RPG Diaries: Achtung! Cthulhu ends in spectacular disaster

This week my group wrapped up our Achtung! Cthulhu campaign and oh, what a spectacular mess it was. Not to jump the gun, but at the end of the night, my character had become “…an extreme danger to everyone around me.” Here’s what happened in this week’s RPG Diaries.

The night began with us returning to the woods to retrieve the cache of weapons I had stuffed there after the cargo plane exploded. After some very fortuitous spot hidden rolls, we found the weapons intact. I was able to confirm that they were all working. Mission one, accomplished. Now to deliver the medicine.

Our associate’s farm was still swarming with Nazis, so we couldn’t just stroll up, knock on the door and hand them over. So, we found the family priest and had him drop it off for us. Mission two, down.

Later that evening, we were all taking over dinner in the hotel, planning the next step our of our military mission: secure a landing area for additional troops. During the conversation, Jack, our impulsive Aussie, had a change of heart about the goat cult. He noted that the cult was offering an annual sacrifice to the god in an attempt to appease it. If the sacrifice was not made, he had learned, the god would loose its anger on the entire world. So, Jack argued, the cult was doing humanity a service.

My character, C.M. Nelson, agreed. So we went off to join the cult.

Completely abandoning our military duty, and against the better judgement of our compatriots,  Jack and I visited the home of a known cult member. We made our way in and after much persuasion, he admitted his association and agreed to bring us into the fold. When we told our companions, they suggested we work as double agents from the inside. With that in mind, we hatched a plan.

We would return to the ceremonial ground on the date our informant prescribed to observe the ceremony and gain the cultists’ trust. The others would hide on the edge of the area, ready to spring into action if things got out of hand (spoiler alert: they would). So as night fell, we made our way to the ceremony.

cthulhu on earthJack and I were welcomed by our connection. There were several robed figures in attendance, though we couldn’t recognize them as their faces were obscured. Eventually we heard that familiar piping sound, though it did not damage us. As the ceremony began, a bright light began shining behind a thin wall of trees. Jack and I decided to creep over to get a peek. Our companions stayed hidden behind.

At this point, our GM pulled Jack and me into another room of his house to tell us what we saw outside of earshot of the other players. When this happens, ladies and gentlemen, you’re in trouble.

He told us that we saw the elder god itself. We saw god. Our exposure to and comprehension of what we were seeing was more than our psyches could handle, and we went insane. Jack lost 17 sanity points and was down to less than 10. I lost only four, but that put me in the low teens. I had a better grip on my faculties than Jack did, however, and he went nuts.

He and I ran towards our companions. Upon seeing them, Jack drew his gun and started firing. He shot one companion in the leg. Otto, the Austrian in our group, managed to pull him to the ground with a successful grapple roll. Jack kept shooting unit the gun was wrested out of his hand. I grabbed it and was also brought to the ground. Pinned there, we gradually became lucid enough to talk to the group. We tried our best to describe what we saw, though not successfully.

At this point, the GM said that we became “unmade.” We were a part of the divine itself, and one with the elder god. We got free of our captors, became “extremely dangerous,” and wandered back into the woods, forever united with our new fate.

So yeah, that was that. The others reported back that the mission had been an abject failure, and they were eventually extracted.

I’ve played many long RPG campaigns, and I’ve never had so much fun as one ended. It was great fun to snap, shoot wildly at our companions and become “unmade” as we merged with an elder god. This whole campaign emphasized something that’s so important to me when playing RPGs:

Story first.

Did a rule get botched? Who cares. Did a player fail a roll that would bring things to a grinding halt? Fudge it. Let the players have fun. We’ll talk about his campaign for a long time, from killing the prisoner in the jail to the elaborate plan with the dog-walker to running the radio to accidentally ordering a fruity girl drink for a bunch of German soldiers in a bar (I failed my German language roll). These are the things that make a campaign and a character memorable. This was a super fun campaign. I loved it.

Want more of this campaign? Here’s part one and here’s part two

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