I love handouts in Call of Cthulhu: old photographs, diary entries, half-burned letters, telegrams or business cards. I enjoy making my own if a scenario doesn’t come suitably equipped.
I’m also a fan of physical props. I recently ran a scenario set in my 1929 Chicago campaign where my investigators were following clues around town, eventually leading to a Chinatown opium den.
One of my investigators has a dog called Highball with the Scent Something Interesting skill. During the scenario Highball sniffed out a fortune cookie kicked beneath a bookshelf. I handed over a fortune cookie to my players, which they broke open, discovering the address of a Chicago Chinatown restaurant hidden inside.
My players loved it! But they wanted to know how I’d managed to pull off this magic trick from here in the UK. Here’s how…
Grab a box of standard fortune cookies. They’re readily available. I bought some from Amazon.
Unwrap a cookie. Damp a clean cloth. Wrap your cookie in the damp cloth. Place in a microwave and zap for about 40 seconds.
It seems they catch fire rather easily!
The cookie should soften with heat allowing you to remove the fortune from inside. I used tweezers. The cookie ‘sets’ again very quickly as it cools, so you need to be quick to swap in your replacement fortune. It might be an idea to do one cookie at a time.
You might want want to break open a cookie before you start zapping anything to get your fortunes correctly sized. I Googled some fortune cookie sayings, typed them up in Word, and cut them out into narrow strips. I used a really small 8-point font:
The fortune you seek is within another cookie!
The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
Courage is not the absence of fear; it is the conquest of it.
All things are difficult before they are easy.
A ship in harbor is safe, but that’s not why ships are built.
If you want the rainbow, you have to tolerate the rain.
Now you can create your own fortune cookie props for Call of Cthulhu or any other game for that matter! Maybe there’s a secret cult in your campaign using cookies to send messages to their followers? Or perhaps each fortune contains a spell? It would be kinda funny if opening a cookie called for a SAN roll!
I’m gluten intolerant, so I didn’t get to enjoy eating any of my modified cookies, but I certainly enjoyed the look on my players’ faces!