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A question about Cthulhu


Bygoneyrs

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Hello guys,

I have collected and used BRP elements in my own House Rules for years now, and have started buying everything that has come out for BRP from Chaosium in "printed" format only. So I have bought it all so far, and added to my huge resource library.

Now years ago I played "Cthulhu" but never really enjoyed it truely, no liking the Insanity stuff and etc. Now my question now is the rules for the newest version of Cthulhu (what is it), does it use BRP rules or what. Sorry if that sounds stupid, but I have not looked at anything Cthulhu in many many years, and was considering maybe giving it another look again. I liked the sound and rightup for both Cthulhu Invictus and Cthulhu Dark Ages. Is there a core book for Cthulhu and if so what is it's most current version of the game?

Thanks,

Penn

Old time RPGer of +34 yrs, player/DM/GM.

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The CoC rules are similar to, but not exactly the same as BRP. Generally the CoC rules have only changed slightly over the years. Character creation has probably recieved the most changes. Starting character tend to be a bit better now than tin previous editions.

If you didn't like the tone of CoC in th epast, there is no reason to run the game now. Practically anything in CoC could be ported over to BRP if a GM wanted to, with little effort.

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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As Atgxtg wrote, the Cthulhu system did not change much since the first edition, there have

only been some minor corrections. I would consider the Cthulhu system a simplified version

of the BRP system, it lacks many of the options and features of BRP, especially in the combat

rules. Unless you like the Cthulhu setting, with or without Mythos creatures, BRP might well

be the better choice.

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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To answer your direct question, the current edition of Call of Cthulhu is the 6th edition. However, as others have pointed out, the rules have changed little. Some skills have been folded into others, the spell modifier has been removed, and various other small tweaks. The general tone and theme, however, has changed little.

What are you looking to get out of Cthulhu Invictus and Cthulhu Dark Ages? Are you looking to mine them for ideas, or run an actual game of Call of Cthulhu with them? As one of the authors of Cthulhu Invictus, I will tell you that it is pulpy. It adheres to the ideas put forward by Robert E. Howard, Clark Ashton Smith, and Richard Tierney in relation to the level of pulp. It's not as "Lovecraftian" as core CoC. It is also a different time period from BRP Rome. BRP Rome covers the city from AUC to the end of the Republic. Cthulhu Invictus is set during the first century of the Empire.

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Hello there "cjbowser" it is awesome to talk to a resources writer, and I am very honored to have that here on this site. Actually I like the general descript of both books and have a desire to just own them as resource materials. What I al looking at doing, is designing a new "fantasy based"campaign. I am looking at the possibility of..."What IF Roman didn't Fall, and Magic was discovered and started to be practicedin the world"???

What If...can go a long way...What if the Dark Ages didn't happen but instead the Earth was hit by a great shower of some unknown element and in the process magic in the world sprang to life or awakened! What if the realm of the Fae merged with the prime plane, and all those creatures of Myth crossed into our existance...Dragons, Minators, and Trolls oh my<g>! What if beings appeared that became the Gods of the Roman's but also a another God appeard called "Christ", calling himself the One True God. I am going for something different here and yes I will push the limits with religion and magic. Alot of Occult and Paranormal elements will also be intoduced along with what many consider New Age too. It will be a brave new world where no one can guess what is the norm.

Penn

Old time RPGer of +34 yrs, player/DM/GM.

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Perhaps only tangentially related to this post, but if you didn't like CoC's insanity system, you might want to take a look at Unknown Armies and its "stress" system:

1. UA tracks five types of stress: Violence, Unnatural, Helplessness, Isolation, and Self (i.e. self-image and integrity).

2. Characters can become "hardened" against a particular type of stress through exposure, but vulnerable or even sensitive to another. Thus a cop or coroner could get used to dead bodies (Violence), but become a gibbering wreck when legions of the dead rise (Unnatural).

3. There's no "SAN 0" at which a PC becomes an NPC. Intense therapy has a chance to bring anyone out of gibbering madness. On the other hand, characters who become "hardened" slide inexorably towards sociopathy: a character totally hardened against Violence would kill you for the slightest reason if he could get away from it, a character completely hardened against Self becomes totally unprincipled with no real personality, and so forth. Sociopaths are still functional, very much so, but very scary people to be around (and to play).

Granted, UA models a very different world from Lovecraft's unspeakable horror, but it's probably a little closer to actual psychology. Even if you don't like the categories, you can steal mechanics and make up your own categories: Sorcery, Cosmic Horror, Body Horror, whatever.

Here's a very condensed version of the UA stress system: http://fading-suns.mapache.org/u/stresses.pdf

Frank

"Welcome to the hottest and fastest-growing hobby of, er, 1977." -- The Laundry RPG
 
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You know is my own space campaign (Traveller) I had a plot line of Space Zombies that was caused by a plague that spread very hard and fast. Very nasty to say the least, BUT I like the virus and effect it had of the folks in "I Am Legend" creating that new breed of nasty former NPC Human creatures. Extremely awesome and very nasty to deal with, even better than plague Zombies I felt. I still don't want to use the Sanity Check roll though...

Penn

Old time RPGer of +34 yrs, player/DM/GM.

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If we forget the brilliant Chtulhu mythos itself for a minute, it's the sanity rules that make CoC what is it, IMHO. The game is all about the investigators going nuts or being killed in horrible ways, preferably both (I am a GM). In the long run, the investigators will perish one way or the other, unless the GM is unnaturally lenient. And that is the way CoC should be played. Otherwise the game will become just a bug hunt. Well ok, you can play it like that, but you will be missing the point.

Browsing very quickly this thread, I am not sure if you're not comfortable with the mechanism of the SAN rules, or their effect in the gameplay? If it is the former, use some other mechanism to simulate the same effects, and if it is the latter... well, maybe look for another game? Personally, I don't see what the problem with SAN rules might be? But these are highly personal preferences, if it doesn't work for you, change it.

I use Taint of Madness in our campaign, it gives a more indept view of the sanity rules, and goes into more nihilistic detail. Also makes the effect of sanity loss more realistic and detailed, and therefore more difficult for the investigtors to cope with.

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I guess being a 32+ yr Traveller player and GM, I like it's approach to the concept of Space gaming. Now the sanity thing isn't to my personial taste and most likely why I never ran Cthulhu type campaign. For me I could adapt/convert Traveller over to use BRP system and it would work just fine. Maybe I am just looking for more resource materials that use the BRP system to do just that with. There is nothing wrong with the Sanity system approach, it is just not to my liking or taste of my gamers either. What can I say, I am a product of my gaming back ground...D&D for over 34+ yrs(AD&D, vs 2.5, vs 3.5 d20) , Gamma World, Traveller, Hero System, and BRP systems.

Penn

Old time RPGer of +34 yrs, player/DM/GM.

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Now the sanity thing isn't to my personial taste and most likely why I never ran Cthulhu type campaign.

Similar here. I used the Call of Cthulhu system a lot for modern / historical and science fiction

settings, but I almost never used the Mythos monsters and the Sanity rules.

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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Now I have run Horror based campaigns but used either "Beyond the Supernatural" or Horror Hero System as the games mechanics system, with some of my own House Rules as well too.

Penn

You can run horror very easily with BRP without involving the Mythos or Sanity checks. Check out Gheedon's scenario in the BRP Adventures book for just such a type of game.

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Thank you and I figured I could do it just using BRP without the Sanity check mechanics. So basically Cthulhu is BRP Horror with the added Sanity check stuff? Is that correct or are there other mechanics as well?

For the record I have run Horror alot before using Beyond the Supernatural, Chill, and Horror HS games mechanics. I just never liked the sanity check part of Cthulhu.

Penn

Old time RPGer of +34 yrs, player/DM/GM.

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Just my 2c: Call of thulhu is not different from BRP (to any noticeable degree), it just uses some of the BRP options and not some of the others. Sanity is in BRP as an option (CoC uses this) and so are hit locations (CoC doesn't use those), so Call of Cthulhu is more like a genre/playstyle/campaign setting for BRP. If you don't like the playstyle (death and insanity), or the setting (HP Lovecraft Mythos), or the genre (horror), they can be swapped. One of the advantages of BRP!

There, I got that off my chest :)

Foen

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I guess being a 32+ yr Traveller player and GM, I like it's approach to the concept of Space gaming. Now the sanity thing isn't to my personial taste...

If the game system used to run an "Aliens" (the movie/book) game had a sanity mechanism, Ripley would probably never have survived the first story in a fit state.

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In my campaigning as a GM running a existing 25+ yr long Traveller based camapign, which in my case most of my gaming group having played in my current game now from 13-15 yrs...we have used many different elements from lots of different movies and books. For a while I had a rather nasty Bio-Hazard Plague that was a Zombie style plague that spread across space in a region about the size of a SubSector. Now in my game I have changed the tech used and do not use standard FTL drives, instead Cyro-Sleep tubes are a must for travel. The drive system uses Hyper-Space travel, but ith eithers uses a Space Jump Gate (like defined in the remake of Lost In Space movie) which can take months to travel between Jump Gates, Or one travels slower and can take 5x longer to go between systems all in Cyro-Sleep in normal space travel. Now the "Gesturbini Plague" had a long activation period and seemed to start out as a flue like symptonm, but the infected developes a raging fever plus other symptoms that turn a person into a enraged flesh eating Zombie that has a increased body metabolism that if they don't eat they will eventually dry-up and burn out and will truely die. The infected have a true hunger that only seems to be satisfied by eating warm living "flesh"...fresh off the bone<VBG>!!! That plague caused all sorts loads of issues for years, with outbreaks from time to time. Now these same players PCs dealt with this horror for years as a Trouble-Shooter team. I didn't use any insanity check, because for me I am looking to play Fantasy SciFi not Realism SciFi.

Penn

Old time RPGer of +34 yrs, player/DM/GM.

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...not Realism SciFi.

Event Horizon (The 1997 movie); now there is some horror in space [Warning: Mature Content].

The content may not be entirely realistic, however the "lack of fearlessness" would be more realistic.

However, I have always considered the CoC (and horror) genre to over emphasize fear and sanity loss. While this is not as unrealistic as being fearless, it seems to be similarly unrealistic in the opposite direction.

Edit: For a variation on the horror genre, have a look at the likes of Jags Wonderland and The Book Of Knots.

They are written for the JAGS RPG (which is similar to HERO), however they provide some interesting reading and ideas.

Edited by dragonewt
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However, I have always considered the CoC (and horror) genre to over emphasize fear and sanity loss. While this is not as unrealistic as being fearless, it seems to be similarly unrealistic in the opposite direction.

Quite true. If grizzly scenes would drive people mad that quickly, the average paramedic would

be a raving lunatic, and trauma center teams would have to be kept in asylums ... :shocked:

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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For me I build the sceens my player encounter and play through and it is my goal to keep them coming back for more...I am not looking to eventually cause their characters to need to be replaced by another character because of a game rule and the player's PC has gone insane. It is one thing if the players PC dies, but quite another issue to go insane just becaus ethe game system wants to use an extra rule to terminate a PC. I am quite capable of designing a situation and planning and playing it through myself, and if I am doing my job correctly the risk to my players will be sufficiantly hard enough that if they for what-ever reason don't do the right set of things or etc...death can happen without needing this added Sanity Check ploy to also sideline a character. For me this is just like the "Paranoia" game. I never could see the point of playing a game when the seemingly game goal was to get rid of ones character in time. To me both Cthulhu and Paranoia were set up to do that with ones PCs. For me if a player is playing their PC and manages to survive my plots, then they desirve to right to keep playing their PC and play on with them since they have put so much time into them. Oh yes from time to time, PCs die but it atleast they did so by their own actions/in-actions and not because of a game System Rule.

Penn

Old time RPGer of +34 yrs, player/DM/GM.

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Quite true. If grizzly scenes would drive people mad that quickly, the average paramedic would

be a raving lunatic, and trauma center teams would have to be kept in asylums ... :shocked:

Call of Cthulhu does have the "getting used to awfulness" rule so that just such a situation doesn't happen. Once you've lost the maximum amount of SAN for something you can't lose additional SAN within a reasonable period of time. For paramedics and trauma teams, I'd rule that the reasonable period was "indefinite."

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