MU Podcast 065 – Game Prep and Time Bandits

MUP_065-Game_Prep_and_Time_BanditsThis 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’s Tale 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.”
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