After trying to do a Cthulhu game for two years, I finally ran something special for Hallowe’en. Originally, I was going to run Call of Cthulhu, but rather than introduce yet another system (regardless of complexity), I turned to Savage Worlds since we’d already played it once. I chose to run the classic Call of Cthulhu adventure: The Haunting (aka The Haunted House in some older editions). I still think I bit off more than I could chew. I was running an adventure I converted from a game I’d neither played nor run (Call of Cthulhu) into a system I’d only played once and never run (Savage Worlds) using a supplement no one was familiar with (Realms of Cthulhu). Yikes.
Fortunately, I found some Realms of Cthulhu pre-gens on the Internet, and I refluffed them into western characters (one of my players and I agreed it would be cool to make it a western rather than keep the setting in the 1920s). Of course, that added a layer of complexity onto the conversion, because a western set in Boston doesn’t really feel like a western, so I had to reskin just about all the adventure’s fluff. This did have an advantage, though: it kept one of the players who’d played The Haunting from recognizing the story until the climax.
The characters, led by Professor Lokar of Miskatonic University, arrived in the town of Cimarron, New Mexico. He was accompanied by one of his students and a police officer from Arkham working with the Pinkertons. They came to Cimarron at the behest of the mayor, an old friend of Professor Lokar’s who wanted their help investigating strange goings on at the Corbitt House. The mayor owned the house (though it was not his residence), but felt he couldn’t rent it due to it’s dark history. Several different families were all struck down by severe illness while living in the house over the past 20-30 years, and there were strange rumors about the activities of the original owner. The group was met by a local newspaper man who’d written a scathing speculative piece about the Corbitt house and was determined to get to the bottom of things, despite both the mayor and the sheriff telling him to butt out.
Furthermore, a family that lived in a nearby house that overlooked the Corbitt place rambled about a “man with burning eyes” and went crazy. They had to be committed to Arroyo Santarium. Despite the Sheriff’s protestations that they may want to look into things more thoroughly first, the investigators decided to go straight to the Corbitt House.
Unfortunately, I didn’t finish this write-up as soon after the game as I should have, so details have been lost. The rest of this post is a quick summary.
The investigators went through the house, room by room, undeterred by the unexplained sounds and even the bed that tried to slam against them and throw them out of the upstairs window. After exploring the upper levels, they decided to brave the basement, where they found the dessicated corpse of Walter Corbitt. Unfortunately, he was not resting in peace and attacked them. The combat was brutal, but they managed to subdue the Creature Corbitt and felt the best course of action after that was to burn the house to the ground.
Cimarron’s Sheriff was not amused, since he owned the property and wanted to turn a profit with it, but could not argue with the final results.
I had a lot of anxiety running this. I have never run Call of Cthulhu. I have never played Call of Cthulhu. I have never run Savage Worlds. I’ve only played Savage Worlds once. So I converted an adventure from a system I had only read once into a system I have only played once. Yeah….
It actually turned out okay. I kind of like Savage Worlds, though I’m not sold on it for use as a horror game. I can definitely see running Deadlands now, though.