It’s time for me to make up for missing Halloween last year. This is One-Page Cthulhu, which is, you guessed it, one page. Perfect for a last-minute game! As for my Engine, it’ll be good ol’ CRGE-Kai, but with the Horror theme.
Right, time to slap my character together… My character’s really good at finding clues (+2), good at hiding (+1), is meh with forbidden knowledge (0) and is utterly terrible at fighting superior foes (-1). We will name him… Steve.
Oh… Oh God… I have an idea. Steve… from Blue’s Clues! But everyone’s an eldritch abomination!
Ooooooooh, okay. This is good. So, I ran an episode of Blue’s Clues to figure out what sort of plot is gonna happen (as well as remember how it goes), and I’ve decided that’ll be the adventure. Steve is a private eye who does investigations who recently came across a dog called Blue who helped in investigations. He is compelled to investigate the secrets of the world because there has to be more out there than just the wife concerned about a possible unfaithful husband. I’d say something about the connections to other investigators, but this is a solo story.
So… Here… We… Go!
Another day, another meal. Solving crimes works up an appetite and the latest serving of justice just wasn’t enough. I needed something more. Fortunately, I had my pet dog, Blue. She was a companion I had found while investigating some disappearances. While mostly a dog, I noticed that she’s smart. Not super smart, but smart enough to point me in the right direction. Ever since I obtained her, solving crimes has been a lot more simplistic…
Maybe a little too simplistic.
I never questioned her ability to permanently stain objects with her paws and I doubt I will, but once I brought her home with me, I felt as though my entire house had… changed. I wasn’t sure how, though…
I was gonna feed Blue some dog food, but for whatever reason, Blue insisted on something else. Something that she couldn’t explain in simple words. So, I resolved to figure out what she needed…
As I went to get to my notebook, my end table suddenly grew a face and spoke to me.
- NPC Mood (Friendly): 82, Helpful
- NPC Bearing: 8 & 8, Discrimination
- NPC Focus: 77, Treasure
If I’m going to be honest, the bearing had me so stumped, I left this on the back burner for months. Even with fresh eyes, I don’t understand what sort of discrimination this end table being helpful with. So, rather than scrap the entire thing completely…
“The answer should be obvious…” The end table told me.
Gameplay goes in a bit of a Powered by the Apocalypse style manner, but the twist here is that, instead of a skill you put your score in, you’re putting it right into the Move. I find this to be pretty straight forward. Steve just encountered a horror and now must roll to see how he feels. For this Move, I add nothing.
[Horror Roll: 8]
I took the notebook and ran from the end table.
[Flee Roll: 5]
And there we have our first fail of the game. I shall now ask Tiny Universal if the consequences damage my character in some way.
[A: 8, Yes, but…]
A cool way this game tracks damage is by applying one of twelve descriptors to your character, constraining them in some way, such as hopeless, enraged, or terrified. However, the but is that it’s a new descriptor that doesn’t apply to the twelve. This is good, since getting four would result in the character having a final fate.
So with this…
I was haunted so much by the end table that I tripped and fell… It was here that I came across a cup, stained in a blue paw print on a plastic red cup. It was one of Blue’s clues.
“The answer should be obvious…” The end table’s voice lingered in my head.
Now, I could ask the chart if Steve figures this out, but I’d assume this would be resolved with an Investigation check.
[Find Clue: 5]
So, he gets a useful clue, but the cost will be that the haunted quality is turned into a terrified quality. He is rather spooked by the events that transpired and he’ll be taking a break. Long enough for us to end the scene and do some upkeep. This was definitely not in our control, so Chaos Factor goes up by one.
[Scene Roll: 2]
Alright, the scene is altered, which means it’s warping time. So, on the list of events I wrote down, the next item on the list is finding Blue… Instead, we find…
On my way to find Blue, I was ambushed by… my mailbox? And it had a face on it, like the End Table…
[Horror Roll: 9]
“I’ve come to bring you some mail!” He declared as I immediately ran out.
[Flee Roll: 13]
The mailbox couldn’t find me, though I believe it was because he couldn’t reach me. In any case, I was safe from the mailbox.
[Find Roll: 9]
I found Blue underneath the bed. I realize the best course of action is to board up the room. Who knows what other forces lurk out my bedroom?
We end this scene with us retaining some control (Chaos Factor remains) and a question to CRGE.
[Q: With the time he’ll take to calm down, does he recover from his Terrified state? Purpose: To Endings (As in to end his condition) A: 62, Yes. Surge Counter goes up to 1]
So he is no longer terrified in the next scene.
[Scene Roll: 2]
Another scene gets warped. I also made a secret roll after the box cars and an Incident will occur as well:
- Incident Type: Nearby scheme.
- Trihex: 541, 611, and 152, pushing celestial steed
… Okay, so we’re involving that into the fray. So, originally, an elephant was to emerge from a book and beg for us to color his family of elephants, but instead, Princess Celestia out of nowhere. Now, I’m ranking talking things that should normally not be talking to be qualified for a Horror test, but Celestia is a contrast to the “sudden faces on items”. That said, I should leave that up to the GM.
[Q: Will this qualify for a Horror Test? Purpose: To Conflict. A: 40, Surge bringing it down to 38. No. Surge goes up to 2.]
Okay then. So, what does she say to us?
- NPC Mood (Peaceful): 28, Neutral
- NPC Bearing: 3 & 1: Means
- NPC Focus: 28, Skills
“Steve, I was told you were a great detective. Perhaps you could help me with finding out who ate my cake.” I could not believe that a talking Pegasus-unicorn hybrid was talking to me… Yet, she seemed nicer than the other two entities I encountered.
[Q: Does she know who ate the cake? Purpose: To Knowledge. A: 90, Yes, But. Surge bringing it up to 94. Surge Counter reset]
“I have an idea of who ate my cake, but I am unsure if my hypothesis is correct. That’s why I need you to find the culprit.” The horse said.
“Okay… Lay us with what you were up to before the cake incident.” I decided to play along.
[Q: What was she up to? Detail: 9, Focuses on an NPC. NPC: 1, Blue. Action: 66 & 62, Carry Disruption]
[Q: Is Blue hiding at this point? Purpose: To Conflict. A: 7, No, and…]
The moment she mentioned a blue dog, Blue came out, face covered in frosting. I looked underneath the bed and saw some eaten cake.
“So… This is the mutt that ruined my day…” Celestia’s horn glowed a bright yellow. Fudge. I grabbed Blue and tried to bolt.
[Flee Move: 10]
We ran out of the room and locked Celestia inside. We weren’t safe in the room and we certainly weren’t safe out of it.
“Why did you have to eat the cake?” I asked Blue, who just barked happily.
End scene, chaos factor has gone up.
[Scene Roll: 7]
Good, no alterations or interrupts. So, on with the next thing on our agenda:
Trying to find a safe place in this house was no easy task, especially since the next thing I saw was a salt and pepper shaker with the exact same face in the kitchen.
[Horror Move: 8]
“Nope.” I said as I grabbed Blue.
[Flee Move: 11]
We easily got out of there.
And another scene has ended. Yeah, things are definitely out of our control here.
[Scene Roll: 1]
A scene is altered. The Warp says that the next clue takes the form of straws. Since this is an important bit, I’ll do an incident check.
[Incident Roll: 14]
Oh boy, an obstacle!
[Obstacle: 6, Antagonist. Trihex: 425, 563, 333; observing spirit free]
The idea I have in my head is about as gonzo as this image. Screw it, I’m already turning Blue’s Clues into Call of Cthulhu, let’s make Celestia watch Spirit: Riding Free as she eats some funyuns.
At this point, I think Steve is done running. He’s gonna sock her in the face.
[Fight Move: 10]
She takes a wound. She responds by blasting a sun beam at Steve, which he has to roll to dodge.
[Run Move: 6]
I fail, she zaps me, and as per the rules of the game, 1 hit is enough to take me out. Well, it could, or I can take an infliction. So, he’s instead bloodied. The next roll knocks her ass out and finally banishes her to whence she came. The scene ends and… I think we have that under control. Chaos doesn’t lower, but Turmoil does.
[Scene Roll: 1]
Yet another altered scene. Time to check for an incident.
[Incident Check: 11, Sidetrack]
[Sidetrack: 10, an Ally appears and makes progress towards a goal. Ally: 4, the Elephant. Trihex: 154, 142, 643; bringing boat unique]
Just then, an elephant came rolling up on a large ass boat and begged us to color his family.
By this point, he’s endured enough, so he rolls the next Horror check with advantage.
[Horror Move: 9]
Same for running.
[Flee Move: 9]
I got out as fast as I could. While I was still in the immediate vicinity of his threat…
[Find Move: 7]
I found another one of Blue’s Clues. Straws… It’s obvious Blue wants to drink… but what?
Just then, the mailbox has arrived.
[Horror Move: 11]
This time, I was ready and it seemed he was only there to give me a letter… Inside was a pair of kids that screamed at me.
[Horror Move: 10]
I watched the mail in its entirety as the kids at food and laughed in front of me.
“Is this literally everything you wanted to show me?” I asked the Mailbox.
“Yep. Have a good day, Steve!” The Mailbox left… And Blue disappeared…
[Find Move: 9]
My only indication was Blue’s voice. It took me a few moments, but I found her… in a farm painting… It was something she could do: The Skidoo, a forbidden form of warping space to get to other dimensions…
Well, Blue Skidoo’d, I can too.
[Meddle With Forbidden Magic Move: 5]
I failed, which lands Steve with another infliction: Dazed. We end the scene there, as Steve is unable to get into the farm world. Chaos Factor remains the same, since Steve was in control of the action for the most part.
[Scene Roll: 6]
[WARNING: Okay, so this scene is dark. Like, really dark. We’re talking bloodshed and shooting dark. I know it might be weird to see me give a warning like this, but given how I felt a little unsure about it, I’m just gonna give you the warning just to be safe.]
Scene interrupt time!
- Event Focus: 40, NPC Action
- NPC Focus: 7, Chickens
- Event Meaning: 70 & 7, Extravagance of Allies
Turns out, Blue was okay and when she saw I was unable to Skidoo, had some chickens try to help me cross into the painting..
Now, the Adventure Script says that the Chickens need to find their friends, so I will say that Blue will help them.
[Q: Does she succeed? Purpose: To Endings. A: 42, No. Surge Counter goes up to 1]
She is unable to help find the chickens’ friends…
Though, Blue instead decimated them and used their blood to create a portal that dragged me over to the farming plane.
This, I’m going to roll with disadvantage because he just saw his dog preform a ritual blood sacrifice using chickens.
[Horror Move: 6]
Yeah, Steve is rightfully scarred. One more infliction and he’s dunzo. So he’s in the other world as Blue leads him to the final clue.
[Find Move: 7]
Blue brought me over to a cow which she clued…
“… Milk… You wanted f[yay!]ing milk?! I had to endure all that… terror… horror… all that… for milk!?” Immediately, I reached for my gun. It was time for Blue to go the way of Ol’ Yeller.
I managed to stun her at least for me to come over and grab her.
That was when Blue opened her mouth before it stretched outwards and-
Blue was not impressed with Steve’s behaviour. Not one bit. She decided enough was enough and had a little bite. Using Steve’s blood, Blue returned to the material plane, now in search of a new owner who she could toy with and help her find the things she needs to summon Bluthulu, her “mother”.
And that was One Page Cthulhu. Man, that session got really dark at the end, but then again, this was meant to be done on Halloween, thus explaining some of the scarier elements.
Admittedly, I might have gone too overboard on the horror rolls, to the point where I invented the house rule that basically made Steve “numb” to any new horrors.
The game is very straight forward, even if that’s because it’s a one-page game. There were some cool elements that I unfortunately didn’t get to use, such as using tags to indicate what sort of NPCs or monsters there are. For example, using the Celestia example, I could have used the Vengeful tag to reflect on her wanting revenge for her cake. I could have also used Winged or Sun-Spewing. I don’t think it would have mattered much, since those seem to be more intended for players to discover and not the transparent nature of a solo player wearing both the hat of a GM and a player.
Maybe for a future game, I could find myself some descriptor generators to help spice up enemies, but for now, I’m happy with what I got. This was a long time coming, and I’m glad I managed to finish it. Bon voyage, gamers.