Whilst we’re talking Call of Cthulhu (see post below), I now see fit to mention one of my proudest roleplaying moments. In fact one of my proudest moments period. I am rarely one to boast of my own achievements (few as they are), but if one cannot crow from time to time on one’s own blog, well, well..pah!
So here goes:
You are reading the blog of Berath, the winner of the Call of Cthulhu UK National Tournament at Gencon Olympia 2003.
Unfortunately I never got my prize. I left before they were awarded without knowing I’d won. I was in contact with the judge who told me of my prize, for a while. His last e-mail to me informed me that he was sitting looking at my prize, at that moment, as it sat on his mantlepiece. I never heard from him again.
It’s been a while since my last post. I’ve been busy. First, a lot of thought is still going into scheduling for the new raid. Secondly, it’s my turn to run the game in my Monday tabletop roleplaying group. Three of us run games and we alternate between them. I’m running a Call of Cthulhu (CoC) game set in 1920’s London.
Briefly, CoC is based in the world of H.P. Lovecraft, an American author who wrote mainly in 1920’s-30’s. His works feature horror, alien worlds, cultists and ancient all-powerful Gods, brooding at the edges of reality, poised to destroy humanity; Yog-Soggoth, Shub-Niggurath, Nyarlathotep, how satisfactorily the names slip off the tongue….. Players play ordinary mortals; professors, society girls, journalists, who at the start are blissfully ignorant of the fragility of the world they see around them, but slowly become more horribly aware as they learn of things that ‘mankind is not mean to know’ and come to understand the truth. Often the end game is a ‘choice’ between the refuge of insanity, or death. I love it.
I’m using a published scenario, but I often find I need to change things. Most games run like a detective story with events unfolding and clues leading the players through. However players invariably do what you don’t expect or miss the obvious (to you). Published scenarios can’t cater for this so as the Keeper, you have to build in alternative ways of reaching particular points and prepare to be flexible.
I also like to emphasise the role-playing. My game is set in the 1920’s. So, I’ve got hold of contemporary magazines, brochures and maps for players to look through. They can decide where they might live , things they might buy. I have a Harrods brochure (cover feature; their winter slipper selection) for players to browse through, this also includes listings of shows that are playing and restaurants some of have dancing. A copy of the Vegetarian, which, as well providing an aid for character development, contains recipes; for cutlets (main ingredient rice), fritters (main ingredient rice) and curry (main ingredient rice), addresses of boarding houses and, most importantly in a CoC campaign, lists of Sanatoriums where player characters might rest a while and attempt to recover some elements of their shattered sanity.
Throughout, I encourage player characters to live as normal people, with ordinary hopes and concerns, and lives which they want to strive, fight, to maintain. And to make the contrast truly, rightly, terrible, between reality’s façade to which the ignorant prescribe and the darkness and dissolution which the player characters find, in actuality, lies behind.
My LOTRO kinship seems to be pretty active though since I’ve never been a member of a kinship or guild before, I’ve nothing to compare. We have a very active forum with posts every day on topics both in-game and out of game. We have started our own kinship Wiki and have an in-game roleplayed history.
And then outside of the forum we have our bloggers, and tweeters and meet ups. I love all of this. I like the way the kin spreads out beyond the game and I’d like to see more. Maybe because I genuinely like and am interested in, the people in my kinship.
And now I have an idea!
I started roleplaying playing tabletop games. I still think that this is roleplaying in it’s optimal form; a DM/GM and players in a room with dice and a scenario. This is why when people get too purist about role-play on our RP server, I don’t really share. Although I have expectations regarding behaviour, roleplay etc, at the same time I feel I’m compromising the real role-playing experience by being in LOTRO because a computer game could never equal it (though have strengths of a different kind).
Anyhow, one of my favourite tabletop rp games is Call of Cthulhu, based on the 1920s horror stories of H.P. Lovecraft. I am currently running this in my Monday night gaming group and ran a CoC scenario when I met up with my kinmates in Sweden. So, thinks I, why not run a CoC game for my kinmates. On-line. To try and get that tabletop experience. Over Skype ideally since the sound quality seems to be better and it is easier for a number of people to speak at once.
I’ve found some information on my favourite Cthulhu resource web-site
This also has reportbacks from people ; apparently it works, it’s like being in your own radio play. Tabletop rp has been discussed before in the kinship. Many people used to do it but have given up as real-life has intruded. This would give them a chance to play again, and maybe introduce others to tabletop-style gaming. And it would give the kin something else to do together. I might begin with a one-off pilot, it will need to be timed around Mirkwood too, but if I do go ahead, I’ll feed back here.