The Masks of Nyarlathotep, if you didn’t know, is often hailed as the greatest Call of Cthulhu campaign of all time, and even gets logged as one of the all time great RPG campaigns of any genre. But one of its problems is that there is a lot of room left in the story — there are so many details undocumented, questions unanswered. It’s a great campaign but could really be so much greater.
More than five years ago, Bret Kramer came up with the idea of building a companion for the campaign, and the Kickstarter for that companion is finally live. Back in 2009 I wrote a number of pieces for the book, one of which was about how to run and organize the massive game. Apparently I had some good stuff to say, because it’s one of the first pieces in the book, and my name ended up on the cover.
There is a lot of vaporware in the tabletop RPG world — material that people write that never sees the light of day. The Companion was definitely heading toward that and I am so excited and proud that it is finally going to be published. I distinctly remember writing my Companion pieces on my deck in Oregon, with my work laptop in front of me and a beer next to me and trying very hard to stay focused on completing what I had agreed to. I was so desperate to complete something, to be a part of a project, and I had no idea it would take so long for it to see print.
More importantly, I really wanted to write something that other people would read and understand and be thankful for. My key contribution for the Companion is the keeper introduction, wherein I try to help keepers wrap their heads around the enormous task of running Masks. I really enjoyed writing the piece because I felt like I had something to say and the writing came easily and naturally. You mean people want to hear what I have to say about how to run a better game? I was glad to step up and write all I could on the matter.
And with the Kickstarter now up to 20k pounds (~$30k), it’s clear my contribution is part of the greater whole that people are excited to support. The project is finally a success, and though my part in the overall book (which is bigger than Masks itself) is relatively small, it’s huge for me.
For me, 2015 is a year of “out with the old” as I not only take care of some health issues that have been dogging me for a while, but also try to clear my backlog of personal and writing projects. That the Masks Companion is finally done and going to print is very cathartic to me as it validates some efforts that have been sitting around for at least five years, and allows me to move onto other pastures.
The timing couldn’t be better.