One ongoing challenge in any ongoing campaign for Call of Cthulhu is figuring out the most basic logistics. How do all these people get together? Why, once they experience soul-wrenching terror together, do they come back together to do it again? How do they fund the extravagant globe-hopping trips they’re supposed to take to thwart cosmic horror? How do they find people crazy enough to join them and make up for the inevitable casualties?
Sadly, most published campaigns usually resort to handwaving or ignore the issues here, leading groups to end up playing endless streams of ex-patriates and bellhops from hotels in far-flung hotels who decide to join a plot to save the world for no discernible reason. Now, that doesn’t mean it’s always done in that manner, or that this isn’t fun in a pulpy sort of way. Still, at this point, it’s clear that something different needs to be done.
There’s numerous ways to handle it, the easiest of which is to have some sort of patron organization to help the characters along. This is another difficulty, as there is a fine tradition in Cthulhu games of creating a patron who will screw the characters over if they trust them. I have nothing against screwing the characters over, but if it’s done often enough, the players won’t trust any patron, which lowers the chance of effectively screwing them over with a patron in the long run.
I’ve been grappling with these issues in the writeup of the campaign, as I’ve decided to give the group a potential patron. I floated a few characters from previous stories and scenarios who might serve in that role past the Black Seal folks, including one I was sure nobody would go for. As you can expect, they picked him – and as he’s the most “traditional” possibility, I’m going to accept their decision. He will be friendly and helpful, but there are certainly lines he won’t cross. Plus, I’m throwing in some uncertainty to the mix so those who wish to screw over their group will be able to do it.
I hope all this wasn’t too vague.
Word count: 10,543 words.