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Macabre Tales: New Lovecraftian RPG


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#1 Pookie

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Posted 30 October 2011 - 07:45 PM

Spectrum Games has a new RPG of Lovecraftian horror available, called Macabre Tales rulebook. Looks like you play it using dominoes!

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To quote the game's description: "Macabre Tales is the dominoes-based RPG of Lovecraftian horror that strips out the "contributions" of later authors and focuses solely on what Lovecraft himself created. Spectrum Games, known for accurate emulation of various genres in their products, offers a brand new take on role-playing in the terrifying and abhorrent world of Howard Phillips Lovecraft. Will you emerge from the experience unscathed? Or will your mind snap in the wake of all the hidden abominations that lurk in the shadows, just out of sight of humankind?"

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See http://rlyehreviews.blogspot.com/ for reviews
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#2 jorune

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Posted 30 October 2011 - 09:05 PM

That is epic, good find.

#3 JohnnyF

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Posted 30 October 2011 - 09:39 PM

Dominoes-based?

"Ne raillons pas les fous; leur folie dure plus longtemps que la notre .... Voila toute la difference." ("Do not scoff at the crazy; their madness lasts longer than ours .... That's all the difference".) 

 
 


#4 Pookie

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Posted 30 October 2011 - 09:55 PM

Dominoes-based?


The cover says that you need two sets of dominoes.

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See http://rlyehreviews.blogspot.com/ for reviews
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#5 csmithadair

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Posted 30 October 2011 - 10:01 PM

I was just wondering if this was ever going to appear the other day, actually. The author had posted on rpg.net (a year ago?) when she was brainstorming ideas for it. I remember that one of her goals was to create something playable (possibly exclusively) with a GM and one player. I just found a free preview: http://rpg.drivethru...oducts_id=88159 that interested parties can download.

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#6 ragnarhedin

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Posted 31 October 2011 - 12:21 AM

Thanks! I love systems designed for just one player with a GM or keeper.
I'll have to make an account and look at the preview.
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#7 Paddurz

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Posted 31 October 2011 - 05:32 AM

I remember that one of her goals was to create something playable (possibly exclusively) with a GM and one player.


I'm probably not thinking out of the box here, but as far as I know both CoC and ToC are possible to play with one GM and one Player. There is even a scenario collection for it, Monophobia. So as a unique selling point for this new game I have to admit it is rather a turn off... And 2D6 can emulate almost all the results from dominoes, making dice more efficient than Dominoes, again not something I would count as positive...

But if people like it, I'm happy for them. Individual preference is the key, if you like it - use it.

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#8 csmithadair

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Posted 31 October 2011 - 05:02 PM

I'm probably not thinking out of the box here, but as far as I know both CoC and ToC are possible to play with one GM and one Player. There is even a scenario collection for it, Monophobia. So as a unique selling point for this new game I have to admit it is rather a turn off... And 2D6 can emulate almost all the results from dominoes, making dice more efficient than Dominoes, again not something I would count as positive...

But if people like it, I'm happy for them. Individual preference is the key, if you like it - use it.


Having played CoC with one player, I can certainly attest to it being possible, if not necessarily ideal. Neither CoC or ToC is designed specifically for that. But I'm not necessarily looking for a one-on-one roleplaying experience, either. I prefer the interaction that occurs when there are at least a couple of players (and, of course, it means that the burden of investigation doesn't fall on one pair of shoulders).

I also haven't had a chance to look at the preview yet, so I can't say if that design element was implemented. I'm curious about it nonetheless. I've never read any of the author's work, but she's known for her facility with genre conventions. Also, as far as dominoes go, I imagine they're not simply used as a substitution for dice.

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#9 Pookie

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Posted 31 October 2011 - 05:47 PM

I'm probably not thinking out of the box here, but as far as I know both CoC and ToC are possible to play with one GM and one Player. There is even a scenario collection for it, Monophobia. So as a unique selling point for this new game I have to admit it is rather a turn off... And 2D6 can emulate almost all the results from dominoes, making dice more efficient than Dominoes, again not something I would count as positive...


Not necessarily. Whilst 2D6 will replicate the numbers on the dominoes, the dice will not as effectively work as a limited resource that the dominoes might. Now this is not necessarily how the mechanics in Macabre Tales, but their use suggests that.

But if people like it, I'm happy for them. Individual preference is the key, if you like it - use it.


Well, we will see. I have a copy now and with some effort, I will make myself sit down and read it (it takes extra effort to read a PDF, though a PDF is very useful for reference or when writing a review).

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#10 CynthiaCM

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 11:21 AM

I'm probably not thinking out of the box here, but as far as I know both CoC and ToC are possible to play with one GM and one Player. There is even a scenario collection for it, Monophobia. So as a unique selling point for this new game I have to admit it is rather a turn off... And 2D6 can emulate almost all the results from dominoes, making dice more efficient than Dominoes, again not something I would count as positive...

But if people like it, I'm happy for them. Individual preference is the key, if you like it - use it.


Hi, Paddurz.

The system doesn't use dominoes as randomizers in most cases (though there are some exceptions). The idea was to utilize dominoes to create a very deliberate, player-driven sense of pacing. The player keeps a hand of three dominoes at all times and he can choose which one to play for any given stat check. The character has three stats: Body, Mind and Soul, which have a grade of either Normal, Good or Excellent. To make a check, the player plays a domino and uses the low side if the stat is Normal, the high side if the stat is Good or the sum of both sides if the stat is Excellent. Each stat has a selection of "aspects" connected to it that make things more specific (e.g., Body has "Strength", "Athletics", "Stealth", etc.); they are rated numerically. The aspect rating (if applicable to the check) is added directly to the appropriate side of the domino.

So, if the character was trying to climb a cliff, it would require a Body [Athletics] check. Let's say his Body was Normal and his Athletics was 2 and he played a 4/5 domino. Since his stat is Normal, he uses the low side of the domino (4). His Athletics of 2 is added to that number, making the check result 6. He must equal or exceed a challenge rating to succeed.

Of course, the system has more intricacies than that, but that's the gist of the core task resolution system.

#11 CynthiaCM

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 11:24 AM

I would like to thank everyone for posting about Macabre Tales. If you guys have any questions, throw them my way and I will answer them.

#12 JudoMonk

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 12:45 PM

I would like to thank everyone for posting about Macabre Tales. If you guys have any questions, throw them my way and I will answer them.


Hello Cynthia!

When will the hard copy come out? I really dislike PDFs( Also, will there be any adventures made for this system or is it a one shot deal?

#13 CynthiaCM

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 05:31 PM

Hello Cynthia!

When will the hard copy come out? I really dislike PDFs( Also, will there be any adventures made for this system or is it a one shot deal?


The print version will be released within the next few days.

Given the shocking sales numbers of the game itself, you can be assured that there will be supplements available. In fact, we have one already underway, though I can't divulge details at this point because nothing has been etched in stone yet.

#14 JudoMonk

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 05:36 PM

Well, I will order 4 books! One for myself to add to my CoC/Lovecraft collection. One for my CoC group to ruin with pizza stains. And one for each of my sons...




The print version will be released within the next few days.

Given the shocking sales numbers of the game itself, you can be assured that there will be supplements available. In fact, we have one already underway, though I can't divulge details at this point because nothing has been etched in stone yet.



#15 JudoMonk

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 05:38 PM

One more question: When the hard copy is released where in the U.S can I get it?

#16 CynthiaCM

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 05:42 PM

Your business is very much appreciated, JudoMonk.

It will be available through DrivethruRPG's print program. I would like to get them into stores too, but at the time of release, that'll be where you can get it.

#17 JudoMonk

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 06:05 PM

http://images.search...umb=o/zrkCTNWef



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#18 JudoMonk

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Posted 03 November 2011 - 04:54 PM

Combat...just how detailed is it? Are there hit locations and critical hits? Combat. least for my crew, seems to be the best part of their adventures.

#19 PhoneCallOfCthulhu

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Posted 03 November 2011 - 06:11 PM

Thanks Pookie for bringing this to my attention. I would have probably missed it without this post.
I hope that you'll write a review of the game on your blog. :D

#20 CynthiaCM

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Posted 03 November 2011 - 06:18 PM

To answer your question quite honestly, there isn't actually a combat system at all, as Lovecraft's stories never really emphasized such things. "Combat" is handled via something called "tension scenes". I'll post a short segment straight out of the book:

Tension Scenes
Combat isn’t something that Lovecraft emphasized in the fiction he created. And when it did occur, it was hardly the drawn-out affair presented by most role-playing games. In other words, combat (and we’re using the term very loosely here) wasn’t a big showdown between the protagonists and antagonists wherein both sides repeatedly exchange attacks in an effort to whittle each other down. It tended to be a very sudden, decisive segment of the story… and most of the time, it didn’t take up much space in the text. A fine example of this can be found in this excerpt from “The Unnamable”:

Then came a noxious rush of noisome, frigid air from that same dreaded direction, followed by a piercing shriek just beside me on that shocking rifted tomb of man and monster. In another instant I was knocked from my gruesome bench by the devilish threshing of some unseen entity of titanic size but undetermined nature; knocked sprawling on the root-clutched mould of that abhorrent graveyard, while from the tomb came such a stifled uproar of gasping and whirring that my fancy peopled the rayless gloom with Miltonic legions of the misshapen damned. There was a vortex of withering, ice-cold wind, and then the rattle of loose bricks and plaster; but I had mercifully fainted before I could learn what it meant.

The entity simply attacked Randolph Carter and Joel Manton, and they were out like a light until they woke up in the hospital some time later. Some sequences lasted longer (namely the climax of “The Dunwich Horror”), but most of them were over about as soon as they began.

What is a Tension Scene?
A tension scene can best be described as any scene in which things get extremely dramatic and it becomes clear that the situation could prove detrimental or even fatal to the character. It’s when the reader (or player) moves a bit closer to the edge of his seat in anticipation of how the scene is resolved.

In game terms, a tension scene is defined as a series of checks connected by narration. In this way, it doesn’t really seem all that different than regular scenes. However, the inclusion of momentum points is what sets a tension scene apart from ordinary scenes. Momentum points are used to gauge how well (or poorly) the tension scene is going for the character; if the character reaches a certain number of these points, the scene will end on a positive note… but if the total drops to zero or less, things end disastrously.