What happens when you mix eldritch horror with a funky, Flavortown-style? I still don’t know, but it might just turn out like this Call of Cthulhu map commission inspired by Guy Fieri!
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Late last year a friend contacted me about commissioning a Call of Cthulhu map for her game. She envisioned a modern-day encounter that included Guy Fieri colluding with inter-dimensional monsters. As much as it might seem like it, this wasn’t meant to be a straight-up parody. We chatted a few times to solidify what themes, encounters, and map features she wanted. Since her requests were minimal, I had free reign to experiment with the piece. While I am familiar with the Cthulhu mythos, I’ve never personally played Call of Cthulhu. Starting the map was a fun challenge — doubly so considering the Guy Fieri theme! This was also a change from my regular maps, in that I had to replicate a modern setting instead of strictly fantasy.
DISCLOSURE: All references to real people are meant as satire and are only used in the context of explaining the design and story line the commissioner desired. We do not imply a certain famous chef has any involvement with cults, magic, or eldritch horrors (though we humbly suggest Cult of Flavor as a good name if he ever chose to start one).
As you may know by now, I include suggested content for all of my maps. This includes room descriptions, furniture and prop notes. I also suggest encounters, complete with stats based on the source ttrpg. In this commission, I wrote the following intro for her personalized Call of Cthulhu map commission, titled “The Cult of Flavor.”
“The investigators must search for Guy Fieri’s private recipe book — a tome of unheralded culinary prowess. By reproducing recipes found within its yellowed pages, any restaurant can become world famous. The book itself will sell to the right buyer for an exorbitant amount. The challenge is to infiltrate Guy’s recently-opened New Orleans-based restaurant, locate the recipes, and retrieve them by force, stealth, or cunning. In actuality, the recipe book contains arcane passages that summon eldritch food monstrosities, open portals, and warp the flavor of reality.”
Guy Fieri currently has quite a few restaurants open in the US, so I had plenty of inspiration to draw from. The first floor is loosely inspired by a now-closed restaurant called Tex Wasabi’s in California. Luckily, there are a plethora of interior 360 Google Street View pictures. The scale is larger than most restaurants, but extra movement space makes things more interesting when adventurers must fight. I worked in a restaurant for some time, so I used that experience to add authentic features like the host stand, staff quarters and storage areas.
Another real-world aspect gleaned from my research of Tex Wasabi’s is the upstairs loft and bar. Adding this feature gives a sense of verticality in the map. Even if a group of investigators never explore it fully, adding extra areas like this make a map feel more lived-in.
Throughout my research, I learned most buildings in New Orleans don’t have basements or catacombs. However, I felt that when adding occult occurrences, it’s okay to use some creative liberties. I based the first underground section upon Italian wine cellars and gave them a more sinister feel. The floor details vary from room to room in order to better illustrate their use in the restaurant:
- The main dining room has natural stone tiling.
- The bathrooms have tile.
- The Executive room and wine cellar both have wood flooring.
I also discovered that Guy Fieri owns a line of wines, so it stood to reason that he’d have his own massive wine cellar. Throughout the map I peppered in a few, little details to add an air of menace: a person tied to the table in a hidden chamber or a growing blob of Donkey sauce in the dimly-lit storage room.
The last section of the map takes adventurers even further underground where the tethers of reality become strained. Every room and encounter is either food or Guy themed. Examples include the “Cold Storage” room filled with unearthly meat and the “Flavor Hallway,” where “small patches of white-ish mold grow in the cracks between the stone tiles, and a sickly scent of garlic and mayonnaise hangs in the air”.
For the final encounter room, there is a furnished TV set. It is dressed like a cooking show–complete with audience seating and cameras. Looking too closely at the exterior windows reveals a desolate alien landscape. A grisly red gel sloshes around on its own inside ingredient jars. It is in this room that the recipe book sits, and the adventurers must confront Guy once and for all.
I had a lot of fun coming up with this Call of Cthulhu map, utilizing the game’s style encounters, and bringing a Fieri flair to the encounter. If you want to collaborate on a commission with us, please check out our Commissions process and reach out to us!
Or, if you’re interested in checking out Call of Cthulhu for yourself, here are some links to get started:
- Call of Cthulhu Starter Set
- Keeper’s Guide, 7th Edition (Game Master Handbook)
- Investigator Handbook, 7th Edition(Player Handbook)
- Call Of Cthulhu black & green RPG Ornamented Dice Set