Saturday, 19 November 2011

Have You Heard of Ernest Hemingway?

My group finished the first book of the Carrion Crown campaign Adventure Path a couple of weeks ago, and in order to give Ben a bit of a rest before he runs the second book, and to give the group as a whole a change from our usual heroic fantasy fare, I volunteered to run the Call of Cthulhu Adventure Path campaign Tatters of the King. One reason for the choice was that it was one of the only campaigns for CoC that between them Stuart and Ben had not read, run or played. It also has a structure that suits our demand for something short to run between Pathfinder adventures; although it has a fair whiff of the globe-spanning epic to it, Tatters is less cohesive than -- for example -- Masks of Nyarlathotep and is structured more like a hefty adventure and its sequel, separated by a short related vignette. My plan is to run the first half over the next few weeks, and then the second half the next time Ben wants a break, perhaps after the second Carrion Crown book; one neat aspect of Tatters is that the first half can end in a classic Call of Cthulhu fashion so we could finish play there and still be satisfied.

The campaign is not perfect and as written is a bit heavy-handed in its direction, but I suspected that this would not be a problem in play and so it proved. All the necessary information is there, but laid out in an expected order that I knew wouldn't match up with how any group of players would approach it; a bit of creative reshuffling was in order, but it all worked out in the end.

The characters are for the most part not an active group, consisting of Ben's psychologist, the painter who helps him with his dream studies, as played by Manoj, and Ric's decadent Oxford don. Only Stuart's globe-trotting American author -- some bloke called Ernest Hemingway -- seems to be of much use in a more physical confrontation. The first session -- apart from the small matter of a riot breaking out at the theatre, in which Hemingway defended the meek don from a maniac wielding a broken bottle -- was less physical than cerebral, so the group's weaknesses in the latter area have not yet been exposed.

As of the end of the first session, the group had access to one Mythos tome, the professor was plagued by disturbing dreams, the painter had gone temporarily insane after reading the aforementioned tome, and the psychologist was worried about everyone's sanity. Hemingway just wanted a drink.


  1. Great session cheers K! Really enjoyed it. Looking forward to the next instalment! Radio Ric worked out well too. :)

    I certainly seem to have gotten over my jaded view of Cthulhu gaming which is a relief! And well done sir for seeing the railroad and allowing us to sandbox a little. Huzzah!

  2. Yup, they don't make authors like they used too.

  3. Interesting write-up, Kelvin. I hadn't heard of Tatters of the King before. My only experience with CoC is relatively recent, as you might know from reading my blog. One of the Game Masters is running us through the Masks of Nyarlothotep scenario, but it's taking forever because we only play that game once a month, and it's been on hiatus for several months now.

    I love that one of the characters in your game is Ernest Hemingway. Very cool!


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