Call of Cthulhu – Dead Light

While I spend most weekends playing Vampire: The Masquerda 5th Edition, I also catch up with friends once a month for our regular “Lovecraft Meetup” which we’ve been doing for a number of years now.

We just wrapped up a three year long sandbox campaign and decided to start fresh. The real-world dynamics of the group changed and we thought it an auspicious time to start a fresh campaign.

To that end, friend and fellow ATGN contributor Kris decided to crack open one of the countless Chaosium PDF adventures we’ve been hoarding. I regularly check on DriveThruRPG when sales are taking place and snap up adventures when they are on special, saving them for a rainy day. As such Kris now has quite the collection of modules to run.

One such module was ‘Dead Light‘, written by Alan Bligh with artwork by David Olver and Rebecca Conway.

The storm had been brewing for days and now it hits! Combined with restless, idle youth and the desire for easy money, something has been released out there amid the darkness, the howling wind, and lashing rain.

Dead Light is an adventure scenario for the Call of Cthulhu roleplaying system designed to be played in one or more gaming sessions. An exercise in Lovecraftian-flavored survival horror, the unwitting investigators are caught up in a spiral of terror where only their quick thinking, and courage, will see them through till the clouds clear and a new dawn beckons.

Suitable as a stand alone adventure or as a sidetrack within a larger campaign, Dead Light is set in Lovecraft Country, north of Arkham, during the early 1920s and is ideal for groups of between three to six players.

This is one journey your players will not soon forget.

Conveniently our new campaign is based out of Arkham so it was easy to slot this adventure into the campaign.

Over the years I’ve played a wide variety of characters in Call of Cthulhu, typically something a bit different or a little ‘outside the box’. This time though I thought I’d ham it up and play something completely cliche. I’m playing ‘Ezekiel Frost’ an ex-cop turned detective after he got gunned down on the job. He turned to drugs and alcohol to ease the pain, resulting in his wife leaving him with their daughter. He’s often wearing a long trenchcoat and weathered trilby. Yup, all the tropes in one package.

With the aid of my assistants we were to travel just outside of town and meet with an elderly gentlemen who has acquired some type of ‘relic’. Being that my character has a reputation for investigating the unusual I came highly recommended.

And that’s about all the spoilers I’m going to give you for this adventure!

My party and I managed to complete Dead Light in a little over five hours, allowing for the usual off-topic banter that normally takes place at the gaming table. Being that we’re engaged in a campaign and not a one-shot adventure Kris was very gentle with us when it came to the threats contained within the adventure.

For those not shielded by the safety of a campaign, prepare for your characters to likely meet an early and grisly demise in true Lovecraftian fashion.

The locations and some of the storyline are a little cliche, but only for veteran Cthulhu players. By and large I wasn’t too concerned with the tropes (My character is a walking Cliche), and the story was engaging and interesting.

Nothing was ‘immediately obvious’ and the antagonist for the story was unique and frightening.

Depending on your Storyteller and party composition you can either slow the game down and really investigate, communicate, and explore OR you can charge ahead guns out. The Dead Light module includes a lot of information for a number of different situations and attempts to cater for a multitude of player responses. Which is great, because as any Storyteller/GM will tell you, players are unpredictable at the best of time.

Dead Light can be purchased by itself (and is at the time of writing on special) at DriveThruRPG here. Or you can grab ‘Dead Light and Other Dark Tales’ for a little bit more (again at DriveThruRPG) here.

Considering the budget price for either option I thoroughly recommend throwing Dead Light into your current campaign or giving it a bash as a solo, one-shot adventure. Suitable for both experienced and new players alike.

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