Réalisée le 12 Juillet 2005
Who are you ? Age, origin (geographical and cultural)
John Ossoway, 33, England, though I have family from all over the place – Scotland, Ireland and Poland included.
How did you discover the role playing games ?
I was bought the Fighting Fantasy gamebook ‘The Warlock of Firetop Mountain' by my dad when I was at school. It was a slippery slope from thereon in...
How did you discover Call of Cthulhu ? (did you first read the novels and then discoved the RPG, or was it the opposite ?)
A friend of mine ran ‘Statue of the Sorcerer / Vanishing Conjurer' during our regular Wednesday night gaming sessions many years ago. I played what is still my favourite CoC Investigator – a private detective called Harry Jones. I was hooked.
How did you discover Lovecraft ?
After playing Call of Cthulhu.
Do you play other RPG ? Which ones ?
As well as running a regular Cthulhu Rising campaign, I also run a RuneQuest 3 campaign set in the world of Conan's Hyboria. In the group I play with we rotate ‘Game Master duty', so I get to play a diverse array of games such as Mutants and Masterminds, classic D&D, Feng Shui, Vampire, Hunter, Spacemaster...
What do you think of the future of RPG ?
When computer games like Everquest hit the mainstream, I did worry that it would sound the death knell for traditional roleplaying games. That said, roleplaying is about social interaction, and in my experience, playing an online RPG can never replace sitting around a table with good friends rolling dice and having a laugh.
Are you rather investigator or keeper ?
Keeper. I love creating adventures for my roleplaying group, and (hopefully) watching them enjoy the story as it unfolds.
According to you, what are qualities of a good CoC scenario ?
A good opening to get the Investigators hooked. Interesting NPCs. Clues that are clever but not impossible to work out. A fight sequence - I know Call of Cthulhu is primarily about investigation, but in my experience my players like a little bit of action during a scenario.
According to you, what are qualities of a Keeper ?
The ability to create a believable, entertaining world for the players, no matter what era. Not taking things too seriously – after all, roleplaying is supposed to be FUN. The ability to ‘wing it' without the players realising.
Why is this game still as vivid as ever ?
I think that roleplayers who want more than ‘hack and slash' style games will always be drawn inevitably to Call of Cthulhu. It's got everything – dark cults, magic, conspiracies, science fiction, alien creatures, horror, mystery...
What was your first "job" on CoC ?
Cthulhu Rising is my first published CoC work.
Do you work alone ?
Both the Cthulhu Rising website and the Chasoium Monograph are (so far) my own work, but I wouldn't have been able to do it without the help of my friends who I roleplay with. They helped playtest early incarnations of Cthulhu Rising, suggesting good ideas to improve the rules and setting before I put up the website. I have also been fortunate to work with some excellent creative and technical proofreaders. Finally kudos to Ben for the illustrations in the monograph.
Can you tell us the story of the publication of the MULA version ?
After creating and playing Cthulhu Rising purely for me and my friends, after several years, I decided to use it as a basis for some web development work (that's my day job), so created a website. It also allowed my group to download rules and such and familiarise themselves with the world.
Chaosium spotted the site and added it to their links pages, and if i remember correctly, Dustin emailed me to say that they might be interested in producing a MULA, if I was interested.
After an email conversation between me and Dustin, i finally plucked up the courage to write to Lynn Willis, with a MULA proposal. He liked the idea, and was very helpful and supportive during the development period, when I was emailing him weekly to ask questions about copyright, layout, length of the booklet etc etc.
The MULA was published in January this year, and I am very happy with the results.
Which is the return to the level of the success of the supplement (web and MULA) after a few months ? And what do you expect some ? Glory, profits, test for yourself,...
I don't know how the MULA is selling (I should remember to email Chaosium and ask), but the site is going from strength to strength. In June 2005, I counted over 1,800 downloads of the rules, and I get regular emails from players from all over the world with messages of support, praise and encouragement. I have also discovered that a shop in my home town has copies of the MULA in stock !
What do you hold in the near future ? Which are your projects for Rising ?
There is never enough time to do all the projects that I want to do. For Cthulhu Rising, I am working on a spaceship combat system, and want to expand the Cthulhu Rising Mythos section in more detail. There are several adventures on the go, and I have plot outlines for at least a dozen more. Also, I have a couple of players hard at work on adventures that I hope to put up on the site very soon.
I'd love to see Cthulhu Rising get an 'official' release, but I don't know if that will happen. I am just happy that so many roleplayers out there seem to enjoy it as much as me and my friends do !
Have you got any other project in the future ?
I would love to run a Cthulhu Dark Ages campaign, but just don't have the time to write for it. I would also like to write up an idea for a post-apocalyptic Call of Cthulhu setting I have had bubbling-under for some time now, provisionally titled ‘Cthulhu Forsaken'.
Tell me your worst memory of game ?
I can't think of an exact example, but I hate it when a gaming session grinds to a halt because players are argueing over rules. Being a Keeper can be like being a football referee at times. Hero one minute, villain the next.
Tell me your best memory of game ?
I have many great memories of roleplaying, so it's hard to choose just one. A great moment in running CoC happened quite recently when running a Cthulhu Rising scenario. The Investigators all ended up being drugged by cultists, just after they had realised that the person they thought was an ally was in fact the main villain of the piece. The evening's gaming session ended as the Investigators collapsed unconscious, the players all all looking incredulous at the plot twist. Timing like that happens rarely.
Which monster of the Mythos would you be ?
Hmmmm.... I do like the Yithians. I still have to think of a good way to work them into a Cthulhu Rising scenario.
What is your estimation of your SAN level ?
Somewhere in the low 40s. The insanity of real life can be a drain on the old sanity levels.
Is there a question noone asked you which you would like to answer ?
Can I buy the film rights to Cthulhu Rising - I will pay you millions. That would be quite cool... ;-)
John Ossoway, thank you.