My First Call of Cthulhu Game

Last night I finally had the opportunity to play a game of Chaosium’s renowned Call of Cthulhu RPG in a really unique and appropriate space, The HP Lovecraft Historical Society’s headquarters over in Glendale.

Chaosium provided Sean Branney with a sneak peak at a forthcoming module, and we got to play test.

I’ve played Dark Conspiracy, Palladium’s Rifts, Vampire, HERO, Cyberpunk, and D&D from 1st-5th edition (skipping 4th), and though I’ve even managed to write fiction for Chaosium a few times, somehow over the years Call of Cthulhu the game has always eluded me. Just never been in the vicinity of a group that plays (and haven’t yet attempted playing online).

I armed myself with Seth Skorkowsky’s CoC video primers on Youtube , got a general grasp of skill checks and game flow, and headed out to Glendale.

First, if you’ve never been to visit HPLHS’ HQ, I gotta say outside of Providence it has to be a minor mecca of all things Lovecraftian for HP-heads on the West Coast. Besides a shopfront of their movies, radio plays, t-shirts, and astounding props, the right half of the room is dominated by a reference library that might have been salvaged from The Church of The Starry Wisdom’s attic – not just collections of old HP (though I spied some bagged Weird Tales up there), but a lot of primary period references and neat occult editions.  Sean showed us a particularly cool new two volume set of John Dee’s angelic writings collected fairly recently by Kevin Klein (not the actor) that had me envious.  I noticed a couple of books I had, and LOT I wish I had.

The shelves were also adorned with props from the society’s film adaptations, the Mi-Go puppet and contraptions, and the library sign from (I believe) Whisperer In Darkness. For me the big thrill was getting to play my inaugural game under the deep set eyes of the Cthulhu puppet from their silent masterpiece Call of Cthulhu (the virtues of which I have previously extolled here).

No photo description available.

Anyway, I don’t want to go too much into detail of the actual module and gameplay session as I don’t want to spoil anything, but I decided to stretch my RPG chops (well, a stretch for a guy whose characters usually consist of fast talking thieves and bashy Howardian Barbarians) and played a nervous ex-Catholic nun having a crisis of faith, and man, I had an absolute blast. I’m used to a lot of dice rolling and combat, more story-lite fair, and CoC proved to be a refreshing alternative, heavy on the roleplay and deduction. None of the investigators ever even got into a combat situation at all (though we were told we had taken ourselves to the edge of mayhem by the time we broke at 11 o’clock), yet I still found the gameplay riveting.

Sean made the whole thing a great experience. I don’t know his background but from his NPC’s, I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s encountered a lot of rural Midwest types in his day – and if he hasn’t, well, he’s a helluva gamemaster. Ah, he’s a helluva gamemaster anyway.\

So, thanks to the HPHLS and Chaosium for the unique opportunity. I came away with a very positive impression. Hope to return soon and finish out Sister Mary’s investigation, and generally play more Call of Cthulhu in the future.

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Published in: on February 22, 2019 at 8:44 am  Leave a Comment  
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