My weekly online game was cancelled again due to real life issues but a couple of us still got together for a chat and it was pretty interesting seeing the differences in play style and how to run a game.
What came out if the fairly long chat was I was basically the only one who still preferred Sixth edition whilst the others much preferred the newer Seventh and Pulp editions. The discussion about the editions was fairly interesting as it revealed a HUGE difference between us which was a little shocking considering how long we have gamed together (It wasn't a complete surprise though as whilst I had played in some 7th edition games I had dropped out of a lot as well for a variety of reasons*) for me it all boiled down to the feel of the game as opposed to any bad rules/mechanics I felt that the newer version was more Heroic in play style as the Players had more tools available to mitigate against failure be it trying to find a clue to avoiding death and damage and that combat was more front and center with the catch all Brawl replacing the previous versions multiple hand to hand options.
Now this sounds great and it really is but I feel its not really Lovecraftian for me the beauty of Call of Cthulhu is that the Investigators are normal people doing normal jobs but who have become involved in an extraordinary situation they don't have special gifts like Talents or the ability to adjust things with Luck spends they are not heroes at the start but become heroes by facing the Mythos sacrificing everything to fight this uncaring evil because if they don't no one else will.
It was also interesting to me seeing how the others disliked character deaths so much and how most of them seemed to feel that they needed to as Keepers to wiggle things to avoid any Investigator deaths occurring too early in the game even if a Player had done something a little daft. Whilst I felt that if the story gave you a way to help as a Keeper for example having a passerby with First Aid at base being nearby then fine but otherwise the Investigator meets their fate. They on the other hand saw Investigators deaths as ending stories instead of being becoming a story and forcing Players to miss the rest of a session which I admit is an issue but Players should really be prepared for this by at least having an idea about another character if not a spare character already ready to go so the delay shouldn't be that long.
I like Cthulhu for the very fact that you as a Player are not guaranteed to win and that the odds are stacked against you and all you can really do is delay the end there are no real happy endings and just because you are playing a driving character it doesn't mean you are automatically better than any of N.P.C's you meet which makes any minor victory really worth all the sacrifice and effort roleplayed through as opposed to an auto win because your character is the hero and for me that's where a lot of the horror feel of the setting comes from. We all like Cthulhu obviously but it seems I like it a lot darker and bleaker than them how about you?
* Never play the Derelict as the books main suggested option go for the salvage crew one instead as it makes a lot more sense and in my opinion is a lot less silly.