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.
I’ve been toying with running a new campaign when I’ve wrapped on my Vampire the Requiem chronicle. I quite like elements of the Cthulhu Tech setting, but its system is a dog. Recently I’ve come across Eclipse Phase, which is a bit more ‘out there’ in terms of setting, but from an initial skim of the rulebook, seems like a fun opportunity to mess with player expectations.
While this decision is some way off, I was struck with a quick idea for introducing players to a radically different new setting…
I like handouts. They add an additional layer of immersion to a roleplaying session and can help evoke the setting and the mood. When I started thinking about my Vampire the Requiem campaign, I knew I would have to have a map of Moscow from the vampire’s perspective. With its neo-feudal political structure, its hunting grounds and subinfeudation, I wanted to give my players to get a strong sense of the various factions at work and the scope of the city. Continue reading
I’ve been busy preparing for Blood Money, my Vampire the Requiem campaign set in Moscow. One of the challenges I’ve set myself it to make it a very visceral, exciting and player character oriented campaign. One of the great things about VtR is that it’s at both an empowering game for players — they’re undead fiends of the night, mortals are but cattle to them… — and a way to tell poignant stories — they’re undead fiends of the night, they’re forgetting what it’s like to me human… I’ve made a few notes, my campaign manifesto, to keep me on track and act as a reference not only when planning the session but also running it: Continue reading
At the start of each session of my Call of Cthulhu campaign, I have been giving the players a the front page from latest issue the Arkham Advertiser. I’ve used ‘newspapers’ before to help dispense a few clues, establish the date of the session and evoke a bit of atmosphere. For you to download and use editable PDFs as well as a few other useful resources and links that might come in handy for others setting their Cthulhu sessions in 1920’s Arkham…
This is the second part of the information pack I included for the players of my new Vampire the Requiem campaign. As part of my email giving them the pitch for the game, I attached a PDF quick summary of the key points about the game’s background. Continue reading
The city setting is not unique to Vampire the Requiem, notably D&D had a number of city source books, as did Warhammer Fantasy and Call of Cthulhu. I’m sure there are a great many other examples. However, Vampire is perhaps the first game where the city is directly linked to a multitude of decisions from PC’s haven, allies and contacts to the GM’s choice of location for various vampiric domains, strongholds and the like.
The rulebook suggests gathering maps, guidebooks and online sources to help everyone gain a fuller picture of the city setting. It’s good advice, which I’ve used previously for campaigns set in Puerto Rico, New York and Budapest.
As a challenge to myself to avoid becoming complacent with the ways that I run Vampire, I’ve decided to experiment with a different approach for my Moscow campaign setting. Continue reading