from the office walked into the room. He told Gerry that he knew too much. Now he was going to join their plan. 
"Any last words, Mr.Cohen?"
"Bring it on."

Blam! 


My keeper told me that the adventure was based on an Interactive Text game called Anchor Head. 
On the drive home I came up with my next character, Jack Van Buren. He's a parapsychologist with the ability to remote view. I'll chronicle his descent to madness as well. 

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Another week...

My internet situation sucks. More than anything that has ever sucked, ever. the connection is unreliable, the speed fluctuates widely whenever it connects- which is a miracle all in itself- for more than a couple of minutes, and comcast (my ISP) seems to not be able to figure out what's wrong with it. This has put a stop on my promising Call of Duty 4 career on Xbox Live, as well as my endless hours on Hulu.
Surprisingly, I've found myself pretty damn entertained without them.
Instead of playind CoD4 from sunrise to sundown, I read some neglected novels (among them The Road) I brought with me to Atlanta. I've replaced Hulu with RPG book reading. My God, a lot of RPG reading!
In the past week I've read every single Call of Cthulhu book I was able to get my hands on. (Either in real life or electronically through RPGnow.)
I lost myself reading Beyond the Mountains of Madness, the Trail of Cthulhu rulebook, Pagan's Mortal Coils, Tatters of the King, and a bit of Delta Green for good measure. I mixed it all up with sme Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay during the weekend. (Which I'll blog about later this week.)
In the end, I really can't remember doing anything other than reading this past week.
Funny how I replaced my shinny new Xbox with a grimy, old Pagan Publishing book that's been in the comic book store shelf for way too long.
Much like what happened with CoD4, I've come to the realization that I need to pace myself. I need to re-focus (once again) on finding a job, which as you all know seems pretty cyclopean in this economy. I've decided to limit my RPg reading time to 1 hour a day from now on.  
With Masks of Nyarlathotep starting today, I need to keep my RPG geek impulses under control or Simpsons' comic book guy-dom awaits yours truly. 

P.S.
On deck:
What happened to Gerry Cohen (Trail of Cthulhu character)
Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay stuff
Trail of Cthulhu scenario 

Gerry Cohen's Journal. Entry 3. Prelude Part 3

I keep on going over my notes time and time again. An incomplete puzzle stares back at me:

Wilhem Aimric, 17th century (grandfather)
Mordeheim Aimric, 19th century (father)
William Aimric, 19th
Edward Aimric,19th > siblings
Aimric Sister, 19th
Once, the aimric family mill employed half the town. this family is very much connected with Warwick, their downfall affected the entire town. the aversion suffered by Veronica's husband is due to his family's infamy. His bizarre behavior and subsequent disappearance could be a response to the negativity or discovery of the incest that taints his blood. Either way, his family's history is related to his disappearance ; one way or the other. Edwards misfortune could be directly related to the case.
Edward's frantic journal entry mentions his father. He mentions red-brimmed eyes, the same displayed in the paintings. The paintings that hold a horrible similarity with William's retarded look.

I drive to Warwick's town hall to look further into the manner. I tell the nice old lady in charge of the municipal archives that I'm looking into a cousin that lived here a few years ago. (I have a lot of cousins). 
I find that Edward was born the same day his grandfather Mordecai died. Mordecai died the same day his grandfather Elijah died. What the heck? 
I stay here all day, now the nice lady wants me to pack up and leave. It's almost night all-ready. I think I should check out that paper mill. I hope the paintings are the horrible fancies of a painter. I'm not looking to find terrible looking mongoloids there. At least not tonight. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Roleplaying in the worlds of H.P. Lovecraft


Reading about the various licenses I often ask myself, "ok, what the hell should I get?" It's a hard desicion to make if one isn't a "fan" of a particular system. 

I don't think I've ever decided on one system to run Cthulhu with.  I discovered Cthulhu roleplaying through Wizard's bastard child, Cthulhu D20. All in all, I've never had any problems with the d20 system. I find it fun and easy to use (well, after years of gaming that is). When Green Ronin published the True 20 system I became interested in it because of it's promise of being a sort of "Streamlined-d20." I didn't really get into it because at the time I wasn't looking for a generic system. Shadows of Cthulhu rekindled my interest in the T20 system, primarily due to nostalgia. I remembered all the fun I had playing CoCd20 and craved to experience it once again, this time with an even simpler system. Ironically,  my problem with Shadows of Cthulhu streems from the T20 system.  I simply will not spend 40 dollars on a generic system to then spend 25 on a sourcebook in order to play Call of Cthulhu. Shadows of Cthulhu would have benefited greatly if the writers would have included a 5 to 10 page sumary of the T20 rules set. Or even better: integrate the rules in the sourcebook like WotC did with Cthulhu d20.  I understand that this is unfair to Reality Deviant Publishing. I'm sure the T20 license probably has a clause that prohibits including parts of the system in a third party sourcebook. Whatever the case maybe, it looks like the guys that wrote Shadows did an amazing job. Where I a True20 fan I would be all over that book.

BRP is very cool in an Old School RPG way. It's simple to run and very simple to explain. The fact that I can run a CoC game years after I ran my last one is a testament to the systems simplicity. I've never found anything wrong with the system. True, a failed spot roll can derail entire campaigns, but this is easily fixable by a Keeper who's willing to turn a blind eye to a player's bad luck. Ofcourse, Call of Cthulhu also has years and years of legendary material available which make for good sessions and good reading. 

Trail of Cthulhu, the biggest thing in the indy-cthulhu world right now, fixes the whole "missed clue because of a bad roll" problem. Trail also adds the Drive, Stability, and Pilar of Madness mechanics. The game moves the timeline to the 1930s. The standard characters and setting and mechanics for Trail of Cthulhu all point at a darker angle of the Mythos than Call of Cthulhu. The mechanics for the game are pretty damn elegant too. Conversion rules for BRP makes it easy to make good use of all the resources available for BRP. There seems to be some contention about Beyond the Mountains of Madness, Chaosium's epic campaign, with Trail of Cthulhu. I've read that it is hard to port to Trail because of it's format or structure. I'll have to wait till my copy arrives on the mail to make a judgement. 

Call of Cthulhu D20's purpose was to get Dungeon and Dragons players interested in Call of Cthulhu (which worked with me). The game often gets trashed on by purists claiming that it emphazises in combat. I think this is kind of stupid, considering that the group and gamemaster have sole control of the amount of combat in an adventure. Action-hungry players can turn a LARP into an orgy of death, destruction and rules-lawyering. A Cthulhu D20 ran by a group interested in studying the Mythos through deep inmersion storytelling will be able to do it with the d20 system as easily as they would with BRP.

I think Trail of Cthulhu seems to be the version that best fits my Cthulhu needs. Though I can dream (or have nightmares) about reuniting with my old group and playing an update of my old Cthulhu campaign with Shadows of Cthulhu.

I ask you, what's the best version of the Of Cthulhu series for your games?  


Lovely Lovecraftian Art



I've been surprised to find some amazing Lovecraftian art in the various licensed Call of Cthulhu products that have been coming out recently.  The two that stand out the most, for me, are the covers for Goodman Games' Death in Luxor and Reality Deviant's Shadows of Cthulhu. 
Death in Luxor's cover, by Eddie Shamram, evokes the pulp excitement inherent in the classic Call of Cthulhu adventures. The Shadows of Cthulhu cover, by Jason Walton, evokes the mind-shattering horror of the mythos in what appears to be a modern scenario. 
I'm keeping this entry short and sweet. More Masks of Nyarlathotep journals comming up next.

 

Monday, March 16, 2009

Gerry Cohen's Journal. Entry 2. Prelude Part 2

It was raining when I arrived at Warwick.

Even though the welcome sign said there are 11 thousand or so people living here, the streets are empty.

At 2 p.m. I went to the Sheriff’s office (they still call it Constabulary in this town) to see how much they know of the Aimric deal. I also wanted to confirm Mrs. Aimric’s suspicions that the towns people were hiding something.

I started a friendly conversation with a reuben cop working the front desk. He remembered the Aimric cousins quite fondly. I almost felt like buying cousin Edward some flowers after my talk with the cop. The motive to kill his wife still eludes Warwick police. He also said that the police beliefs that James Willis is out of town on vacation.

 

I’ve been talking to people long enough to know this reuben is lying through his teeth. But why?

My next stop was the small liberal-artsy-fartsy school, Warwaqua College. This is where James Willis Aimric worked as a Professor of Medieval Literature.  I came up with this croc story about a young nephew from Arkham who wanted to study Medieval Literature. 

Everybody was off for winter break. A kid working a desk in the Literature department told me to talk to Prof. Jones. He didn’t have a bad thing to say about Aimric; he also told me that the man was gone on vacation. I bamboozled him into letting me take a look at the department “to get a feel for the place.” I went to the Literature department and let my self into Aimric’s office. The place was in a state of controlled chaos, with books piled up everywhere. There was a picture of Mrs. Aimric behind a tower of books in the desk. This lets me know it wasn’t adultery. I just know…

I found Professor Jones in the town library. His an old man who dresses like were still in the past century. He knows everything there is to know about history, but doesn’t know what happened to James Willis Aimric.

 

I can tell his not on the level with me. I don’t know enough to call him on his bluff…yet.

 

Next stop: the Aimric Ancestral Home.

 

The drive to the place was quite relaxing. I passed empty, decaying shore houses all over the coast. The Pacific Ocean, infinitively bigger and meaner than me, extended to the horizon. There’s a Civil War memorial on the way. It’s an strange obelisk that I guess symbolizes some struggle or the other.

 

It is late afternoon when I get to the house is on the outskirts of town. It is an attractive house with a modern style. Slightly decayed paint ran all across its two storeys. I could see a golden dome on the side of the house that was facing the other direction. The flowers meant to adorn the front of the house had long died, now they just add to the house's depressed look. 

 

I decided to get inside of the house before the lightning that illuminated the sky gave way to rain.

 

The house looked as abandoned inside as it did outside. The air was heavy with musk and everything covered in shadows as heavy as the secrets the house kept.

 

The first of which were two paintings I found on the room adjacent to the kitchen. The first is a flat earth ( like old Europeans saw the earth, I guess). There was an object floating above Earth. It could have been made out of fire, decaying bodies or worms, I couldn’t tell. I had take a step back and calm my self down. Something about that horrible painting unnerved me. I couldn’t keep my cool while I looked at the painting. I know how stupid it sounds, but the thing had a primordial horror to it.

 

The other painting had some people in colonial garbs sitting on a table. They had penetrating red-rimmed eyes. There were very strange looking naked people sitting on the other side of the table. They were humans… of sorts. Their noses and fore heads were flat and their hands were…scaly. They seem to be striking a bargain of some sorts. Behind them stands a man doing what looks like a high energy speech. Further in the background is a paper mill engulfed in flash. Flat nosed people are being lead in chains to the flames.

 

I walked away from the dreadful paints and went to the backyard. There were gravestones there. They seem to belong to faithful servants whose loyalty went well beyond life. The family crypt was closer to the woods. Small Hebrew letters were carved in between the bigger letters of the Aimric name. I can’t read Hebrew. The grandiose tomb was sealed with a stranger lock mechanism.

 

Back inside the house I found a door that lead to the cellar. I think I can hear Eddie’s words in my head, “CANNOT DISCOVER THE ENTRANCE IN THE CELLAR!!!” even though I’ve never met the man or heard the sound of his voice.  I descend some rickety stairs, flash light in hand. I end up in the House’s impressive wine cellar. A deeper look at one of the wine racks reveals that it’s a fake.  I noticed a mechanism of sorts upon further inspection. The wine were part of the rack. It was impossible to remove them, but I was able to rotate them. The were letters inscribed in the bottles. I remembered Edward's journal, " The clue is in their names, that pestilential procession of names." Damn it, I feel like I've stared at the answer, but I'm not intelligent enough to know it. 


I opened another door, it was a storage room. I found some newspaper clippings in a box. They were all related to the family. An August 1886 story had the headline, Church closed, preacher suspect in anarchist crackdown. The preacher's name, Mordecai Aimric. Another story chronicles the death of a policeman that was involved in the closing of the church. There was also a 1903 story about the discovery of a kid's carcass nearby. The poor kid appeared to be eaten. there was another piece about the resignation of a Dr.Rebis due to mental distress. An 1845 story chronicled Mordecai's victory on a civil case against a Folklorist who attempted to search for some relics in Warwick. Finally, there was a story about a fire that consumed a paper mill owned by the Aimrics on July 17, 1908. This the second time the building was consumed by flames.


I had enough of this damn cellar. I went up the stairs to the house's second storey. 


There were three rooms. The first room is a study. The walls were full of books of all kinds. I was bored just looking at them. I found a book on poetry that just seemed out of place. I heard a "click" when I tried to pull it out and that whole section of the bookcase opened like a door. Inside was a safe. The very same safe Edward frantically looked for in his journal entry. I got the combination right on the first try. The two items guarded by the safe seemed equally out of place. The first was a big magnifying glass lens. On top of it what appeared as an instrument but was unlike anything i've seen. It looked like a sea shell on the outside. It had some keys along it's outer shell. The insides of the item spiraled inward. The thing's geometry seemed impossible: like it was way bigger inside than what it was outside. I put the two things back in the safe and kept on investigating.


The next room was the one that got to me. 

It was a girl's room. Well, the nightmarish parody of one. I could tell that the atmosphere here was heavy with fear and dread that has been bottled up here for way too long. I was able to spot some boards that covered a hole in the wall behind the bed. I went back to my car to get the crow bar and noticed, for the first time, that night had fallen. After climbing up the stairs I spotted a attic door that I missed the first time around. I found a small diary, a small girl's diary, behind the boards. 

I feel the need to write down what this girl lived with. I feel the need to share with her her pain; I just hope I can be as strong as her.


...father came again to my bed last night...mother doesn't...tells me I can't...to be a good daughter. Sometime it hurts, but Father always tells me I shouldn't cry, Father says a daughter must do her duty if she wants to get into Heaven. And I do want to get into Heaven...


[Entry dated 1887]... my poor little William. Father calls him an aberration, child of the devil, but I don't believe... locked in the attic. I go to see him whenever Father is away. I sing to him, sometimes, through the keyhole, and slip him sweets through the crack under the door... my baby is beautiful...can't let him hurt my dear baby William... to the doctor, and he has a plan... I can never... this locket, William, and I will always keep yours... to always remember my face...

 

[ February 27, 1891]...dead, but not dead yet...will not allow him to do to Edward what he wanted to do to William.. have learned...given him the charm against the...never take it off, dear Edward... [page has been torn away]...fear to sleep... mist at the window.


There's nothing I can do to safe her.


There was a locklet with the diary. One side had a picture of the girl the other had a deformed boy. William...

  


I turned around to start walking to the attic door. For the first time in years my gun was in my hand.


There were too doors in the attic one that was locked and the other wasn't. The unlocked door lead to the copula I saw from the front of the house. A huge telescope was aimed at the sky. I placed the lens I found in the study and looked. The view was a mixture of grey and other weird colors. 

I had enough. I need a clean mind to sort out the generations dark secrets of this family. I went back to the car and drove to the hotel to meet Mrs. Aimric. She wasn't there. 


I now sit in a bed I payed for with the money Mrs.Aimric gave me. Notes all around me. The strange instrument sits next to me. Something tells me it was built to make a noise. I feel compelled to hear that noise. 

Friday, March 13, 2009

Gerry Cohen's Journal. Entry 1. Prelude Part 1

Entry 1. Prelude-part 1.

Nov. 1922

 

It’s been pouring for weeks. I have been counting the rain drops from my luxurious second-storey, one room, one cot office/apartment.

As grey and ugly as it seemed, Veronica Styles Aimrec brought it to a whole new level of grey and ugly when she stepped into the office. 

She had all the vestiges of the imposing dame, but she came to me shrunken and frail. We formally introduced ourselves, and she told me that Manny Maxwell had sent her my way. It figures, this time of dame wouldn’t be caught dead this side of the Bronx. She told me she wanted to hire me to find her husband, Professor of Medieval literature James Willis Aimric, whose gone missing.

I asked the same tired old questions every P.I. makes in a missing persons case: Did he have any enemies? Did he owe money to anybody? Did he hang out with a rough crowd?

All of which she answered with unadorned NOs.

There were no “other lady” questions. This woman doesn’t need me to cut open a new wound to pour salt on. That’s not my style. I could figure that out without rubbing it in her face. Besides, squirrel fever doesn’t control every single man that walks God’s green Earth. Some of us are able to stay with the same doll for the long run. Well, I sure I will when I find the right one.

 After a bunch of time when she didn’t say nothing, she starts speaking about how their marriage has changed since they moved to sleepy Warwick, New Jersey. Her husband inherited a manor due the untimely death of a distant cousin, an Edward Aimric. The missing professor was also offered a teaching position at Warwakua College. Trouble came looking for the Aimric’s almost immediately. The town’s people seemed to be apprehensive about the newcomers, in particular the man. Mrs. Aimric also noticed her husband distancing himself from her. He was constantly preoccupied with late night meetings with the College’s Board of Directors and bizarre antiquarian affairs.

The dame told me that after her husband’s disappearance, the demeanor of the town’s people changed from untrusting to ominous.

Not only did Warwickians deny any knowledge of the Professors’ where abouts, they also dismissed the whole episode, claiming that he was probably on vacation.

Great, either this fine dame was a cuckoo, or there is a large group of inmates running a town-sized sanitorium somewhere in New Jersey.

The case went from interesting to weird when the name Edward Aimric came up again.

The dame came clean with some of the details of the inheritance.

 

Edward Aimric killed his wife and then hung himself.

 

Not only was he a savage animal; he was also a damned coward. Just like the good reverend. A family of the damned: degenerates that feed off of each other’s evil.

This man’s last name has to be at the center of all of this.  

 

Then, she produces a slim imitation leather book. It was obvious that mice have feasted on some of the pages. Some one wrote:

 

Desperate. Went back to the old twisting lane and found only a blank wall.

 

Without the amulet, how can I resist—

 

…bottles, bottles...

 

Getting worse. People I have never met smile knowingly at me in the street. The police believe I am a child molester, but have brought no charges against me as yet. Why? Head hurts all the time. I have turned the cellar upside-down…damn it, where is it?

 

Dreamed of father again. Dreamed of Grandfather. Those horrible, red-rimmed eyes…

 

…into the safe, finally. 51-2-16. Won’t forget that soon. Ha!

 

CONNOT DISCOVER ENTRANCE IN THE CELLAR!!! Secret eludes me still but I will find it!!! The clue is in their names, that pestilential procession of names!

If I could only—

 

-- will fail. There is no recourse left. I know now what I must do.

Julia—

 

My god! Pederasty, murder, incest, does the Aimric wickedness know any bounds?

 

I looked at Mrs. Aimric straight in those sad eyes.

“Ma’am, I’ll do everything in my power to find your husband.”

I insisted on talking about the money latter. This woman is in need; business can wait. She insisted on giving me an advance: 200 Cs divided up into 4 $20 bills. She also provided a card with the room where she staying in the Monpelier Inn, where she’s staying with her sister while all of this blows over.
After some formalities I walked her out.
Tomorrow I’m driving out to strange Warwick, New Jersey to chase after very nasty family secrets. Tonight, sleeping.
//This is Gerry's first journal entry for the Masks of Nyarlathotep campaign I'm playing. My character's prelude is not part of the publish campaign, it's another scenario my Keeper decided to use. I'm going to lable journal entries with the tag Campaign Journal, so that you guys can easily find any particular entry that interests you. I'm numbering each entry and dividing the "scenarios" in parts, because I feel that shorter entries are more appealing to read off the blog than longer novel lenght ones. This can change as the game gets underway. 
This is but the first part of my character's prelude. I'll post the next bit sometime this weekend.//  

With strange aeons, even death may die



I'm in the middle of a very dangerous Cthulhu Mythos binge. My precarious situation is, perhaps, comparable to Hunter S. Thompson's while driving down Barslow with a trunk full of every drug imaginable, including ether. And like the good doctor told us, "There is nothing in the world more helpless and irresponsible and depraved than a man in the dephts of an ether binge."
This reawakening began after my college graduation this past december. Job searching in this post-apocalyptic economy feels down right nihilistic. I figured it was the perfect time to get re-acquainted with the works of Mr. Lovecraft. 
I got in contact with fellow Cthulhu gamers in Atlanta, where I relocated to facilitate my job search. They are playing a re-envisioned Masks of Nyarlathotep campaign using the Trail of Cthulhu system by Pelgrane Press. I met up with the keeper ( shout out, Yunus!) created private eye Gerry Cohen and started playing a one-player prelude. This prelude was the first step in a road of gaming madness. The Masks campaing has served as a catalyst to get me out of a gaming inertia I've been for the past year and a half. I'm an active participant of the roleplaying game hobby again!
I bought the Trail of Cthulhu rulebook for use in the Masks campaign. I figure it's always good to have a couple of rulebooks in the table for easy reference. That should be coming in the mail at any moment now.
Participating in a campaign with a different group of players awakened my curiosity about the way other's percive and play Call of Cthulhu. Published scenarios were considered heretical by my previous gaming group. We always figured that they were "cheap;" a last resort for an unimaginative gamemaster. My outlook on published stuff totally changed after reading a Death in Luxor review. The details mentioned by the reviewer, the evocative cover art, and the 7 buck price tag got me interested enough to give it a chance. Long story short: Death in Luxor is a marvelous adventure. It shreds in light on the "classic" Call of Cthulhu gaming era of the 1920s. I got The Doom Below and Murder of Crows, both my Super Genius Games, shortly there after. While neither breaks new gaming ground, they are both very enjoyable and fun little explorations of the Cthulhu Mythos.
These indy products lead me back to Chaosium's classic campaigns: I ordered Tatters of the King and the mythical Beyond the Mountains of Madness. They were "cheap" enough to were I'm still able to get Shadows of Yog-Sothoth and Spawn of Azathoth. Then my inner geek will be very, very happy. 

Hey, I don't drink in excess, smoke or use drugs. Collecting RPG books isn't that bad of an addiction.  

Gerry's first journal entry is in the works. I'm taking extra time because I want to make it interesting for all of you guys out there. Gerry has come across a lot of horrible information during his first encounter with the mythos. It's going to be a pretty long journal entry. 
Hopefully, I'll be able to report how Death in Luxor works with the Gumshoe (Trail of Cthulhu) system. 

There a lot going on as far as RPGs are concerned, I'll do my best to keep you guys in the loop. 

-Tony

P.S.
On a side note, I have now come to fear & dread the circumstances of this purchase. The very day I decided that I was going to look into buying a publish Cthulhu campaign, Chaosium announced that they were going to cut book prices 30 % and that shipping for certain orders was going to be free. I saw it as a sign that it was the perfect time to get the books because they were going to be affordable for a very short time. Now I imagine dark, unfathomable horrors conspiring against my mental stability. Biding their time, letting me soak in the horrors of the universe, piece by piece, as I read various horror campaigns... 

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Gerald "Gerry" Cohen, my Trail of Nyarlathotep character.


I'm playing Gerald "Gerry" Cohen in a Masks of Nyarlathotep campaign under the Trail of Cthulhu rules set. I asked my gamemaster what type of character would better fit in his game; he told me a reporter or private detective would do the trick. I went as far as asking if the group needs brains or muscle. "Muscles" he answer. From there I came up with the idea for Gerry.
My main drive while creating Gerry is to deconstruct the archetype of the Pulp private detective.  By deconstruct, I mean having the character react to realisticly to the idealized circumstances of the pulp private eye.  For example, most private eyes are funtional drunks who manage to get things done after downing 3 or 4 Jack-on-the-Rocks. Gerry, on the other hand, can't handle his alcohol. He's athletic. He rather eat healthy than drink enough to build an unnatural resistance to booze. He is far from the womanizing Dicks of the pulps, he gets nervous around women and doesn't know how to beheave around them. As opposed to having a Femme Fatale to be his romantic downfall, he falls in love with any woman who pays attention to him. Gerry is constatly involved in complex platonic love affairs that never pan out. 
He's not too clever, he is brash and very foolhardy. But in direct contrast to the cynical P.I. of literature, he's an optimist and and believes in doing the right thing.
I email my Game Master these bullet-points about Gerry's biographical info:


  • Born on February 14, 1892. This makes him 33-ish during the events of the campaign (1925).
  • Comes from a family of 4. His father, Gerald was a Policeman for the the NYPD. His mother, Margarett was the typical house wife. His brother, Benjamin became a business owner. 
  • He grew up in the Bronx.
  • He joined the Police Force as soon as he was old enough.
  • He got himself kicked out of the force when he pistol whipped a wife beater half to death after he beat the rap. 
  • He doesn't know how to hold his alcohol, so he avoids drinking. He only drinks to impress women. 
  • He's always involved in some crazy platonic love with a female client or any woman he comes in contact with in his daily life. He doesn't really know how to act around women. He tries too hard to impress them. It never works.
  • He became a Private Investigator after being fired. He likes the leeway it gives him dispensing "justice" (which isn't the same as LAW.)
  • He mostly does missing persons cases; most of them pro-bono if it's a female client. (credit rating 3).

  • I plan to keep my promise to chronicle our group's take on Chaosium's classic campaign. I'll post everything relating to the game here.


    Sunday, March 1, 2009

    Gaming again

    There's been nothing to post for the past weeks 'till now. 
    I'm joining a Trail of Cthulhu game shortly ran by a pretty good guy I met through the Yog-Sothoth-dot-com. He's running the epic Masks of Nyarlathotep using Trail of Cthulhu, which he holds to very high esteem. I'm set to meet up with the guys sometime this week to discuss character creation and other stuff. Got to admit: I'm pretty excited to be play again; I need the distraction from the post-apocalyptic economy and my own job searching.
    The keeper told me that a private eye, police detective, or journalist would fit perfectly at the juncture the group is right now. The cliched alcoholic private eye sounds pretty interesting considering the pulpy "feel" I've been told the campaign hads. I'll use this blog as a character journal of sorts.
    Talking of Cthulhu, I've been eyeing Goodman Games' Death in Luxor for some time now. It looks like a pretty good Dungeon-crawler for Call of Cthulhu. It would be kind of cool to connect it to a larger campaign like Masks of Nyarlathotep or Day of the Beast.