Author Topic: CoC campaign advice  (Read 4079 times)

metalwhisper

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CoC campaign advice
« on: June 17, 2011, 09:55:04 PM »
Hi,
I've been a fan of the podcast and a lurker on the forums for some time now so I thought I'd go ahead and say hello.  I've enjoyed the podcast quite a bit, and it also helped revive my interest in role playing games. An interest I put aside for a long while. Didn't think I'd be playing again, but thanks to skype I'm in a gaming group with friends from across the country. We game about once a week or so, mostly in  a pathfinder campaign where I'm a player. Recently, I actually gm'd a game of call of cthulhu for the group, as a one shot. Actually, the first time I gamemastered a whole scenario from start to finish. Didn't go perfect, but much better than I thought it would, and the players all had a really good time. They want me to run a CoC campaign now, which I'm excited about doing(I love the mythos). But it's also a little intimidating. So I had some questions for anyone who ran CoC campaigns.
I mean, where do I start? We've decided on a 1920's game, and I think it's going to be set in Arkham where the players will be students at Miskatonic University. A hurdle I'm finding, though, is that since CoC is set historically, and not in a fantasy setting, there is more of a need to be historically accurate. How much research do you find you have to do before starting a campaign? Any good suggestions on references I might want to look into? The CoC sourcebooks seem to do a good job (i.e.: the Miskatonic U. sourcebook and the 1920's sourcebook.) But as it stands, I don't know too much about the time period, so any further advice would be helpful.
Also, since mystery is important with CoC, any tips on how to prevent players who are familiar with the mythos from overly metagaming (as in, "Oh, just another deep one or mi-go. Ho-hum. What else is new?")
Anyway, the podcast and actual plays are great. Keep up the good work.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2011, 09:56:39 PM by metalwhisper »

Mckma

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Re: CoC campaign advice
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2011, 10:04:33 PM »
Well, I think Ross and Tom talked about this in a number of podcasts (at least once in the horror one) about general ideas/suggestions, so I won't repeat them.

As far as historical accuracy, the way I see it is, how much do you or your players already know about the period.  I figure if you all have about the same knowledge, then just run with that, don't bother on a bunch of extra research.  The only reason I can see someone really caring is if they know something is anachronistic and they are nit-picky about details.  If that's the case, then do a little research to know about it.  All in all though, most scenarios seem to do a pretty good job of explaining the important history/culture associated with the scenario.

Long story short, I say just have about as much knowledge as the most knowledgeable player and don't worry about other anachronisms...

Shallazar

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Re: CoC campaign advice
« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2011, 12:52:08 AM »
As far as other advice goes...
Are all their characters forever going to be Miskatonic U students? Because once one club of history and occult majors get deaded, it would be kind of silly to keep sending in more. and if their students, at least make sure they don't all have like 80% in firearms or similarly disjointed skills. They should die, die often, and be replaced but you don't want the story to fall apart just because the same bodies aren't the main characters.

For my first CoC campaign I ran Shadows of Yog-Sothoth. It is short enough to provide an excellent campaign in and of itself with plenty of room for additional bologna added by the keeper. Most of the campaigns have things researched for you and might mention other things would would generally skip over. If you could browse the established campaigns, pick the one you think you can work the most magic on/matches more or less what you had in mind originally. Especially helpful since they've got badguys, goodguys, clues, items and all the stats ready for you.

As for agreeing on historical accurateness, no one is perfect but somethings to keep in mind are transportation, communication, weapons laws, police agencies in the 1920s. It might be a good idea to just pick and choose from the most horrifyingly backwards- flashlights that are unwieldy and unreliable, general un-trustworthiness yet inflexible authoritarian police, long travel times and lack of modern research/communication tech. If it becomes  a question weather some sort of device exists- it may but it'll be totally crazy and barely resemble today's gadgets. I mean, wristwatches were crazy advanced for that time, but machine guns and sonar-like ground listening devices were also in existence. Think more diesel-punk than steam punk if you want a device to exist that doesn't. Or have it be from direct contact with mythos magic. A radio set that operates like a walkie-talkie but is actually cobbled together using tech from the Great Race of Yith.

Just go with some stereotypes, if you accidentally say that their driving in some sort of vehicle but get the make wrong- i'm sure they'll forgive you if it isn't central to the mystery. Eg. Studebaker vs Duesenberg in the Bronson Springs AP.
I wish I was Tom.

Granted, you are now Tom.

metalwhisper

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Re: CoC campaign advice
« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2011, 09:07:26 AM »
Hey, thanks to you both for the helpful advice and tips. Will definitely keep them in mind.
I'm aware that the CoC character's life expectancy isn't too long. I gave my players a heads up warning about that. I figure though a university setting might work well that way. There's always new students every semester, right? Don't know if it will always be in Miskatonic U. or not. It'll probably expand later on. I might go ahead and skip that and try a more a establish campaign for my first time out as you recommended Shallazar, I'll have to see how it goes. A Miskatonic U./Arkham campaign is definitely something I want to tackle at some point though.
Anyhows, thanks again. Looking forward to GMing my first campaign.

Z

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Re: CoC campaign advice
« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2011, 02:33:36 PM »
devour 1d4 investigators per turn

also tempt them to make pacts with hastur