Miscellany: Running a "Call of Cthulhu" campaign, part 10
I can't imagine trying to get people together for a tabletop RPG session before the advent of cell phones, e-mail, and text messaging. After all, you are asking for a considerable chunk of a person's time (a few hours in most cases, and in some campaigns, many, many hours). Unless you had regular contact with someone via school or work, it must have often devolved into a game of phone tag, missed answering machine messages, and written notes.
Thankfully, the Internet has solved many of these problems. In the long breaks between my "Call of Cthulhu" sessions, I have decided to continue the campaign via e-mail. It's sort of like the old "play-by-e-mail" games of the grognards and Civilization PC players, except instead of sending turn data, my players are sending information and actions for their characters (about a weeks' worth of actions at a time). The investigators are in Chicago circa 1927 now, so, as you might imagine, there's no limit of places to go or people to meet.
To be honest, in some ways, I actually prefer DMing this way. Although you lose the immediacy and improvisation of a live session, you can tailor every game e-mail to fit the mood and plot of your story. And frankly, I think I'm a better writer than I am a showman. The one disadvantage is that there's no combat or dice-rolling, but that's not a big deal in CoC.