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odder
2010-10-28, 05:33 PM
Hi im thinking about trying to run a call of cthulhu (chaosiom edition) game for the first time..
So anyone out there got any advice for a (really) "green" keeper?

...oh and bonus Q - im not sure how the skill progression works. Is it the keeper that "rule" that a player earned skillpoints, or is there a system for this.

hope you can help me fellow playgrounders :smallsmile:

jiriku
2010-10-28, 05:38 PM
Your choice of thread title is...unfortunate. I'd suggest removing the abbreviation.

Anyhoo, don't worry much about skill progression. PCs won't live that long. This is also the "advice for green keepers". PCs die in this game. All. The. Time. And the ones who die are the lucky ones. Scare them. scare them good. Kill them brutally. Make them feel that if they can just barely, through ultimate effort, contain the eldritch horror from beyond so that it cannot threaten the world for at least a little while longer, they've done well, even if they suffered 80% casualties in the process and the surviving team members are permanently insane.

odder
2010-10-28, 05:46 PM
for the love god I didn't see that!..sorry sorry (cough)

thanks for the advice...I can't wait..it is gonna awesome..and again thanks for the advice with the title :smallbiggrin:

dsmiles
2010-10-28, 05:48 PM
Description is key in Call of Cthulhu. Find out what scares your players early on, and exploit it. Creepy music, creepy visual aids, whatever works. The characters will probably die after a session or two. Failing that, most will be insane by the third session. Play up the atmosphere, that's what it's all about, really. Things lurking just out of sight. Breathing. Dripping. Brushing the back of your neck with their membranous wings. Flitting from shadow to shadow in your peripheral vision. The ghostly sound of small children laughing.

Kuma Kode
2010-10-28, 05:50 PM
Yeeeaaahhhh, that is one awesomely bad thread title.

On the subject of Call of Cthulhu, I've only played d20 Call of Cthulhu. However, on the subject of the high death rate, that may or may not influence your decision. If the game has a low survival chance it actually stops being a horror game and becomes dark humor as characters are killed in increasingly brutal ways. It'll be like Scooby Doo meets Stephen King's It. Not pretty.

I suggest actually trying to make a game that is dangerous, as a horror game should be, but one that the group can enjoy and get into their characters without having to reroll a bunch. Good horror =/= high death rate.

I ran Shadow Theory without a single character death, and found out that I gave everyone nightmares and one player had to sleep with the light on.

On Lovecraft's monsters, don't make them common. They're designed to be end-of-adventure boss-fights, and they aren't even really meant to be destroyed. They drain too much Sanity to make frequent appearances. Make them rare, but hint at them, and it'll be a whole lot more effective when they actually SEE the thing.

Avilan the Grey
2010-10-28, 05:55 PM
Exactly, description. Try to be very detailed but vague. With that I mean that describe exactly what they see, but make sure they understand that they don't understand what they see... If you understand what I mean. Revel in descriptions, from the mundane (beautiful house, lovely view of the sea, pink drapes with a small detailed pattern on it) to the creepy (the tiles on the floor suddenly looks like a grinning face in the corner of your eye, but when you look down you see nothing) and the complete hopelessly horrible (The thing from beyond the stars is coming!).

On the other hand, do not get disappointed if they are not completely freaked out; to paraphrase Monsters Inc: we are all so jaded today that to truly scare us is almost impossible. Just look at horror movies, which these days go in a combination of three types: the "We know this is stupid so we put tons of comic relief in it", "we know we can't actually SCARE you, so we will make you throw up in disgust instead" and "shaky bad hand cams for authentic feel that only pissess you off because it becomes 'two hours with jerks'".

As for the high death rate: We have discussed this before and I have not had that high a death rate in the games I have played, admittedly we have never played a long campaign, but in the one-shot adventures no more characters have died than in the D&D games I have played. The FEELING is completely different though; you feel very vulnerable and mortal.

odder
2010-10-28, 05:57 PM
On Lovecraft's monsters, don't make them common. They're designed to be end-of-adventure boss-fights, and they aren't even really meant to be destroyed. They drain too much Sanity to make frequent appearances. Make them rare, but hint at them, and it'll be a whole lot more effective when they actually SEE the thing.

yeah that was also my impression (I read most of the core book)..thank you all this is good stuff

jiriku
2010-10-28, 06:23 PM
Your typical Lovecraftian game (if there is such a thing) usually follows a formula, much like a detective novel.


1. Event: A mysterious death, a strange encounter with an old college friend who mumbles about having uncovered terrible secrets, etc.

2. Investigation: Investigators use various skills and roleplaying to learn more.

3. Exposition: Investigators get the gist of the Bad Things That Are Happening.

4. Expedition: Investigators attempt to uncover the source of the Bad Things. Often accompanied by running and screaming.

5. Preparation: Investigators research spells, collect weapons, recruit allies, and come up with a plan for banishing/containing the Big Bad.

6. Confrontation: Investigators confront the cultists, perform the ritual of banishment, dynamite the entrance to the mine shaft containing the elder evil, etc. Often accompanied by running and screaming.

7. Resolution: If any are left alive, they enjoy the sweet catharsis of victory...or perhaps just gibber mindlessly by the side of the road. Your call.

odder
2010-10-28, 06:32 PM
Your typical Lovecraftian game (if there is such a thing) usually follows a formula, much like a detective novel.


1. Event: A mysterious death, a strange encounter with an old college friend who mumbles about having uncovered terrible secrets, etc.

2. Investigation: Investigators use various skills and roleplaying to learn more.

3. Exposition: Investigators get the gist of the Bad Things That Are Happening.

4. Expedition: Investigators attempt to uncover the source of the Bad Things. Often accompanied by running and screaming.

5. Preparation: Investigators research spells, collect weapons, recruit allies, and come up with a plan for banishing/containing the Big Bad.

6. Confrontation: Investigators confront the cultists, perform the ritual of banishment, dynamite the entrance to the mine shaft containing the elder evil, etc. Often accompanied by running and screaming.

7. Resolution: If any are left alive, they enjoy the sweet catharsis of victory...or perhaps just gibber mindlessly by the side of the road. Your call.

This helps a lot thanks

Kaulesh
2010-10-28, 06:43 PM
...oh and bonus Q - im not sure how the skill progression works. Is it the keeper that "rule" that a player earned skillpoints, or is there a system for this.


You're supposed to check skills that you use successfully. At the end of the adventure, session, whatever you as the keeper decide, you roll a skill check. If you fail, you add 1d10 points to that skill.

My group noticed that we would have entirely too many points by the end, so we only awarded a check for particularly good results. For example, our mechanical repair guy no longer got a check on his repair skill for checking our car for problems as it happened at least three times per session. I got a check on my untrained "Other Languages" skill because I rolled a natural one, the only number I could succeed with. Our soldier got a check on firearms for getting a crit with a shotgun, splattering the BBEG in the process.

Of course, you're the Keeper. You can throw all of this out and just give x skillpoints if you wish.

WalkingTarget
2010-10-28, 06:44 PM
This helps a lot thanks

Yeah, that's a very good rundown of process.

It's important for your players to be aware of the difference in expectations between Call of Cthulhu and many other games.

If they're expecting hack-and-slash D&D-style fights, they won't last long. Combat is lethal, remains lethal, and will be generally as lethal at character generation as it is after a long campaign (if anybody makes it that far - which is possible), and should typically be the last resort.

In D&D combat is the standard operating procedure.
In Call of Cthulhu, combat is usually a sign that you've screwed up somehow.


You're supposed to check skills that you use successfully. At the end of the adventure, session, whatever you as the keeper decide, you roll a skill check. If you fail, you add 1d10 points to that skill.

My group noticed that we would have entirely too many points by the end, so we only awarded a check for particularly good results. For example, our mechanical repair guy no longer got a check on his repair skill for checking our car for problems as it happened at least three times per session. I got a check on my untrained "Other Languages" skill because I rolled a natural one, the only number I could succeed with. Our soldier got a check on firearms for getting a crit with a shotgun, splattering the BBEG in the process.

Of course, you're the Keeper. You can throw all of this out and just give x skillpoints if you wish.

Yeah, typically the Keeper tells the player if/when they get a skill check for succeeding in a roll. I can totally see not giving a check to the mechanic if he's just fixing a normal problem on a car (unless he's under a time constraint like some horrible monstrosity is gonna eat you in 1d6 rounds if he doesn't get it started, or something).

In theory, though, the requirement of failing the second roll to see if you get an increase is supposed to take that into consideration as well. The better you are at something, the harder it is to learn something new since you know most of it already.

odder
2010-10-28, 06:50 PM
Yeah, that's a very good rundown of process.

It's important for your players to be aware of the difference in expectations between Call of Cthulhu and many other games.

If they're expecting hack-and-slash D&D-style fights, they won't last long. Combat is lethal, remains lethal, and will be generally as lethal at character generation as it is after a long campaign (if anybody makes it that far - which is possible), and should typically be the last resort.

In D&D combat is the standard operating procedure.
In Call of Cthulhu, combat is usually a sign that you've screwed up somehow.

Ok thanks I will remember this :smallsmile:...I have btw played other games than D&D -oWod and nWod wich seems to have a lot more in commen with Call of Cthulhu than D&d does

Kuma Kode
2010-10-28, 06:52 PM
Scary Music

I am a big fan of the Obscure series' music and use it in my own horror games. AVOID SILENT HILL SOUNDTRACKS. It's extremely effective for the game, but in a relatively slow-paced verbal game it is nothing but disjointed racket that will quickly prove distracting. Resident Evil music is similarly made of suck for this particular purpose. If you can find orchestral, or otherwise actual music, music, you'll have better luck. Obscure is the best I've found in the video game department.

Bad Behavior (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BESqFaImko0) (Battle)
Corpus Gemitu (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jx0SzNC3lwc) (Ambient)

When it comes to cinematic action scenes or crime investigation, Indigo Prophecy is pretty good.

Crime Scene (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2W089Cq7Bs)
Cthulhu is Tired of Your Meddling (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r5WslCbL0u) (Not the actual title)

Eternal Darkness : Sanity's Requiem has a bunch of awesome tracks that DO NOT LOOP WORTH A DAMN. This makes me extremely sad because the Black Guardian battle music is epic.

Scary Monsters
Seeing gruesome monsters on TV isn't terribly scary. Hearing someone tell you how something looked is not at all scary. Generally speaking, there is no way you're going to be scary just by explaining how the monsters look, even if you're really good at it. From my experience, what's scary is what you don't say. Let the monster's behaviors hint at its thought processes, or imply something that never gets fully explained.

The most thoroughly scary monster I've ever thrown at my group, according to the players themselves, was a monster I made called the Eleos. It was a withered, dessicated undead-like creature with large, demonic wings that sang when it encountered the party. The voice was disconcertingly beautiful, and despite its appearance, the monster was quite graceful. Its claws were exceptionally sharp and caused no pain, only horrible bleeding wounds. It chased one of the party members before he finally lost it in an office building by throwing his bloodied jacket into a different room. When he spotted the creature, he was disturbed to find that it was petting his jacket and singing softly, seeming to care for its "victim."

The monster's shriveled, blackened undead nature combined with its angelic qualities and its merciful behavior were, from what my players told me, a disturbing combination.

Second on the list was the zombie that screamed and cried in agony (a la the Witch from L4D) and delivered touch attacks that granted horrific visions and agonizing psychological pain (touch attacks dealt Sanity damage). When the zombie managed to touch a victim, it would relax and smile for a short time before contact was broken and it resumed screaming. The party quickly deduced it was transferring some kind of psychic torture that it itself was experiencing, and the concept of whether or not the people who were zombified were "still in there" and what horrors they may be experiencing in their undead bodies created quite a conversation. If nothing else, the player who finished it off picked up his shotgun, aimed at it (in melee), and said "I'm sorry," before killing the zombie.

It was quite a scene.

Hopefully my rambling has helped a bit.

Mordar
2010-10-28, 07:01 PM
As a very long time player (lemme get my "Back in myah day..." clothes on), I must vehemently and stridently disagree with the "everyone must go insane and die, either in that order or reverse" sentiment that often permeates discussion of the game.

Punish stupid, clearly, but reward carefully curious. Focus on the value of discovery and provide outs...particularly for new players. People above me have already given some great advice, but here's a few more of my favorites:


Not every story needs a monster - in fact, the fewer the better early;
Not every story needs a physical confrontation, and perhaps shouldn't unless it really advances the story;
Recurring characters are great assets, and can be used to demonstrate the insanity and/or death propensity in the game without defusing the enjoyment of your players;
You've got to have mood buy-in from the players - have a talk with them very seriously about minimizing silliness, out-of-game jokes/distractions and the like. Take breaks as needed away from the table, but try to play in a more secluded venue without a lot of distraction. Call is a game best served quiet and gloomy (but not too dark to adequately see/write/roll).


I hope you have a great deal of fun - there's a ton of ready-made stories out there to get your feet wet, many of which have been run for decades now, and the campaign books are wonderful. Jump in, have fun, and save the monsters for when they really matter!

- M

odder
2010-10-28, 07:02 PM
it hasn't helped a bit - it helped a lot! :smallsmile:

odder
2010-10-28, 07:04 PM
thanks M....im being swarmed by good advice

dsmiles
2010-10-28, 07:09 PM
As far as mood music, I have found Clint Mansell's Lux Aeterna (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKLpJtvzlEI) and this one (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kf1Vt6r-sj8) to be good for horror games.

Kirgoth
2010-10-28, 08:12 PM
I tried one game without sanity
It ended with one player being a four ton blob of green slime living in the basement of his house and possessing his wife for a few hours a day ( who was insane but still loved him) allowing him to run errands. Another player had transparent skin and was being secretly studied and experimented on by mi-go as he slept. Needless to say they had a cameo apperance in a later adventure.

It is fun for the players to find after a few adventures that the weird swamp people <or other freaks> are relatives and they also have started to notice changes to their skin texture <strange dreams> etc.

Magic items and rituals are also a great source of enjoyment, especially if you have to do some weird ritual, like dancing around some standing stones at night in the forest during the new moon after a couple of days fasting so they are feeling dizzy and weak. Drinking herbal concoctions of unknown potency and effect are also great components.

Paranoid delusions are great fun. Let the player know that everyone seems to be looking at him with some hostility as he goes shopping then looking away, even the children. The eyes of the dead fish in the fish mongers follow him. Go to town.

Enjoy

Bhu
2010-10-28, 09:44 PM
If they still make you roll randomly for insanity, skip that part. I never understood people getting a phobia of the open sky from meeting deep ones underwater.

If someone goes crackers due to san loss pick one of the appropriate insanities

Kerrin
2010-10-28, 11:14 PM
Characters should be wanting to *avoid* combat as much as they can. It's *very* deadly and there are often other things to do that will yield results. Due to the lethality, when physical confrontation has a chance of breaking out, it ratchets up the tension level nice and high.

(I laughed out loud when reading one module where the characters were going to come into possession of a Vickers water cooled machine gun - you just *know* that means all sorts of trouble!)

Once when playing, my character and another were having a race to see who could go insane the soonest in the story. Yeah it was meta gaming and really silly but everyone got a huge kick out of it for a one time kind of thing.

Honestly, I enjoy reading modules for the game as many of them are good stories.

Brushing up on your Lovecraftian lingo never hurts either - the man had an unbelievable vocabulary.

some guy
2010-10-29, 06:00 AM
Use cliffhangers if groups become seperated or when taking breaks. In wich cliffhangers can be simply not telling your players what they see/hear... yet.

If you're comfortable with it and you have enough room, try acting out movement of certain creatures. I had my players curling up and shrieking on the couch when acting out a corpse rising out of it's grave. But then again, I'm blessed with fairly easy to scare players.
Disclaimer: sometimes this can be just silly. It's all in the moment.

Ask your players about what scares them in real life (don't ask them in the context of the game, do it in normal conversations). Use it.

jiriku
2010-10-29, 09:04 AM
Brushing up on your Lovecraftian lingo never hurts either - the man had an unbelievable vocabulary.

This is true, but exercise caution. Lovecraft was a master of the language, but in part he wrote that way because he was a) paid by the word, and b) too stubborn to listen to his editors. He makes that language work, but it's very easy to try to copy his style and fail (many Lovecraft imitators have created a lot of very bad fiction by doing so). Do pick up his style, but do so in a restrained fashion that stays within your comfort level.

elpollo
2010-10-29, 01:50 PM
There is an awesome report from someone over on yog-sothoth, and if you haven't read it, you should (http://www.yog-sothoth.com/threads/10040-Was-your-first-time-with-The-Haunting-this-fun-and-scary).


edit- damnit, totally forgot something. A little while ago I pulled off loads of suggestions from a topic or two about writing your own CoC scenario which is pretty good stuff. I'm afraid I didn't get the names of the people who contributed (never occurred to me at the time), but I think it's got some great advice.

1. Keep it simple. Intricate and detailed plotlines with more delicate workings than a Swiss watch are to be avoided at all costs. The players won't understand it, but, more importantly, neither will you - not at 1am when your brain's fuzzy with caffeine and the players are gazing at you like demented puppies.

2. The Great Old Ones should appear, if at all, at the climax of a campaign, not in the first five minutes of the first scenario.

3. SANity is precious; erode it slowly.

4. The danger suggested is always more threatening than the danger revealed.

5. Pick a problem, not a solution.

Don't rely on your players to come to the same conclusion of the adventure you had planned or you'll end up either railroading them viciously or watching your plot disappear.

I suggest thinking about it something like this:
What are the cultists doing? What do they want to happen? What would happen if the investigators didn't do anything or failed? What would happen if the investigators succeeded?

Then create a few clues and place them as the players investigate for flexibility, in case they decide not to go somewhere you planned.

6. Let your players drive the story, not the other way around.

One of the best reasons to play RPGs is to immerse yourself in a fictional world, allowing the PCs to explore the world that you (as GM) have created. And one of the greatest reasons to play COC is that the world is so full and rich and available for exploring.

One of the easiest ways to lose players is to railroad them into the story, and not realize that the greatest strength of role-playing comes from letting the players and GM create the world together. Often, GMs are so wrapped up in their cool ideas and making sure a few (or more) great ideas happen in a certain order, and that, no matter what, the PCs have to follow a certain path. Railroading your players into that very clever story of yours is an easy way to get your players to feel useless and ineffective.

Create a world with vibrant NPCs and settings, where the PCs can explore of their own free will and feel the depth and excitement of your setting. A story comes from what the PCs do, not from how many cool ideas the GM can to fit into a session.

7. Create deep and complex NPCs with agendas of their own. When you create NPCs with complete backgrounds and intricate needs and wants, they tend to do much of the GMs work for them sometimes, in that their reactions and movements will be second nature to you, from having spent a lot of time on them.

Often, new twists and spins on the plotline will wonderfully reveal themselves to the imagination of the GM as deep NPC-backgrounds are created.

8. Create the scenario with your player's PCs in mind. This will probably require work on their part too, but if they can create a detailed backstory and history for their characters, and you can weave aspects of those histories into the scenario, your players will be that much more engaged.

Even better, if you've played CoC with them for a while, and they've gone on a few adventures, you can base new scenarios entirely on actions they've taken (or *didn't* take) from those earlier investigations.

9. Doing research, even casually, through various myths and folklore, can bring upon cool and even very disturbing scenario ideas. I enjoy basing my scenarios on actual real-life material that I can use as resources and player aid material.

10. Use the time of a friend in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.

11. Give the player a good character he or she can root for.

12. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.

13. Every GM description must do one of two things -- reveal character or advance the action.

14. Start as close to the end of the game as possible.

15. Be a sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent the player-characters, make awful things happen to them -- in order that the player may see what they are made of (not numbers stats on a piece of paper).

16. GM to please just one group. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your game will get pneumonia.

17. Besides the Era/Setting (1920, Cthulhu Now, Delta Green, Golden Dawn), country, type of location (city, village, jungle) and possibly season...never, EVER pigeonhole scenarios precisely as taking place in Miami, the 27th of April 1926 sometime after lunch or something like that. Write a scenario to be potentially used anytime during the Era.

18. NEVER write in a sequence of events that will surely lead most of the party to insanity (loosing 1d10+1d6+1d4+1d6+1d4 SAN in less than an hour). Insanity caused by one event or two is cool. Being railroaded into the Loony bin isn't.

19. If the scenario ABSOLUTELY requires that the Investigators obtain a specific bit of information to be propelled forward (i.e. an NPC drops a card, there is a magazine with a club add circled with red pen in the apartment, book X at the Miskatonic must be read) make sure the PCs find it WITHOUT rolling Spot Hidden/Lib Use.

20.1 If the scenario REQUIRES a skill that most likely the group will not have (like Read Ancient Persian or Physics) make sure an NPC or somesuch is available nearby to help them with the conundrum.

20.2 If VITAL scenario information is kept by people that normally would not impart it to others (police reports for example) make sure there is a way, or more than one to easily obtain it if they play their cards right. This does not mean skill rolls, but courses of action.

20.3 DONíT expect Investigators to have huge ratings of Fast Talk, Persuade or Credit Rating.

20.3.1 Donít expect them to have any meaningful ratings in Locksmith, Sneak or Hide either.

20.3.2 DO assume they have 00% Cthulhu Mythos.

20.4 DONíT expect anyone in any specific investigator party to speak or read any other language than their native one; at least not at a consequential level.

20.5 Finally, Donít bother making handouts for any bit of information you are not 100% sure the party will not obtain.

21. If you have to eyeball the SAN loss for an event, use the book table as a guideline and round it DOWN. Honestly, I have seen a scenario where 1d10 SAN loss is attributed to seeing a group of (normal, dead, unmoving) skeletons in a basement....WTF?

22. Don't use paternalism and write things like "on this scenario language skills and a good credit rating will be more useful than Shotgun or Dodge". Let the players decide for themselves based on their experience and character concepts.

23. Do not assume that the players will take ANY specific course of action no matter how logical it seems.

23.1 Assume the players may take any course of action, no matter how illogical EXCEPT the one that you would like them to take.

24. Do not assume players will pick up any clues unless the PCs are hit by one on the head...or groin.

24.1 Make GENEROUS use of Idea and Know rolls.

25. More horror (i.e. atmosphere, descriptions) and less investigation....much less.

25.1 Boxed text descriptions are cool. Not every keeper can pull several enticing, detailed and atmospheric descriptions out of his ass in succession.

25.2 NPC quotes and pre-written monologues are cool too.

26. Make sure your scenario does not require Investigators to spend 6 weeks in the library. ONE Library Use roll should provide all the useful information on a specific area at a specific record.

26.1 If a Library Use roll is failed and there is information to be found tell the players there was not enough time to check the whole archive in the time available.

27. Expect characters to carry weapons and know how to use them. Some might even have access to explosives and neat stuff like that.

28. If you need a scene where a human gets horribly gobbled up by some beast without chance of escape, for horror value of course...why not make sure a NPC who is trotting along with the group at the time suffer the aforementioned fate instead of a PC which took 40 minutes to design? Much more effective and no one had to die...well no one of consequence at least.

28.1 Stop giving NPC cultists spells like "Wither Limb" and "Shrivelling"...honestly. Just because they can summon the "Horror from Beyond" they don't ALL have to know Magic-Fu. Give them a revolver or something...even better, make them pansies for once; after all they have a Dark Young pet at their beck and call.

28.3 For the love of Yog and Yig, stop giving POW 30+ ratings to NPC sorcerers. What's the use? The average human cannot even resist a POW 20 magical effect.

28.3.1 Do not DARE demanding that players make Resistance Table rolls vs. POTs that no human being could possibly hope to achieve. Remember the average stat for a human is 10-11. If you donít want that door opened just say it canít be opened.

28.3.2 Assume the party will try to get their hand on dynamite ASAP if faced by an un-opening door.

28.4 Monster inflationÖDo NOT over-use monsters. One Shambler is enough do we really need to toss 1d6 at them?

28.5 By the way, any idiot who writes a scenario where you meet more than one Shoggoth at the same time should be fed to one (this HAS happened in official material). Heck...why not have the party stumble upon the Elder God Tea Party while we are at it?

28.5.1 Leave Ghouls alone. Honestly. They have been over-used to the point where we cringe when we see them popping up at EVERY cemetery.

28.6 Living Investigators can feel pain, go insane and loose limbs, not to mention loose family members, money, property, their careers and reputations => horror and angst.

DEAD Investigators => a sheet to be tossed in the bin and a player that gets to twiddle his thumbs and look at the walls until the session is over.

DONíT write any scene, EVER, where someone dies without even a good dice roll chance of surviving You know, like say, a certain painted ceiling that sucks out your soul without even a resistance roll once you look at it. I have been told such a wall exists in a very famous campaign.
This is beyond being evil, its annoying and stupid scenario design at its worst.

29. PLOT HOOK...now I should have put this on number 1 but what the heck:

For the love of everything you hold sacred...MAKE SURE there is a GOOD and SOLID hook that will make a GROUP of normal people WANT to check that all that weird stuff out. Write the scenario assuming the PCs know each other...maybe...but have never had any contact with the mythos whatsoever and ARE NOT Detectives, Occultists, Private Eyes or WWI Veterans. DO assume, however, that they are bachelor orphans with no immediate family and have no friends.

29.1 Assume the Investigators are stinking rich and influential in a scenario that can easily be broken by tossing money and credit rating about; and assume they are all poverty-stricken beggars if the scenario requires them to travel anywhere off the state, meeting the mayor or getting into a high-society ball.

29.2 WEIRDNESS HOOK. I have read Chaosium scenarios where you adventure for a week before anything supernatural happens...

If you don't place something unexplainable and obviously supernatural WITHIN THE FIRST 24 HOURS of the scenario (preferably in the very first scene) you are doing it wrong. Investigators investigate because weird sh** is happening. They are not Agatha Christie wannabes investigating murders and robberies for the sake of it and then stumbling into the mythos.

29.3 Donít save all the horror for the final scene in an orgy of mind-blasting, brain-melting, sanity-sucking horrific-ness. Drop the required doses of SAN-imperilling horror throughout the scenario so that when they get to that final showdown the players are hanging to the edge of their seats.

30. Always put an escape path (this does not mean PCs taking it will go off unscathed) from even the direst of situations unless it was caused by player screw-ups specifically mentioned in the scenario. (look at 28.6).

31. After you finish writing it, go back and read the whole thing from the beginning. Assume the players fail every goddamn roll in the scenario including SAN checks and assume average SAN losses for these...is it still possible to get to the final scene? (note: I said GET, not necessarily SURVIVE)...good.

32. Develop a purpose...plot device, plot hook, Mc Guff to bring players together

33. Outline the highlights of the scenario...beastie, cultist, NPC's, puzzles, places of interest, clues

34. Create props necessary for the game

35. Figure out the effect or experience you wish to create for the players. Just don't expect it to happen because free will is a bitch. It also doesn't have to be the climax.

36. Make sure everyone and thing had a logical purpose for being in the scenario if they are held by the parameters of reality. Like Joe the expresso barrister is bound to have a logical reason in a scenario while Nylarthotep doesn't...in fact less logic is preferred for the crawling chaos

37. Have universal templates for places, NPC's and such to address the unexpected. Players have free will after all...if they want an expresso then it's good to have a template to go by to create Joe the barrister on the spot

38. If your gonna rail road then hide the rail road tracks up ahead

39. At various points in the scenario give the players the option to ditch the situation, if possible, when creating the scenario. This might sound contradictory to what your agenda as a GM is but it forces players to revisit the #1 tip and will most likely help keep them focused. Plus it put the players fear on the table to weigh out.

40. Have fun making the scenario but realize once you present you game it's outta your hands. Thatís what makes roleplaying cool in my book.

41. If your writing a scenario for publishing or for another GM. Take the time to write it out in a way to help guide the other GM(s) through your idea. In other words keep it simple, if possible. Have someone reliable proof read. Create maps and other playing aids to help others conceptualize.

There is the odd bit of conflicting advice as it's from many sources, and there are bits of advice meant for actually circulating an adventure around the community at large, so be warned..

Aidan305
2010-10-29, 06:14 PM
Scary Monsters
The most thoroughly scary monster I've ever thrown at my group, according to the players themselves, was a monster I made called the Eleos. It was a withered, dessicated undead-like creature with large, demonic wings that sang when it encountered the party. The voice was disconcertingly beautiful, and despite its appearance, the monster was quite graceful. Its claws were exceptionally sharp and caused no pain, only horrible bleeding wounds. It chased one of the party members before he finally lost it in an office building by throwing his bloodied jacket into a different room. When he spotted the creature, he was disturbed to find that it was petting his jacket and singing softly, seeming to care for its "victim."

The monster's shriveled, blackened undead nature combined with its angelic qualities and its merciful behavior were, from what my players told me, a disturbing combination.

Second on the list was the zombie that screamed and cried in agony (a la the Witch from L4D) and delivered touch attacks that granted horrific visions and agonizing psychological pain (touch attacks dealt Sanity damage). When the zombie managed to touch a victim, it would relax and smile for a short time before contact was broken and it resumed screaming. The party quickly deduced it was transferring some kind of psychic torture that it itself was experiencing, and the concept of whether or not the people who were zombified were "still in there" and what horrors they may be experiencing in their undead bodies created quite a conversation. If nothing else, the player who finished it off picked up his shotgun, aimed at it (in melee), and said "I'm sorry," before killing the zombie.
Mind if I borrow these? I have a couple of players I think would really appreciate them.

Kuma Kode
2010-10-29, 06:58 PM
Mind if I borrow these? I have a couple of players I think would really appreciate them.

Eleos (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=8445199#post8445199)
Haruspex (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=8444785#post8444785)

They're built for d20 Modern but you can convert them to a different system, hopefully without too much trouble.