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Buying Advice for Cthulhu 7th

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Hi guys!

It has come to my attention that Call of Cthulhu 7th is the edition that I have been waiting for, I looked into a bunch of rules changes watching Seth videos on Youtube and found that they seem to have struck a near perfect balance in a lot of things, and made combat really interesting as well. Seems like a ridiculously good job at addressing many of the things that has kept me away from playing.

So I am making a buying plan for the game. I am pretty experienced as a game master but haven't GM:ed Cthulhu for a lot of years.

I am planning to start out buying the Keeper's Guide, Investigator's Handbook, and the screen.

After that, I am a bit unsure, but I know I only want to buy stuff updated for 7th.

I started out playing adventures such as "Tell me have you seen the yellow sign?" (I believe..) and then Masks of Nyarlathotep once upon a time and was a big fan of that campaign, and have seen there is a new edition of it, updated. My players are more into role-playing than combat and haven't played Cthulhu. Masks struck me as incredibly epic in my memory, though maybe not quite as much role-playing focus as I wanted at that time, some fifteen years back. Maybe the new edition has changed that. Obviously combat is a really really exciting part of rpg, but my group gets so much more into it when interaction with mystery and other characters and buildup of threat is at its center.

I am definitely aiming at a large campaign (Masks or not), but want to start off and mix in scenarios from the other scenario books available.

Any advice? Also, any upcoming 7th edition products that might suit my group that want to interact with role-play as much as possible? 

This is not urgent, so I am thinking in terms of buying stuff within a six months to a year before the campaign might start.

So, any advice in what I should be aiming at? In short, I am looking for (specific) creepy scenarios with fantastic roleplaying opportunities, preferably ones considered classic, updated or soon to be updated for 7th. And an epic campaign. If you know adventures that are fantastic that are not out for 7th yet, I am curious as well as I am sure they will be updating many of them.

Thanks!

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Purchase from Chaosium direct as you get the pdf included immediately which is very helpful. As the changes from earlier editions are minimal any scenario will work with 7e (providing you can multiply by 5 for the characteristics 🙂 ). Some creatures/monsters are  changing slightly in the new Malleus Monstorum (due October in print). To run the game you technically only need the Keepers book as the Investigators Handbook is really the players book with 1920's background and some extra occupations for player characters.

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Get the Keeper's Guide for sure, the screen if you are keen on Blackwater Creek and Missed Dues scenarios (they are great), but I'd look into the Pulp Cthulhu add-on and Two Headed Serpent campaign, it's loads of fun and a less monstrous keeper experience than Masks. The pulp rules make it much more likely a campaign player will be able to invest in and get to really know their investigator (and not get driven mad at first light).

Investigator's Handbook is not needed to play.

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Masks will very definitely scratch your player's itch if it's role-playing they want although I'd advise starting with the scenarios in the Keeper's book to get everyone in the zone. You can then move onto a bigger campaign. The new version of Masks is better laid out than previous version which will help you as Keeper. The first two chapters (assuming you want to run the Peru epilogue) aren't overly complex and it's really only the England chapter which can be overwhelming because of its very open nature. Using some of the Pulp rules can help in getting a little more longevity for your investigators, especially the Luck rules.

I slightly disagree with the previous post and Two Headed Serpent purely because it's far more pulp than it is Cthulhu and may not be what your players want if they're into the roleplaying side of things and prefer deeper threat, mystery and build up of tension - 2-HS actively pushes the action button hard and often and isn't really representative of traditional CoC play. That's not to say it isn't really good if you love and prefer two-fisted mayhem.

If you've got the budget for Masks it's a slam dunk. 

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Your experience and needs may differ, however here's my pitch when out at a Con, where everything is shiny and you want it all 🙂

Start with the Starter set.

https://www.chaosium.com/call-of-cthulhu-starter-set/

Play the solo game - Alone against the Flames to get back into it and get used to the new rules in book 2. If you want more solo play there's:

Alone against the Dark.

Alone against the Frost.

Play the three scenarios with your group, linking them altogether.

Next buy Doors to Darkness - 7th Ed Scenarios.

https://www.chaosium.com/doors-to-darkness-hardcover/

You can still use the starter set. Play Servants of the Lake.

Now buy either the Main rule book

https://www.chaosium.com/call-of-cthulhu-keeper-rulebook-7th-ed-hardcover/

or the slipcase set.

https://www.chaosium.com/call-of-cthulhu-7th-edition-hardcover-slipcase-set/

Link the end of Servants of the Lake to Beneath the Ancient trees and play that with the full rules.

There's still all the scenarios in Doors to Darkness, the others in the core book and the two in the Keepers Screen before you get onto a big campaign.

As an extra, I like the Keeper Decks:

https://www.chaosium.com/call-of-cthulhu-keeper-decks/

I Use the The Curious Characters Deck all the time for ready made NPCs, players like the Weapons and Artifacts Deck, and the other two are fun t pop in from time to time.

Finally there are lots of different side lines to go down with your group:

I'm running Down Darker trails at the moment for a full on Wild West setting.

https://www.chaosium.com/down-darker-trails-hardcover/

Berlin is a great european setting away from Massachusetts, Vermont or New York.

https://www.chaosium.com/berlin-the-wicked-city-hardcover/

I know a few groups who went from Dead Man's Stomp in the Starter set straight into Harlem unbound:

https://www.chaosium.com/harlem-unbound-2nd-edition-pdf/

Pulp is a great addition to all of this for pimping any game up - I actually went for this after the slipcase set and as a result I'm running Pulp Down Darker Trails.

https://www.chaosium.com/pulp-cthulhu-hardcover/

Finally, make sure you run the game at your house or get a strong bag and work out a bit, the slipcase sets are heavy!

Overall there's loads to buy, pace yourself.

 

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In terms of 7th Edition published material, all of the Starter Set, Crimson Letters (from the Keeper's Rulebook) and Missed Dues (from the Keeper Screen) are pretty roleplay based scenarios; IIRC, my group didn't have any combat in them. There's also Dead Light and Other Turns, a two scenario booklet that comes with two scenarios on the more investigative and roleplay centric side of things. If you dig the setting and don't mind very adult subject matter, the ones in Berlin: The Wicked City are also more on that wavelenght, and if you want to go modern, you could seek out Stygian Fox's The Things We Leave Behind (considered by some to be one of the best scenario collections ever). Keeping it Chaosium, there's also the Doors To Darkness, which apart from the first scenario, does keep it relatively investigatively focused. If you can get it (I just did), the newest version of Masks is the definitive version, and has been heavily revised. 

I agree with ragr that from the description of your group, Pulp might not be the way to go. It's a great product if you want a considerably more action based and fantastical game, but the general tone is more focused on hard boiled combat than atmospheric tension and mystery. 

Edited by AlonsoAguilurk
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Pulp Cthulhu as already been mentioned.

New Malleus Monstrorum which was discussed on RPG.net.

Recommend Grimoire, as it all the spells in one place.

And Cthulhu Horrors is great too.

 

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First of all, thanks everyone for the advice!
 

6 hours ago, Scotty said:

Your experience and needs may differ, however here's my pitch when out at a Con, where everything is shiny and you want it all 🙂

Start with the Starter set.

https://www.chaosium.com/call-of-cthulhu-starter-set/

Play the solo game - Alone against the Flames to get back into it and get used to the new rules in book 2. If you want more solo play there's:

A question, as I am pretty confident I will get a decent hang of the rules anyway. Are there any other reasons that the starter set may be a better investment than other products? How does the adventures compare to Doors of Darkness and the Keeper guide in terms of excitement and mood?
I saw that Seth complimented the quality of a couple of the adventures in the Starter, but at the same time I get more adventures from Doors and there’s also in the Keeper rulebook. Of course, the solo adventure might be fun to run by myself.

I will be able to spend some but obviously there is a limit when the plan likely includes Masks and the core books.

I am probably leaning against Pulp as I would at best use a couple of the rules in there anyway. This as my group being more role-players rather than combatants, even though I get the argument of survivability. Good point.

So Scotty or anyone else: Any pros and cons between Doors and Starter? Obviously if the rules are much easier to understand through The Starter that is not a completely irrelevant, but I have run “it” before, so the scenario quality for my players and such of it is probably worth more than learning the rules, per se.  I think! :) And I have run many other rpg:s so you get into rules easier.

Edited by Fred
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1 hour ago, Fred said:

First of all, thanks everyone for the advice!
 

A question, as I am pretty confident I will get a decent hang of the rules anyway. Are there any other reasons that the starter set may be a better investment than other products? How does the adventures compare to Doors of Darkness and the Keeper guide in terms of excitement and mood?

The four scenarios in the Starter were specifically curated as classic CoC scenarios, with Alone Against the Flames a great solo scenario. TheKeeper/player scenarios are all very flexible. The scenarios in Doors to Darkness run a tad bit more "dungeon-crawley." I swear to you I am not trying to insult anyone there. I've ran out of both collections and have had a blast out of both. I personally think that the three group scenarios in the Starter Set are my preferred over the scenarios in DtD. Edge of Darkness (in the Starter) alone is arguably what CoC is all about. And if I could only get one product at a particular time, the Starter Set is one of the best values in gaming, in my opinion.

One could argue that an advantage of the Starter is that it has paper copies of handouts (assuming you don't mind cutting the booklet up, saving you printing from PDF) and you won't get that with Doors.

But I hope you get lots of opinions because everyone is very different on scenario preferences.

I wish you success and keep letting us know how we can support you. Everyone is welcome in Call of Cthulhu.

Edited by klecser
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4 hours ago, Fred said:

A question, as I am pretty confident I will get a decent hang of the rules anyway. Are there any other reasons that the starter set may be a better investment than other products? How does the adventures compare to Doors of Darkness and the Keeper guide in terms of excitement and mood?

As klecser mentioned, the Starter set is not just a compilation of "easy" scenarios, but actually some of the most classic and well regarded scenarios in Call of Cthulhu's history adapted for 7th Edition and updated with art and many advice on how to run them. 

I also prefer them to the ones in Doors To Darkness, since I think they give a clearer example of the main themes and ways the game usually plays like, and give a ton of lore and seeds that can be used later (Dead Man Stomp as a prelude to Masks of Nyarlathotep is something I've seen quite a bit). Nothing against Doors To Darkness, but as klecser also said, they can get a little combat-centric and it also feels harder to connect them together since they use a wide variety of creatures. Not saying that's a bad thing, but reading your description of your group (which seems similar to mine), you might get a better bang for your buck from the Starter Set. 

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12 hours ago, Fred said:

Any pros and cons between Doors and Starter? Obviously if the rules are much easier to understand through The Starter that is not a completely irrelevant, but I have run “it” before, so the scenario quality for my players and such of it is probably worth more than learning the rules, per se.  I think! :) And I have run many other rpg:s so you get into rules easier.

If you are an experienced GM then the starter may not be for you. However I'm an experienced GM and really enjoyed running them. I used the pregens and really I enjoyed the connection that the The Society For The Exploration Of The Unexplained gave the players (the society that the investigators are members of). The players really made the society their own creation and it helped in fleshing out the setting of Arkham.

Door to Darkness is Five Scenarios For Beginning Keepers. Although the scenarios have a good level of detail and support for experienced GMs. 

  • The Darkness Beneath The Hill - set in Providence, Rhode Island, 1920s, can easily be moved in date and time.
  • Genius Loci - set in  Danvers, Massachusetts, 1925, can be moved to any 1920s.
  • Servants Of The Lake - set between Kingsport and Arkham, 1920s.
  • Ties That Bind - set in Ipswich, near Arkham, can easily be moved in date and time.
  • None More Black, can be set in Miskatonic University, Arkham or any college town.

I like that it keeps it all pretty much to the same area. No huge amounts of travel. The intro sums it up:

Quote

Speaking of experienced Keepers and players, do not mistake these scenarios to be an easy walk in the park. While their overall lethality has been purposely scaled back a little to eliminate the dreaded “Total Party Kill”, each adventure does offer plenty of challenges and new mysteries to explore. Each could easily be slipped into an ongoing campaign to break thing up a bit, offer side missions, or an interesting night of red herring investigation. And as mentioned earlier, Doors to Darkness can be a quick jolt of horror for those times when not all the regular players can make it.

Personally I much prefer chained scenarios with side shoots. I have run the whole Horror on the Orient Express over a few years.It was often a struggle to get the whole group together to play, people come and go over time and we had quite a high madness / fatality rate. I've also played in Masks (twice) and Mountains, and never really got going or finished the campaign. So I've settled on smaller adventures, hence my leaning towards this format.

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7 hours ago, Scotty said:

Personally I much prefer chained scenarios with side shoots. I have run the whole Horror on the Orient Express over a few years.It was often a struggle to get the whole group together to play, people come and go over time and we had quite a high madness / fatality rate. I've also played in Masks (twice) and Mountains, and never really got going or finished the campaign. So I've settled on smaller adventures, hence my leaning towards this format.

No argument here, those reasons are solid for running shorter ones. It’s just one loves the feel of running an epic campaign for Cthulhu is so enticing. ;)

On that note: Does anyone have a preference between Masks of Nyarlatothep, Beyond the Mountain of Madness, and Horror on the Orient Express besides the production value of the new Masks. Given the quality of scenario parts in them and my group’s preference to role-play/mood/investigation over combat? Or just their own preference. I only have experience from reading through Masks. Any pros/cons between them? (Edit: Just saw Horror is out of print for a few years)

Or... even possibly I could build a campaign with other scenario books? Anyone tried that? A combination of books like Mansions of Madness and Doors to Darkness. I am not sure which scenarios are considered the best anymore

Thanks again for all the help, guys!

Edited by Fred

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8 hours ago, Fred said:

On that note: Does anyone have a preference between Masks of Nyarlatothep, Beyond the Mountain of Madness, and Horror on the Orient Express besides the production value of the new Masks. Given the quality of scenario parts in them and my group’s preference to role-play/mood/investigation over combat? Or just their own preference. I only have experience from reading through Masks. Any pros/cons between them? (Edit: Just saw Horror is out of print for a few years)

 

Masks is usually regarded as the absolute classic campaign not just of CoC but RPGs in general. That said, Horror on The Orient Express and Beyond The Mountains of Madness are also constantly mentioned in those discussions. Masks is a world-scale sandbox and a little bit more pulpy and action-packed than the rest, from what I've read HoTOE is more stylish and linear, and BTMoM is more of a slow burn and atmospheric endeavor. I can't comment that much on the latter two because I don't own them, but I also highly recommend Tatters of The King, which I got on POD from DriveThru RPG. It's considerably more focused on psychological horror and  subtle surrealism, and has a cult following that considers it the best campaign as it's probably the most "intellectual" one published by Chaosium so far. (Chaosium is planning to release The Dead Within, a new campaign from the author of Tatters somewhere in the near future, btw). If you plan in getting the print copy, Horror and Beyond are out of print and go for crazy collector prices on ebay, so you're better off with either Masks or Tatters. All of them have PDFs available tho. I'm also very excited for the upcoming The Children of Fear campaign from Lynne Hardy: 

8 hours ago, Fred said:

Or... even possibly I could build a campaign with other scenario books? Anyone tried that? A combination of books like Mansions of Madness and Doors to Darkness. I am not sure which scenarios are considered the best anymore

 

I'm currently doing that, actually! I combined The Haunting (Quickstart Rules), Edge of Darkness (Starter Set), Crimson Letters (Keeper's Rulebook), Missed Dues (Keeper Screen) and Dead Man Stomp (Starter Set) for my first campaign, and I'm planning on doing my second one with Mansions of Madness and some older scenario collections set in Lovecraft Country.

In terms of scenarios considered the best... well YMMV. That could be a whole topic in itself. I see Edge of Darkness, Mr. Corbitt, The Crack'd and Crook'd Manse, Dead Light. Blackwater Creek, Malice Everlasting, Ladybug, Ladybug, Fly Away Home and Forget Me Not usually mentioned as some of the best in terms of what's available for 7E (don't know if that's a condition for you). Some of my less popular favorites are The Hopeful and Whispers from Harlem from Harlem Unbound 2E, and The Devil Eats Flies from Berlin: Wicked City. 

Edited by AlonsoAguilurk
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2 hours ago, AlonsoAguilurk said:

Masks is usually regarded as the absolute classic campaign not just of CoC but RPGs in general. That said, Horror on The Orient Express and Beyond The Mountains of Madness are also constantly mentioned in those discussions. Masks is a world-scale sandbox and a little bit more pulpy and action-packed than the rest, from what I've read HoTOE is more stylish and linear, and BTMoM is more of a slow burn and atmospheric endeavor. I can't comment that much on the latter two because I don't own them, but I also highly recommend Tatters of The King, which I got on POD from DriveThru RPG. It's considerably more focused on psychological horror and  subtle surrealism, and has a cult following that considers it the best campaign as it's probably the most "intellectual" one published by Chaosium so far. (Chaosium is planning to release The Dead Within, a new campaign from the author of Tatters somewhere in the near future, btw). If you plan in getting the print copy, Horror and Beyond are out of print and go for crazy collector prices on ebay, so you're better off with either Masks or Tatters. All of them have PDFs available tho. I'm also very excited for the upcoming The Children of Fear campaign from Lynne Hardy

All fantastic info, thank you! Yes, Masks is utterly amazing in scope, but at the same time I might have to adapt it more to my players. Good to see there are some upcoming interesting options. I think sometimes scenario makers underestimate the fantastic drama that comes from focusing on character and mystery. I would love to see this approach more together with dangerous physical situations injected, with adventure ala Indiana Jones also. Like mysterious dinners with many suspects etc. that leads to shocking conclusions. Where characters are more than just a source of information, they are both suspect, potential ally, and a person who creates conflict in smaller issues not directly related to the plot, but certainly which creates atmosphere and potential menace.

Anyone know if Chaosium has a release schedule somewhere? 
Also, what are the best resources in terms of running Masks? I heard there was some great fan based resources out there. (There might be tips on how to make it more role-playey)

2 hours ago, AlonsoAguilurk said:

I combined The Haunting (Quickstart Rules), Edge of Darkness (Starter Set), Crimson Letters (Keeper's Rulebook), Missed Dues (Keeper Screen) and Dead Man Stomp (Starter Set) for my first campaign, and I'm planning on doing my second one with Mansions of Madness and some older scenario collections set in Lovecraft Country.

In terms of scenarios considered the best... well YMMV. That could be a whole topic in itself. I see Edge of Darkness, Mr. Corbitt, The Crack'd and Crook'd Manse, Dead Light. Blackwater Creek, Malice Everlasting, Ladybug, Ladybug, Fly Away Home and Forget Me Not usually mentioned as some of the best in terms of what's available for 7E (don't know if that's a condition for you). Some of my less popular favorites are The Hopeful and Whispers from Harlem from Harlem Unbound 2E, and The Devil Eats Flies from Berlin: Wicked City. 

This is great info, thanks. A part of me wants to do a bigger campaign still, but at the same time it could be a good idea to let the players become a bit more experienced first with a series of scenarios like this. I will likely use some of these!

Edited by Fred

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32 minutes ago, Fred said:

Also, what are the best resources in terms of running Masks? I heard there was some great fan based resources out there. (There might be tips on how to make it more role-playey)

You are probably mentioning Masks of Nyarlathotep Companion by Sixtystone Press (it was here to get, but now it seems the link does not work anymore). I do not know if it is available anywhere. There is a discussion here, as well: Forum Thread.

 

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16 hours ago, Tranquillitas Ordinis said:

You are probably mentioning Masks of Nyarlathotep Companion by Sixtystone Press (it was here to get, but now it seems the link does not work anymore). I do not know if it is available anywhere. There is a discussion here, as well: Forum Thread.

 

Thank you, yes that was probably the one. Great to have a thread to look at about this! I hope this discussion and advice here will be useful to others as well.

Edited by Fred

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Masks will adapt really well to a more personal approach with lots of role-playing and you won't have to change much other than being ready to step into the npc roles and playing them up; not all the npcs are evil cultists and some of those that are can be manipulated and  influenced by clever investigators with good interpersonal skills. It can be very, very dangerous and even the most cautious investigative team can make a mistake and end up deep in trouble - that's half the fun - so I'd recommend using the Pulp Luck rules (or some of them) just to give a little margin for error.

We're currently in London, having played through Peru and New York and there have been no investigator casualties and a heck of a lot of personal drama. 

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22 minutes ago, ragr said:

Masks will adapt really well to a more personal approach with lots of role-playing and you won't have to change much other than being ready to step into the npc roles and playing them up; not all the npcs are evil cultists and some of those that are can be manipulated and  influenced by clever investigators with good interpersonal skills. It can be very, very dangerous and even the most cautious investigative team can make a mistake and end up deep in trouble - that's half the fun - so I'd recommend using the Pulp Luck rules (or some of them) just to give a little margin for error.

We're currently in London, having played through Peru and New York and there have been no investigator casualties and a heck of a lot of personal drama. 

By pulp luck rules you mean faster recovery of luck, right? Or are there a set of them? Have they needed to rely on them so far to survive? Did you start the campaign with newly made investigators?

Edited by Fred

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Yes, we've gone with the Pulp Luck recovery rules. We've also agreed to use some of the other uses for Luck that comes with Pulp although we all agreed that we'd keep those under observation in case they didn't feel right for us in reality. So far we've not used any of the alternate uses but Luck has been ebbing and flowing quite freely - I think the biggest spend was around 40ish where the player felt it was crucial to make a Persuade test. It was really nicely narrated to account for the Luck spend, which is crucial to maintain the feel. One thing I have done is kept the benefits of success levels to myself (hard/extreme) when it comes to opposed tests - Stealth vs Spot Hidden for example. So the players have to gamble on whether they think they're up against someone with 50%+ or more. This helps to mitigate the higher levels of Luck available.

So, they've not needed them for survival as yet but that time may come and I'm okay with that because I'd rather the current characters survived as long as possible because they're the centre of the story. One thing it hasn't noticeably affected is the fear factor - there's still a marked tension in the investigators' conduct despite the slight buffering.

The guys all started with new investigators for the Peru chapter and we added another for London as we gained a player.  

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3 hours ago, ragr said:

Yes, we've gone with the Pulp Luck recovery rules. We've also agreed to use some of the other uses for Luck that comes with Pulp although we all agreed that we'd keep those under observation in case they didn't feel right for us in reality. So far we've not used any of the alternate uses but Luck has been ebbing and flowing quite freely - I think the biggest spend was around 40ish where the player felt it was crucial to make a Persuade test. It was really nicely narrated to account for the Luck spend, which is crucial to maintain the feel. One thing I have done is kept the benefits of success levels to myself (hard/extreme) when it comes to opposed tests - Stealth vs Spot Hidden for example. So the players have to gamble on whether they think they're up against someone with 50%+ or more. This helps to mitigate the higher levels of Luck available.

So, they've not needed them for survival as yet but that time may come and I'm okay with that because I'd rather the current characters survived as long as possible because they're the centre of the story. One thing it hasn't noticeably affected is the fear factor - there's still a marked tension in the investigators' conduct despite the slight buffering.

The guys all started with new investigators for the Peru chapter and we added another for London as we gained a player.  

I love this stuff, and the plan you have with Luck. Glad to hear they are nervous - in my experience players become more and more nervous the longer they survive with a character if they invest in role-playing. I will use something similar! 
What did you mean by keeping the benefits of success to yourself in opposed rolls? And the significance of 50% in opponents?

 

Edited by Fred

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5 hours ago, Fred said:

What did you mean by keeping the benefits of success to yourself in opposed rolls? And the significance of 50% in opponents?

Let's say an investigator is trying to follow an npc they suspect of cult involvement across the streets of London (using this because it will be kicking off the session this Sunday). If the npc has a Spot Hidden of less than 50% the investigator needs to make a simple Stealth roll to succeed. However, if the npc has 50% or higher that would require a Hard Success (an extreme success if they had 90% and above). If the player rolls a normal success they won't know whether it's enough until it's too late so it's up to them if they want to gamble on a normal success being sufficient or to spend some luck to make it a Hard success.

This achieves several things for us. You only find out npc capabilities through experience - if that normal success fails and the investigator is spotted they'll now have an idea as to how alert the npc is at the price of the npc knowing they're being shadowed. This naturally ups the tension as nobody likes the cultists to become aware of the investigators. Doing this also mitigates for the fact that there is more Luck available than in a more purist game. If the player does spend more Luck to guarantee a successful tailing of the npc they'll have less to rely on if they want to take things a step further and perhaps break into the npc's home, increasing the likelihood of the investigator opting to Push. This creates tension. Also, the other players know about the declining Luck and will start to have concerns about Group Luck Rolls, This creates personal tension.

If it's a more static roll, like finding something well hidden, I'll just ask for a Hard roll upfront as there's no real point in withholding the odds if there's no gain in tension. Similarly, if a player asks if it's worth getting a Hard success in such a situation I'll just tell them if there isn't as it just creates annoyance about a spent resource rather than tension. 

There is a slight risk that a player with declining resources will look to turtle until such time as their Luck increases but Masks counters this by being a campaign with an emergent timeline - doing nothing costs time and time is not really on the investigator's side. Incidentally, letting players in Masks know fairly early there is some sort of event approaching but keeping that date vague is a great motivator to act; most players know about the locations going into the campaign - how on Earth can you keep that a secret - so the enormity looms as another potential threat.

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6 hours ago, ragr said:

 Incidentally, letting players in Masks know fairly early there is some sort of event approaching but keeping that date vague is a great motivator to act; most players know about the locations going into the campaign - how on Earth can you keep that a secret - so the enormity looms as another potential threat.

My campaign is currently in December 1923 and back in June 1923 my players discovered a prophecy that points to some nasty stuff happening in 1924. This was deliberately inserted for the purposes you explain here. "Deadlines" are great tension-builders. And this is a slow, agonizing tension-builder, because we track game time day-by-day. Is the spit gonna hit the fan in January 1924? December 1924? Who knows? ;)

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We're February 1925 at the moment. In case it wasn't obvious to the players I asked one of them to keep a diary and tick off the days on an online calendar, which he's done a superb job of keeping up to date. I think what this has done has planted the seed that time is a feature and that certain events will occur at certain times regardless of pc action or inaction. I can't find a way to "spoiler hide" here but, being as oblique as possible, something that could have been discovered in NY that pointed to time more directly wasn't found.

 

Edited by ragr
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