MU Podcast 065 – Game Prep and Time Bandits

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Keeper Dan
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MU Podcast 065 – Game Prep and Time Bandits

Post by Keeper Dan » Mon Oct 06, 2014 9:32 am

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This week, we look into era-spanning campaign ideas. We’ll also talk about how we prep to run published scenarios, we get a new Dr. Gerard lecture on Roman Sky Armies, plus news and more!

This episode was recorded on Shocktober 5th, 2014.


Campus Crier
To kick off our news segment, we've got another MUP opener from a listener, this time from Wolf, in German!

Horrors of War: A Covenant With Death by Scott Glancy completed funding with a total of $26,823.

De Horrore Cosmico - Six Scenarios for Cthulhu Invictus, from Golden Goblin Press has only 7 days to go (as of Sunday October 5th)!

Only about $3,000 left to unlock Brian Sammon’s Invictus fiction anthology. The next stretch goal after that, Terror on the Borderlands Volume I, includes a scenario from Oscar Rios and one Charles Gerard (Keeper Chad). It gets unlocked at $27,5oo. More scenarios get unlocked at $30,000.

Skype of Cthulhu hit its 200th episode, with an actual play of Starfall Over the Plateau of Leng, by our own Jon Hook.

We got another episode opener, this time in Spanish from Skype of Cthulhu's Randall!

Check out the Kickstarter for Human Resources - An apocalyptic real-time strategy game that Dan describes as Skynet Vs. the Cthulhu Mythos.

Call of Cthulhu 7E character sheets with auto-calculations are available to all on the Chaosium website.

We have released Jon’sTale of GenCon.

Ian MacLean has completed the IndieGogo desktop image! It's cool. We'll get it and some other materials into the hands of backers soon.


Listener Feedback
We got an email from Mike asking about Trail of Cthulhu:
Hi there! I just wanted to say that I very much enjoy the Miskatonic University Podcast and the actual play recordings! I just recently got into Mythos roleplaying and so far I have been very impressed with the multitude of podcasts and resources for both new and veteran players/keepers. I just recently picked up Trail of Cthulhu, and I am finding that the Gumshoe system as a whole seems to speak more directly to me both as a player and a (soon to be novice) keeper, or at least what I would want and look for when it comes to a horror/Lovecraftian hard-boiled investigator game. I like that the rules mechanics are solid enough to be fair and manageable, yet sleek enough not to hamper any of the atmosphere of the scenario. Usually with most of the other table top rpg's I have played, I need to read through the core rule book a few times, take notes, then play a few sessions before I really get a handle on everything. With Trail, I read through the core rule book twice and I feel confident enough to recruit a few friends to the game. I don't know, maybe that's not a gaming system's fault. Maybe i'm just a dense reader. Due to my lack of luck when it comes to finding both a local Call of Cthulhu group or a internet one, I have decided to try my hand at becoming a Trail of Cthulhu keeper and running the introductory adventure in a few weeks. That being said, what do you kind folks at the MUP podcast think about Trail of Cthulhu and the gumshoe system? Do you have any advice for a new keeper running that system instead of the standard CoC Basic Roleplaying? Do you have any favorite scenarios for Trial that you would recommend? How about any tips for spicing up the Kingsburry Horror introductory adventure? Do you find the role of the Keeper different in Trail than in CoC? I have noticed that despite Trail being out for a number of years and (apparently) selling well that there isn't as much community coverage of the game as there is for CoC. That's understandable for many reasons, but overall I am just finding a few snippets here and there. No podcasts, actual plays, or even blogs dedicated to the system in comparison to BRP. So I guess that's one reason for my questions, as I have been searching around. What do you folks think? Thanks in advance, -Mike. ps. As a full time night janitor myself, I fully support the idea of Miskatonic University detective-custodians saving humanity from unknown cosmic horrors. If you can manage to pick up after grown men and women who make ten times more salary than you every single night for years on end you can take on just about anything, Old Ones included.
Trail of Cthulhu actual play games:

RPPR


Trail of Cthulhu: The Final Revelation – The Dying of St Margarets


Night’s Black Agents: Tribes of Tokyo episode 13
Skype of Cthulhu (for a listing of many ToC episodes)

Resources


Cheat Sheet
Pelgrane Resources


Story of a gamer playing with Trail


Dark Trail, a free rules-light version of the game from Graham Walmsley.



Card Catalog
From community member Cory: Pulp Token Set for Fantasy Grounds

These tokens can be used outside of Fantasy Grounds. Just download the file, and rename the .ppk or .mod extension to .zip. That will make it into a normal zip file that you can open and work with normally.


Lecture Series
We’ve got a new lecture from Dr. Gerard on the topic of “Roman Sky Armies.”


Cryptocurium Spot
Nyarlathotep's Bazaar! The itinerant showman has opened up shop at Cryptocurium once again! Limited edition items every week for five weeks all available for one week only!

Item #1 was a statue of Wilbur Whateley

Item #2 is The Hound Amulet. Release the Hound!


Side Topic
Spurred by a voice mail from DM CoJo, we talk about the possibilities of an era spanning campaign threading the different eras of Call of Cthulhu.

Jon mentions a set of scenarios that strings some of the eras together, here, here and here.

There's also the Strange Aeons series, which covers lots of eras separately, but could potentially form the spine of a campaign. Check out the first and second volumes.

An indie game that has lots of potential for collaboratively building a time-spanning campaign, is Microscope.
"Want to explore an epic history of your own creation, hundreds or thousands of years long, all in an afternoon? That's Microscope. You won't play the game in chronological order. You can defy the limits of time and space, jumping backward or forward to explore the parts of the history that interest you. Want to leap a thousand years into the future and see how an institution shaped society? Want to jump back to the childhood of the king you just saw assassinated and find out what made him such a hated ruler? That’s normal in Microscope."

Main Topic
We chat about how to prepare to run a published scenario, following up on a forum question from “Goodmush”:
"I picked up CoC 6th ed. A while ago now and have been gearing up to run "In a Different Light" by Dean Engelhardt. Now normally I don't have a problem running a game but Call of Cthulhu is a major shift in the styles I am more familiar with. Also adjusting to the prewritten modules has been shifting my paradigm. So here is my question: How do you set up a game when using a prewritten game? How do you build out the scenes and organize the information into a path the players can walk on? Now I know everyone has there own style and I will eventually develop my own, I am just wondering how others have done this."
Keeper Dan of the Miskatonic University Podcast

Nvision
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Re: MU Podcast 065 – Game Prep and Time Bandits

Post by Nvision » Mon Oct 06, 2014 6:41 pm

Just listening to the latest episode now, and Chad's description of a time-spanning group of investigators conjured a distinct image in my mind. I imagine the actual investigation would immediately halt, as the antiquarians and historians of the 1920s begin to endlessly assault the Romans with questions that will form the body of their new textbooks and historical society submissions...

As for time-spanning campaigns, has there been anything written along the lines of The Shadow Out of Time? A group of investigators somehow entangled with the Yithians could use their mind-swapping technology to project to different eras and solve some epoch-spanning campaign mystery. Course-correction of the time stream to prevent some future apocalypse seems like it would fit the bill.

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Re: MU Podcast 065 – Game Prep and Time Bandits

Post by sirlarkins » Mon Oct 06, 2014 9:12 pm

Still listening, but I just got through the Trail of Cthulhu segment and wanted to jump on and plug a recording I made from when I ran part of my group through "The Black Drop" in case you wanted to post it with the others--we were all newcomers to the system, but I think I got them through it without too many rules screw-ups...

http://esoteric-rp.blogspot.com/2014/09 ... -drop.html

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Re: MU Podcast 065 – Game Prep and Time Bandits

Post by PirateLawyer » Mon Oct 06, 2014 9:14 pm

The RPPR guys have put out a particularly horrific AP, in two parts, using the Trail of Cthulhu ruleset, titled The Wives of March. This was later published by Hebanon Games from its No Security Kickstarter and I highly recommend picking it up.

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Re: MU Podcast 065 – Game Prep and Time Bandits

Post by Dr. Gerard » Tue Oct 07, 2014 3:45 am

Nvision wrote:Just listening to the latest episode now, and Chad's description of a time-spanning group of investigators conjured a distinct image in my mind. I imagine the actual investigation would immediately halt, as the antiquarians and historians of the 1920s begin to endlessly assault the Romans with questions that will form the body of their new textbooks and historical society submissions...

As for time-spanning campaigns, has there been anything written along the lines of The Shadow Out of Time? A group of investigators somehow entangled with the Yithians could use their mind-swapping technology to project to different eras and solve some epoch-spanning campaign mystery. Course-correction of the time stream to prevent some future apocalypse seems like it would fit the bill.
Hah! The role playing would be pretty funny. In fact, it seems like that sort of approach would lend itself to lots of comedy, like a group plucked out of Night at the Museum. Maybe not for the purist mode, but a very entertaining idea.

I like the Yithian idea. I really do think Chaosium or a licensee should work on one of these. I remember hearing people suggest such a thing since sourcebooks for alternative eras started hitting the stands.
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Re: MU Podcast 065 – Game Prep and Time Bandits

Post by Graham » Tue Oct 07, 2014 3:59 am

Dr. Gerard wrote:
Nvision wrote:Just listening to the latest episode now, and Chad's description of a time-spanning group of investigators conjured a distinct image in my mind. I imagine the actual investigation would immediately halt, as the antiquarians and historians of the 1920s begin to endlessly assault the Romans with questions that will form the body of their new textbooks and historical society submissions...

As for time-spanning campaigns, has there been anything written along the lines of The Shadow Out of Time? A group of investigators somehow entangled with the Yithians could use their mind-swapping technology to project to different eras and solve some epoch-spanning campaign mystery. Course-correction of the time stream to prevent some future apocalypse seems like it would fit the bill.
Hah! The role playing would be pretty funny. In fact, it seems like that sort of approach would lend itself to lots of comedy, like a group plucked out of Night at the Museum. Maybe not for the purist mode, but a very entertaining idea.
Inverting it, with Invictus era PCs dealing with a (small scale) invasion from the future has some possibilites though, there is an early Harry Turtledove short story "Death in Vessuna" which appears in the collection 'Departures' that gives some ideas about how such an adventure could work. (If anyone is interested PM me and I'll give a more detailed summary.)

I also have some very vague memories of a Triad Entertainments scenario that was specifically designed to end with the characters transported to another era, I cannot remember though if it was Gaslight to Classic or Classic to Now (1990s)
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Re: MU Podcast 065 – Game Prep and Time Bandits

Post by WiseWolf » Wed Oct 08, 2014 10:26 pm

Thanks for a great show. I am glad you liked the intro, it took some time to convince my wife to help. :)

Jon, it is amazing what you said about the UFOs been us from a distant future. That is an idea that has always been running in my head, observers from the future, maybe even stealing valuable resources from the past. I thought about writing a novel about this until Spielberg beat me to it. I might still write it.

[spoilers for Skype of Cthulhu players - skip skip skip!]

What I did write, or sketched, was a time travelers mini campaign, as a follow up of my favorite Lovecraft's story, Rats in the Walls. It starts in the 20s, and moves to Roman times and then to the Victorian era. It is based on a scenario that a friend of mine wrote for our local group ( and yes, we play in Spanish ). My idea was different, since the scenarios out of era are just to provide some background to the players of the real and current treat they are facing in the 20s. The trick for me is that only one player travels to the past, but he is confused, not sure if the life he had on the 20's was a bad dream, or if he is actually a different person. Memories will come as flashbacks and the selected player will be the only one remembering the events when we wakes up. It even has a name and is on the scenarios list that we are going to run for Skype of Cthulhu: Cursed Blood. We will see if we get to it at some point. Horror of the Orient Express is going to be looooooong.

[end of spoilers]

Thanks for the nice words on SoC 200th episode, SoC has become a real important part of my life, and I hope it never stops.

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Re: MU Podcast 065 – Game Prep and Time Bandits

Post by EddyPo » Fri Oct 10, 2014 2:00 pm

Hey guys. Great episode.

I can think of one other Call of Cthulhu campaign that spans different eras. Red Eye of Azothoth published by Open Design. The campaign has five chapters covering 887 AD, English Northumbria; 1287 AD, Japan; 1487 AD, Spain; 1587 AD, Roanoke Colony, New World; and 1887 AD, Desperation, Arizona Territory.

There is a main antagonist that the investigators are pursuing throughout time. The way they make this work is that the PCs are reincarnations. Their memories of their past lives only begin to re-awake when the "Harbinger Star" draws near.

It's not a bad campaign. I'll run it some day.
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Re: MU Podcast 065 – Game Prep and Time Bandits

Post by Keeper Jon » Fri Oct 10, 2014 2:55 pm

EddyPo wrote:Hey guys. Great episode.

I can think of one other Call of Cthulhu campaign that spans different eras. Red Eye of Azothoth published by Open Design. The campaign has five chapters covering 887 AD, English Northumbria; 1287 AD, Japan; 1487 AD, Spain; 1587 AD, Roanoke Colony, New World; and 1887 AD, Desperation, Arizona Territory.

There is a main antagonist that the investigators are pursuing throughout time. The way they make this work is that the PCs are reincarnations. Their memories of their past lives only begin to re-awake when the "Harbinger Star" draws near.

It's not a bad campaign. I'll run it some day.
Cool!

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Re: MU Podcast 065 – Game Prep and Time Bandits

Post by Graham » Fri Oct 10, 2014 3:20 pm

A few items that might be useful for a Time Travel or Multi-era campaign.

First, a recommended novel, 'Lightning' (1988) by Dean Koontz, which has some interesting ideas about time-travel and a plot which could be used as the basis for a campaign.

Secondly two old threads which I'd started on the Yog-Sothoth forum many years ago which contained mentions of the idea of multi-era campaigining, note as these are old threads the links in them cannot be guaranteed.

Route 66 & the Mythos (2007)

http://www.yog-sothoth.com/topic/9779-r ... he-mythos/

Voyaging round the world (1577-1744). (2004, revived 2008)

http://www.yog-sothoth.com/topic/2251-v ... 1577-1744/
"If you do good, you'll live forever, if you do bad, you'll die hearing a single note for I am the one true sound...", Fragment found in a cult hideout.

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