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 MadnessHorror 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.


Up to four hideous deaths per session guaranteed.

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.


“Shut up and roll for initiative!”

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.


“We belong dead. Or permanently insane. I’m good either way.”

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.


The Good Friends at the end of a recording session, pictured for reference.

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.


Sanity Loss: 1D6, Cthulhu Mythos (Initial Reading): +2%, Cthulhu Mythos (Full Study): +4%, Mythos Rating: 18, Study: 4 months, Spells: Attract Fish

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!


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6 comments on “Running Published Campaigns

  1. Enjoyed this episode…but what I would like is for Scott to please provide us with a description of the Habadasher Character Class. Their abilities, any special powers or class based spells etc..
    Also…Scott…. believe I was a participant of some of those C Of C sessions you ran in the 80’s…in your early years of Game Mastering…so yes…you unearthed a long buried memory from those dark foreboding days.

    • Oh yes, you were in a great many of those games, David! I can only apologise for how disjointed they were.

      I think the main ability haberdashers have is to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. They have no business being involved in Cthulhu investigations, but somehow they can’t avoid it. Still, when other party members are injured in combat, the haberdasher can always repair their clothing or find a suitable replacement.

  2. Found this episode incredibly useful in helping me solidify my own thoughts on how to run a published campaign. Many thanks!

  3. Eric G. Aug 27, 2020

    Yeah like the other comments, I really learned/confirmed some important things to think about when running published adventures. Your guys podcast is great too bad its not more widespread.

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