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GrahamW

Cthulhu Dark

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GrahamW

I'm delighted by this (although mildly aggrieved that he explained my rules more succintly than I did).

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lordingrey

Have I got it right that this system works for small groups of players or larger groups who split up?

 

Another way of saying some of the tension goes out of investigation rolls if there are several players helping at once.

 

Otherwise, say 4 or 5 players all "rolling together" at once will come up 5's and 6's lots on investigation rolls and those "extra good" outcomes will seem "less special".

 

Or perhaps one needs to limit helping (only so many people can usefully ask around for information in the bar at once really).

 

I admit to feeling that for investigative/roleplay scenarios that give some emphasis to screen time and dialogue that generally 3 is the best number of players.

 

Rob

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GBSteve

Tonight we played Cthulhu Stark, for those modern day conspiracy settings. Here are my rules changes with some comments on how things worked in practice.

 

There is a new rule for Cthulhu stark which involves the use of another die to be used to measure something. There is only one of these for the whole group, and not everyone is allowed to roll it. Only those who have clearance can do so. If it gets to 6, very bad things happen, to everyone. This dice can be used for some out of the ordinary things (such as having the software upgrade that makes your phone into a taser. Only one player was cleared at the start of the session and it was never made exactly clear what clearance means).

 

We will use the optional rule for character generation in which you can add an epithet to your occupation. For example a sporty journalist also gets the occupation die on athletic rolls. The epithet has to be fairly limited, no "Lucky" or "Ominpotent" and given this is Cthulhu Stark, there will be no argument when I arbitrarily limit things (We had Matronly, Sporty and Well-connected). You are still limited to three dice.

 

I might include a damage dice too. If you get hit in combat, you increase by the number rolled to hit you, to the maximum of that weapon, fist=1, knife=2, gun=3, BFG9000 =6. Armor reduces damage (to a minimum of 1), leathers=1, kevlar=3. (We didn't quite use this).

 

I'm also thinking about changing the availability of weirdness in some way but am still pondering how to do it. The weirdness came very thick and fast in the Gaslight game and in Stark, it needs to be a bit more measured to stay stark (I didn't change the rule but changed the emphasis, for example when interviewing an old man, the weirdness indicated to one character that she realised that she would be this old one day).

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GrahamW

Rob, in practice, it hasn't been a problem: we've played with seven players and they simply didn't cooperate that much. Certainly not all at once, for every roll.

 

But yes. If the players don't limit themselves, then limit them. If more than two players cooperate often, it'll get less fun.

 

Steve: we played! It was fun!

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Pickman

Played Cthulhu Dark at Concrete Cow this weekend and have to say was very impressed. Really enjoyed the scenario and the lite (Dark) rules worked well.

 

The scenario was an excellant. Graham I have to applaud you on that and for the first time in a long time I have been really shocked and made to feel uncomftable (which is a good thing) in a Cthulhu game.

 

Keep up the good work

 

Matt AKA Dr Dibden

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GrahamW

Thanks, Matt, I really appreciate that. The scenario turned very dark. (I ran it again in the evening and it went in a similar direction.)

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WiseWolf

What's the name of the scenario?

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GrahamW

It is called Screams of the Children. It's Gaslighty, set in 1851.

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WiseWolf

Oh! So it hasn't been published yet, right?

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GrahamW

Not yet! But soon.

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WiseWolf

Thanks, Graham. Any chances of you recording and uploading a session of CD to "see" how is it played?

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Tigger_MK4
Played Cthulhu Dark at Concrete Cow this weekend and have to say was very impressed. Really enjoyed the scenario and the lite (Dark) rules worked well.

The scenario was an excellant. Graham I have to applaud you on that and for the first time in a long time I have been really shocked and made to feel uncomftable (which is a good thing) in a Cthulhu game.

Keep up the good work

 

Matt AKA Dr Dibden

 

I agree entirely ; an excellent story & a fun session.

A definite genuinely creepy hit to the emotions that I've only really seen/felt a few times in ANY scenario in 30 years

(most recently when I read 'Reeling Midnight' for the first time, but not often before or since ..... sadly when I ran RM at MK I had to neuter the ending somewhat as we had an under 15 playing).

 

My only disappointment was we players got so into interacting with the characters, we could have done with a longer slot...but that was our fault -- otherwise, excellent all round.

 

For those who (like me) already have a number of Grahams scenarios, I think this was (IMO) the best yet.

Given the title is "The Screams of the Children" *, I think I can get away with saying it'll be likely more affecting on those gamers with young families (than gamers without such)....but either way, an excellent story.

 

 

Also, a big double thumbs up for Cthulhu Dark.

 

* A title I only found out halfway through the game. I think I startled Graham by signing up before he had even finished filling the ad out....your wicked and sinister reputation proceeds you Mr W....

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Braininajar

We had a couple of people bail on our weekly game last night. I'd been dying to try out my new Laundry Files RPG, but didn't want to spend the limited time we had with character Generation (we're not a terribly focused group at the best of times). We decided to run a randomly generated Laundry mission using the Cthulhu Dark rules. We had an excellent time with it. The game had a pulp tone, due I think to a lot of 6's in the skill rolls early on, but players picked up on the failure roll mechanic a it did a great job ramping up the tension. The final scene featured an PC OCCULOUS agent hanging on for dear life on the back of a Fiat, aiming a targeting laser at a rampaging, house sized tentacled horror. All while the little car sped down a country road evading the thing. And then a back seat passenger that had begun to sprout tiny tentacles all over his skin. Good times.

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GrahamW

That's wonderful. The Laundry with Cthulhu Dark. That makes me happy.

 

Cheers, Tigger, much appreciated.

 

WiseWolf, I would probably do that if I knew how. I might give it a go.

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AlHazred

Perhaps there's a solution for too tightly constrained occupations, for those who like some sort of "experience" mechanic. At the beginning all you have is your generic occupation: "librarian," "student of metaphysics," "doctor," "dilettante." After each session in which you survive, you get to pick up a hobby skill, but it's far more specific than any occupation: "truncheon-swinging," "Language: Portuguese," "Fifteenth-Century German mystics," and so on; there might or might not be constraints on your selections based on your stated actions during the scenario.

 

As stated in the RPG.net thread, I really think there's good overlap of Cthulhu Dark with the One-Page Dungeon concept. Some horror-genre scenarios already exist in the format: The Horror of Leatherbury House and Time for Tea spring to mind.

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Skyman

Played it today and it was fun. Rules were soo easy for everyone. It felt like a very stripped down Trail of Cthulhu. I let my group pick the era (1950s) and they alll collectively chose to be employed at the same high school (teachers and a guidance counselor). Simplicity of the rules was fun and yet made for great complications

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lordingrey

My group just finished an adventure we started in Trail of Cthulhu rules flipping over to Cthulhu Dark, and it worked great.

 

http://www.yog-sothoth.com/entries/1740-Wrapping-Up-Friends-of-Mickey-Finn-with-Cthulhu-Dark!

 

More focus on events and mystery and story. One player specifically said he preferred this to worrying about how much to spend on something etc.

 

No knock against Trail, it was a step forward from earlier in my view. But Cthulhu Dark reigns - we're pretty sure we will be using it from now on for Cthulhu gaming.

 

Thank you Graham

 

And I'm sorry the list of "checks" for blog entries doesn't have a "Cthulhu Dark" box

 

Rob

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GrahamW

This is great. I'm delighted. Do keep posting this sort of stuff.

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Taavi

Graham, I'm interested to know why you reversed the standard CoC insanity spiral by making it easier rather than harder to pass insanity tests as the investigator goes more insane (and I like the "destroying mythos knowledge" option a lot!).

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Skyman
Graham....I like the "destroying mythos knowledge" option a lot!.

During the game I ran I allowed drinking yourself into oblivion as an option, but I only allowed it once.

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zygomar
Graham, I'm interested to know why you reversed the standard CoC insanity spiral by making it easier rather than harder to pass insanity tests as the investigator goes more insane (and I like the "destroying mythos knowledge" option a lot!).

 

The character gets jaded. Figure Cpt Willard in Apocalypse Now. The real horror is that one gets accustomed to the horror. Hence "the horror".

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GrahamW
Graham, I'm interested to know why you reversed the standard CoC insanity spiral by making it easier rather than harder to pass insanity tests as the investigator goes more insane (and I like the "destroying mythos knowledge" option a lot!).

 

It's a good question. You'd expect it to be the other way round: when you go a little mad, it becomes easier to get even madder. It's a slippery slope. And, in fact, I could have done this easily: for Insanity rolls, you'd simply roll over your Insanity to succeed, rather than under.

 

But the way it works is really fun to play. At the beginning, everyone shoots up quickly to high Insanity. By halfway through the game, everyone will be on 4 or 5 Insanity.

 

Then, at the end of the game, everyone sits on the brink of total insanity. That is, they're on 5 Insanity. They succeed most Insanity rolls, but if they ever roll a 6, they're gone. It's really fun and tense.

 

(I also like Zygomar's "jaded" explanation. That's a good fictional reason. I'll go with that.)

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GrahamW
During the game I ran I allowed drinking yourself into oblivion as an option, but I only allowed it once.

 

This is nice. The general rule is: you can get your Insanity down, but you must screw yourself or the other Investigators over to do it. (Personally, I'd keep it focussed on destroying Mythos knowledge, but if you want to expand it, that's the rule of thumb.)

 

Interestingly, the rule as written causes problems in Delta Green-style games. The problem is that, in those sorts of games, destroying knowledge is part of the mission: you want to hide what's going on from others. So I need a new rule for these games. I'm not sure what. (I should start a new thread on it.)

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lordingrey

re the less slippery slope, I like it too, for the "lets get people at least half way nuts most of the time" factor.

 

in terms of drinking to lower insanity, yes it should be more than just drank myself into stupor - what then happened. In my game (on blog) for example, in a night of drinking the investigator burned that cursed book, the very valuable (in $ and game terms) Namless Cults. I explained that it would be something you could consult rolling red insanity die only to get clues etc.

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weenog42

I may convert to this. I was going to use the Over the Edge system, which is similarly a rules-lite d6 system (except for ranged combat, for no discernible reason), but I really like the sanity system proposed here. I like risking insanity to get an extra die, and I really like that once they start getting on the brink, the Investigators become their own worst enemy.

 

The changes I intend to make are:

 

Core Traits & Side Traits. Instead of a profession, characters have a Core Trait and Side Trait. Side traits add a die (as professions did). Core traits add a die as well, but also allow the reroll of a single die. [EDIT] Okay, this doesn't really work. A reroll is functionally the same as just adding a die, since you only count the highest anyway. Looking for a tweak that is smaller than adding a full die.

 

Bonus/Penalty system to adjust for circumstance. Putting this in the players hands makes them feel rewarded for clever tactics. A favorable circumstance allows the reroll of a single die. An unfavorable circumstance forces a reroll of the best die, and the result can not be better than the original roll.

 

Character Advancement. I'm playing a longer campaign in a more pulp style, so if they can survive, they should advance. I'm thinking that each completed chapter grants them one side trait, or upgrades a side trait to a core trait.

 

Magick. For this particular game, magick use is more or less required and expected, so I'm going to soften the sanity blow. Any spell will have an Insanity Rating. If your insanity rating is already higher than the spells's rating, then you consider it "within human possibility," and thus don't have to risk an insanity die (although you can if you want to give it some extra juice).

 

Combat. Might need some combat rules for combat with mortal foes.

 

Looking forward to any further thoughts, and I'll report on how it goes!

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