Monday, March 17, 2014

Call of Cthulhu and the challenge of fantasy gaming in a normal world

A couple of weeks ago I ran my first session of Call of Cthulhu.  It did not go well for a variety of reasons. But I think that the crux of it was the inherent clash of playing a fantasy game but one that is so firmly rooted in a real, actual world.  Cthulhu is a horror game and a substantial portion of that horror is generated by the knowledge that you as a normal person are pretty much entirely powerless against the strange things in the world that you find yourself in pursuit of.  That degree in Accounting? Not going to help against one of the Elder Gods, nor is your buddy’s ability to use a library going to fend off Dimensional Shambler.  That’s a frightening thought, the notion that the closer that you get to the thing you are seeking the more danger you are putting yourself into. I planned on using this basic struggle of everyday normalcy versus the unknown as the basis for the building horror that would ultimately drive the investigators to the precipice of insanity and fear.  Turns out the players preferred normalcy in their fantasy life and I can’t say that I blame them.