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Stupid Beginner Question...

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Okay, we've been playing for a little while now (since lockdown started), and have just hit a snag... A(n embarrasingly stupid) question has arisen. One of my investigators is thinking of buying a firearm. He has no skill in Firearms (Rifle/Shotgun), but points out that the 'base chance' (to which any 'additional' skill is added) is 25%. Does this mean that an investigator with no (learned) skill in Firearms (Rifle/Shotgun) can pick up a Winchester carbine (say) and have a 25% chance of hitting what he shoots at? Or is he 'forbidden' from trying? Or something in between those two extremes? I could argue it either way, but wondered whether there's an 'official' rule I've missed somewhere?

Sorry, I can't find anything in the starter set rules, nor in the Investigator Handbook or Keeper Rulebook... But maybe I'm looking in the wrong place or searching for the wrong string. I always used to tell my students that the only stupid question was the one they were too embarrassed to ask... I'm almost too embarrassed to ask this, as it seems so fundamental to how the system plays, and I'm wondering how we managed to play for the best part of six months without it arising...


Edited by Phil Hendry
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I think you're bringing up an important discussion point that we could have with your question Phil. Call of Cthulhu does have a few mindset shifts when coming from other role-playing games.  Most people come from a DND background, and versions of that game (and many others) usually impose penalties for "untrained" skills. This is one of the more notable differences in CoC: anyone can attempt any skill at any time no matter what their skill value is. We could speculate on why that is. I'm of the opinion that role-playing games aren't any fun when you are forbidden from even attempting things or are penalized by the mechanics for creative solutions.

It is also noteworthy here that, in your example, the chance of actually hitting and the chance of succeeding on a single raw roll are not the same thing. You certainly have a 25% chance of getting a success on a single roll just rolling d100. But, depending on what other conditions exist for firing, bonus and penalty dice will likely be involved, and that can change the probability of hitting significantly. I'm only bringing that up because I can imagine some players, coming from a DND mindset, deeming it "unfair" that you have "such a good chance" to hit with no training. But it really isn't an amazing chance at base level. This is not a mechanics system designed for success through martial means.

Edited by klecser
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Thanks for all that! I was aware that, like a lot of games, this wasn't D&D with all its arbitrary restrictions - I just wasn't sure how far it was supposed to go! We've played some D&D in recent times (most recently, using the excellent 'Adventures in Middle Earth' setting books from Cubicle7), but we've played a lot of other stuff over the years/decades... Every game is different (and we end up making our own 'house-rules' for all of them, because we always find things we don't like).

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 9/16/2020 at 10:13 AM, Stormkhan Cogg of Pavis said:

As long as you don't hold the gun the wrong way round, bullets go in one end and come out of the other.

As said, you can fire it. You might hit something with luck. :)

That’s why it’s a “25% chance”. Critical fumble, you held the gun backwards and shot yourself.

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