Updated Investigators for The Lightless Beacon

The Lightless Beacon is one of my favourite Call of Cthulhu scenarios, especially as a one-shot for new players. The investigators are dropped straight into a mystery ‘in medias res’ with none of the usual frontloading. 

My only issue is that one of the pre-generated investigators has a tendency to overshadow the others. After comparing investigator characteristics and skills with those in the scenario it’s apparent why, so I’ve created investigators with more balance.

Let’s crunch numbers, starting with characteristic point totals in order of highest first…

Bureau Agent: 535, STR 85 highest
Marine Biologist: 520, APP/INT 80 highest
Antiques Dealer: 495, DEX/EDU 75 highest
Artist: 480, INT 80 highest

The Bureau Agent certainly has the highest allocation of characteristic points. The Marine Biologist is next, though 80 points are dumped into APP, a typically less than useful characteristic.

Skill points over minimums (some fuzzy logic here)…

Marine Biologist: 624, though 160 of these are in 3 science skills, 40 in Latin
Artist: 474, but 150 of these are in 3 art skills
Bureau Agent: 439
Antiques Dealer: 410

The Marine Biologist and Artist may have the highest total skill points, but they both have points in three occupational skills of which only one gets to be used in the scenario. This might be realistic, but it doesn’t make for great player engagement.

In my games the Bureau Agent frequently overshadows the other investigators. They often have the right skill at the right time with Spot Hidden, Pilot (Boat), Occult, Track, Mechanical Repair and Electrical Repair, all useful in the scenario. The agent is also in the thick of the action at the end with Firearms (Handgun) and Fighting (Brawl) and the highest Hit Points. They’re the only investigator to come equipped with a firearm.

I decided to re-generate the investigators using the Quick Fire Method detailed in the Investigator Rulebook (p.60) and the Keeper Rulebook (p.48).

I kept a similar focus on characteristics and skills as the original investigators, so the Bureau Agent still has a high STR and Fighting (Brawling) skill, the Marine Biologist still has Science (Biology). I dialled back some of the Agent’s skills and switched out some of Artist’s and Marine Biologist’s science and art skills for something more useful. I dialled up the Antiques Dealer’s Firearms (Handgun) skill, and I also added Locksmith, a skill which is called for in the scenario to find an important clue.

Generally speaking, I’ve distributed skills more evenly to involve different pairs of investigators at different moments in the scenario, so a couple of investigators might be involved in Mechanical Repair one moment, then two others with Occult the next.

The Bureau Agent is focused on Spot Hidden, Listen, Track, First Aid, Fighting (Brawl).

The Antiques Dealer is a crack-shot with Firearms (Handgun), though they need to find an actual weapon. Their focus is Spot Hidden, Locksmith, Occult, and they keep Appraise.

The Marine Biologist has Natural World, Library Use, Science (Biology), Pilot (Boat), First Aid, and some mediocre skill with a scalpel in combat.

The Artist has much utility with Spot Hidden, Listen, Natural World, Occult, Library Use. They’re the least strong in combat with only a few extra points in Fighting (Brawling).

I play-tested these investigators last weekend at a one-shot at Fan Boy 3 in Manchester and it went well! Here are the links to download the investigator sheets. Enjoy!

Bureau Agent

Marine Biologist

Antiques Dealer


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s