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Newcomer Questions regarding Monster Stats, Fights, and Supplements

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Hi! So, I'm looking to start of campaign for this with some of my friends, we have all only played Dungeons and Dragons before. A couple of questions:

1. What's the easiest way of understanding difficulty of encountered creatures? Is there some equivalent of a "challenge rating" for this? I get that this game is a lot less combat focused, but I also want to avoid having my players run into an enemy that just squishes them immediately.

2. As far as I can tell, there isn't supplemental material devoted entirely to new monster stats like a "monster manual." Do any of the supplements I'm seeing for sale have a lot more monsters in them?


Thanks for the help!

Edited by DCHoffman89@gmail.com
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BRP-derived games are a different beast than D&D but there are some things to look for when evaluating monster toughness.  Look at the creature's damage bonus; that's how much hurt it can lay on your adventurers.  Its attack skill percentage (for example Bite 56 percent) gives you an idea how likely it is to deliver that hurt.  Finally, the monster's hit points and armor points tell you how much damage the heroes will have to do to it to take it down.  Armor subtracts from damage, so if the player-characters do 6 points of damage to a creature with 3 armor points, the monster only suffers 3 points of injury.

I haven't had a chance to peruse 7th edition material but Call of Cthulhu core rule books have tended to have a generous selection of monsters.  In addition, books such as the Malleus Monstorum have an extended listing of terrors.  In general, investigators will most often run up against human cultists and human-sized critters.  There are plenty of other threats but they are so huge and mind-blowing that characters' best option is to avoid or (rarely) outsmart them.

Edited by seneschal
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Combat in CoC\BRP games  is a lot more abstract than D&D/Pathfinder,  and the minimal stat-blocks of the  monsters and foes reflect this.

This means it is relatively easy to re-skin a monster; just  find a creature of the same relative size, and  simply  rename its attack, tweak its special powers and abilities, and create your own description.

You can also check out the Build A Better Monster II thread under the BRP  section for some ideas.

Don't think you have to have a new 'monster' for each session either.  D&D players may quickly tire of bashing kobolds, but in CoC you can get a lot more mileage out of the same creature (Deep Ones/Ghouls/Mi-go/cultists), just by changing  the conditions or numbers of opponents.  Fighting one Deep One on a sunny beach is a lot different than encountering a swarm of the batrachian horrors in a light-less, flooded tunnel.


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A lot of the beasties in CoC can easily take an investigator apart if they go in guns blazing. This is one game where you have to work smarter, not harder. And while cultists, et al, can die as easily as the investigators, the investigators are not running around in Greyhawk or Forgotten Realms. They are in our world, with all of the various laws and legal snafu to deal with, so they can be arrested for manslaughter.

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On 3/14/2018 at 5:14 PM, DCHoffman89@gmail.com said:

... we have all only played Dungeons and Dragons before...

I'm gonna focus on this bit in particular.  D&D v. CoC is... VERY different.

The PC's are fragile.  Startlingly so.   They begin life with a few more HP's than the average 1st-level D&D characters, and as they gain experience they gain... ZERO additional HP's.  An ordinary gun might kill them in a single shot (or it may just wound them, allowing (evental) recovery).  A big gun will PROBABLY kill (or at least disable) them in a single shot.

And there's no healing to speak of.  No "Cure Light Wounds" or "healing potions".

And there are plenty of creatures that will overpower even 10th-level-and-over D&D PC's. given a straight-up fight.

Players who go in expecting PC's to be action-adventure heroes will be frustrated and disappointed.  Plowing through lots of monsters, lots of monster-encounters?  YeahNO.  That's a kamikaze run... and probably one that fails to get very far INTO the run.  FWIW there is a variant, "Pulp Cthulhu," that supposedly (I've never played it, so I only report on what I hear) leans more in the "heroic action-adventure" direction.

Mostly you will face humans of varying stripes... neighbors who don't WANT to believe there is an apocalyptic horror-ward in the basement next door.  Politicians who want the problem solved QUIETLY, because it's an election-year and because they don't want a panic on their hands.  Jaded cops who have seen these drugged-out hallucinating hoodlums before, weren't impressed then and are less-impressed now.  Innocent teens who just worry that "Bobby went in on a DARE and I haven't seen him since."  And every rare once in a while, a human whose mind and soul have become tainted with that horror ... obsessively fighting it, fleeing from it, enslaved by it, etc etc etc.  Figuring out which humans are which is part of the problem the PCs face...

CoC PC's are typically called "Investigators" for a reason -- they mostly investigate, problem-solve, etc.  They are hoping NOT to face any monsters, just the deluded humans who are giving the monsters entre into human society (or entry to our dimension) .

PC's who end up fighting the actual monsters tend to want weapons like flamethrowers and dynamite, stuff that is outside the normal civilian-scale weaponry.  Often they want more of it than they can get.


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23 hours ago, g33k said:

PC's who end up fighting the actual monsters tend to want weapons like flamethrowers and dynamite, stuff that is outside the normal civilian-scale weaponry.  Often they want more of it than they can get.

Players in my old RQ group had a Call of Cthulhu campaign where they treated it more as a Pulp campaign. Some of them were veterans of the Great War and knew where to get hold of ex-army ordinance. They used flamethrowers, grenades, tommy guns and depth-charged the Deep Ones.

There is no right or wrong way to play Call of Cthulhu.

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