Call of Cthulhu: The Beloved Dead

© Teun Voeten,  New York 1994/1995/1996  In the tunnel of the Amtrak Rail Road under Riverside Park in Manhattan, some thirty homeless people have taken refuge. The oldest resident has been down for some twenty years, others moved in a few years agoAaron is back in the GM chair as he takes the RPPR crew through the dark tunnels under New York City! A community of homeless citizens have banded together in an abandoned section of the NYC subway system. They are protected by a mysterious cult of silver-masked acolytes who claim the dead for their own, but otherwise ensure that the homeless remain safe. But when an unnatural danger attacks the community and threatens everyone, several members of the community rise up to put a stop to it. They have little but their own lives to risk, but they won’t stop them from finding out what lurks in the dark heart of the city.

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  1. Is this finally the scenario where the murder hobo background makes sense?

    Looking forward to the listen.

  2. I love how David was saying “DEATH GOD” like Tom saying “AUTODUEL”.

  3. not bad! I actually felt like the intro could’ve done with a looot more content, more actual scenes than just telling the players about the community they were living in, but I appreciate that it’s already running pretty long. I, too, thought you should’ve been more forceful about getting them into the funeral–why not make the dead guy someone the players had known and had liked? I mean, you ultimately have to just tell them “you liked him,” but you could do a little vignette about some fond memory or other they had of Hobo Steve (Carlsberg).

    Rincewind lives

  4. Or you could even ask the players why they are there. Was he your friend? Are you looking to hit on the widow? Or did you hate him and are there to make sure he’s dead?

  5. No, we weren’t laughing, the passing out while smoking weed thing was so out there it wasn’t even funny. If you ever pass out while smoking pot, go to the hospital, because there’s something wrong with you or there’s something wrong with that pot. (Note: Passing out is different from falling asleep. If you fall asleep, that’s all good.)

    But it did give me an interesting idea for a roleplaying game… it would be fun to play in a world where drugs (and possibly other sinful activities) work the same way they do in PSAs and propaganda films like Reefer Madness. You’re just trying to live your life, but then Johnny down at the schoolyard offers you a joint. It could have a temptation mechanic to force you to give in to peer pressure (kind of a social combat thing), but you try to resist and be a good, law-abiding citizen. But the more you do drugs or gamble or underage drink or play D&D, the more horrible things start happening. It could be a good way to test out a prototype of the Atrocities mechanic from Red Markets (you smoked too much weed, NOW YOU KILL ALL THE CHILDREN!)

  6. I would so play Reefer Madness the game. Smoke pot while doing your laundry with gasoline? NOW COMMUNISTS HAVE TAKEN OVER ALL THE EVERYTHING!

  7. yeah it’s totally embarrassing when RPPR does drug shit. when Caleb talked about people smoking salvia during his Lover in the Ice prequel I almost hyperventilated, not even because it was handled badly, but just because salvia does me cosmic horror enough on its own without Mythoids intruding. but we owe these squares much entertainment, my frenns. cut em some slack.

  8. Hey man! At least, I know salvia is even a thing! That makes me like the Timothy Leary of the RPPR crew, okay. People can make fun of my firearms verisimilitude all they want, but the years in the trenches of college residence life have learned me my narcotics, by god. I hope I at least got that much out of the experience, otherwise it was a total waste of time besides the free room and board thing.

  9. the first time I did salvia I saw time as a face extruding from the carpet in swooping-by sheets while the music that was reality thrummed. the second time I spent the next several hours hating humanity for thinking buildings were big when buildings were obviously so small, compared to anything above a human scale. it’s–very hard to model drug use numerically, even the soft stuff.

  10. Well, yeah, but that’s a game design issue rather than a research issue. If I wanted to model salvia in a simulationist perspective, the character would be completely incapacitated for 30-60 seconds, then fine. But nobody like losing control of their character for any amount of time, so I did things with the sanity mechanics. I mean, drug use is poorly modeled in games, but so are most other activities. Combat is especially stupid. You can model it accurately and have no fun at all (Phoenix Command), or do anything else and inevitably turn it into some form of cartoon. And nothing can come close to modeling the actual terror such experiences hold, but we try anyway.

    I’ll I’m trying to say is that, while the RPPR crew is made up entirely of squares and straight-edgers, I do know that smoking a blunt isn’t going to cause someone to axe-murder an entire orphanage and that drug dealers typically don’t accept rent-to-own payment policies 🙂

  11. Actually, you’re wrong. Salvia is NOT a thing. Lamest drug ever. “Oh, I got a headrush. Oh, now nothing. That’s it? That was a waste of money. No wonder it’s legal.”

    Now hating humanity for thinking their buildings are big when they are small is great, I would take that drug. *Laying on couch eating Cheetos* “You know what? The conservatives were right. How could we possibly be causing climate change? The Earth is SOOO BIG!”

  12. I’m sorry that my incomplete knowledge of recreational narcotics is not up to current standards. I promise that at my earliest convenience I will make my pilgrimage to the promised land of Colorado to prostrate before the great canabis cloud ghost of Bob Marley.

  13. Author

    I’m tempted to change Aaron’s username on the forums from Beyondsandrock to BeyondSASSrock

  14. As a suggestion for the RPPR street drug seminar: Marijuana is technically classified as a hallucinogen, although it very rarely induces visual or audio hallucinations

  15. Aaron, I know you’re joking, but I can’t say I wouldn’t recommend it. 😉 The whole RPPR crew should take a field trip, get some first-hand experience, record an AP, maybe play one of them newfangled “pass the stick” storytelling games, except instead of a stick, you use a bong.

    As a fellow self-doubter and serial apologizer, I was actually glad to hear your “I don’t care” reaction when the others said druggie listeners would be laughing at the CON checks. I’m not sure if it was assertive confidence or dismissive condescension, but I’ll assume the former.

    As for actual substantive feedback: Aaron, you’re harsh when it comes to checks (which I actually don’t mind) but you’re way too generous when it comes to SAN loss. I know if I was just smoking a joint with my roommate and a shadow came to life and attacked me, I would be losing some serious sanity points.

  16. I liked this AP.

    The mythos vs mythos was a nice departure from delta green agents or civies wandering into one-sided badness. Also as a native Californian, thank you for alerting me to the existence of a local death god I can now use.

    On the drug issue as someone from SoCal I just had to sake my head at people passing out from weed. Eat a pot cookie/brownie so you get an idea for the drug. But don’t anything more than that. Only Hite and Glancy are true hardcore researches who can read mythos tomes and shoot Afgan heroine for research and walk away none the worse.

  17. if you’re doing salvia and not having terrifying full-bore trips, Capitalocracy, they’re not selling the same shit where you live as they are around here. the fact that it only lasts ten minutes from the outside’s never made it less than an eternity internally for me.

  18. I want to live in a world where weed is that dank.

  19. Didn’t Caleb have a rulesheet for drugs in CoC?

    As for the scenario, I’d say don’t give any of the old ones a voice, just roars that shake the room and a warm sense of approval for the well fed.

  20. Bit nitpicky, but the NYC subway hasn’t used tokens in 21 years.

  21. I’m pretty sure I mentioned the community using stashes of Metro cards with various amounts of time on them. If I did not my apologies, as I have no excuse now that I have officially been to New York and ridden its sometimes creepy subway system.

  22. You may have (I haven’t finished it it. 🙁 ), but you do mention tokens early on in passing. Also a bit of a correction to myself: Metrocards were introduced in 1993, but tokens weren’t phased out until 2003.

    For a random detail you may want to include that I imagine homeless people use to get on the subway often: put a bend in the card’s strip so it can’t be read properly and swipe three times at the same turnstile to get the error and on the 4th it’ll pass you through anyway. You can get a few months in jail if you ever get caught but doesn’t stop some people.

  23. Cool, thanks for that particular detail! I had not heard of that, though when Tom and I were in New York we both saw people go through the emergency exit into the metro when their cards did not scan correctly.

  24. I feel like that intro needs more reasons for player involvement (though the guys were definitely giving Aaron a hard time). Instead of declaring that this guy walks up and oh yeah, he’s your good buddy Phillip that you didn’t know about until this very moment, have the players come up with a couple quick sketch friends and cohorts among their fellow homeless. Have the funeral be for someone they cared about but let them decide who that was. Etc.

  25. At the very end I found Ross’s comment about, “is this legitimate delta green or hobo delta green” quite funny.

    You are invited to a night at the soup kitchen.

  26. Also I may have missed this if it was explained but at the end is the implication that the keepers forgo their eating of flesh to care for the dead? The way you mentioned all of the rotting corpses that smelled amazing to Tom made think that. Or do they slowly convert the dead into the sacrament that they feed Tom?

  27. The Keepers allow the corpses to rot to the point where it tastes the best to them (akin to marinating meat). The reason behind the “Beloved Dead” moniker is that they honor and protect those who will become their sustenance and incorporate that aspect into their worship of Mordiggian.

  28. I liked the premise and the way you worked on the mythology/mythos, Aaron.

    Nice how the guys in the beginning tried as hard as they could to ignore Aaron’s plot. You are all (in your own ways) horrible monsters. Though i agree, it would probably flow better as Shadows attack-> Funeral rites-> Meet the Keepers-> etc…

    Death God!

  29. Isn’t Hobo Delta Green the 1990’s Delta Green?

  30. cant get the audio to work

  31. Author

    @Pena try downloading it with a different browser or another computer. You can also try a different podcasting app like stitcher to download it.

  32. ah yes, the long awaited Garth Ennis & James Joyce do Call of Cthulhu feature…so nice

  33. Games led by Aaron seem to have the problem that they take too much time to get to the interesting parts of the story/game. This is very similar in that sense to the NIMH game.

  34. From now on if any character smokes weed in any of my games, they automatically pass out. Other drugs might give a penalty or something, but weed? It’s lights out with no save!

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