The Journey – Episode 1: Character Creation

My gaming group came together in a rather strange way. The GM from a previous system gathered us together at a central location. The location happened to be one of the player’s home. We (the players) would gather and wait for the GM to arrive and start adventuring. However, more times than not, the GM would ditch us. Before a missed session John (the home owner) actually made eye contact with the GM as the guy drove out of John’s driveway, after that, we decided we were better off on our own.

However, more times than not, the GM would ditch us. Before one of the afore mentioned missed sessions John (the home owner) actually made eye contact with the GM as the guy drove out of John’s driveway, after that, we decided we were better off on our own.

I owe a debt of gratitude to “Mr. No-Show,” because he led me to a great group of friends. We all met through him. An RPG campaign dying is nothing new, but another growing from its ashes is pretty rare. We had a place, a group, and just needed a system. I volunteered to run Trail of Cthulhu because I was one of its first buyers and had not had the chance play it or any other RPG in a long time. Admittedly, I’m also a Lovecraft geek to a very high order. I had a cultist Fez before they were cool.

Horror is notoriously hard and pulling off a horror campaign is harder still. The issue is that it relies so much on the unknown, after a few games those fish men don’t pack as much punch as they use to. Given that, I was worried my suggestion to run ToC for the group would go down in flames. Our campaign is ongoing and I’m still happily surprised. No one wants to be the game store guy recounting the grandeur of his creation and how the players just defeated the “Gazebo of Doom,” but if you’d like to see what we are up to I use Obsidian Portal. The campaign is called “The Winston Pact.” Stop by and tell me what I’m doing wrong.

The ToC rule book itself is wonderfully laid out, it’s an easy read and doesn’t require a degree in calculous to master. There have been dozens of articles on the various types of gamers so I won’t drive you mad by analyzing my players, but suffice it to say, as a group, we run the gambit. Min-Maxer to Storyteller.

I fish without bait and hunt without bullets so it’s no surprise I enjoy the interactive story of a good game. John, the second oldest player is a tinkerer, in that he like to check a game’s innards to see how things run. What worried me was that the other more action/adventure members of our group would become bored. If you play Call of Cthulhu you get use to rolling up new tissue paper characters. To fix this I’ve veered into the land of Pulp. I know the purists will gnash their teeth, but a TPK on the first outing is always a bummer and I actually enjoy happy endings.

The Players:

John: The family man and homeowner. He opted for playing a doctor. He is the support of the group.

Adam: The Computer RPGer. This is his second pen and paper campaign. The first one having died in the tailpipe of his last GM’s moving car. He chose a Fedora wearing Archeologist. Axes, horses, and explosions make him happy.

Hector: The veteran. If it’s out he has played it and probably owns it. He created a dashing Nuevo Rich gentleman because he wanted to “make it rain.”

Ed: The Min-Maxer. If it gives his character an advantage he is going to take it. He chose to make a PI, using a revolver instead of a magic sword of instant death-killing.

Bringing these guys into a shared story has been great fun and a huge learning experience. One that I hope we can all gain from.

So, in Pulp fashion…Don’t miss our next episode: First Adventure Fallout or “Take us to Your Criminal Activity.”

~ Jim Pyre

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Jim Pyre lives and works Chicago.  He is a retired attorney who was bitten by the writing bug years ago; it’s a creepy bug with many eyes and legs. He is currently working various spooky true and fictional tales and his first book, a supernatural legal thriller. Additionally, he is a lover Lovecraftian horror. We welcome him back to the fold of roleplaying games!

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