Call of Cthulu could help you break out of monster slaughter and dungeon to investigate Lovecraftian mysteries in horror settings.
Uncovering secrets, killing monsters, completing quests, and obtaining treasure. Most people think of this when they hear the term tabletop RPG, and it is often associated with Dungeons and Dragons. It’s a straightforward theme, simple enough for beginners but with plenty of room for creativity. However, not everyone plays their board games this way or wants something less fantastic. Board game Call of Cthulhu offers this in spades.
As its name implies, the TTRPG of Chaosium uses the Lovecraftian universe for its setting and has as much mystery as tentacles. Call of Cthulhu takes place mostly in the 1920s and it’s more about being a detective – asking questions, looking for clues, and uncovering the truth or uncovering secrets. Instead of fighting monsters, you face cosmic beings and stop the cultists’ plans in a horror scenario where you are more likely to go mad than to be killed. It is a very different version of traditional TTRPGs like D&D Y Shadowrun.
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Sure, you can create this type of game in other board games. Part of the fun is getting creative and creating your own stories. However, they are not configured in the same way. Call of Cthulhu it is. Call of Cthulu It actively rewards you for investigations, and the insanity plays out very differently, something not traditionally used in most TTRPGs. It still uses the same stats, and you’ll find that the character sheets are similar, but things like traits and abilities are more important as they can affect the overall storyline, and it’s the story that’s the main focus of the game, rather than combat. .
This is where it really stands out from many TTRPGs. Storytelling as a primary focus can be a good thing for players, but especially for Dungeon Masters looking to improve their own campaign creation or simply communicate scenes to players. In a game where research is the main component, describing the NPCs and locations is very important to give players an idea of what to look for and what is happening. Rather than just providing a basic description of a room, it can be important to add more details like what it feels like to be in a speakeasy, who their customers are, and how they view players, so they know how to react.
Part of an investigation means asking questions, and that means creating more NPCs that aren’t just randomly cut from a mold. They must have more personality and different quirks, maybe even misleading. Playing these characters without giving too much or too little is a fun way to play different characters and a learning experience. All of these traits are key to the game, and playing some of the campaigns can really level up a DM to create richer worlds.
Since it comes from a Lovecraftian background, the game has, of course, a horror theme. It’s a departure from high-fantasy, apocalyptic, or dystopian settings, which is refreshing. While it mostly takes place in the 1920s, there are other time periods like the 1980s or Ancient Rome to add different social aspects to the game. Think about the game Eternal Darkness and how he jumps between characters experiencing horrors in various time periods, and this is how Call of Cthulhu it can branch out. It offers a richer playing field, and most of the historical eras can be used to create different kinds of mysteries.
Call of Cthulhu it’s a different kind of TTRPG and that can be very refreshing. It requires a well-constructed state of mind and worlds, which is important for the horror genre. Not to mention, Lovecraft has some of the best cosmic horrors with wild artifacts, architecture (when in an ancient temple or structure), and incomprehensible communications. The mysteries are fun and they really are out there, touching the hidden aspect more than the alien, and it’s great that there is room to explore more on that side as well. It can be a fun new adventure instead of the traditional dungeons, and that is why you should give it a try.
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