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Call of Cthulhu - best parts of Beyond the Mountains of Madness

Kevin Perrine

Registered User
Validated User
Tell me about running Beyond the Mountains of Madness! I'd like to hear some fun details.

More importantly, i will be rolling the first Scenerio I ran my group through "the Haunting" ... going from the small town to NYC. I'd like to get the PCs on the expedition quickly...

...what do you feel are the MOST iconic and key events that I must use, as i get the PCs onntheir way out of NY and on the boat and then toward the mountains?!


Social Justice Fishwife
Validated User
Man, it's been a looooong time since I've ran BtMoM, so my memory is pretty hazy on all the specific events, but the ones I do remember are hidden in the spoiler block below:

Spoiler: Show

  • Make the investigators getting recruited by Starkweather and Moore a Big Deal. I had all my players get interviewed by the duo, receive personalized letters from Starkweather, and there being a big gala ball where the entire team gets introduced to the press. During that era especially, news of this sort of expedition would be headline-grabbing. Play it up as such.
  • The investigators meeting Nicholas Roerich. Ominous portents gan be gleaned from talking to the (real life!) artist.
  • Giving your players an actual copy of the story "At the Mountains of Madness" as the full "Dyer text" (if my memory serves correctly). And have them take it home and read it.
  • Crossing the equator for the first time is a major scene in the campaign; my players got a kick out of the ceremony, complete with certificates.
  • Encountering the abandoned ship (the name of which I forget).
  • Pretty much everything that happens once the expedition reaches the ice.

The only event I downplayed and edited was the inventory lists and having the investigators go through them. I didn't want to bore my players to death with having them go through everything, but the missing equipment and supplies is an important piece of information, so make sure to include that somehow.

One piece of advice I would give when running BtMoM is to make sure you flesh out as many of the NPCs as you can. I know it'll seem daunting, because there are so many. I made index cards for all of them, with their portraits and short lists of their personality traits. It'll be way easier for your players to buy into the campaign, especially when they get underway on the ship, if you present the other crew members and such as real people, vs. cardboard cut outs. Starkweather is particularly tricky in this regard. It's easy to fall into the trap of portraying him as the "villain" here, but really, he's a very flawed person who lets his ego and insecurities get in the way of making smart decisions sometimes. Moore helps balance him out in that respect.


Cat Fragment
Validated User
I was a player and I loved it but I am not sure how much the GM used. I gave landmarks romantic sounding names just so future explorers would have to see their companions torn to pieces of the Terraces of Tenderness. I felt we were being railroaded at the end though and I was really not keen to go or do anything which I thought was fair given the individual involved. I also shudder when anyone mentions pemmican which is amusing given the unearthly horrors in the adventure. It is remarkable how different everything was before the plastic age.


RPGnet Member
Validated User
So, this was a very expensive campaign for me. We learned that all arctic explorers bring whiskey with them as their luxury item (almost without exception?) and so we started drinking ⅔ of a bottle of scotch between us each session. That adds up over 20 sessions or so ...


Cat Fragment
Validated User
Haha - why did the pemmican get to you?
I kept picturing it like disgusting old time spam I think it was the way the GM described it and for some reason it became a running joke. There we were wrapped in bulky furs sucking oxygen through straws and whats for dinner? God damn pemmican again...
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