Call of Cthulhu: The Sense of the Sleight of Hand Man episode 4

handman2The Dreamers have finally crossed the ocean, but the city of Lhosk may prove to be even more dangerous. The Men from Leng trade in the city freely and it seems the citizens of Lhosk do not suspect their true allegiances. The Dreamers must find passage to Ulthar while avoiding the Men from Leng, a task easier said than done. Furthermore, they must add a new dreamer who has joined the group, but will he adapt to this strange new land?

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  1. “get on it, crawlkill?” I’m not remotely interested in historical accuracy. I don’t history. =P I’m constantly eyetwitching over your refusal to read every letter in the names of Dreamlands cities–“Innakwok,” seriously? “Inquanok,” as written in both the Dreamquest and Sense? “entOPtics?” some day, sirs, some day

    I guess Tom’s final confrontation here was actually a riff on the end of the Dream Quest, but it reminded me of one of Lovecraft’s only memorable poems:

    The daemon said that he would take me home
    To the pale, shadowy land I half recalled
    As a high place of stair and terrace, walled
    With marble balustrades that sky-winds comb,
    While miles below a maze of dome on dome
    And tower on tower beside a sea lies sprawled.
    Once more, he told me, I would stand enthralled
    On those old heights, and hear the far-off foam.

    All this he promised, and through sunset’s gate
    He swept me, past the lapping lakes of flame,
    And red-gold thrones of gods without a name
    Who shriek in fear at some impending fate.
    Then a black gulf with sea-sounds in the night:
    “Here was your home,” he mocked, “when you had sight!”

  2. Author

    I actually make a point of saying Entoptics correctly in the latest session of Duality – which I ran on Tuesday, so it will be some time before it shows up here. But still. The system works?

  3. Yay, finally into an area I have’t yet run.

    I am really enjoying this.

  4. I really shouldn’t comment late at night, things I intend to sound snarky come off as more nerdragey XD

  5. A box of internet Cookies for Caleb for always staying in character, but I’m looking forward to when the character starts to get withdrawal symptoms and then realizes hes not in an opium inspired dream.

  6. Tom is the new Aaron! (in the RPPR milieu)

  7. “It’s what my character would do” is such a *terrible* excuse for dragging a group of friends from light-hearted hijinks and adventure into a dour, selfish, role-play cul-de-sac.

    It displays almost no consideration that ultimately you are playing a collaborative game with other human beings who have invested their time and passion into the enterprise.

    Random, pointless deaths abound and acrimony and bitterness are the only end products.

    “It’s what my character would do!” Sinks ship containing all PCs.

    “It’s what my character would do!” Hands over the universe-ending device to the universe-hating god.

    “It’s what my character would do!” No-fun ahead!

    Unless you’re Tom Church.

    In one episode Tom introduces a new PC, sets up some interesting contradictions, displays a reasonable confusion and discomfort about his situation and, understandably, takes the first exit from the nightmare he finds himself locked within.

    Detweiler creates a complex and intriguing scenario from some of Lovecraft’s weirder (?), woollier works.

    Ross sets the scene, populates the arena and always facilitates the players, feeding them constant, directed choice.

    David survives, his character single-minded, capable and mean like a rottweiller. A man lost at sea for weeks, trying to give advice to a man lost at sea for hours.

    Caleb, always looking for new layers and perspectives and in the process of committing to that bit draaaaaging the team (with their consent) into (as the audience is well aware) bad, BAAAD territory…

    And Tom. The scenario accomplished, separated from his fellows, he meets Nyarlethotep in the halls of the old gods (possibly not for the first time! He was a dreamer…!) and takes the proffered hand.

    It’s entirely reasonable, yet with limited consequence.

    One PC dies in an interesting way lending further depth and meaning to the stories of the other players, without damaging the journey as a whole.

    This podcast is the sound of an RPG working perfectly.

    Congrats team. I’ve enjoyed so much RPPR, but I thought Tom’s brief contact with the Dreamlands deserved a note.

    Anticipating your next campaigns with enormous… anticipation…

    And fervently hoping without hope for Caleb’s NBA campaign. =)


    AND AARON, compelled to act by his absolute best instincts and unfettered by anything other than awful, hilarious consequence.

    Urge to Explore and Learn + Desire to Do No Harm = Monk Slap.

  8. On the one hand, I really enjoyed listening to the Nyaralothatep encounter, and as crawkill mentioned, I appreciated how Detwiller seamlessly integrated Lovecraft’s poem into the campaign.

    On the other hand, I REALLY dislike situations where a player needs to make a choice. . .and is essentially screwed either way. It is one thing for players to make mistakes and put themselves in such a situation, but in this case Tom’s character was taking a rational approach. I understand that it can add a real sense of terror for the other players, and it certainly adds to the “purist” Mythos feel, but I would understand the affected player being pissed off at the result. Make a sanity roll and STILL turn into a babbling vegetable (assuming he did take Tom to Azathoth), or make a luck roll and live. . . maybe? Oh wait, it’s Lovecraft, it still probably wouldn’t matter because nothing matters and Azathoth will eat us all anyway.

    Still, I really like the book, and this campaign has been a fun listen.

  9. Hi there RPPR Crew,

    First time poster, but long time listener here. I’m not sure if anybody else caught this, but at the beginning of the session, there seems to be a bit of a continuity issue regarding the status of an NPC from Session 3. Here, David asks about the status of the tortured NPC prisoner from the pirate enclave. Both Ross and Caleb say that the NPC died in while fighting a pirate in one of the burning shacks (after “saving” David and Aaron during the 3-1(2) combat encounter on level 2).

    I went back to listen to the end of the previous scenario and it appears that David was correct in that he did successfully save the NPC (slit the pirate’s throat during a prone grapple and exited the building), with both returning to the boat. For the listeners at home, is there any way that we can get the plot tie-in or back story for this NPC? Would it be possible to ret-con the situation in the next session to reintroduce the NPC?

    I haven’t finished the fourth session yet, but so far I am really enjoying this campaign (ended up purchasing the book to potentially run once I get some more GM experience). Keep up the good work!

  10. Author

    Unfortunately, I have already finished the campaign, so I can’t change anything. The problem with running Sense was that I often had weeks or months of time between sessions and I did not keep as detailed notes as I should have.

    Of course, since this campaign is set in the Dreamlands, where reality often changes and is quite subjective, I feel this was just me helping with the immersion. Totally not all covering my ass in hindsight.

  11. The choice Tom ended up having to make where he was likely dead either way was the result of at least two fairly clearly unwise choices before that – taking the powerful drug that put them in the Dreamlands in the first place again, and deciding to trust Nyarlathotep. They were certainly in-character actions to take and I applaud Tom for being willing to go ahead with them, but I don’t think it’s particularly unfair to put him in such a dangerous situation after all that. Especially since he still got a roll that could in theory have saved him.

  12. Nice reference by David at 1:54:48 to the TNG episode Arsenal of Freedom. It’s a good ship, it’s called the lollipop. New listener, really enjoying this campaign.

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