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dce

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dce last won the day on November 26 2016

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About dce

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  • RPG Biography
    I write, design & occasionally publish material for Call of Cthulhu, a game that I've been associated with since 1983.
  • Current games
    Call of Cthulhu
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    I live in Adelaide, South Australia.
  1. Not really an answer to your question, but maybe of prop/handout use anyway ... There are some nice colour versions of the illustrations that appear in the Dreamlands Express scenario over on one of my portfolio pages. The artwork was all created in Photoshop using out-of-copyright colour pictures from old books -- the train interiors that appear in the backdrop of some of the character portraits probably came from some old book about the historical Orient Express. Dean (from Adelaide)
  2. Orient Express Box Set question

    Most of the items you mention were AFAIK only ever produced in quantities sufficient to meet the needs of the Kickstarter, so I'd be skeptical about them ever being released as after sale items (even if that was the original attention). The one exception to this is the Medallion of Ithaqua, which is available for purchase direct from the company Chaosium sub-contracted to make it: Mark Morrison's rather awesome Campaign Coins. Dean (from Adelaide)
  3. The Pulp Cthulhu Character Sheet

    Hey Elder, All the things you ask about do certainly exist (and would be in Chaosium's coffers somewhere). Here's a ZIP file with the most recent versions of the 1920s sheets: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5nHQJNrXlp4emI3dThFMnlDb1k/view?usp=sharing I hope that these are useful to you Dean (from Adelaide
  4. The Pulp Cthulhu Character Sheet

    Hi Elder, it's probably too hard to make a version which has the paper texture but not the ornaments at the side (since they're all part of one background texture image). But if you'd like a version with no background texture at all, I can certainly do that: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5nHQJNrXlp4THVzRFRLZHhfV0k/view?usp=sharing Dean (from Adelaide)
  5. The Pulp Cthulhu Character Sheet

    Hey Elder Thing, Well, it's easy enough to give you what you want -- but I also think that there's some confusion here as well (see below). First, the links to some non-fillable PDFs which are *just* the base images for the Pulp and Modern sheets. BTW the former are probably what *should* have been included at the back of the Pulp Cthulhu book PDF. Non-Fillable Pulp Sheet: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5nHQJNrXlp4S3ZvRW80UnRRbm8/view?usp=sharing Non-Fillable Modern Sheer: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5nHQJNrXlp4NjV6ejBIT3dJTWs/view?usp=sharing As for the confusion: well, you mention a couple of times you don't like having to rub out the values for Sanity, Luck, etc and replace them (instead preferring to circle the current value). But only the *simplified* version of the autocalc sheets include boxes for writing in the current Sanity, Luck, etc -- the non-simplified autocalc sheets (just labelled "autocalc" in the filenames) actually include a traditional meter for Sanity Points, Luck Points etc -- the idea is that you can interactively just click on the current value and the sheet will automatically circle it for you and erase any circles already drawn on the same meter. If you go back and look at the ZIP files linked above, you'll see that they include both the simplified and non-simplified PDFs. So, if you opened up the non-simplified version and printed it out you would have *almost* exactly what you want: the only problem would be the silhouette head and shoulders included as a placeholder. You could easily remove that by clicking on it and telling Adobe Reader to load a blank JPG into the portrait box, e.g., https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/4/48/Blank.JPG Anyway, if you grab the PDFs linked at the top of this post you should have pretty much what you're after (I hope :)). Dean
  6. The Pulp Cthulhu Character Sheet

    Hey Elder, As the guy who designed all the sheets you are speaking about ... I can safely say that fillable versions of all the different sheet versions you mention certainly exist and are with Chaosium. Which of them have been released via their website (and are currently downloadable), I can't really say. I'm sure that, in the fullness of time, Chaosium will get everything up on their site ... but in the meantime if you want to get fillable PDF versions of the Pulp and Modern character sheets, you can use the links below. Each will give you a ZIP file containing both the full autocalc and simplifiied autocalc versions of the colour sheet. It's important to extract the PDFs from the ZIP file somewhere on your hard disk and then open them with Adobe Reader -- opening the full autocalc sheet in a cut-down PDF reader (such as browser plugins that show you PDFs inside your web browser or email reader window) can cause errors; opening the same files with the full version of Adobe Reader works fine. Fillable "Pulp" sheets: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5nHQJNrXlp4Q0k4RUxlWmJ5dE0/view?usp=sharing Fillable "Modern" sheets: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5nHQJNrXlp4NU10RzF4SnVIQ1k/view?usp=sharing Of course, once official links from Chaosium become available you should use those in preference to my "home made" links. And you are correct in pointing out the small error in the way that the character sheets are shown in the Pulp Cthulhu PDF -- in an ideal world the book layout should have used the high-res image-only version of the sheet which doesn't have the silhouette etc. It seems as though the layout incorporates the fillable PDF instead -- which has all the interactive fields (including the placeholder for the character portrait). It's a small error, but like you said it makes it less useful for anyone who wants to print the sheet and sketch their own portrait. I hope these PDFs will give you what you need for now. Thanks, Dean (from Adelaide)
  7. Hey Jason, As the guy who many years ago wrote "In A Different Light" I'd be quite interested in hearing anyone's experiences too. [In case folks don't have the free PDFs -- you can get the 34 page scenario from this link; there's an additional 8 pages of handouts in another PDF here]. To answer your question, though, the times I've run this scenario I've only used the Mythos creatures that are statted for the scenario itself. However, I guess if you wanted to increase the number of inter-dimensional horrors that would be easy enough to do. The basic plotline for the adventure is based on the premise that recent advances in technology had the effect of opening human perception to adjacent dimensions (or whatever), which allows things from those weird places to seep back into Arkham. I guess that if you decided that the strange side dimension was also home to Dimensional Shamblers, or other similar things that would make sense. Or maybe all this messing around with dimensions attracts the attention of something from further afield (Hounds from Tindalos? Daoloth?). Also -- if you own the Chaosium book "The Stars Are Right!" I guess you could use the Fractal creatures that are described in one of its scenarios. They seem kinda similar (assuming you can describe fractals in 1920s terminology I suppose). Anyway, I hope that you and your group enjoy "In A Different Light" when you run it! Thanks, Dean (from Adelaide)
  8. Chances are that if you have ever run Call of Cthulhu games set in the modern-day era, you will have bought a copy of Chaosium's excellent scenario anthology "The Stars Are Right!" First published in 1992, then again in a second edition in 2004, the book is Chaosium's only collection of contemporary scenarios published to date. It's writing team boasts some of the best names from 1990s era Call of Cthulhu (including Richard Watts, Kevin Ross, John Scott Tynes, and Gary Sumpter -- just to name a few). While the scenarios in "The Stars Are Right!" are generally well-written and tackle a bunch of modern-day horror themes, there's no denying that the fact that most of the scenarios are now 25 years old does lead to a few anachronisms. Most of these relate to the ways that technology -- in particular information and communication technology -- has changed over the past few decades. Fortunately, game scenarios being somewhat fluid things, the majority of the anachronisms can be easily fixed with a combination of small plot tweaks and conversions of old information sources from older to newer formats (e.g., printed newspaper clipping to online news article). To make this process of "modernising" the scenarios from "The Stars Are Right!" easier, Cthulhu Reborn have created a free PDF "upgrade pack" (which also updates the scenario's stats up to 7th Edition). This is available right now for download direct from our site. The upgrade pack contains Keeper resources which fall into three categories: New versions of each of the scenario handouts, converted to more "modern" forms and rendered in full prop-quality detail. For some scenarios we've also created new handouts (things that are alluded to in the scenario, but never explicitly provided as handouts) Some brief notes on ideas for tweaking plot elements in the scenarios to make them feel more "contemporary" -- mostly these are slight, but one of the scenarios (Steve Hatherley's intriguing "Fractal Gods") has some deeply embedded anachronistic elements that warrant some more significant rewriting [sorry Steve] Updated statistic blocks and skill roll descriptions, which bring the scenarios up to 7th Edition compatibility The montage below shows just a few of the 48 handouts that are included in the pack: We hope that fans of modern-day Call of Cthulhu will consider using these revised handouts and resources to revitalise the scenarios in "The Stars Are Right!" and terrorise their players anew. And if you *don't* currently own a copy of "The Stars Are Right!" the good news is that Chaosium still has print copies (and PDFs) of the 2nd Edition for sale on their website. [Legal Note: The Stars Are Right! Upgrade Pack is released under a Creative Commons license, and complies with the terms of Chaosium's policies on "fan material" which must always remain free of charge. The pack is not a standalone product, and will not be helpful unless you already own one of the two editions of the Chaosium book. Call of Cthulhu is a trademark of Chaosium Inc.] Thanks, Dean (from Adelaide)
  9. Those who have been following the (rapidly-expanding) Convicts & Cthulhu product line that Cthulhu Reborn has been publishing, might be interested to hear that we've just released the sixth supplement in the "Ticket of Leave" series. Ticket of Leave #6: Night of the Convict Dead is available right now over on RPGNow. This supplement differs slightly in format from some of the previous "Ticket of Leave" titles in that it devotes most of its 15 pages to a somewhat-ready-to-run scenario (the eponymous "Night of the Convict Dead"). This is supported by some historical source material which can be extrapolated by Keepers for other purposes. It also featurs some awesome new artwork from Reuben Dodd (see above). The subject matter of this supplement is simple: it's about death in the early penal colonies of Australia. Because of a combination of rampant disease, poor hygiene, horrific and barbaric punishments, and the occasional hanging, Death is a pretty frequent visitor to the colonies. This creates some practical problems, mostly relating to the sanitary disposal of so many corpses. Remarkably, the early colonies seem to have approached this in an entirely haphazard way -- while there were allocated burying grounds, the arrangement of graves within those spaces was pretty random, and no official records were kept of who was buried where. Because gravedigging was a job given to convicts -- who hardly had an incentive to do a good job -- many graves were dug much shallower than is ideal. This created noxious odours whenever the weather got hot, and attracted pigs and goats from neighbouring farmlands, who sometimes dug at graves. All of this adds up to a setting where there is an ample supply of corpses, and not too much care taken in keeping track of them ... and in the worlds of the Cthulhu Mythos, that can only spell trouble. After all, how much easier would the "researches" of young Herbert West have been if he had a ready and limitless supply of source materials sitting right at his doorstep? The scenario component of this "Ticket of Leave" explores a detailed investigation where an unlucky bunch of investigators are given the task of getting to the bottom of a sudden rash of dead bodies discovered in several places around the colony. In each case, two corpses were discovered in close proximity -- one a recent victim of violence, but the other ... well those all look to have been dead for a considerable time. Do your plucky investigators dare to plumb the depths of this macabre mystery -- and, more importantly, can they act fast enough to stop -- The Night of the Convict Dead?! As a side-note, this release also marks a special occasion for "Convicts & Cthulhu" -- it's one year ago today that the core C&C book was first released. As we described over on this blog post, since that time that book and its supplements have sold around 3,600 PDFs and softcover books -- which is an amazing achievement for a tiny publisher like Cthulhu Reborn. We are heartily indebted to the many, many people who've grabbed our book, whether as free downloads or accompanied by an ever-helpful donation. We hope that Convicts & Cthulhu has brought some quirky fun to your gaming table! Ticket of Leave #6: Night of the Convict Dead is downloadable right now via RPGNow -- as with other larger titles we have made this a "Pay-What-You-Want" title. Of course we are more than happy if folks (particular readers of this forum) want to grab it free of charge -- but equally, if you'd like to chip in a small donation to help keeping the C&C line going, everything that you're able to contribute is very, very much appreciated. We hope you enjoy the "Night of the Convict Dead" ... and trust that you will put on a suitably creepy-sounding voice when you declare "They're Coming To Get You, Convicts!" Dean (from Adelaide)
  10. End Times Monograph

    While it's true that there is a post-apocalytic "End Time" kind of setting described in Cthulhu Through the Ages, it feels more like a new attempt at creating such a beast than a continuation of the material created by Michael LaBossiere for the monograph. Actually the new stuff kinda makes me think of a roleplaying tie-in to Sandy Petersen's "Cthulhu Wars" boardgame, which might be closer to what Chaosium has in mind ... To answer the OP's question, though -- I think it's safe to assume that there's no current development of the La Bossiere "End Time" setting (which was really only published in book form at all because Pagan dropped the project sometime in the late 1990s IIRC). It would be cool to have more post-Mythos-apocalypse game material out there ... but the only stuff that's even come close in recent years are the Cthulhu Apocalpyse scenario/setting books Pelgrane published for Trail of Cthulhu. And they take a different tack again. Dean (from Adelaide)
  11. Those who have been following Cthulhu Reborn's ongoing series of mini-supplements to the Convicts & Cthulhu setting, may be interested to learn that we've just released the fifth installment in the "Ticket of Leave" series -- ToL#5: The Damned & The Degenerate. This PDF completely overhauls and massively expands the character generation guideliness from the original C&C book. ToL#5 is avalable right now via RPGNow as a Pay-What-You-Want PDF. This supplement weighs in at 24 pages (and as such really doesn't qualify as a "mini-supplement" anymore). Unlike previous "Ticket of Leave" titles which have focussed on expanding the setting by introducing narrative elements like scenario seeds, this supplement revisits the character options/templates for the colonial Australian convict setting and adds almost 30 new occupation types. Ever wanted to play an indigenous "bush constable" who works with prison guards to track down escaped convicts? What about a convict who was a professional gambler before being caught? Or one of the colony's fearless explorers charged with the task of filling the huge blanks on the maps? Alternatively, maybe you'd care to play a French spy who has been paid to infiltrate the colony to find out the strength of the British military presence in Australia? All of these character types -- and lots, lots more -- are now at your fingertips. To complement the character creation templates, we've also peppered the PDF with examples of real-world ordinary characters who held those professions: these fully-statted write-ups are based on real historical figures (since the real lives of people in the colonies is far more rich and colourful than any fiction we could dream up). Also included are some notes on unusual character options -- like early bushrangers (escapees that decided to try to survive off the alien land), or free wives that accompanied their convict husbands[*] ... All up, this PDF replaces the few scant pages devoted to character creation in the main Convicts & Cthulhu with a comprehensive set of interesting and colourful options for player investigators or Keeper NPCs. You can grab it right now from RPGNow -- because this is much longer than we really intended for the "smaller" Ticket of Leave releases we've made this another "Pay-What-You-Want" title. However, in the interests of keeping the whole C&C line as accessible as possible, we are more than happy if folks (particularly BRP-Central-ers) want to grab it for free -- consider anything you contribute to be a small (and very welcome) donation to help Cthulhu Reborn keep these coming ... We hope you enjoy filling your Convicts & Cthulhu games with all manner of ... the damned and the degenerate Dean [*] This is a weird historical detail that I never knew about -- some convict men transported to Australia were accompanied by their (non-convicted) wives, who effectively came out as free settlers. Because convicts were often assigned to settlers as a kind of free labour force this led to a number of unusual cases of men being assigned to their own wives as workers.
  12. Miskatonic University Trademark Status?

    It is highly unlikely that anybody could trademark the term "Miskatonic University" in its totality. For starters that's not how Trademarks work. It might be the case that someone has made a "Miskatonic University" branded thing -- say a brand of beer. If they successfully managed to trademark their logo/name then all that would mean is nobody else can make a beer or similar beverage with that branding. You could still make any other kind of thing with the same name -- unless that was obviously referencing the original logo in some way (like making clothing using the exact logo of the beer, using the exact fonts etc). As a reference, check out the long legal battle that eventually decided that Apple computers had no rights to force Apple Studios (of Beatles fame) to give up their name. So -- the only time this could ever cause a problem for Chaosium is if somehow someone had trademarked a line of books with the name, and given the fact that the original stories that mention MU are all now in the public domain (in the US at least) that would be pretty hard to do. Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer ... but I have talked with lots of lawyers about Intellectual Property stuff over the years, and this is how I understand things to work. Dean (from Adelaide)
  13. That's a great pick -- and it was only reprinted a year or two back by Golden Goblin Press (in "Tales of the Crescent City"). Kevin also wrote a new scenario for that book which is a direct sequel to "Tell Me Have You Seen The Yellow Sign?" Other suggestions -- "Tatterdemalion" by Richard Watts & Penelope Love (in the book "Fatal Experiments") ... and for modern-day conspiracy creepiness, the obligatory "Night Floors" by Dennis Detwiller (in "Delta Green: Countdown"). Honestly, though, there are quite a lot of creepy and not-at-all-cheesy scenarios out there which showcase The King in Yellow -- it's a shame that those encountered by the OP weren't like that Dean (from Adelaide)
  14. Those are all sensible and valid points, and as you say it really all comes down a question of personal preference. I would mention, however, that my own experience has been that the tone of any CoC game depends a lot *less* on rules than it does on the particular player group and the specifics of the pre-written scenario (if using a published scenario). This seems to be the true for CoC even moreso than any other RPG I've played. So -- for both 6e and 7e rules I have seen a huge variance in the "tone" of the game, based on the direction that the Keeper and players want to take the game and how "pulpy" or "gritty" the scenario. Given that, my own personal alarm bells would have gone off if the "7th edition" scenarios that have been published subsequent to the new rules were written in a way which seems to promote a different style of game. And really that has NOT happened as far as I can see (with the exception of the Pulp Cthulhu rules and campaign, which are intentionally different). BTW: while I can see the potential for "pushed" rolls to be abused, my own experience of seeing folks play 7e is that more often than not players turn down the offer of a pushed roll, out of fear of a truly awful outcome if they fail the second time. Usually people seem to only want to take the chance if it is a truly critical game-changing roll. Of course that assumes that the Keeper has made it clear that he or she is willing to devise appropriately terrible outcomes of failed pushes -- but most CoC Keepers I've seen running 7e seem to have enough "evil streak" in their kit-bag to impress the gravity of the situation upon their players. Also: with respect to the chase "mini-game" ... I am with you, I have no time for it either. But, like most of the parts of the CoC rules (in any edition) it's just a tool that a Keeper *can* use if he or she wants to. Personally I'd never use it, but I don't think having it there detracts from the game (if other people like it). Dean (from Adelaide)
  15. I'd agree with nclarke -- it's probably easiest to think of 7e as still being "almost BRP-based" with the changes being more cosmetic than radical. The most obvious deviation from the established BRP stream is that the main investigator attributes (STR, POW, INT, etc) are now on a 1-100 scale, avoiding the need for rolls against POW x 5 and the like. But as long as you are able to do a bit of mental arithmetic (dividing by 5 or multiplying by 5) this isn't really a major departure and certainly doesn't change the "feel" of the game in any way. As nclarke also said, the 7e rules do change the flow of combat and damage, though, aiming to optimize out some things that lots of people find "less fun" -- like endless rounds of both sides missing, or characters dying from an accumulation of very small damage attacks. A second area of departure from pure BRP is the idea of "pushed rolls" which effectively give players the choice of re-rolling some rolls if they are willing to risk the outcome of the second failed roll being something truly awful. Another more substantial addition is the optional rule for treating Luck as a "resource pool" which a player can burn points from in return for improving the value of a die roll. All up, these more substantial deviations from BRP seem to have been accepted by most long-term CoC players as being an incremental evolution which enhances the "net fun" of the game ... but there are still some that prefer the older, sometimes more arbitrary, rules because they present players with a more bleak set of options. It's a personal preference really ... and like nclarke said, Chaosium have made a Quickstart version of the 7e rules available for free as a PDF, so you can always give it a spin and see if its for you. Regarding the long-term future of 6th Edition ... I'm sure that some people will continue playing it, and there are 30 years of published scenarios that work "out-of-the-box" with those rules. And if you really want to stick with those rules and are willing to do some mental arithmetic, you can easily port newer material over to 6e rules without too much fuss. You should be aware, though, that nobody will be publishing NEW material for 6th Edition -- Chaosium have made it a condition on licensees that they only produce books for the latest edition of the rules (and right now, that means 7e). Dean (from Adelaide)
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