Call of Cthulhu


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Readn tne books, any body have anything on the Game?

Liberty's Edge

It's quite good, but not if you like high-powered characters. It's designed so that pretty much anything can kill you easily. For some, this would ruin the game, but many people, myself included, just think it fits the mood.

Scarab Sages

The system is a bit horrible in places, but it's suitably sanity shattering/deadly and it can be fantastic fun to play. The important thing is that players need to be aware of what they're going into, and you need a GM who can make constantly dying or going insane really enjoyable, it isn't as hard as it sounds, but rich description and player immersion are pretty key. It helps that it's always fun to play characters on the slippery slope to insanity :).


Illessa wrote:

The system is a bit horrible in places, but it's suitably sanity shattering/deadly and it can be fantastic fun to play.

Horrible?


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
[Insert Neat Username Here] wrote:
It's quite good, but not if you like high-powered characters. It's designed so that pretty much anything can kill you easily. For some, this would ruin the game, but many people, myself included, just think it fits the mood.

I have most greatly enjoyed the games and systems that made the players believe that they are mere moments away from terrible death. Although my southern accent makes it somewhat challenging to telegraph the correct langauge and fear.


Personally, I like it best for one-off games so that you don't have to keep creating new characters when your old ones die or go crazy.


Illessa wrote:
The system is a bit horrible in places, but it's suitably sanity shattering/deadly and it can be fantastic fun to play.
redneckroler wrote:
Horrible?

The system is mostly rolling skills and attacks on d100, with little in place to deal with particularly difficult or easy tasks. The ability scores also have little effect on play (with some notable exceptions). It's just not a system that's seen much refinement over the years -- 25 years ago it was one of the better systems, now I'd say it's below average.

That said, I don't think it matters. The fun lies in the roleplaying and the mystery.

And it is my favorite RPG, hands-down :)


Indeed, the Chaosium system is pretty old and outdated... But something new and interesting is coming for the fan of the d20 system:

Daivd Jarvis, author of the Blood Throne campaign setting for True20 will publish Shadow of Cthulhu in a few weeks:

http://realitydeviants.net/blog/category/shadows-of-cthulhu/.

The True20 system is a perfect fit for Cthulhu-type adventure with it's fear and sanity rules... and the possibility to create 'ordinary' heroes like an old librarian with absolutly no combat capability...

The release date is suppose to be the 15th of july...

Scarab Sages

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

I like it a lot. The rules are simple. Honestly, I have played and seen people finish these so-called mind-bending, insanity-laden campaigns. If players are into investigating and careful planning to build up to a advantageous situation, it can be a very rewarding gaming experience.

However, if players are used to the 'clear the dungeon' mentality or have this sense of heroic invincibility, its not the game for them. That is not to say that they cannot be heroes though.


I'm a huge fan : D

It's a great experience for any GM to run this game, and really hones your player-scaring skills. If you haven't done so already then read a load of H.P. Lovecraft's short fiction to get the flavour - this will be rewarding in it's own right.

I've played on and off when wanting a break from D&D, and we've explored the different suggested eras and had a very diverse experience each time, all pretty memorable.

Most recently we ran a campaign losely based on the 'Delta Green' approach to CoC. This establishes the players in an X-Files type situation where they are members of a secret government cell, exploring paranormal occurances. I liked this idea because it provided an easy way to hook into adventures and gave me the chance to include elements of the spy/secret agent genre into the mix, enriching the whole stew.

A ran a series of about 9 connected homebrew adventures for this, which I'd happy to share in brief synopis form - if you choose to go for a modern setting.

Scarab Sages

What Tatterdemalion and Etrigan said :) I don't mind playing the system I just think it's rather unbalanced and there's a little too much random chance involved (d100 san loss anyone?) I'd class it as slightly below average compared to other systems I've played. But really the system isn't that important so long as it gets across that compared to the things you're up against, you suck :P, I didn't know about the True20 game, I'll have to check that out!
And the old-school deadly campaigns are totally survivable, we had two surviving original characters in my Orient Express game, the wheelchair-bound Oxford professor with a shotgun and my artist with starting san of 35, the other two players went through two and three characters respectively. In Masks we only had one original character survive the entire campaign out of six, though we had one who literally survived until the very last scene when the Bloated Woman cut the top of his head off. My usual Cthulhu GM does have a 100% party-loses record with The Haunting though, he's run it about half a dozen times with between 3-6 players and no one's even got as far as actually seeing Corbitt before dying, going mad, or running away and leaving the country :). So yes the main point I was making is that players need to be disabused of any notion that the GM will be nice to them, if they do something stupid they will probably die, and there's a pretty high chance of them dying through sheer bad luck even if they do play it smart.

Scarab Sages

Call of Cthulhu is great fun and every RPG fan should read this massively influential game.

But ...

And this is a big BUT ...

The real reason to own Call of Cthulhu is the adventures and campaigns. CoC adventures include amongst their ranks some of the greatest RPG products ever published.

Masks of Nyarlathotep -- the definitive globe-trotting pulp horror campaign of desperate struggle against the machinations of the dark god and its many cults.

Beyond the Mountains of Madness -- powerful, psychologically gripping campaign that I would hesitate to spoil by telling you whats its about. My favorite RPG adventure of all time. I've run it several times and am hungry HUNGRY to run it again. Even if you don't play CoC, this campaign of antarctic exploration is a blue print on how to run a great expedition adventure.

Unseen Masters -- A modern collection of three mini-campaign featuring hidden powers and modern madness. Great stuff and unbelievably scary. Really. If you think 'Hook Mountain Massacre' was creepy -- you should check out 'The Wild Hunt'.

Delta Green -- Not put out by Chaosium (instead this is from Pagan Press), this book and its companion Delta Green: Countdown make me proud to be a roleplayer. The desperate tales of humanity's last hope to make a stand against the mythos. The stars are almost right. Have we already lost? Great writing. Great stories. Powerful stuff.

Gary


Illessa wrote:
And the old-school deadly campaigns are totally survivable, we had two surviving original characters in my Orient Express game, the wheelchair-bound Oxford professor with a shotgun and my artist with starting san of 35, the other two players went through two and three characters respectively.

My experience was that you had to be very careful if you wanted your character to survive, but that the effort of being cautious sort of loses some of the feeling of Lovecraft's books where more often the characters are just stumbling into something way, way over their heads. That's why I liked it more when we played one-shot adventures.

In particular, we had a blast going through some of the adventures from "Blood Brothers" (although that was just generic horror, not Cthulhu-related).

Scarab Sages

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Gary McBride wrote:

Call of Cthulhu is great fun and every RPG fan should read this massively influential game.

But ...

And this is a big BUT ...

The real reason to own Call of Cthulhu is the adventures and campaigns. CoC adventures include amongst their ranks some of the greatest RPG products ever published.

So true...I'm gearing up to run Masks again!

And I'd love to run Tatters of the King.

I love the Strange Aeons adventures as well. Some gems in there.

Actually, some of the most evocative player scenes have come in CoC. When I playtested Cthulhu Invictus (Horror Roleplaying in Imperial Rome) the look on the face of the player who played a gladiator when he saw a Dark Young of Shub-Niggurath appear in an arena filled with innocent victims...and then he jumped in to face it...priceless...

The mad giggling of a player when a Shan-possessed child killed his father...And the the yells of shock and surprise when, while describing a scene where blood was dripping onto the faces of the players' characters in game, and suddenly water dripped coincidentally from the ceiling...

Liberty's Edge

Monte Cook wrote the d20 version of CoC which WotC put out. For those unhappy about PCs dying quick, start with 3rd level d20 characters and you'll survive... for a while at least.

I absolutely love CoC, but you have to have the right group. The players really need to want to be investigating a mystery. I think Masks of Nyalarthotep (sp?) is brilliant, but the last time I ran it, it didn't take long for my particular group of players to get lost in all the clues and player handouts and I found myself as the GM constantly feeling like I had to remind them of this clue, that clue, etc. to keep things going.

Liberty's Edge

If I could save only one of my RPG books from a raging fire, it would be CoC.

I like Monte Cook's d20 version, but Chaosium's CoC is my hands-down favorite game.


Great game - get the Chaosium version, not the d20 version. Doesn't make for a good d20 game in my view.

Liberty's Edge

Great sourcebooks too. The New Orleans sourcebook is terrific. A lot of what I know about 1920s Americana I got from CoC.

Liberty's Edge

Steerpike7 wrote:
Great game - get the Chaosium version, not the d20 version. Doesn't make for a good d20 game in my view.

Total agreement: d20 CoC is very well-written, and a beautiful book, but it's best for adding Mythos elements to your D&D game, rather than a different way of playing CoC. Chaosium's rules are straightforward, and they tend to change very little --there are 6 1/2 editions, but the company is quick to tell you that the edition updates are mostly cosmetic and you can continue to play new published adventures with the original boxed set rules if you want--in fact, I usually loan an old 4th or 5th edition beat-up book to new players interested in joining a game.

For the type of game, I think it's masterful.


Andrew Turner wrote:


Total agreement: d20 CoC is very well-written, and a beautiful book, but it's best for adding Mythos elements to your D&D game, rather than a different way of playing CoC.

Yep. That's exactly what I used the d20 version for.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

CoC is one of my favorite games. Ranks right up there with D&D, Villains and Vigilantes, and MegaTraveller.

And Masks of Nyarlathotep is one of my hands-down favorite campaign-length adventures in any game. An absolute classic.


Ah, I've had lots of fun playing CoC. Oddly enough, my character, the Colonel, lived to a ripe old age with most of his faculties intact...right up until the cultists tracked him down and hacked him into little bits in his own home, years after he'd retired. Alas, the old elephant gun will never boom again.


I've only had the opportunity to run one game with CoC (my players prefer powerful/effectual characters with a fair chance at survival; CoC as written might not be much fun for them without a big change of attitude) but it was a lot of fun. It's also fairly quick on the player's end to learn and very little of it gets bogged down in mechanics.

The campaigns and adventures that I've bought and read (currently just Shadows of Yog-Sothoth and Tatters of the King) are really well-written, even if they do at times call for Deus Ex Machina from the Keeper. I would recommend it, even based on my limited play experience.


We try to play every week - though in reality (the hard reality of working people) we play every 2 or 3 weeks Cthulhu with the brp-rules (currently and for the next years: orient express) -the rules are nice for role playing and interacting, but horrible for battles (runequest3 was better in this), though the "run away" and "get mad" rule is the only we should use :)


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
James Keegan wrote:

I've only had the opportunity to run one game with CoC (my players prefer powerful/effectual characters with a fair chance at survival; CoC as written might not be much fun for them without a big change of attitude) but it was a lot of fun. It's also fairly quick on the player's end to learn and very little of it gets bogged down in mechanics.

The campaigns and adventures that I've bought and read (currently just Shadows of Yog-Sothoth and Tatters of the King) are really well-written, even if they do at times call for Deus Ex Machina from the Keeper. I would recommend it, even based on my limited play experience.

You could always try selling the game as a toss-away. They won't have to worry too much about PC survival since, in the long term, they aren't expected to. I find that a lot of players approach their CoC characters in very different ways from their regular D&D characters... which is kind of ironic. They are a little less attached their CoC characters despite death being a real, permanent risk while in D&D death is fairly easily overcome.

Scarab Sages

I like the Game very much - especially since most adventures can be played without to much preparation and the rules aren't much of a burden. I can't say much about the quality of the english sourcebooks, since I buy german CoC books - Pegasus does a hell of a good job on converting, redesigning and translating - anyway. The best way to know the Game and its style of lay is to play it - and I found a free quickstart guide and adventure on the chaosium homepage that you might want to check out:
http://www.chaosium.com/forms/coc_quick_start_color.pdf

The Exchange

Call of Cthulhu was the first game that made me think on a very deep level. After the first game I ever played I found myself with homework. I spent the intervening week at the public library researching the various folk religions of the Caribbean as our group wrestled to understand the motivation of a group we thought were setting up some kind of death cult in 1920's NYC.

I think this game and Runequest are two big reason I got my degree in Anthropology.


Bill Dunn wrote:
CoC is one of my favorite games. Ranks right up there with D&D, Villains and Vigilantes, and MegaTraveller... And Masks of Nyarlathotep is one of my hands-down favorite campaign-length adventures in any game. An absolute classic.

Ditto.

Except the V&V part :)


Here is the 'CoC Quick Start Rules' .pdf:

  • http://www.chaosium.com/article.php?story_id=87

    Here are a bunch of free Adventures you can download:

  • http://catalog.chaosium.com/fdm_folder_files.php?fPath=3

    Here are H.P. Lovecraft's works online:

  • http://www.dagonbytes.com/thelibrary/lovecraft/index.html

    Some of the more referenced works are (in no particular order):

  • The Case of Charles Dexter Ward
  • At the Mountain of Madness
  • The Call of Cthulhu

    Links:

  • http://www.yog-sothoth.com/modules.php?name=Downloads&d_op=viewdownload &cid=1
  • http://www.chaosium.com/

    Here is a link into the Paizo stacks, you *must* buy all these:

  • Buy Me !!!

    I guess there is Amazon-Cthulhu too.

    There is even stuff on YouTube!

    Stop by the Chat room if you want to hook up for on-line CoC gaming.

    :-)

  • The Exchange

    Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
    Gary McBride wrote:
    The real reason to own Call of Cthulhu is the adventures and campaigns. CoC adventures include amongst their ranks some of the greatest RPG products ever published.
    Steerpike7 wrote:
    Great game - get the Chaosium version, not the d20 version. Doesn't make for a good d20 game in my view.

    What are your thoughts on converting classic CoC adventures to the Storyteller system? I agree with some of the above posters that Chaosium CoC seems a little arbitrary and unrefined, and the flavor of the World of Darkness seems like a decent fit.

    Hunter: The Vigil comes out next month, and might just be an excuse to run the old CoC stuff in a more modern RPG system...


    evilvolus wrote:

    ...

    What are your thoughts on converting classic CoC adventures to the Storyteller system?
    ...

    Sounds wonderful. Where will you post them? Have you done such conversions before?


    evilvolus wrote:
    What are your thoughts on converting classic CoC adventures to the Storyteller system?

    I agree, this sounds like a good fit.

    First, I like the Storyteller system -- it's streamlined but still provides depth to a character's ability. And the rules don't limit the roleplaying part of the game (as some systems arguably can).

    Second, there's a limit to how capable people can be in the system. This is important in CoC -- a human should never be able to take on a shoggoth (for example) in combat, regardless of levels or advancement or whatever. Among other things, that would defeat a lot of the point or tone of the game.

    Two more cents :)

    The Exchange

    Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
    Tensor wrote:
    Sounds wonderful. Where will you post them? Have you done such conversions before?

    lol. I'll post them here if I ever get around to it. I've done some minor early-to-3.5 D&D conversions, but not too much stuff. I've been looking forward to Hunter with the thought of running a Buffy/Angel style game with the system, but now playing World of Cthulu is tickling my fancy as well.

    Then again, between balancing an AoW game and a RotR game, I'm not sure I'll ever find the time to rewrite hunter into a 1920s context and rebuild Masks from the ground up.

    Tatterdemalion wrote:
    Second, there's a limit to how capable people can be in the system. This is important in CoC -- a human should never be able to take on a shoggoth (for example) in combat, regardless of levels or advancement or whatever. Among other things, that would defeat a lot of the point or tone of the game.

    Yeah, I'm a little concerned about what Hunter is going to do to balance plain humans with the rest of their games. Seems like a WoD vamp or werewolf should be able to take out a cell of regular folk without breaking a sweat...which doesn't sound like a very fun game from the Hunter's perspective.

    Dark Archive

    evilvolus wrote:
    [Yeah, I'm a little concerned about what Hunter is going to do to balance plain humans with the rest of their games. Seems like a WoD vamp or werewolf should be able to take out a cell of regular folk without breaking a sweat...which doesn't sound like a very fun game from the Hunter's perspective.

    Well I haven't seen Vigil yet, but in the oWoD, they gave Hunters powers called Edges which evened the odds a bit. All Hunters had the ability to see supernatural creatures, and then based on your outlook toward monsters, you got a set of powers which were pretty useful - the one I remember off the top of my head allowed you to do aggravated damage with any weapon you picked up for a short time, which would be outright necessary if you were fighting, say, a werewolf.

    Even with the upgrades, Hunters were pretty weak when compared to average vampires and the like. They set up zombies as an easier foe, but my players spent a lot of time planning tactics to take on tougher enemies, and then running for their lives when things went wrong.

    EDIT: I just wanted to mention the reason for the Edges, in case you didn't know - Hunters weren't entirely normal people, they were individuals who were being contacted by angels or something similar and basically tasked with fighting the supernatural. It may not be the same setup this time around, but I imagine they'll do something to give the Hunters a way to fight back.

    The Exchange

    Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

    Yeah, it looks like they're going for mostly pureblood humans this time around. They get minor "tactics" abilities, like morale bonuses or improved researching ability. The major equalizer seems to be "endowments," which require getting in tight with one of the global conspiracies (Men in Black, the Catholic Church, etc) and getting to play with some of their toys. Taskforce: VALKYRIE folks (MIB) get tech toys like bullets that can shoot ghosts, or tracking devices, that sort of thing.

    If that ends up being an accurate depiction of things, World of Cthulu may be as simple as "Hunter, but without Endowments."


    feytharn wrote:
    <snip>... Pegasus does a hell of a good job on converting, redesigning and translating - anyway. <snip>

    good to hear :) I make the layout.

    Scarab Sages

    gurps wrote:
    feytharn wrote:
    <snip>... Pegasus does a hell of a good job on converting, redesigning and translating - anyway. <snip>

    good to hear :) I make the layout.

    OK, converting, redesigning, translating AND layouting - happy?

    Seriously - the german books are great!

    Liberty's Edge

    Thank you Tensor for all the links!


    "The system is mostly rolling skills and attacks on d100, with little in place to deal with particularly difficult or easy tasks."

    Respectfully disagree. You apply a negative to the pecentage roll...it is the same system a s Stormbringer, Runequest, et all, with a few simplifications.

    The rule system is not "outdated" - its simple in concept but can be applied to sophisticated games backgrounds (cf:Delta Green for example). Thats not to say I don't prefer other systems, but its not been updated for a while as it doesn't really have too much wrong with it!

    However CoC is most definitely not for those who think they'll kick down the door and tommy-gun the critter to death.


    Just a little heads up...

    Shadows of Cthulhu for the True20 system is in the approval process, and I'm hoping to release it within the next 36 hours. All I need is for Chaosium to give me the nod and this baby is ready to rock and roll. :)

    So, if you are new to the Cthulhu mythos, and you're someone who likes D20-based systems, You just might want to give this incredibly well-written book a peek.

    You can download a preview on the website.

    reality deviant publications

    Thanks for your time.


    Daigle wrote:
    =384"]Linkified!

    Yeah I fixed the above link.. sheesh.. those extra [] tags hurt my url pimpage.


    Funny to see this thread after I just stumbled upon Call of Cthulhu and the whole genre.

    Has anyone played Trail of Cthulhu?? It uses the GUMSHOE system. Any good? I've been considering picking it up.


    I haven't played it but I've read good reviews for it, and I think it picked up an ENnie.

    P1NBACK wrote:

    Funny to see this thread after I just stumbled upon Call of Cthulhu and the whole genre.

    Has anyone played Trail of Cthulhu?? It uses the GUMSHOE system. Any good? I've been considering picking it up.

    Dark Archive

    P1NBACK wrote:

    Funny to see this thread after I just stumbled upon Call of Cthulhu and the whole genre.

    Has anyone played Trail of Cthulhu?? It uses the GUMSHOE system. Any good? I've been considering picking it up.

    I picked this up, I still havent read it all the way thru yet but I have to say it seems well done.

    The system seems interesting and like D&D is a resource management game. Its system is a combination of dice rolls (d6's)and point spends (which you have a limited amnount of).

    I find that it has a slight twist on the CoC mythos, similiar to how Pagan Publishing had their own vision of the mythos.

    The basic idea is that major clues to the investigation are more or less handed to the players thru roleplaying. Then the players can use a combination of point spends/dice rolls and good a good dose of investigation to uncover addtional info/leads or a way to defeat the villians.

    I think one of the things that people find hardest to deal with in ToC is that the major clues (and only the core clues need to move from scene to scene)to the investigation are always given to the players assuming they ask for them in a very basic manner,meaning that they are virtually impossible not to find. I think once you get past that the game is like any other investigative heavy rpg.

    So for example in a scene the players discover the core clue, this gives them a thread to investigate but dosent solve the mystery they still need to find minor clues and other information that leads from scene to scene until they finally reach the climax of the investigation. Were resource managment comes in is that the players have to make sure that they dont use all of their point spends investigating the case or they will have none left that they will need to finally confront the villian in the end.


    I've got Trail, and like it alot. Theme/background wise it has some terrific ideas.

    The system is good, but it needs a little bit of additonal preparation. As more campaigns come out (and web-converstions of exisitng campaigns) that will become easier.

    Personally I'm sticking with BRP/CoC right now as real-life/work leaves me little time for prep & conversion, but as it becomes a little better supported I'll be considering changing over.

    Dark Archive

    One of the things that disapoints me with Chaosium is the lack of new stuff that has come out for CoC adventure-wise. The good thing is that at least Stan! of the Game Mechanics has recognized this problem and steped up to fill the gap with his forthcoming Murder of Crows module


    I'd just like to make a plug here for Uncanny Midnight Tales, which is something of a Saga Edition port of CoC d20. Faster and more streamlined than the old d20 system, but still a bit more of a robust system (IMO) than BRP. I did keep the CoC sanity rules more or less as written, however, 'cause they work better than any other model I've seen.

    -The Gneech


    redneckroler wrote:
    Readn tne books, any body have anything on the Game?

    Nothing on the game, but I heard a rumor that there is a movie planned for 2010.


    I was on the chaosium site yesterday and noticed that they just got some hard copies of Beyond Mountains of Madness in stock. I mad sure to order one. I also picked up a copy of the new Goodman Games Cthulhu adventure (Death in Luxor) it looks pretty good. I hope they come out with more for that line in the not too distant future.


    I got my copy of Beyond the Mountains of Madness in the mail yesterday. It looks awesome. By far the most detailed rpg adventure I've ever seen. I was awestruck. I can't believe that such a product even exists.

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