A House Rule for The Call of Cthulhu

I was listening to The Miscatonic University Podcast today and a throw away comment gave me some blog material, in the form of a house rule. In The Call of Cthulhu you have almost no control over advancing your character. While this is a great curb to power gaming, it does mean that a professor of linguistics who doesn’t get a chance to use his academic skills during the adventure will not get better at his chosen profession. So I thought of this as a house rule:

After each adventure, a character can choose one of their profession skills to gain a free checkmark in, that they may attempt to raise as if they had successfully used the skill during the adventure.

This represents the fact they have been working at their chosen career when not on camera, and means that the player has some direction over their advancement, if not much. Now, I’d extend this further, and allow the player to pick any skill they’ve consistently worked on outside of the adventure. I was thinking of this as a replacement for things such as the Gun Club rules in H. P. Lovecraft’s Arkham: Unveiling the Legend-Haunted City. It would be easy to replace them with “If you are a member of the gun club, and attend regularly, you may check a skill related to a weapon you have been practising with after any adventure, as if you had succeeded on an attack roll with it during the adventure”. This could either be in addition to the profession skill, or as an alternative. I’m sure you can think of other ways the player could raise their skill through out of game practice.

One thing I do is give the players a few months between adventures to recover and work on their own goals. This would work as a great addition to that: each month they can check one skill or go into therapy, or study tomes, etc.

I hope you have fun with this, and I’ll try to get back into doing weekly posts. Until next time, stay geeky


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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. House rules are the norm, or so I thought. Years ago I had a DM in D&D who used to do something similiar, every level 1 Magic User automatically had Read & Write Magic without costing spell units, his thinking that obviously as a MU you had to be able to do those things to be turned loose on your own. Haven’t played version 3 or 4 so perhaps this has been fixed, I don’t know.

    • They are quite common, but I wouldn’t say the norm; As games have gotten more complicated mucking with them without destroying them has gotten quite a bit harder. That is one reason I like CoC, as its math is really open and easy to understand.

  2. I like that idea. I wonder if 7th Edition will make something like that as a rule.

    • That would be cool, though I get the sense that they are going in a very different direction then 6e, though to be honest I’ve not been following the Kickstarter, as I’m a bit tapped out.

  3. […] A House Rule for The Call of Cthulhu from Ruminations of a Canadian Geek ” RPG […]

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