Call of Cthulhu: Preemptive Revenge

Fun fact:  this is Dr. Who's true formIn this special one shot of Call of Cthulhu run on Halloween 2012, Caleb puts a few of us through a temporally-challenged nightmare. When a few children at a normal Sunday school encounter a horrific monster beyond their comprehension, their stories are dismissed by adults, despite the carnage the creature causes. Little do they know that the horror will never leave them, as the creature haunts them in a way they will never expect. Can these survivors find a way to fight the thing from beyond time and space or will they fall victim to it? All this and trick or treaters make random appearances through the episode!

Liked it? Get exclusive bonus episodes on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!


  1. the first third of this one is the only genuinely terrifying tabletop RPG bit I’ve ever run into. I dunno if it’s because normal-into-completely-abnormal or the absolute helplessness of the PCs or just that the fuggin traveler is so completely horrifying, but I love it to death forever.

    and was the idea that the assassination target in the first segment was some kind of eldritch horror, which was why she needed to die and why she zoomed off into the distance? I’ve listened to dis one a couple times since the Kickstarter and can’t quite grasp what’s up with her lightspeeding away to the water tower.


    Holy shit, this was amazing. Great role-playing and the scenario itself was fantastic. Terrifying antagonist as well. Might be my favourite one-shot ever. Take a bow, lads.

  3. Love these call of cthulhu one-shots! moremoremremroemroe

  4. Great one shot have to listen to it again though, because I was slightly distracted but two questions
    1. Has Caleb ever read Accelerando by Charles Stross?

  5. DEAR GOD. Quick, someone get Shaun Connery and a giant floating head that vomits guns! Only they can save Zardoz!

    PS: This was an excellent scenario Caleb. Did you really come up with this in just two hours?

  6. The monster I designed as a commission for the kickstarter, so the write up of his abilities took awhile. The scenario itself I sketched out in an hour or so. Thanks for all the kind words. And may god rest zardoz’s soul.

  7. what happens when Dr Emmett Brown mates with Roger Dean…

  8. I figure… A game master running The Call of Cathulhu would often call for a Spot Kitten check. Haha! 🙂

  9. It’s Bartleby isn’t it?

  10. Author

    Nothing Alice in Wonderland themed, so no. If the Traveler was screaming about the Red Queen, then I’d say yes.

  11. I agree with Crawkill, what was with the speedy gonzolas woman? was she infected with something to make her psycotic/suicidal to make it a cover?
    (Also I like Crawkills idea of her being an eldritch horor in disguise or something, but then i love all concepts lovecraftian in nature)

  12. My assumption was that the weaponized fungus made her super speedy as well as psychotic and suicidal. But really, my only goal was to have it be inexplicable and horrifying. If you knew John Conner before he was judged by history, his death would just be an insane, bizzarrily haunting event. That’s what I wanted more than anything.

  13. True, very tru… wait John Conner didnt get killed till after the apocalypse? Anyway I get what you mean: the whole terminator thing and looking at the events from the outside. I really enjoyed the beginning of this game (I liked it all but the beginning was just so much more disturbing) I think Im going to take the initial event of this game and run it in the 1920s with my buddies character or at the very least it will be a homage to the beginning of this games. Because honestly, I wanted this game to descend into a little fears game or stay with the kids and have the horrors continue with them.

  14. Great one-shot. I love the idea of jumping through time with the same characters. I have to say I was expecting it to somehow tie back to the events of the beginning where the monster was damaged and eventually eaten by the bug things. I figured that it went back to when they were children as revenge for them injuring it in the future, hence the title. is that interpretation right?

  15. Great adventure. I really like how they start as kids and the ceature slowly drives them insane throughout the characters life, sorta scary in that way. And the ending was totally epic!!

  16. I’m actually really glad you guys decided to call what costumes came to the door. For some strange reason I really want to know. Probably because I at least want the most basic of information of what stopped the game for the umpteenth time.

  17. and can I just add that the various dark futuralia headlines thrown in were as hilarious as…as everything Caleb ever says

  18. It does seem like the entity from the beginning of the scenario and the entity after the first encounter were two different things? Thats just how I felt about it.

  19. Pastor Glancy pulls out his DE!

  20. my -guess- was that the entity in the second two bits was an irresponsible tourist visiting postwar Germany after Hitler’d been assassinated by Doctor Who, to use the clumsiest metaphor ever also I’ve never watched doctor who help im drowning

    but honestly the whole point of this scenario (like every good CoC scenario, which I think we sometimes forget!) is that we can’t grasp what’s going on at all so I don’t think our not being sure just what’s happened is anything but a bonus.

  21. Yet another great show. I love it when brats from the far future finally get their butt kicked for being punks. Great show guys. You make my days.

  22. I think this managed to make cosmic horror a much easier thing to grasp: even though the Traveler was ultimately defeated, the victory is almost meaningless as humanity is headed towards this strange modem-faced transhuman future. Time trolls are the worst trolls.

    Also, a few things that I had never quite gotten in the course of this scenario: In the first chapter, you placed a lot of focus on the Superstorms and on David messing himself; things that never came up again beyond “Every building now has an invincible storm shelter.” Were the Superstorms a means to an end for the Prom segment (and also a sign of the times) or were they a result of the Traveler?

  23. Superb Stoytelling! And all hail Zardoz! One of Sean Conneries best! Seriously.

  24. Another great episode. I was thinking the same thing as Ben, considering the title.

  25. Preemptive revenge: A twelfth generation timehole* indulges in ancestor griefing.

    * – Timeholes:

  26. Great One-Shot Caleb!

    Any plans for publishing this freaky baby?

  27. @Maurice

    I’ll be pretty busy trying to launch Red Markets for the next…rest of my life or so. I don’t think I’ll be able to get around to Preemptive Revenge anytime soon. Sorry.

  28. it is five years later and I’m still pointing people to this as “the only time I ever truly got the fear listening to a podcast”

  29. That was really tense and exciting! I felt so sorry for the characters as children, and felt genuine glee at the ending. The future is another country, they’re assholes here.

    Belated thanks for a great listen.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *