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Dark Designs PDF

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Occult Terrors in 1890s England

Here are three scenarios for 1890s Call of Cthulhu. All are set in southern England. Though they might form a mini-campaign, no necessary link connects them.

Opposite the Introduction, selected London locations are superimposed on a Baedeker plan of main streets and railways of the era. The darkest printing points to locations in the scenarios. Most locations are shown enough that keepers may need no other reference.

1890s Investigators

Near the end of this book are copies of the guide to 1890s investigators, a summary for generating player-characters. These facing pages are unusually complete, since players often neglect to bring their own rulesbooks just when multiple rulebooks would be most useful. The keeper may have to explain the significance of particular skills and answer general questions, but photocopying (or removing and passing around the extra set of instructions), should greatly speed generation.

This guide differs in minor ways with the Gaslight investigator-creation chapters. No conflict should be assumed. However, Dark Designs uniformly raises investigators to Upper Class status, to insulate them from day-to-day monetary need.

Britain in the 1890s is still a class-bound land, where money and power often reflect from aristocratic birth or
connections. Doors are closed arbitrarily then, opportunity is very limited, and unwritten prohibitions about crossing class lines are often enforced by the police. Though some might enjoy playing Lower Class investigators in such a situation, many others may not enjoy being told "No!" again and again. Either the players are interested in the problem and become very ingenious or else the keeper makes special allowance. So might we generally.

In these scenarios the importance of Credit Rating has been emphasized. This is hinted at in H.P. Lovecraft's Arkham, but there investigators could be presumed no better than they ought to be, dubious sorts probably new to town. The investigators in Dark Designs are native to Britain or the Commonwealth, have lifelong friends and associates in England, and are rich enough to want to protect their status. Credit Rating is a two-edged sword in a small society, and aristocratic London is small, a few thousands of people, with several thousands more of income equal to or greater than the investigators'. A loss of much Credit Rating within this comparatively small circle is a loss of contacts, friendships, connections, entry, and cachet. Simply put, there life is easy with good reputation, and Credit Rating is a thing to protect.

NOTE: This purchase also entitles you to download of an 11 x 27" map of southern England & Wales and a 16 x 22" map of Central London c. 1897.

THIS IS A DOWNLOADABLE BOOK. By David Hallett, Kevin W. Jacklin, L.N. Isinwyll; cover art by Lee Gibbons. 8.5 x 11, 256 pages, Illustrated, downloadable, watermarked PDF book with cover images, scanned from older, out of print books from the Chaosium archive. This second edition originally published in 2008.

ISBN 1-56882-246-4

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ISBN 1568822464
6th Edition Call of Cthulhu, best with the current edition
Scanned PDF
Page Count:
David Hallett, Kevin W. Jacklin, L.N. Isinwyll
Cover Artist:
Lee Gibbons
Interior Artists:
Earl Geier, Carol Triplett-Smith
  • Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star Empty Star 4
    Three scenarios well linked to the setting

    Posted by Silver Keeper on 19th Oct 2023

    Despite having individual scenes that are a little too on rails, they are three scenarios truly focused on investigation, with a nice margin of freedom and strong interconnections with the setting. Perhaps my favorites among those I know from the Cthulhu by Gaslight line.