AC in the Call of Cthulhu TRPG  

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djedi
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15/11/2019 5:30 pm  

Call of Cthulhu is a Tabletop Role-playing Game based on the work of H.P. Lovecraft and set in his Cthulhu Mythos. It is published by Chaosium and is currently in its 7th edition. 

Like Dungeons and Dragons, there is a Dungeon Master (called a Keeper in CoC) who writes and referees campaigns for players who role-play as adventurers (called Investigators in CoC). Campaigns are normally set in the 1980s, which is the setting included in the base game, but there is an expanded body of work that allows campaigns to be set in the 1890s. CoC materials dealing with the nineteenth century are collected under the designation Cthulhu by Gaslight.

In 1996, Pagan Publishing wrote and released a sourcebook for Cthulhu by Gaslight titled The Golden Dawn, which allows players to create characters who are members of the organization and have adventures set against the intrigue and squabbling of the magicians who comprised it.

(The Golden Dawn was never reprinted, and physical copies are selling for over $400 at the time of writing. Luckily, the blessed grognards of the internet have uploaded free PDFs of the book, which can be easily found online. I would love to be courteous and post a link to one such PDF, but I’m unsure of the owner’s stance on that sort of thing, so I’ll err on the side of caution.)

Some real world figures who are featured as non-player characters in The Golden Dawn Sourcebook are: S.L. MacGregor Mathers, Dr. Westcott, W.R. Woodman, W.B. Yeats and, as concerns us here on the Aleister Crowley Society forum, Aleister Crowley.

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(Every other member of the GD is included as a potential NPC, I listed only the above for brevity.)

Here, I post the verbatim biography of AC as it appears in the sourcebook:

Aleister Crowley was born Edward Alexander Crowley to a family in a religious community in Warwickshire. In his childhood he fought his strict religious upbringing, to the point thal his mother called him ‘the Great Beast.’ Crowley later renamed himself the more unusual-sounding Aleister. Crowley learned of the Golden Dawn while mountain climbing in Switzerland in 1898, and joined in November of that year. A voracious student of the occult, he advanced rapidly through the Outer Order's grades, reaching the Philosophus grade by the spring of 1899. During this time he met Mathers and Allan Bennett for the first time, and played the avid student to both. Bennet reportedly told Crowley on their first meeting, “Little Brother, you have been meddling with the Goetia!” (“The Goetia” were evil spirits.) When Crowley claimed that he hadn’t, Bennett replied, “Then the Goetia has been meddling with you!”

What followed was a close friendship between the sickly Bennett and Crowley. Bennett moved in with Crowley at 67 Chancery Lane and taught him magic. Throughout the year Bennet and Crowley created talismans and performed rituals, including healing ones. Crowley also claimed to have perfected to invisibility ritual of Mathers’. He also obtained copies of the Abra-melin rituals from Mathers, and studied these as well.

But Crowley’s rapid rise through the Golden Dawn wasn’t without its problems. The self-avowed hedonist strained against the Order’s doctrines of self-control and engaging in only minor magical operations. He fell afoul of William Butler Yeats, whom he suspected was jealous of his talents as a poet. Crowley even claimed that this jealousy had led to Yeats' use of black magic against him.

In late 1899, Crowley decided to put the AbraMelin ritual to use -- despite the fear that he was younger than the prescribed minimum age for its use. He had purchased a house called Boleskine on Loch Ness, and now titled himself Aleister MacGregor, Laird of Boleskine. (While living at Chancery Lane he had occasionally gone by the alias ''Count Svareff.") He also arranged for Bennett's move to Ceylon to improve his flagging health.

While it's unclear what effect his attempt at the Abra-Melin magics had, his luck in the real world was running out. Early in 1900 he sought by police in conjunction with a homosexual scandal involving an old college acquaintance. This, combined with the fact that the Isis-Urania temple was refusing to promote him into the Inner Order, led him to flee to Paris. There Mathers initiated him into the Inner Order himself. A few weeks later Crowley returned to London, where he soon played a key role in the demise of the Dawn. But once Mathers' faction had been ousted, Crowley went on to his own devious, decadent pursuits. 

Crowley was largely an unknown during his time with the Golden Dawn, his scandalous reputation only starting to develop.

As an investigator's ally, Crowley is yet another useful source of magical knowledge. Crowley is also not above physical violence -- or at least the threat of it -- against his enemies. 

As an investigator's enemy, Crowley is dangerous for the above reason. Yeats was literally in fear for his life due to a minor incident with Crowley.

Below is AC’s stat block for the game, meant to give the Keeper a frame-of-reference for his abilities as a character. They do not list attributes (DEX is short for dexterity) but do list skills.

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Aleister Crowley on appears as an NPC in one pre-written campaign included in the source-book -- Sheela-na-gig -- where he is a secondary character tangentially involved with some old-god worshipping socialites. (Remember that this is the Call of Cthulhu RPG, and many elements of history are reinterpreted as containing the Lovecraftian.) The reader may be entertained to learn that the campaign pretends Crowley first learned the rudiments of ‘sex magic’ at the feet of a priestess of ‘Sheela-na-gig’, an aspect of ‘Shub Niggurath’. Don’t tell the Typhonians.

There is more on AC in the sourcebook, mostly revolving around his so-called rivalry with Yeats and the Investigators’ potential to interpolate themselves therein.

This topic was modified 4 weeks ago by djedi

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