DM Tips and Opinions: Repurposing Scenarios from Call of Cthulhu for D&D

While I generally make up my own campaigns and adventures for Dungeons & Dragons, I know that it’s not always possible to keep coming up with stories. Sometimes, you want a bit of a break, an easier way of doing things. Many DMs will then turn to D&D modules or campaign books, and there is certainly nothing wrong with that. I sometimes mine ideas from those books to reinterpret and add to my own campaigns.

However, I suggest moving outside of the realm of Dungeons & Dragons or Pathfinder and looking at modules from other games. For example, many of the Call of Cthulhu modules/adventures over the years have been very good. With just a little bit of work, it is possible to take those adventures and “D&Dify” them. I’m not saying that you should use it as is, but take the framework and then turn it into something that will work with your type of campaign.

Cthulhu Art by Christos Georghiou via Adobe Stock

Cthulhu Art by Christos Georghiou via Adobe Stock

The adventure Dead Light, from Chaosium, Inc. is a perfect example. While I ran this as a regular Call of Cthulhu adventure, I kept imagining how easy it would be to use it in D&D with a few tweaks.

In the actual scenario, the PCs are in a vehicle, it’s the 1920s in rural New England, and they probably don’t have a cleric with them. The paragraph below re-flavors it very easily.

The adventuring party is wandering along a lonely bit of road as a terrible storm is developing. A young half-elven woman suffering from what seems to be mental shock of some sort comes wandering onto the road in need of help. She keeps talking about the lights and muttering about her uncle, her poor, poor uncle. Just a short distance ahead is an overturned wagon and beyond that is a brightly lit in that beckons to the PCs to come in and get warm and dry.

This scenario is under $10, as are many of the Call of Cthulhu scenarios. Even a brand-new DM can easily turn them into adventures that would work well for D&D for one or even two sessions. Of course, you don’t have to limit yourself to just using Call of Cthulhu scenarios for this. Look at modules and adventures from other systems and see how they might fit into the different games you play. It can be a lot of fun, and it reduces some of the work on those weeks when you just don’t have the time or energy to create everything from scratch.

Have you ever done this in a game? What adventures and scenarios do you think might work well if we D&Dify them?  

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