Monday 30 May 2022

[Loot] Opening Call of Cthulhu Classic

"That thing was too big to be called
a box. Too big, too thick, too heavy,
and too rough. It was more like a
large hunk of paper."
I have been in the mood of rolling some percentile dice for a few years now. Unfortunately I did not have any chance to run any game from my small but vicious collection of Chaosium games and their relatives, and Hecatomb1 had to be put on hold due to lack of time and brain capacity. At least I was lucky enough to play a few one shots of Call of Cthulhu 7e as a fat and fast-talking archeologist professor Jacob Smith.2

Just like Dungeons & Dragons, Chaosium's games are also having a renaissance. Unlike Wizards of the Coast, Chaosium has been putting some serious effort in keeping even their classics alive. Their RuneQuest Classic is one of the most cherished books on my shelf, so it was a no-brainer for me when their Call of Cthulhu Classic boxed set's Kickstarter was announced, that I will dish out some serious cash on that. Originally I wanted to get the classic one inch box, considering my firstborn was on the way, but then I changed my mind when I imagined him looking in my eyes a decade or two later and calling me an idiot for not buying the majestic $100 set that will probably worth a small fortune when I perish.

It was a long and slightly bumpy ride, my patience growing thin as the boxed set kept getting delayed due to various global crises. Today though the wait has come to an end when I found a thick and heavy box from Poland lying on my office desk. With eyes gleaming from excitement I borrowed my collegue's kampfmesser to tear it open. When I finally shoved away some of the packaging material I hesitated, but in the end gave up on sacrificing said collegue to the Old Ones - though the urge was hard to resist.

The two inch boxed set contains enough material to play Call of Cthulhu for a lifetime. Its contents include:

  • A paper detailing the contents of the box. Yay!
  • The second edition Call of Cthulhu rulebook, with errata included.
  • A Sourcebook for the 1920s, which has some additional trivia and content for the era.
  • A few character sheets that you will likely never use in the age of pdfs and cheap printing.
  • A poster map featuring the 1920s world map on one side, and a map of Arkham on the other.
  • A size comparison poster featuring the various lovecraftian monstrosities from the rulebook.
  • Silhouttes featuring characters, monsters, and monsters not included in the original set. Naturally you will never cut them out, afraid of ruining the integrity of your boxed set. Still, they are neat, and since you get a pdf with the package, you can print them out yourself on sturdier paper.
  • Shadows of Yog-Sothot, "a global campaign to save mankind" according to Chaosium. We know though, that unless the Keeper is fudging or light hearted, that will never happen.
  • Trail of Tsathogguah, another world spanning campaign. I have a hunch Chaosium is either not familiar with their games or trolling us.
  • The Asylum & Other tales, a collection of seven scenarios, including one from the late Dave Hargrave of Arduin fame.
  • Cthulhu Companion, a sourcebook containing four more scenarios and some additional rules.
  • Fragments of Fear, another companion with a bunch of stuff and a scenario.
  • A Keeper's Screen, which has some handy tables, but is not cardstock.
  • A crapton of handouts on thin paper.
  • A set of dice.

I would have been happier if some of the handouts and the GM screen were printed on sturdier paper, but I'm also pretty fucking satisfied with the quality of the poster maps. It's a pity though, that the 1981 Chaosium Games Catalog and the original Basic Role-Playing rulebook were only included as pdfs. The rulebooks and modules are softcover, saddle-stitched, just like in days of yore, though they probably have more hit points than the originals. Overall I'm very satisfied with the contents. All it is missing is Masks of Nyarlathotep, and it would be perfect. Dear Chaosium, please do an expanded QuestWorld boxed set next!

To finish this blogpost off, some shitty pictures of the contents hastily made on my desk follow... If you need more pictures of anything specific, feel free to ask, and I will do my best to take a photo of it.

By the end of summer I had a pretty neat player's rulebook of some 30 pages, but endless rules revisions, my firstborn, and work interfered and I lost my will to continue with it. Plus there are a crapton of percentile games out there already, so I might end up just house ruling one of them and using the setting when I finally rise from my ashes as a Referee.

He looks basically like Jack Black's character from Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. He kinda acts like that too until there is some action, when he kicks ass. Not the most original character, but I enjoy playing him.

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