Call of Cthulhu: Lord of the Peaks

roads_avalancheNews: Check out the Horrors of War, Pagan Publishing’s Kickstarter for their anthology of WW1 scenarios! If you like these scenarios, please help support their creators.

A group of Royal Italian Army soldiers has been ordered to check up on an observation post high up in the Dolomite Mountains. The Austrian army is the least of their concerns. Deadly storms, avalanches, the cold, disease, and other hazards claim more lives than their enemies. However, as the squad approaches their goal, little do they realize that there are far worse threats than men or nature. Who is the true lord of the peaks? Find out in this special one shot recorded at Gencon 2014! Sorry about the noise, but we had to play in an open gaming room that piped in music, even late at night.

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  1. Awesome, I have been waiting to hear the Alpine War Scenario for ages, this is going to be EPIC!!! *goes back to listening.*

  2. oh my god you posted a Glancy game at 2 AM Ross you are a monster


  3. This has Tad in it… I’m excited to listen to it!

  4. Q: How do you get leeches to survive up here?

    A: You keep them in your mouth.

  5. that was fun. lot of energy for a Glancy game. and, of course, with the murder. the murder is always key.

  6. Tad, you lucky SOB! It’s still my dream to play in a Glancy game, even more so to play in Glancy game with RPPR.

    Great game you guys! Some of the best/worst rolls I’ve ever heard.

  7. oh but who the balls decided that Ocarina of Time and Diablo 2 menu/Tristram music was a great background loop truly nerds are the end of the world

  8. Man, Caleb was just becoming fanatical to end Aaron’s character in this game, Glorious!!!

    Also Aaron, you should still run “CSI: Rescue Rangers” in A Dirty World, regardless of the bet.

  9. Lucky in part Noah; there was also a great deal of effort involved. I’ve spent five years running things at GenCon and working with the gentlemen of RPPR fighting to get a seat at that table. And let me tell you: five years of fighting well spent; it one of the best experiences I’ve had at GenCon.

    I feel like I learned a lot about running a game just by watching Mr. Glancy control the table. What sounds like chaos at several points is actually a perfectly directed storm of intention: I feel like he keeps a perfect mental snapshot of the scenario he can reference at anytime.

  10. Oh yeah, at the JW Marriott they were pumping like a Black Mages track, Zelda music, and like Starcraft/Diablo/Fallout title screen music. It was kind of bizarre wandering the halls looking for game rooms with Black Mages softly playing in the background.

  11. I dunno, as far as I can tell men and nature (mostly men; mostly the terrible, terrible dice of men) accounted for literally every casualty in this session. The Mythos threat was certainly creepy, but surprisingly vulnerable to bullets. (At least, the part that was actually encountered.)

  12. Where do I fill out the forms to get my World History credits?

  13. I can’t stop hearing the final fantasy music in the background at the beginning, even though the voices are clear.

    one day I want to play in a game run by Adam Glancy. It’s just a dream of mine.

  14. Wow. Two 99’s in a row. On demolitions checks. Wow.

  15. Fun game of discus grenades, madness & always happy (if I can’t get into any Cthulhu game run by Adam Glancy) to hear him running a game as they’ve always been great to listen to. Plus all the accusations of witchcraft made it even more fun at how cursed this group of characters was from the start though being in the alps during war is cursed enough as is. Now after hearing this I’m wondering if the scenario will wind up in another Pagan Publishing book or go into Unspeakable Oath (will buy it either way).

    Proving yet even more, who needs the mythos or other players to make things tragic when you have those awful wickedly & uncaring dice. With the diversity of game covered by the crew of RPPR, I’m all for more in game bets to forcefully persuade someone to try running something new (new for that person to running that system or new system to the group to try out).

  16. This is the first Glancy-run game I’ve listened to.
    I’ll admit, I had problems getting into the action at first. I really dislike guns. I accept they have a place in modern games, but all the talk about the minutia of the various grenades and caliber of the guns stonewalled me at first.
    On top of that, the first real bits of action involve one of the supporting NPCs dying and some of the PCs getting frostbite. In hindsight, I think I see what Glancy was going for, but again, at the time it was irritating.
    After giving it a chance and listening all the way through, I really enjoyed it. I realized that what I first saw as Gygaxian GMing was, as far as I can tell, an attempt to convey how dangerous and unforgiving the environment was. In the end the combined forces of the PCs and the mountain killed/injured more of the group than any mythos creature.
    I’m not 100% sure I’ll listen to the other Glancy games in the RPPR archives, but I might give them a chance in the future.

  17. @Ink

    I’m a virulent guns-are-evil-machines pacifist, and I have to admit that I was made (momentarily, meaninglessly) uncomfortable by the whole “out in California you can’t own anything fun [a tool designed for the slaughter of human beings]!” out of character moment in the middle. but there’s an unfortunately real thread of power fantasy in roleplaying, as there is in gun ownership, and I think the only real option is to dull yourself to that “but in real life, this is truly awful–” ache.

    you should listen to Dig to Victory here on RPPR. it’s Glancy’s only (almost) totally nonviolent game. still set during WW1, but at least it’s very much not about shootin folks.

  18. Albatro! Albatro!

  19. @Crawlkill

    I think Ink was more bothered by the technical minutia of the firearms than any violence from them, which Dig To Victory doesn’t have any less of. If it helps rationalize, it’s a very reasonable response to being placed in a military situation and then in a horror situation to go “Okay, I am armed with something, what is it and how does it work?”, it’s just that ASG strives for historical accuracy and has a lot of information in that respect, so he does what I think any good GM should do, and supplies his players with the most relevant information he can (and then some).

    As for the rest of Ink’s comment, welcome to Lovecraft. What you initially mistook for malice or sadism (or whatever emotion drives combative GMs) is actually the intrinsic nihilism of the mythos, which is excellently encapsulated by the NPC LT getting iced for no reason on the first day, and then rolling double 99s, disintegrating yourself and nearly killing two other Player Characters. If you found this thematically interesting or enjoyable, I would recommend other ASG games (except maybe the Iron Devil) as ASG and Pagan do a bang up job of representing and focusing on this portion of the traditional mythos.

  20. I thought the firearms details helped, along with the other gear info, to set the rather grim scene of luckless soldiers going to fight a war in a place where man has no business being – for instance, the way that the pistol is modified to be fired with gloves on, but the rifles issued to most of the men can’t be, so they would have to choose between frostbite and not being able to shoot (which then got thrown away when they didn’t have to take a round to throw off their gloves during combat).

    In general, firearms are one of the world’s largest industries, and represent pinnacles of non-electronic technology and engineering. They also show up in pivotal roles in an incredible amount of literature and film. I personally prefer the more visceral, independent feel of melee combat, but I’ve come to respect the gunfondlers.
    It’s really not that different from geeking out over martial arts or cars (the latter of which kill way more people in real life than guns, and yet are somehow universally acceptable for people to own and directly linked to social status).

  21. I always enjoy the ASG games. Dig to Victory was the first actual play podcast I ever listened to and once I (re)discovered RPPR and realized the connection I was simply overjoyed. I loved all the history, I loved the technology, and I even love the opportunity to finally throw money at Glancy to get my hands on all these great ideas. Whenever they mentioned that one of the PCs was a Boxer Rebellion veteran, my eyes lit up. I’ve been working on a CoC game set during the rebellion but I’d love to see Glancy tackle it at some point. Anywho! Great session, great RP from everyone, can’t wait to see if the wager ends up coming to fruition despite the lack of completion.

  22. I like nearly all of Glancy’s games as role-playing sessions alone, but probably only U-boote Heraus as an actual CoC game.

    Gotta say he’s a fabulous GM, though. Impeccable control of the table and knowledge of the rules.

  23. Listening to Adam Scott Glancy run games is one of the highlights of this podcast for me. It’s nice that just about every year at Gen Con, we get another one. I particularly like the way he sort of houserules various rolls to give the system a little more granularity, either by checking margin of success, or by asking for 4x or 3x attribute rolls, or by assigning little bonuses and penalties to skill checks, etc. I’m doing my best to incorporate a little of that into my own games. Not that any of that matters against TWO CONSECUTIVE 99s ON DEMOLITIONS

    And it was nice to hear Tad! You really seemed to integrate well into the group. Though of course, Caleb and Aaron’s conflict totally stole the show.

  24. @Omega

    To clarify, guns themselves make me uncomfortable for the reasons Crawlkill suggested. That said, it doesn’t normally bother me because I treat them as an essential part of gaming in a modern setting and they come with tropes and narrative weight all on their own. I just have a low tolerance for technical minutia in general and gun culture jargon specifically so discussing the calibre of their bullets and the positioning of fuses was dull and mildly disturbing. This is entirely personal preference though, I won’t fault anyone for enjoying Glancy’s exhaustive knowledge of the subject.

    To address the second half of the post, I suppose I’m just used to the lethality in a horror game ramping up slowly. Maybe that isn’t perfect for a Con game. I understand what Glancy was trying to do, but it was the speed at which it happened that reminded me of things like Tomb of Horrors. The dynamite snafu was something I completely expect from a CoC game, especially with that roll, but that happened late in the scenario where I’m accustomed to that sort of lethality.

    I’ve got to ask why you singled out β€œThe Iron Devil”?


    You’ve given the reasons I accept firearms in modern games. They’re so deeply ingrained in modern media, culture, and history that taking them out is a setting unto itself that looks very different from our world if done with an eye for verisimilitude.

    Waxing lyrical about a variety of niche topics is something that happens a lot in gaming circles, or so I’ve noticed. I’ve been guilty of this myself. A good example, I think, is Tribes of Tokyo. As a disclaimer, I’m going off memory so this might not be 100% accurate. Ross explained little aspects of Japanese culture that fleshed out the setting and improved the listening experience for me. Conversely, Caleb made a few mentions of specific judo moves that, as someone who does not and has never practised judo, I found perplexing and a little unnecessary. In Caleb’s case, it wasn’t a big deal because they were brief asides that, were I someone with a background in judo, I might have enjoyed as a little bonus to help me visualize the scene. On the other hand, if Caleb had of described each throw, lock, and/or hold in detail, going into the particulars of weight distribution and stance, my eyes may have started to glaze over.

    Geeking out over these subjects is fine. If you really love a subject, it’s a natural and awesome inclination. I just find the subject matter a little distasteful and boring. These are just my reactions though, you found the descriptions helpful, which is good.

  25. First of all, Ross the audio quality of everyone at the table was very clear. Much more so than previous con games recorded to the point where I could hear ASG’s voice roughen with hoarseness over the 4 hours. So whatever you were doing was fantastic and the background noise was kept in the background.

    I’m tempted to nominate this for one of RPPR’s best ofs. From the first dice roll and Caleb’s hysterical cackle in response through all the jokes in between, this episode was top notch in the humor department.

    ASG erudition and how he gives the historical details life and immediacy by making them tactically relevant in a life threatening situation are always a pleasure and education to listen to.

    Fantastic job all.

  26. YISSSSS…. another history lesson from Adam Scott Glancy, while I am not a huge WW1 or WW2 nerd at all, I distinctly relish the upwards to 1.5 hour scene setting that ASG provides with the insane amount of research and knowledge. I second the comment above about filling out paperwork for college credit. These games combine Actual Play hilarity (Caleb’s insistent quest to kill off Aaron’s character was my favorite) with my love of academic lectures. So these games push all the buttons, despite brief asides about pizza, the weird music (some of which was nostalgic), and the weird general murmuring in the background.

    Also, audio quality was definitely impressive!!

  27. @Ink

    I single out the Iron Devil because, due to time constraints, the players interact very little with the Mythos, and mostly just spend their time in a very tense historical military fiction situation, bumming around Siberia and Manchuria (or wherever exactly they covered). Based on your previous statements, I’d say that it’s probably not to your taste, unless you enjoy Glancy’s mad historian skillz.

    As for Night’s Black Agents, IIRC, that’s an actual rule if you want to use a bonus/refresh. You can’t just say “I do something cool with martial arts/guns/cars”, etc. you have to narrate (or make up) some kind of action which is relevant to what you’re doing in order to use the mechanics. In Caleb’s case, he has actual Judo knowledge which applies, so when he does this narration, it’s accurate.

  28. These keep getting better and better, I swear.

    Ever since Dig to Victory I’ve been a fan of these Glancy podcasts, no matter the audio state (which in this one was quite decent; the Tristram music in the background even added to one scene). I love the idea of a knowledgeable, well-prepared GM who provides a more thorough understanding of the eras, places, people and equipment that surround or enter the game itself through lecture and trivia, not to mention providing actual photos as illustrations of how things looks or looked.

    I’d take such thoroughness in running a roleplaying scenario over mood music any time of the day, and whenever I run CoC games myself I try to take a little of that spirit with me, although I sadly do not have Glancy’s exhaustive knowledge or skills at running a table.

  29. I would really love to see Glancy join up on the podcast where he talks about how he GMs, it’s a style that I haven’t really seen anyone really ever use ever. Even if it’s just for 10 minutes for him talking about just how he controls chaotic situations.

  30. Glancy does feature on an episode of RPPR (episode 95 or something?), which might have what you’re looking for.

  31. Glancy, if your listening, where can I find that prayer?

  32. Here’s the full translation a friend of mine did-

    Alpini’s Prayer

    On naked rocks, on perennial glaciers, on every cliff of the Alps where divine Providence put us as a faithful bastion to our lands, we, purified by our dangerously accomplished duty, now turn our soul to You, o Lord, who protect our mothers, our brides, our sons and brothers who are far away, and who help us being worthy of the glories of our ancestors.

    God Almighty, Lord of the Peaks, ruler of all elements, deliver us, armed as we are with duty and love. Deliver us from the relentless cold, from the whirlwind of the snowstorm, from the fury of the avalanche; let our foot rest sure on the vertiginous peaks, on the sheer vertical rockwalls, beyond the insidious crevasses; make our weapons strong against anyone menacing our Motherland, our Flag, our millenial Christian civilization.

    And you, Mother of God, purer than snow, You that have known and harboured every suffering and every sacrifice of all the fallen Alpini, You that know and harbour every hope and every wish of every Alpini alive and in arms, do bless and smile upon our battalions.

    Here’s the link to the jpg of the prayer.

  33. This might be my favorite game run by Adam Scott Glancy for RPPR. Great, great stuff.

  34. I like how at the end of the scenario they all learned that the lord of the peaks was in each of them all along.

  35. The fact that Aaron is a witch explains a lot … handing psychopaths his business card, knocking on the doors of mythos monsters, the list goes on πŸ™‚

  36. I’m only a witch (though technically a warlock would be a better description) if summoning eldrich horrors was my intention. Most of the time it ends up being a side-effect of my decisions. In this game however my title solely rests upon the fact that my dice really hated me on Friday.

  37. Another reason I love the d% engine. Failure and Critical failure rolls(wow, the crit fail rolls this game) can move the events in a completely different(and hilarious) direction.

    I can’t believe Ross and Aaron both tied at the end! With all those opportunities!

    Another awesome ASG-run game at a convention. The background noise wasn’t *too* bad this time.

    Caleb’s “Witch” insistence was totes in character. Also, “In the face. In the face!” The dice, they are a-failing.

  38. this is true, usually Aarantics are a combination of dice and decision. this time, it was just the fates.

  39. Glancy, I have to ask if the temperatures you used are actually what the Dolomite Mountains gets in February? You were saying it would get to around -10 fahrenheit over the night. I’m Canadian so I needed to convert that to celsius to put it in context for me and -10F is rather mild. Here in Edmonton we often have daytime highs of -20c (-10F).

  40. Very entertaining game. Here’s hoping the kickstarter for this book hits all of its announced stretch goals.

  41. Based on the commentary around pants dynamite I just watched Sorcerer . Very good but you can clearly see when someone critically fails the luck role driving along the mountain and their tire goes which takes their day from bad to worse.

  42. I enjoyed this story. It was fun. And srpeuficially, the two genres have a lot in common. Arthur Conan Doyle structured his stories as elaborate flashbacks-within-flashbacks. Usually Watson is writing the story long after it’s happened, and his flashback tells how a client comes to see Holmes and tells a story set even farther in the past. Holmes investigates, and the solution to the story usually elicits another flashback of events taking place long ago in South Africa or Mormon Utah, leading to the events that led to the crime. Lovecraft also likes this sort of structure: it gives the illusion of a lot of time passing even in a short story. And we know that Conan Doyle, in real life, believed in fairies and ectoplasm. So: is this story a true melding of the genres?Although Conan Doyle believed in fairies, Sherlock Holmes did not. He had an unshakeable faith in the power of reason. And in this story we see an alien overlord defeated by a clever Holmes-like character. This is a story where reason and human virtue is victorious over green slime. How Lovecraftian is that? I would argue that the alien angle in this story resembles pulp science fiction, but in no way resembles Lovecraft. Lovecraft’s aliens do not invade by brute force and rule humans- humans barely register to them. Humans choose to react to them in various ways, but those ways are completely voluntary: you succumb and become a slave, you fight and go insane. It’s your choice. The only thing that’s crystal clear is that reason and human virtue will get you nowhere. I can only imagine Sherlock Holmes being able deal with the Elder Gods with the help of a large dose of cocaine.

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