Friday, 24 February 2012

More Props for the Carlton House Mystery

For my main NPCs I've created a couple of photo portraits using Photoshop.

The first NPC is Joseph Williamson Esq.  As land agent for the Earl of Cadogan, the owner of Carlton House (and in fact the whole of St George's Square) he is acting on behalf of his employer in seeking help to solve the mystery of the property.

As you'd expect of such a prominent figure in the Earl's retinue, he is a confident, businesslike and well turned out man about town, reluctant to get his hands too dirty with the whole affair:

My second portrait is of Edmund Gower, Professor of Moral Philosophy at the University of London and President of the Society for Psychical Research.   His character is that of the stereotypical absent-minded but enthusiastic academic.  A single man, he has a modest but well-kempt residence in Bedford Place, Bloomsbury, near to the University.  This is also where the Society for Psychical Research meets once a month.  It is Professor Gower who presents the Players with the task of investigating Carlton House, and acts as intermediary in all dealings with Joseph Williamson:

Thursday, 23 February 2012

The Carlton House Mystery - Keeper Notes

This post really is just a few musings on the Carlton House Mystery, pretty much for my own use.


Main Protagonist: Zedock Maynard (Walter Corbitt)

Secondary Protagonist: Reverend Ezekial Marksham, priest at the Chapel of Contemplation, Nelson Street, Blackheath.  Executor of the last testament of Zedock Maynard (Rev. Michael Thomas in 'The Haunting').

NPC: Joseph Williamson Esq.  Land agent for George, the Fifth Earl Cadogan, owner of Carlton House.

NPC: Edmund Gower, Professor of Moral Philosophy at the University of London and President of the Society for Psychical Research.


Early Spring, 1890 - Scenario begins.

6th December 1889 - Rose Lane goes insane - babbling of 'burning eyes' staring at her.  Committed to Bethlem Royal Hospital (Bedlam).(Macario family in 'The Haunting').

21st October 1889 - John Lane attacks lamp-lighter with knife.  Committed to Bethlem Royal Hospital (Bedlam).

14th May 1885 - Albert Leyton commits suicide in upstairs bedroom.

1879 - Trencher family move into property but leave within a month as all are struck down with serious illness.

1869 - Marchent family move into property, but husband and wife fall ill within a year and family move out.

29th April 1865 - James and Enid Tredman found dead in upstairs bedroom.  Children in nursery in catatonic state. (French immigrants in 'The Haunting').

1856 - Zedock Maynard dies.  Neighbours contest his desire to be buried in the house's cellar.

1844 - Neighbours complain to authorities about Maynard's 'curious habits and unauspicious demeanor'.


Carlton House, St George's Square, Pimlico.

Chapel of Contemplation, Nelson Street, Blackheath.  Closed in 1882 following a criminal investigation into the disappearance of many vagrants in the area (one was a fallen gentleman, prompting the investigation).

New Scotland Yard: Information about closure of Chapel of Contemplation, and conviction of Reverend Ezekial Marksham.

The Principle Registry, High Holborn, London.  Information about the will of Zedock Maynard.

Westminster Reference Library, St Martins' Street, London (Chinatown).  References in local newspapers and penny sheets to the history of Carlton House, including law suits brought against Zedock Maynard.

The London Standard (factitious), Fleet Street, London.  Newspaper articles about previous incidents at Carlton House.

Bethlem Royal Hospital, St George's Fields, Southwark.  Where John and Rose Lane are committed.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Another 'Carlton House Mystery' Prop

I've completed another newspaper cutting for the Carlton House Mystery.  This one took me a lot longer as I wanted to include a photo, and build in the newspaper banner.  Both were a little fiddly but I think were worth the effort:-

What I can't work out right now is how to get rid of the black border on the right hand side.  I might post on Yog Sothoth asking for help.

Monday, 20 February 2012

On A Roll - My First Newspaper Article

I've just finished another handout for 'The Carlton House Mystery, my Gaslight version of 'The Haunting'.  I found a really nice old newspaper font (strangely enough called Old Newspaper) and used it along with a suitable background texture to create this:-

I'll need a few more of these to tell more of the story of Carlton House if the players do any newspaper research, and maybe I'll drop in a few more spooky touches into those.

Yog Sothoth Sigil

I finally produced a Photoshop'd image that I'm reasonably happy with for my version of the Call of Cthulhu scenario 'The Haunting'.

Caught in the light of a player's oil lantern and freshly daubed in red paint on the site of the ruins of the Chapel of Contemplation, the party will find:-

I'm quite happy with it, although it could be improved by some drips or similar.  It does look a little artificial.  Still, I think it's better than simply scanning the image from the CoC rulebook.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Cthulhu Play By Post Rules

While waiting for my Photoshop purchase to arrive, I've was thinking about 'The Carlton House Mystery', my proposed Cthulhu By Gaslight adaptation of the classic introductory scenario 'The Haunting'.

Firstly, having never run a Cthulhu scenario, either face-to-face or Play by Post (PBP), I've been thinking about the best way to run the posting regime.  I've looked at a couple of forums and the games played PBP within them, and have decided on the following recommendations for Player players:-
  1. All posts should start with the posting Character's name in bold typeface.
  2. Any names in posts should be written in bold typeface.
  3. Out of character text in an' in character' post should be in red typeface.
  4. Any speech should be in blue typeface.
  5. Any in-character thoughts should be in green typeface.
  6. If a Player neglects to post for a period of 3 days when a post is required by the narrative I will post on behalf of that Player.  This is purely to keep the game moving and I will do my best to keep the character out of harm's way.
  7. All character die rolls should be made at http// with a link to the result included in the post.  Please don't attempt to interpret any die rolls once they're made, unless specifically instructed. 
I hope this doesn't sound too restrictive and that it doesn't lead to too many multi-coloured posts.  

Friday, 10 February 2012

A Slight Delay

Keen as I am to start running the Carlton House Mystery, I'm also wanting to do it justice with some nice online props/handouts.

I'm therefore planning to create some using Photoshop, but the learning curve with that program is quite steep, as I've been finding out.   To help me along I've ordered a copy of  'Photoshop for Dummies', which is now on it's way to me, and I'm hoping it's more useful than a lot of the online tutorials I've found.  These all seem to be aimed at people who already have some competence in the program, rather than absolute beginners like me.

Hence a slight delay in commencing the scenario while I get to grips with things.  But better to get it right, than get it quick!  

Tuesday, 7 February 2012


Being new to the actual stories of HP Lovecraft I just read Celephais for the first time.  Wow, the great man in poetic mode!

What a beautiful story, and a surprising one at that.  The common perception of Lovecraft, and I confess to previously falling into this category myself, is that he wrote dark, dense tales of horror and madness.  Well, this had madness for sure, but in a moving story.  Yes, it ended in death but a poetic and rather touching ending nonetheless.

Great stuff.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Player Handouts for the Carlton House Mystery - Contains SPOILERS!

What I love most about Call of Cthulhu is the atmosphere of the game.

To my mind this can only be helped by the provision to the characters of well-crafted handouts and player aids.  With that in mind I've set about making a list of the various items I could produce for the Carlton House Mystery, and so far I've come up with the following:-

  1. A floor plan of the property, suitably 'in period'.  Not sure at this stage if it'll go beyond the structural details.
  2. Police report on the raid on the Chapel of Contemplation.
  3. Newspaper articles about previous incidents at the house.
  4. A photoshop'd image of the symbol found at the site of the Chapel of Contemplation.
Actually that's quite a lot of effort but hopefully it'll be worthwhile doing, and in creating these handouts I'm hoping to learn some very useful skills which will carry through into other adventures.

First task is to get the symbol image done.  Never really having used Photoshop before I'm sure that won't be as easy as it looks, so I'll be looking up so PS tutorials.  Have to start somewhere though!

Sunday, 5 February 2012

The Carlton House Mystery Goes Live

My own adaptation of the introductory Call of Cthulhu RPG scenario, which I've renamed the Carlton House Mystery, has gone live on RPOL.

Hopefully I'll start getting requests to join the game from some good candidates soon.