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One Investigator and One Keeper?


plotulus

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So I figured I should ask this question because I didn't see any posts about it in the search for the answer. But regardless of that, how well does CoC work for one player and one Keeper? Does it work? Is it possible to play through the campaigns and scenarios without a full group? As I imagine it you would just have the Investigator have Contacts that he or she can draw upon. Anyways thank you for any help you can offer.

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In all honesty, I'm in the middle of a project just on this subject.

Paper Chase was the first and I'm sure there are plenty of Keepers with their own creations. Thing is, a 'solo' (as in one Investigator - one Keeper) is very in keeping with HPL as a whole. They weren't stories of teams but of individuals discovering the terror.

Of course The Dunwich Horror is the exception.

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On 12/21/2019 at 5:37 PM, plotulus said:

So I figured I should ask this question because I didn't see any posts about it in the search for the answer. But regardless of that, how well does CoC work for one player and one Keeper? Does it work? Is it possible to play through the campaigns and scenarios without a full group? As I imagine it you would just have the Investigator have Contacts that he or she can draw upon. Anyways thank you for any help you can offer.

In some ways the single investigator can work better.  Consider that most of Lovecraft's stories are written from the perspective of a single protagonist.  The crucial issue is really about the Keeper choosing not to kill the protagonist early unless they are very foolish indeed. 

One of the crucial things to remember with cosmic horror is that the ideas are supposed to be more horrible and pervasive than mere death. In fact suicide should become an increasingly plausible alternative for the character, given the potential for the horrors to do things to them while they are still alive. 

Killing characters is something of a CoC trope, and I think that letting the ideas properly play out as a source of horror is far more effective.  The notion should always be that the characters who discover the mythos rapidly realise they are on their own... They can't tell the government because they won't be believed, or worse, some power mad nutcase will use the knowledge in the worst possible way.  They can't tell the people they care about, as they don't want them to bear the horrible burden of knowing.  They are the only people who know, and it is up to them to deal with the problem or the problem will rapidly get out of control.  The player should feel outnumbered, outgunned, and cast back upon their cunning in completely asymmetrical warfare where the cults and monsters hold most of the cards, and according to the books are doomed to win eventually, "but maybe not this time if I can just..."

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  • 10 months later...
On 12/27/2019 at 10:06 AM, Darius West said:

Killing characters is something of a CoC trope, and I think that letting the ideas properly play out as a source of horror is far more effective.

Like death in creation of Traveller characters.

On 12/27/2019 at 10:06 AM, Darius West said:

One of the crucial things to remember with cosmic horror is that the ideas are supposed to be more horrible and pervasive than mere death. In fact suicide should become an increasingly plausible alternative for the character, given the potential for the horrors to do things to them while they are still alive. 

Vide "Dagon", "Facts Concerning Sir Arthur Jermyn" and "The Hound".

Very acceptable according to source material but, really, a last ditch consideration in a role-playing game. We play people who want to live. Regardless of what we think, the characters are operating from the consideration that a) they want to live and b) there must be an alternative.

Now, in games which involve magical healing, resurrection etc., players act as if there's a loop hole, a get-out clause which means that suicide is really discounted as an option. We play the games assuming that (unlike real life) there'll be a conclusion; if not a happy ending then a story completed. The hero sets off a nuke which, while killing themselves, ends the threat to humanity. The knight willingly accepts combat with a superior opponent, knowing that it's distracting the Evil One from what others are doing.

These examples might be considered suicidal but not acts of suicide. Motivation is the key. Realise all is lost? Go down fighting!

While RPG's can 'reflect' real life, I'd tread carefully with the emotions of characters. If you get too caught up in the realism, you see characters (not players) who wouldn't ever go adventuring. Like watching "ghost hunters" on You Tube, why go looking for paranormal things if the first thing you'll do is poop yourself and run away, squealing like a piggie?

Edited by Stormkhan Cogg of Pavis
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  • 2 weeks later...
On 11/18/2020 at 4:11 AM, Stormkhan Cogg of Pavis said:

Like death in creation of Traveller characters.

I also found that to be stupid.  Traveller was a bad system in so many ways.

On 11/18/2020 at 4:11 AM, Stormkhan Cogg of Pavis said:

Like death in creation of Traveller characters.Vide "Dagon", "Facts Concerning Sir Arthur Jermyn" and "The Hound".

Yes.  Exactly like that.  I like "The Hound" as an example of how players behave.  It is a classic case of being given enough rope to hang oneself.  I enjoy this as a theme in my CoC games when I GM.

On 11/18/2020 at 4:11 AM, Stormkhan Cogg of Pavis said:

Very acceptable according to source material but, really, a last ditch consideration in a role-playing game. We play people who want to live. Regardless of what we think, the characters are operating from the consideration that a) they want to live and b) there must be an alternative.

Now, in games which involve magical healing, resurrection etc., players act as if there's a loop hole, a get-out clause which means that suicide is really discounted as an option. We play the games assuming that (unlike real life) there'll be a conclusion; if not a happy ending then a story completed. The hero sets off a nuke which, while killing themselves, ends the threat to humanity. The knight willingly accepts combat with a superior opponent, knowing that it's distracting the Evil One from what others are doing.

I also agree with you on this to a point.  It is certainly what players will do.  The only time I play CoC characters somewhat suicidally is during conventions.  In CoC however suicide should always be a realistic possibility for characters who fail imo, especially if their failure might have precipitated something worse.  You are correct, that players will cling to life if given half a chance, and I always let the dice fall as they may, but when your player has hit their seventh permanent derangement, and has gone from jumping at shadows to wanting to copulate with monsters (teratophilia), and six other debilitating insanities, then suicide can seem like a worthwhile "out".

Edited by Darius West
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I know this is a BRP board, but if you want one-on-one Cthulhu gaming, there's always Cthulhu Confidential, built on the 'One-2-One' offshoot of the GUMSHOE system (best known for Trail of Cthulhu). I don't think you'd NEED to kitbash anything for BRP to work for Duet gaming, One-2-One is BUILT for it. Plus I have a soft spot for Trail and Fall of DG. 

https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/222071/

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