Call of Cthulhu: The Sanatorium – Session 1 (Part 2)

When dirty heat is the only thing that will do.

Strange and Hollow

The guests jumped into action, and began plowing through doors upstairs in the bedroom section of the house, but found almost nothing but slips of papers with Elva and Dr. Willikars names and mysterious numbers on them.  They found what they believed to be Dr. Brewer’s bedroom, but no Dr. Brewer.  Finally, they found the living room, where a nurse was lying in a pool of blood, with a pair of scissors protruding from her left eye.  Doctor Brewer ascertained that she had been severely beaten before stabbed, and Agent Griffon determined that the struggled hadn’t lasted long, but had been terribly violent judging by the status of the room.

This heightened the sense of urgency, and the four of them continued searching the house for signs of the doctor.  They asked Blanche to help them in their search, and she did her best, but it became clear to them that she was in shock, and couldn’t recall facts with any amount of accuracy.  They led her to her room and sat her down to rest.  She did, however, give them a good idea of who was in the asylum on the main level. Continue reading “Call of Cthulhu: The Sanatorium – Session 1 (Part 2)”

Call of Cthulhu: The Sanitorium – Session 1 (Part 1)

Don’t even think about trying to escape.

Dr. Aldous Brewer, experimental psychologist and chief resident psychiatrist at North Island Sanatorium has recently had an article published in the Journal of American Psychological Society.  Based on his research done with three unnamed patients based out of his isolated island sanatorium, he has stumbled across a fascinating possibility in Jungian psychology regarding the collective subconscious.  In the article he claims that  while conducting deep hypnosis on the patients he has tapped into ancient knowledge from the past and has resulted in incredible findings.  His article has sparked a small firestorm of excitement, criticism, and outright dismissal in the academic field.

Soon after publication of Dr. Brewer’s article, psychiatrist and medical doctor, Dr. George Willikars stumbled across it.  Interested about the situation he inquired with the state board about the institution where Dr. Brewer was conducting his research.  Getting nothing satisfactory to sate his curiosity regarding Brewer or his study, Dr. Willikars resolved to visit the sanatorium.  Feeling worried for the welfare of the patients involved he contacted the FBI to alert them to his concerns.  The FBI, having been interested in the institution themselves, but with no clear method to infiltrate assigned a young agent Helga Griffon to accompany him as a presumed patient of his.  Disliking the deception, but grateful for the security an agent brought him, Dr. Willikars agreed.  Writing Dr. Brewer, Willikars wrote a letter to request a tour, and Dr. Brewer eagerly consented to the visit.

After scheduling the visit with Willikars, Dr. Brewer reached out to his niece, Elva Brewer.  As a student of psychology at the local university, she has been looking for a place of internship.  Knowing that, Aldous wrote to his niece to invite her to join the hosted tour that Willikars would be enjoying.  Elva, young and devoted to her uncle, immediately agreed.

Meanwhile, Mickey O’Malley, the down-trodden, semi-handicapped alcoholic giant had been offered the first job since his firing from the city trolley company he had worked at for seven years.  Dr. Brewer has extended the job offer to replace the ferry boat pilot and island handyman Ebeneezer Waite that has been working on the island since before it became a sanatorium. Continue reading “Call of Cthulhu: The Sanitorium – Session 1 (Part 1)”

Call of Cthulhu: The Haunting – Session Two (The Finale)

This is where he lives.  He tries to keep in shape.

The Basement

Jane called down after Vincent, but there was no response.  The fall obviously had taken its toll on him, but Jane couldn’t only barely make out his figure in the inky black of the windowless basement.  Slipping back along the wall, she heard Rachel and St. John hammering and blasting their way into the house through the front door, and through the mud room.

Still calling out to Vincent and getting no answer, the group decided that Rachel would run for help while St. John and Jane attempted to recover Vincent from the basement.  The lawyer and the dilettante, remembering that Vittario had suffered his first of a long series of injuries on the staircase to the basement, attempted to pick their way down the stairs, but both fell, with Jane suffering the worst of the injuries from the tumble.  Dusting themselves off, and opening up the door at the landing at the bottom of the stairs, they found a workshop, filled with an assortment of broken tools and cast off projects.  Still listening for Vincent, yet hearing nothing, they realize that the boards on the opposite wall are hiding a much larger room behind it, and they begin frantically tearing at them to get to their friend.

Meanwhile, Rachel, while attempting to find help runs across Dr. Ostergaard, who had patched her up a few days prior, running toward the house.  He explained that he heard shots, and was hoping to be of some assistance.  Rachel, relieved to find someone so quickly, led him back to the house and into the front door.  But as soon as they stepped onto the premise, the doctor grabbed her from behind in a crushing bear hug.  Rachel screamed, hoping her friends could hear her, but as intent as they were on reaching Vincent, they couldn’t hear her.  Dr. Ostergaard, irritated by the resistance, brought a long serpentine dagger to her throat, growling, “Do that again, and I will kill you.”

Continue reading “Call of Cthulhu: The Haunting – Session Two (The Finale)”

Call of Cthulhu: The Haunting – Session One (Pt. 3)

Wherein the investigators encounter the inexplicable, and meet their fate in the dark…

The Bedroom

Perilous Windows need a good washing

Upon reaching the top floor, the thumping became banging.  Listening to each door down the hall, they determined it was coming from the last room on the left, at the end of the hall, and St. John smashed the door down with his foot.  However, the room appeared empty aside from some furniture.  Adams, being impulsive and irritable, stormed into the room determined it was someone hiding.  Losing his temper he stomped on the floor boards in the center of the room, demanding that the lurker come out.  The thumping stopped, and from where his foot had crashed into the floor, a slow wet circle began to expand.  Looking closer, Rachel saw that it was blood, and Adams quickly backed out of the room.  The wet spot slowly receded as he left.

Although the thumping had stopped, a scratching began at the window.  St. John, inquisitive, moved to the window, but the scratching sound moved to the side of the house, just outside of view.  Unable to open on his own, as the window had been painted closed, St. John’s friends moved into the room to help him.  First Jane attempted to help, but still not strong enough, Rachel joined them in, and with a final shove all three finally were able to push the window open.  Adams stayed in the hallways, loath to return to the bloodied room.

Continue reading “Call of Cthulhu: The Haunting – Session One (Pt. 3)”

Call of Cthulhu: The Haunting – Session One (Pt. 2)

Wherein the investigators continue their interviews, and visit the house.

Day 2

While driving to Baltimore to visit the Macario children, Rachel dozed off at the wheel, and crashed through a farmland fence.  She was roughed up the most, but nobody else seemed to even notice the damage.

All four of the investigators showed up in the morning on the doorstep of the Macario children’s guardians.  When the caretaker came to the door, she immediately was suspicious of Adams and St. John, and refused to speak any further.  When Rachel returned alone she was able to win over the woman, and she was able to speak with the kids.

The kids explained how when their dad got hurt falling down the stairs, he was alone in the house a lot.  After a few months without leaving the house, he became  deliriously ill.  They said that they had often heard him speaking to someone in the basement, and would spend a lot of time down there, but their mother wouldn’t allow them to go down there to see him.  They think they know who he was talking to, as a man with “bright eyes” would often look at them in their beds at night.  The children became quite fond of Rachel in their short interview, and the children’s caretaker, their father’s cousin, invites Rachel to come back any time, as she seems to have cheered the kids up.

Continue reading “Call of Cthulhu: The Haunting – Session One (Pt. 2)”

Call of Cthulhu: The Haunting – Session One (Pt. 1)

Seriously, make any picture of a child or teddy bear black and white high contrast, and you'll be unsettled

Seriously, make any picture of a child or teddy bear black and white high contrast, and you'll be unsettled

List of Characters

Stephen St. John, Esq.; Accomplished solicitor/lawyer.  A dapper dresser and impeccable orator.  Is willing to take on cases no one else would touch, partly out of pride and…  well, no, entirely out of pride.  Helped save the Adams store from lawsuits intended to keep Adams from inheriting it.

Vincent Adams;  Orphaned son of gun store owner, inherited the shop and all the weapon stock and the clientele, both legal and illegal.  Always looking for extra cash, and a way to test out his newest weapons.  Owes St. John for his livelihood, and will help him at the drop of a hat.

“Lady” Jane Simpson; Privileged dilettante, thrill seeker, trust fund child.  Slumming it at the moment in nearby Miskatonic.  Parents are professional peers of St. John, and she met Adams through their mutual association.  Yawns a lot.

Rachel Hemingway; Journalist and budding author.  Currently studying the underworld of arms dealing, working as publicist and adventure companion for Adams. Continue reading “Call of Cthulhu: The Haunting – Session One (Pt. 1)”

Call of Cthulhu Character Creator

Maybe he's smiling and his face is just upside-down

To help the lazy and the indolent I’ve created a character creator.

I’ll be making minor changes as time allows, but it’s nearly done.  All I have to add as of now will be descriptions of what Occupation you’ve chosen, and for the point pool to change if you assign skill points to a skill.  Right now it just shows you what points you have available in total, and doesn’t change even if you change your skills.

Keep in mind that your characters will need to have a somewhat cohesive storyline about how they came together and how they know each other from the past.  It’s possible that four strangers wandered into a room at the same time while someone was describing a job they want done, but that just isn’t very likely. Maybe the group is a separate set of specialists called in on their first job together.   Or possibly one or two of the characters know each other from military service or from their schooldays.

Regardless, something has drawn your character to the paranormal.  Something has made your character interested in the occult and metaphysics.  Whether they’re skeptical and scientific and want to debunk myths they find childish, or whether they’re obsessive cultists, that’s up to you.  But some sort of backstory makes the game more fun and makes the character more lifelike.

Call of Cthulhu Character Creation Part 2

Cthulhu Kills 'Em with Kindness, and Bear Hugs
Cthulhu Kills ‘Em with Kindness, and Bear Hugs

There are a few straggling items in creating a character in order to flesh them out more fully in the game.

Here is a small sample of the occupations you can choose from.

Switching up Attributes

If you have somewhat confusing attributes that don’t please you you can do a few things.

  1. Accept it, and realize that not everybody is easy to understand and that your character is complex and mysterious.  Like the Green Power Ranger.
  2. Shuffle the scores, but don’t change the scores.  Such as, swap Appearance with Education.  That’s a tradeoff we’ve all made in our lives.
  3. Re allocate the total points, but never exceed the possible rolled scores of each attribute.

Do this only with the primary attributes, obviously.  As the secondary are all dependent on primary.


Character yearly income is determined by a die roll, just like basically anything else in the game.  It also determines what assets this character has saved.

For a 1920s game, the result of a 1D10 roll assigns the income.  I’ve put in parenthesis what hourly wage this would be roughly equivalent to in 2013 dollars.  It’s a very rough estimate, but it helps you conceptualize the financial situation of the character.

Yearly income:

  1. $1500 + room & board ($7)
  2. $2500 ($13)
  3. $3500 ($17)
  4. (also) $3500 ($17)
  5. $4500 ($22)
  6. $5500 ($26)
  7. $6500 ($32)
  8. $7500 ($37)
  9. $10000 ($50)
  10. $20000 ($100)

Total assets in holding for a character are determined as 5 times yearly salary, and one tenth of that is available banked as cash (immediately available by visiting local bank).  Another tenth of that is in investments available with 30 days notice.

Let’s say you rolled a 5, setting your income at $4500.  That would mean your total character’s worth would be $22500.  With one tenth ($2250) in the bank and another tenth ($2250) available as stock options, your character has a remaining $18000 in assets.  These are held as a house, or a barge, or a coin collection or whatever, and is generally unattainable within a single mission’s time, unless your character is remarkably good at some sort of wheeling and dealing. (Accounting, fast talk or some such)


Education has a direct bearing on age in CoC.  The more education you have, the older you have to be.  Whether this requirement comes as a side effect of having gone to med-school, or whether it’s because your character has had to live on the streets for years and learned how to bottle his own pickles using his own fluids, that tidbit is up to you.  But to determine age you follow the formula as such:

Minimum age for character is EDU + 6 Years.  This will generally not even put you above 20 years old at a minimum.

However, you can increase your character’s age at creation as a tradeoff.  For every 10 years you age your character, you gain another point of EDU, adding 20 more occupation points to your pool.  But once you pass 40, this takes a toll on the body, and for every 10 years above 40 you push your character, you must subtract one point from either STR, CON, DEX or APP.  (Your face gets liver spots or something)

Having a high skilled, disgusting looking 80 year old character could be delightful.


Call of Cthulhu Character Creation

Cthulhu Bathes in Madness and Seasalts
Cthulhu Bathes in Madness and Seasalts

Turns out CoC Character creation follows a very few simple ruleset which you can download here.

A character can be boiled down to a few certain attributes, which that PDF will go over, just like most RPGs.  And also like most RPGs those attributes will be instantly familiar to you, and generally you can infer what each will mean.

The majority of these attributes are created randomly during character creation.  The remaining attributes are created based off of those random assignments.

As you work your way through the character creation, you will fill out the last few pages of this PDF document.

Primary Attributes

Major influencers of gameplay.  Set to determine how smart, fast, resourceful, strong, or SEXAY your character is.

  1. Strength
  2. Constitution
  3. Dexterity
  4. Size
  5. Intelligence
  6. Power
  7. Appearance
  8. Education

Secondary Attributes

These are generally influenced by the primary attributes, but are used commonly during the game process to determine if you’re about to die.

  1. Idea
  2. Knowledge
  3. Luck
  4. Damage Bonus
  5. Magic
  6. Hit Points
  7. Sanity

Occupation and Skills

Once you see how your character is fleshing out, you can decide on an occupation that would make sense for the character.  For example, an moderately intelligent, highly educated, good looking character could be a businessman that’s got by on his looks and credentials.  Or a character that is huge, slow, but incredibly lucky could be the rich lazy son of a English Duke.  A dilettante of sorts.  Those same attributes with low luck you could make a dock worker.  And so on.

Once you choose the occupation, you can pick from the list of occupation skills that are in the skills list of the Character Sheet.  You assign percentage points to those skills that fit within the character’s backstory and occupation.  You wouldn’t normally assign the dock worker any accounting skill points, but maybe his spot hidden would be highly refined due to working around dangerous equipment.  You determine the pool of points for those skills based on your EDU (education) point total multiplied by 20.  For example, if you had 15 EDU, you would have a starting point pool of 300.  You could then assign those points to each skill as you see fit.  However, no skill type can be greater than 75.  Also,the Cthulhu Mythos (knowledge of the ancient gods and monsters that lurk in the universe) should not be increased, since the characters we’re creating have not yet encountered such terrible tentacled beasts.  Yet.  That’s what we’re going to put them through during our adventures.  You’ll see your characters grow in Mythos knowledge, and likely in insanity and sweaty palms.

For hobby skills, you take your INT score, and multiply it by 10.  That pool can now be used and assigned to skills in the same manner as occupation skills, except do not need to be limited by the occupation and background you’ve chosen.