Weird Science Gadget: Night Vision Goggles

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

Night Vision Goggles are a cumbersome headset mounted on a leather harness with a large disk worn across the chest. The disk projects a beam of infra-red light, illuminating the target, which is then visible through the headset.

When worn, this device allows the user to see in complete darkness to a range of 50 yards without being detectable by other individuals (unless they are similarly equipped). Movement is hampered whilst wearing this device: subtract 2 points from Move, and apply a penalty die to melee, Dodge, ranged combat, Climb, Jump or any other physical activity.

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Big Pharma Plans for Traveller

Here’s a set of plans I created for a pharmaceutical manufacturing plant using Robert Pearce’s geomorphs. There are two basement levels and a ground floor, with two points of entry. The plans are fairly generic so you could use them for any kind of medical or scientific base. I printed them out on A1 paper for my players to use with miniatures.

This location featured in a homegrown adventure written for my current campaign. The adventure was called ‘Air Zamine’, a nod to a certain 90’s film

I’ll include PDF and PNG files further down in this blog post for you to download and print.

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Weird Science Gadget: Mind Control Helmet

This is the first in a series of short blog posts detailing Weird Science Gadgets from Pulp Cthulhu (p.86ff, Pulp Cthulhu rulebook). Each of these posts will include a PDF for you to download and print.

The Mind Control Helmet looks like a traditional pith helmet covered in a web of thick tubes. When worn over the head, it allows the user to attempt to control the actions of another individual. This device functions in an identical fashion to the Dominate spell (p.254, Keeper Rulebook) including range (10 yards), opposed POW roll, magic point and SAN point cost. Stepping inside the mind of another is an unnerving experience.

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Call of Cthulhu Single Player Scenarios

I’m currently running a Call of Cthulhu campaign for a single player. I was struggling to find a list of suitable scenarios, so I did a little digging, which turned into a list, which became this blog post! I hope you find it useful.

If the idea of running a single-player scenario seems odd, then you’re in good company. I’ve always been a “3 or 4 players and the GM” kinda guy, but it seems to work well in Call of Cthulhu.

This isn’t a long list. Feel free to comment or message me if you know of anything I could add. Every week I see people asking about single-player scenarios. Couples, often, running a game for their significant other. There’s clearly demand for more!

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Printing Traveller Plans

I like using 28mm miniatures when I’m Refereeing Traveller and I’ve found a cheap method of printing A1 and A0 paper plans for less than £2 each.

For my US friends, A1 is about 23 x 33 inches, A0 is 33 x 47 inches, and £2 is about $2.50. I’ll admit up front that this blog post is aimed at those of us in the UK, but hopefully you can find somewhere similar for printing your own plans over on that side of the planet.

The deck plan preview you can see on the left is the Amun Ra, a modified 100-ton Scout/Courier I designed using Classic Traveller Book 5: High Guard, my favourite Traveller ship design system. I drew the plans in Microsoft Visio, dropping in some Traveller Geomorphs from Robert Pearce.

I’ll include a PDF for the Amun Ra at the end of this post plus another bonus PDF. Feel free to print and use in your own games.

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Animal Handling in Call of Cthulhu

Earlier this year I ran the single-player scenario Love You to Death, one of two in the excellent sourcebook Does Love Forgive? During that scenario my player’s investigator acquired a pet dog, a German Shepherd called Highball. I thought this photo on the left, a Google search, was a good match for him until my player pointed out that this dog looked more like a Malinois.

Which shows how much I know!

If I’d looked a little further I would have found an actual photo of Highball. Poor chap. In my universe he’s now living happily with Betty in Old Town, Chicago with regular walks in the local park.

Highball is effectively Betty’s sidekick, an NPC, but we’ve developed a simple set of house rules to determine how successfully he carries out one task or another using the Animal Handling skill. That’s what this blog post is all about.

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Traveller Psionics: Break/Fix

I love Mongoose Traveller and I say that as a diehard Classic Traveller fan. I started playing Traveller in the early 80s and I still use my Little Black Books.

I’ll admit I was a bit sceptical when I first saw the big shiny Mongoose books and their fancy pants artwork but I bought the Core Rulebook anyway. As soon as I started reading I recognised its clear kinship to Classic Traveller and I soon realised that my house rules had been heading in the same direction anyway. 

But, Mongoose Traveller Psionics rules are broken. (Well, I guess Cepheus broke them first.)

Let me explain. I’m afraid we need a short history lesson. There will also be number crunching.

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Madam Long: Call of Cthulhu NPC

Two of my players just completed a Call of Cthulhu scenario I’ve written called Love to Hate set in 1929 Chicago. This is a sequel to the fantastic Love You to Death featured in Does Love Forgive? written and edited by Lynne Hardy, Airis Kamińska and Anna Maria Mazur. Love You to Death was a single player scenario which, in our campaign, left a loose end, brought to a conclusion in this sequel with a second investigator tagging along for the ride.

During the scenario the investigators needed to trace the whereabouts of a missing Chinese laundryman. They ended up at the fictional Xi’an Palace restaurant in the heart of Chicago’s Chinatown. This was an establishment owned by Madam Long, leader of the infamous (again fictional) Dragon Tong who controlled most of Chicago’s Chinatown.

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Pulp Cthulhu Talents

I’ve spent a sizeable chunk of my time during the last couple of years re-engaging with a much-loved hobby from my younger years, roleplaying games. I’m currently obsessed with Call of Cthulhu, especially Pulp Cthulhu which gives my players the character survivability they enjoy in campaign play.

I particularly love the Pulp Talent system, but I noticed a gap in the talents with social skills. Whereas Charm and Intimidate are covered with the Smooth Talker and Scary talents (p.24 & 26 Pulp Cthulhu rulebook), Fast Talk and Persuade are not.

This got me thinking about adding a couple of house rule talents, which then became ten. And I’m working on another set of ten at the moment to appear in a later post. Bonus points if you spot the various references! Scroll down for a PDF copy of this talent table to print out.

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Revolutions Anthology

Revolutions!Revolutions is an anthology of speculative fiction set in Manchester: seventeen stories of science-fiction, horror, dystopian and weird fiction.

I’m very happy to be wearing two hats for this project as both writer and editor.

As writer, Revolutions includes my short story Traveller. This is an unusual departure for me: time-travel. I am probably the world’s worst sceptic when it comes to this particular subject so I’d like to think that my story explores a new approach to how it might all work in a believable, if slightly cynical, fashion. No bootstrap paradoxes here. In fact, no paradoxes at all.

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