Category Archives: Call of Cthulhu

Call of Cthulhu – The Derelict – crew

The Derelict is a one shot scenario for a modern era setting of the Call of Cthulhu RPG created by Sandy Peterson for a convention and then bundled inside the book “Peterson’s Abominations” that collects a number of his scenarios together.

The setting follows a crew that find a ship floating abandoned in the middle of the ocean and their efforts to investigate it. The NPC’s that are created for the game are crew and passengers aboard a luxury yacht but I wanted to change that setting and there’s a couple of mentions of a tug crew. 

I prefered that idea, so ended up making my own NPC’s so I could run the story as if they’re a salvage boat crew who are struggling for cash and need to raise some serious money quickly. I let the players pick from the characters but keep the Captain and First mate as NPC’s who I can use to push the story along.

I’ve mentioned my setup a few times in the past and shared the character sheets before, so I thought I’d put them here to make it easy to find in the future.

The sheets are below for anyone to download and below that is my notes on how I run the story. Each one doesn’t have a name or gender specified, I allow the players to pick those. Please don’t read any further if you ever want to play the Derelict as there are possible spoilers.

Characters

NPCs

Background and setup

Now we get to the fun bit, the story. I made a few changes in the setup in the book but feel free to ignore these and go with your own version.

In mine, the captain is struggling to raise enough money to keep the boat. He wants his son (the first mate) to take over the boat and retire soon, this gives him a lot of motivation to try and salvage the derelict.

Each of the PC’s also has a secret on their sheet that allows the players to lean into the characters as much as they want. Some have a good reason to either try to salvage the ship or to escape.

Also, take note of who has silver and who doesn’t, that is important.

When they first get to the derelict, I have the captain go along with everyone who wants to goes aboard. The captain, although slightly lame in one leg, feels he should go as part of the boarding party. When the time is right, I have an explosion aboard the salvage boat, killing the first mate.

This is done by the… you know what on the derelict going onto the salvage boat and trying to kill the first mate.

Obviously if someone stayed aboard the salvage boat, they need to not die at this point or else its a short game for them. When I’ve had this problem, I’ve had them see the first mate waving a shotgun around from the other side of the boat, then get thrown into the water when theres an explosion. I have the first mate shoot a gas bottle which causes a massive amount of damage to the boat and killing him.

This has two effects. Firstly it should drive the captain insane with grief, meaning he can become another problem for the group to deal with. Secondly, it means their way of escape is now cut off as the salvage boat is now dead in the water if not sinking.

Twice I’ve had the captain turn on the crew, blaming them for the death of his son but he is an easy thing for the group to deal with. He can be good distraction, building up the tension until he is killed right infront of the others by the… you know what.

From here on in its down to the players to see how they survive.

Have fun, send me any questions if you want and let me know if you get some use out of these.

The Necropolis

As well as running (trying to run) the Masks of Nyarlathotep scenerio, I recently ran the free Call of Cthulhu scenerio ‘The Necropolis’ by Leigh Carr. Theres a map of the tomb included and I wanted to cut it up and then lay out pieces as the group moved through the tomb.

Now I don’t like to use maps in RPG sessions, the players often fuss over their position and facing, but thought it would be useful this time. The problem with the one in the pdf is there is writing all over the walls. There are also hints to things hidden in places that would be obvious, so I warmed up Illustrator and redrew it.

HERE BE SPOILERS

If you haven’t played ‘The Necropolis’, its available (at time of writing) via the Cult of Chaos from Chaosium, find a Keeper and get them to run it as its great short scenerio that gets used as an introduction to Call of Cthulhu at conventions, but also makes a nice short scenerio to kill an afternoon.

Theres a playthrough with some of the How We Roll Podcast team and 1/3 of the Good Friends of Jackson Elias which is a good example of how it can play out.

I’d also advise you not to look at any of these maps, as they will contain spoilers to the scenerio. If you’re a keeper, feel free to download and use as you see fit, I hope they’re useful to you.

After I finished them I did share them on the Chaosium Basic Roleplay forum but recently realised, that was the only place I’d put them. I thought I’d share on here, it makes it easier for me to find as well if I need them again.

Map with text

Map without text

If you want to edit the map in anyway, theres lots of links below.


This is the AI file: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1vhxbbhN29HSM9IWHiXmwG9KPcnVsdrA5/view?usp=sharing

The paper texture the ai file links to: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1lwbaICTNw8IT9tT38fRjYKiq1S0ISfX6/view?usp=sharing

You will need a free font called Warm Showers which is here: https://www.dafont.com/warmshowers.font

I’ve run this scenerio twice now and its a fun one to play. If you do use the maps in anyway, let me know if they work for you.

The golden ward painted

Masks of Nyarlathotep – The Golden Ward prop

The following post is about making a small prop of the Golden Ward for the the Masks of Nyarlathotep Peru chapter so contains minor spoilers.

Spoilers ahead

As part of the first session, the investigators stumbled onto a mysterious golden item in the basement storage area of a university they visited. I wanted to make a prop for them of this to have as props are a great part of any game and it adds to the flavour of the evening. I have bought the excellent HPLHS prop set for the Masks campaign but there isn’t a prop for the Ward, most likely because its supposed to be 2 feet long. A bit too big to ship cheaply.

The Golden Ward is a basic shape so thought I could create a model myself. I sat down a few weeks ago to try and sculpt it but didn’t get far and so it ended up on the back burner. With only a few days to go until the next session, I suddenly remembered it wasn’t done. So I fired up Cinema 4D and made the basic shape by chopping and shifting some points around until I had the form right.

Cinema 4d wireframe

Cinema 4d wireframe

It looked right and with a little bit of roughing up, I had enough to export from C4D into Zbrush.

test render

test render

In zbrush I divided it a few times and then roughly carved symbols into the mesh. I don’t have any in progress shots but I did most of the work with the clay tubes brush and hpolish. I did dip into a few other brushes but I was flying so fast I didn’t keep track of what I was using. What I was aiming for was a roughly carved and damaged look, the Ward has been well traveled and isn’t in the greatest of shapes, so needed to look damaged.

I kept shifting between the red wax texture and the gold texture to see how it was looking in zbrush. Once I was happy with it, I hit it with decimation master, going from 11 million polys, down to 478,085, a pretty big drop. I could try to get it down further but didn’t want to ruin the mesh.

The golden ward, in gold.

The golden ward, in gold.

I then exported the obj file to print on my iiip 3d printer. My first thought was to print it at 45 degrees across the bed to print it as big as possible. I ended up with a print time of about 6 hours this way plus I wasn’t sure if I had enough filament, so settled for a smaller size.

golden ward in cura

golden ward in cura

My printer doesn’t have the greatest of resolutions but it came out ok in a couple of hours. I sanded it to remove the print lines and gave it a coat of thinned out Liquid Green stuff to help with any parts I’d missed. I then painted it with some Games workshop paints and its done, ready for the game.

The golden ward painted

The golden ward painted

You can read all about the jolly hi-jinx of the team in my session write ups and the file for this is available on thingiverse.