Cthulhu Pathfinder Campaign


Homebrew and House Rules


I want to run a pathfinder campaign set in 1920s Earth, using the Carrion Crown adventure path, set in America, using Cthulhu elements, and then ending the campaign using Rasputin must Die instead of Shadows of Gallowspire.

Wounds and Vitality rules and Sanity Rules would be used, advanced firearms availability and martial proficiency, and Professions would determine starting wealth and bonus class skills in place of traits.

The only allowed races in the campaign would be human and gill folk.

But I'm struggling on trying to determine which classes from the various supplement books (core, ultimate, advanced, occult, etc) should be allowed in the campaign.

Classes allowed so far just by looking over the various books are:

* Brawler
* Cavalier
* Fighter
* Gunslinger
* Investigator
* Rogue
* Slayer
* Swashbuckler

All of the occult classes would be appropriate for the campaign.

I'm also considering allowing

* Alchemist
* Arcanist
* Cleric
* Inquisitor
* Oracle
* Shaman
* Wizard
* Witch

Any other class not listed would need a special review to fit with the setting.

I would love for some suggestions and ideas to help shape the campaign out.


Cthulhu campaigns tend to be dark and gritty full of unknowns. Mystery is probably the most important aspect to any dark horror campaign.

It might help to have the players be part of an organization much like the Pathfinders Organization. A world spanning organization which investigates old ruins and strange mysteries.

If you need ideas there's always the classic H.P Lovecraft books.

If i think of anything more useful i will post it here.


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I'd throw in a suggestion that this campaign might work better as an actual Call of Cthulhu rules system campaign. It's more suited for the sort of feel you might be trying to achieve here.


the new Occult adventures book seems ideal for this


Proto Delta Green (a Call of Cthulhu modern era pair of supplements) agents could work well for what is being proposed. Most likely for U.S. characters are as a part of FBI or Treasury Department agents, with any "rogue" types being members of any of the various mob families (depending on their city of origin).


Lovecraft had psychological horror down to a science.

the storyteller never really dies or is hurt seriously, despite what happened to that person. Its all about seeing or hearing something alien and unknown, and having to live with the knowledge of something so unimaginable.

You could do an entire campaign and not run into one single lethal encounter, and it would be acceptable.


Thank you for the suggestions!

I plan to have the player's characters be part of an organization based in Miskatonic University.

The campaign structure so far is to adapt the Carrion Crown adventure path to 1920s Earth.

***

* The Haunting of Harrowstone would be set in New England.

PCs investigate a haunted abandoned asylum that once was a prison and learn about cult activities.

* The Trial of the Beast would be set in New York.

PCs head to New York due to leads from the first adventure, get caught up in the media frenzy surrounding the trial of a child killer, and learn more secrets.

* The Broken Moon would be set in Colorado.

The PCs head to Colorado due to the events from the second adventure and get involved in werewolf politics, native americans, a military fort, and attempting to stop a occult ritual.

* Wake of the Watcher would be set back in New England, Innsmouth.

The PCs head back to Miskatonic University and follow a new lead about the cult while heading to the town of Innsmouth, and are caught up in the strange events of that town.

* Ashes at Dawn would be set in New Orleans.

The PCs head to New Orleans based on new clues from the previous adventure, encounter another secret society, encounter witch covens and vampire covens, and learn who is the big bad of the campaign.

* Rasputin Must Die would be the final adventure and upgraded to give the PCs a good challenge.

The PCs fly to Siberia/Russia, where they must confront the leader of the cult and stop Rasputin from summoning a elder horror into the world.

***

Coming up with a story and series of creepy adventures isn't the problem. Its the mechanics.

As much as I wouldn't mind using the d20 Call of Cthulhu book (or the BRP rules in general), I want to use the Occult Adventures book and the Pathfinder RPG rules.

The problem I'm facing so far is what classes should be allowed and what classes shouldn't be allowed? Coming up with rules that adapt a Pathfinder RPG game to a 1920s Earth setting.

Rule elements such as Wounds and Vitality rules, Defense bonus to AC due to lack of armor, Sanity Rules, advanced firearms availability and martial proficiency, and Professions would determine starting wealth and bonus class skills in place of traits.

The idea is to use Lovecraftian investigative horror and combine it with pulp action. Like a combination of Hell Boy, the Laundry RPG, Pathfinder RPG, and Trail of Cthulhu.


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I don't think that this kind of adventure can be run with Pathfinder, considering the way levels work.

Pathfinder / D&D characters are far more powerful than Call of Cthulhu ones, so the fear is harder to bring out.


I Think putting a level cap around 3 would be a good start. I am very curious how this turn out. So please remember to come back and tell.


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XLordxErebusX wrote:

Lovecraft had psychological horror down to a science.

...

I like Lovecraft as much as the next geek. But he was never that great.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
JadedDemiGod wrote:

Cthulhu campaigns tend to be dark and gritty full of unknowns. Mystery is probably the most important aspect to any dark horror campaign.

It might help to have the players be part of an organization much like the Pathfinders Organization. A world spanning organization which investigates old ruins and strange mysteries.

If you need ideas there's always the classic H.P Lovecraft books.

If i think of anything more useful i will post it here.

Pathfinder and Cthulhu is really a class of cultures. Pathfinder players go into a session and expect to win. Cthulhu players generate their characters wondering what kind of gore pile they're going to make or what form of sanitarium they'll spend the rest of their days gibbering insanely.

The reason Cthulhu games work the way they do is that the setting is mundane. It's Victorian London, after all. You don't EXPECT to run into zombies, elves, werewolves, and the like whereas for a Pathfinder adventurer such things were last Tuesday's recreation.

Scarab Sages

Alchemist is probably ok. And Hunter if you restrict the animals available.

The bigger problem is what races do you allow. Races with darkvision will make it a lot more difficult. I suppose if it's set in modern times then you might only allow humans.

This site combines d20 modern with pathfinder, and may be useful: I have not tried it http://www.d20modernpf.com/

Another way to improve the horror aspect is to add auras to monsters that otherwise wouldn't have them, like Unnatural Aura , Fear Aura , or the Stagnation Aura . There are other auras that leave player sickened. Even low CR monsters should have auras since they are not of the natural world.

It is difficult to make PCs afraid when there are monsters all over.


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Cap. Darling wrote:
XLordxErebusX wrote:

Lovecraft had psychological horror down to a science.

...

I like Lovecraft as much as the next geek. But he was never that great.

He was great in world building, but I prefer other writers writing in his world.

Kinda like how people enjoy Pathfinder, but prefer the 3PP stuff.


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Have your plans changed now that the new adventure path has been announced?

For your original idea, I would leave out the Kineticist from the rest of the Occult classes available, Human Torch flying around throwing fireballs doesnt really fit the theme. ;)

Regarding the other classes, I would say yes to Alchemist and Witch, maybe to Oracle, Inquisitor, and Shaman, and absolute no to Wizard, Cleric, and Arcanist.


I think a monk would be OK, too. Nothing like a mysterious martial artist with odd abilities to join in a globetrotting expedition.

If I remember the usual fluff around Cthulu-like things, magical stuff is really something to watch out for. You might want to look up guides to a low-magic campaign style. I don't think even at high level you're going to find a +1 Icy Burst Colt M1911A1. (If you do, I have a character in a modern d20-derived campaign who wouldn't mind finding it for herself.)


I'd personally avoid casters and pseudo-casters. Especially paladins, who become immune to fear (seriously?), clerics/oracles, who can heal party members (wounds are supposed to be serious!), and wizards, because they're the most magical. In Cthuluverse, magic is insanity. Going insane is BAAAAAD. Even Investigator, with its pseudo-magical alchemy, could pose a serious problem to flavor.

Basically, "eldritch" is always followed by "horror", which is always followed by "make your sanity check".

Now, a cleric, oracle, or sorcerer enemy wouldn't be out of place.


If you're going for a modern-ish Lovecraftian Pathfinder game, the Classes that'd make sense are:

Fighter
Unchained Rogue
Barbarian
Brawler
Skirmisher Ranger
Cavalier
Monk
Unchained Monk
Ninja
Gunslinger
Swashbuckler
Alchemist
Kineticist
Medium
Mesmerist
Occultist
Psychic
Spiritualist
Inquisitor
Eldritch Scion Magus
Investigator
Sorcerer
Oracle

Races:

Human
Gillman / Throwback
Aasimar / Scion of Humanity
Tiefling
Fetchling
Changeling
Dhampir
Grippli
Oread
Undine
Ifrit
Sylph
Samsaran

---

You'll probably want to make Firearms into Martial Weapons, though don't include Modern Firearms (instead use Early Firearms and set the campaign in the early-to-mid 1800s).

---

Remember that the name of the game with Lovecraft is NOT "Good vs Evil" - that whole mess was Derleth. Lovecraft's higher beings are apathetic to creatures below them (excepting Tsathaggua, who was malignent, and Shub-Niggurath, who could be beneficial), and Elder Gods especially are typically dickish. If the Elder Gods oppose the Great Old Ones, it's because it's a turf war, not because the Elder Gods actually CARE about Humans.

As a result, things like Clerics and Warpriests are not going to be servants Good deities except for extremely rare cases (because most Gods are going to be Neutral or possibly Evil). Since there really aren't any "beneficial" otherworldly beings out there, Shamans, Druids, and Hunters are also thematically not going to fare very well.

Paladins are just hilariously nonexistent for the most part (Lawful GOOD!? HA!)

Sorcerers and Oracles work well enough because Sorcerers drawing their powers from their freakish bloodline fits with Lovecraft's themes well. And Oracles are about uncovering the mysteries of the world. Bloodragers would also work well here, too, because of their Bloodlines, along with Eldritch Scion Magi.

However, these 9th-level casters should probably also carry with them the possibility of going Mad from the Revelations, so keep a close eye on the Madness rules, use the feedback rules from Unchained, etc. Being a Spellcaster in Lovecraft's universe is NOT a pleasant experience usually, and should carry with it SERIOUS problems if they're not extremely careful.

Wizards, Arcanists, Magi, and Witches are all going to be Chaotic, Evil, or at the best Neutral. Divine sources are generally apathetic or malignant, but at least they're coming from an (assumedly) intelligent source; Arcane magic comes from the chaos of the universe itself, and since the Universe itself birthed the horror of Azathoth, Prepared Arcane casters are going to go be twisted and/or go completely batshit.

Unchained Summoners are in a weird place. All at once, they're Spontaneous Casters, but they don't have a Bloodline, AND their Eidolons are the very definition of Eldritch Abominations. I'd also put them in the category of "probably insane and/or heinously evil".

---

Cthulhu Mythos Monsters
B1 choker, ghoul, gibbering mouther, neothelid, shoggoth, skum; B2 chaos beast, denizen of leng, gug, hound of tindalos, leng spider, mu spore, serpentfolk, seugathi, shantak, worm that walks; B3 moon beast, voonith, yithian, zoog; B4 bhole, colour out of space, demon lord dagon, Elder Thing, flying polyp, Great Old Ones, immortal ichor, mi-go, nightgaunt, nightmare creature, spawn of yog-sothoth, star spawn of cthulhu


Gambit wrote:

Have your plans changed now that the new adventure path has been announced?

For your original idea, I would leave out the Kineticist from the rest of the Occult classes available, Human Torch flying around throwing fireballs doesnt really fit the theme. ;)

Regarding the other classes, I would say yes to Alchemist and Witch, maybe to Oracle, Inquisitor, and Shaman, and absolute no to Wizard, Cleric, and Arcanist.

Ha! I just seen that bit of news. I might very well put this campaign on the back burner and see what that new AP introduces, since it pretty much might cover what things I want.


Again thanks for all the suggestions!

Shadow Lodge

I had a thread about Lovecraft in Pathfinder, all the first-party sources for Lovecraftian stuff, and a few of the third-party sources. I haven't updated it in a long time, but there really hasn't been TOO much added since I last looked through it. Lemme see....link.

(Wow, 3 1/2 years old. It might not be as up-to-date as I thought. I might look into revising it soonish, that way when Strange Aeons does come out, it will just need a quick refresh.)


Have you run "Carrion hill"? it's pretty good as a brief Lovecraftian type adventure.


There is a video game called Darkest Dungeon that does a good job of mixing Lovecraft and Adventuring. The heroes you send into the dungeons are as likely to go mad as they are to die in battle


Greylurker wrote:
There is a video game called Darkest Dungeon that does a good job of mixing Lovecraft and Adventuring. The heroes you send into the dungeons are as likely to go mad as they are to die in battle

Sounds like fun.


Turin the Mad wrote:
Greylurker wrote:
There is a video game called Darkest Dungeon that does a good job of mixing Lovecraft and Adventuring. The heroes you send into the dungeons are as likely to go mad as they are to die in battle
Sounds like fun.

it really is.

As player your role is kind of the guy bank rolling the whole thing. You hire adventurers to clean up the mess your ancestor left behind in his quests for unspeakable power. Assemble the party send them into various dungeons and use the wealth they bring back to try and rebuild the town as well as finance more expeditions.

In the dungeons you need to decide things like "Do I keep pushing them to get this quest finished, or do I let them camp for a night and push on tomorrow? How much food do I want to let them take? How many Torches, or maybe I can just let them fumble around in the dark (oddly there is a higher chance they find treasure in the dark, and I do need more money)? That guy is stressed to the max...do we retreat or do we push him a little more and risk him going crazy?"

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