I like it when, in Cthulhu games, Investigators go mad. With that in mind, I'd like to give some reward for the first Investigator to go mad.

For example, perhaps, at the beginning of the next game, the player whose Investigator went mad first in the last game gets first choice of character.

I'd like something I can use both in Trail of Cthulhu and Call of Cthulhu. I'd also like something that affects the game, something more than just a social reward (a social reward would be, for example, getting the last beer).

Any ideas?


I'd like to see it work by creating some kind of link between the character who goes mad, and the one that follows. If you want a simple mechanical solution, get the player to select one mundane skill (i.e. not Mythos), preferably knowledge-based, from the first character's sheet. The next character then gets this skill at the old character's level for free.

Maybe it's a mystery to them that they have this knowledge. Maybe they experience bits of the old character's life in dreams, or occasionally stumble across their possessions. Or maybe they've trained in this skill, and it seems completely normal to them. You'd have to keep making it different, or it could get rather old. Could be fun, though.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Really lovely solution, in that it not only rewards the player for allowing madness to overtake his dude, but also creating an intriguing through-line between characters. \$\endgroup\$ – Jmstar Nov 27 '10 at 22:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ I really like the way to introduce it, as dreams or finding something from the other caracter... I think I may use this in the future :) \$\endgroup\$ – pconcepcion May 20 '13 at 13:15

Give the player the chance to play a relative. Occasionally, he can visit his poor demented uncle at the Arkham Asylum, and very occasionally his uncle might have an uncanny insight in a moment of lucidity.


How about one or two mystical tomes already extant in the PC's book collection? You can decide whether they've already been read or not.

How about allowing the PC to start with some small amount of Cthulhu Mythos knowledge (with the associated affect on the PC's sanity levels applied, of course).

These would seem to be in keeping with the kind of intertextual event that you're rewarding.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Add to the starting skill allowance. You could call the bonus allotment a player's Mad Skillz. Ahahahahaha! \$\endgroup\$ – Roxysteve Nov 25 '10 at 16:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ Viktor, that is the right idea, I think. The only problem is that both tomes and Cthulhu Mythos knowledge starts the new Investigator further down the path of going mad. So they'll be the first to go mad next time, too. I'd prefer something non-Mythos related, I think. \$\endgroup\$ – Graham Nov 25 '10 at 17:37

I am only familiar with CoC (and especially older editions...) the first thing I can imagine would be to give an increase to POW for their character.

Either a reroll (just once, just POW, keep the best score) or a flat +1 or +2 to the rolled result.

This way you get:

  1. A reward
  2. Something that is not unbalancing
  3. Something that is not Mythos related... or better yet, it is, but not in the opposite sense, see #4
  4. Something that makes the character (slightly) less prone to becoming mad the next time.
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    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks. That's very Call-specific, but in that game, I think it'd work. \$\endgroup\$ – Graham Nov 25 '10 at 23:11

A colourful description of the lurid effects of their mania on the outside world is usually reward enough for players in my Lovecraftian games. Description of the character dying messily also seems to go down well. Then again, my players are usually so aware that madness and/or death are inevitable for CoC characters that they're almost edging for it from the start so your mileage may vary.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Description is important, sure, but I'd like something more than this. \$\endgroup\$ – Graham Dec 1 '10 at 16:54

Made them part of the history of the game

In our group we have been playing Call of Cthulhu for long and many players had gone mad and for us some times it was quite rewarding to get to know about their history as NPCs, how they have evolved later on. And well some of them appeared later on to help the group, or to trouble them... even one become a kind of Nemesis of the players...

We kept reading about them on the news papers and stuff, they were becoming known for their actions, and that was quite rewarding, to know they kept evolving, some times even the original player could get some decision on what the NPC would do in a certain situation...

In the end having this recurring characters that we knew very well as they were part of the team before, it was in a way very rewarding itself.

From there you can have some rewards that give a bit more to the new character of the player... maybe he/she can receive the house from the mad player as an heir (what actually can become good hook for a future adventure).


Two players went beyond the border (0 COR) on an adventure, they were a married couple (after a previous adventure), in the end she was catatonic but the she got a bit better (but still insane) and he become a powerful Cthulhu priest, the history kept evolving and she got pregnant with the son of Cthulhu (or that was what we thought) and he become a rich Senator that was some time helping the group, some time trying to kill us...

This character became one of the main NPCs of the whole story of the group, and even once we played an adventure (when we didn't knew he was hopelessly mad) to try to recover him and take him back to the group (because he was lost in the mountains...) in the end there seemed to be a crazy priest around there doing human sacrifices...

At first we didn't knew but we discovered our old pal with a robe, a girl on an altar and a knife... and then the player that was playing the mad character pretended that someone was taking control of his mind (screaming Take it out of my brain!!) in the end it was a really fun adventure where (first of several) the bad guy was this character.


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