A return to the Mysterious Monday is in order! Below are five plot hooks that were crafted to have a system neutral approach and will work with any almost any genre with a little tweaking here and there. Even though I’m an avid Call of Cthulhu fan, I have tried to keep these plot hooks as flexible as possible.
[Any Genre, Any Archaic Time Period] A small country village is being plagued by sudden and loud static-like bursts of noise. Oddly, only a select few of the villagers are affected. Those that are, suffer from debilitating headaches and periodic convulsions. A doddering old man was seen by the local drunkard throwing something into the village’s well; he swears it was a large chunk of meat. The old man is now being tried for heresy as the source of the noise and physical ailments. What is he up to? What resides in the well?
[Any Genre, Any Time Period] Nestled in the foothills is lake Westland. A beautiful and idyllic spot favored by locals who wish to picnic on its shore and bath in its warmth, especially in the dead of winter. In the middle the lake Westland sits a tiny island with a small crumbling structure; loosely resembling a shrine from a now forgotten religion. In the small hours of the Summer Solstice, a local woman traveling along the lake’s edge spies shadowy figures out on the island. Stopping to observe, she hears a low rhythmic chanting coming from across the water seconds before lightning strikes the old structure sending pieces of debris high into the air and setting fire to anything combustible. The flash illuminates eight robed figures as they scramble about in the wake of the lightning strike. As the fires die down, a deafening screech is heard throughout the valley. Darting behind a tree the woman can’t believe his eyes as she sees a great winged beast shrouded in inky black take flight from the ruined structure. What has she just witnessed? Was she spotted by the people on the island?
[Any Genre, Any Time Period] Late one winter night in the “Boroughs”, the dirtiest and most rundown district in the city, constable Greenbrier stumbles on the scene of a gruesome murder. He suspects the victim is a middle-aged woman, but he could be wrong. Crime, especially murders, are not uncommon here, but this one is different! The victim’s body has been ritually posed prostrate to resemble a celebrant worshiping a higher power. If that was not enough, the corpse’s skin has been removed with surgical precision. Who committed the murder and for what reason?
[Fantasy] The Black Boot tribe of Kobolds has a long history of depraved rituals and practices that center around worshipping long forgotten Gods. They’re pariahs as far as other Kobold tribes are concerned; to be avoided at all costs. Black Boot elders now seek to raise that which should not be disturbed to crush their foes. Tribesmen begin to gather supplies and the sacrifices needed to power the ritual. Can the ritual be stopped? If not, what evil will rise and what havoc will it wreak?
[Any Genre, Most Time Periods] The old Batliff mansion sits abandoned in a picturesque clearing atop a cliff overlooking the ocean. Despite its weather-beaten appearance and obvious signs of decay, the structure still stands as a testament to its former glory. Eighteen years ago, James Batliff died under mysterious circumstances. Ever since his death, his two sons who are forever quarreling over the old man’s estate and finances, have been trying to sell the old house. Every real estate agent they hire has promptly quit after visiting the old house. If the old fountain in the front yard didn’t run red with blood when visitors arrived or if eerie happenings in and around the house didn’t persist, it would have sold years ago. The ghost of James Batliff haunts his old home and can manifest in any way the GM prefers. Can investigators put an end to the hauntings and get the house back on the market? The Batliff boys will pay handsomely for the help.
Also, have a look at Investigator Images: A Curated List of Yearbooks For Call of Cthulhu if you’re in need of some character or NPC portraits.