Occam's Razor is a collection of modern scenarios by horror author and Call of Cthulhu stalwart Brian M. Sammons for Chaosium Inc's 7th edition Call of Cthulhu roleplaying game. It has a dark tone, like most Stygian Fox titles, more akin to True Detective and American Horror Story and is written for Mature Gamers Only. The scenarios look into the dark heart of humanity and the mythos... but this book has a twist.
One of the problems long term Keepers can face when running Call of Cthulhu is their players becoming too jaded or blasé regarding the Cthulhu mythos.
"Oh, Deep Ones? Yeah, we've killed these before. Open fire."
Rather than; "Oh my God! They're real! Run!"
It's difficult to maintain that suspension of belief when you have been facing the same creatures year after year. This is where Occam's Razor comes in, being a collection of scenarios where initially they seem to be linked to the mythos but they have mundane causes and outcomes.
I have run these type of scenarios for twenty years and every time they sucker players in and help them see how paranoid their characters have become and, more importantly, when it comes time to face the actual mythos again, many players believe the adventure will have a mundane cause. When interspersed with mythos adventures this leads to some serious panic when the players realise that this is real. Used sparingly, these adventures lull players into a false sense of security and make the next real mythos encounter all the more vivid.
One of my players had his character just stand and watch as a colleague was eaten by a dark shadow in a toy store because the player refused to believe it was a mythos entity. This was a ten year veteran of the game.
Of course, a separate sidebar is provided for each adventure if you wish to have actual mythos elements in your game.
Call of Cthulhu is the Registered Trademark of Chaosium Inc., and is used with their permission. www.chaosium.com
Brian M. Sammons has created 6 scenarios which tease at mythos causes but will ultimately lead to a mundane resolution. A murder is just a murder, a cult site is just kids with spray paints, etc. Here is a summary of the scenarios contained within the book.
Deep and Dark – the investigators find a snuff film on the dark web, but one of a pretty girl getting mauled by a Fishman monster. Did the deep ones mess up and accidentally get filmed in this modern world where everyone has a camera phone or is it something else?
Eye of the Beholder – an art student goes missing while doing late night research in a museum with ties to the local university. Maybe it’s a coincidence that the museum just got in a huge statue from South America of a little-known death god called Thul’Cathul. Yep, total coincidence.
The Watchers – a woman living alone in an apartment in the big city notices that people are watching her. Following her. They even broke into her home. But why? What do they want and how far will they go?
A Whole Pack of Trouble – a group of film school students go to an isolated, abandoned, and reportedly haunted asylum to make a found-footage horror movie and make a fortune? Whatever could go wrong with that? Well, when the filmmakers go missing the investigators will have to find out.
A Cleansing Flame – People are dying by fire. No one knows why and no one knows how. When the latest victim is a friend to one of the investigators and an astronomer who reportedly made a recent discovery of note, it’s up to the investigators to put out these flames.
Visions From Beyond - Tommy is a friend who makes some new friends. That’s nice. Unfortunately those friends have a strange reputation, they get up to some bizarre practices, and then one night Tommy calls one of the investigators in terror, begging for help, then the line goes dead. What’s a friend and an investigator of the Mythos to do?
The book will be in PDF, ePub, Softcover, and hardcover formats and will be full colour.
Brian M. Sammons - Writer
Brian is a fiction editor for Dark Regions Press and the Chief Editor for Golden Goblin Press, a film and literature critic for over twenty years and has penned stories that have appeared in such anthologies as Arkham Tales, Horrors Beyond, and many more. He has edited the books; Cthulhu Unbound 3, Undead & Unbound, Eldritch Chrome, and Dread Shadows in Paradise, among others. His game work is mostly for the Call of Cthulhu game and includes scenarios for Secrets, The San Francisco Guidebook, Doors to Darkness, The Things We Leave Behind, and more. For more about this guy that neighbors describe as “such a nice, quiet man” you can follow him on Twitter @BrianMSammon
Lisa Padol - Editor
Lisa Padol has been playing RPGs since the 1980s and running them since 1991. She has been writing for Alarums & Excursions since 1991, and has written material for Unknown Armies and reviews for The Familiar, The Unspeakable Oath, and RPG.net. She has edited and proofread games and scenarios from Arc Dream Publishing, Golden Goblin Press, Modiphius Entertainment, Parenthesis Press, and Rogue Games. She has also playtested games for Evil Hat Productions and Pelgrane Press, and knows a playtest has been unusually successful when her players inform her that she is going to run the game again next week even though the playtest period is over.
Badger McInnes - Book Designer
Badger has been working as a book designer and layout artist for the Call of Cthulhu RPG since 2003, starting out under the tutelage of Charlie and Lynn at Chaosium. He has designed books for Chaosium over the years (Call of Cthulhu 7th edition, Cthulhu by Gaslight 3rd edition, Secrets of Kenya, among others), as well as other sinister purveyors of Call of Cthulhu material such as Pagan Publishing, Pelgrane Press, and Golden Goblin Press. Badger was the staff book designer for Miskatonic River Press, and has been the staff book designer and layout artist for Stygian Fox for all of their major releases. He is also the game designer and artist for a little Lovecraftian card game called Feed the Shoggoth! You can see a comprehensive list of Badger’s credits at http://www.squamousstudios.com
George Cotronis - Cover Artist/Illustrator
Our regular cover artist George lives in the wilderness of Northern Sweden. He makes a living designing book covers. He sometimes writes. His stories have appeared in ‘XIII’, ‘Big Pulp’ and ‘Vignettes from the End of the World’. You can find his twisted imaginings here: http://www.cotronis.com
Stephanie McAlea - Boss Lady & Cartographer
Owner of Stygian Fox and Cartographer on ‘Horror on the Orient Express’, ‘2300AD’, ‘Call of Cthulhu 7th edition’, ‘Cthulhu by Gaslight’ and others.
With our team, we believe we can get your book to you in a timely fashion. Occam's Razor will be in PDF format and also Print-On-Demand (POD). A code will be given to backers so they can download the PDF and Stygian Fox will arrange to have a physical copy mailed to them via RPG Now and DrivethruRPG (backers are responsible for any import duties in their own territory).
Books we have worked on.
Backers can look forward to lovingly produced PDFs, Softcover and Hardcover books, ePub format and increased quality and content. The entire cost of your books and getting them to you is covered by your pledge.
PDF: Backers will receive a full-colour PDF of Occam's Razor via DriveThruRPG.
Softcover: Backers will receive a full-colour standard print in softcover format of Occam's Razor via DriveThruRPG along with a free PDF.
Hardcover: Backers will receive a full-colour premium print in hardcover format of Occam's Razor via DriveThruRPG along with a free PDF.
Hardcover + Naming: Backers will receive a full-colour premium print in hardcover format of Occam's Razor via DriveThruRPG along with a free PDF plus their chosen name and occupation done up all fancy n' such in the back of the book as an I.D. card. Please submit your name, occupation and the name of your fictitious corporation or group (we reserve the right to reject any inappropriate names or occupations).
We're excited about adding extra content to the book but we intend to get this book out in a timely fashion so the Stretch Goals won't be the main focus of the project. See below for specifics.
Risks and challenges
We're used to handling Kickstarters and believe we can bring this book to you by the deadline. Any unforeseen problems and announcements will be relayed to backers as soon as they occur.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (33 days)