Curse of Cthulhu

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Curse of Cthulhu

Curse of Cthulhu (1990, Chaosium product ID# 3306), by Keith Herber, is a supplement to Call of Cthulhu.

The main portion of this supplement is the Brotherhood of the Beast campaign, originally published in The Fungi from Yuggoth, in which the Investigators are pitted against an evil cult in a globe-trotting adventure. Prominant NPC, Paul LeMond, a famous "spirit medium", is instrumental in giving players clues and helping the Keeper nudge the players back on track should they wander too far away from the story.

The supplement also contains three stand-alone scenarios, ideal for beginning players and keepers as well as experienced ones.

"The Case" is directly taken from the "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward (fiction)" by H.P. Lovecraft. Players take the part of an old friend of "Brian Timmons" who has apparently lost his mind. You do not need to be familiar with the original story to run or play this scenario.

Keeper helpers:

1. Not required, but a good idea to read "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward (fiction)" before running this scenario. It will help solidify the plot of the scenario in your mind and give you more cues for role-playing NPCs.

2. This scenario offers opportunities to foreshadow both "Wail of the Witch" and Brotherhood of the Beast if you so desire. Also, consider running "Wail of the Witch" before running "The Case"... there is a chance that one of your player characters can be "possessed" by a Witch. If this comes to pass, this possessed character could become the 'Douglass Timmons" NPC in "The Case".

3. This scenario is great for showing players that their actions have consequences and teaching them that Call of Cthulhu is not your typical "shoot-em-up" RPG. For example, one obvious solution to the scenario would be to shoot Brian in the sanitarium. Players must understand that they can't just go into an institution shooting guns, their names would be on the visitors register and their description would be available from the staff. Their wanted character would not be able to proceed freely in future play.

4. There is an opportunity for players to perform a "spell" they find in a journal. They actually need to do the REVERSE of the spell they find in a journal. Keepers should be sure to have great descriptions handy for the process and the results. If the players take this route, the scenario can have an unusual and exciting climax.

5. Good scenario for introducing RPG to novices.

6. Good scenario for introducing Cthulhu-style investigative style RPG to players experienced in the more action-oriented variety.

"The Wail of the Witch" takes investigators to Salem, Massachusetts, where a reporter's death in an old cemetary hints at something sinister lurking there. The players try to learn what story the reporter was working on and uncover clues which originate at the time of the Salem Witch Trials and a cult dedicated to Nyarlathotep.

Keeper Helpers:

1. A good scenario for beginners/refresher for experienced players. This is because this scenario relates to a historical time in which most players would have a passing familiarity, easy stair-stepping of clues for players to follow and keeper to organize, includes some mythos "monsters" which are logically introduced into the plot.

2. A bit of online reading on the Salem Witch Trials would be helpful prior to keeping this scenario. University of Virginia and are good places to begin.

3. While the clues are laid out nicely in this scenario, players tend to follow tangents and get off the story. A good way to get them back on track includes "touristy" items, NPC's and additional newspaper/magazine clips. All of which player nudges are easily accomplished in this scenario.

"The Haunted House" is just as the name suggests, the "ghost busting" of a house. This scenario takes place in Grand Rapids, Michigan in a house plagued by strange and deadly events. This is NOT a mythos adventure, though it could be easily made into one should the keeper desire.

Keeper Helpers:

1. This scenario is ideal for introducing players and Keepers to horror-style role-playing. It is very detailed. The descriptions, including the history and layout of the house, keeper information, clues, only one very specific monster, etc. Also, since everyone is familiar with what a "haunted house" is.. there are great opportunities for cliched "jump out of the closet" scares and movie-style fun.

2. This scenario is ideal for introducing players to RPG's in general and starting a gaming group. Can be introduced as a "Halloween" event with weekly sessions in the month of October (due to the detail, it will definitely take more than one session to run).