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The Two-Headed Serpent – Dialing down the pulp?

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#1 lagrippe

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Posted 21 August 2017 - 12:26 PM

I’m currently reading through and preparing The Two-Headed Serpent, and plan to somewhat dial down the pulp level to adjust to my group’s (and mine) tastes.

 

Note that I’m not looking for an adaptation to the standard CoC rules and mindset or any major plot rewrites; I’d just rather steer the general tone toward, say, Indiana Jones, rather than the more out-and-out pulp types (i.e., overt supernatural and weird science elements), especially in the early chapters.

 

Any suggestions for specific or overall tweaks?

 

Many thanks!




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#2 nclarke

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Posted 21 August 2017 - 05:34 PM

Having just completed the first section I'd recommend a thorough set of notes to avoid the having to flip backwards and forwards all the time. Printing out the pdf of the Keeper Resource Pack is another must together with Appendix A of the main book with all the recurring NPCs.



#3 GRWelsh

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Posted 30 August 2017 - 12:09 AM

You could just give the investigators double hit points, and perhaps some bonus skill points in fighting or firearms.  I don't have PULP CTHULHU, but this is what I was considering doing to make my players a more survivable, with the explanation being they are exceptionally physically competent as part of their backgrounds... veterans of the Great War, ex-cops, boxers in college, etc. I figure the main effect this will have in the game is the investigators will be less likely to die from some unlucky rolls in combat against minor threats like cultists, ghouls, etc.


Edited by GRWelsh, 30 August 2017 - 12:09 AM.


#4 lagrippe

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Posted 31 August 2017 - 01:25 AM

Having just completed the first section I'd recommend a thorough set of notes to avoid the having to flip backwards and forwards all the time. Printing out the pdf of the Keeper Resource Pack is another must together with Appendix A of the main book with all the recurring NPCs.

 

With the amount of moving parts in the original campaign, if I start tinkering with the pulp level it is indeed likely a good idea to invest some time into a detailed set of notes, to avoid later inconsistencies. Thanks for the suggestion.

 

You could just give the investigators double hit points, and perhaps some bonus skill points in fighting or firearms.  I don't have PULP CTHULHU, but this is what I was considering doing to make my players a more survivable, with the explanation being they are exceptionally physically competent as part of their backgrounds... veterans of the Great War, ex-cops, boxers in college, etc. I figure the main effect this will have in the game is the investigators will be less likely to die from some unlucky rolls in combat against minor threats like cultists, ghouls, etc.

 

I probably didn't explain myself very well, but my intention is to use the Pulp Cthulhu rules (mostly) as written. Playing through TTHS with vanilla CoC investigators does sound like an inevitable meat grinder!

 

I was actually more interested in suggestions on how to minimize some of the more over extravagant pulp elements (e.g., removing non-essential monsters and weird science) while avoiding a major plot overhaul. I realize it's a pretty tall order, but does that make any sense?



#5 GRWelsh

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Posted 06 September 2017 - 04:54 PM

I probably didn't explain myself very well, but my intention is to use the Pulp Cthulhu rules (mostly) as written. Playing through TTHS with vanilla CoC investigators does sound like an inevitable meat grinder!

 

I was actually more interested in suggestions on how to minimize some of the more over extravagant pulp elements (e.g., removing non-essential monsters and weird science) while avoiding a major plot overhaul. I realize it's a pretty tall order, but does that make any sense?

 

It does make sense.  And my understanding is that the PULP CTHULHU rules have a sliding scale of options ranging from slightly hardier investigators -- similar to what I described -- all the way up to near Superhero levels.  So, I was merely suggesting using the lower end of the scale.  As far as reducing the amount of pulp elements in TTHS goes -- sorry, I haven't read it yet, so I have no specific suggestions for that scenario.  I'm not sure what all is in there, but you may be able to replace some things that don't have a very Lovecraftian flavor with those that do.  There was some weird science in HPL stories, such as in "Cold Air" and "From Beyond." Non-essential monsters could always be replaced with cultists, ghouls, ghoul-variations, shoggoth-variations, etc.  So, there may be inspiration in the stories.

 

Every time I look at the cover of "The Two-Headed Serpent" I think of "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom"!  Which in turn gets me to think about "Gunga Din"!


Edited by GRWelsh, 06 September 2017 - 06:14 PM.


#6 nclarke

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Posted 07 September 2017 - 09:10 AM

Having run the first section of THS the pulpiest thing is found in the tomb and is a giant creature that can easily pulp the player characters. The Flame pistol is pulpy in style and effect but not really anything more than a case of Chekov's pistol leading to speculation about certain protagonists when one is located in their possession.



#7 The_Tatterdemalion_King

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Posted 07 September 2017 - 04:00 PM

Can you list the early elements (and their plot functions) you find too pulpy for your tastes? 


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#8 yronimoswhateley

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Posted 17 September 2017 - 07:06 PM

Exactly what Tatter asked - I'm not familiar with the scenario, but I am curious about the elements that aren't working for you and how they fit into the bigger picture.  A good explanation of what's not working and how those elements fit into the story might help spark some ideas....


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#9 SunlessNick

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Posted 14 October 2017 - 01:38 AM

Any suggestions for specific or overall tweaks?

 

I don't have anything useful to offer, but wanted to say I dearly love your avatar.







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