Photo by Michael Tomlinson on Unsplash

If you’ve ever tried to write a custom campaign for Call of Cthulhu, then you may have run into a common issue: writer’s block. When you’re playing in a world created by iconic horror writers like HP Lovecraft, you definitely feel the size of the shoes you need to fill.

Today, I’m going to pitch a campaign idea to you that might sound crazy. As far as I can tell after some googling, it doesn’t seem like anyone else has had this idea before. Brace yourself for the Atlantis: the Lost Empire/Call of Cthulhu campaign.

Confused about why I’d base a campaign off a Disney movie? Don’t be. It’s not as bad as it sounds, and I’ll explain.

Why Am I Doing This?

In case you’re unfamiliar with the movie, Atlantis: the Lost Empire is an animated Disney film that came out in 2001. The plot follows Milo Thatch, a dorky linguist who believes he knows where the mythical city of Atlantis is located. Unfortunately, he can’t get anyone to fund his expedition because everyone thinks he’s insane.

Luckily for Milo, an eccentric millionaire has been watching him and decides to back his expedition. Even more luckily, Atlantis turns out to be real, and Milo experiences the journey of a lifetime as he struggles to save the underwater city. It’s an underrated movie, and you absolutely should watch it if you haven’t seen it before.

So, back to my original question: why base a Call of Cthulhu campaign off a Disney movie? The answer is simple: Atlantis takes place in the correct timeframe for a classic CoC campaign (1914) and has loads of Lovecraftian elements.

In fact, in the mediocre sequel, Milo and the crew fight a kraken that is mind-controlling a small Scandinavian town based on Innsmouth. At the end of the story arc, there’s a deleted scene in which one of the townspeople smiles down at her baby, which has tentacles. The implications are surprisingly dark.

Even without the clearly Innsmouth-inspired sequel, there’s a lot of room for existential horror in the franchise. Think about just how many Lovecraft short stories there are about discovering ancient ruins and a lost civilization that drive explorers mad.

If that’s not enough to convince you, think about the nostalgia. Many people grew up watching Atlantis and would likely get a kick out of revisiting the world, even briefly, in more depth. What’s more, shy role players who aren’t confident in their character-building skills could feel relieved to have a character concept already made for them.

The Cast and Stats

I’ve gone ahead and done the legwork for creating the characters and their stats. That way, you can just dive right in and start playing. Additionally, I’ll provide some roleplaying tips about their characterization so those who are unfamiliar with the movie can roleplay their characters accurately. If you decide you’d rather stat the characters yourself, you can check out my guide on how to create Call of Cthulhu characters for tips.

That being said, if you haven’t seen the movie, at least YouTube a video about your character’s best lines or something. This will help you get a feel for how your character sounds, looks, and acts.

A final note (and spoiler alert): I chose to include Rourke and Helga in the list of characters even though they die at the end of the movie and betray the rest of the expedition. I strongly recommend bending the lore a bit here if you plan to use them. Say they’re still alive, and that they had a change of heart at the end of the movie so that they can still cooperate with the rest of the team.

More advanced players may feel okay with acting out a party betrayal, but I don’t recommend it for beginners. It’s better if everyone is on the same page and works together – especially when you consider the threats you’ll be facing.

Milo Thatch

Characteristics (Regular/Half/Fifth)

  • Strength – 30/15/6
  • Constitution – 40/20/8
  • Dexterity – 20/10/4
  • Intelligence – 90/45/18
  • Size – 55/27/11
  • Power – 75/37/15
  • Appearance – 60/30/12
  • Education – 90/45/18
  • Hit Points – 9
  • Magic – 15
  • Luck – 65
  • Sanity – 75

Skills (Regular/Half/Fifth)

  • Accounting – 20/10/4
  • Anthropology – 46/23/9
  • Appraise – 35/17/7
  • Archaeology – 61/30/12
  • Credit Rating – 25/12/5
  • History – 65/32/13
  • Language (Atlantean) – 41/20/8
  • Library Use – 80/40/16
  • Mechanical Repair (Non-Occupational Skill) – 30/15/6
  • Occult – 30/15/6
  • Persuade (Non-Occupational Skill) – 30/15/6
  • Ride (Non-Occupational Skill) – 25/12/5
  • Swim (Non-Occupational Skill) – 40/20/8

Miscellaneous Notes and Character Sheet

Role in the Party: Researcher, scientist, and linguist. He’s not going to be useful in combat, but when it comes to translating strange tomes and any anthropological finds, he’s your guy.

Roleplaying Tips: Milo is your standard socially awkward bookworm type. He’s extremely intelligent and loves researching, as well as sharing his knowledge with people. Although he likes to try and fit in with others, he often falls flat on his face and embarrasses himself.

At the end of the day, however, many people around him find this endearing. Despite being awkward, his sincerity and naivete make him a popular companion.

Milo’s Full Character Sheet

Kidagakash Nedakh

Let me start this section by saying Kida was one of the most difficult characters to stat, given her extremely unique background. She’s technically around 8,500 years old, but I ended up creating her as if she were in her late 20’s, because she appears to be in the late 20’s/early 30’s.

Call of Cthulhu also doesn’t have a ruler occupation, and dilettante doesn’t quite seem like a good fit for her. I ended up basing her occupation on tribe member, with some modifications geared towards making her more social-oriented. Since she’s such a bizarre character, feel free to modify her character sheet based on what you feel is appropriate.

Another thing to note with her is that she’s a queen. She technically has a high credit rating, but after character generation, I was left with only a few points to allot to her credit rating. I figure you could argue it as her not having much in the way of modern currency or being so out of touch with how the rest of the world works that she doesn’t have a lot of credit in society.

Characteristics (Regular/Half/Fifth)

  • Strength – 50/25/10
  • Constitution – 50/25/10
  • Dexterity – 70/35/14
  • Intelligence – 60/30/12
  • Size – 50/25/10
  • Power – 70/35/14
  • Appearance – 80/40/16
  • Education – 30/15/6
  • Hit Points – 10
  • Magic – 14
  • Luck – 55
  • Sanity – 70

Skills (Regular/Half/Fifth)

  • Charm – 40/20/8
  • Climb – 45/22/9
  • Credit Rating – 10/5/2
  • Fighting (Brawl) – 55/27/11
  • Jump – 45/22/9
  • Listen – 45/22/9
  • Occult – 15/7/3
  • Ride (Non-Occupational Skill) – 25/12/5
  • Spot Hidden (Non-Occupational Skill) – 45/22/9
  • Stealth (Non-Occupational Skill) – 40/20/8
  • Throw (Spear) (Non-Occupational Skill) – 40/20/8

Miscellaneous Notes and Character Sheet

Role in the Party: Kida’s a bit flexible. She can be a face character that you use to grease the wheels in social situations, or she can be used in combat with her strong dexterity, spear-throwing ability, or fighting. (I don’t know where you plan on getting a spear, though, or if you plan on taking one with you everywhere you go.)

Roleplaying Tips: The key thing to keep in mind with Kida is that she has virtually no experience with the world outside of Atlantis. She is not familiar with the technology used in the early 1900’s, nor is she familiar with various cultural standards around the world. Play her as a curious, naïve, and oftentimes bewildered character as she repeatedly experiences technology and fashion she’s never seen before.

This doesn’t mean she’s stupid, though. Kida learns quickly, and her curious nature pushes her to ask questions and compile information a lot faster than the average person does. Furthermore, her experience as a ruler gives her the grace and poise she needs to carry herself in just about any social scenario.

Kida’s Full Character Sheet.

Lyle Rourke

Characteristics (Regular/Half/Fifth)

  • Strength – 75/37/15
  • Constitution – 75/37/15
  • Dexterity – 70/35/14
  • Intelligence – 40/20/8
  • Size – 70/35/14
  • Power – 40/20/8
  • Appearance – 40/20/8
  • Education – 40/20/8
  • Hit Points – 14
  • Magic – 8
  • Luck – 35
  • Sanity – 40  

Skills (Regular/Half/Fifth)

  • Appraise (Non-Occupational Skill) – 25/12/5
  • Climb (Non-Occupational Skill) – 40/20/8
  • Credit Rating – 15/7/3
  • Drive Auto – 40/20/8
  • Fighting (Brawl) – 65/32/13
  • Firearms (Handgun) – 60/30/12
  • Firearms (Rifle) – 60/30/12
  • Intimidate – 35/17/7
  • Mechanical Repair – 30/15/6
  • Ride – 15/7/3
  • Spot Hidden – 55/27/11
  • Swim (NonOccupational Skill) – 40/20/8
  • Throw (NonOccupational Skill) – 40/20/8

Miscellaneous Notes and Character Sheet

Role in the Party: The muscle. Rourke is an incredibly physical character designed to protect other PCs in the game. If it bleeds, he can probably kill it. On the downside, his relatively low intelligence, sanity, and education scores means he’s not really going to be handling the more investigative pursuits often.

Roleplaying Tips: Rourke comes from Texas and has no small degree of that traditional Southern charm. However, you get the sense that said charm covers something sharp, cold, and calculating – much like a knife sheathed in velvet. He’s intimidating, forceful, and powerful enough to reckoned with when he wants to be.

In the movie, he betrays the party to achieve his own ends at the expense of the entirety of Atlantis. For the sake of cohesion in the party, though, I recommend saying he had a change of heart and was persuaded to the light side in the end.

Rourke’s Full Character Sheet.

Helga Sinclair

Characteristics (Regular/Half/Fifth)

  • Strength – 60/30/12
  • Constitution – 60/30/12
  • Dexterity – 70/35/14
  • Intelligence – 55/27/11
  • Size – 50/25/10
  • Power – 40/20/8
  • Appearance – 75/37/15
  • Education – 50/25/10
  • Hit Points – 11
  • Magic – 8
  • Luck – 45
  • Sanity – 40

Skills (Regular/Half/Fifth)

  • Appraise – 20/10/4
  • Charm (Non-Occupational Skill) – 35/17/7
  • Credit Rating – 30/15/6
  • Drive Auto (Non-Occupational Skill) – 40/20/8
  • Fighting (Brawl) (Non-Occupational Skill) – 45/22/9
  • Firearms (Handgun) – 55/27/11
  • Intimidate – 40/20/8
  • Jump (Non-Occupational Skill) – 40/20/8
  • Listen – 50/25/10
  • Persuade – 40/20/8
  • Sleight of Hand – 30/15/6
  • Spot Hidden – 50/25/10
  • Stealth – 50/25/10

Miscellaneous Notes and Character Sheet

Role in the Party: The face, or the social person. Helga can honestly do a little bit of everything, as she’s extremely well-rounded. However, she’s best at doing the talking and working with a range of people.

That being said, if you need someone to back you up in a fight, she’s also an excellent choice. Her dexterity combined with her brawl skill means she can hold her own.

Roleplaying Tips: Helga is fairly intelligent and has a good understanding of people. Despite being designed as a more “face-like” character, though, she’s oftentimes ruthless, confident, and has no problem doing whatever it takes to get what she wants.

When you’re playing her, imagine a smooth and confident dilettante-like character with the deadliness of a cobra. She can rub elbows with the elites or throw down with the criminals. Because she can fit in so many scenarios, I recommend playing her if you’re a beginner and don’t know what type of character you want to play.

Helga’s Full Character Sheet.

Vincenzo Santorini

Characteristics (Regular/Half/Fifth)

  • Strength – 65/32/13
  • Constitution – 65/32/13
  • Dexterity – 80/40/16
  • Intelligence – 50/25/10
  • Size – 60/30/12
  • Power – 65/32/13
  • Appearance – 40/20/8
  • Education – 35/17/7
  • Hit Points – 12
  • Magic – 13
  • Luck – 55
  • Sanity – 65

Skills (Regular/Half/Fifth)

  • Accounting (Non-Occupational Skill) – 25/12/5
  • Appraise (Non-Occupational Skill) – 25/12/5
  • Chemistry – 16/8/3
  • Credit Rating – 20/10/4
  • Demolitions – 40/20/8
  • Drive Auto – 45/22/9
  • Electrical Repair – 30/15/6
  • Firearms (Heavy Weapons) (Non-Occupational Skill) – 30/15/6
  • Listen (Non-Occupational Skill) – 40/20/8
  • Mechanical Repair – 40/20/8
  • Sleight of Hand – 30/15/6
  • Spot Hidden – 55/27/11
  • Throw – 50/25/10

*Note: Vinny would speak both English and Italian, but I didn’t add those into his skills. I generally just assume everyone can speak whatever language necessary to communicate with other party members.

Miscellaneous Notes and Character Sheet

Role in the Party: If something needs to be demolished, Vinny’s your guy. He would be excellent on expeditions and deep explorations, given his unique skillset that can get your crew through any barriers. In a pinch, he also makes a decent mechanic, which could be important if you foresee yourself piloting a lot of machinery.

Roleplaying Tips: Vinny puts on a tough guy act, but he’s honestly kind of a softie deep down. In fact, he starts off as a demolitions expert, but reveals his desire to open up his own flower shop with the proceeds of the expedition in the first movie.

Roleplay-wise, I think Vinny could be good for beginners. If you’re still a little uncomfortable with in-depth roleplay, you can play it off by saying Vinny has his guard up for a period of time until you get more used to the game.

Vinny’s Full Character Sheet.

Dr. Joshua Sweet

Sweet is another extremely difficult character to create stats for. I thought about it long and hard, and the more I thought, the more difficult it was to determine what his “weak” stat would be. His wiki page states that he’s often overly emotional, so I decided to make Power his weakest stat.

He also takes some de-buffs to his physical stats because of his age, but I don’t think these de-buffs are entirely deserved because of his clear dedication to fitness. I did them, nonetheless, but I could see an argument for disregarding the detractions in exchange for not making Education improvement checks also due to his age.

Characteristics (Regular/Half/Fifth)

  • Strength – 60/30/12
  • Constitution – 55/27/11
  • Dexterity – 40/20/8
  • Intelligence – 70/35/14
  • Size – 60/30/12
  • Power – 35/17/7
  • Appearance – 50/25/10
  • Education – 88/44/17
  • Hit Points – 11
  • Magic – 7
  • Luck – 50
  • Sanity – 32

Skills (Regular/Half/Fifth)

  • Credit Rating – 50/25/10
  • Drive Auto – 50/25/10
  • Firearms (Handgun) (Non-Occupational Skill) – 40/20/8
  • First Aid – 90/45/18
  • Library Use (Non-Occupational Skill) – 40/20/8
  • Medicine – 61/30/12
  • Navigate (Non-Occupational Skill) – 30/15/6
  • Psychoanalysis – 21/10/4
  • Psychology – 30/15/6
  • Science (Pharmacy) – 43/21/8
  • Science (Biology) – 41/20/8
  • Science (Botany) – 31/15/6
  • Occult (Non-Occupational Skill) – 25/12/2

Miscellaneous Notes and Character Sheet

Role in the Party: The medic. It’s never a bad idea to have a doctor around when you’re adventuring – you never know when someone’s going to get hurt. As a bonus, Sweet’s Psychoanalysis and Psychology skills could come in handy if another party member has a bout of madness or experiences temporary or permanent insanity. In a pinch, his Botany skill could be useful for determining what plants in the area might potentially be used for medicinal purposes.

Roleplaying Tips: Sweet is a brilliant man with a few PHDs under his belt. He’s eager to use his knowledge to help people, and being soft-hearted, he doesn’t like seeing people hurt. Play him as a very passionate, emotional man who loves being useful to the party.

One word of caution with him: his low Power starts him with a low Sanity, which is especially dangerous with his high Intelligence stat. High Intelligence means he’ll easily grasp the supernatural nature of events and lose Sanity fast. Plan around this carefully.

Sweet’s Full Character Sheet.

Audrey Ramirez

I need to make a disclaimer for Audrey, too. I gave her the Mechanic occupation because it seems most fitting, but the amount of skill point she gets then is Education x 4, which is abysmal with her.  Audrey doesn’t have a high educational background, as she is both a minor and someone who didn’t focus on schooling.

I bent the rules a little bit and copied other occupations like Miner that do Education x 2 + Dex x 2 to start her with a more reasonable amount of skill points. If you’re a Call of Cthulhu expert and you’re wondering why she has a decent amount of skill points, that’s my explanation.

Characteristics (Regular/Half/Fifth)

  • Strength – 58/29/11
  • Constitution – 60/30/12
  • Dexterity – 80/40/16
  • Intelligence – 60/30/12
  • Size – 47/23/9
  • Power – 60/30/12
  • Appearance – 60/30/12
  • Education – 25/12/5
  • Hit Points – 10
  • Magic – 12
  • Luck – 65
  • Sanity – 60

Skills (Regular/Half/Fifth)

  • Accounting (Non-Occupational Skill) – 25/12/5
  • Art/Craft (Welding) – 20/10/4
  • Credit Rating – 10/5/2
  • Drive Auto – 50/25/10
  • Electrical Repair – 50/25/10
  • Fighting (Brawl) (Non-Occupational Skill) – 45/22/9
  • Intimidate (Non-Occupational Skill) – 35/17/7
  • Listen – 50/25/10
  • Locksmith – 21/10/4
  • Mechanical Repair – 40/20/8
  • Ride (Non-Occupational Skill) – 25/12/5
  • Spot Hidden – 55/27/11
  • Operate Heavy Machinery – 20/10/4  

Miscellaneous Notes and Character Sheet

Role in the Party: Audrey is one of the best mechanics you can find. If something breaks, she’s there to fix it for you, which makes her an essential member on any adventures that will require use of heavy machinery or vehicles. She also has some Locksmith capability, so she can help you get into guarded spaces, too.

Roleplaying Tips: Since she’s basically guaranteed to be the youngest one in your group, Audrey can be a bit defensive and eager to prove herself. She hates when people underestimate her because she’s young or because she’s a girl.

Another thing to keep in mind is that she has very little education. Most of her life has gone towards focusing on building her mechanical prowess, so she hasn’t spent a lot of time in school. Despite this, she’s not stupid, and shouldn’t be roleplayed as such. She might not be book smart, but she’s great at understanding how people (and machines) work.

Audrey’s Full Character Sheet.

Gaetan ”Mole”  Moliere

Characteristics (Regular/Half/Fifth)

  • Strength – 70/35/14
  • Constitution – 80/40/16
  • Dexterity – 65/32/13
  • Intelligence – 70/35/14
  • Size – 40/20/8
  • Power – 50/25/10
  • Appearance – 15/7/3
  • Education – 64/32/12
  • Hit Points – 12
  • Magic – 10
  • Luck – 70
  • Sanity – 50

Skills (Regular/Half/Fifth)

  • Appraise – 55/27/11
  • Archaeology – 51/25/10
  • Climb – 40/20/8
  • Drive Auto – 40/20/8
  • Firearms (Submachine Gun) – 55/27/11
  • Language (Other) (English) – 51/25/10
  • Language (Own) (French – 60/30/12
  • Mechanical Repair – 50/25/10
  • Operate Heavy Machinery – 65/32/13
  • Science (Geology) – 85/42/17
  • Spot Hidden – 35/17/7

Miscellaneous Notes and Character Sheet

Role in the Party: One thing is for sure: Mole isn’t designed to be your face, so you probably won’t want him to be in the front with his absurdly low Appearance and lack of social skills. However, he has a very unique skillset that would make him useful in operations relating to mines or delving into the earth in general. He also is decent in combat with his submachine gun skill.

*Note: I personally am not a stickler for making players put points into language skills with some exceptions. Someone else helped make this character sheet, though, and chose to mark the language skills down.

Roleplaying Tips: If you’ve seen the movie, then you know Mole is weird. He’s not only physically repulsive, but he’s also offensive from a social standpoint. He can be insensitive, callous, crude, and honestly downright creepy. If you can get past all those disadvantages, he’s one of the world’s foremost experts when it comes to geology, and he’s by no means stupid. Play him as a knowledgeable expert who, at the end of the day, cares about cool rocks more than people.

Mole’s full character sheet.

Wilhelmina Packard

Characteristics (Regular/Half/Fifth)

  • Strength – 40/20/8
  • Constitution – 45/22/9
  • Dexterity – 50/25/10
  • Intelligence – 70/35/14
  • Size – 45/22/9
  • Power – 80/40/16
  • Appearance – 45/22/9
  • Education – 50/25/10
  • Hit Points – 9
  • Magic – 16
  • Luck – 50
  • Sanity – 80

Skills (Regular/Half/Fifth)

  • Appraise (Non-Occupational Skill) – 25/12/5
  • Accounting – 15/7/3
  • Art/Craft (Typing) – 15/7/3
  • Credit Rating – 20/10/4
  • Electrical Repair (Non-Occupational Skill – 30/15/6
  • History (Non-Occupational Skill) – 25/12/5
  • Intimidate – 30/15/6
  • Law – 35/17/7
  • Library Use – 50/25/10
  • Listen – 60/30/12
  • Persuade – 35/17/7
  • Psychology – 30/15/6
  • Spot Hidden (Non-Occupational) – 45/22/9

Miscellaneous Notes and Character Sheet

Role in the Party: I legitimately don’t know why anyone would want to play Packard, other than for roleplaying reasons. Her personality is hilarious. I guess if she filled one role best, it would probably be a “face-like” character that can be somewhat persuasive or intimidating when she wants to be.

With her History, Law, and Library Skills, she’s also a competent researcher. If you’re going to be diving into forbidden tomes a lot, she could be useful in that regard, too.

Roleplaying Tips: Packard is the ultimate character in terms of deadpan delivery. She has a salty, sarcastic personality and has no problems bursting others’ bubbles. She’s also a notorious slacker – you’ll often see her in the movie, reading a magazine while she’s supposed to be working.

I think roleplaying her would be an absolute blast. If you’ve got most of your other “traditional” roles filled out in your party (medic, combat monkey, researcher, etc), there’s no reason why you couldn’t pick her just to have fun roleplaying a character with a biting wit.

Packard’s Full Character Sheet.

Jebidiah “Cookie” Farnsworth

Characteristics (Regular/Half/Fifth)

  • Strength – 50/25/10
  • Constitution – 70/35/14
  • Dexterity – 40/20/8
  • Intelligence – 50/25/10
  • Size – 50/25/10
  • Power – 60/30/12
  • Appearance – 40/20/8
  • Education – 40/20/8
  • Hit Points – 12
  • Magic – 12
  • Luck – 65
  • Sanity – 60

Skills (Regular/Half/Fifth)

  • Art/Craft (Cooking) – 50/25/10
  • Charm – 25/12/5
  • Credit Rating – 15/7/3
  • Drive Auto – 30/15/6
  • Fast Talk – 35/17/7
  • Fighting (Brawl) – 45/22/9
  • Firearms (Rifle) – 45/22/9
  • Listen (Non-Occupational Skill) – 40/20/8
  • Mechanical Repair (Non-Occupational Skill) – 30/15/6
  • Natural World (Non-Occupational Skill) – 30/15/6
  • Spot Hidden – 35/17/7
  • Track (Non-Occupational Skill) – 30/15/6
  • Animal Handling – 25/12/5

Miscellaneous Notes and Character Sheet

Role in the Party: At first, I thought Cookie would be another bizarre character you’d have no compelling reason to pick. But as I created his character sheet, I think he fills a weird niche that no one else does: the person with knowledge of the wilderness and animal life. If you’re hunting some strange monster, then, he could be surprisingly useful, given the background he had in raising livestock and even hunting buffalo.

Other than that, his knowledge of firearms and brawling could make him good to have on your side in combat. Unfortunately, his age also means that he has a lower Strength and Dexterity than I’d personally like in a fight, but he can still handle a gun if he needs to.

Roleplaying Tips: In the movie, Cookie is your standard comic relief character. He’s simple-minded, insists the four food groups actually consist of “beans, bacon, lard, and whiskey,” and has a gruff, yet enthusiastic, demeanor that makes him strangely charming.

Like Packard, he’d be really fun to roleplay. Getting to act out the actions and thoughts of a crotchety old man who considers jugs of bacon grease to be adequate gifts would make for an interesting campaign.

Cookie’s Full Character Sheet.

The Hook and Plot Points

Story Overview

Photo by Zack Minor on Unsplash

It would be too easy to simply copy one of the plots from the second Atlantis movie, but I wanted to get a little bit creative. I don’t really have the time or resources to write a full-length campaign for you here, but I can give you some pieces to weave your own narrative from.

So, the story is this: a young woman approaches Preston Whitmore. She’s heard that he’s connected to people who know things, and she’s got quite a mystery on her hands. She was adopted into a wealthy family but has had this sense her whole life that something is wrong. It doesn’t seem like she fits in.

At first, it was small things. She had a crazy affinity for anything related to water, for example, and was always a strong swimmer. As time went on, though, her love for water only deepened, as did this growing sense of impending change. She feels strangely called to the ocean, but also repelled by it at the same time, and she thinks it may have something to do with her biological parents.

She doesn’t have much in the way of clues about who her parents were. However, she does have a strange necklace she was gifted by them – a necklace with an alien symbol on it. Preston Whitmore, familiar with Atlantean artifacts, suspects it could be from Atlantis and calls upon Milo and Kida to get to the bottom of this mystery…before it’s too late.

The woman can’t shake the feeling that something is coming for her. Either way, it’s important for her to unravel the mystery of her past while she still has time.

Vital Clues

Getting your players to find clues is going to be the most important way to drive them forward. I think there are a few clues to guide them to the eventual conclusion:

  • The strange necklace itself. Upon further inspection, Kida (or Milo) will realize that it’s not Atlantean in origin. Mole might be able to determine that it’s also made from some kind of unseen gemstone and ore.
    • This can potentially segue into further research. The players could take the necklace to a museum or some kind of arcane specialist. If they find someone who knows about the jewelry, they won’t know much – but they will know that they’ve seen such pieces come from a strange seaside town in Massachusetts called Innsmouth.
  • The woman’s parents. Honestly, the story behind her adoption is surprisingly shady. They, being sterile, were unable to have a child of their own, but they had money. And this money allowed them to essentially “buy” a child under the table from a suspicious merchant who had a way of…acquiring things. If pressed, they can refer your players to the merchant.
  • The merchant who sold the woman to her adoptive parents. Yes, he’s still alive, but he’ll be tricky to find – even if the parents give your players a name. Make them have to dig through the underground/black market a bit before they can find him, potentially running into the mafia along the way.
    • When they find him, the merchant will be one of the single greatest resources of information on this mission. He’ll be reluctant to tell them the full story – after all, he basically stole a child and sold it to rich people – but enough money, persuasion, or intimidation will get the information out of him. He had heard a wealthy couple was willing to pay the big bucks for a child, and he was able to snag an orphan from the shabby town of Innsmouth fairly easily. The place was creepy, anyway, and he felt like he was doing the child a favor and earning himself a fat paycheck.

Final Confrontation

Photo by Zoltan Tasi on Unsplash

Let’s get to the end of the story: the solution to the mystery is that the young woman was born in Innsmouth. If you’ve read any Lovecraft, you know where this is going: she’s the child of a Deep One.

One of her parents, the Deep One, returned to the depths of the ocean long ago to frolic in the deep. Her human parent, her mother, died in childbirth and left her an orphan in a town with a disturbing history stained with blood and sea foam. Innsmouthers don’t take kindly to outsiders, but with no one able to care for the child, it wasn’t hard for a traveling merchant (who was originally on the lookout for some rare Innsmouth jewelry made by the Deep Ones) to snap her up and bring her to a new family.

When the crew turns up in Innsmouth, they will slowly uncover the unwelcoming town’s secrets. They’ll learn that the townspeople have a pact with the Deep Ones, a nefarious race of fish people who reproduce with humans in the town to stabilize their population. Children born from such unions, when they get old enough, feel an irresistible pull to the ocean that culminates in them leaving their human lives behind to join their brethren in the deep. This is exactly what the young woman is experiencing.

As they dig into the town’s history, they’ll make powerful enemies: namely, the local church, which, on closer inspection, is most definitely not Christian. The priest/priestess and their gathering actually worship Dagon, an ancient sea god also worshipped by the Deep Ones.

Your investigation will incur their ire and, eventually, their wrath as the church attempts to guard the town’s secrets. Whether your crew makes it out alive will be up to their skills and your storytelling. One thing is for sure, though: the young woman will be shocked by the truth of her birth. But will she return to the sea, where she ultimately belongs?

Wrap Up

If anything, my hope is that this post gave you an idea for a campaign. I know it can be intimidating for storytellers/DMs/GMs (whatever you prefer to call them) to cook up stories for their players, but once you dive into it, I promise you that it can be a blast.

You don’t have to write some super-complex story. As long as you and your players are having fun, a Call of Cthulhu campaign can honestly be anything you want it to be.

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