Mysterious Monday – 5 Investigation Ideas for Your Next Roleplaying Game [14 May 18]

It’s that time again! In this installment of Mysterious Monday, I present to you five more 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, but that influence resonates throughout with a decidedly horror feel to all of them.

d10-1 [Any Genre, Most Time Periods] Explorers seeking fame and fortune in the frozen tundra have found what they have sought for so long. They have located what they believe is an ancient royal tomb of a long-lost matriarchal society. Fighting the elements that attempt to thwart their every move, it was only happenstance that they located the tomb under the deep snow or was it? Examination of the sprawling tomb leaves them bewildered. Where they thought they would find a skeletal corpse and funerary decorations they only find strange and alien scenes of absolute depravity on every imaginable surface. What have the explorers stumbled upon? Have they unwittingly unleashed something?

d10-2 [Any Genre, Any Time Period] Skywatchers take delight in observing, tracking, and monitoring heavenly bodies each night. Many have staked their reputations on their calculations and predictions. A group of sky watchers peering up into the heavens in the wee hours of the morning witness the moon blink. Yes, the moon blinked as if it was giant eye. What can this mean? Is it an omen?

d10-3 [Any Genre, Most Time Periods] With the chill of fall in the air, the carnival has arrived. Its arrival marks the start of the annual harvest celebration, but this year the carnival seems a little off. As in years past, it has all the normal attractions, sideshows, and freaks the townsfolk have come to expect. The carnies are friendly, maybe a little too friendly this year, but no one seems to notice. As dawn breaks on the third following the arrival of the carnies the parents of Simone Lauck report her missing to the authorities. Rumors spread quickly amongst the carnival’s detractors and they immediately throw blame on the social degenerates. A small faction of the Order of the Silver Sword has abducted Simone for an upcoming ritual. Can the carnies be proven innocent or did they help in some way? Can Simone be saved in time?

d10-4 [Any Genre, Any Time Period] A docile old gentleman travels from town to town tell old tales and uttering ghost stories in any pub that will have him. At the end of each evening as he finishes his last tale his face brightens for just a moment. He has taken a little piece of each listeners soul. What are his intentions? What does he do with what he has taken?

d10-5 [Any Genre, Most Time Periods] The open ocean has always been a place of wonder and mystery for seafarers over the millennia. The crew of Blue Devil has been out to sea for more than two weeks and nothing seems to be going right for them. The ship is plagued by a curse, but the crew is unaware of that fact! For every step the crew makes, they take two back. If the rigging isn’t binding, then a rope snaps, or the hull springs another leak. A crewman fell overboard one evening and was not recovered. The wood used to construct the ship was harvested from an old growth forest in New England known to locals there to be cursed. The tainted wood itself oozes a milky substance that seems to seep into everything stored below deck, including the provisions. The tainted provision have mutagenic properties (GM discretion how they manifest). Can the crew figure out what is happening to them? Is there a way to stop it?

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.

~ Modoc

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