Posts Tagged With: Call of Cthulhu

Games I Want to Play in 2017

The title says it all, what games do I want to play this year?

Dnd 5E is a simple choice, we’re still running with the Age of Worms adventure path, along with having to add in the odd adventure here and there. We’re all enjoying it, and I’m still having lots of fun figuring out the details of my campaign world in 5E terms.

Call of Cthulhu 7E – Everyone seemed to enjoy the short intro adventure(s). KT is really interested in playing one of the longer, classic campaigns and with the Pulp Rules that even seems possible without having to have a seemingly exhaustless supply of new characters. The big issue is that I have one player that has no interest in playing it and sits out those games.

Traveller – I love this RPG, and you can see some of my meanderings about the setting here on the blog. For the life of me I can’t decide if I wanted to use the Classic Traveller or the Mongoose Traveller rules-set. But they aren’t particularly incompatible, I’m just increasingly drawn to simpler vs. complicated. Both are pretty simple, and the complications are different in each edition.

Cyberpunk 2020 – Another game that I simply love, combined with a setting I enjoy (especially when I combine it with Traveller). I have to say that CP2020 is a slightly more adult game in the way it explicitly handles some subject matters (cybernetic sexual implants anyone?)- but I like how it is relatively fast-paced and the mechanics are pretty simple for everyone to grasp.

Kult: Divinity Lost – Ok, this may be a pipe dream simply because if Call of Cthulhu is too much horror (body horror, occult horror, etc), and CP2020 is too much sexuality (at least potentially), then Kult is the very grown up mix of the two and is intended to be played that way – think Hellraiser + Martyrs + American Psycho + Se7enMulholland Drive. I Kickstarted this, and have the alpha version of the Quick Start rules that were released around Yule. I’m not entirely certain about the Powered By The Apocalypse engine but would be willing to give it a try. It seems to be trying to be too clever for it’s own good in some ways… But finding players that want to play Kult? That might be the issue…

Lastly, I love to play Runequest – I Kickstarted the reprint of 2E, but what I’m really looking forward to is the new edition. For those who aren’t familiar, it is adventuring in it’s own, highly detailed setting, using Bronze Age technology and tropes. It’s always been a very different kind of game and I haven’t played it in years.  I kind of hope that it gets out this year but I’m actually thinking that it will get Kickstarted and then released in 2018… *sigh*

As an Honorable Mention, I’d also love to pick up the Chicago Unseen campaign that my husband and I co-ran back in the day. It was originally run using Mage: The Ascension, but we just find White Wolf as a system/engine pretty badly broken. I looked at a number of games as a replacement, and finally settled on Witchcraft and Armageddon as a bit of a mashup. The truth is, unless my husband gets excited about it, I can’t imagine that I’d get excited about running it. That may be a game/setting that has finally moved into the pasture, to be mined for ideas and remembered fondly.



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Insanity = New Backstory

So, in the new, 7E, rules for Call of Cthulhu, when an Investigator goes insane the Keeper is allowed to add or tweak existing Backstory entries save for their Key/Favored Connection which is “safe.” This is supposed to represent the world slowly spinning out of control for the Investigators and them having to increasingly question the reality that they knew once but have now had shaken considerably.

So last game session we had three characters go insane, two temporarily and one indefinitely (which is not nearly as bad as it used to be but is still pretty crippling). Let’s look at what I did with these three characters.

All of the characters went insane as a result of aftermath of a fight with what Ophelia later determined to be an “Opener of the Ways” after reading Walter Corbitt’s diaries. None were particularly bothered by the Opener itself, but seeing (or experiencing) what happened to Helen was evidently quite traumatic. I wanted to tie this to some off-screen character background/development that I have in mind for all of them if possible, and I think it went pretty well.

For Luigi, as an honorable man, I merely noted that Henry was now an Important Person because he saved Luigi’s life. There is a debt there now of a sort, and it gives Luigi a reason to keep working with the group when the initial mystery is resolved. Watching Helen almost die was a clear reminder of how dangerous things are, and how things could have gone if Henry hadn’t been there – as well as how effective Henry had been while he had been able to do little.

In Henry’s case, there is something much more mysterious. Looking at what happened to Helen (or almost happened), he is now unable to ignore the large Y-shaped scar that dominates and view of his uncovered chest. He is really unable to remember where it comes from, that’s how much he doesn’t like to think about it, but he guesses that it happened in France during the Great War.

For Helen, she would have likely died if she hadn’t spent all of her Luck in order to prevent this (ala the Pulp Cthulhu rules). With horrific wounds in her torso, the viscera and ichor of the Opener of the Ways covered her and mingled with her own blood and viscera. In her Encounters with Strange Entities the following entry was added – “The Opener of the Way, it killed me, but I passed through it, and it through me, and I did not die.”

Waking shortly after surviving she went indefinitely insane to the feeling of fraying from the inside out, and the party was forced to hold her down before she ripped open her out abdomen in order to reach inside her own body to hold herself together.

All in all, three quite well thought through effects on the various character’s backstory. None are crippling, and all lead to further questions or investigations.



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Pushing Rolls in 7E

So I was listening to the Chaosium Call of Cthulhu panel from GenCon and they had a really interesting insight into the “pushing rolls” mechanic from 7E.

Mechanically, for non-combat rolls only, players have the option to “push a roll” when they fail the initial attempt. The player has to justify how they either continue the first attempt or get a second try, but the penalty is that if the pushed attempt fails then something bad happens.

The panel pointed out that the “something bad” was a method to “increase the horror” not merely inflict a failure or a fumble.

I really like this as it actually makes it even easier to understand the mechanic, and gives me (the Keeper) an easier tool to make this specific to individual Investigators.


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Delta Green the RPG

So, I took some time over the last couple of days to look over the new Delta Green RPG (as opposed to the old Delta Green setting for Call of Cthulhu). It is important to note that the rules are backwards compatible with the BRP engine of Call of Cthulhu 6E and previous and probably adaptable to 7E with a minimum of fuss.

(In other news, it looks like at least one of the old Pagan Pubishing campaigns, Coming Full Circle, is going to finally be coming to PDF and POD, good for them! I have my own dead tree copy, but it is a fantastic campaign and well worth picking up. It’s good that they finally convinced Crowe to relax about electronic media, and maybe wel” see some more back catalog content in the future.)

I’ve had the PDF for awhile now, but I have found that reading and digesting rules for me really requires a physical book for me to hold in my hands. I just find it easy to navigate and flip back and forth.

I like the lethality rating for powerful weapons, it seems like an elegant solution. I also like Breakpoints and Sanity rather than old BRP method of having to figure out 20% on a semi-regular basis. I like the idea of Bonds, and suspect that it will work well, but that is something I’ll have to see in practice during play. Similar to CoC 7E I really like the more abstracted method for handling money and equipment.

I really like the rules for experience. Fail a roll, make a check, then at the noted time increase the skill by one. Much, much less fiddly than the classic BRP method. I wonder if it doesn’t lead to inflated skill levels but I expect that it doesn’t – or that characters aren’t meant to survive long enough for it to matter. That particular attitude is one that I wince at, but I understand that the Paganistas have a definitive vision of how DG is supposed to be played.

Honestly, probably my biggest complaint is that the release schedule is such that I really have no idea when I can expect to see the Case Officer’s Handbook – the matching GM’s book to the current Agent’s (aka Investigator) Handbook. Yes, it’s kind of a whiny complaint, but currently I have no idea of how magic has changed, what sort of stats a creature should have (other than some extrapolation forward from 6E and some of that seems iffy), and well, I hate running games without the GM’s guide.

I really hope that this doesn’t hurt sales, but given that most people buying this are probably already DG fans, they can probably make it work. Since I’m running 7E right now it’s less of an issue, but I look forward to running it at some point in the future.


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Sanity Loss in a Pulp Game

One of the biggest threats, existential or otherwise, when playing Call of Cthulhu is the ever-present and slow draining away of Sanity. The lower it gets, the faster it goes. While the 7e rules have introduced some methods for alleviating this (Getting Used to the Awfulness and Mythos Hardening) I had always had a couple of tweaked methods for dropping Sanity loss a bit further but keeping “big things bad” while allowing those players who wanted to become sorcerers some additional buffer against the inevitable.

Keeping with the simplified skills listing of 7e, I’ve actually simplified this a great deal and I like it even more. It is based on three skills, one of which I use in conjunction with the Mystical Talents. So as follows:

  • Cthulhu Mythos or Unnatural: Divide the skill level by ten, round down, and apply this as a modifier to all Sanity loss. E.g. Cthulhu Mythos skill level of 34 becomes 3.4, rounded to 3, the character has a -3 to all Sanity losses.
  • Occult: Divide the skill level by twenty, round down, and apply this as a modifier to all Sanity loss. E.g. Occult skill level of 82 becomes 4.1, rounded to 4, the character has a -4 to all Sanity losses.
  • Meditation: Divide the skill level by thirty, round down, and apply this as a modifier to all Sanity loss. E.g. Meditation skill level of 69 becomes 2.3, rounded to 2, the character has a -2 to all Sanity losses.

A character with all of those skills would have a -9 to all Sanity losses, meaning that they could interact with most minor Mythos creatures and toss off a great many of the spells with no effect. That said, they still have the potential lose Sanity from the greater threats, and in an interesting statistical twist are (when they do lose Sanity from those threats) are actually a little bit more likely to go temporarily insane as a result.

The Meditation skill is basically combination of “mental fortitude” skill as well as what I tend to use as a “psychic powers” skill use skill. In the Old Delta Green supplement Countdown the psychic powers were all individual skills for the most part, I actually like the Pulp Cthulhu version of them as abilities instead. It is less mess in the skill section of the character sheet and allows me as the Keeper to play more fast and lose with how much any use will cost or how it works.

Clearly this sort of rule doesn’t for everyone or for all sorts of campaigns, but I’ve found that it really isn’t that unbalancing and does a good job of allowing people to play the sorts of characters that they are trying to.



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Revised Pulp Cthulhu Talents and Traits

So, I had mentioned that I was not entirely sure about how Pulp Cthulhu handled Talents and Traits. While some of them were ok, some of them weren’t – most often because they seemed very dedicated to limiting the power of the PC’s (which, honestly, seems pointless in Call of Cthuhu for obvious reasons). In any case I took the list, reorganized it some, and reworked it, adding a selection of things from my previous Pulp homebrew. I also ncluded the effects of both Wartime Service and Medical Career (Detached), Criminal History (Callous), and Mythos Hardened (Hardened) as Mental Traits.

I’m sure I’ll think of others over time and add them, but here’s the start, and it’s what I’ve used with the current characters in the game.

Physical Talents and Traits:

  • Herculean – The character has a Bonus die for Strength tests.
  • Agile – The character has a Bonus die for Dex tests.
  • Eagle-Eyed – The character has a Bonus die for Spot Hidden tests.
  • Quick Healer – The characters Natural Healing in increased to +3 Hit Points per day.
  • Sneaky – Character gains a Bonus die for Stealth tests. They are also able to make two attacks when Hidden rather than one.
  • Night Vision – The character has reduces the difficulty level of Spot Hidden rolls in darkness and ignore penalty die for shooting in the dark.
  • Huge – The Character’s build is considered 1 greater for purposes of combat.
  • Hollow Leg – It takes triple the normal amount of alcohol or drugs to affect the character. They also gain a Bonus die to resist any effects.
  • Ambidextrous – Character has no penalties for two weapons.
  • Resilient – The character has a Bonus die for all Constitution tests
  • Survivor – The character Stabilizes on their own with no need for First Aid or Medicine.
  • Nimble – The character does not lose next action when “diving for cover” versus firearms and ignores differences in Build during Hand-to-Hand and Melee combat. They are never suffer from penalties when Outnumbered.
  • Greased Lightning – The character has a +50 Initiative and +1 Move bonus
  • Resilient – The character has a Bonus die for all Constitution tests

Mental Talents and Traits:

  • Genius – Character has a Bonus die for Science tests.
  • Linguist – The character has is always able to determine what human language is being spoken (or what is written); gains a Bonus die to Language tests.
  • Alert – The character has a bonus die on all Surprise tests.
  • Detached – No San loss from dead bodies or gross injury.
  • Callous – No San loss from killing or combat.
  • Hardened – Half San loss from exposure to the Unnatural
  • Photographic Memory – can remember many details; gains a bonus die when making Know rolls.
  • Speed Reader – Halve the time needed for both Initial and Full Reading of Mythos tomes and other books.
  • Handy – The character has a Bonus die for Mechanical Repair, Electrical Repair, and Operate Heavy Machinery tests

Combat Talents and Traits:

  • Dead-eye – Character has a Bonus die for Firearms & Throwing combat.
  • Gladiator – Character has a Bonus die for Fighting (Other) combat.
  • Brawler – Character has a Bonus die for Fighting (Brawl) combat.
  • Berserker – The character gains the Berserker skill which is checked simultaneously with other Combat skills. If successful, the character has double the normal effect as adjudicated by the Keeper.
  • Martial Arts – The character gains the Martial Arts skill which is checked simultaneously with other Combat skills. If successful, the character has double the normal effect as adjudicated by the Keeper.
  • Gunfighter – Does not need to have Firearm readied to gain the +50 DEX to Initiative, ignores penalty die for loading and firing in the same turn, and ignores penalty die for multiple shots per turn.
  • Sharpshooter – Does not suffer penalty die when for Small Targets or Cover/Concealment and may fire into combat without a penalty die.

Social Talents and Traits:

  • Caesar – Character has a Bonus die for tests involving leadership, morale, and similar situations.
  • Grifter – The character has a Bonus die with Charm, Fast-Talk, & Persuade rolls
  • Intimidating – The character has a Bonus die for Intimidation tests.
  • Empathic – The character has a Bonus die for Psychology, Psychoanalysis, and Anthropology tests.
  • Thespian – The character has a Bonus die for Acting and Disguise tests.

Mystical Talents and Traits:

  • Old Soul – The character has a Bonus die for all Pow tests, as well as History and Archeology tests.
  • Immortal – The character does not die as normal, will suffer an Injury/Scar and possibly other characteristic or skill loss depending upon circumstances.
  • Promethean – The character takes minimum damage from physical attacks, and is either immune or highly resistant to most poisons and diseases.
  • Iron-Willed – Character gains a Bonus die on all tests related to Insanity.
  • Resourceful – The character has always seems to have what they need at hand. They may spend 10 Luck points for any item within their daily spending limit.
  • Lucky – The character regains an additional +1D10 Luck points when Luck Recovery rolls are made.
  • True Faith – The character gains the True Faith skill which can be checked to allow immunity or resistance to Sanity loss, as well as be used o perform miracles in the same way that the Cthuhu Mythos skill can be used to perform magical acts.
  • Gnosis – The character gains the Gnosis skill which is checked simultaneously with other mental and social (non-magical) skills. If successful, the character has double the normal effect as adjudicated by the Keeper.
  • Prana – The character gains the Prana skill which is checked simultaneously with other physical (non-combat) skills. If successful, the character has double the normal effect as adjudicated by the Keeper.
  • True Will – The character gains the True Will skill which can be checked to allow minor manipulations of reality – bending bullets, landing in haystacks, etc. at a cost in Magic Points as adjudicated by the Keeper.
  • Medium – The character may spend Magic Points to see, summon, and otherwise interact with the spirits of the dead as adjudicated by the Keeper.
  • Telekinetic – The character may spend Magic Points to move objects through space by sheer force of will alone as adjudicated by the Keeper.
  • Telepathic – The character may spend Magic Points to communicate by thought or emotion alone, as well as read the thoughts or emotions of others as adjudicated by the Keeper.
  • Oracle – The character may spend Magic Points to predict the future, see into the past, or otherwise understand the connection between events as adjudicated by the Keeper.
  • Seer – The character may spend Magic Points to extend their physical senses beyond their body as adjudicated by the Keeper.
  • Second Sight – The character may spend Magic Points to see spirits, magical auras, and the like as adjudicated by the Keeper.
  • Dreamer – The Character has the Dreaming skill, and access to the Dreamlands.
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What’s happening!?!

So, we are on a bit of a break from the D&D 5e Siyahchal Campaign, the characters have liberated the town of Diamond Lake from it’s corrupt mayor and the worst of the mine owners as part of the process of dealing with the Cult of the Ebon Triad. Devin has been installed as a Baronet with responsibility for the town and much of the surrounding area. We’ll pick things up again in a couple of months “real-time” and a year or two “game time” when the stars shift again, threatening an Age of Worms…

In the meantime we are playing Call of Cthulhu 7e, and Pulp Cthulhu at that. One player is taking a break (Cthulhu really not being her thing) but everyone else jumped at the idea of this system. I’m setting the game in Chicago, starting it in 1920, and continuing on somewhat from where I left the small campaign set in wartime Paris that I was playing with MR and KT. I’ve combined the classic Haunting scenario and the more recent Edge of Darkness scenario into one larger, interlinked narrative.

We’ve played one session and everyone seemed to have fun, I’ll do what I can to keep people abreast with what is happening. You can follow thin links above and see what characters people have, and while I have modified the traits for Pulp Cthulhu somewhat (and I’ll post my changes here in the next week or so), the “double hit points” and extra rules for luck makes a good start to a more survivable game.



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The Song of Samael

Of course, the other joy (and Lovecraftian tradition) of Call of Cthulhu is making up your own eldritch tomes full of mind-shattering cosmic horror. The following is what I came up with as an alternative to the Necronomicon for a multivalent “ultimate tome of horror” – I generally prefer a game that is more focused on the Elder Gods rather than the Great Old Ones, and even when I focus on the GOO’s I shy away from Cthulhu because he tends to be done to death.  In any case, as with the Oer Linda Book, part of the fun with doing this sort of thing is detailing out the various versions of the book through the ages. With a Necronomicon-like book this is (as you see below) much more than the simple editions (which is essentially what the Oer Linda Book was written up as). This is a collection of closely related tomes which all deal with the same eldritch mystery across both time and cultures. I actually have notes on three or four more related texts (including at least two more modern ones, this was originally written for a Classic Era campaign) that I haven’t detailed yet, those will form a new post in the future.


The Song of Samael

Song of Samael is a complex allegory poem that is considered one of the great lost Gnostic source materials. It discusses the great song of creation and destruction that the Demiurge, the great blind God, sings as surrounded by his servants at the center of Creation – in the chaos that comes without awareness or wisdom. Portions deal with the place of humanity in creation, the nature of the four-fold world, and the multiple emanations of the Demiuge that both plague and inspire humanity, through the Fall of Man as well as the hope of his Apotheosis. Some scholars have recently questioned a possible connection between the Song of Samael and the Massa di Requiem per Shuggay though no definitive proof has ever been unearthed. Similar relationships have been posited with the Dhol Chants.

Singing Across the Centuries: A Historical Analysis of the Song of Samael.

Produced shortly before the Great War in 1911, this text was derived from the doctoral thesis of Dr. Samuel J. Wight, who is currently associated with the newly created Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. Obscure in nature, it is generally only found on the shelves of university libraries, though a few have found their way into private hands.

  • (English: Sanity: -1d3, Unnatural: +1/+2, Occult, Anthropology, & History Checks, 3 Weeks – Mythos Rating: 9)
  • No Spells

Joachim Feery’s Notes on the Canticum Yaldabaoth:

One of Mr. Feery’s last pamphlets, this was published in English in 1903. Similar to his Notes on the Necronomnicon, this consists primarily of translated portions of the Latin text with a series of annotations and footnotes.

  • (English: Sanity: -1d6, Unnatural: +1/+3, Occult: +2, 6 Weeks – Mythos Rating: 12)
  • No Spells

The Song of the Creator

Translated in 1900 from the Greek Āisma Dēmiourgos by Dr. W. J. Spencer-Knowles, it was the culmination of a twenty project on his part at the end of his career. Considered a brilliant and accurate translation, though often disturbing due to bleak projections on the nature of the universe, a freak fire destroyed most of the copies at the printers and there has been little demand for another printing run. Thirteen copies are thought to have survived, which are found in university libraries for the most part.

  • (English: Sanity: -2d6, Unnatural: +2/+3, Occult: +2, 12 Weeks – Mythos Rating: 15)
  • Spells: Call/Dismiss Daoloth, Contact Azathoth, Contact Daoloth, Contact Vorvados, Summon/Bind Dimensional Shambler, Dread Curse of Azathoth, Shrivelling

The Song of Bind God Sammael – Hear the Roar of the Lion-Faced Serpent

Privately published in London in 1898, the author remains unknown. The run of one-hundred and one volumes bound in black leather and printed in a curious silver ink is difficult to read and a comparison of the different volumes shows subtle differences. It is unknown if this is purposeful or if it is a printing error. Given the generally high quality of the printing it is thought that there is some meaning to the differences though no-one has ever managed to gather to enough of different volumes together to manage viable a textual analysis. This translation seems to derive from a combination of the Greek and Latin texts, and there is little else in the text other than a somewhat terse introduction and some fragmentary footnotes.

  • (English: Sanity: -1d6, Unnatural: +2/+6, Occult: +5, 12 Weeks – Mythos Rating: 24)
  • Spells: Contact Azathoth, Contact Daoloth, Contact Nyarlathotep, Contact Vorvados, Dread Curse of Azathoth, Shrivelling, Elder Sign, Voorish Sign

Ballade du Dieu Aveugle

Transcribed in 1354 by the Comte de Montange, the “Ballad of the Blind God” during the terrible times of the Black Death after listening to cries of the dying in the rural regions around Langeudoc. This octavo was barely published before being denounced by the church, with all copies banned and then many burned. A significant number survived however in the hands of the Inquisition as they searched out similar sources of heresy, and a similar number remained in private hands as well.

  • (French: Sanity: -2d4, Unnatural: +1/+2, Occult: +3, 20 Weeks – Mythos Rating: 9)
  • Spells: Contact Azathoth, Contact Daoloth, Contact Nyarlathotep, Summon/Bind Servitor of the Outer Gods, Dread Curse of Azathoth, Shrivelling

Testament des Zeichens der Löwe-Gesicht Schlange

This 917 version is a handmade copy of a now lost version that dated from the time of Charlemagne. The “Testament of the Sign of the Lion-Face Serpent” was ordered by the Holy Roman Emperor himself. It records the tale of the destruction of a pagan cult of blind singers by the warriors of Charlemagne and the interrogation of the few survivors. Replete with details of human sacrifice, sexual perversity, and bestiality it has always had an unsavory reputation. Only three copies are known to exist, one in private hands and one each in library of the University of Munich and Heidelberg. Rumors persist that the original is contained within the Z Collection of the Vatican Library.

  • (Old High German: Sanity: -2d4 Unnatural: +2/+4, Occult +6, 30 Weeks – Mythos Rating: 18)
  • Spells: Call/Dismiss Nyarlathotep, Contact Azathoth, Contact Daoloth, Contact Nyarlathotep, Contact Tzulscha, Contact Yog-Sothoth, Summon/Bind Dimensional Shambler, Summon/Bind Servitor of the Outer Gods, Dread Curse of Azathoth, Shrivelling

Canticum Yaldabaoth

This version, the “Song of the Son of Chaos” dates to the Crisis of the Third century, and was recorded by members of Imperial Cult who saw the changes and chaos of Imperial Rome and its court as endemic of the Emperors. It’s authorship is attributed to Vibius Lartius Priscus, a black magician and sorcerer of that time period. The earliest known manuscript has been dated to the reign of Philip the Arab (244-249 C.E.), and is usually dated to 248. Speculation remains rampant among scholars as to the possible association of the Philip the Arab in the establishment of the Yaldabaoth Cult. Secret and hidden, some scholars suggest that it is a resurgence or survivor of the Imperial Cults associated with Caligula and Nero while others insist that Philip brought it to Rome from Persia. The British Museum and the Huntington Library in California are known to have copies, as does the Z Collection of the Vatican. At least two copies are known to be held in private collections. There was an excellent copy at the University of Prague prior to the Great War but it disappeared during the conflict.

  • (Latin: Sanity: -2d6, Unnatural: +3/+6, Occult: +4, 36 Weeks – Mythos Rating: 27)
  • Spells: Call/Dismiss Daoloth, Call/Dismiss Nyarlathotep, Call/, Contact Azathoth, Contact Daoloth, Contact Nyarlathotep, Contact Tzulscha, Contact Yog-Sothoth, Summon/Bind Dimensional Shambler, Summon/Bind Servitor of the Outer Gods, Dread Curse of Azathoth, Shrivelling

Āisma Dēmiourgos

Fragments of this version, which translates as the “Song of the Demiurge” date to the chaos of the Persian invasions around 500 B.C.E. Contemporary accounts speak of the hymns of damned priests from Persia in the vanguard of some of the Persian armies, as well as their unholy rites and orgiastic frenzies that they indulged in. Written and recorded by scholar Argyros the Delian with a series of commentaries on the Greco-Persian Wars, this work is a gigantic and complex text that includes a significant alternate history of the Delian League and elements of the Persian Court. Hints at terrible alliances within the Greeks and foul bloodlines among the Persians run concurrent with the Argyros’ rendition of the Song of the Demiurge. Copes of this are exceedingly rare, the only complete one known being held at the British Museum.

  • (Ancient Greek: Sanity: -2d6, Unnatural: +3/+7, Occult: +5, 52 Weeks, History Check – Mythos Rating: 30)
  • Spells: Call/Dismiss Daoloth, Call/Dismiss Nyarlathotep, Call Vorvados, Call/Dismiss Yog-Sothoth, Contact Azathoth, Contact Daoloth, Contact Nyarlathotep, Contact Tzulscha, Contact Vorvados, Contact Yog-Sothoth, Summon/Bind Dimensional Shambler, Summon/Bind Servitor of the Outer Gods, Dread Curse of Azathoth, Shrivelling, Elder Sign, Eye of Light and Darkness, Vach-Viraj Incantation, Voorish Sign

Shir Ha-Samael

The original and lost version of the Song of Samael, there are several scholars who are positive that this version is forever lost though fragments have been found that confirm its existence. There are obscure references to this song throughout many obscure texts and it scholars believe that the original Shir Ha Samael dates to roughly 1000 B.C.E. Abd al-Azrad mentions in the Kitab Al-Azif to listening to a choir of 666 blind monks and nuns who sang “hymns to the daemon sultan” accompanied by unseen flautists who piped with maddening monotony in the nights of the Empty Quarter. Knowledgeable occultists agree that this is a reference to the dreaded Song of Samael.

  • (Ancient Aramaic: Sanity: -2d8, Unnatural: +4/+9, Occult: +6, 64 Weeks – Mythos Rating: 42)
  • Spells: Call/Dismiss Azathoth, Call/Dismiss Daoloth, Call/Dismiss Nyarlathotep, Call/Dismiss Tulzscha, Call/Dismiss Yog-Sothoth, Contact Azathoth, Contact Daoloth, Contact Nyarlathotep, Contact Tzulscha, Contact Yog-Sothoth, Summon/Bind Dimensional Shambler, Summon/Bind Servitor of the Outer Gods, Dread Curse of Azathoth, Shrivelling
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Another Fun Piece of old Cthulhu Lore – The Oera Linda Book

There is a long and proud history of using real-world occult texts (and mystery texts, and plain old cypher texts) in the Call of Cthulhu RPG – as well as people using the titles of Lovecraftian tomes for real world texts in return. What this means is that it is actually relatively hard to find a book that hasn’t been used already. I stumbled over the Oer Linda Book years ago and found it perfect for a game I was running at the time. Links are included at the bottom for more information on the real-world editions.

The Oera Linda Book

An ancient manuscript that was held in the family of Over de Linden family for generations, its existence was revealed in 1867 by the master shipwright Cornelis Over de Linden who inherited it from his grandfather via his aunt. The book describes the destruction of Atland (Atlantis) in 2194 BCE, and the subsequent history of the Frisian people.

The book describes the history of a matriarchal culture of folk-mothers who rule over celibate priestesses of goddess Frya. This goddess generated through a series of virgin births twelve men and twelve women who formed the progenitors of the Fresian race. After living with the Fresians for seven generations and giving them a series of laws to live by, Fyra ascended to the stars of heaven while a terrible flood and nearly wiped out humanity and civilization. Favored by Heinrich Himmler, and sometimes referred to as “Himmler’s Bible” it posits a Northern European origin for several Middle-Eastern civilizations and includes a doctrine of racial purity.

The complete known text is comprised of three primary parts, the letter of Hidde Oera Linda (dating to 1256), The Book of Adela’s Followers (dating to the 6th Century BCE) which is compiled of contemporary and ancient writings, and Frya’s Tex (dating to 2194 BCE), which gives the laws as set down by the Goddess Fyra. Two additional sections are included towards the end of the book, the writings of Konered and Beden, but these are often incomplete and the book itself breaks off mid-sentence.

The Various Editions:

The Lost and Complete Version: A collection of loose pages in a folio, it is written in the same Old Fresian cipher as the 1256 Manuscript. Suitable to be found and used in Cthulhu: Dark Ages game…

  • (-1d6 Sanity; +0/+2 Unnatural, +5 Occult, 21 weeks – Mythos Rating: 6)
  • Contains: Contact Fryra (Yidhra), Fryra’s Blessing (Perfection), Fryya’s Mead (Brew Dream Drug), Fryya’s Message (Dream Vision)

Thet Oera Linda Bok (1256): The original manuscript consists of a series of loose pages, written in a cipher of Old Fresian. It is currently held in Tresoar, Frisian Historical and Literary Center in Leeuwarden, The Netherlands.

  • (-1d4 Sanity; +0/+1 Unnatural, +5 Occult, 16 weeks – Mythos Rating: 3)
  • Contains: Contact Fryra (Yidhra)

In 1872 the book was first translated and edited in Dutch as Thet Oera Linda Bok. Naar een uit de handwriting dertiende Eeuw by Dr. J.G Ottman, a prominent member of the Frisian Society for History and Culture, after being rejected by Eelco Verwijs, the provincial librarian of Friesland. It was published by H. Kuipers.

  • (-1d3 Sanity; +0 Unnatural, +4 Occult, no spells, 2 weeks – Mythos Rating: N/A)

Shortly thereafter, in 1876, William Sandbach translated the book into English, The Oera Linda Book: From a Manuscript of the Thirteenth Century, but worked strictly from the Dutch translation by Ottema, evidently never referring to the original, and having some heavy Christian biases. It was published by Trübner & Co.

  • (-1d2 Sanity; +0/+1 Unnatural, +3 Occult, no spells, 2 weeks – Mythos Rating: 3)

In 1933, Herman Wirth translated a version of the book into German, Die Ura-Linda-Chronik. Übersetzt und mit einer einführenden geschichtlichen Untersuchung. More propaganda than scholarship, this version is rife with additions and interpretations to support his already existing theories of Atlantis and Aryan origins. It was published by Koehler & Amelang. Note that rumors abound regarding the personalized and annotated copies of Wirth, Himmler, and other Nazi leadership.

  • (-1d4 Sanity; +0/+1 Unnatural, +5 Occult, no spells, 1 week – Mythos Rating: 3)

In the aftermath of World War II, the work was largely left alone until Robert Scutton translated a new abridged version in 1977, The Other Atlantis: Astounding revelations of the secrets of Atland, long-lost imperial capital of the North. In English with a lengthy commentary and introduction.

  • (-1d2 Sanity; +0 Unnatural, +2 Occult, no spells, 1 week – Mythos Rating: N/A)

Finally, since 1983, there has been a cheap and easy to find translation by Frank H. Pierce IV, commonly found and used by various and sundry occultists and Neo-Aryans as a research tool and support as it supposedly a complete and unbiased translation of the original. The Oera Linda Book: Translated from the Frisian

  • (-1d2 Sanity; +0 Unnatural, +2 Occult, no spells, 1 week – Mythos Rating: N/A)

The Wikipedia Entry:

Excellent site, with pictures of the entire original manuscript:

The 1872 version:

Interesting site with pictures of the 1933 Wirth edition – and with an amusing bit of DGML connection…

Categories: Campaign Development, Game Design, House Rules, Magic Item | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

A belated Halloween post in celebration of the Delta Green Kickstart!

has been sitting on my hard-drive for (as I check the document properties)… 11 years, since about this time in 2004. It might have been inspired, in part, by the Black Sands comic by Blair Reynolds. I can’t remember if it has ever seen the light of day before, I don’t remember posting it on the DGML, but it was my idea of an additional adversary or patron for a Call of Cthulhu/Delta Green game. The really interesting part is that with the publication of the additional CoC “eras” (Invictus and Dark Ages) it is a concept that could span all of the eras for a very cool multi-stage campaign.

It certainly wasn’t or isn’t the basis of my current, though dormant, Call of the Cthulhu campaign. But looking back I have to say that I’d don’t think it’s that bad of a kernel for something!

So, without further ado and only a couple of minor tweaks!

…The Lodge…

The Lodge has its formal beginnings in the middle of the 19th century with expansion of the British Empire into the Far East. Informally, the Lodge has antecedents that stretch to Atlantis, where what has become the Lodge was born in blood, fire, and the end of a civilization.

The Lodge knows about Delta-Green, they know about PISCES, they know about SUV-7, they suspect what is behind MJ-12, and they are all too aware of the Starkweather-Moore expedition uncovered in 1934. They are all, as far as the Lodge is concerned, misguided amateurs.

The Lodge numbers accomplished sorcerers, psychics, dreamers, a family of were-jaguars, a single very old vampire among its ranks, and five… Others.

The Lodge has members within the highest levels of the British and Japanese governments, and many other nations, including the United Nations.

The Lodge hides it’s members within other occult and fraternal organizations.

The Lodge is the second oldest surviving organization that hunts the Mythos.

The Lodge knows what Stephan Alziz is, and they don’t care about the Fate.

The Lodge and the Cult of Transcendence carefully ignore one another.

The Lodge has been both hunter and hunted for it’s entire existence.

The Lodge hates the Mythos and what most of it represents.

The Lodge has contacts in groups throughout the world.

The Lodge has no morals, as we understand them.

The Lodge wants the human race to survive.

The Lodge demands secrecy.

The Lodge values loyalty.

The Lodge has no mercy.

To understand the Lodge is to understand that everything you ever learned is absolutely correct, to a point. It is the Truth behind the facts that is inspiring. It is the Reality beyond the Truth that in damning.

The Lodge is completely insane.

The Others are five individuals who survived the Fall of Atlantis. They merged with an Force that has allowed them to survive to this day. In order to kill one you would have to kill them all, at the same time. No-one has managed to do this yet. Perhaps this is because no-one has tried hard enough, or perhaps it is because they don’t care. The Others don’t really care that the world is going to eventually be overrun again my Cthulhu and his brethren, they just want to make sure that humanity survives.

Somewhere else.


Until we have to move again.

It’s that “we” that keeps giving them problems.

The Others have no illusions about the eventual triumph of the Great Old One’s. They understand the reality of the Elder Gods.  They have journeyed the Dreamlands. They have seen Azathoth and conversed with Nodens, Vorvadoss, and others just as powerful that have never come close to the orbit of the Earth. The Others understand these things and accept the reality of the Universe. The Others don’t really care what happens to the majority of humanity because they know that the majority is damned to become fodder. The Others want to insure that humanity survives the end of the earth, just as they survived the Fall.

It’s just that there is no way to duplicate Them.

So They must find a way to bring a sustainable population elsewhere.

The premise is simple, the execution difficult.

They almost have an answer.

The Lodge fights because they hate the Mythos. The fight so that there will be humans to survive. Not ghouls, not Tcho-Tcho half-breeds, not minor spawn of some GOO. Other races have survived, the Shan, the Mi-Go, the Byakhee. There are dimensions and worlds far removed from earth that humans could move to, inhabit, take over. The rules of the universe are simple.

Rule or be Ruled.

Evolve or die.

At the greatest level, you cannot rule. There are Powers that are far beyond that of humans who will never be disposed without ending that which Is. And to gain the ability to depose these Powers would transform humanity into something… Else. So accept that we must be Ruled.

Evolution is a slow process, and there are many, many branches that must be pruned to get a tree to bear proper fruit. The Others have almost achieved their goal. When they do, they can Leave.

Categories: Campaign Development, Game Design | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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