Monday, March 11, 2013

Tatters of the King Conversion Overview

Naturally, this article contains spoilers about the Tatters of the King campaign.

Tatters of the King is a Call of Cthulhu campaign set in the 1920s that follows a group of investigators as they try to untangle a cult that worships the King in Yellow.  It's a high investigation campaign with relatively low levels of violent action and it leads the investigators around England and across Europe into Tibet.

You can read the blurb of this campaign below:

It is October 1928.  London is the capital of an empire covering a quarter of the globe and governing one quarter of the human race.  The people busy themselves with concerns of politics and government, finance and production, work and recreation.  How fragile things are.  What ignorance there is.

There are those who engage in different pursuits - who would see an inhuman power come to Earth such that it would make mundane activity seem like a last twitch before dying.

Over this winter its taint emerges: the sensitive and the weak feel it first.  Few know the source, but some welcome it unconsciously - finding in it an unexamined thrill.  Artists' work is strangely influenced, and they mine this vein of creativity.  Many exhibitions this season feature similar images: a social gathering gripped by repressed panic; a lake or marsh cloaked in mist; a presence just off-canvas.  New fiction and theatrical releases offer scenes of upheaval and confusion that never reach a climax.  Seances and mediumistic exhibitions bring untoward results and end in disruption.  Others feel new lines of communication opening; some claim God is talking to them.

All feel the lure of the stars.

So there'll naturally be a few changes to make it fit into the James Tyler campaign I've been running thus far.  The location is fine as I've given the vampire cause to leave America and the resources (namely a doppelganger called Peter Walsh to play his daytime persona on the cruise) to do so.  I've given him a reason to attend the play at the beginning (an invitation by his Daeva Aunty, Joy Tyler) and a reason to go visit Alexander Roby (Joy Tyler is an eminent psychologist that Dr. Highsmith respects despite her gender).  Still, there's had to be a few changes.

For one, it's the late Autumn of 1954.  This doesn't change very much, in truth, but it does encourage me to add little details about bomb damage and relatively recent architectural repairs due to the Blitz, the occasional weary or snide comment about Germany when that country comes up (which is rare), a higher frequency of paved roads which makes it easier to drive to the various towns themselves rather than being forced to take a train (which would generally be a death sentence for vampires).  Tuminardo may still be a fascist but he is no longer in a fascist city, Nepal's borders reopened in 1951, and there's an increase in telephones (they can call most people directly rather than leaving messages - one of the letters may well be changed into a phone call).  It will also change a few Famous Faces met in the campaign, of course, as they won't be able to meet Tolkien as a professor in the university. 

As it's World of Darkness, I can still include Aleister Crowley as as a Famous Face and bit player.  There are quite a few things in the World of Darkness that could extend his age.  He could be possessed by a Whisperer (little demon from Inferno that whispers in his ear and slowly corrodes his will).  Or perhaps he died from a respiratory infection he came back again as a Sin-Eater (a mutated ghost rests inside him and will keep him alive and dealing with ghosts until he reaches the end of his natural lifespan, which would likely be soon).  Or perhaps a vampire thought he'd be a lot of fun and he was Embraced (your choice of Clan or Covenant).  Even if you know nothing of World of Darkness, VOTE in the Comments box below for what you think would be the best bit of NWoD colour to keep him around.

The other changes I need to make involve integrating the Cthulhu mythos with the World of Darkness.  Now I could just adopt the Cthulhu mythos entirely.  After all, there are already non-Mythos occult creatures in Call of Cthulhu.  Still I want to steer clear of an actual cross over of the two worlds as it wouldn't create the kind of consistency in vibe that I'm going for.  I want to use Call of Cthulhu elements but I want to make sure that it's very much coming out of the World of Darkness.  So I decided to take a look at the different creatures, entities and places already existing in the World of Darkness and see if I could find some parallels.

The three main entities that work well with Tatters of the King are, to my mind, the True Fae, Abyssals, and the Earthbound from Demon: the Fallen (Demon is from old World of Darkness, but oh well, I like it).  There will be a number of entities and locations I need to convert within the campaign.  You may not agree with all of my choices but I hope you find it interesting and thought-provoking.  I don't have space in this article to go into all such conversions but there will be articles upcoming on Hastur, the King in Yellow, Carcosa, and much much more.

I hope you enjoy it.

You can find more articles on this topic over here.

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