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DeadCat

Is it possible to persuade a cultist?

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DeadCat

Recently I had my players read through the Investigator's Handbook in hope that they get familiar with the basic rules and will be more devoted to the game.

 

Unfortunately, they found this sentence in Chapter 9: Advice for Players

 

Quote

Only roll dice when it is going to mean something important—such as trying to persuade the head cultist that you’re his long lost brother or, in the case of combat, where every roll could be a matter of life or death.

 

After that, they recall the sentence each time I tell them they are faced with some cultist and would always end up laughing. Certainly it ruined the tension and the horrific atmosphere.

 

So, is it intended by the rule to allow such strange behavior?

 

I myself find persuading some cultist during battle or confrontation really, really ridiculous.

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ReydeAmarillo

Yeah to my mind that sounds pretty daft too.

Does he even have a brother, how do you know that? 

And would he let family affection get in the way of worshiping his "god" anyway? 

Quite apart from, would he stop a conflict/combat to have a little chat with his enemies and get his family pictures out of his wallet? 

My advice is to put these sorts of questions to your Players and then write this off as a poor example. 

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DrMonster

Tut, tut.  In a game where every PC has an odd uncle or five who just happens to leave them a haunted piece of real estate, why wouldn’t random cultists turn out to be long lost relatives?  Photo sharing opportunities aside, discovering that you have extra blood relations available could prove useful to the completion of certain rituals.  (Cue sinister laughter.)

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GBSteve

Even better, he is the cultist's long lost brother, and so is also afflicted by the curse.

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rylehNC

The example seems to differentiate between attempting this con and combat. 

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andyl
8 hours ago, ReydeAmarillo said:

Yeah to my mind that sounds pretty daft too.

Does he even have a brother, how do you know that? 

And would he let family affection get in the way of worshiping his "god" anyway? 

Quite apart from, would he stop a conflict/combat to have a little chat with his enemies and get his family pictures out of his wallet? 

My advice is to put these sorts of questions to your Players and then write this off as a poor example. 

 

I don't think it is a poor example. Maybe a slightly different play experience to what you are used to though.

 

First the cult leader may have a brother or they may not. It doesn't really matter. The cult-leader's warped sense of the world (insanity) might mean that they think the PC is their brother (even if they do not have one) or they might consider it in a "all men are brothers", we are "brothers in the struggle" way.

 

The big question is what is the PC trying to achieve?  They are not going to be able to talk the cult-leader out of worshipping what they do. They might be able to gain some intelligence on the cult, or the leader, by approaching them and posing as family. They might even give themselves a chance of talking their way out of captivity - if captured by the cult (assuming they haven't resorted to guns and explosives).

 

In the original quote there is no link at all between the familial persuasion attempt and combat. They are two disjoint situations.

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yronimoswhateley

The point of the example is that you don't need to drag out the dice for EVERY situation, only those situations where something difficult, important, interesting, and/or exciting is about to be attempted - something with a significant chance of failure, something where both success and failure are interesting results.  It's kind of a normal disclaimer to make in role-playing games where skill rolls are involved:  can your investigator eat an ordinary bowl of soup under normal conditions without needing to pass an "eat food" or "constitution" roll?  YES, of course - leave the dice alone, no roll is needed, that's not the point behind skill rolls!  Can the investigator, an experienced pilot, safely land a plane, in a lightning storm, while drowsy on antipsychotic medications, and hallucinating face-eating tentacle-monsters hiding in the storm clouds?  Now, THAT can get difficult, interesting, exciting, and become an important part of a big scene of the story - let's break out those dice and see what happens!

 

And, yeah it's certainly possible to persuade cultists of pretty much anything you might reasonably persuade ordinary people of - if a player wants to persuade a cultist to believe or do something interesting or useful, something that seems to fit the genre and tone of the story, go ahead and roll with it.  You may very well wind up, for example, with a story in which the investigators discover that a cultist has a long-lost brother she has been looking for, and one of the investigators finds a very good reason to impersonate that long-lost brother - in which case, the success or failure of that Persuade roll could lead to some very interesting and important story developments! 

 

When it comes to cultists, I'd suggest thinking of them as ordinary people doing the best they can do to live with an extraordinary situation, or perhaps as failed investigators who would be the heroes of the mythos story if they could, but are instead just doing the best they can to survive it.  What would a normal person do in the cultist's situation, if faced with the results of the persuasion roll?  (It might not take very much effort at all to convince an ordinary "cultist" - an ordinary housewife being forced to cooperate with her husband, who has been possessed by an alien horror - that she doesn't want to cross the line of sacrificing an innocent person, if the investigators can convince her that they can protect her from the consequences of refusing to cooperate, and exorcise the alien horror from her husband and return everything to normal....  This sort of persuasion would probably make sense in many ordinary games of Call of Cthulhu, if the cultist has been given enough characterization to work with!)


 

Spoiler

 

Could an ordinary person be persuaded to think someone is his/her "long lost brother"?  Maybe not every cultist and maybe not easily, but then, ordinary people get persuaded to believe stranger things than that all the time.

 

One of my friends just found out this week that his brother got persuaded into thinking a random internet stranger was actually the Minister of Finance of Nigeria, and transferred his life-savings to the "Minister" in exchange for promises of looted Nigerian wealth instead - it's apparently a pretty common scam, and of course my friend's brother wound up bankrupt and homeless before the scammer had finished with him, and still the poor guy wanted to keep believing he'd "invested" wisely and the money will start pouring in any day now. 

 

Quite a few perfectly normal, sane, and intelligent people get taken in by con artists selling miracle cures for cancer or HIV, YouTube is full of seemingly normal people who have allowed conspiracy theorists to convince them that the Earth is flat. 

 

Charlie Manson, Jim Jones, David Koresh, Jack Chick, and Pat Robertson have all convinced their followers in crazier things than thinking their glorious leaders were long-lost relatives.

 

In my experience, there's lots of perfectly ordinary people who really want to believe in extraordinary things, and many of them find extraordinary things easier to believe than ordinary ones!  I once worked with a woman who told the single mothers we worked with that they needed to kill their pet cats because cats steal babies' breath... I laughed the whole thing off until I realized some of my coworkers were believing her, after some came to me to ask if it were true... when I realized how serious and sincere they were, I explained that the whole thing was a superstition, there's no scientific basis for it, and it's basically crazy-talk, their cats are perfectly safe, I grew up my entire life with cats and had never had my breath stolen, there's nothing to worry about.... Upon which the woman who made the claim told all those single mothers that I was a satanist in league with demonic cats who wanted babies' breath to be stolen, which I also laughed at until I realized a lot of people had suddenly stopped asking me anything and started avoiding me and the tone of the whole workplace had begun getting really hostile, with me on the unpopular side, and the crazy anti-cat-lady really whipping up a frenzy among her new anti-cat friends, some of whom had given their cats away, some of whom apparently abandoned their cats in my yard by night, and others who bragged about killing their cats "before it was too late". 

 

I've been told by cybersecurity experts that it's quite common for hackers to persuade people that the hacker is basically a "long lost brothers" (actually, unrecognized employees, or members of the police department or fire department or building security, etc.), as a usual and very effective way of breaking into a business's security - if a con man pretends to be an authority of some sort, people tend to obey orders without asking very many questions, and chances are good that your investigators may impersonate police officers or cult officials or other authorities at least once in their careers, if given a chance.  Your email spam filters are probably full of emails from people claiming to work for your bank or social media providers etc., demanding that you click on dubious links in the emails before it's too late - maybe you haven't fallen for a phishing scheme, but the reason the schemes are so popular is that ordinary people can be persuaded of some outrageous things pretty easily, and fall for scams frequently enough that billions of dollars annually are lost. 

 

It shouldn't be something that comes up in every game, but I bet that, given the right cultist and a very persuasive investigator con-man, the cultist could easily be tricked into believing the investigator is really a long-lost brother - it's not THAT big a leap from all the people who fall for crude Nigerian 419 scams, and a really talented con artist convincing a cultist - who probably became a cultist because he wants to believe in something - the con-man is a trusted long-lost relative!

 

 

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misterPockets
On 30/11/2018 at 13:02, rylehNC said:

The example seems to differentiate between attempting this con and combat. 

 

Yeah, the syntax is clear. I don't see how anyone could be confused by it.

 

I can't tell if the purpose of this topic is to ask if the rulebook is right or to ask what to do about your players laughing about it.

 

About your players:

Don't take it personally. If they're having a good time, let them laugh.

 

About actually doing that:

You're the GM. Only you know if it's possible to persuade a particular person to believe any particular thing. As a general rule, persuade takes time, effort, and possibly evidence. It's going to depend a lot on HOW they are trying to persuade someone. It's not a jedi mind trick--for something extreme, they need to be convinced. They might need just one persuade roll for something small, but something extreme might require evidence and multiple persuade rolls over a period of weeks.

 

I feel that cultists in particular would tend to be a bit on the unreasonable side. You might not succeed even if you are his long lost brother. You may not even be able to talk long enough to try to persuade him. It really depends on the situation.

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yronimoswhateley
9 hours ago, misterPockets said:

...I can't tell if the purpose of this topic is to ask if the rulebook is right or to ask what to do about your players laughing about it.

 

About your players:

Don't take it personally. If they're having a good time, let them laugh...

 

I hadn't even considered that aspect of it.  In my experience, it's normal for an RPG group to pick up on an in joke and have a good laugh at it, especially when things get serious.  At times like that, my first RPG group had a catch-phrase response when the laughing started:  "Hey - knock it off!  We're here to role-play, not have fun!"  :)

 

 

On 30/11/2018 at 05:39, DeadCat said:

...I myself find persuading some cultist during battle or confrontation really, really ridiculous.

 

Incidentally, I didn't see the line about battle before.

 

I think it would probably be rare for investigators to use social skills like Persuade in combat - it's generally understood with the groups I've been in that skills like Persuade are used between combat, for example to gather information (persuade a bystander to let you into a building or divulge some information, persuade a prisoner to reveal information during interrogation, persuade the librarian to let you see the Necronomicon without an appointment), or to defuse a situation before it turns into combat (persuade the night watchman that you belong on the property, persuade the police that you aren't breaking into the house, persuade the cultists that you aren't intruding on their cult compound and actually have business there), or something like that.

 

In combat, I could see it being used in situations like "stop  shooting - we're unarmed, we're coming out with our hands up!", or "stop shooting, we're on your side!", or "you might as well surrender before anyone gets hurt, the police are on the way, we can protect you!"  You'd still have to have some logical arguments to persuade the shooters with and all, and you'd have to take the cultists' motivations and personalities etc. into account (are they genuinely insane, bloodthirsty, murderous cultists whipped up into a frenzy by the enthusiasm of their cultish beliefs?  You would have a difficult time reaching them, but maybe a skilled psychologist or con-man could reach them, especially if they have a really persuasive argument.... If your "cultists" are not that enthusiastic about fighting or killing anyone, they ought to be easier to persuade to stop shooting.)  Whatever the case, the specific example of "long lost brother" would only really make sense if there's some logic and setup to it specific to that scenario:  if a long-lost brother had already been brought up in the story, and it's plausible that the cultist would expect to see that brother; it depends on the story.

 

Anyway, I'd think of "Persuade" and other such skills as something to normally be used outside of battle, and I'd consider use in combat on a case-by-case basis depending on how it's being used, what the characters are being persuaded of, whether it makes sense in context, who the characters being persuaded are, and what the situation is.  "Persuade" tends to be an appeal to reason... if things have deteriorated into battle, it's not likely that one or more of the combatants is going to feel reasonable, unless they think they are at a disadvantage!

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wcburns

It's a weird example for sure, but I think it depends on how detailed your cultist is.

 

This thread definitely gives some good basic motivations for why a person would entertain the idea of delving into the old gods. I'm working on a character, a cult leader, who is very much intent on revenge, on destruction of society as we know it. But they could be someone with initially benevolent intentions, say trying to resurrect a loved one, that goes to a an extreme conclusion. If it's something that supports their end goals, or goes against them, that should adjust how the skill roll goes.

Context of where and when should also be taken into account. If the cultist is in full robe, curvy dagger in hand on the cliffside over a sacrifice, they're probably not going to be persuaded one way or another, particularly if the sacrifice-ee is the one trying to persuade.

As others have said, you can simply say it's not possible, or allow the roll with a 01% chance of success. Perhaps they will deceive the player in thinking they were persuaded. 

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rylehNC
1 hour ago, yronimoswhateley said:

In combat, I could see it being used in situations like "stop  shooting - we're unarmed, we're coming out with our hands up!", or "stop shooting, we're on your side!", or "you might as well surrender before anyone gets hurt, the police are on the way, we can protect you!"  You'd still have to have some logical arguments to persuade the shooters with and all, and you'd have to take the cultists' motivations and personalities etc. into account (are they genuinely insane, bloodthirsty, murderous cultists whipped up into a frenzy by the enthusiasm of their cultish beliefs?  You would have a difficult time reaching them, but maybe a skilled psychologist or con-man could reach them, especially if they have a really persuasive argument.... If your "cultists" are not that enthusiastic about fighting or killing anyone, they ought to be easier to persuade to stop shooting.)  Whatever the case, the specific example of "long lost brother" would only really make sense if there's some logic and setup to it specific to that scenario:  if a long-lost brother had already been brought up in the story, and it's plausible that the cultist would expect to see that brother; it depends on the story.

 

Anyway, I'd think of "Persuade" and other such skills as something to normally be used outside of battle, and I'd consider use in combat on a case-by-case basis depending on how it's being used, what the characters are being persuaded of, whether it makes sense in context, who the characters being persuaded are, and what the situation is.  "Persuade" tends to be an appeal to reason... if things have deteriorated into battle, it's not likely that one or more of the combatants is going to feel reasonable, unless they think they are at a disadvantage!

 

 

Those examples for combat persuasion are good ideas. Regarding the brother, I guess a good enough Luck roll result might mean an attempt is possible.

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Gaffer

Hey, let them give it a try. Make them roll an extreme success. If they do, have the cultist respond:

 

"I always dreamed I'd catch up with you someday, you bastard!" OR

"Kill this one last!" OR

"I'll make your death an easy one." OR

"Come on, I'll take you to Mother. Bring your friends."

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misterPockets

Even a 01 luck roll and a 01 persuade is still not enough for something so unlikely and so unbelievable in my book.

 

However, after reading what @Gaffer said I have to agree (to an extent)--just once let one PC succeed. The cultist believes the PC is his long lost brother. Advance things to the point that the PC actually has to try convincing them that he's not the long lost brother. Have that roll be impossible because he actually is the long lost brother, and the PC takes some sanity loss when he finally realizes it. Start an entire sideplot off of that. It'll be so unexpected the players will freak out.

 

What if the cultist knew this all along and deliberately lured the group to get ahold of a close blood relative for something devious? Maybe it's like The Thing on the Doorstep; the cultist has some degenerative disease and he wants to swap bodies and leave the PC for dead.

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Prons
On 30/11/2018 at 05:39, DeadCat said:

After that, they recall the sentence each time I tell them they are faced with some cultist and would always end up laughing. Certainly it ruined the tension and the horrific atmosphere.

 

I myself find persuading some cultist during battle or confrontation really, really ridiculous.


I developed a little technique for situations like this that you may or may not find helpful. Basically, I don't want to rain on the player's parade by trying to tell them not to have a good laugh every now and then. So what I do is I laugh along with them, and when they've settled down a bit I "remind" them of what's going on with some descriptive language to start re-establishing the mood. 'So, anyway, you're in the old house, the floor feels like it could cave beneath your feet, and worse yet a man in a tattered robe is screaming bloody murder while charging you with a ceremonial dagger -- it doesn't look like he wants to negotiate' just as an example. My players learn to take that as a cue to focus.

As for persuading cultists during a confrontation... Well I say it depends on the cultist, the leverage the investigators have, and the leverage the cult has on said cultist. Or how much damage they've taken, if they're still sane enough to value their existence . Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face.

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Merudo

What about Intimidation? Is it at all possible to intimidate a cultist (or other mad person) into submitting to the PCs?

 

I'm usually at a loss on what to do if the PCs try to intimidate a cultist and roll well. My default position is to have nothing happen, which is unfortunately quite boring and unsatisfying for everyone.

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RogerBW

It depends on the cultist's psychology, but I'd think you might get one of:

  • an immediate attack (which might disrupt the ritual or other plans)
  • a cackling monologue about how you can't hope to prevail (ditto)
  • stepping forward a stage in the plans, because things suddenly feel uncertain and they want some reassurance

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Prons
1 hour ago, Merudo said:

What about Intimidation? Is it at all possible to intimidate a cultist (or other mad person) into submitting to the PCs?

 

I'm usually at a loss on what to do if the PCs try to intimidate a cultist and roll well. My default position is to have nothing happen, which is unfortunately quite boring and unsatisfying for everyone.


I handle intimidation like persuasion. My two reference points are the nature of the cultist and how the investigators are trying to intimidate them. Waving a gun around won't scare a SAN 0 cultist like it would a hired goon. Holding a lighter near the cultist's signed copy of Necronomicon might have the desired result... maybe. Also, a threat backed up with a display of force is better than just words.

If they're successful, you can play around with what happens next. A scared cultist might try to run, hurl themselves off a cliff, maybe even fling a spell.  Maybe the cultist surrenders and spills the beans but they lie. Or maybe the cultist tells the truth, but they are ignorant of what's really going on. Don't punish the investigators for succeeding, but let the success complicate things. 

 

My first group had a habit of capturing cultists but then forgetting to keep eyes on them, which lead to some unfortunate incidents. 

I hope my insane ramblings help some. Let us know what you end up trying!

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yronimoswhateley

Agreed completely, Prons - and "leverage" is exactly the word I was looking for, and applies just as much with the other social skills as it does with Persuasion!  (You can probably see the benefit of leverage especially well in "Intimidation", but every little bit also helps with "Charm" and "Fast Talk", not to mention with less obvious social skills like "Law", "Psychology", and "Disguise"....)

 

Cultists have become some of my favorite "monsters" in Call of Cthulhu, and these social skills are a fantastic opportunity for these characters to interact with the investigators in interesting ways.

 

It's certainly a valid option for your "cultists" to be nameless, faceless masked-and-robed goons waving daggers around and chanting, waiting for their final 5 minutes of fame dying in a hail of investigator gunfire moments before their ritual can be completed.  These sorts of "mooks" are a time-honored tradition in pulp literature, and a pulp-inspired RPG without them might be poorer for their absence.

 

Spoiler

But, as I've mentioned, I think of cultists now as ordinary people who've been caught up helplessly in a can't-beat-them-so-join-them situation in the face of the Mythos:  not everyone is as free to accept the reality of the Mythos, reject it as inevitable, and dedicate the rest of their life, health, and sanity as an investigator is... everyone is is either a hopeless victim, or a "cultist", and this kind of "cultist" can include well-meaning scientists who do not yet realize just how far in over their heads the discovery they are making is, family members dealing the best they can with a loved one who has been corrupted by the Mythos, citizens of a town held hostage by monsters, etc.  Add some variety to the basic cultist, and you get some powerful storytelling tools!

 

At the very least, cultists that investigators choose to talk to - even if it's a matter of Persuading them, are a great second chance for you to give the investigators that vital clue they missed earlier when they dynamited and thoroughly killed the Gazebo before they found that important diary hidden inside!  Keep track of those missed clues and lost opportunities, and think of ways that a "cultist" can offer them to investigators, willingly or unwillingly!

 

And, with that in mind, you might benefit from inventing a sort of informal "cult" structure for times when investigators use social skills like Persuade or Intimidate to ask questions first, and shoot later:

 

  • Do you have just one "cultist"?  When you create that character, treat the cultist like a failed investigator:  give the NPC a name, a unique physical description, a complex personality, a little history and motivation, some friends and family and loved ones, a career and a hobby or two, an endearing personality quirk as well as an annoying habit, some good character traits as well as a flaw or two.  Add a little back story about how this character, under the impression he's basically a good person who would do the right thing when it comes time for The Crunch, met the Mythos head-on, and failed horribly, leaving him in the unenviable position of trying to make peace with the Mythos as best as he can; include the psychological, emotional, and physical scars of that contact with the Mythos.  Think about the interesting and reasonable things this character might try to do if the investigators try to Interrogate, Persuade, Intimidate, Charm, or Fast Talk the character under various conditions and with different results, and make some notes about how the character handles that.  (If he gets killed before investigators ever get to know him, you can always re-use these details later for the next cultist!) 

    And remember:  there's nothing really stopping you from giving the occasional cultist a genuinely monstrous characterization, too - after all, in every group of people you meet, there's probably one or two with dark secrets:  little regard for the well-being of others, a selfish, sadistic or narcissistic streak, a sociopathic or psychopathic personality, a monstrous or appalling hobby or habit - not everyone is a closet psycho killer, not even every "evil cultist", but there are some genuinely awful people out there, and exposure to the Mythos will surely encourage and enhance that awfulness in suitably scary and horrific ways!  You are telling a horror story, and there's horror in seeing awful people freed to do horrific things, just as there is horror in seeing good people forced or reduced to doing horrible things just to survive....
     
  • Do you have a small party of "cultists"?  Most can probably be treated as faceless, nameless "mooks", but detail at least one or maybe two as described above - if the investigators capture, interrogate, persuade, etc. a cultist, that detailed character is the one!
     
  • Is the "cult" a larger organization - maybe an entire town with a town government, as in "The Shadow Over Innsmouth"?  Most will definitely be "mooks", but detail some important "cultists" - depending on the size of the organization:
    • the "cult leader", and her trusted second-in-command
    • an important low-ranking leader who doesn't necessarily agree with the leader but is trusted to lead a party of mooks and keep them alive long enough for their mission to succeed (i.e., the leader of the band of "cultists" that try to run the investigators out of town or kidnap them, or might get sent out to steal an artifact or something, or perform some other "first contact" situation for the investigators to meet the cult for the first time),
    • maybe one or two "cultists" with specialized odd jobs that might put them in direct - and rarely violent - contact with the investigators (in Innsmouth, these characters might include the general store clerk who doesn't stay in Innsmouth after dark and is happy to answer questions the investigators might have, the town drunk who is no threat to the investigators and will gladly reveal drunken secrets for a bottle of booze to drink himself to oblivion with....)
    • five detailed "cultists" in a large organization is surely plenty (any that don't get used in one adventure, can always be re-used later with a little editing), but if you have one or two for every dozen or so faceless mooks in a "cult", your investigators will have plenty of interesting characters to question, Persuade, Charm, etc.

 

 

And, we shouldn't forget that cultists can have leverage, too - things they can use to negotiate and haggle with the investigators.  "Sure, I'll let you go without sounding the alarm, but I don't care about my own safety - you'll have to get my wife and family out of here safely, and stop whatever it is our leader has planned!  You do that, and I'll help you!"  "Oh, you can try to intimidate me, but Nyarlathotep warned me you were coming, and told me a little something about you, something nobody else knows, something that scares you more than you scare me!"  (And maybe the investigator read something about Nyarlathotep in the Necronomicon, something the cultist doesn't know, which can strengthen the investigator's position....)  Cultist leverage is a great opportunity to add drama and horror to the story, and raise the stakes a little if things are going too easily.

 

 

Depending on the situation, your investigators may or may not be able to persuade a cultist that he's a "long lost brother" (it's not something that would fit every situation, and really seems unlikely to work in the middle of a gunfight!)

 

But, look at every reasonable attempt a player makes to have the investigators try to Persuade, Intimidate, Charm, or Fast Talk a cultist as a great opportunity for you to add something useful, important, or even priceless to the story, whether it's just another way for the investigators to gather an important clue, or an opportunity for the investigators to influence the story in a meaningful way, interact with the game world in a vivid and colourful way, enjoy the spotlight of role-playing an investigator dealing with human tragedy for a moment, and help develop one or more interesting characters (investigators or NPCs) in a satisfying and memorable way!

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Shuikkanen

I can't believe no-one has yet to mention that if you try to quickly convince someone by lying without any (fake) evidence, it calls for a Fast Talk roll, not persuade. Tsk Tsk. ;-)

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DrMonster

Bugs Bunny could do it (Fast Talk 297%)!

 

Cthulhu with Loony Toons characters, now there’s a truly scary thought.

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yronimoswhateley

Come to think of it, I've never thought of it before, but those Marvin the Martian shorts had at least a little bit to work with, in those strange, Daliesque alien cities of random towering platforms, and those instant martians (just add water!)  The weird, surreal gothic spoof "Hocus Pocus" might almost fit the mold, too, as well as parts of the shorts with Gossamer, the hairy red monster....  I bet that somewhere between Scooby Doo, The Real Ghostbusters, and Loony Toons, one could have made up quite a kid-friendly, cartoonish CoC setting, back when kids were still watching shows like those....

 

And it's tempting to think of ways of putting a Weird spin on something like "Bimbo's Initiation":
 

Spoiler

 

 

There was also Silly Symphony shorts like "Hell's Bells" and "The Skeleton Dance", which might have had an idea or two to work with.

 

You might also be able to make something of "Micky Mouse and the Haunted house", and "Micky Mouse and the Mad Doctor"....

 

 

"I am from the Mystic Order of the Cucaracha - wanna be a member, wanna be a member?"  Usually it's culstists doing all the persuading, why let them have all the fun?

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misterPockets
14 hours ago, Shuikkanen said:

I can't believe no-one has yet to mention that if you try to quickly convince someone by lying without any (fake) evidence, it calls for a Fast Talk roll, not persuade. Tsk Tsk. ;-)

 

Persuade isn't wrong. Despite the stigma, fast talk does not imply a lie or fake evidence, and persuade does not imply truth or real evidence.

 

The distinguishing trait of fast talk is that it causes the target to agree with you momentarily, but quickly return to their previous beliefs. Persuade causes them to adopt a new belief, and they'll have to be convinced otherwise to reject it afterwards.

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Shuikkanen

I meant that you needed evidence to persuade someone of such an outrageous claim, fake or not doesn't matter as long as you have something. Just bluffing your way without any cards definitely should call for a fast talk since the cultist is unlikely to listen to you at all if you don't sound convincing immediately. And obviously any evidence would be fake because... you know... they wouldn't be their brother...

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Danial

If met in a non-combat situation, I can’t see why they couldn’t be persuaded of something like anyone else. I would probably up the difficulty based on their POW or SAN, but otherwise, if the player wants to engage them, then why not? :)

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misterPockets
12 hours ago, Shuikkanen said:

I meant that you needed evidence to persuade someone of such an outrageous claim, fake or not doesn't matter as long as you have something. Just bluffing your way without any cards definitely should call for a fast talk since the cultist is unlikely to listen to you at all if you don't sound convincing immediately. And obviously any evidence would be fake because... you know... they wouldn't be their brother...

 

They're not the brother...says who?

 

Yeah, fast talk isn't wrong either. It just depends on what you're trying to achieve. I think the disconnect we're having here is that you're assuming a context: the PC arbitrarily selects some faceless fodder enemy in robes and claims to be their sibling for some momentary advantage. In that case I'd agree with you and go a lot further--I wouldn't allow a roll at all. People are in general aware of their immediate family, and you're right that some cultist picked out of a bunch is not likely to care about anything they have to say or be reasonable at all.

 

But the context isn't set. It's wide open! It only sounds outrageous because it's laid bare with no context; you could build a hefty plot spanning multiple sessions around that one line. There are reasons and occasions to use Persuade on a cultist--they aren't inherently faceless fodder enemies. The GM could create a specific cultist, maybe the head of the cult or an influential member whose backstory includes a long-lost sibling. Maybe they need them for something specific, and they're attempting to locate them. The PCs can learn about this, and a particular PC could attempt to pose as the long-lost sibling, or could in fact be the sibling.

 

It's cool to weave PC backstories into the plot sometimes, and there's a solid basis in Lovecraftian fiction for characters to discover unfortunate familial ties and suffer for them. Whatever you decide to do, just make sure the PC is suffering. I mean, I'm not trying to tell you what to do, it would just make me happy to hear that the PCs are suffering. 😁

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