The simplest metaphor for a game of Call of Cthulhu can be likened to the fairy tale of the Little Dutch Boy. The dam had a crack and the Little Dutch Boy had to stand there with his finger in the hole to keep the water from flooding out and destroying the nearby town. However, instead of how the original tale played out, imagine that on the other side of that dam is a bloodthirsty shark, which is gnawing away at the Dutch Boy. He loses one finger, so he must put another one in. Then he loses another finger, and another. The hole is getting bigger, and he must stick his entire arm in, and the shark keeps biting. But if he fails, if he leaves his post, the dam will collapse, and many lives will be lost. And so he stays, resolute in his convictions. He may die, but humanity will live because of him.
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