Produced to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Call of Cthulhu, Keeper Tips was edited by current CoC line editor Mike Mason and is made up of dozens of short paragraph-long pieces of advice for how to run Call of Cthulhu in particular and RPGs more generally.
Individual tips are not attributed to anyone directly but the book credits them collectively as “The collected wisdom of Scott David Aniolowski, Sean Branney, Allan Carey, Keris McDonald, Jason Durall, Paul Fricker, Bob Geis, Lynne Hardy, Bridgett Jeffries, Jo Kreil, Daviud Larkins, Mike Mason, Mark Morrison, Thom Raley, Matthew Sanderson, Becca Smith, and Seth Skorkowsky”.
The book comes in the form of a small, pocket-sized notebook with a fake leather and gold-embossed cover. There’s also a place-holding ribbon that matches the maroon coloration of the inside cover. The book contains 113 pages of content and a load of pages for notes. The 113 pages also include lengthy biographies for all of the contributors and a list of online resources that you can use when running Call of Cthulhu. The remaining 99 or so pages are divided up into a series of chapters with titles like “Ground Rules”, “Designing Scenarios”, “Inclusivity”, “Horror” and “Sanity”.
The introduction makes it clear that there was no real attempt to curate or rationalise the collected tips. The tips come from multiple people who all have different and not-necessarily-consistent ideas about how to run the game and so these tips do not amount to a coherent vision, let alone an ex-cathedra official set of guidelines on how to run the game.
The aim of the game is not so much to be authoritative as to present a load of little ideas, tips, and strategies that you can briefly dip into when riding the bus, sitting on a toilet, or waiting for your turn at the glory-hole. In terms of seriousness and authoritativeness in GMing advice, this is less a Gygax-era AD&D Dungeon Master’s Guide than it is the Call of Cthulhu equivalent of a Little Book of Calm or a collection of Buddhist Koans.
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