Friday, 1 August 2014

First game of Call of Cthulhu

Call of Cthulhu is a roleplaying game (for more info see

It is based on the works of HP Lovecraft
It is set in a universe where vastly powerful dangerous beings care naught for humans and often have various plans which incidentally lead to the destruction of humanity. A band of intrepid investigators try and thwart their plans at great risk to their bodies and minds.

The most famous of these powerful near-gods is the titular Cthulhu or "squid-head" as I affectionately call him.

This is a classic game, in its' 6th edition with a 7th edition coming out. I've wanted to play it since the 80s and tonight our little band (me as Games Master but also controlling two characters and Jake and Chris) played our first game. It can be set in any time period but our game was set in the 1920s - the classic time period for the game.

In the game, the more the horrific truth dawns on the investigators and the more the horrific trauma they experience they lose Sanity. They can go temporarily or indefinitely insane. (Interestingly the types of insanity are often various phobias but with many types based on DSM - a sign of the cultural penetration of that classification system).

Sanity is the most crucial statistic in the game. Investigators can come from many backgrounds and that includes psychiatrists (often called alienists in this era). Psychiatrists are quite useful in the game as they can use psychoanalysis to help investigators with their Sanity losses (though often takes a while). There aren't many effective psychiatric drugs in this period.

I've bought several campaigns but we'll start off with some stand alone adventures before embarking on the various complex world-destroying plots.

Our happy band includes Jake's gumshoe, Chris' Russian ex White Guards officer refugee (who despite being the fighter of the group ended up being knocked out by a hobo with a table leg, the wimp). I run 2 characters, a top notch psychiatrist (of course) based on Rivers of WW1 "Regeneration" trilogy fame but who also happens to be black (leading to problems in the racist US of the 1920s) and a rich female dilettante with a Cadillac and a shotgun.

We've just finished a Middle Earth Roleplaying Game campaing traipsing all over Endor from the frozen North to burning South via Mirkwood. This was a good humoured game, so I'm hoping I can deliver a horrifying, creepy tone appropriate to this new game

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