Sunday, June 10, 2012

COVENANT Part One - Characters

Here's the list of PCs for my Trail of Cthulhu miniseries campaign. The biographies are perfunctory, reflecting the lack of play behind them; I like to develop backstories in game.

The characters are organized based on patron.


George Mewhinney
Occupation: Dilettante
Drive: Duty
Sources of Stability:
• Mummy!
• Lodge friend Ralph
• Boxing club trainer Ferdinand

A Harvard alumnus with an ongoing sideline as a boxer, looking to jump-start a career in politics. To do so, he's become a Neophyte in the Boston lodge of the Hermetic Order of the Silver Twilight. Friends with Marty McTavish, bodyguard of a fellow lodge member.

Marty McTavish
Occupation: Criminal
Drive: Sudden Shock
Sources of Stability:
• Dog, Peepers
• Landlady, Gerty

Personal bodyguard for Ephraim Weaver, an Initiate-level member of the Boston lodge, and friend of George Mewhinney, a Neophyte. Still suffers from amnesia concerning an incident three years ago.


T.J. Needham
Occupation: Private Investigator
Drive: Curiosity
Sources of Stability:
• Martha, works with Institute
• Caroline, sister's kid daughter
• Rodger "the Codger," ex-client

Formerly in the employ of an eccentric gentleman (Rodger), he's awaiting a new assignment with the Rochefort Detective Agency.


Maggie Jenkins AKA Iolanthe Melitele
Occupation: Charlatan
Drive: Greed
Sources of Stability:
• Parrot
• School friend, married rich

Medium who works out of her house.


Archibald Denham
Occupation: Professor
Drive: Duty
Sources of Stability:
• Cat
• Mother
• Hospital-bound brother
• Brother (also on staff)

Librarian at Widener Memorial Library.


Winifred "Fred" Winslow
Occupation: Forger
Drive: Artistic Sensibility
Sources of Stability:
• Cecile X
• Bartender, Mitch
• Brother, Clinton Winslow

A forger of antiquities and "magical" relics, with an unusually earnest take on her profession.

Jacob Schlemmer
Occupation: Archaeologist
Drive: Antiquarianism
Sources of Stability:
• Moses
• Rachel
• Esther
• Isaac

Recently returned from a dig in the Middle East with four children in tow. Alienated from his former family, he's fallen into the orbit of Cecile X.


Some of you might be thinking, "Seven players in a Cthulhu game? That's crazy!" I agree. And at least two more are likely to show up. Not only that, I'm trying something ambitious (for me) with the episode hooks. Instead of creating characters that initially know each other (a la Delta Green), or starting with the characters thrown together via sudden disaster, I've given them the choice of five different patron groups. Most of these groups are interested in esoterica, weird occurrences, or the occult, but with different exoteric facades. The patron groups interrelate, in some obvious ways (like the ASPR and BSPR), but also in secret ways they may discover. With the first few sessions, as I introduce them to lower-key scenarios, I'll attempt to stitch together their patrons, their personal backstories, and goals, before pulling the thread tight and knotting them together. Those of you who know the Delta Green backstory can probably guess where this is going, but I'm keeping that off-stage for now. To complicate it more, I've got a mix of people new to tabletop games, people new to Call of Cthulhu, along with the more (cough) seasoned players. We'll see how the first threads are sewn in the next few weeks.

I'm also considering developing meatier personal arcs to throw at them, either in collusion with the player or by twisting what they've already given me via the Sources of Stability. Trail's sister game Fear Itself includes more starting points for  creating soapier sessions, which I want to use to focus on the PC's unraveling personal lives—or, in this group's case, unraveling relationships with their pets, and the pursuit of their pet projects. Sometimes, like this time, the PCs already give you plenty of fodder for really twisted scenarios. I don't want to waste it.

This week's session, after character creation, I started with a little vignette of a few of the characters in an unlicensed boxing match; not every got into the scene, but at least one of the characters got to take some hits on the chin before getting drugged and contributing to a bar brawl.

How next session begins depends on who exactly shows up.

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