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

–Canageek

Modifications to my CoC/BRP game

So my in person games are going pretty well, people keep asking me when the next session is going to be which I take to be a sign everyone is enjoying themselves. However I’m a bit tired of it. I don’t know why, and this might get better when I get the books I left in Montreal back, since they update things in ways that I like and have adventures I can hopefully use. [Update since this was written: I’m intrested in the game again, see next post]

Anyway I’m looking for ways to keep the game fresh: One player has also expressed interest in actually using mythos spells & I am going to be introducing more spells into the game  to increase the temptation (Hand picked to give one character more of the voodoo powers his character wants to make it harder to resist)

I think it might be I’m just not a great horror DM. I’ve now run about 10 short adventures for a variety of players and so far I have killed 0
characters. In Call of Cthuhlhu. My players just have too much fun with complex plans, and gripping onto the side of racing cars and such, and well they have fun, and I have fun so why stop? [See next post]

The rules system is also working pretty well: Character generation is fast, though not as fast as pure CoC since we have to look up a couple
of things, and since we have new characters regularly (new players joining or existing players playing in 2 adventures at the same time)
and the rules are light enough a lot of non-geeks (or mild geeks) I know are willing to play.

I’m thinking of changing things to match the two-fisted style though as I know at least one player has complained about it being too lethal (He seems to think characters should never die though, whereas I like how lethal it is as a change from D&D).

I’m thinking of using the optional rule that PC’s get Con+Size HP instead of the average of Con+Size. This should make characters a bit more durable, but it might make them a bit TOO durable, so I think I will leave it for now. If we start having complaints about it I can add this in latter right?

I was also thinking of giving each character +1HP after each adventure so that experienced characters have a slightly better chance of surviving then newer characters. The most experienced character is on it’s 4th adventure, but in this system +4 HP is a pretty decent amount.

Also so that characters grow & change a bit more I’m going to use the BRP advancement rules (Your int gives you a bonus to raise a skill and you add +1d6 vs +1d10, so more skills will go up but they will each go up less. It is also easier to grow new skills)

I’m also going to make skills up to 50% cost one point, up to 75% cost 2 points/% and over 75% is 3 points/% instead of the normal flat 1 point per %. This should encourage more diverse characters. Existing characters will be grandfathered in due to the work and time of redoing every character (and it doesn’t change total number of points, just distribution)

So: Proposed rules changes:

+1HP for each adventure survived

BRP skill advancement (Really just part of moving to the BRP system)

Keep Sanity & Education

Added costs for new character boosting skills above professional level (To discourage characters starting with 99% in one skill as I’ve had a
couple of times)

Personal goals:
Give out more magic! I’m going to go and add more spells to adventures to increase the temptation to use them. I’m also going to drop more hints about what they do: I wanted it to be scary & evil so I labeled “Summon/Bind Dimensional Shambler” as “Summon/Bind Dark Angel of Glory” or some such.

Well that is my slightly rambly State of the Game post. The day after I wrote it I was struck with inspiration (Ok, so I read a book that filled me with ideas) so keep an eye out for the sequel to this post. Bonus point to anyone who can guess what author the book I read was by. Hint: The author was a contemporary to Lovecraft, had the Necronomicon in it.I don’t have any prizes, but consider it a challenge.

Until next time, Stay Geeky
–Canageek