Session 11 | London | The Talented Mr. Shipley

Session 11 of our Masks of Nyarlahotep game – recap – with spoilers!

With a Fistful of d20's

3914615f97913d596b26c939afd72cfa-scary-paintings-painting-portraits Papillons du mal. Miles Shipley 1923. Oil on canvas.

Game system: Call of Cthulhu 6th ed

Dramatis personae

Edward Foxworthy | Big game hunter | 34 yrs | Flan

Carl Blackwater | Foreign correspondent | 31 yrs | Martin

Slim Shady | Attorney | 46 yrs | Djuro

Absent this session

Kent Bengtsson | Aviator | 38 yrs | Berndt

H.P Rennfarth | NYPD Forensics Specialist | 27 yrs | Mats

Link to background stories and portraits


Meeting Yalesha

London, UK, Sunday, February 2nd, 1925 | slightly past noon

Late from the drawn out meeting with the head of the Penhew Foundation, Mr. Gavigan, the investigators catch a cab to go to the meeting with Yalesha the belly-dancer. On the way to Limehouse, Carl and Edward pick up Slim Shady and proceed to the pub where they’re supposed to meet Yalesha. Even though the cab driver is most knowledgeable of the London streets…

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Call of Cthulhu 6th ed. house rules for reading Mythos books

 

images
Those Mythos books…

My players have gotten their hands on some Mythos books and naturally, they want to study them. However, the Call of Cthulhu rules is very unforgiving when it comes to reading and learning times. Most adventures will be over long ago when (and if) a player character ever manages to understand a book fully and even more so should she/he desire to learn a spell or two.

And looking at the many alternative book reading rules posted around the internet, I realize that I’m not the first one thinking about this.

Thinking back, even my players’ most veteran characters have not ever managed to fully read a Mythos tome or learn a spell and the difficulty in that department also made all those cool Mythos books take a back stand in our games.

Not anymore. These days I prefer a more pulpy style, with somewhat more capable investigators, so without much further ado I hereby present my alternative book reading rules for Call of Cthulhu 6th edition. Click the pic below or the LINK here to get to the PDF.

CoC 6e reading books house rules

I hope that someone gets some mileage out of it!

 

 

Session 9 | Arkham | Librorum malum

Recap of Session 9 of our Masks of Nyarlahotep game (6th ed CoC). Beware of spoilers!

With a Fistful of d20's

001_wta_a_hdr_s Arkham postcard circa 1923. Private collection.

Game system: Call of Cthulhu 6th ed

Dramatis personae

Slim Shady | Attorney | 46 yrs | Djuro

Carl Blackwater | Foreign correspondent | 31 yrs | Martin

Absent this session

Edward Foxworthy | Big game hunter | 34 yrs | Flan

H.P Rennfarth | NYPD Forensics specialist | 27 yrs | Mats


New Character

Kent Bengtsson | Aviator | 38 yrs | Berndt


Bengtsson

Kent Bengtsson is the kid brother of recently deceased investigator Ulla Bengtsson. And just like her, he has got a troubled relation with their father, the industrial magnate in chemicals. Contrary to her, he stayed away from working in the family business and enlisted as a pilot during the war. His experiences in war-torn France left him a scarred man, both physically and emotionally. He was shot down burning and spent the rest of the war in a German POW camp.

He…

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Session 7 | New York | Stealer of Souls

Recap of Session 7 of our Masks of Nyarlahotep game (6th edition Call of Cthulhu). Beware of spoilers!

With a Fistful of d20's

shadow-of-azathoth There is no life in the Void. Or…?

Game system: Call of Cthulhu 6th ed

Dramatis personae

Justin Case | NYPD Detective | 32 yrs | Djuro

H.P Rennfarth | NYPD Forensics specialist | 27 yrs | Mats

Carl Blackwater | Foreign correspondent | 31 yrs | Martin

Edward Foxworthy | Big game hunter | 34 yrs | Flan


New Character

Slim Shady | Attorney | 46 yrs | Djuro

Link to background stories and portraits


hercule-poirot Slim Shady. Attorney-At-Law at your service.

Slim Shady is…(story to come)

Stealer of souls

New York, Sunday, January 18th, 1925 | about 9 p.m

I could sleep for a thousand years…

The session started with the PCs gathered in the dingy laundry-turned-makeshift-home on a Harlem backstreet. Patching up wounds, resting, some even resorting to booze to calm the nerves. Always interested Carl Blackwater sits down to keep up on the news. In the newspaper…

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Keeper’s Tools | Occult/Mythos books for the players

mon-tome-africas-dark-sects-read-version
Africa’s Dark Sects – Reading version

Last session my players got their grubby hands on their first Mythos Tome in Masks of Nyarlahotep. I’ve always thought that keeping track of those books was a hassle.

What do they contain? Who is studying which book? Where are they in their learning process? And so on and so forth…

And for this campaign I decided to design a standard book format and create a “book sheet” for each book they find. It comes in three versions:

  • The full Keeper version
  • The Skimming version
  • The Reading version

This way I can share what they find in the books in a modular way, and basically give them the book info in a way similar to how handouts are handled. And I can easily keep a full record of the book for my GM needs.

As Masks of Nyarlahotep is a very well-known and played campaign, I’ve found many variants of the book online, and the MoN Companion by Sixtystone Press does also flesh out the rather meager info in the MoN book. So I don’t take credit for this particular book sheet, which has been merged together from several online sources as well as from the MoN Companion – Frankenstein style 🙂

The particulars of who’s reading what, when and how, I manage in a OneNote notebook that I use for this MoN campaign. Much easier to keep track of these things these days…

Also, if you’d like to use my sheets for your own MoN game, here’s the links for the full PDFs:

Africa’s Dark Sects – Keeper version

Africa’s Dark Sects – Skim version

Africa’s Dark Sects – Read version

Keep on Keeping, lasses and laddies 🙂

 

Session 5 | New York | Meat is Murder

Recap of Session 5 of our Masks of Nyarlahotep game (6th ed CoC). May contain spoilers and occasional foul language…

With a Fistful of d20's

chakota The hungry thing in the subway…

Game system: Call of Cthulhu 6th ed

Dramatis personae

Justin Case | NYPD Detective | 32 yrs | Djuro

Carl Blackwater | Foreign correspondant | 31 yrs | Martin

Edward Foxworthy | Big game hunter | 34 yrs | Flan

Ulla Bengtsson | Professor (Chemistry) Columbia Uni | 48 yrs | Berndt

Absent this session

H.P Rennfarth | NYPD Forensics specialist | 27 yrs | Mats

Link to background stories and portraits


Meat is Murder

New York, Sunday January 18th, 1925 | about 1.00 a.m.

This goes way up…

Ju Ju House African Curio Shop, Harlem.

The last shots and screams have just echoed out as poe-lice sirens in the distance signal the approach of several squad cars. H.P, Edward, Carl and Ulla quickly hide in the abandoned laundry shop while Lt. Case and the Kid stay to greet their colleagues only to find themselves surrounded…

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Session 4 | New York | Operation F.U.B.A.R

Recap of session 4 of Masks of Nyarlahotep using CoC 6th ed.

With a Fistful of d20's

wallpaper-hd-the-walking-dead-zombies-scaryGame system: Call of Cthulhu 6th ed

Dramatis personae
Justin Case | NYPD Detective | 32 yrs | Djuro
Carl Blackwater | Foreign correspondant | 31 yrs | Martin
Edward Foxworthy | Big game hunter | 34 yrs | Flan

Absent this session
H.P Rennfarth | NYPD Forensics specialist | 27 yrs | Mats
Ulla Bengtsson | Professor (Chemistry) Columbia Uni | 48 yrs | Berndt

Link to background stories and portraits


Operation FUBAR

New York, Saturday January 17th, 1925 | about 7.00 p.m.

They dig deep, my lord…

As the police investigators plan to leave the den of vice, Det. Case changes his mind and decides to investigate the strange tunnel to prevent any bad guys from getting away. Remembering seeing a knotted rope on a shelf, he uses the rope to climb the steep tunnel. Inside, the smell of burnt machine grease and metal on metal gets stronger. Studying the…

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Session 3 | New York | The Harlem Shuffle. With a twist.

Recap of session 3 of our at-the-table game of Masks of Nyarlahotep using Call of Cthulhu 6th ed rules.

With a Fistful of d20's

226 1920s car chase!

Dramatis personae
Justin Case | NYPD Detective | 32 yrs | Djuro
Ulla Bengtsson | Professor (Chemistry) Columbia Uni | 48 yrs | Berndt
Carl Blackwater | Foreign correspondant | 31 yrs | Martin
Edward Foxworthy | Big game hunter | 34 yrs | Flan

Absent this session
H.P Rennfarth | NYPD Forensics specialist | 27 yrs | Mats

Link to background stories and portraits


The Harlem Shuffle

New York, Friday January 16th, 1925 | 5.30 a.m.

Best made plans…

After their visit to the Bellevue Psychiatric Ward, the PCs reassemble at Rennfarth’s Antiques for a debriefing and some food (and a few beers). They decide that they should try to talk to Robert Carlyle’s sister Erica- the ultra-rich and successful heiress to the Carlyle business imperium. [This session Rennfarth will stay in the shop to try to arrange a meeting with Erica Carlyle as the player is…

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Review|Delta Green: Agent’s Handbook

fbi
A few weeks ago I purchased the new Delta Green Agent’s handbook from my FLGS and after having read the book I’d like to share some thoughts on it.

For the record, I’m a long time DG fan, ever since I bought the first DG book back in 1997 and I have all the old Pagan Publishing DG books for Call of Cthulhu. The new series of books however, are a self contained RPG, by Arc Dream. This far the following products have been released:

  • Delta Green Agent’s Handbook (hardcover/PDF – basically a player’s handbook for the game)
  • Delta Green Need To Know (Softcover bundled w/ GM screen/free PDF – quick start rules)

The next book to make this a complete game is of course the Delta Green Case Officer’s Handbook (or Delta Green the RPG as I heard it was renamed) which will contain all of the Agent’s handbook plus all the rules for the Handler (GM in DG).

Und now – over to the Agent’s handbook:

Physical
The physical book is a full color hardback with sewn spine, promising to last many sessions at the gaming table. It has a simple, clear and modern layout and the illustrations are top notch, fitting the DG theme well.

The rule system
The rules are presented in a clear and concise way and I think they are well adapted to the setting and theme of the game. For those anxious about leaving Call of Cthulhu, I can comfort you with the fact that the new DG rules stay in BRP-land as they are built from the Legend SRD (from Mongoose Publishing). This means that DG now has more in common with the games derived from the first Mongoose RuneQuest SRD – Mongoose RuneQuest, Mongoose RuneQuest II/Legend, RuneQuest 6/Mythras, OpenQuest 2, Renaissance etc. In fact, I would say that this game is closer to 6th edition CoC than new 7th edition CoC. Compared to “old” Delta Green, the new game is vastly simplified (shorter skill lists, more generic weapon lists and so on). The old DG books, awesome as they were, added tons of new stuff to the base Call of Cthulhu engine. And I must say that I prefer the streamlining of the new game.
At the same time, some new mechanics gets introduced:
-Critical successes are now 01 and doubles (11, 22, 33 etc) under your skill. So if you have a skill of 40% you will crit as in the example above. Fumbles function similarly – 00 and doubles over your skill are fumbles (in the example 44, 55, 66, 77, 88 and 00 would be fumbles. I like this system as it scales crits and fumbles after actual skill level.
-Another new thing is the Luck roll that now is a flat 50% chance that things will go your way. Or not.
-Opposed tests are resolved by both parties rolling a test where the player with the highest success will win. This procedure has been standard in the RuneQuest SRD line of games for many years, so it’s nothing new and it works really well in play.
-The concept of Willpower points also add to the news. They can be thought of as mental fuel or mental hit points and are based on POW. You don’t want to run out of them.
-Combat differ some from both old DG/CoC 6th ed. as well as new CoC 7th ed. The combat turn is a few seconds long and a PC may take ONE and only one action in that amount of time. So, if you choose to Parry or Dodge, your action is gone for the combat turn. The rules also include a bunch of both offensive and defensive combat actions, allowing for a resonable amount of combat tactics. Another cool new thing is the Lethality Rating for more dangerous weapons. This is basically a % roll to determine if a target will survive a hit by the big bad gun. If successful, the target (if human at least) will immediately drop to 0 hp. This rationale was to avoid the rather clunky old rules where you had to roll separately to determine number of hits from autofire which could mean a lot of die rolls. If you’re not a fan of the Lethality rule, optional rules more in the vein of the old autofire rules are included as well.
-Good old Sanity has gotten an overhaul. Basically, there are three conditions that might cause SAN loss – Violence, Helplessness and the Unnatural. This is cool, as now your sanity isn’t threatened only by monsters and their kynde, but also by malign actions of other people or feelings of not being able to do something. Very much in line of what Delta Green is about. SAN thresholds are pretty the same: losing 5 or more SAN in a roll yields temporary insanity and 0 SAN is permanent insanity. Sanity Points are computed as POW x 5 as before. The concept of Breaking Point is however new. This is described as SAN minus POW and if your PCs loses SAN below the Breaking Point, they must succumb to a new Disorder and must also reset the Breaking Point to current SAN minus POW. I also appreciate the effects a PC suffer when being temporarily insane or having a disorder. They are very good and designed to both realistic and playable. Another cool thing is that a PC can adapt to violence and helplessness (but never to the unnatural), meaning that being in those situations won’t call for a SAN roll any more. The backside of this is that the PC will also lose Charisma and points from his or her Bonds. These bonds can be the relation with a spouse or kids, or with other agents or groups and they are what connects the PC to humanity. So, losing your Bonds will make you more inhumane and also more susceptible to psychological trauma. This feels realistic and might form a very good basis for role-playing. I must confess that I haven’t grasped the concept of Bonds 100% yet, but I guess it will be clearer in actual play.
-When it comes to PC wealth, expenses and bying of gear, DG introduces a fairly abstract system where you don’t have to track every dollar for your PC. Many day-to-day items and services are supposed to be within most PCs finacial grasp and the game just assume that the PC can afford it. Other more expensive or restricted items can be hard to get and it’s up to the GM to decide if the item is obtainable and how. There’s even a mechanic for when the PCs want to aquire items from their respective agencies. I like it a lot, but again – this is one of the things that must be tested in-game before deciding if it’s good.

The concept
Contrary to “standard” Call of Cthulhu where most investigators are average Joe’s and Jane’s, Delta Green assumes that the PCs are members (or hangaraunds) of a monster fighting secret organization and also that most PCs (or Agents as they are called in DG) are employed by some Federal Agency. Consequently, most occupations in the book are just that. Examples are FBI, DEA, the military, CIA and so on. A set of more civilian occupations are also included, as well as advice on how to create your own occupations. The old DG books had the US agencies in the core book and added lots of international agencies in the following books, supporting Agents from nearly all countries. The new DG book is focussed solely on US agencies, which I feel is resaonable but I still miss GRU-SV8 (Russian) or PISCES (British). Hopefully, they will be in the forthcoming books from Arc Dream. And I’m so planning to do the Swedish agencies, DG style 🙂

The verdict
The new version of Delta Green promises to be an awesome game. The books released so far are pretty and sturdy, with well-written and appropriate rules for the setting and game concept. If you like old Delta Green I’m sure you’ll gonna love new Delta Green. However, for players and GMs new to DG, the Agent’s handbook is a bit thin on the DG “mythos”. Hopefully, this will be remedied in future publications. And don’t forget – the old DG books are available in PDF format (at DriveThruRPG) so you can mine them for ideas as well as adventures and background stuff.

Well done, Arc Dream!

Links

Delta Green website

Arc Dream Publishing

The Fairfield Project

The old Delta Green from Pagan Publishing

 

Session 2 | New York |Fire Walk With Me

At last – the recap of session 2 of our Masks of Nyarlahotep game (CoC 6th ed)

With a Fistful of d20's

d6bee4ed8249e6cd5d6318ca4651bc6dDramatis personae
H.P Rennfarth | Forensics specialist | 27 yrs | Mats
Justin Case | NYPD Detective | 32 yrs | Djuro
Ulla Bengtsson | Professor (Chemistry) Columbia Uni | 48 yrs | Berndt
Carl Blackwater | Foreign correspondant | 31 yrs | Martin
Edward Foxworthy | Big game hunter | 34 yrs | Flan

Link to background stories and portraits


Fire Walk With Me…

New York, Friday January 16th, 1925

The session started with the PCs meeting up in the Rennfarth & Rennfarth Antiques store, discussing what to do next.

It was decided that H.P and Justin go to meet with Lt. Poole at the police precinct. Ulla, Carl and Edward would follow up on the Harvard University Library and Prospero Press leads.

At the police precinct

The police PCs met Lt. Martin Poole in his office at NYPD Police headquarters at 240 Center Street (Downtown) at 10 p.m to…

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