The Chaosium Digest

The Chaosium Digest supports the role-playing games produced by Chaosium Inc. and all content is fan submitted. Begun in 1994 by Shannon Appelcline who passed it to myself in 2000 and previously distributed via email, this is the newest incarnation of the Chaosium Digest. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Chaosium Digest Classics: Family Snapshots

A Tale of Terror for Call of Cthulhu by Nick Middleton, ©2002
Originally presented in Chaosium Digest Volume 38, Number 7, Sunday, November 13, 2004

"The sense of isolation inspires
Inspires me"
Intruder, Peter Gabriel

Celia Anderson is an occultist of dubious reputation and an aquaintance of the Investigators. Possibly, they have crossed paths with her on a previous case. She is an independently educated orphan. Now in her mid thirties, short brown hair sternly cut, always conservatively but durably attired, with a steely gaze and brusque demeanor. She has never been convicted of any wrongdoing and the investigators have no reason to believe she is a cultist, although she certainly has a reputation for sharp practice and a lack of concern over the fate of others. There are dark rumours regarding the ultimate fate of some artifacts known to have come in to her possession and questions have been raised amongst informed Occultists as to the sorts of  clients Ms. Anderson works for.

Ideally, Ms. Anderson should be introduced as a peripheral character some sessions before the Keeper intends to run this Tale, and certainly, Ms. Anderson's formidable Occult knowledge and academic training might be of some assistance to the Investigators in a preceding case. Even so, the request to visit her at her family home should come as an intriguing surprise, one they will be willing to take up.

The Investigators will no doubt wish to do some research before they visit Ms. Anderson at home and the invitation should allow them a day or so for such footwork. What they discover depends on which option the Keeper has chosen (see below), but with such limited time only the facts of public record will be revealed before the Investigators have to make their way to the house. It is an aristocratic pile, clearly over a century old (at least in origin) and some what isolated, although sharp-eyed investigators will note that a telephone line and electricity have been installed. A skeleton domestic staff of three is retained but is obviously not capable of maintaining the house and grounds.

Ms. Anderson will be as genial a host as she knows how, although it is clear that much of the house (and grounds) is out of use, and she will freely admit that she doesn't use the house much anymore. In fact, she intends to sell the place soon, which brings her to the reason she invited the Investigators: there is a collection of Occult material (books and artifacts) that has accumulated in the house over the years, some her late father's, some her late brother's and some her own. Since the house is to be sold, she intends to dispose of the collection but chose to consult acknowledged experts (the Investigators) before approaching an auction house. In the field of the Occult and Paranormal, there are risks to any such disposal. Right on cue, the power (and phone) lines are cut, plunging the house into darkness...

Ms. Anderson has not been entirely frank with the Investigators. Her father was a minor Mythos Sorcerer who dabbled and taught his children a little magic. She and her brother George found particular use for the spell, Keenness of Two Alike, especially after their father disappeared and they had to fend for themselves. Unfortunately, George had a particularly gruesome set of experiences in the War and became more than a little unhinged. Ms. Anderson had him institutionalized and is selling the collection and house to be rid of the memories and to generate enough capital for a trust fund to pay for his care indefinitely.

1) She then intends to move away and change her name. Unfortunately, one of the Occult items is a mirror made from Glass of Leng which the Anderson children used as a focus for their spells and which George has used as a target for the other spell he knows, Wandering Soul... George has thus discovered his sister's callous plans and come to wreak revenge on her and all those whom he perceives as helping her. He knows the house and grounds intimately and has the ingenuity, agility, endurance and strength of the insane. He will stalk the inhabitants of the house, beginning with servants, then the investigators, then his Sister. He will also attempt to retrieve the Mirror (which is part of the collection the Investigators were viewing). Both the mirror and his sister are tokens for which George MIGHT bargain.

2) Unfortunately for Miss Anderson and the Investigators, Anderson senior has returned. Or rather, he never left, since his offspring caused his disappearance. Whilst scrying through his magical Mirror of Leng, Anderson Senior's body remained seated in his chair, apparently studying the mirror. When George attempted to shoot his father he was horrified to see the bullet, having passed through his father, smash the mirror. Rather than scatter glass fragments it splashed like quicksilver over Anderson Senior and George. George fled, irrevocably insane, and the quicksilver absorbed Anderson Senior's body. It was forced into the cellar by Ms. Anderson where it has remained, trapped by an electric barrier. Ms. Anderson made the mistake of telling Daddy her plans yesterday and "it" has been desperately calling out for its missing part that was absorbed into George. Now George is home and has cut the power...

3) Unfortunately for the Investigators, Ms. Anderson is a minor Sorcerer and her staff are cultists. Driven mad by her father's experiments with magic and estranged from her devoted brother George by his experiences in the War, she has studied the Mythos too deeply. When George discovered what she was up to he attempted to stop her, but she managed to bribe the right people and he was institutionalized. Fortunately, a pair of his friends managed to intervene to ensure he was not badly treated. They have played a watching game until word of Ms. Anderson's intention to sell the house reached them. Rightly assuming that she intends to disappear to pursue her unspeakable interests elsewhere, George has been sprung from incarceration and he and his two friends have decided to assault the house, capture Celia and destroy as much as possible. George, although not entirely stable, will not initially intend to kill his sister. She, on the other hand, will be prepared to let everyone die (and will summon magical aid to achieve this) if she gets the chance. Although ideally a paranoid stand-off between George and his companions and the Investigators should be arranged before any violence ensues, but after Celia has managed to start the calling of a servitor...

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Chaosium Digest Classics: Vehicle Building Rules

by Dany St. Pierre
Originally published in The Chaosium Digest Volume 32, Number 11, Saturday, December 23, 2000

Although CoC has rules for vehicles it doesn't include rules for building them. I`ve bashed together some quick rules for constructing and driving simple vehicles in my CoC game.

The player has the right to have a normal car for free in the beginning of the game, The Keeper may also simply assign a maximum of points for a player to spend (a total equal to the INT of the PC is a good guideline).


TYPE                      BASE COST BY MPH     ADDITIONAL COST
Ground vehicle           1 pt. per 10 MPH
Submarine                  1 pt. per 10 MPH             Adaptability +6*
Boat                           1 pt. per 5 MPH
Helicopter                  1 pt. per 10 MPH              Hover +2
Tunneler                     1 pt. per 1 MPH             +2 for each class of protection above 1*
                                                                           Adaptability +3*
Airplane                     1 pt. per 20 MPH
Supersonic aircraft   16 pts for mach 1             +2 for additional mach, Adaptability +3*


SIZE RANGE       (BRP) SIZE      EXAMPLE                     PROTECTION
20 kg to 200 kg     (7 to 24)           Motorcycle/scooter          6 points
436kg to 733kg     (33 to 39)         Small car                          8 points
1 ton to 3 ton         (45 to 55)         Helicopter/limousine         10 points
4 ton to 10 ton       (60 to 70)         Truck/light tank                12 points
                                                      DC2 and 3/Ford trimotor

*Adaptability protects the pilot or driver from hostile environments.
-- Submarine: underwater preassure and asphyxiation.
-- Tunneling: heat and asphyxiation.
-- Supersonic aircraft: high altitude and asphyxiation.


Sports car                       2/10 of maximum speed                                   +20%
Common car                   1/10 of maximum speed                                     +0%
Limousine                       1/10 of maximum speed                                    -10%
Pickup truck, van            1/10 of maximum speed                                    -10%
Light Tank                      1/10 of maximum speed                                    -10%
Police car                        2/10 of maximum speed                                   +20%
Standard plane                2/10 of maximum speed                                     +0%
Combat plane                  4/10 of maximum speed                                   +20%


Gain +1% to Investigator's Piloting skill per 10 mph the plane has of superior speed (x2 if you have a combat plane and your opponent has an ordinary one). If you win a contest of skill you have the right to shoot your foe with your weapons. When a vehicle has taken a total of 20 points of damage beyond it's defense it is considered out of action. It has to be fixed or replaced.


An investigator can ram a foe, using the mass and speed of his vehicle to do damage. Each 10 mph does 1D6 of damage. A vehicle of size 7 to 24 has a 1D6 of basic damage, 33 to 39 2D6, 45 to 55 3D6 and 60 to 70 4D6. The vehicle takes 1/6 of the damage done. The vehicle's protection counts toward this damage.


Hitting curb, obstacle or pedestrian -20%
Hitting lose debris -5%
Light rain, gravel on road -5%
Heavy rain, light snow, oil on road -10%
Heavy snow or ice -20%
Colliding or sideswiping any vehicle or large object (shoggoth) -30%
Losing a Tire -25%


In simple terms, the Model T changed the world. It was a powerful car with a possible speed of 50 mph and ran 25 miles on a gallon of gasoline. It had a 20 horsepower side-valve four-cylinder engine, two-speed planetary transmission and a 100 inch wheelbase. Important to the long-term success of the Model T was Childe Harold Will's experiments with the properties of vanadium steel which resulted in the lightness and durability that was an important trademark of the Model T.

TYPE: ordinary car WEIGHT: 1 ton(45) SPACE: 1 driver 3 passengers
SPEED: 50 mph PROTECTION: 10 COST: (5+10):15

These are little two-seater convertibles for the fast lane drivers. If speed is your need, look no further. The Stutz is a four-speed, 150 mph joyride. No actor or actress will be caught in anything less.

TYPE: sport car WEIGHT: 733kg(39) SPACE: 1 driver 1 passengers
SPEED: 150 mph PROTECTION: 8 COST: (15+8):23

The L6500 cargo carrier is one of several Mercedes-Benz trucks that saw considerable use. The cargo area is open for ease of loading and unloading, although a canvas top is often added to provide some protection from the weather. With a cargo capacity of roughly 5,900kg, its the reliable workhorse you use to transport the lost ark or the bizarre altar with strange glyphs on it.

TYPE: truck WEIGHT: 6 ton(60) SPACE: 1 driver 1 passengers
SPEED: 80 mph PROTECTION: 12 COST: (8+12):20

This highly effective British design, dating from 1929 was developed by Vickers. The MKIIa is notable in that it is designed to be crewed by only two individuals. One serves as driver, the others as commander/gunner. With a maximum 10mm of armor, the MKIIa is a light, maneuverable vehicle, perfectly suited to shoot-and-scout situations, or infantry support roles. The MKIIa's main armament is two 303 caliber Vickers heavy machine guns (ROF:20 shots:250 range:110 yards malf:99-98-85) increasing the vehicle's effectiveness against infantry or Cthulhu cultists.

TYPE: light tank WEIGHT: 10 ton(70) SPACE: 1 driver 1 passengers
SPEED: 40 mph PROTECTION: 12+8 COST: (4+20):24

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That is not Dead Which can Eternal Lie...

It's been a while but I'm trying to make a comeback.

I'm not going to bore you with the details but let's just say a mix of new job and sundry other things led to me spemding my time and focus elsewhere. I've been wanting to get back here for a while and now, as the signs of Autumn appear even here in California and Halloween approaches, my mind is turning back to the eldritch horrors we all know and love.

I've still got a ton of Chaosium Digest Classics to get posted and I'll be working to get them here as time allows. I'm also open for submissions from any readers that find their way back here. As always, you retain full rights to your work. By submitting, you're just allowing me to post the work in this or future iterations of the Digest.

I'm off now to get the next installment of Chaosium Digest Classics together and posted. I expect to have it up later today, baring any unforseen distractions. I'm going to try and keep to weekly updates. I'll have to see if any particular day works out to be best.

In any case, if you like what you read here, spread the word and feel free to drop me a line.