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bitweever
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Trail of Cthulhu

Mon Aug 18, 2008 12:58 am

I know the visceral and outright reaction that anything "new" has on this group, so I only present this as a curiosity, not a suggestion.

I was reading about this year's ENies award winners from GenCon, and I stumbled across a new system and book that seemed interesting.

Pelgrane Press has released, in their GUMSHOE system (a system specifically designed for investigative or research-based games), a new licensed version of "Call of Cthulhu" called Trail of Cthulhu. This version takes place in the 1930's, and can be ran either with a "traditional" or "pulp" feel to it (there's rules for both). It is primarily focused on research and moving the story forward, not on combat (although, of course, it does contain those elements). It seems the follow-up will be called Shadows over Filmland, and is based on the monsters and themes of Golden-Age Hollywood. The art for it looks really cool as well (see the previous link for a sample).
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Wolfgod
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Mon Aug 18, 2008 7:33 am

Ahhh, new stuff!

That actually sounds pretty cool.
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KnightFall
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Mon Aug 18, 2008 8:25 am

When did Cthulhu become new? He's an Old One!
It suddenly occurred to me just how absurd this scene was: a guy wearing a suit of armor, standing next to an undead king, both hunched over the controls of a classic arcade game.
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bitweever
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Mon Aug 18, 2008 5:08 pm

One of the good things about minor publishers is that they sell PDF's of their material. The ToC game is $20.95 for the PDF. We could easily split that if we really wanted it. I don't think there's any copy protection on their PDF's, but if we wanted to share it more "legally", they have a game group bundle with 1 ToC and 3 Player's Guides (a subset of the ToC rulebook) for $30.95. Cool stuff.

http://www.profantasy.com/pelgrane/default.asp

Not that I'm suggesting we try anything new.
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Wolfgod
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Tue Aug 19, 2008 6:21 am

That looks like a pretty good deal.

My only question would be why would we move away from CoC? It seems like a fine system.

That Greg, always suggesting newfangled things.
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bitweever
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Tue Aug 19, 2008 9:20 am

From what I read, the Chaosum system is highly deadly, and easy to lose sanity. The d20 seems... not so much. d20 seems better off for firing guns and killing stuff. It still feels really heroic.

You've played both, what do you think?
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Wolfgod
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Tue Aug 19, 2008 9:42 am

Oh, I've played Chaosium before. It's way more deadly than D20, but more complex in some ways, too.
- "Don't assume you are safe because there is a rational explanation for all of this."

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bitweever
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Tue Aug 19, 2008 11:21 am

Do you think d20 somewhat takes the terror out of Cthulhu by making it less deadly?
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Wolfgod
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Tue Aug 19, 2008 1:19 pm

I would suggest our style of gameplay makes Cthulhu less deadly. We tend to play Cthulhu more like it's a fantasy game - we as players tend to expect certain 'heroic' consequences for certain actions (like, OK, it's a Zombie, but I've seen zombies before, why do I lose sanity?) instead of assuming the worst (I'm a normal guy, I've already seen one Zombie, now there's MORE?).

I've played Chaosium Cthulhu with another group of guys (Rick and Eddie from TD) and it's scary as heck - but it's made clear from the beginning that you could die or go insane at any moment, so get ready to make a new character. I don't think that's exclusive to the system - I recall Nick and I dying rather rapidly aboard a cruise liner one night after a couple of failed saves. ;)
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Consigliere
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Tue Aug 19, 2008 1:21 pm

Chaosium! That's where my cat will go in a few years. Ha ha! A girl has infiltrated your discussion!
"Sometimes the appropriate response to reality is to go insane."
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bitweever
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Tue Aug 19, 2008 1:51 pm

Welcome, Tammy. When I saw you had the most recent post, I eagerly awaited your input on the mechanics of the d20 system. Not that a cat joke is any less entertaining, tho.

I raise you an adorable Boston Terrier picture.
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Edelred
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Tue Aug 19, 2008 5:21 pm

I think CoC can be scary. I think the problem with us is that the GM doesn't make it scary enough. We hardly ever make sanity checks and we hardly run into nasty, disgusting, terrifying stuff.
"I beat Dungeons & Dragons....and it was Advanced!" - Pierce Hawthorne
 
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bitweever
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Tue Aug 19, 2008 9:05 pm

But here's my issues:
1) The sanity rules are set up in such a way that even when you do take sanity hits, it's 1-6 points at a time. You usally have to take in the neighborhood of 15 pts within an hour for a temporary insanity effect, or completely drain your pool for a permanent insanity effect.
2) Skill checks are pass-fail. I suppose there could be a DC where you know what the monster is with a 15, how to beat it with a 20, and its home address with a 25, but we usually don't do that. We let someone roll something really high, and then the story moves on. It's not about what is revealed, its more just pointing to who revealed it. GUMSHOE promises that the investigators will find the clue (eventually), but what differs is how and what it means.

d20 is mostly designed for hacking and slashing through monsters, kicking down doors and grabbing treasure, not for investigation, running for your life, and trying to get out alive.
The thermal exhaust port of your Death Star™ plays a critical role in the dissipation of excess waste heat produced by the Death Star's energy reactors. Under no circumstances is the thermal exhaust port to be covered, obstructed or modified in any way.
 
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Wolfgod
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Wed Aug 20, 2008 7:58 am

Investigation, running for my life, and trying to get out alive is what I do in real life. RPG's are supposed to be escapist entertainment! :)

Be careful with the adorable dog pictures. I nearly lost sanity.

I think D20 could use more nastier sanity checks. ;)
- "Don't assume you are safe because there is a rational explanation for all of this."

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