Paizo Top Nav Branding
  • Hello, Guest! |
  • Sign In |
  • My Account |
  • Shopping Cart |
  • Help/FAQ
About Paizo Messageboards News Paizo Blog Help/FAQ
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game
Pathfinder Society

Pathfinder Beginner Box

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game

Pathfinder Comics

Pathfinder Legends

RPG Superstar 2015

Age of Worms meets Call of Cthulhu: Any Forseeable Problems?


Age of Worms Adventure Path

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I am currently running Shackled City and my party is hurtling toward the end and will be hungry for another game right away. Naturally, I have been waiting with baited breath to run Age of Worms as a followup. However, yesterday, a wonderful idea came to me. My group of players are not hard core D&D fans, they like some variety, so my mind fell on Call of Cthulhu d20. I did a thorough read through of the AoW Overload synopsis and made some preliminary conversion notes. I merged Diamond Lake, the Free City and Alhaster into a single location and placed the setting in the 1920s in an isolated city of my own creation.

My question then, is if I run a fairly literal adaptation of this campaign, are there any major issues that may crop up? I know CoC characters are underpowered compared to D&D characters but given a little buff and edge they shouldn't die more than most CoC characters. But are there story elements that might come up that work great in D&D but wouldn't fit in CoC? Anything that will require major rewriting?

I had my doubts about the whole tournament thing but I decided to turn it into a kind of underground bloodsport competition run by mafia types. I'm still not sure about the smoothness of conversion for the whole Champion's Belt chapter.

The campaign has everything a great CoC campaign should have. A dark cult, a dead god returning, ancient alien ruins, remote archeological sites, bizzare creatures, vampires, possible destruction of the world, etc. The Lovecraftian elements of AoW is what drew me to the three Dungeon APs to begin with and I really can't wait to run this series. Any suggestions or words of warning from those who have run it would be greatly appreciated.


A very interesting concept to be sure. I'm a veteran CoC player, a Lovecraft afficianado, and deep in the middle of running my own AoW game. I really like your idea and, while I can only imagine the legwork it will take, would be glad to proffer some suggestions.

First of all, make Diamond Lake a small town outside of the Free City equivalent. It's meant to be a dirty, small, boring town where the PCs are desperate to leave. With a little bit of conversion it becomes a run down old mining town, with a dark cult, an ancient wizard's burial ground, and a host of conniving hicks. Look to Dunwich or Innsmouth for inspiration. Merging it with the Free City risks making the PC's irrelevant.

Certainly play up the exploration aspect of the adventures as well. With the Whispering Cairn there are a lot of good opportunities to turn it into a creepy, haunted place where those who pry too deep risk losing their mind.

The Three Faces of Evil and others are combat heavy adventures; dungeon crawls in a pure sense. Not bad adventures, but for a group wielding six-shooters and fedoras it will prove to be highly lethal with little exploration. I'd add some non-combat mysteries and tone down the enemies. The temple of Hextor doesn't need to have a giant boar and so many tieflings - a pack of guard dogs fills those roles nicely. The labyrinth of Vecna is a great CoC dungeon - even looking at the walls drives you mad. But instead of having so many Kenku in it, limit their numbers or replace them with a strange beast that haunts the labyrinth.

In general, replace some iconic DnD monsters with iconic CoC beasts. Lizardmen become Serpent People. Undead Dragons become Haunters in the Dark.

Figure out as well who Allustan and other high-level NPCs become. CoC does not have any "friendly wizards," and so replacing them with a Theron Marks or Professor Armitage might be a good way to give PC's advice without having to explain magical proficiencies. 1920's technology can help fill the gap that some of the NPCs leave without magic.

Overall, it will be up to you to manage the tone. If the players want a horror campaign, give it to them. As their characters start to go mad from knowing too much, I'm sure the players will bite on the overall story and plunge into unravelling the plot of the Elder God Kyuss.

And of course - add in some extra ancient tomes or dusty manuscripts. You know you're doing your job right when the players are terrified of reading a book for fear of insanity but know they need to anyway.

Liberty's Edge

Thank you for those suggestions on the early chapters. My custom created city of Morwich, a city I created for a Lovecraftian film project last year, is like an Arkham only is situated in the remote mountains of western Maine. Perhaps a nearby small mill town would be a better idea for Diamond Lake. I was just trying to keep things contained in a smaller area. Morwich is not super huge, definitely nowhere near as large as the Free City.

The Whispering Cairn became a haunted and abandoned mill complex in some weed chocked field outside of the city. I love those ideas for Three Faces of Evil and will definitely incorporate them. I have only done cursory reads of the adventures beyond the AoW Overload synopsis so any and all suggestions are welcome and encouraged.

I changed the Blackwall Keep to a small town nearby called Blackstone, a place created by one of the Morwich filmmakers as a setting for a story, and the lizardmen into savage native americans out of the mountains. Illthane became a twisted forest spirit. The Spire of Long Shadows became a strange cyclopean ruin on a remote island off the coast of Maine. Allustan and friends became a university professor that later are revealed to be a secret cabal of wizards, blurring the lines between good and evil there. Rift Valley became a remote archeological site deep in the mountains inhabited by more savage native americans and the dragons are some kind of winged mythos beast of the same breed as Illthane. I haven't decided how to handle Dragotha yet, probably some kind of ancient aztec mummy type character. Lashonna and company remain vampires because vampires are cool.

I'm trying to keep the conversion fairly literal as the material that is in AoW is amazing and don't want to change too much. I am interested in keeping it a fairly loyal horror CoC campaign with a kind of pulp adventure/action feel to some of it for variety. Any additional suggestions would be awesome.

Below are the preliminary conversion notes I made.

Spoiler:

Call of Cthulhu: Age of Worms

In 1922 in the city of Morwich an ancient evil force is rising. A cult of unspeakable evil is seeking to unleash their master and bring a new age to the world.

Part 1: The Whispering Cairn [1-2]
A group of investigators plunges into an old mill is an effort to uncover the bizarre haunting taking place there. The trail of clues, however, quickly leads from the crumbling mill to vile grave robber and dark sorcerer living in the city.

Part 2: The Three Faces of Evil [3-4]
Clues uncovered previously lead the investigators first to Allustan, a scholar working at the prestigious Morwich University. The clues then lead to a dark cult with ties to the rich and powerful of the city.

Part 3: Encounter at Blackwall Keep [5-6]
The investigators accompany Allustan to the town of Blackstone only to discover the place has been overrun by insane savages from the mountains. The investigators take off into the forest after the Native Americans and soon find their village. Clues discovered may point the blame at a malevolent forest spirit known as Illthane. Back in Blackstone the investigators learn of a horrid creature stalking the streets and that it may have been corrupted by the entity from the mountains.

Part 4: The Hall of Harsh Reflections [7-8]
The investigators enlist the help of Eligos, the dean of Morwich University. However, a vicious attack by gangsters soon distracts them from their investigations and the trail of the attacks leads to a bizarre psychic crime lord with his influence all over the city.

Part 5: The Champion’s Belt [9-10]
The investigators reveal a bizarre ritual intended to release a powerful entity known only as “The Apostle.” They learn their patrons from Morwich University may, in fact, be a cabal of warlocks. The investigators infiltrate an underground bloodsport competition in an effort to get to the bottom of the ritual and encounter the alien being.

Part 6: A Gathering of Winds [11-12]
The investigators finally encounter the forest entity Illthane in the very streets of the city and learn that it is merely the pawn of something more powerful called Dragotha. The investigators then plunge back into the haunted mill to find Allustan and discover an ancient alien complex beneath it. There they discover an ancient artifact and Allustan points the group finally to his patron.

Part 7: The Spire of Long Shadows [13-14]
The investigators return to Blackstone to meet with the enigmatic leader of the secret cabal of wizards. He connects the cult that was destroyed earlier and Dragotha. He then tells of an archeological expedition from before the Great War that explored a remote island off the coast. Upon arrival at the island a strange, lost city and alien ruins are discovered and explored. The investigators learn of the ancient sorcerer king who sacrificed himself to become something much more sinister.

Part 8: The Prince of Redhand [15-16]
The investigators return to Blackstone and are pointed back to Morwich to follow clues. They infiltrate a dinner party held by the city’s rich and powerful. They meet Lashonna and recover a vital clue about the failed archeological expedition from ten years ago.

Part 9: The Library of Last Resort [17]
The investigators meeting with Lashonna reveals stories of a site deep in the mountains known as Rift Canyon and the secrets to destroying Dragotha, the being behind the events that have transpired lately. Investigating the site is dangerous and wrought with peril but reveals the location of an ancient Native American site and hiding place of Dragotha’s soul.

Part 10: Kings of the Rift [18]
The investigators plunge into the native ruins and are forced to contend with insane savages and horrible beasts that are converging on the site. With Dragotha’s phylactery in hand the investigators escape.

Part 11: Into the Wormcrawl Fissure [19]
The investigators plunge into the deepest parts of Rift Canyon in a last ditch effort to destroy Dragotha. They are forced to contend with vile aberrations and then redeem the ghost of a former archeologist to enter the ancient ruins. Inside they uncover the true masters of the cult in Morwich, a cabal of vampires under the command of Lashonna. A final climactic confrontation with Dragotha ensues but it is clear the black monolith has been taken by Lashonna and brought back to Morwich.

Part 12: Dawn of a New Age [20]
The investigators finally return to Morwich and must contend with Lashonna’s vampires before emerging into the city. They discover the place is overrun with aberrations and the walking dead and an alien spire now sits in the middle of the city. There they confront Lashonna but not before she raises the Worm That Walks from the black monolith. The battle is fierce atop the alien spire with the fate of the world hanging in the balance.


It sounds like you've got a pretty good handle on it. Pulp is definitely the way to go - if you stay too true to CoC roots your party will be dead long before they even begin to unravel the greater scheme.

As for Blackwell Keep, I like the idea of a mad Native tribe in the hills. You may also look to the Whisperer in the Darkness as a model for an adventure - a small mining camp or old hotel besieged by the Alien MiGo who are trying to get at the strange creature locked beneath it. It will change the adventure a bit but is definitely classic Cthulhu.

What rule system are you planning on using? I always loved the d20 Cthulhu magic model and the way players could learn spells through study. I figure there are any number of places a party could learn spells, either from the walls of the Whispering Cairn to even etched in the bronze markings of the Champion's Belt.

What have you done with the NPCs? The Free City Champions would be a lot of fun to transfer into a more modern setting, as would some of the later villains.

Liberty's Edge

I never liked the CoC rules. I tried to play the sixth edition but felt the rules only supported one style of play and fell apart is a player tried to munchkin even a little. However, I absolutely loved the d20 conversion and have successfully run a campaign using it. My other thought was that using d20 would allow me to meld some of the rules behind the screen and dramatically cut down my need for conversion. The Apostle shows up ready for blood and I've already got the stats all good to go.

I will also be allowing the psychic feats from that book to give some character variety. I'll probably only end up with one psychic but I like to give character options, especially in a game like this where all of the characters are pretty much the same mechanically. I haven't decided yet but will likely include some feats and character options from d20 Modern and d20 Modern: Past, again, just to give a little variety.

Beyond the preliminary notes I haven't done much specific conversion work. I know I want Allustan to be a professor at the local university and Eligos is the dean. However, it is later discovered they are secretly a cabal of warlocks working counter to Dragotha and the Ebon Triad's plans.

When it comes to the whole Champion's Belt section I'm thinking of an underground bare knuckle fighting type thing. Kind of Fight Club-ish. Not sure how I'm going to do the specific encounters but I will probably change the arena to an abandoned mill complex that the party can explore when they're not engaged in fisticuffs elsewhere.


EATERoftheDEAD wrote:
I am currently running Shackled City and my party is hurtling toward the end and will be hungry for another game right away. Naturally, I have been waiting with baited breath to run Age of Worms as a followup. However, yesterday, a wonderful idea came to me. My group of players are not hard core D&D fans, they like some variety, so my mind fell on Call of Cthulhu d20. I did a thorough read through of the AoW Overload synopsis and made some preliminary conversion notes. I merged Diamond Lake, the Free City and Alhaster into a single location and placed the setting in the 1920s in an isolated city of my own creation.

You know... something you might want to consider is placing the game in the area around Death Valley during the early 1900's. Some place like Bullfrog might work for Diamond Lake, Panamint City might substitute for Alhaster, and Rhyolite might substitute nicely for Free City.

You may have to play around a little with the timeline, or make up some city names yourself. However, I think Death Valley might make an interesting setting for your campaign.

Liberty's Edge

You should keep the ghoul lord in Gathering of Winds. He's creepy!

The Faceless One is a perfect cult leader too!

I'm not sure about the native american savages though...what about degenerate hillbillies?

Liberty's Edge

I'm putting the game into a city and area of my own creation, a city called Morwich, so that my players will have a little more familiarity since they already know the setting. Morwich is an isolated mill city in the mountains of western Maine. Diamond lake is going to become a small mill town nearby called Kingston Falls. Blackwall Keep is going to become a nearby hamlet called Blackstone. The Free City and Alhaster will both become Morwich.

I kind of liked the stereotyped native american savages. I don't know why that concept appealed to me so much. I could make them degenerate hillbillies easily. However, the inhabitants of Rift Valley would still need to be native americans since the location is so remote.

I have the background written up so now I am on to a conversion of the setting. If there is interest I can start a thread here with my conversions.


Xuttah wrote:

You should keep the ghoul lord in Gathering of Winds. He's creepy!

The Faceless One is a perfect cult leader too!

I'm not sure about the native american savages though...what about degenerate hillbillies?

Lovecraft is steeped with all manner of savage natives, degenerate immigrants, and other overtly racist tones. While it is certainly not PC, savage natives fits in very well with basics of Call of Cthulhu.

The same is said for a few hillbilly wizards who lurk in the hills and summon - dire - things. Perhaps the Land family was not killed by the plague? Perhaps the thing that lurks in their house is the cast-off remenant of their misbegotten magics that damned their son to haunt this world and killed the rest of them?

Liberty's Edge

While I am not even remotely a racist person I did think that the racist stereotype fit in well with the tone that existed in lots of Lovecraft's stories. It doesn't matter if it's PC, I think, I'm just going to be playing it with my friends. It's not like it's a novel that I'll be publishing or something.

I like the sound of the rest of that. I think I might use it. I wasn't sure what to do with the whole owlbrear in the graveyard bit. I like the sound of what you said, however.

This dialogue has been quite beneficial. I am getting so many cool ideas from this. Lets keep it rolling, shall we?

The savages worship some enigmatic and dark spirit of the forest. A thing known only as Illthane. The mortals are quickly dispatched but the vengeance of their god is not so easily shunned.

Scarab Sages

EATERoftheDEAD wrote:
When it comes to the whole Champion's Belt section I'm thinking of an underground bare knuckle fighting type thing. Kind of Fight Club-ish. Not sure how I'm going to do the specific encounters but I will probably change the arena to an abandoned mill complex that the party can explore when they're not engaged in fisticuffs elsewhere.

You're right. That whole chapter needs to be a lot more low-key.

The fantasy genre supports giant ampitheatres with gladiatorial games, but you'd never get away with it in modern setting.

Check out Jet Li's 'Undefeated' for some scenes of an underground fight circuit. Small gatherings of trainers, and people 'in the know'.

Just don't drop the f********h on them, that really would be taking the piss!

Liberty's Edge

The Snorting Tip-sniffer wrote:
Check out Jet Li's 'Undefeated' for some scenes of an underground fight circuit. Small gatherings of trainers, and people 'in the know'.

Do you, perhaps, mean Unleashed/Danny the Dog? If so that could work quite well though I was thinking of something more in the vein of Fight Club.

Scarab Sages

EATERoftheDEAD wrote:
Do you, perhaps, mean Unleashed/Danny the Dog? If so that could work quite well though I was thinking of something more in the vein of Fight Club.

Duh; yes, that's what I meant. Some small event that could fit in an abandoned warehouse.

Thinking on it, it could be a good film to watch for another reason.
Bob Hoskins performance is nasty; he'd make a good Balabar Smenk.
Toned down, it could maybe be a good match for the relationship between Smenk and Kullen? The PCs may think Kullen redeemable, if they could break his puppy-like dependency on Smenk, and his tendency to view him as a father-figure?

Paizo / Messageboards / Paizo Publishing / Older Products / Dungeon Magazine / Age of Worms Adventure Path / Age of Worms meets Call of Cthulhu: Any Forseeable Problems? All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.
Recent threads in Age of Worms Adventure Path

©2002–2014 Paizo Inc.®. Need help? Email customer.service@paizo.com or call 425-250-0800 during our business hours: Monday–Friday, 10 AM–5 PM Pacific Time. View our privacy policy. Paizo Inc., Paizo, the Paizo golem logo, Pathfinder, the Pathfinder logo, Pathfinder Society, GameMastery, and Planet Stories are registered trademarks of Paizo Inc., and Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Pathfinder Player Companion, Pathfinder Modules, Pathfinder Tales, Pathfinder Battles, Pathfinder Online, PaizoCon, RPG Superstar, The Golem's Got It, Titanic Games, the Titanic logo, and the Planet Stories planet logo are trademarks of Paizo Inc. Dungeons & Dragons, Dragon, Dungeon, and Polyhedron are registered trademarks of Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc., and have been used by Paizo Inc. under license. Most product names are trademarks owned or used under license by the companies that publish those products; use of such names without mention of trademark status should not be construed as a challenge to such status.