Story seed: Upstairs/downstairs Cthulhu in a manor house

9 Sep

I recently finished watching the first season of Downton Abbey. It’s a fresh take on an upstairs/downstairs manor house drama revolving around the lives of a British  aristocratic family and their servants in the quarters below. I was also big fan of the film Gosford Park and the same writer, Julian Fellowes was the show runner for this production.

Of course anything even vaguely related to the 1920s gets me thinking about Call of Cthulhu. (Downton spans the 1912 to 1914, so we’re only 6 years shy in this series). The setting is ripe for use for one off sessions or even an on going campaign.

For example: “Harrowood House”

The Investigators are the servants of aristocrats visiting the isolated Cragthorne House for a dinner party. As they struggle to integrate with the downtrodden staff of the household and assist their employers in preparing for a much spoken of dinner party, they hear stories of strange goings on. The Cragthorne staff are terrified and reluctant to speak against their betters. As the night wares on, the player characters catch glimpses of peculiar rites, hear snatches of bizarre conversations and, as the tension builds, start to fear for their own safety and those of their masters. When the the clock chimes midnight the screams are heard from the upstairs quarters of the aristocrats. Investigations reveal that none of the aristocrats can be found, with clues pointing to dire goings on. Can the investigators solve the riddle and escape in time before some unspeakable fate befalls them…?

The stuff really writes itself.

Another approach could be to tell the story from the perspective of some aristocrats, who’s servants start reading Bolshevik materials and other strange tomes. Before too long, their staff are sneaking off for nighttime gatherings in the woods accompanied by chanting — Ia! ShubNiggurath.

At some point in the future I’ll develop these ideas more fully, but for the time being I thought it was a  story seed that others might find useful.

(Oh, and I’m about a week away from getting the PDF for Madness at Miskatonic up on this site. The thing has proven to be an epic in the making. But if it’s worth doing something at all it’s worth doing it well…All that’s left to do is some design work and then the proofing!)


One Response to “Story seed: Upstairs/downstairs Cthulhu in a manor house”

  1. Laraqua November 21, 2013 at 1:57 pm #

    That upstairs / downstairs tale is really quite evocative. It would make for a fantastic LARP, too. *le sigh* If only I had enough Lovecraftian interest locally to make that a reality.

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