Saturday, April 2, 2011

Call of Cthulhu RPG – Be Prepared, Even When You Are Not

Or, "What has its got in its pocketses"? Adventurers find the darndest things of use in a pinch, even a found ring.

Here is a short list of handy items for a Call of Chtulhu player character to have in his/her pockets or person. Most of them are very common things, found everywhere, but oh so useful to the cunning-minded. An additional plus is that none of them are illegal and apt to be overlooked in a search. I have left off some obvious items like flashlights, burglar tools, guns and the like because they would not normally be carried everyday. This list is for common pocket items only. I suppose there is even a use for pocket lint as tinder in making a fire. The idea is to think and carry items correct for your character and era.
Turn of the century mail order or salesman sample antique clothing catalog
For example: Matchbook/lighter/matchbox, common string, magnifying glass, pen knife multi blade, small notebook with pencil, handkerchief, business cards, shoelaces, pocket watch/wrist watch, ring, brooch, paperclips and a couple rubber bands, keys, comb and pocket mirror, toothpick, whistle, a bit of wax, cough drops, gloves, umbrella/cane, hat, a piece of chalk, compass, fountain pen, coins, tobacco, & etc.

Turn of the century mail order or salesman sample antique clothing catalogMatches or lighter is pretty obvious: make an emergency light or set a fire. Common string is more than just tying up packages – with a bent paperclip as a hook you can fish for a key or open a latch. Stout enough string can make a trap to trip or make a racket. Magnifying glass can start a fire, make glyphs large enough to read and all the typical uses. Pen knife is seldom considered a danger, but many have screwdrivers, scissors, file, along with a small sharp blade. Business cards can be left as a sign to others you have been there, work as a makeshift note card and make a nice shim for wiggling tables at your favorite restaurant. A whistle or compass may be on your watch chain. Watches are import for telling the present time and for telling time elapsed. You can also use a watch to calculate speed if you are handy. Paperclips can be bend into various useful shapes. Rubber bands have uses too if you are going to be a Mac Gyver type character. At the least, you can shoot them at each other.
Turn of the century mail order or salesman sample antique clothing catalog

A bit of soft wax can be used to make an impression of a key or a seal stone. It will also burn. Cough drops are just nice to have. You can use the rubber bands to launch the cough drops at people. A piece of chalk is always useful whether you are in a sewer or making a journey to the center of the earth. A compass is obvious, but they are also set into knife handles and the like. Some items are always on your person like cuff links, neck ties, coat buttons, hat pins, glasses, false teeth, handkerchief and would elicit no surprise from somebody searching you and would be in no danger of confiscation by crooks, culties or police.   That bit of twine or loose button just might save your life.  Think, think, think.

Update Sept 2015, Propnomicon has an excellent article about what people used before duct tape – adhesive plaster aka sticking plaster.  It seems a very necessary article for the 1920s and 1930s adventurer and is often overlooked in the inventory.  I certainly did.  His article is well worth viewing. 

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