One of God's own prototypes. A high-powered mutant of some kind never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die.” -Hunter S. Thompson

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pawns and Players

Yesterday I talked a little about the inspiration behind my new Call of Cthulhu campaign, Arkham Heat. Today I wanted to show case the three characters that will be the focus of the campaign.

It's a small group, but I actually like that. I find investigation games work better with fewer people. It's easier to stay focused, and get shit done. But also, there's just so much investigating and clue gathering that can get done. With too many players people start stepping on each others toes. I mean everyone wants to feel useful right?

Take a show like CSI for example. All the characters tend to break off into smaller groups and work on separate cases. Occasionally a big case will require more people, but I see that as more of a logistics thing, and not particularly applicable to RPG scenarios. In addition, you tend to have specialist characters that show up in order to analyze the clues and give lab results. These characters are present just to pass on info and are on screen for a scene or two, rarely does it makes sense for a lab guy to be out in the field.

But this campaign is more than just about investigating weird spooky stuff. It's about people trying to live their own lives in a tough town full of crime and corruption. Each of these characters have their own problems and most of them not supernatural.

The glue that binds this group together is Karla Blackwood. This attractive 25 year old private detective has inherited her missing father's PI agency. Karla's father was an officer and in the Great War, and was for a short time a detective on the Arkham Police force till he left for reasons unknown to his daughter. As time went on the PI became more and more withdrawn and secretive, till one day 6 months ago he vanished. Declared dead, he left his agency and all his possessions to his daughter. Karla now runs the Blackwood Detective Agency, with the aid of a couple of her friends, James Mills, and Ajax Windsor. Despite the official declaration that her father is dead, something in her heart leads her to believe that he may still be alive....

James Mills fought in the Great War was once apart of the tank crew commanded by Norman Blackwood. During the war he formed a strong friendship to the man, and was friends with him till the day he disappeared 6 months ago. It was during this time that he also formed a friendship with Blackwood's daughter Karla. Today, James is a Special Agent with the Bureau of Investigation in Arkham. James career in the Bureau was on the fast track till an unspecified incident brought down the ire of the Bureau's head honcho J. Edgar Hoover. Stuck under the direction of an incompetent jerk of a boss, James often finds himself working along side his friend Karla on cases with her at the Blackwood Detective Agency.

Ajax Windsor was a tank driver in the Great War. During that period he befriend both James Mills and his superior officer Norman Blackwood, a friendship that continues to this day. While Ajax is a talented mechanic, and runs a decent auto garage and towing operation, it is in fact a cover for his freelance booze smuggling operation. An operation that has been aided and abetted more than once with the help of his connections with James at the BoI. During that time the Irish mob boss in Arkham put a hit out on the bootlegger, and Ajax's wife was killed by mistake. Now Ajax plans to do everything in his power to take the mobster down. The last part of the Blackwood triad, Ajax often fills the role as a wheelman for Karla, and James.


  1. Sounds like you have the noir side sorted :)

  2. Thanks. My goal was to work with the players to help them create PCs that had some kind of motivating mystery and conflict I could use to spur future adventures. So far Im happy with the results.