The Rules System
I've run a bunch of Call of Cthulhu in the past using the 5.6 edition of the rules. After running Arkham Heat I became really dissatisfied with the way combat played out. I know tons of people feel like this system is the be all and end all and that combat is not the point, but I really want to try something new. So I will be doing a conversion using the NEMESIS rules. I plan to post my conversion notes as well as talk about my feelings on it here as the campaign goes along.
The Campaign Core
The basic core from which my campaign will be built around will be the expanded and revised, second edition of Escape from Innsmouth. This book contains a in depth look at the town, as well as the following scenarios: The Crawford Inheritance, Escape from Innsmouth, of course the Raid on Innsmouth. I will try to run these with an eye towards foreshadowing Delta Green. Of course I will be rereading “The Shadow over Innsmouth” but I will also be rereading “Once more from the top” which is a Delta Green short story that takes place during the Raid.
With the Escape book as my core I will expand out from there. I don't want to run a globe trotting campaign. I'm going to keep this thing around Lovecraft country, specifically Arkham. I ran a noir campaign called Arkham Heat a while back. That was a much darker campaign. This time I think I'll make Arkham a little closer to Lovecraft's vision of a quiet university town. If I need a grittier city element I may send the players as far as Boston.
The Home Base
One thing I've learned from running previous campaigns, be that Call of Cthulhu or D&D, it's important to have a home base for your characters. In particular I'm looking for an easy way to bring in new characters in case of death. I've decided that in order to help stimulate the horror I want to evoke in this campaign death needs to be a distinct reality. To that end I can't be afraid to kill off characters. But killing off characters can really screw the campaign if introducing new ones becomes a joke, not to mention the loss of continuity that it can bring with it. In addition, a good home base should provide a spring board for new scenarios/investigations. An idea I've long wanted to try was to centre a campaign around Miskatonic University. The basic idea here would be to have a group based around a team of paranormal investigation researchers run by Dr. Henry Armitage. I'm looking for a semi realistic/plausible team. Less Buffy/Ghostbusters, more Lincoln Child and Douglas Preston as seen in their Pendergast series of novels. This will provide me with an opportunity to slip in Brian Burnham and Dr. Najar and fully realize their NPC potential when they become important to the Escape scenarios.
The Campaign Framework
With all that figured out I sort of need a road map of the plot points I want to hit along the way. This campaign will be a hybrid of prewritten scenarios and stuff I write myself. The way I see it there are three basic types of scenarios:
- The main plot point scenarios.
- Investigation/monster of the week scenarios.
- Character story/development scenarios.
These cover the scenarios important to telling the main story. In this case thats the scenarios found in the Escape campaign book. Of course I may find it necessary to expand on these a little. The idea of this campaign is to run a fleshed out version of Escape. It's the core of this thing after all.
Investigation/monster of the week scenarios
These scenarios are not tied to the main story. I want to stay away from Innsmouth with them. No Deep Ones etc. If everything revolves around Innsmouth the town starts to become familiar and lose it's creepiness. These scenarios are meant as a pallet cleanser. A way of adding verisimilitude to the campaign. These should take no longer than a session to run, two at the most. I don’t plan on adding a lot of these. The basic idea here is a quick investigation into a mystery, weird event, or perhaps stop a monster/serial killer.
Character story/development scenarios
These scenarios are meant as a way of developing and telling the individual stories of the investigators themselves. These will involve how the characters start as regular people and then change as the mythos starts to wreak havoc on their normal lives. The Sarah Connor effect if you will. At minimum I'd like to run at least one of these for each of the players in my group.
So that's where my thoughts are at in terms of running Escape from Innsmouth. Much of this will stem from what kind of investigators the players ultimately decided to make. I figure if I start small with something that begins at the Miskatonic University and then weave my own ideas with that of the players and the Escape campaign I should have something pretty awesome. The ultimate trick will be to keep myself on target and not allow myself to get distracted by anything else.