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.
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:
I prepared this little document for our games. These are house rules that we use and I wanted to have them collected in one place. Use if you like.
The Crit and Fumble rules are borrowed from Delta Green. Then I use the Crit & Fumble tables from the BRP Big Gold Book (BGB). Pushing skill tests are from CoC 7e. Skill difficulties are from MRQ2/Legend. The Major Damage rules are from Targets of Opportunity (DG) and finally the movement rules are an amalgam of BRP BGB, 7e and some home brew.
In my CoC games the PCs have always been ordinary people who have accidentally stumbled upon evil and horror. For the coming MoN campaign however, I’ve decided to try to have a player organization going on in the background. I have used Prof. Wellcroft as a friendly NPC before along with jaded Private Eye Dan Zomb (both Mythos-savvy PCs from an old Shadows of Yog-Sothoth campaign).
A while back, inspired by Delta Green, I decided to sketch out a anti-Mythos organization for 1920s gaming and came up with the Wellcroft Foundation.
Here it is. Use if you like.
The Wellcroft Foundation (Ordo Venatores)
The Wellcroft Foundation was founded and is still headed by university professor Jonathon Wellcroft, heir to the Wellcroft fortune. Officially, the purpose is to support archaelogical and ethnographical research around the world and also to keep an archive of new archaelogical findings.
As a young scholar (before he aquired his wealth), Jonathon discovered the Mythos and investigated many weird cases of Mythos activity along with his trusty sidekick Daniel Zomb. Over time, the pair battled against human cults and their inhuman masters and gained both knowledge of the Mythos as well as an impressive collection of Mythos Tomes. With age, Wellcroft withdrew from active adventuring but continued his scholarly research on the Mythos as well as assisting newer colleagues in their investigations. When he became the sole inheritor of the family industrialist fortune, he founded the Wellcroft Foundation, the official purpose of which is to fund and support archaelogical research, especially in the far corners of the Earth. The real purpose however, is to uncover the Great Old Ones machinations and to combat them and their minions under the banner of Ordo Venatores (The Order of Hunters). The Order keep a network of national and international contacts and safe houses around the globe, and hidden under the Boston offices is a secret facility known only to mem- bers of the Order and a select few other trusted Mythos-fighters.
The organization is very secretive and seldom invite new recruits. Instead, they sponsor and help freelancer investigators in various ways, for example by providing contacts and know- ledge. This means that a lot of people working for the Order will never know about it. The Order has many collaborators working in law enforcement, higher education, media and other diverse areas
Wellcroft rarely leaves the Boston area. He is mainly responsible for leading the theoretical and research part and to build and keep the Mythos library. Daniel Zomb is head of the Field Operations branch, leading and recruiting new investigators into the Order. This is done through intermediary agents who may or may not be aware of the Order. In total, maybe 10–15 people are full members of the Order. The number of associated people are maybe 5–6 times as many.
You can use this organization as a way replace mad or deceased investigators or you can use it as a possible source of knowledge for the investigators. Maybe one of them is associated with the Order of Hunters and able to provide that connection. The Order might provide knowledge, contacts, illegal heavy weapons and financial support as well as some limited legal support in cases on trouble with the law. And most importantly the Order can provide conatct with other investigators in cases of dire need. The Order also monitors suspect occult and Mythos-related events around the world and so they can turn up as an unsuspected ally if needed.