We’re back, and we’re digging through those thick books and bulging boxed sets that dominate our gaming shelves. Published campaigns have been a huge part of roleplaying games since their infancy. This is especially true for Call of Cthulhu. Call of Cthulhu is often defined by epic campaigns like Beyond the Mountains of Madness, Horror on the Orient Express and, especially, Masks of Nyarlathotep. They open up strange new worlds of play, bringing thrills, chills and memorably gruesome deaths to gaming tables across the globe.
While using a published campaign gives you access to huge amounts of research, imagination and stat blocks prepared by other gamers, this doesn’t mean they have done all the work for you. The GM still has to read, digest and regurgitate all this material, like a monstrous bird-thing feeding a gaming table full of hungry chicks.
Our discussion takes us through the stages of preparing and running a published campaign, as well as offering general tips for bringing the campaign alive. We also look at how to assemble a campaign out of disparate published scenarios. This approach can either create an exciting, varied play experience or a Frankenstein’s monster of a campaign that will destroy you and your players out of a deathless thirst for revenge.
Our original plan for the episode was to also discuss writing or improvising your own campaigns, but we found so much to say about using published material that we have decided to save that as a topic for a future episode. As I may have mentioned before, we’re a verbose bunch. If we didn’t record standing up in a poorly ventilated room, we would probably still be talking now.
In the course of the episode, Paul mentioned the campaign journal from his old Ars Magica game. We promised a picture, and after a little last-minute panicking, here it is.
Finally, we should warn you that there is more singing in this episode. We have a new $5 backer on Patreon, whose thanks we sing in a repellently organic manner. Our experiments with new techniques are beginning to change us inside and out. There is now little resemblance between a human singing voice and the blasphemous cacophony that vomits forth from our twisted lips. So, enjoy!