OK, this is going back a bit now, I’ve got some catching up to do! A few weeks ago I went to (fairly) sunny Surrey to playtest a couple of tabletop Call of Cthulhu scenarios: Odd Fellows and The Turing Shroud.
The two friends who’d written and were running them are gaming buddies from decades back, and I think Cthulhu may have been the first stuff that we played together: there has been much of it since! It’s kind of the cosy old jumper of role-playing for me these days, with battling eldritch monstrosities and descending into insanity making a relaxing change from pretending to be a hat.
Both games were short one-offs with pregen characters intended for use at (the then upcoming) Gen Con, and it was pretty much a playtest to see how they fitted for timing as well as to pick up any errors, inconsistencies and the like, prior to unleashing them on the innocent congoers.
This took place at Exeter College, Oxford, in the classic 1920s setting. We were all connections of a student who’d fallen mysteriously ill after suspected involvement in a rite of some sort in the college’s pleasantly leafy Fellows’ Gardens:
So there was a bunch of asking questions and finding clues, working out who the cultists were and what they were up to, and tracking them down for a showdown. The chief bad got away, boo! And will no doubt cause trouble to future investigators in sequel scenarios at future Gen Cons.
The Turing Shroud
This one was at Bletchley Park during World War II. We were all workers there in some capacity, and accidentally uncovered a conspiracy to kill off key scientists and mathematicians. Was it German spies seeking to harm the Allied war effort, or was it something (even) more sinister? (Three guesses…) There was a very satisfactory monster and a great denouement.
Both these games were well written (as you’d expect from a pair of CoC veteran authors) and stacks of fun. OF did run a bit long, beause of our caution in investigating and the exended combat at the end, but all fixable in time for the con.
I ought to do more of this more trad sort of role-playing, inbetween the more intense and/or conceptually-ambitious stuff. Basically it really works – it does what it sets out to, and it does it very well and entertainingly.