Sandboxing Call of Cthulhu Part One — Can Call of Cthulhu Work as a Sandbox Campaign?

Raiders of R’lyeh: From the Tideless Sea Sandboxing Locations from Call of Cthulhu and Other Mythos Stories

By default, the newest expansion for Raiders of R’lyeh and other d100 games based on H.P. Lovecraft’s ‘Call of Cthulhu’ and Mythos stories, supports a non-linear and open-ended setting — sometimes referred to as a ‘sandbox’ — allowing for the mariners’ exploration and investigation of its expanding mysteries. There are no mandated storylines to follow, the mariners’ plans are not always assumed or predetermined, and their choices are not confined to any preordained script — or ‘railroad.’

However, given that players in Raiders of R’lyeh: From the Tideless Sea own and operate ships capable of traversing the globe, it is important to consider some useful ways of structuring such a setting to provide parameters of play, while still encouraging player proactivity and freedom. Mariners without purposeful motivations or clear directions may wander aimlessly; likewise, a disorganized gamemaster may end up with a disconnected series of plot threads leading nowhere.

Unlike the author of a story, the gamemaster responding to the setting’s unfolding events is not required to predict and account for every possible ‘plotline’ that may occur. Instead, the gamemaster creates a living, breathing world, and seeds it with interesting plot hooks tailored to the players’ characters — with each hook suggesting conspiratorial plots, potential enemies, and intriguing locations. It is up to the players to determine which conspiratorial plots are worth investigating, which locations are worth exploring, and how they will react to events that unfold in response to their intervention or nonintervention.

With some structured planning, these threads may eventually suggest a growing threat and unfolding drama (should the players be coaxed into following their leads). The newest expansion for Raiders of R’lyeh provides hundreds of pages of resources for developing such a campaign.

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Raiders of R’lyeh: From the Tideless Sea Sandboxing Locations from Call of Cthulhu and Other Mythos Stories

Posted on March 8, 2022. Contains 305 words and is a 2 minute read.

Raiders of R’lyeh

The year is 1910.

It is an age of crumbling empires, dangerous adventures, and rotting decadence. Rifles crack across the untamed Khyber pass, sorcerers stir from eldritch crypts, and dark things dream and lurk in secreted, fetid corners of the globe.

Raiders of R’lyeh is a stand-alone roleplaying game and sourcebook in which mercenary rogues explore forbidden frontiers, unearth ancient artifacts, and outwit villainous scum.

The game is crafted for compatibility with other d100 percentile systems. It emulates not only adventures in the Cthulhu Mythos of H.P. Lovecraft and his circle of influences, but especially the savage and evocative feel of Robert E. Howard’s weird and pulp stories.

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Raiders of R’lyeh: From the Tideless Sea

The year is 1900.

It is an age of imperial intrigues, daring missions, and creeping dread. Steamships ply the farthest feral seas, and explorers stir the darkest sorceries from forgotten, sunken eons.

From the Tideless Sea is a seafaring expansion for the tabletop roleplaying game, Raiders of R’lyeh. With it, mercenary rogues captain weather-beaten ships, travel strange seas, and challenge shadowy conspiracies.

The expansion includes new rules and toolkits for:

  • Playing a world-spanning, epic sandbox
  • Operating merchant steamships and leading crews
  • Navigating to far-flung ports and lost worlds
  • Running trade and missions in hostile foreign territories
  • Handling adventures in mysterious ports of call
  • Battling seafaring cults and other menaces — both human and inhuman — hidden across the globe
  • Salvaging secrets from eldritch ruins
  • Investigating an existential and conspiratorial threat overshadowing the world

Inspired by H.P. Lovecraft’s ‘Call of Cthulhu’ and Lovecraft’s circle of influences, sea adventures, and especially the Sargasso Sea tales of William Hope Hodgson, the expansion provides everything a gamemaster needs when players ditch dreamy Arkham to investigate the missing HMS Terror, to pursue coordinates found in an 18th-century wreck pointing to fabled R’lyeh, or to smuggle contraband out of Cairo right under the nose of the British Empire.

Best of all, From the Tideless Sea expands on the rich Edwardian setting and lore established in Raiders of R’lyeh — offering a new seafaring sourcebook for players wishing to expand their preexisting Mythos campaign, as well as modular mission and campaign resources for gaming in 1900-1914.

(Note that From the Tideless Sea is not a stand-alone roleplaying game, but rather an innovative expansion to be used with Raiders of R’lyeh and other d100 systems based on H.P. Lovecraft’s ‘Call of Cthulhu’ or on other pulp adventures.)

Coming soon in PDF to legacy Raiders who supported the original game, and as a 280 pp nearly 500 pp NEARLY 600 pp (!) hardcover book to new backers via Kickstarter!

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