Lovingly referred to as “Jothulu,” this was a Cthulhu inspired campaign that Joe ran from October 2011 to June 2012. The campaign was created to help alleviate the DM schedule Megan was doing with Travels in Trammel, and it uses her same homegrown “Short & Sweet” system, though with altered rules to account for things like sanity and horror.
As many of the players were somewhat versed in Lovecraft lore, the DM opted to create a new pantheon of Great Old Ones so they wouldn’t automatically know their strengths and weaknesses. (Or as you should always call it in a Cthulhu game, “weaknesses” in italics and quotation marks, and sometimes followed by “shmeaknesses.”)
The players got to choose characters from the town of Quiet Brook, Oregon circa 1926. While they could make any type they wanted, there were only a set number of citizens in the small town with a finite number in each profession; once someone died or went insane they were forever gone as an option. The professions themselves were mundane, though most had a sort of special power related to their occupation: the fireman had an ability to more easily carry bodies, while the waitress had excellent short term memory for words she heard spoken.
The game had a magic system, but it had to be discovered and then experimented with; even so, the same spell would do different things for different casters as the “concept” of each enchantment was altered by whoever cast it. Of course, being a Lovecraftian game, the MP used was your own sanity.
The maps were architectural blueprints of older buildings placed into a grid. The item store contained everything listed in Sears Catalogs dated 1926 or earlier, with the price being whatever was listed.
In the end it’s hard to say if the story ended when the campaign did. The players managed to eventually reach some of the final areas, but a party wipe forced everyone to make new (and much weaker) characters. At the same time, the DM felt that the homegrown rules and the magic research system could use a lot more tweaking and didn’t want to continue with the game as it was. He thought the tragedy was a fitting end to a Cthulhu campaign, though I’m not sure any of the players agreed quite that much. If Jothulhu were ever revisted at this point it would likely entail a new plot with a new party.
Following the wonderful idea of “GM Merit Badges” to quickly describe how a game is run, here are the ones for Jothulu (I think, Joe?):
|The game includes Disturbing content|
|The game will be Scary|
|Players in the game should be prepared to Run when the odds are against them|
|Player character Death is a likely event in the game|
|There will be Player vs Player combat allowed in the game|
|I roll Dice in the open and don’t fudge the results in the game|
|The game focuses on Exploration & Mystery|