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So many articles have been written on the subject of how to be a better gamesmaster, but not enough are written for how to be a better player. This article addresses the topic head-on. It’s written for D&D but is largely transferable.

The first 4 points are great. Oh and I’d happily pay money to sponsor point 7.

It’s hard not to agree with point 5 (Don’t harm other players) – no one wants an actual fight at the table! However one player character attacking another has occurred many times in my games. Perhaps this is easier in Call of Cthulhu as (i) the players don’t expect their investigators to live long lives, and (ii) player characters don’t tend to acquire great power. Compare this to D&D in which characters tend to build up to heroic stature and power, and acquire many powerful items and treasure. Losing a high level D&D character is a blow, and I can see that having one killed by another player character could easily cause bad feeling.

Point 8 looks at avoiding causing offence to other players which I agree with, but the avoidance of all sex in stories seems a little draconian, and wouldn’t suit Monsterhearts or some Cthulhu scenarios.

I recommend this article to the house.

Our State-of-the-Art Recording Studio

We were recording this evening, so I decided to take a few photographs to prove that we really do sit around in a pottery shed.

The shed in question

The shed in question

It’s pretty comfortable on summer evenings like today, as it’s warm (by British standards, so still pretty cold, really) and bright (again, adjust for Britishness).

Just interrupt us if you want to buy some pottery

The inside of the shed is a bit cramped, but we somehow manage to wedge ourselves between the pots, wheel and highly combustible gas cylinders. We try to avoid naked flames as it is difficult enough balancing the recording levels without factoring in explosions.

Paul hard at work on a screen saver

Matt watches as Paul studies a screen saver

Happily the shed is solid enough to block out the sound of the traffic on the A421, which is about 100 yards away, otherwise we might have to pay royalties to passing drivers.

Tonight's episode is brought to you by large glasses of white Russian.

Tonight’s episode is brought to you by large quantities of white Russians.

Farewell from the Buckingham Pottery, and happy listening!

The aim of doing using Kickstarter for Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition was always to produce the best quality of book production. Chaosium are understandably risk-averse, and would not seek to publish a deluxe hardcover book without the assurance that it would sell.

Thus, when the Kickstarter began the options were limited to softcover or hardcover books, each limited to black and white interior layout. As the project progressed and money was pledged, stretch goals were met. First the Arkham Country Map and floor plans, fairly modest proposals, but nice additions to the book. Then at 70K we saw the addition of colour plates to the Keeper’s Rulebook. This would provide something akin to the old Gaslight book.


Next came a slipcase, the promise of a comprehensive index (linking from the Keeper’s Rulebook and the Investigator’s Handbook) and a big art boost.

A few days in to the Kickstarter Chaosium posted the pledge level for the deluxe editions. These are superior quality hardcover books, not true leather, but leatherette. There were a lot of requests for stitched bindings from the backers. What this means is that the pages are printed and folded, then stitched rather than glued together, producing a much stronger book. Before long Chaosium announced that all the hardcovers would have stitched binding.

The next upgrade was from black and white to two-colour. The latter is black and white plus one other colour. It’s a halfway house between monochrome and colour.

There was little else that could be done to improve the quality of the books. Little else that is aside from one major thing; full colour. This step required careful consideration. If the full colour route was adopted this would require a longer development time to create more colour artwork and would then set the printing schedule back a couple of months. Would the backers accept this? The only solution was to poll the backers and get their thoughts.

Spanish art

Illustration from the Spanish edition

I thought the backers would be all for full colour. Over the last few years I’ve seen many posts about how wonderful the French edition is. Then there’s the equally beautiful Spanish edition. The poll came out approximately 50-50. The comments that accompanied the poll revealed that the backers priority was for clarity, and that many feared that colour would produce a pretty, but less usable rulebook. A very real concern and one that Chaosium shared.

Work is now in progress on samples of the colour layout and it would be great to get them to a stage to show the backers. A small sample was posted with the stretch goal, and that displayed the restrained use of colour that I expect to see in the final books.

Full colour!

It’s perhaps worth mentioning the Petersen’s Field Guides at this point. They will also be full colour, will use colour in a more extravagant style. I don’t think it’s been confirmed yet, but rumour has it that these books will be produced by the French licensee.

This would give us the best of both worlds – a rulebook that provides the rules in a clear manner that is pleasing to the eye, along with the ability to insert colour illustrations and colour plates wherever they are best suited. Alongside these there would be the more colourful field guides which look as if they have been used in the field, resplendent in full-colour art and handwritten notes for the reader to wonder over!

SPan MoN

Double page spread from the Spanish Masks of Nyarlathotep