This episode, Chad, Jon and Murph each summarize a short story and plunder them for scenario seeds. This episode was recorded on October 24, 2019.
Have you guys seen The Birch on Facebook Watch yet? It’s a great horror story available exclusively on Facebook, and it’s produced in partnership with CryptTV, (who have a channel on YouTube). There are five episodes so far; each is about 18 minutes long. I like the way they are telling the story. Episode 1 introduces our main character and sets up the world she lives in. Episode 2 suddenly introduces whole new characters, (without explanation at first), but then we learn that this is the origin story of the monster. Episode 3 returns to the world of our main character, but we relive events from Episode 1, but from the antagonist’s POV… which was cool. Episode 4 is more of the monster origin, and then Episode 5 is back with our protagonist as her story advances from where we really left off with her from Episode 1. It probably sounds confusing as I describe it, but it’s plays really well on screen.
Robin D. Laws, Lynne Hardy, and Cat Tobin recently attended The Kraken convention, where they panelled the “Investigative Roleplaying Masterclass.” The panel is now available on YouTube; it’s a really great panel on structuring an investigative role playing game scenario. We highly recommend this video for anyone interested in writing an investigative adventure.
A Cold Fire Within and Berlin the Wicked City have both been released in the special leatherette edition both featuring gold stamped covers. They are available through the Chaosium website only for $90 and $95 respectively.
There is also a very favourable review of Berlin The Wicked City that has been released over on RPG.net. The conclusion sums it up: “Berlin – The Wicked city doesn’t just present a new, impossibly alluring setting for original Call of Cthulhu adventures, but comes out as a treatise on how to write sourcebook/adventure books. It is well-targeted, thoroughly researched, evocatively written, and as useful for gaming purposes as a supplement can be. It will soon rake in the awards and be hailed as a classic; there’s no doubt about it.”
Good friend of the show, and all around nice guy Dean Englehart has released the next segment in his popular Convicts and Cthulhu line called Ticket of Leave #15, Death Knells. It is written by Dean and Geoff Gillian and is available right now for free at the Cthulhu Reborn site. AuZtralia is an adventure/exploration board game by Stronghold Games for 1-4 players set in an alternate reality 1930s. Following the Restorationist war, the northern hemisphere lands lay poisoned and starvation was the norm. Intrepid adventurers set out to explore and settle new lands. Little did they know, after the war, the surviving Old Ones and their remaining loyal human armies made their way to the outback of Australia to lick their wounds. Riches from the land, mixed with darkness and insanity await you in the outback. Will humanity prevail or will the Old Ones wreak their revenge?
And thank you so much to Sean for editing this episode! (Not Max, as we say repeatedly during the episode. Thanks to Max for editing other episodes that are not this episode.)
Random Crier mentions
Field Gun Competitions
Graham’s Card Catalog
Spotted an episode of the ‘Small Arms of WWI’ YouTube series you might like to watch. It covers the first semi-automatic rifle to enter full military service. Quite the ‘steampunk’ gadget, goes into the background and how the rush nature of the design limited it to only being handed out to those best able to use/look after them. Although if pre-war plans had worked out you would have seen the classic 19thC ‘two lines of infantry’ using these things. And it looks like the designers of the Garand rifle might have copied from this… Here is the link to the episode:
And now we’re back in the Listening Room with a further installment of Mr. Tyler’s after school gaming club…lecture and powerpoint presentation. This afternoon, he’s got some more scenarios ideas spurred from Cthulhu Wars – this time covering a certain…tittering rodentia.
Mining Short Stories for Scenario Ideas
Chad — I Am the Doorway, by Stephen King
It was first published in the March 1971 issue of Cavalier magazine, but I found it in Stephen King’s 1978 short story collection “Night Shift.”
The story opens with Arthur, the narrator, sitting on a porch talking nervously with his friend about something mysterious involving a body. We know he uses a wheelchair and that his hands are bandaged and itching. It turns out he is a former astronaut, and he recounts his two-person mission to observe Venus from orbit. There was an accident on re-entry that left him paralyzed from the waist down. Then we learn that his hands are bandaged to cover up eyeballs that broke out on his fingers a while after the mission. And those eyes seem to be the remote organs of an alien species, probably from Venus, that are observing Earth through his eyeball hands. He also sees through their eyes a bit when the bandages are off. Because of that, he knows that they view humans as horrifying monstrosities which they fear and hate intensely. Then the aliens take control of his body and cause him to kill a boy by exploding his head with alien powers. He buries the body, but when he goes with his porch-friend to dig it up, it has been moved. Through Arthur, the aliens summon a storm and kill his friend with a bolt of lightning. To try to get his humanity back, Arthur douses his hands in kerosene and sets them on fire. He lives, gets prosthetic hands and the alien presence goes away for seven years. But then the eyes appear again in a circle on his chest, and the story ends with him about to kill himself with a shotgun.
Jon — Black Bargain, by Robert Bloch
Summary — A man desperate for wealth and power conducts a ritual to make a pact with an unnamed entity. The price for his wish is that the man would have one rival for his accumulated wealth and power. That rival turns out to be his living shadow. The shadow eventually swaps lives with the man.
The story was originally published in Weird Tales, May 1942 (vol.36, no.5). My copy of the story is in a Bloch anthology of short stories titled, The Living Demons.
Murph — The Pool, by Daphne du Maurier