Trail of Cthulhu: The Repairer of Reputations

repairThis is the thing that troubles me, for I cannot forget Carcosa, where black stars hang in the heavens, where the shadows of men’s thoughts lengthen in the afternoon, when the twin suns sink into the Lake of Hali, and my mind will bear forever the memory of the Pallid Mask. I pray God will curse the writer, as the writer has cursed the world with this beautiful, stupendous creation, terrible in its simplicity, irresistible in its truth — a world which now trembles before the King in Yellow.

(The adaptation of the story into RPG format is available from Pelgrane Press)

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17 Comments

  1. I haven’t listened to the episode yet, but from the title I believe that “Goddamn it, Ross” will be the leitmotif of this particular piece.

  2. okay, 21 minutes left in the episode and Ross is finally a flat circle

  3. Ah…did not expect it to go that way. Mind control is a hell of a thing.

  4. Damn, man. Everything just hit the fan in the last 40 minutes or so. Way to go, team. 🙂

    Good AP. I enjoyed it. Bill makes a good GM.

  5. “this is absolutely insane”, yes this sounds like a typical King in Yellow themed game.

    Sad Caleb couldn’t make it for this one as it would have been totes insaner. Great job to all the players & Bill running this game as it’s a gem of an AP to listen to.

    Just bought this book recently & now need to read it to run it asap.

  6. What was that nonsense everyone kept spouting about foxholes and trenches in France? They served in the German-American War, which was a combination of sea battles in the Pacific and a disastrous German invasion of New Jersey, where American cavalry easily outmaneuvered German infantry with a series of flanks and daring charges.

  7. A fantastic game that really was an enjoyable listen, Bill did a really great job running what I guess is a slightly odd game in set up.
    Though Taft did beat that bathtub 🙂

  8. Great job gamemastering and providing descriptions Bill.

    While I really like the AP and the adventure’s setting, I’m not sold on the mechanics of the adventure. Mind controlling the players is thematically appropriate but more than a little bit bullshit.

  9. @Twisting H: While I agree that a GM mind-controlling players can be frustrating, I don’t know if any of us felt annoyed at Bill for it while we were playing. In game, it was actually incredibly entertaining. Bill has actually used a “trance-like” mind-control mechanic in another game he ran that, in my opinion, also went really well. He’s quite skilled at using it effectively and logically within game so that players don’t get mad. (Though, I’m more than a little sure that Ross wanted to throw dice at Aaron for the “Hey, Look at this piece of paper!” bit that led to his character’s fugue state…) As to the mechanic itself and whether to use it if listeners chooses to run this for themselves, I would just say “Know your group.” If they are like us (read: crazy), it will be glorious. If you have players who get irritated by such things, probably best to give this setting a pass.

  10. Well that was a hell of a listen. I normally don’t like mind control in tabletop games, but it worked incredibly well here.

    Also, Taft IS the president that allegedly got stuck in a bathtub. He also got stuck in chairs.

  11. The truth is that Taft did NOT get stuck in a bath tub. There is no historical evidence to support any president ACTUALLY getting stuck in the tub…only political cartoons and rumors. Taft came at the end of a long line of obese presidents. All of them had hurtful stories about their weight launched at them in the press. Taft had a number of political cartoons drawn of him stuck in a tub (symbolic in some instances of him being “stuck” in a tough situation with Congress or in international diplomacy) but he never actually got stuck in a tub. This is one of those stories like Catherine the Great with the horse…entirely made up (and woe to any student who includes that horse story in their final paper on Catherine as a “true story”…it’s not! Read a book! 🙂 ). It was used against Grover Cleveland and U.S. Grant as well (both portly presidents). Chester B. Arthur, on the other hand, did order a larger tub for the White House, complaining that the existing tub was too small. It is far more likely that he was the one who actually got “stuck” in a tub and that the story was modified over time to suit political cartoonists/pundits/critics who wanted to critique later administrations. Though, even in the case of Arthur, there is no REAL EVIDENCE to suggest he actually ever got stuck in the tub. And before anyone proposes this: No, I highly doubt there was an elaborate government conspiracy to cover up the “tub incident.”

  12. That should read “Chester A. Arthur” not “Chester B. Arthur.” I’m horrible at typing on these tablets.

  13. Hey, that’s why I said he was “allegedly” the one that got stuck in the bathtub. 😉

    He DID order a giant tub for a naval vessel, we know that much. But yeah, Arthur was also large and in charge, and most likely DID get stuck.

    Having said that, the conspiracy to besmirch Taft and his presidential fatness would make for a hilarious Night’s Black Agents/Timewatch game.

  14. PaulyMuttonchops: Oh, I know you said “allegedly.” I hope I didn’t come across as trolling you and I apologize most sincerely if I did. I was just supplying historical info. I hear things like that Taft story so often from students that I feel the need to set the record straight somewhere. 🙂

    And yes, the “Bathtub Conspiracy” would make an EXCELLENT Night’s Black Agents game! Someone totally needs to run that.

  15. I guess if I’m going to weigh in, I should do it before this game bumps off of the main page.

    @Killjoy – Little did you know, the election of Chester B. Arthur (the nation’s first cross-dressing president, with personae named Maude and Dorothy) is the point of divergence for the Repairer of Reputations alt. history! #notreally #headcannon

    More generally – I think this turned out to be a bit to subtle to notice, but the only characters who were subject to mind control by Wilde were those who had read The King in Yellow. It’s not much of a choice, and it’s certainly not an informed choice, but it’s a choice nonetheless. And (as I recall) I was being a little more gentle with the mechanic than it was presented in the scenario. Needless to say, this is something I’d only ever mess with in a one-shot – it’d be pure poison for a campaign.

    …And here I was thinking the authoritarian tipping-into-fascism milieu would be the bigger sticking point!


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