Everybody was at Gen Con this time last year, so for those of us staying at home, participating in #RPGaDAY, the next few days were all about conventions. I haven’t been to a convention since the writing event last year, so my answer to today’s topic last year, “What’s your favorite convention purchase?” hasn’t changed. Here’s what I wrote last year:

Today’s #RPGaDAY topic is “Everyone is at Gen Con except you, so what’s your favorite convention purchase and can I get some more salt for your wound?” Gee, thanks.

We’re probably talking RPG-related purchases here, so that’s really going to limit my choices. Most of the time when I have a purchase at gaming convention, it’s a boardgame of some type. RPG-wise, the only contenders I can think of are the Star Wars: Age of Rebellion Beta or The Armitage Files for Trail of Cthulhu. AoR was a Beta game and I haven’t played it and I have the full release; my online gaming group played a bunch of Armitage. So the winner has to be the latter.

The Armitage Files is a neat setup for a campaign (and I’d love to actually run the campaign to completion one day). Letters and objects arrive mysteriously, describing future events. The Armitage Group, a few investigators of the unknown at Miskatonic University, implore the PCs to investigate independently. Each of these letters has four or five threads the PCs can follow–they choose to follow up with something going on at the yacht club in Kingsport instead of with the astronomy club that travels up the Miskatonic Valley. Do they get a chance to investigate the amateur astronomers? What if a new letter shows up during their investigation? What if that letter talks about investigating the death of one of the PCs?

Each of these potential threats have certain people and organizations and places associated with them. Each of these elements come in three flavors: helpful, neutral, and insidious. For example, a businessman might have connections to the Order of Dagon, a member of a masonic organization waging secret war against the darkness, or just a person with plenty of powerful connections. This person is given three or four different physical descriptions and has six alternate names, letting you use the same “statblock” a multitude of times, generating several different people with differing outlooks.

armitagefiles2Your game will be different from anyone else’s. In my game, the amateur astronomers were innocent dupes, manipulated by a witch. In your game, the seemingly-benign group could have a secret inner circle full of cultists. Who knows?

The first half of the book is all about the files and various elements your Mythos Investigators may encounter. The second half are photocopies of the actual letters, so your players will have to decipher the handwriting which, as is apropos to a game with a Sanity meter, can get a bit crazy. Better still, Pelgrane Press offers a color PDF for download to give players the full effect.

Running this campaign requires the players to be proactive, instead of reactive. In order to fully prepare for the game, the players need to read over the file and tell the GM which line of investigation they’d like to pursue so the GM can come up with something. If you want to run the game, I strongly recommend reading Rick Neal’s Armitage Files play reports. ((Due to the nature of the product, there may be spoilers at that link, but they really may not be spoilers. Consider them quantum spoilers.))

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