The Call of Cthulhu role-playing game is all about investigation. Being able to research the strange cases going on around playing characters can mean the difference between life and death … or insanity.
So when you create a character it’s important to put a little thought into your contacts.
Contacts come in three varieties: information contacts, influence contacts, and skill contacts.
Information contacts are useful for what they know. They’re the ones who hear all the rumors—and they can discern which ones are true. Some just have an uncanny sense of what’s going on in their neighborhood or town, such as the grumpy bartender, the talkative storekeeper, and the old cop who has seen it all. Other information contacts have more focused interests, such as the army sergeant who knows all about troop movements, the fence who is privy to every major theft in the city, or the Vatican priest assigned to write down every utterance of the modern prophets.
Example: The Playing Character stays in contact with The Two Slackers.
Influence contacts are useful because of who they know or who they are associated with. While a player can’t define the President as his character’s contact, he can define one of the Secret Service as a contact. The purpose of an influence contact is to enable and smooth talks with more important, but less friendly, Non-Playing Characters.
Example: The Playing Character has a contact in the State Police, like Jane McDermott.
Skill contacts are useful for what they do. Some skills—especially categories of Craft, Profession, and Knowledge—are rarely possessed by Playing Characters. Skill contacts have those skills in abundance, so they’re useful when characters need an Ancient Text translated, an honest broker to appraise an odd artifact, or a hacker who can get information from cyberspace. A special category of the skill contact is the linguist, who can tell you what those black-robed cultists were chanting in the light of the full moon.
Example: The Playing Character knows Lester Mason.