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GrahamW

Cthulhu Dark

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Chad Out of Space
Just found this, and I have to say I'm absolutely in love with the rules. They preserve the essential character of CoC (an emphasis on investigation and problem-solving, coupled with the notion of dealing with slowly going insane), while excising the things I've never really liked (a simplistic pass-or-fail resolution mechanic and a clunky, almost superfluous combat system). I'm worried I'll never get a chance to run it for my group though, as they're a little too trigger-happy and a little too used to crunchier systems.

 

I'd encourage you to try it, even just for a one-shot. Most groups are up for anything as long as it's not a big campaign commitment. And my advice is to try out the if-you-fight-the-Mythos-you-die rules, rather than adding a Harm die. That will make the game feel vastly different from any other system, and shift the focus squarely on the story and the discovery. I really think playing this game, even every once in a while, can improve your perspective on other games.

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nkerklaan
I'd encourage you to try it, even just for a one-shot. Most groups are up for anything as long as it's not a big campaign commitment. And my advice is to try out the if-you-fight-the-Mythos-you-die rules, rather than adding a Harm die. That will make the game feel vastly different from any other system, and shift the focus squarely on the story and the discovery. I really think playing this game, even every once in a while, can improve your perspective on other games.

 

I definitely would still like to try it (and try it with the rules as-is); they're generally pretty down for trying different things, but I'm worried that at least a couple of them in particular will just out and out hate it and not have any fun that week, which is the last thing I want. I'll give it some thought. We're in the midst of a CoC mini-campaign of sorts, and after that we'll probably end up moving onto something else entirely. Maybe I'll keep Cthulhu Dark in my back pocket for the next time someone no-shows and we're forced to run a one-shot to fill time.

 

While I'm on the subject: the "suppressing Mythos knowledge" mechanic makes it seem, mechanically at least, that insanity in Cthulhu Dark is only ever caused by Mythos-related things. That is to say, if any suitably "disturbing" thing can increase insanity, regardless of whether it actually represents an increase in knowledge of the Mythos, then it doesn't really make sense that suppressing one's knowledge of the mythos would decrease insanity, since whatever caused said insanity isn't necessarily related to the Mythos. Am I interpreting that correctly, or just over-thinking things?

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Ccrotts

I discovered CD when I had friends over and they suddenly wanted me to run a game with no notice. CD is the way to play to play with no notice and that's how a lot of my games are.

 

- - - Updated - - -

 

I also think that the rules lend themselves more to a general gathering instead of a "game night" CD is a gateway drug for other more involved gaming.

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Laraqua

This sounds like it will make an interesting adventure to add to my one-shot game nights.

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Chad Out of Space

 

While I'm on the subject: the "suppressing Mythos knowledge" mechanic makes it seem, mechanically at least, that insanity in Cthulhu Dark is only ever caused by Mythos-related things. That is to say, if any suitably "disturbing" thing can increase insanity, regardless of whether it actually represents an increase in knowledge of the Mythos, then it doesn't really make sense that suppressing one's knowledge of the mythos would decrease insanity, since whatever caused said insanity isn't necessarily related to the Mythos. Am I interpreting that correctly, or just over-thinking things?

 

I like to use the standard that the game outlines, which is that if something disturbs your character, roll your insanity die. If the result exceeds your current Insanity level, the current level goes up by one, and you role play your fear.

 

I have taken this to mean that any disturbing event can trigger a roll. Seeing a dead body, finding out that the rescue radio doesn't work, or even a cold fog rolling in. I like to encourage players to volunteer to roll against their insanity for such things by asking: Do you think that would disturb (character name)? It has work really well for me. Some players like to play a character who is hardened and stoic in the face of weirdness. "Saw worse in the Great War," etc. That's totally fine. With Mythos or serious supernatural encounters, I don't ask. Usually by the time things get serious, my players have been more than happy to express their disturbance by rolling that die.

 

With suppressing Mythos, players won't generally have so many opportunities to reduce their insanity, because there's only so much you can do. It also tends to happen at the end of a game when events are chaotic and near conclusion. So I wouldn't worry about balancing disturbing events with opportunities to suppress.

 

During a recent interview, Graham mentioned that you get a sweet spot when you have players roll their insanity about ten times during a game. Mathematically, that means at least a couple of players will be teetering at a level of 5, and one might go completely mad.

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nkerklaan
I like to use the standard that the game outlines, which is that if something disturbs your character, roll your insanity die. If the result exceeds your current Insanity level, the current level goes up by one, and you role play your fear.

 

I have taken this to mean that any disturbing event can trigger a roll. Seeing a dead body, finding out that the rescue radio doesn't work, or even a cold fog rolling in. I like to encourage players to volunteer to roll against their insanity for such things by asking: Do you think that would disturb (character name)? It has work really well for me. Some players like to play a character who is hardened and stoic in the face of weirdness. "Saw worse in the Great War," etc. That's totally fine. With Mythos or serious supernatural encounters, I don't ask. Usually by the time things get serious, my players have been more than happy to express their disturbance by rolling that die.

 

With suppressing Mythos, players won't generally have so many opportunities to reduce their insanity, because there's only so much you can do. It also tends to happen at the end of a game when events are chaotic and near conclusion. So I wouldn't worry about balancing disturbing events with opportunities to suppress.

 

During a recent interview, Graham mentioned that you get a sweet spot when you have players roll their insanity about ten times during a game. Mathematically, that means at least a couple of players will be teetering at a level of 5, and one might go completely mad.

 

Ah, okay. That clarifies some things for me, thanks. I like the idea of having the players more involved in determining what should and shouldn't call for sanity rolls.

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GrahamW

Thanks for the nice words. I appreciate them.

 

Only one question: Which version is the most up-to-date?

 

Go with Cthulhu Dark.

 

Do you mind, Graham, if I include some of your clarifications (like the one about "be a dick" rule) and suggestions (such as "underlying insanity") to the PDF? The latter, of course, as a separate section, not as a part of the core rules.

 

No, but I'd encourage you to be selective. The "be a dick" clarification is important, I think, but I don't really like Underlying Insanity any more.

 

I definitely would still like to try it (and try it with the rules as-is); they're generally pretty down for trying different things, but I'm worried that at least a couple of them in particular will just out and out hate it and not have any fun that week, which is the last thing I want. I'll give it some thought. We're in the midst of a CoC mini-campaign of sorts, and after that we'll probably end up moving onto something else entirely. Maybe I'll keep Cthulhu Dark in my back pocket for the next time someone no-shows and we're forced to run a one-shot to fill time.

 

Definitely the way to go.

 

While I'm on the subject: the "suppressing Mythos knowledge" mechanic makes it seem, mechanically at least, that insanity in Cthulhu Dark is only ever caused by Mythos-related things. That is to say, if any suitably "disturbing" thing can increase insanity, regardless of whether it actually represents an increase in knowledge of the Mythos, then it doesn't really make sense that suppressing one's knowledge of the mythos would decrease insanity, since whatever caused said insanity isn't necessarily related to the Mythos. Am I interpreting that correctly, or just over-thinking things?

 

I like Chad's answer to this.

 

Cthulhu Dark basically assumes that everything disturbing is touched by the Mythos. That's usually true in a scenario. So, for example, when you find a body or the radio doesn't work, it's probably connected to the Mythos somehow.

 

Put another way: in a scenario, every body you find, every fright you have, every gunshot wound you suffer is tainted with the Mythos. It's enough to let you see through the cracks of reality a little bit.

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nkerklaan
Cthulhu Dark basically assumes that everything disturbing is touched by the Mythos. That's usually true in a scenario. So, for example, when you find a body or the radio doesn't work, it's probably connected to the Mythos somehow.

 

Put another way: in a scenario, every body you find, every fright you have, every gunshot wound you suffer is tainted with the Mythos. It's enough to let you see through the cracks of reality a little bit.

 

That makes sense. And at least with CoC, I've found that, in practice, sanity rolls for non-mythos things are few and far enough between anyway. Though that could just be me being a more forgiving Keeper than others, I don't know.

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Jonathan Strange
Combat: I like Greg Stolze's rules best. He runs combats simply as contested rolls. Simple monsters go down on the first hit. Other monsters take two or three hits.

Originally Posted by Jonathan Strange

And PCs with 6 hits, is that?

 

I'm not sure! (Greg is a bit vague about it too.)

 

Glad to write that I've tested as contested rolls and it really works. For the number of hits we used the Toughness stat from Arkham Horror. This is the conversion rule: Divide the CoC HP by six (rounding up). For Investigators this implies 2-3 hits (purist) but, à la Arkham Horror again, I gave them 5-6 hits (pulpier). Mythos Gods and Titans follow the run-or-die rule. No Harm Die needed; we solved health-risking actions this way.

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trevlix

I forgot to post this - I wrote a Cthulhu Dark scenario for an RPGGeek contest and won! :) The scenario, A Midsummer Night's Haunting, is available here.

 

Thanks to Graham for making such a simple and great system, that is extremely easy to hack.

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Chad Out of Space
I forgot to post this - I wrote a Cthulhu Dark scenario for an RPGGeek contest and won! :) The scenario, A Midsummer Night's Haunting, is available here.

 

Thanks to Graham for making such a simple and great system, that is extremely easy to hack.

 

Nicely done, congratulations!

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Skyman
I forgot to post this - I wrote a Cthulhu Dark scenario for an RPGGeek contest and won! :) The scenario, A Midsummer Night's Haunting, is available here.

 

Thanks to Graham for making such a simple and great system, that is extremely easy to hack.

 

Congrats!

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trevlix

Thanks. But the congrats should go to graham - without CD I would not have been able to write what I wanted to. Not that I couldn't have done it in Call of Cthulhu, but I purposely was looking for something outside of my comfort level as a challenge. CD worked quite nicely. :)

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GrahamW

That is fantastic! Congratulations! I like the possession die.

 

Someday, I must write that article I keep planning in my head about hacking Cthulhu Dark.

 

For the uninitiated: I really like people using Cthulhu Dark for their games. I like people to contact me first, but I almost always say yes, and let people use it for free. (If you're a company, then we might need to talk about licensing, but if it's just you, then it'll probably be free.)

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NeferSutekh
I forgot to post this - I wrote a Cthulhu Dark scenario for an RPGGeek contest and won! :) The scenario, A Midsummer Night's Haunting, is available here.

 

Thanks to Graham for making such a simple and great system, that is extremely easy to hack.

 

Excellent. Thank you for posting this.

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MrJupiter

CTHULHU DARK is an ideal rules-lite horror system. For purely Cthulhu uses I'd stick with players needing to run from mid-level to major beasties, however, for other horror games (along the lines of CHILL), I was wondering about giving monsters varying dice. Something like a zombie from Night Of The Living Dead, I was thinking that their individual die type could be a 4-sider. The odds of a player beating a contested roll with one of them would be better than a cultist (they are very slow and stiff). However, two of these creatures together would be worth a d6 rating, and a swarm could be worth a d8 (treating results of 7 and 8 as a 6).

 

Greater monsters, say a bog-monster (whatever that might be) would have a d8 challenge rating. Something really big and nasty could even have a d10 or d12 to roll with, and the player's odds of beating these are really slim.

 

Does this seem like something worth exploring?

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Narmer

I think giving monsters a die is a good idea. I like the idea that a ghoul/cultist/zombie can be fought by the investigators.

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MrJupiter

It might be interesting to have roll results of 7-8 equal two damage and results of 9-10 equal three points of damage. Tussling with 'monsters' would be very dangerous if they have higher dice values to use during contested rolls.

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