About this project
Sun Spots is a horror RPG scenario set in 1920s New England for 3-6 players that takes between 8-10 hours to play. It has been written for Call of Cthulhu and will be updated for the 7th edition of the rules.
Back in 2007 I answered a call from famed Call of Cthulhu® writer and editor Keith "Doc" Herber to submit ideas for his upcoming The Outer Gods scenario book. He had specific ideas about making the book different from other scenario collections, and he had a high bar he wanted each scenario to reach. We worked together on the scenario over the next 1.5 years until his untimely death in 2009, but before that, he approved Sun Spots for inclusion in The Outer Gods. His specific words were: "I think we have a winner here, and one with a lot of fun possibilities. Nice job..." I hope this project will do his vision justice.
Right now, I have written nearly 28,000 words for this scenario, play-tested it multiple times (both with friends and at conventions), and have commissioned art by seasoned Cthulhu veterans Jason Eckhardt, Reuben Dodd, Caleb Cleveland and Chris Huth. I'm also bringing back most of my team from my previous Kickstarter (He Who Laughs Last): Gregory G. Geiger for design and layout, Jake Coolidge for maps, and Cynthia Douglas Chernoff as my editor.
The funding for this project will be used for completing maps and art, finishing the design and layout of the books, and having the book edited, produced and delivered into your nice warm hands! I can't wait to show you!
Here is an amazing illustration from Mr Dodd!
Now that we're funded, let's talk about stretch goals. I've thought carefully about them and want to make sure that they add to your game but will not impact the scope of the project.
Here are the stretch goals we've got planned:
- FUNDED $7500: More Art -- Add four more b/w half-page illustrations by our amazing artist Reuben Dodd.
- FUNDED $8500: GM Kit Part 1 -- Provide Playtest notes illuminating the various lessons learned throughout the years of playtesting this, as well as provide a full transcript of the first playtest from 2008. This will be available as a PDF with every pledge $10 and above.
- FUNDED $10,000: Red Valley Visitor's Guide -- I will work with Gregory Geiger to incorporate Jake Coolidge's hand-drawn map of Red Valley into a 1920s-style visitor's guide handout. This will be available as a PDF with every pledge $10 and above, and will be provided as a print copy for the Deluxe level ($70) and above.
- FUNDED $12,000: GM Kit Part 2 -- I'll create 6 pre-generated Call of Cthulhu PCs and put them with the playtest notes. This will be available as a PDF with every pledge $10 and above.
- $14,000: Headshots -- Reuben Dodd will illustrate 10 b/w headshots for various NPCs to go directly into the book.
- $15,000: Director's Cut -- One really fun and interesting scene that I worked on extensively with Keith Herber, but was cut from the final product, will be added as an addendum, to be used by GMs at will. We'll also have Reuben Dodd add two half-page b/w illustrations to this chapter as well.
“Dave Sokolowski’s Sun Spots harkens back to the classic Call of Cthulhu scenarios that we all love and dials up the danger with a number of intriguing twists including a new take on an old god. Detailed, multi-layered, and engaging, Sun Spots shines with interesting characters, nefarious plots, and ancient evil. Sokolowski has another winner on his hands.” - Stuart Boon, author of the award-winning Call of Cthulhu book Shadows over Scotland
"Dave Sokolowski submitted Sun Spots to Keith “Doc” Herber for his planned epic scenario book, The Outer Gods. Doc worked with Dave to tweak, build, and perfect it, and was proud of the final result. Sadly, in a blow to the entire community, Doc passed away suddenly long before the project could be completed. It should be noted that Doc’s vision for The Outer Gods contained the following requirement on the spec sheet, “Every scenario in this book has to be great.” Those who knew Doc and his considerable work for the Call of Cthulhu role-playing game were aware that nothing got approved unless it was truly excellent work. This was the man behind H. P. Lovecraft's Arkham, H. P. Lovecraft's Dunwich, Keeper's Companion, 1920s Investigator's Companion, Spawn of Azathoth, Trail of Tsathogghua, Fungi from Yuggoth, and New Tales of the Miskatonic Valley to name only a few. Keith “Doc” Herber shaped Call of Cthulhu and made it a truly wonderful game. And if he thought Sun Spots was great, what’s your excuse?" - Tom Lynch, co-founder of Miskatonic River Press
"In presenting a new interpretation of an Outer God, Sun Spots brings an uncaring and elemental influence to bear down on New England, but this is pleasingly manifest in an all too human a fashion—pride, belief, and religious mania that are as much a threat to the investigators as the Daemon Sultan is himself. Sun Spots is a delightfully balmy investigation into the dangers of sun worship." - Pookie, Reviews from R'lyeh (the full review is here: http://rlyehreviews.blogspot.co.uk/2016/09/shining-for-cthulhu-dark.html)
We have the following levels of pledge available:
- Thanks ($1): Any amount of pledge (from $1 up) will see your name on our Kickstarter Supporter list. Many thanks indeed!
- Digital ($10): This level receives the Sun Spots PDF from DTRPG, as well as any and all stretch goals! All levels from $10 up will receive the PDF copy.
- Soft-Copy ($30): At this level backers will receive a soft-cover copy POD Sun Spots book, plus the PDF and Thanks.
- Deluxe Hard Copy ($70): This level of backing will receive a hard-backed copy POD Sun Spots book, signed by me, plus the PDF and Thanks. These backers will also receive hard-copies of the three maps and any handouts designed for the scenario (this is what makes it "deluxe").
- Characters ($100): In addition to everything at the Deluxe level, I will create 6 Call of Cthulhu 1920s-era PC sheets to your specifications, and then give you both digital and hard-copies of them.
- Entitled ($120): Get everything at the Deluxe level, then choose from a list of 20 NPCs and locations in the scenario that you can name to your liking (scenario-appropriate, please). People can choose in the order in which they chose this option (e.g. first backer at this level chooses from the list first).
- Close Traveler ($250): I will travel within 100 miles of San Francisco to run the scenario for you and your friends. You'll get the personalized PC sheets, 1 hard copy (for you), and 6 digital books plus handouts (for you and your friends). It will be a good time. I'll bring snacks.
- Traveler ($1300): At this level, I will travel anywhere in the USA or Canada, bring 1 hand-signed hard-back copy of Sun Spots, 6 digital books plus handouts (for you and your friends), and run a game for you and up to 5 of your friends. I'll also bring snacks and my gregarious personality. (You will also receive the Deluxe handouts and PC sheets).
Due to popular demand, I will make additional soft-cover POD books available at the $30 pledge level. And if you’ve already purchased one book, I will subsidize part of the shipping. Here is what you can do if you want to add-on a softcover POD book to your existing pledge:
- If you live in the USA or UK: Add $35 total
- If you live outside the USA/UK: Add $40 total
Furthermore, for shipping of the physical books, I have tried to strike a balance for both myself and backers. I will subsidize part of the shipping, as well as streamline the shipping rates to avoid confusion.
US backers will pay $5, UK backers $10 and other international backers $20 for the soft-back copy reward shipments. Hard-copies will be a bit more for UK, as I have to ship all the boxes to my house first, before shipping them out (except where I meet you in person). I hope this will be a middle ground where shipping doesn't overwhelm the budget but backers don't have to absorb the entire cost.
I have play-tested this game multiple times since I completed the first draft back in 2009, and it has been honed and edited down to a very clean and crisp story. What used to be a very wide sandbox game with very few boundaries for the investigators now has clarity and focus. There is still a very strong sandbox feel, but the scenario now has guides and structure to get the players heading in the right direction before letting them go.
With this much playtesting, I was forced to pull a couple of scenes that I had worked on with Doc, but ultimately got in the way of the best possible scenario. With enough funding it might be possible to clean up this content and get it back in the book in an Appendix. We might even be able to do some art for it.
I have run this game at multiple conventions (Dundracon, Celesticon, and Big Bad Con) as well as with local gaming groups. I believe it is finally ready for you.
This scenario has been around a long time and I really want to get it into your hands, to finally realize Doc's vision, but I need help with funding to get it over the finish line. I want the book to look and feel like the Cthulhu gaming books of the 1980-90s, specifically in the vein of Escape from Innsmouth, which Kevin Ross and Doc created with a host of talented artists and writers. Most importantly, I want this book to be something Doc would love.
I need funding now to finish the book. To finish the art and maps, to get professional design and layout, and then have it edited so it all comes together in one amazing package. If you pledge now, then we can make it happen together.
Finally, while the Kickstarter project is live, He Who Laughs Last in all formats, as well as the GM Kit and Short Fiction, will be on sale with 33% off on DTRPG here.
Call of Cthulhu™ is a trademark of Chaosium Inc and is used under licence.
Risks and challenges
The scenario has been written and playtested multiple times. Multiple art pieces are complete and more are in progress. This leaves design, layout, editing and production.
The biggest risks have to do with people and life. Right now, the team is working hard at the project and the book is scheduled to be delivered well on time. I spent many years as a professional project manager, and I have the skills and understanding to keep a project on track.
The key to any good project is communication. Expect at least monthly updates from me, and I will strive to be transparent in all aspects of my business dealings with my backers. Things may and do happen that can sidetrack a project. But with transparency and accountability we'll still get the book in your hands in the best possible manner.
Please refer to my previous project He Who Laughs Last if you want to see my communication style first-hand. That project delivered the PDF early, the print copy on time, and completed all stretch goals.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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