Ezra

7th ed.
Returning and Wondering about 7th

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I've been away from gaming for a while, but I'm running a game for some friends. I see that the 7th edition of the game is now out in stores. I'm wondering, however, how far 7th edition strays from BRP, which is my preferred system. Is CoC still a BRP-based system? Or has it become something else entirely?

If so, does anyone plan to continue playing 6th?

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7e is fully backwards compatible with earlier versions so you can use any published material. Changes are mostly to make Attributes percentile rather than 3-18 by multiplying by 5. There are a few other changes to make combat faster but it's really an evolutionary update rather than anything more. You could get the free quickstart from Chaosium and see how different it looks.

Some people are staying with earlier editions as they are satisfied with the layout etc but as adapting new material only really requires division by 5 for attributes it's not hard to play with whatever you want.

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I'd agree with nclarke -- it's probably easiest to think of 7e as still being "almost BRP-based" with the changes being more cosmetic than radical. The most obvious deviation from the established BRP stream is that the main investigator attributes (STR, POW, INT, etc) are now on a 1-100 scale, avoiding the need for rolls against POW x 5 and the like. But as long as you are able to do a bit of mental arithmetic (dividing by 5 or multiplying by 5) this isn't really a major departure and certainly doesn't change the "feel" of the game in any way.

As nclarke also said, the 7e rules do change the flow of combat and damage, though, aiming to optimize out some things that lots of people find "less fun" -- like endless rounds of both sides missing, or characters dying from an accumulation of very small damage attacks. A second area of departure from pure BRP is the idea of "pushed rolls" which effectively give players the choice of re-rolling some rolls if they are willing to risk the outcome of the second failed roll being something truly awful. Another more substantial addition is the optional rule for treating Luck as a "resource pool" which a player can burn points from in return for improving the value of a die roll.

All up, these more substantial deviations from BRP seem to have been accepted by most long-term CoC players as being an incremental evolution which enhances the "net fun" of the game ... but there are still some that prefer the older, sometimes more arbitrary, rules because they present players with a more bleak set of options. It's a personal preference really ... and like nclarke said, Chaosium have made a Quickstart version of the 7e rules available for free as a PDF, so you can always give it a spin and see if its for you.

Regarding the long-term future of 6th Edition ... I'm sure that some people will continue playing it, and there are 30 years of published scenarios that work "out-of-the-box" with those rules. And if you really want to stick with those rules and are willing to do some mental arithmetic, you can easily port newer material over to 6e rules without too much fuss. You should be aware, though, that nobody will be publishing NEW material for 6th Edition -- Chaosium have made it a condition on licensees that they only produce books for the latest edition of the rules (and right now, that means 7e).

 

Dean (from Adelaide)

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I still play the old rules, and have no intention to change.

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Yeah, I'm staying with 5.5/6 myself.

None of the changes in 7e are huge... but most feel unnecessary to me (stat changes) or stuff we were already doing that didn't need to be codefied (pushed rolls).
The thing that puts me off most is more in the tone... I feel like the game has been subtly pushed to be more action-adventure oriented. I don't think 'Luck' belongs in a horror game either. Fine for 'Pulp Cthulhu' though.

Anyway, I vote with my dollars, so I'm staying away.

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Simlasa, You do realise that the spending luck rule as one of the optional ones and doesn't have to be used in a game.

You might think a lot of the alterations are "stuff we were doing already" but the average new player/Keeper has no idea of the various subtle alterations Keepers have made to the game to make it work for them. In fact GUMSHOE was written to get around some of these perceived issues. Having them written into the latest rules helps new Keepers and disseminates a method resolving those apparent issues for newer Keepers

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Posted (edited)

3 hours ago, nclarke said:

Simlasa, You do realise that the spending luck rule as one of the optional ones and doesn't have to be used in a game.

Yes, I'm aware of that (and I have played 7e, not just read it)... but my understanding was it originally wasn't an option. Part of the overall feeling I mentioned regarding change in tone. I felt the authors were aiming at something a bit more 'fun! furious! and fast!' than the CoC I preferred.
I'd have been fine with a mention of 'pushing' as a GM's optional technique... but as written... it's something I can see Players expecting to always be available. In that way it feels, to me, just a tad more 'meta' and gimmicky... which is also how I feel about the new chase mini-game.

Really, it's all down to matters of taste. 7e isn't mine, and that's fine.

Edited by Simlasa

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28 minutes ago, Simlasa said:

Yes, I'm aware of that (and I have played 7e, not just read it)... but my understanding was it originally wasn't an option. Part of the overall feeling I mentioned regarding change in tone. I felt the authors were aiming at something a bit more 'fun! furious! and fast!' than the CoC I preferred.
I'd have been fine with a mention of 'pushing' as a GM's optional technique... but as written... it's something I can see Players expecting to always be available. In that way it feels, to me, just a tad more 'meta' and gimmicky... which is also how I feel about the new chase mini-game.

Really, it's all down to matters of taste. 7e isn't mine, and that's fine.

Those are all sensible and valid points, and as you say it really all comes down a question of personal preference.

I would mention, however, that my own experience has been that the tone of any CoC game depends a lot *less* on rules than it does on the particular player group and the specifics of the pre-written scenario (if using a published scenario). This seems to be the true for CoC even moreso than any other RPG I've played. So -- for both 6e and 7e rules I have seen a huge variance in the "tone" of the game, based on the direction that the Keeper and players want to take the game and how "pulpy" or "gritty" the scenario. Given that, my own personal alarm bells would have gone off if the "7th edition" scenarios that have been published subsequent to the new rules were written in a way which seems to promote a different style of game. And really that has NOT happened as far as I can see (with the exception of the Pulp Cthulhu rules and campaign, which are intentionally different).

BTW: while I can see the potential for "pushed" rolls to be abused, my own experience of seeing folks play 7e is that more often than not players turn down the offer of a pushed roll, out of fear of a truly awful outcome if they fail the second time. Usually people seem to only want to take the chance if it is a truly critical game-changing roll. Of course that assumes that the Keeper has made it clear that he or she is willing to devise appropriately terrible outcomes of failed pushes -- but most CoC Keepers I've seen running 7e seem to have enough "evil streak" in their kit-bag to impress the gravity of the situation upon their players.

Also: with respect to the chase "mini-game" ... I am with you, I have no time for it either. But, like most of the parts of the CoC rules (in any edition) it's just a tool that a Keeper *can* use if he or she wants to. Personally I'd never use it, but I don't think having it there detracts from the game (if other people like it).

 

Dean (from Adelaide)

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6 hours ago, Simlasa said:

which is also how I feel about the new chase mini-game.

 

Not at all surprised to hear they added a chase mini-game. Chases seem to be a problem in every system, and I'm not sure there's a satisfactory way to handle them.

From the comments I've seen, the changes don't seem to my liking. I really don't like that attributes are percentile, although I can see it's not that big a deal. I might give it a try, but most likely I'll stick with 6th. The books look nice though.

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Posted (edited)

For myself I really like the overall changes.   For the last few years earlier CoC seemed to have a few indefinable quirks that made it not fun.  I couldn't put my finger on it, but found myself using Trail of Cthulhu (and other GUMSHOE variants) more than any other horror system. 

CoC 7th however "feels" much better in game-play, at least to me.  For some reason new scenario ideas are just leaping out of out of the books and into my prep notes.  I had run an intro for my gaming group and they really loved it.  We prefer CoC 7th for the traditional one shot horror and I cannot express how wonderful Pulp Cthulhu (PC) is for those times you want to have a longer lasting game.   They are very different games, but really showcase the flexibility of the base system.

As for Luck.  In CoC 7th it really doesn't impact things too much if you use it.  At least it hasn't for us. 

The combat tweaks are not having that big of an impact either.   In CoC if the investigators land themselves in an actual fight, they have usually made a bad mistake and are not long for the world.  For a game where we actually want to live (or stay sane enough) to have follow on stories, PC looks like the way to go. 

One thing I always wondered about CoC in general was why they bothered with a Character Development system at all.   Personally as a Keeper or a Player, I've never really seen characters that last long term.  It just isn't CoC'ish.  But for the new Pulp, it will be handy. 

The two biggest changes, treating Characteristics in the same format as everything else and the addition of degrees of success/failure makes a Keepers job just that little bit easier.   It adds a small injection of degree.

All in all, 7th really isn't that different from the previous versions I've played/run.  Mostly cosmetic or normalizing "house rules" we had used anyway, a few actual changes plus a very nice presentation.   With the big bonus of it being extremely easy to use materiel from other editions.

 

For me, CoC 7th and Pulp Cthulhu are both big wins. 

 

 

Edited by Spence
clarity and grammer stupidity...more likly to be needed
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I've been using 5th edition after losing 3rd, and always miss the earlier editions. I never saw a reason to update. This new edition, however, felt like a refinement to me. Intelligent optional rules and gorgeous art and layout, high quality and useful Keeper's Screen.

No I don't like stats as % - I prefer tradition, especially so I can say "give me an Intx3 roll". Never bothered with chase rules. Pretty much everything else, I like...and yes, it's fun to suppport quality efforts to advance the game.

Honestly, D&D 5th made great strides to refine their game but almost every other old game just keeps piling more and more granularity and complexity. I'm encouraged to see another classic game refine rather than data dump. I hope more follow suit.

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@Cosmic55.  Refined?  A great way to put it.  Yes, 7th edition is more of a refinement than an actual update even if it does add/change a few items.

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14 hours ago, Cosmic55 said:

Honestly, D&D 5th made great strides to refine their game but almost every other old game just keeps piling more and more granularity and complexity. I'm encouraged to see another classic game refine rather than data dump. I hope more follow suit.

This is likewise the case with the new Chaosium edition of RuneQuest, currently in development. Rules-wise, it is certainly less complex/crunchy than RQ 3rd or 6th editions (it is somewhat more complex than the 2nd on which it is based though, in that introduces runes and passions into the game mechanics.) 

15 hours ago, Cosmic55 said:

This new edition, however, felt like a refinement to me. Intelligent optional rules and gorgeous art and layout, high quality and useful Keeper's Screen.

Which we will also do for the new edition of RQ.

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I played Runequest a handful of times in the early 90s, and remember it was fun. If I'm honest, I'm a little intimidated by the world and backstory. I hope those are also a bit more user friendly. Looking things up online is a crazy melange of every earlier edition and I'm not sure where I start.

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Posted (edited)

I'm sure if the new RuneQuest is anything like HeroQuest Glorantha then the core rules will contain a good intro to the setting, and likely to fuse character generation directly to the setting like HeroQuest does in the Sartar and Pavis books. 

Getting back to topic, for me personally my favourite Call Of Cthulhu rules has been the CoC 3E hardcover book produced by Games Workshop in the 1980s. It had smooth mechanics, and a low pulpy/weird horror atmosphere. It was great having everything contained in an attractive hardcover book rather than a box, and the artwork was also great, with several full-colour plates.

Most of the CoC editions since then had a more serious approach to both the rules, setting, tone, and presentation; with hardly any changes in game mechanics. This was up until CoC 7E, and this current edition certainly captures much of the flavour that originally interested me. Most of the rules refinements enhance the game, rather than add 'rule-bloat'.

CoC 7E is also 95% compatible with all the previous supplements, which doesn't make my extensive library obsolete. This has always been a strength of the game line since it's inception, although I was concerned that this time there would be compatibility issues.

This is certainly not the case, and Chaosium gets my respect for doing this. The company has treated it's fan base with dignity and respect, a quality that should be admired in any business model.

CoC 7E is now my preferred edition of the game, especially with the official  Pulp Cthulhu options which I can use if need be. If I had to cut back on books in my bookshelf, then CoC 7E will definitely remain, sitting nicely alongside my old hardcover Games Workshop CoC 3E book. As far as Call of Cthulhu goes, I can take or leave the other editions.

Edited by Mankcam
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So, 7th edition is my first experince with Coc in any form, though I am a long term role-player (mostly dnd, though I did play some 3rd edition WFRPG which seems to be based on this same basic percentile system). 

So, my perspective is that this is not an action game in any sense of the word. Mor often than not, guns just don't do any appreciable damage to what you are fighting. Instead, you need to have collected enough clues to be able to come up with some kind of game plan by the end or else everything goes south for the players pretty fast. For what it is worth from someone who is new to the game, I really love this system. I did take a look at the older systems for comparison and to me, they seem to be almost identical, though I would probably update to 7th just to avoid the extra step of making power rolls. 

 

For what it is worth, here are my comments on pushed rolls and luck pools:

Pushed Roles: One of my favorite mechanics in the game. I was worried that this type of game would suffer from dead ends due to failed rolls, but the use of luck, idea, and pushed rolls helps keeps things going. My players rarely push their rolls. The most memorable moment of a pushed roll was when a mortally wounded character was trying to light dynamite to kill a monster that was wrecking havoc on the party. He needed to make a luck roll because the dynamite was wet. His luck was something like 18, though, due to spending lots of luck throughout the session. So even though he could push his roll, his odds were still not good. Not only did he fail the push roll (which was going to result in the lighter running out of fluid or breaking), but he critically failed, rolling a 98. So instead, he blew the dynamite up in his hands and killed the whole party. The monster died too, though, so they at least got brownie points for that! 

The other important thing about pushed rolls is that they are not "do-overs." The book explains that they represent trying an action again for the second time, or otherwise spending more time trying to complete the action. This is why you can't push combat rolls. So, there is still a narative, that is supposed to include foreshadowing by the keeper of what might happen if the pushed roll is failed, that keeps everything story focused. 

Luck Pool: Spending luck is something I allow my players to do just to give them a little bit of an extra edge, though it's also a double-edged sword. For example, in my HoTOE game, there is one player who has actually burnt his luck down to 1% (he is also indefinitely insane). So, his character is just miserable. Restaurants never have what he wants to order, cards drive through puddles and splash water on him, his clothes rip on objects, he is the one singled out by pickpockets in busy shopping bazzars, and of course, he is always attacked first by monsters!

Anyway, I love this game!

My experience has been that luck pools and pushed rolls don't make my players into action stars. Instead, it just drags out their slow descent into madness and death a little bit longer!

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Posted (edited)

Call of Cthulhu can easily be played as an action-adventure game if desired, especially with the Pulp Cthulhu volume added to it. Just a matter of taste really

Edited by Mankcam

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Yes, it's working quite well as an action-adventure game.  I believe our group is using a few things from Pulp Cthulhu.  Combined with the 7th edition rules mentioned above we're running along at Indiana Jones pulp level and it's working out well.

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Indiana Jones & The Masks of Nylarthotep...

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7th is good as any other edition.  But if You like shiny books, and actual support this is edition for You! Look at this beatifull tomes of dark knowledge! Now in technicolor! Muahaha!

And Pulp Ctulhu! This is another topic! I remember when they first anounce this book. Feeling old now... Buuu...

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Posted (edited)

On ‎20‎.‎03‎.‎2017 at 1:27 AM, Cosmic55 said:

I've been using 5th edition after losing 3rd, and always miss the earlier editions. I never saw a reason to update.

Me neither. I'm still addicted to my 2nd Edition PDF I got from DriveThrough/RPGNow a long, looong time ago (and I'll never understand nor endorse why it's been pulled!), although I'm playing with the thought to get me a 4th Edition corebook. But 3rd and 4th Edition are still the original 2nd Edition rules, just some sentences modified, content rearranged and Companion(s) added. Since I also already have both Companions as PDF I actually wouldn't need a 4th Edition corebook.

I never liked the 5th Ed. skill list changes (f.e. Botany & Zoology becoming Biology. So a botanist has the exact same knowledge than a zoologist. Why are they then different occupations anyways?). :huh: 

Then why not combine Climb, Jump, Throw, Swim into a single "Athletics" skill? Drive Automobile/Pilot Aircraft: "Operate Vehicle". Both are vehicles, so there can't be a significant difference in steering them, can it? ;) Or, why use varying skills at all? Just roll the appropriate characteristic times 5, 4 or 3. BTW, why roll dice?  They're completely overrated and are only used in gaming rules to make the dice-making industry rich. Flip coins! ^_^ 

Making "Diagnose Disease" / "Treat Disease" seperate skills did make sense. Even I'd be able to diagnose measles... but I don't have the slightest idea how to treat it. Except consulting a doctor, of course. Or dose a .38... :huh: "Medicine"!:angry:

Never Change a winning team! and Don't fix what isn't broken! :angry: 

 

IMHO from Fifth Edition on the quality of the additional artwork degraded markedly (who told the "Dreyfus" guy or gal he/she has a drawing talent!?), and 6th Edition marked the beginning of the bad habit to include colored/monochrome page backgrounds and fancy lettering. Simple B&W and ordinary fonts are much more easier to read!! A RPG rulesbook shouldn't look like nor need the layout of a Lifestyle Magazine! :angry:

 

7th Edition "Pushing the Roll" sort of my CoC group already had back in 1986... when failed a Climb or Jump skill check f.e. we were allowed to make a second check to see if the character would be able to grab and hang onto something. Only when this second check failed too it's been "a parachute would have been a good idea. Get one for your next PC".:P A recommendation for Keepers to not be too harsh on their players would IMHO be sufficient. As a rule? I don't know.

Bonus and Penalty Dice? Opposed Rolls? There's absulutely NO need to copy borked game mechanics from your competitors. CoC is a classic RPG using a classic (and at the time of it's first publication unique) proven ruleset... and there already is a RPG on the market in which the gameflow is disturbed by the use of excessive borked dice rolling. It's called RollMaster* if I remember correctly. And played by people with a strong pathological tendency for masochism I assume... :P

Never Change a winning team! and Don't fix what isn't broken! :angry:

 

Finally, I'd love to have the opportunity to get a CoC First Edition PDF. Would be IMHO a nice gimmick for the 40th Anniversary. (Although I'd prefer the 36th...) ^_^

(*) This word doesn't include a typo! :P

Edited by Arnold-C
typo

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Posted (edited)

I agree with most of the above post, except the bit about 7E's 'push' mechanic. It's not simply a re-roll, it requires a narrative reason for allowing the re-roll, and it cannot be used for 'in-the-moment' actions like most physical or combat rolls.

So it really isn't a gimmick to make things more pulpy or easier on the players. It's a narrative option that can be played out over several scenes, one that can also easily backfire, so it tends to add to the drama and tension when it is attempted. Actually it's a very good mechanic to add to the game.

If you need to alter a dice roll for an instant action in 7E then the only way to do it is to eat away at your Luck score, which is a slippery slope in a setting like this. Again this is not a bad idea, as it does allow some player control over actions, but at a big consequence. A player who relies on it too much will often regret it later in the session, so it doesn't tend to be an option that is overused in the standard game.

Expressing core stats as a % is a double edged sword. It looks out of step with the stat blocks from earlier editions. But the reality is that in order to use those stats you needed to make x5% rolls anyway, so it's actually quicker to do so now in actual gameplay. It really looks quite similar in the stat block, but still I have mixed feelings regarding altering the stat block even slightly. But I must admit it doesn't really make much difference at the gaming table.

Having an additional level of skill success between regular and special success was also a good move. It doesn't complicate anything, and tends to work much better for opposed rolls like combat. IMO this is a definate improvemet, and a grest idea that all Chaosium BRP games could benefit from.

I tend to agree that the Bonus/Penalty Dice idea as an oddity in the core rules. It's a novelty that works really well in Pulp Cthulhu, but feels a little too broad in a purist game. I think I would have preferred default numerical modifiers in the core book, and introduce the Bonus/Penalty Dice concept in the Pulp Cthulhu book.

But all in all, the standard game plays similarly across all editions, as the Push and Luck options have consequences to prevent over reliance on them. 

The Pulp Cthulhu optional rules plays as expected, much more cinematically, along the lines how many have house ruled over the years when wanting to play with a more action-oriented flavour. Being a separate book it's entirely up to those who want to play it this way, it's not a book that would apply to all games.

I think 7E is really the only edition worth updating since the editions published in the mid 1980s.

However people can easily play 7E scenarios with earlier ruleset editions, and obviously vice versa. So no back catalogue of supplements are obsolete, which was really a great move.

Edited by Mankcam

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For me 7th Edition has finally "fixed" that "something off" from the other versions.  I never could put my finger on it.  But the earlier versions of CoC always had me coming back, but I always left again because they were missing something.  Don't get me wrong CoC is an awesome game in all it versions, but for me personally there was just something that didn't click. 

7th's small changes, more tweaks than changes IMO, have finally smoothed that disconnect.  Plus adding Pulp Cthulhu as a separate add-on supplement is perfect for me.  I love Pulp and I love CoC's original dark horror.  So now I have both in distinct separate presentations. 

I can understand why the previous versions are preferred by some, but to me 7th is a clearly positive improvement to the system.  One thing PC has that 7th does not is the selection of Archetype as well as Occupation.  I would love to see an expansion that inserts Archetypes into the core game, but most of the games I run have a high fatality/insanity rate and anything to make chargen faster would help ;)

 

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Posted (edited)

Yeah the archetype idea is a good one. It's really only an expansion on the personality types that were in the BRP BGB, but it covers a little more with having a favoured characteristic, notable traits, etc It really streamlines chargen quite a bit and has wider applications.

For me Pulp Cthulhu works really well, I think the only way for me to run a Call of Cthulhu campaign is to use Pulp Cthulhu.

I also like that you can play it with a low pulp tone right up to high end adventure flick material, so it gives you alot of scope as a GM for flavour. Personally I tend more towards the low pulp end, although I allow for pulpy cinematic goodness at times (such as when achieving an Extreme Success and beyond if using Talents, stuff like that). Lots of fun, and no TPK which is a big issue for a Cthulhu campaign.

If running one-shots or small sessions I would play the standard game without any Pulp options, perhaps even with pre-gen characters specific for the setting. It keeps the tone very gritty horror, it just feels perfect for those kind of games. I guess I want a very different kind of game from one-shots/small scenarios than I do from campaigns, so I'm glad I have official rules to help with that now, rather than hobbling rules imported from other rpgs for this.

 

 

Edited by Mankcam

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On 2017-5-11 at 6:28 PM, Mankcam said:

Indiana Jones & The Masks of Nylarthotep...

I made this a while ago when I first got Pulp Cthulhu... :)

Indie & the Masks.PNG

Edited by Aldaron
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