Wednesday, July 22, 2015

I've Officially Joined a Cult!

I'm pretty pleased to be able to announce that I'm officially registered with Chaosium, the company that produces Call of Cthulhu, as one of their "missionary" game masters in the "Cult of Chaos" program - I'll be going to gaming conventions and hopefully at some point game stores and running newbie-friendly games of Call of Cthulhu to showcase the system and bring new players into the fold.

The first show I'll be working as a member of the missionary program will be Pulpfest in Columbus, OH next month.  This is the first year they're adding a gaming track to the show, and when I saw that announcement I immediately emailed them and asked if they could use another person running games.  I actually signed up for that before the revived missionary program was announced, so I've been in the process of updating the adventure I'd planned to run to the latest edition of the rules.  I'm most comfortable with 6th edition rules (which are barely different from 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th editions) but as part of the missionary program I do need to be doing my part to promote the newest incarnation of Chaosium's flagship game.  7th edition makes some interesting updates to the rules, most of them geared towards further streamlining the system.

So I'm signed up to run one adventure at Pulpfest, and then in September I'll be making the trek back to my old stomping grounds in Buffalo, NY for this year's Queen City Conquest, where I'll be running two Call of Cthulhu sessions back to back, the second of which, "The Get of Belial," is based on an unproduced script from the show Kolchak: The Night Stalker.  The first adventure, "Nightmare on the Slopes," draws from a number of B-movies released over the course of about 20 years, from the 1950s through the 1970s.  And that's all I'll say about that, in case someone reading this winds up playing in one of those games.

While I'd initially been holding out for the dead-tree edition of the 7th edition rules, because I learn a game better when I've got a physical artifact in my hands to learn from, I went ahead and bought the PDF of the 7th Edition Keeper's handbook from Chaosium.  I won't lie to you, I did balk a little at the price - even with the sale currently going on, the PDF cost as much as a hard copy of many other RPG books.  It's a beautiful volume from what I've seen in the PDF, with full color art throughout and some of the most amazing illustrations in the bestiary I've ever seen for Mythos entities.  Some of them, like the image accompanying the Great Race of Yith, take the descriptions from Lovecraft and interpret them in an entirely new direction, unlike anything I've seen before while still being absolutely faithful to the source text.

I've got the Quick Start guide for 7th edition in both PDF and dead-tree format, and I'm hoping that will help fill in any gaps in reading the main rule book PDF until I can get a hard copy of that, hopefully this fall.

Sunday, July 12, 2015


Ankhegs are one of my favorite monsters in Dungeons & Dragons.  I mean, they're an acid-drooling bug that pops up out of the ground - what's not to like? In fact, I'd say one of the best adventures of D&D I've ever run was a session of Pathfinder in which the player characters were hired to resolve a labor dispute at a mine; the miners were striking due to unsafe working conditions and flooding tunnels, the mine's owners wanted them to get back to work.  Investigating the mines themselves, the adventurers were able to determine that the collapsing and flooded tunnels were the result of a nearby Ankheg hive - I made them eusocial, termite-like creatures for this - burrowing in and out to prey on miners and in the process undermining the mines themselves.

Gina and I are currently engaged in "No Buy July" - we cannot buy any new materials in support of our hobbies, or other luxuries, during the month of July.  It's not so much about our budgets as it is about self-discipline.  Now, granted, we spent the last few days before July on a shopping spree, loading up on (in my case) RPG books, miniatures (and in her case) high-end hand-spun yarn.  Among my purchases was a Reaper Bones Ankheg that had literally just been made available to the public a few days before; when I saw the figure in their online shop, clearly inspired by the artwork of David Trampier and Erol Otus in the Ankheg's early days, I knew it had to go in my shopping cart.  And as the largest single figure I bought on my spree (I'm not sure why I bought so many tiny, tiny kobolds to paint...), I decided it was up on the painting table first.

The color scheme I based on one of New Zealand's Tree Weta species of very large, flightless crickets, because I wanted something a little bit flashier then the drab browns I'd been seeing Ankhegs depicted in, without going too crazy.  We recently bought this nice white folding table, currently set up below our living room picture window, for Gina to work on jigsaw puzzles on (one being visible in the background of a couple of these pictures), and I have to say, it's a handy thing to photograph miniatures on as well!