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Minireview: Coming Full Circle (Call of Cthulhu)

Coming Full Circle is another excellent Cthulhu campaign from Pagan Publishing and the author of Walker in the Wastes (John H. Crowe III). As the author notes in the foreword, it’s almost the polar opposite of Walker: instead of large-scale globetrotting investigation, this is a very small-scale and insular affair. It’s also purposefully not a Cthulhu mythos campaign; the antagonists have their basis in New England folklore and mythology, instead of the Cthulhu mythos as such. There are notes to tie this to the mythos, if the GM wants to… but that’s purely optional. It’s also somewhat unusual in its time period, being set from 1929 to 1939, a decade after the classic Cthulhu period and under the looming threat of the U.S. Great Depression.

Like many other books from Pagan, this is brimming with detail and historical notes on the period, and NPC descriptions are extremely good. This is important since this is a very character-driven and insular campaign, talking place in a (fictional) New England town. As noted in the intro section, this thing plays best if at least one of the PCs is a noted “psychic investigator” or some such, since the opening hook has a local widow contacting the PCs regarding a haunting. It’s assumed the PCs take the bait and go investigate, of course, and the rest of the campaign depends on the PCs forming some sort of relations with the family in question. This might get tricky for the GM; if the PCs just want to do a quick investigation and move on, much of the rest of this might fall flat – so it’s important that the GM uses the piles of local and NPC detail given to try to bring the town and the locals to life.

The campaign consists of four parts, taking place years apart and all (at least somewhat) connected to this certain family (though one of them is only very loosely connected and can be run as a stand-alone as needed). In a way it’s the story of a certain family and the dark things that haunt them, and it’s up to the PCs to figure out what’s behind it all. The final part, the titular “Coming Full Circle”, finally wraps things up and returns to the source of the evil… assuming the PCs are diligent and/or lucky. The opposition is quite dangerous and clever, here.

It’s good stuff, assuming you feel like running a small-scale historical supernatural game. As noted, Cthulhu mythos elements as such are missing here, which can be a good thing to throw players expecting “familiar” Cthulhu tropes off the track. Not quite all of them are missing, though, in order to make things interesting. The amount of detail given should make this fairly easy to prep for, though the GM does need to read and re-read a lot of the information; as noted, using that to flesh out the important NPCs is critical here.

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