The Devil and the Drum

I’m very happy to announce the publication of The Devil and the Drum, a scenario for the Call of Cthulhu roleplaying game. I’d like to thank all of my play-testers, especially my family and the folks at Grogmeet November 2022.

This scenario is set in Devon, 1946. The investigators are National Trust volunteers asked to survey an old ruined abbey. Events unfold amidst an unnatural storm wreaking havoc across the United Kingdom.

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Default Skill Characteristics in Call of Cthulhu

I like the skill-based system in Call of Cthulhu, but I’ve always thought that characteristics are somewhat underutilised, so I’ve decided to add the following house rule to my game…

A player may suggest the use of a characteristic instead of a skill roll to increase their chance of success, attempting the roll at one level higher difficulty: Normal requires a Hard Success, Hard an Exceptional Success, and Exceptional a Critical. The Keeper must deem the suggested characteristic appropriate: such as DEX for Throw or CON for Swim.

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New Luck Spends for Pulp Cthulhu

I love the Luck rules in Call of Cthulhu, and especially those in the Pulp rules. Here are three new Luck Spends and a modification to an existing rule. Feel free to use these (or not) in your own games!

“Keep Calm and Carry On!”

Cost: 20 Luck

A player may spend 20 Luck points to avoid the effects of Temporary or Indefinite Insanity. A subsequent loss of 1 or more points of Sanity will trigger insanity as normal.

Alternative names: “Oh dear. How sad. Never mind…” or “Always looks on the bright side of life! [sung]” or “Everything is AWESOME!” or “Hakuna Matata! [also sung]”

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Traveller Plan: Generic Bar

Here’s another example of some plans I’ve created using Rob Pearce’s excellent geomorphs. I’ve barely made any changes, tweaking the exits, applying some shading, and adding labels.

This bar featured in my campaign a few months ago. The Travellers were on the trail of a kidnapped child and they ended up in a violent confrontation with some pirates in this bar on Lanth. As this world is 90% water I decided that the starport was constructed like a giant underwater arcology with ‘sub’ levels going down from sea level to the seabed.

This blog post includes the usual A1 printable PDF as well as a separate A4 sheet with a very brief description of each numbered location on the plan.

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Traveller Plans: Generic Apartments

Here are two more generic plans I’ve created using using Rob Pearce’s excellent geomorphs. I designed these to fit on A4 paper suitable for a home printer. 

Both of these plans are apartments. They featured in my campaign a few months ago as the Travellers were visiting Lanth. As this world is 90% water, I decided that the starport was constructed like a giant underwater arcology with ‘sub’ levels going down from sea level to the seabed. The larger apartment has a lovely underwater view. 

This blog post includes the usual downloadable PDFs including a separate A4 sheet for each plan with a very brief description of each numbered location.

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Call of Cthulhu Road Tiles

I’ve been running a Pulp Cthulhu campaign set in 1929 Chicago. The investigators have been running around the city, jumping in and out of taxis, on and off the “L”. They’ve had a few run-ins with the Mob and I know it’s only a matter of time before there’s a car chase.

Taking Mr Skorkowsky’s advice I bought some Models of Yesteryear cars and then I decided to create some road tiles using Inkarnate that I could drop onto the table. I’m planning on using these with the Chase rules in the Keeper’s Rulebook (p.130ff).

Here are the results. Feel free to download and print for your own game. And let me know if you have any ideas for more obstacles. So far I have wandering sheep in a rural setting and scattered crates in a city. The rulebook mentions two guys carrying a pane of glass–a classic!–there must be more.

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Traveller Plan: New Horizons School

Here’s another plan for Traveller using Rob Pearce’s excellent geomorphs. Welcome to New Horizon School, a secret research facility, operated by SuSAG, for children with special abilities.

New Horizons is located on Lanth. As this world is 90% water I decided that the starport was constructed like a giant underwater arcology with ‘sub’ levels going down from sea level to the seabed. The large common room (location 17) has an impressive sea view.

I’ve included the usual A1 printable PDF in this blog post as well as a separate A4 sheet with a brief description of each location. You could always move the school to another world in your own campaign.

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Traveller Plan: Cloud 9

Here’s another deck plan I’ve created using Rob Pearce’s excellent geomorphs. I definitely went a bit overboard on this as it only featured in the intro/outro for a Traveller adventure I created called Smash & Grab!

This is the blurb I read out to my players…

As you approach Lagrange 2, the ship’s comm buffer floods with chatter and dozens of other ships appear on short range sensors. In the middle of it all sits an old 1000-ton Scout Service Express Boat Tender, now clearly retired from active service, the Cloud 9.

The old tender appears heavily modified from its original design with various modules and airlocks slotted into the huge vehicle bay that used to run its length. It also seems to have its maximum compliment of ten turrets installed.

A variety of small craft are arriving or leaving the local area, or parked up in matching orbits. Holo-emitters dotted across the Cloud 9’s hull are projecting advertisements out into space offering everything from nachos to cybernetic implants, casino games to stage shows.

It’s Vegas baby, Vegas in space!

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Call of Cthulhu Name Card

I often lose track of who’s who around the table, especially at convention games when I’m meeting players for the first time.

Here’s a game aid I created for Call of Cthulhu: a name card which can be placed on the table in front of each player. Print it out and cut the edges as marked. Players can add their name, their investigator’s name, and any preferred pronoun for themselves and/or their investigator.

I’ll include a couple of links at the end of this blog post to download a couple of different versions, one with a QR code to the Cult of Chaos code of conduct page. Feel free to download and print whichever one you want to use.

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Weird Science Gadget: Sleeve Gun

Here’s another Weird Science Gadget for Pulp Cthulhu (p.86ff, Pulp Cthulhu rulebook). Scroll down for a PDF to download and print.

The Sleeve Gun is a concealed, spring-loaded weapon which extends a small firearm from a specially designed bracer worn around the wrist. This device can be used to quick draw a firearm.

During combat, an attacker with a Sleeve Gun may draw their hidden firearm and attack without needing to have their weapon “readied” to gain +50 DEX when determining position in the DEX order for combat (as per the Quick Draw Talent, p.25 Pulp Cthulhu rulebook). A Sleeve Gun is typically used with a .22 Short Automatic or .22 Derringer (causing 1D6 damage, p.402 Keeper Rulebook or p.251 Investigator Rulebook).

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