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fmitchell

7th Edition: Say something nice

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Actually, they are a cunning way to make the game similar to D&D, which is now based on such a mechanics. Bonus die in D&D Next has been widely criticised and is not as elegant a mechanics as it sounds initially. And trying to appeal to the D&D crew has never been a success factor for CoC in the past.

I'd be curious to know where the advantage/disadvantage dice in D&D has been criticised, because I run weekly Adventurers League D&D games and the rule is largely praised thing as the best thing about D&D5E. It is, from my weekly experience, every bit as elegant a mechanic as it sounds.

But it's application is different to that used in CoC7E because of it's intent to replace ALL modifiers in the game outside of the bonuses PCs apply for stats. A Dungeon Master assigns a DC, the players roll the dice and add stats bonuses, and any other factor is assumed to be advantage/disadvantage. Simple and elegant.

In the case of bonus/penalty dice for CoC, however, these are placed in on top of existing rules that are not as simple as D&D. The Difficulty of each task is not set, but calculated against full/half/fifth values, while the combat chapter has a chart for different factors about when to apply bonus/penalties. Along with the fact that it only applies to additional 'tens' dice - which aren't always at hand - its just a little bit clunky. If they wanted a more elegant gimmic, more suited to percentile dice, then Unknown Armies 'flip-flop' mechanic (where tens are swapped with the units dice where advantageous) would have worked better.

Anyhow - in terms of being NICE about 7E - I'll say that the full colour layout is very attractive, while the Investigators Handbook is actually very useful as a sourcebook on 1920s America as much as anything, and is pretty flawless if taken on it's own.  At least they didn't cut out the Lovecraft tale at the beginning of the book - which, for me was an egregious mistake in the Keeper's book - no original Call of Cthulhu tale!

I do have issues with the rules in the Keeper's book, and wished that the writers had taken more heed of the more critical feedback they were given before moving on with the project, but hey, they aren't a disaster - they aren't as problematic as D&D4th Edition or Traveller 5 for example. They just aren't as elegant as the rules used in RQ6 or Pendragon, by comparison.

 

 

Edited by TrippyHippy
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Well I tend to agree with you on this Trippy.

I intermittently play in a D&D 5E game, it's a lot of cheesy fun, and the implementation of the Advantage/Disadvantage Dice is a great thing. GMs can use it for any modifiers, and it works exceptionally well because D&D 5E is at its core a very 'gamist' rpg, and this is a 'gamist' mechanic, designed for simplicity.

Where I suspect this feels out of place in CoC 7E is that BRP is a system which is much more 'simulationist' than 'gamist'.

In D&D, you don't care much about the degree of advantage, you just are happy you have been deemed to have one. In BRP the concept of degrees of difficulty is much more integral to the rules, so in this aspect the Bonus/Penalty Dice feels very out of place for CoC. It has a light 'gamist' flavour that somehow seems out of context with the 'simulationist' core of the game.

I guess it will remain an oddity for CoC 7E, and perhaps so will the Characteristics expressed as a percentage. Ironically the later is very much in keeping with the BRP system itself, except it is a minor irritation for back compatibility - perhaps this should of occurred much earlier in BRP's history, but it's a little late in the match for it now I think.

The rest of the CoC 7E looks great however. Possibly the nicest english language production of the game yet, and it is brimming with information. It will certainly be a great book to catch the eye of new customers if it manages to get shelf space in the hobby shops around the globe.

Edited by Mankcam
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I believe the whole point of bonus and penalty dice is to keep skills and success levels untouched so you don't need any mental calculation. Just look at the char sheet and roll which is good IMO. Maybe the additional dice is not the best solution but it works.

 

Edited by el_octogono

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I believe the whole point of bonus and penalty dice is to keep skills and success levels untouched so you don't need any mental calculation. Just look at the char sheet and roll which is good IMO. Maybe the additional dice is not the best solution but it works.

And the point I'm making is that you still have to make these calculations in CoC7E - as such the advantages of actually using bonus/penalty dice is somewhat compromised.

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Players calculate three success levels -- Normal, Hard, Extreme -- once for each skill, at least until that skill changes.  They're certainly stable during a session.

Bonus and penalty dice ebb and flow over the course of combat, and in some non-combat uses.  They're orthogonal to success levels.  The practical effect varies with the skill level: one bonus/penalty die modifies a 50% skill by +/-25% but 10% or 90% only by about +/-9%.  (As I've said previously, I kinda like this effect over linear modifiers: an unskilled character doesn't get a huge bonus, and a skilled character doesn't get a tremendous bonus or penalty either.  Granted a multiplier might have the same effect.)  If you wanted to calculate bonuses or penalties ahead of time you'd have nine numbers to track per skill ... or rather 15, since some tests may require two bonus/penalty dice.  (I'm not sure if a Referee would ever use three, but I can see an argument for doing so in rare cases when success/failure by fiat seems heavy-handed.)

People who can multiply and divide percentages in their head as easily as breathing may not see the benefits.  For those of us whose arithmetic is a little shaky, especially in the heat of simulated battle, it's perhaps a slightly bigger deal.

Edited by fmitchell
clearer language

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Interestingly, the original Magic World in Worlds of Wonder had simplified monster stats with the same value being used for STR/CON/SIZ/Hit Points. Maybe not the brightest idea ever, but there was the intention of trimming down complexity on the GM's side.

I never saw the original Worlds of Wonder, but at one point I tinkered with my own "Quick Critters" format: HP ( = STR = CON = SIZ), AP, DEX, Attack % and damage for each attack, MOV, special powers or skills, optionally MP ( = POW).  (Otherwise I'd probably just assume MP = POW = 10.)  INT if necessary would depend on the type of creature, usually fixed INT of 5 or if sapient 10 or 13.

Then I proceeded to develop some sapient and/or supernatural creatures -- animals don't interest me -- and realized I couldn't assume STR = CON = SIZ = HP after all, and INT and POW were a bigger deal, and more creatures broke the starting assumptions than followed them.  There's probably a few creatures in my notes with the abbreviated stats, but I converted most to the full 7-characteristic plus N-attribute template for whatever d100 variant I intended to use them for.

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I'll say something nice. I was originally very suspicious of the announced changes in 7th edition, but once I got the PDF rulebook and started going through it, I found that I ended up liking just about every change. My group and I switched over from 5.5/6th edition (though we were already using the "push" and spending-Luck rules) a few sessions ago, and all the comments I've heard about the new edition have been positive; my players really like the bonus/penalty dice, the degrees of success, and the revised combat system, and I'm really enjoying running the game.

The nicest thing I can say is that despite all these changes, it still feels to me like Sandy's original Call of Cthulhu; the changes are procedural, not tonal.

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I really like what the lads have done with 7th and it makes me want to play Cthulhu again!

Pushing and Luck are fantastic (playing games with the likes of Dorward and Fricker certainly highlight just how much you can escalate when someone pushes and fails a second time), and the revised combat makes a lot more sense in terms of making things come to a head and be dangerous compared to a lot of the previous slog-fests with cultists I'd experienced.

I'm also happy with the revision of the text, cutting out some of the extra padding that's been accumulated over the decades and making things a bit clearer for new people entering into the game (there's still someone who's not heard of it, right?).

I'd like to see some of the treatment for the books that the French and German editions get - things of beauty - but for now I'll be happy when my physical book turns up.  :D

As most of the semi-controversial changes were made optional rules, the newest version allows people like me to get more of the sort of game we'd like, while leaving the majority of the old stuff available for the more dyed-in-the-wool followers to carry on business as usual.  And of course 6e books haven't suddenly exploded or anything, and all the new content is fully backward compatible.

It's great to see a genuinely new edition come out after so many years of essentially the same book being reprinted.  

Happy times!

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I’ve recently finished running Horror on the Orient Express using the new ruleset and my whole group loved it.

For us, every change made was an improvement on prior editions.

Among my favorites are:

  • Explicit acknowledgement in the text that one should just give core clues out rather than requiring a roll
  • Explicit text saying a failed roll can be success at a cost
  • Switching to opposed rolls from the resistance table
  • Player-only rolls outside of combat
  • The suite of changes to combat made for a better flow overall
  • The previous experience packages
  • Pushing rolls and spending luck

Upon finishing HotOE we launched into another campaign (with another Keeper) which is an amalgam of Cthulhu Britannica: London, Bookhounds of London, Dreamhounds of Paris, Tomb-hounds of Egypt, Mythos Expeditions, and Mysteries of Mesoamerica. He had originally planned to run this with Trail of Cthulhu (which has been our go-to system for Cthulhu for some years now) but after his experience of 7e he decided to go with the new edition.

 

So it’s brought my group back to BRP from GUMSHOE.

Edited by Michael
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Yeah, that's likely to be a problem.  Hopefully Chaosium -- once they no longer have Kickstarter promises to keep -- can set up European printers, distributors, and/or publishers.  Because just the Keeper's book is a lot of dead tree to ship over the Atlantic.

According to this comment they have already set up EU distribution via the UK:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/448333182/call-of-cthulhu-7th-edition/posts/1375648?cursor=11326149#comment-11326148

Chaosium Inc.: Chaosium is now shipping website orders via a professional fulfillment company (Bang Printing) in Minnesota, and also soon from a similar company in the UK. We closed the Hayward Warehouse and shipping operation at the end of September.

 

And this is confirmed further here:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/448333182/call-of-cthulhu-7th-edition/posts/1375648?cursor=11362443#comment-11362442

Chaosium Inc.: We will be shipping pallets of rewards to Europe to then be mailed out to backers from within Europe.

 

This is the best thing ever as far as I'm concerned - no more crazy taxes and fees to pay, and less insane shipping! :)

 

-- Pete.

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I like the bonus and penalty dice mechanic. So much simpler and streamlined that trying to adjudicate, or memorize a whole set of situational modifiers. In a game based on straight forward mechanics like COC I think it makes perfect sense. 

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I am curious as to why anybody thinks people used to run Call of Cthulhu through adjudicating or memorising any set of situational modifiers at all? It simply didn't happen in any game I've ran or participated in. The dependency of 'Rules-As-Written' is overstated.

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I think I may have even preferred the earlier versions of Call of Cthulhu as they felt much more simpler than the rules presented in 6E, and there didn't seem to be an issue with anyone hand waving stuff. It just didn't seem to garner much rules-lawyering from what I remember.

 In regards to CoC 7E, the Pushing mechanic is a nice touch, however I really don't think it is any better or worse than a +/- mechanic like in classic BRP or RQ6, especially if going with a slightly more simplified version of the modifier as with OQ or Renaissance.

I love the presentation of the CoC 7E books, the artwork looks great and that deserves alot of recognition. This is a product that may actually grab new players, as it will certainly hold its own on a bookshelves in the game stores. 

While I like most of the new bells and whistles with CoC 7E, my main concern is that I don't like the system incompatibility issues. Personally I would like to see one core build as a central system for Chaosium BRP, with genre/setting rules coming out off that. At this stage I would not be concerned whether the core build came from RQ6 or CoC 7E - both systems have their merits, but I don't see how having two inconsistent versions of the core mechanics is going to be a good thing.

 

 

Edited by Mankcam

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I've run an 8 session "Temple of the Moon" adventure with the 7e rules, and I just have to say it's awesome!! Been playing CoC since the 80s, and it is still the same game with some nice improvements.

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They look great & while I have them in PDF, I'll be getting them in print too as they just have so much subtle goodness to them. With the opposed rolls, dice rolls taking the best/worst of the 10s spot for some benefits or penalties & the bouts of madness have to be my favorites to the new rules. 

Only thing I can tag Chaosium slightly vexing on in terms of this book contents is that after seeing the lovely art from some of the European/non-English versions, I'd love to see included in the core books or in a separate one showing off all the artwork from the last few editions (similar to the art book from Fantasy Flight Games for their Cthulhu/Arkham games).

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