#RPGaDay2021 – Day 6 – Chase

As Friday brings us within range of the weekend and all that that entails, my return to the random influence of my red crystal d8 delivered the word that I wanted in my heart of hearts! Maybe our desires can influence outcomes. For Day 5 of #RPGaDay2021 the prompt we will pursue posthaste is Chase!

Day 6!

LISTEN to the Casting Shadows Podcast instead

CHASE

The first time, at least the first that made a lasting impact on me, that rules for vehicular chases made me sit up and take notice was when I read Call of Cthulhu for the first time in 1989. The game’s 4th edition was my first edition of Call of Cthulhu and from the perspective of one-stop shopping that I adhered to grimly at that time due to lack of funds, infrequent access to gaming stores, and personal gaming philosophy that edition was a gold mine. Like the hardcover 3rd Edition released by Games Workshop, the rules booklets from the boxed sets and the key supplements were all bundled together which few to no changes and few if any additions under one set of covers. It was a heady brew for which I was very ready.

I was already aware of Lovecraft and had spent a fun summer when I was 9 or 10 pressing the librarian who was on “Bookmobile” duty in the small village of 600 souls on the Atlantic Coast in which I lived at the time for all of his stories that she could find. The Bookmobile was a converted school bus that served similar communities along Nova Scotia’s South Shore that were too small to have their own libraries. Being a voracious reader I would wait for the Bookmobile on the edge of town when it was due and chase it all the way to its customary spot near the town center. This was not efficient, mind you, but it was fun. On the bottom shelf all the way in the rear left corner of the bus there was a small selection of horror and mystery books. Among them, I found anthologies of unsavory ends and cosmic malevolence, and my first exposure to things like the Analog ‘Science Fiction and Science Fact’ magazines. Among them, I found the writings of the disturbed individual whose personal fears, foibles, attitudes, and untenable behaviors helped open the way for cosmic horror to reach a wider audience. Although it is sad that despite his own growth as a person, finally able to see through the lies of his racism, he seems to be considered unforgivable – at age 9, all I knew about him was his name. The only message I was able to glean from his writings was that we as a species were equal in our insignificance. Mostly, I liked the fact that the protagonist was so often doomed from the start. It was refreshing.

Fast forwarding 10 years, I had a lucky confluence of being in a game store, with money, and finding Call of Cthulhu. In it, oddly to think of now, what grabbed my attention and held it right off the bat were the simple guidelines for a two-vehicle chase on page 164/5. Even the self-deprecating tone of how those rules are introduced did not dissuade me from loving them. There would be chases! Cultists would chase Investigators! Investigators would chase Cultists! Crazed Investigators would chase Sane Investigators! Sane Investigators would chase Crazed Investigators! Heck, maybe even a monster or two – if I felt the urge to use them – would chase some one or something somewhere!

There have been times when a part of a game that really grabs me has not been the part of the game that grabs the group as a whole. Often this is the space or aerial combat part of a game, such as AeroTech for BattleTech, or the notion of playing spies in whatever setting rather than more visible operatives. This was not one of those times.

We had chases, and despite whatever failings the writer perceived in them at the time they were created, they gave us great fun.

Incidentally…

It strikes me that my lengthy period in pursuit of complete game lines begins with Call of Cthulhu. That 4th Edition, which is still my favorite, led me to buy – for no good reason – the 3rd Edition when I found it in NM condition in a used section of a game store. That led me to start buying every supplement for CoC that Chaosium ever produced for 4th, 5th, or any previous edition. That led me to the World of Darkness and that led me to Shadowrun and…. you get the idea. It sparked an urge to chase down new games and each aspect of them, in utter defiance of how I started in the hobby with a hand-me-down copy of Moldvay Basic that I used exclusively in my own games until ’86 when I got battered and hard-used copies of the rules for AD&D. That chase is, in most respects over now. Like in the cinematic masterpiece WarGames, I learned to win by choosing not to play. Now, I just chase – and at a dignified and considered pace – the core books for each edition of games that interest me. It’s inconvenient for shelving, but it is so much better for my health, happiness as a gamer, and for not having the house reach a density of mass sufficient for becoming a black hole.

I still feel the thrill of that prey drive that leads to the chase, every now and then.

That’s how I know I am still alive!

Curious to see that 4th Edition?

Comments
4 Responses to “#RPGaDay2021 – Day 6 – Chase”
  1. Although I’ve long given up the chase for purchasing RPG books out of necessity, my recent delve into the hobby’s history is starting an itch to want to experience older games than new. That being said, I’m still chasing down that opportunity to have a taste of a CoC game.

  2. Did you ever get those “bunker” books sent to you in Korea or are they still there, in a vault, very well protected?

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