Friday, November 9, 2012

Willow and Tara: Call of Cthulhu

I was talking with my good friend Dr. Lloyd from my days on the Kittenboard.  He was interested in my old RPG sessions of The Dragon and the Phoenix.  I updated him and he was thrilled.  He shared with me this idea he has had to run his own "Call of Cthulhu" game with Willow and Tara.
We talked back and forth for a while and this is what he came up with.

He came up with this "Uber" campaign. What is Uber you ask? Uber has it's roots in Xena fandom.
You can read more about it here:

Well where Xena and Gabriel go, Willow and Tara often follow.  This is some I have used in my games many times. It was a central feature in The Dark Druid, Heaven Bleeds, and This Blessed Plot.

And of course I am not the only the only one who does this.  There is an entire subsection of fandom that is dedicated to this.  You can see some of them on the "Uber Willow & Tara" site "Through the Looking Class".

Below is an "uber" version of Willow & Tara for the Call of Cthulhu RPG.  This one is set in the 1920s.  These would be the prior incarnations of the girls prior to their appearance in the 1980s (birth) to the present day.

The following was all created by Dr. Lloyd & Rebecca Ashling, enjoy!

When Buffy met Lovecraft

 This is a character build out for a BTVS campaign centering on Willow and Tara that is set in the 1920's world of HP Lovecraft.
There are two build outs for these characters.  One is the "Canon" one, where Buffy is the slayer abet 75 years earlier and everything is the same otherwise.  The other is the "Uber" campaign where Buffy is merely far too inquisitive young woman investigating the super natural.

Willow Rosenberg

Investigator Name: Willow Rosenberg
Occupation: Student/Witch
Colleges, Degrees: Sunnydale
Birthplace: Sunnydale, CA
Mental Disorders: Insecurity, Monomania, also Homosexuality was treated as one
Sex: Age: 20
STR: 8 DEX: 11 INT: 18 Idea: 90
CON: 11 APP: 14 POW: 22 Luck: 110
SIZ: 8 SAN: 110 EDU: 20 Know: 100
99-Cthulhu Mythos: 74 Damage Bonus: -1D4

Accounting 10% Anthropology 11% Archaeology 11%
Astronomy 46% Bargain 5% Biology 41%
Chemistry 46% Climb 40% Conceal 25%
Credit Rating 30% Cthulhu Mythos 25% Dodge 22%
Drive Auto 20% Electrical Repair 30% Fast Talk 25%
First Aid 40% Geology 21% Handgun 20%
Hide 10% History 50% Jump 25%
Law 20% Library Use 60% Listen 25%
Locksmith 1% Machine Gun 15% Martial Arts 1%
Mechanical Repair 20% Medicine 35% Natural History 30%
Navigate 10% Occult 40% Operate Hvy. Machine 1%
Other Language: Hebrew 36% Other Language: Latin 36% Persuade 25%
Pharmacy 26% Photography 10% Physics 56%
Psychoanalysis 16% Psychology 25% Ride 5%
Rifle 25% Shotgun 30% Sneak 30%
Spot Hidden 25% Submachine Gun 15% Swim 25%
Throw 25% Track 10% Fist/Punch 50%
Head Butt 10% Kick 25% Grapple 25%

Willow Rosenberg is a Jewish, Lesbian, Wiccan, and well educated young woman, which in 1920s America *any*of those qualifiers will drawn unwanted attention.  Her father ,Ira, is an investor in the shipping business, and her mother Shelia has a Masters degree in Sociology and is very active in local philanthropic and charitable women’s groups as well as supporting her husband in any business functions. Her father travels a good deal, and her mother is frequently involved in social work. As such this means Willow is almost always left to her own devices.

Her closest friend and companion growing up was the son of the housekeeper, Xander Harris.  They went to school together and while Shelia isn't too happy about their friendship, it makes her feel progressive that her Daughters best friend is a working class child.   Xander's father died of Influenza years before.  In many ways Xander is her "beard" to deflect unwanted questions about marriage.

Willow met Buffy in school in a similar way to "Welcome to the Hellmouth" and worked under the mentor ship of local antiquarian and librarian  Rupert Giles.   She met Tara and fell in love with her as a Freshman in college.  While their closest friends know about their relationship, almost no one outside that circle do and would be hostile if they did.

Having said this, two single women living together for the entirety of their lives itself would not raise any eyebrows even if it led to them both being termed spinsters.
In the uber campaign she and Tara have limited access to magic, and almost all of it is complex ritual magic.  However, because of the emotional, romantic, and spiritual connection between the girls, they are able to work as a Coven of 2.

 This means for the purposes of spells they can combine their POW and Magic points, and loose 50% less sanity from ritual magic when together.

In the "Canon" campaign they have a wider list of spells, and when holding hands use 50% less MP for a spell.

Tara Maclay

Investigator Name: Tara Maclay
Occupation: Student/Shop girl
Colleges, Degrees: Student in California college
Birthplace: Birmingham, Ala
Mental Disorders: Shy, beleaves she may be evil
Sex: F Age: 21
STR: 8 DEX: 12 INT: 15 Idea: 75
CON: 13 APP: 14 POW: 18 Luck: 90
SIZ: 9 SAN: 90 EDU: 19 Know: 95
99-Cthulhu Mythos: 99 Damage Bonus: none

Accounting 10% Anthropology 21% Archaeology 1%
Astronomy 26% Bargain 25% Biology 1%
Chemistry 41% Climb 40% Conceal 40%
Credit Rating 15% Cthulhu Mythos 0% Dodge 24%
Drive Auto 20% Electrical Repair 10% Fast Talk 5%
First Aid 50% Geology 1% Handgun 20%
Hide 50% History 35% Jump 25%
Law 5% Library Use 55% Listen 50%
Locksmith 1% Machine Gun 15% Martial Arts 1%
Mechanical Repair 20% Medicine 5% Natural History 20%
Navigate 10% Occult 50% Operate Hvy. Machine 1%
Persuade 15% Pharmacy 21% Photography 10%
Physics 1% Pilot: Read Latin 55% Psychoanalysis 1%
Psychology 40% Ride 5% Rifle 25%
Shotgun 30% Sneak 50% Spot Hidden 60%
Submachine Gun 15% Swim 25% Throw 25%
Track 10% Fist/Punch 50% Head Butt 10%
Kick 25% Grapple 25%

Tara Maclay is an independent young woman who is a student as well.  She lives far from her estranged family in Alabama, and lives on meager resources.  She works as a shop girl in a local book store and has a small inheritance from her dead mother that was ostensibly for her Hope chest.  Her stutter is more pronounced in this world, and her knowledge of occult even great that Willow's because of her family traditions.   She formerly was sure she was damned for her Witch tendencies, but has learned from Willow and Buffy that this is not the case.

To help set the structure of the campaign, here is a description of Buffy.

Buffy Summers

Investigator Name: Buffy Summers
Occupation: Slayer
Colleges, Degrees: Sunnydale HS
Birthplace: Los Angeles, CA
Mental Disorders: None, but suspected
Sex: F&nbspAge: 20
STR: 21 DEX: 21 INT: 13 Idea: 65
CON: 20 APP: 15 POW: 16 Luck: 80
SIZ: 18 SAN: 80 EDU: 12 Know: 60
99-Cthulhu Mythos: 79 Damage Bonus: +1D6

Accounting 10% Anthropology 1% Archaeology 16%
Astronomy 1% Bargain 25% Biology 11%
Chemistry 1% Climb 65% Conceal 55%
Credit Rating 35% Cthulhu Mythos 20% Dodge 42%
Drive Auto 20% Electrical Repair 10% Fast Talk 50%
First Aid 40% Geology 1% Handgun 20%
Hide 45% History 20% Jump 55%
Law 15% Library Use 35% Listen 55%
Locksmith 1% Machine Gun 15% Martial Arts 66%
Mechanical Repair 20% Medicine 10% Natural History 10%
Navigate 10% Occult 35% Operate Hvy. Machine 1%
Persuade 35% Pharmacy 1% Photography 10%
Physics 1% Pilot: Detect Vampires 70% Psychoanalysis 1%
Psychology 35% Ride 15% Rifle 25%
Shotgun 30% Sneak 50% Spot Hidden 65%
Submachine Gun 15% Swim 50% Throw 65%
Track 60% Detect Undead 65% Fist/Punch 50%
Head Butt 10% Kick 25% Grapple 25%
Stake 65% Sword 55% Axe 55%

Buffy is the daughter of the  well off and often wooed widow Joyce Summers.  Her father was a well off Military officer  but died in the great war.  Her mother took the loss hard, and turned to spiritualism and mediums to deal with the loss.

In the "Uber" campaign Buffy tried to use the numerous magical paraphernalia her mother had to divine her future, and accidentally got a tiny glimpse of the horrors about us.
Her strength,  speed, and fighting skills are all within normal human parameters but are very high.  She was close to her father and he taught her some martial arts he learned in Philippines during the rebellion, and now she is determined to make the best of it.

In the "Canon" campaign the above is still true, but the trigger to her adventuring  was her watcher contacting her as in the show.

The Buffy in both of these worlds is far more fatalistic than the one in the show, she is aware that the cosmic deck is stacked against her and is not optimistic of her having a normal life.   There would be a feeling from her and the other Irregulars that the horrors of the Great War were part of a larger scheme to end the world by unknown forces.


Konsumterra said...

nice post - its funny you mention xena and buffy - im always saddened by bff hero girls being broken up and/or de-powered - as if 2 female friends being strong together is a threat. If 2 bff guy heroes get girlfriends or dont it doesn't seem such to change things so much. All of wonder womens supporting cast have horrible things happen to them while diana remains unchanged. I like girl heroes but they seem to have different issues and problems.

M Pax said...

There are more girl heroes now than when I was growing up. I had to cling to Charlies Angels and the Bionic Woman.

Tammy Theriault said...

girl heroes! so few but we are coming out strong!!

Tim Knight said...

As someone who has never really been into fan faction, I find your articles on the subject really fascinating as they expose me to areas of fandom that I never knew existed.

Wasn't there a "canon" mention of a 1920s slayer somewhere in the early episodes of Buffy or am I imagining things?

Simon said...

What does it mean to be 'Wicca' in a 1920s Call of Cthulu universe?

IRL - Wicca didn't exist in the 1920s.

In HPL-Cthuluverse - any 1920s pagans would most likely be misguided cultists of Cthulu and the other Elder Gods. Hekate would likely be a name for Shub-Niggurath.

In Buffy-Cthuluverse - ?

Rhebeqah said...

Well, S'mon, Gardner always claimed that the Wicca religion he popularised had centuries of tradition behind it. I think, in a universe containing eldritch horrors from beyond the stars, that a little historical license is acceptable.