It’s been some time since the Poison Tree campaign was announced, even by the sometimes leisurely standards of Pelgrane. It’s currently on my desk undergoing development and additional writing. The core concept of the campaign is unchanged from those early articles – a series of connected adventures across the generations, from 1650 to the present day, tracing the ghastly fate of the cursed Whettall family. Right now, the final adventure roster is looking like:
Chapter 1: 1650
Chapter 2: 1715
Chapter 3: 1752
Chapter 4: 1775
Chapter 5: 1890
Chapter 6: 1914
Chapter 7: 1952
Chapter 8: 2023
(with plenty of scope for ambitious Keepers to drop other scenarios into the gaps – notably, there’s a period in the 1920s where one branch of the Whettall family become occult investigators operating out of Miskatonic university, so you can graft virtually any Trail adventure onto the campaign…)
I always enjoy the development phase of a book like this. It’s when you get to look at the text as a whole, and start to spot patterns and correspondences. You get to add in moments of foreshadowing (or excise accidental overlaps between adventures). You get to weave the chapters together, dropping hints and callbacks.
One of the tasks was updating the Poison Tree text to the modern GUMSHOE sensibilities. While Trail of Cthulhu’s rules haven’t changed, our understanding of best practises when it comes to structuring GUMSHOE scenarios and presenting information have improved, so I’ve added innumerable Leads-in/Leads-Out entries and Scene Flow diagrams. We’re also still wrestling with the question of how best to handle character generation for the campaign – there will definitely be a set of pregenerated investigators for each chapter, but how they’ll be presented and whether or not they’ll be the default option remains to be determined. Still, all questions should be resolved and rewrites completed well in time for a late-autumn harvest…
And after that, it’s onto an even longer-promised project…
Trail of Cthulhu is an award-winning 1930s horror roleplaying game by Kenneth Hite, produced under license from Chaosium. Whether you’re playing in two-fisted Pulp mode or sanity-shredding Purist mode, its GUMSHOE system enables taut, thrilling investigative adventures where the challenge is in interpreting clues, not finding them. Purchase Trail of Cthulhu, and its many supplements and adventures, in print and PDF at the Pelgrane Shop.
3 thoughts on “The Plain People of Gaming: Fruit of a Poison Tree”
Is this likely to be available, even if only for pre-order, this calendar year? (I’m trying to time an order for maximum Pelgrane goodness.)
Hi Lisa. We’re going to be playtesting this before the end of this year, so this won’t be going on pre-order until maybe late next year. Thanks, Becky.
An update to the update: The text is complete. I’ve put it aside for a few days to do some Ocean Game outlining, but it should be off my desk and into editorial/playtest soon.