Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Mysteria Matris Oblitae: A Call of Cthulhu one shot I ran.

This past Tuesday, June 23, I managed to run a one-shot Call of Cthulhu game for my buddies from back home. Family business still bounds me to the island, so I’ve been given a few more opportunities to meet up with the guys.
I decided to run Mysteria Matris Oblitae, an adventure available in Pagan Publishing’s collection Mortal Coils. The session had all the makings of a disaster: we started character creation way too late into the night, I expected 4 players but 7 showed up, the group didn’t know the system too well, and people had to leave early.
Luckily, character creation took about an hour and a half because my players understood most nuts & bolts of Cthulhu’s simple character creation system after my first explanation.
Mysteria Matris Oblitae is a hell of an adventure; I’ll provide the basic premise while avoiding spoilers for those of you destined to play it in the future. A picture made it’s way to the University of Mexico City. In it a group of Indians and Mexicans are standing around what looks to be the carcass of an unknown creature. The Investigators, who are all related to the departments of Zoology or Botany, are sent to a rural Mexican town to investigate. As always, madness and horror ensue.
I picked this adventure because of its open ended nature. There is little to no railroading, instead the players get to explore the countryside sandbox style.
My group consisted of 2 professors, 1 driver/bodyguard, 1 secretary, 1 lab tech, 1 student assistant, and 1 dilettante. They asked around just enough to be pointed to the direction of the nastiness. Without any preparation, they went straight to a creature lurking in the Mexican countryside. In typical Call of Cthulhu fashion, this spelled doom for the party. Three investigators died at the hands of the mythos creature. The other four ran out into the country side screaming in terror. Of those four, three died of exhaustion and bandit attacks. One made it to civilization where he was institutionalized and electro shocked to oblivion.
The group enjoyed the adventure. It is impossible to create any sort of atmosphere with seven players, but we made up by keeping the table lively with friendly banter and laughs. I had the honor of popping an RPG cherry that night. Mysteria Matris Oblitae was Punkylady’s (@punkylady, twitter) first RPG session. She was the first person to jump into my next session this week; so I take it that she enjoyed herself.
I’m planning on running another Cthulhu adventure this week. Mysteria Matris Oblitae is a pretty deadly and investigation based aventure. This time around I’m running something a bit more pulpy and flashy.
Call of Cthulhu has provided ample opportunity for me to take my mind off the rather serious and sad events taking place in my life right now. Ironically, a game about losing one’s sanity has help me keep mine.
Role Playing Games truly are much more than just games.

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