Words from the Keeper – Game Mechanics.   Posted by Keeper of Dark Secrets.Group: 0
Keeper of Dark Secrets
 GM, 11 posts
 Think of me as a friend.
Fri 25 Oct 2019
at 14:51
Words from the Keeper – Game Mechanics
I don't expect that everyone has access to the Call of Cthulhu rulebook. Here's a summary of what occurs to me as being important.

Roleplaying games can be confusing. Each system (and often each edition) has different terms and rules. In my games the basic rule is: “Tell me what your character wants to do and I’ll tell you what to roll.” Here I’m going to try to explain some of the basics. Luckily, Call of Cthulhu is basically a pretty simple game.

Rolling for Success
Everything you want to do is resolved by a D100/percentile roll and compared to a Skill or Characteristic. If you roll over the Skill or Characteristic level, you have failed.

Sometimes a difficulty level will be applied, and you’ll roll against the Hard (one-half) or Extreme (one-fifth) level of the Skill or Characteristic, as noted on your character sheet.

Critical Success/Fumble
A roll of 01 (unless the Skill level is 01% - House Rule) is ALWAYS a critical success and will result in greater than simply succeeding. In combat, it automatically inflicts maximum damage. The Keeper will determine what effects the crit success has.

If the success chance is under 50, a roll of 96-100 is always a fumble. If the success chance is over 50, a fumble only occurs on a 100. Not only does it not succeed, but something worse happens at the Keeper’s discretion.
[Edited for correctness]

Pushing a Roll
In 7th Edition CoC you can push a roll. This basically means that you re-roll a failure against the same skill chance. BUT if you fail the pushed roll, something much worse than simply failing will result. In this game of ours, if you fail your first roll and want to push it, I want you to narrate what your character does to exert a greater effort and re-roll. If you can’t think of some realistic way to realistically improve the character’s effort, you cannot push the roll. If the pushed roll fails, post it up and I’ll narrate the result.

Player: Lilybeth gets out her lockpicks and tries to open the lock.
regular roll fails
Player: The lock is really resistant so Lilybeth twists as hard as she can.
pushed roll fails
Keeper: The pick snaps off in the lock, hopelessly jamming it.

Note that you cannot push the roll again, nor can you spend Luck to modify a pushed roll that fails.

Spending Luck
7th ed also introduces the option of spending Luck points to turn a failure into a success. Just spend the Luck and narrate the success. Of course, your Luck is now (and permanently within the confines of the scenario) reduced by the amount spent. You can spend it until it's gone. (No Luck regeneration in this scenario.)

Player: Lilybeth gets out her lockpicks and tries to open the lock.
regular roll fails
[OOC Player: I’ll spend 13 Luck to make it succeed.
Player: The lock opens easily.

Note that you cannot spend Luck points on Luck rolls, damage rolls, Sanity rolls, or rolls to determine the amount of Sanity lost. You may only spend Luck to alter your own dice rolls. Luck points may not be spent to alter the result of a pushed roll.
Luck CAN be spent to improve a roll to a critical success. Fumbles and firearm malfunctions always apply and cannot be bought off with Luck points.

Bonus Dice and Penalty Dice
When the Keeper assigns your roll a bonus die, roll 3D100 instead of the normal two and take the best result.
When the Keeper assigns your roll a penalty die, roll 3D100 instead of the normal two and take the worst result.
This will probably be a rare occurrence as I’m not a fan of this mechanic, but we’ll give it a try.

Charm, Fast Talk, Intimidate, and Persuade Skills
I generally don’t consider these skills binding on other player characters. However, if successful, the target PC is encouraged to “play along” with the result.

This is not a therapeutic skill. It’s a perception skill that allows the user to study an individual and form an idea of another person’s motives and character.

You can post questions in this thread.

As questions come up or I remember things, I will edit this message.

This message was last edited by the GM at 03:58, Thu 14 Nov 2019.

Keeper of Dark Secrets
 GM, 145 posts
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Sat 14 Dec 2019
at 15:08
Words from the Keeper – Game Mechanics
Here's a concept I think is important. It certainly is in my games.

When something the Keeper describes leads you to a conclusion within your character's sphere of experience and/or knowledge (even if the Keeper offers an Idea or Know roll as I just did), your investigator can advance their own ideas about it and propose a course of action.

I mean your post isn't limited to the roll. The characters can and should theorize and propose ideas, so long as they aren't metaknowledge based.
Keeper of Dark Secrets
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Tue 24 Dec 2019
at 05:23
Words from the Keeper – Game Mechanics
I feel like we're largely missing out on an important aspect of role-playing.

A lot of the fun in these games IMO comes with interplay among the characters. Responding to the Keepers words and to the description of the setting is great, but you can (should?) also be interacting with and responding to each others words and posts. That's what makes for playing your role.
Keeper of Dark Secrets
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Wed 22 Jan 2020
at 20:10
Words from the Keeper – Game Mechanics
This seems like a good place to discuss some of the mechanics of Insanity in Call of Cthulhu.

Francois Arouet has experienced a destabilizing shock. As a result of his die rolls, he has lost 6 Sanity points and gone temporarily insane.

This is an abridged version of what the rules say about Temporary Insanity:

If an investigator loses 5 or more Sanity points as the result of one Sanity roll, sufficient emotional trauma has been suffered that the Keeper must test the investigator’s sanity. The Keeper asks for an Intelligence (INT) roll. If the roll is failed, the investigator has repressed the memory (a trick the mind uses to protect itself), and does not become insane. Perversely, if the INT roll succeeds, the investigator recognizes the full significance of what has been seen or experienced and goes temporarily insane. The effects of temporary insanity begin immediately and last for 1D10 hours.

On becoming insane, the investigator experiences a bout of madness. While experiencing a bout of madness, the investigator loses all self-control. In game terms this means that control of the investigator is handed from the player to the Keeper. If the bout of madness happens away from the company of other investigators the Keeper can simply fast-forward the action and describe the outcome. The Keeper may describe the crazy things that the investigator has done, or simply say where the investigator finds him or herself when the bout of madness comes to an end. In this way the investigator may be lost in madness and thus not under the player’s control for minutes or hours (typically 1D10 hours, or as the Keeper judges appropriate).

To determine the nature of the bout of madness, the Keeper may choose an appropriate option or roll on Table VII: Bouts of Madness—Real Time:
1) Amnesia: The investigator has no memory of events that have taken place since they were last in a place of safety.
2) Psychosomatic disability: The investigator suffers psychosomatic blindness, deafness, or loss of the use of a limb or limbs.
3) Violence: A red mist descends on the investigator and they explode in a spree of uncontrolled violence and destruction directed at their surroundings, allies or foes alike.
4) Paranoia: The investigator suffers severe paranoia; everyone is out to get them; no one can be trusted; they are being spied on; someone has betrayed them; what they are seeing is a trick.
5) Significant Person: The investigator mistakes another person in the scene for their Significant Person. Consider the nature of the relationship; the investigator acts upon it..
6) Faint: The investigator faints.
7) Flee in panic: The investigator is compelled to get as far away as possible by whatever means are available, even if it means taking the only vehicle and leaving everyone else behind.
8) Physical hysterics or emotional outburst: The investigator is incapacitated from laughing, crying, screaming, etc.
9) Phobia: Investigator gains a new phobia. Even if the source of the phobia is not present, the investigator imagines it is there.
10) Mania: The investigator gains a new mania. The investigator seeks to indulge in their new mania.

Most of the outcomes require the investigator to leave the place where the onset of insanity occurs. If the insane investigator is confronted by another investigator before their bout of madness is over, the Keeper should hand control of the investigator back to the player at that moment and allow the players to roleplay the scene. This may mean that the intended outcome is cut short. Alternatively, the investigator will recover after a good night’s sleep in a safe place. If the investigators are in a state of heightened tension (for example, standing watch at night due to fear of imminent attack), the Keeper may deem that sanity cannot be recovered.

If the bout of madness happens during a scene in which other investigators are present, the bout of madness lasts for 1D10 combat rounds (note that this is not the full duration of the state of insanity—which is 1D10 hours for temporary insanity or longer for indefinite insanity).

In Arouet's case (and since his plaeyer has resigned, leaving him as an NPC), I decided that his bout of madness took the form of Flee in Panic to return to a previously safe place, the Cottage. His temporary insanity will be a Psychosomatic Disability: He has forgotten the use of English and will only communicate in French.
Keeper of Dark Secrets
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Thu 6 Feb 2020
at 13:08
Words from the Keeper – Game Mechanics
I dislike games in which combat brings momentum and pace to a screeching halt with lots of talk and many die rolls and tactical discussion and (almost inevitably) rules-lawyering. I think combat should move quickly, recognizing that nothing really "moves quickly" in PbP, but trying to resolve things without taking weeks in RT.

Before 7th edition, combat in CoC was pretty straightforward. For my convention events I made it even simpler, eliminating pretty much all back-and-forth discussions once combat was joined. I've used the same methods in my Rpol games.

I'm going to mostly continue this practice.

To begin with, I rarely use Initiative. I just go around the table for the players and then roll for the opponents. Here, when we have multiple participants, I'll let everyone post their actions and resolve them as seems proper.
Player characters will generally get the breaks.

Because of the lighting conditions and the moving target, 7th ed would have me assign Greg a "penalty die" and roll two dice for the tens position in his percentile, taking the higher. In some situations a "bonus die" is added to reflect higher chance of success by using the lower of the two. We won't do either. Instead, I'll rule in some cases that a hard or extreme success is necessary to hit the target.

In hand-to-hand combat, 7e gets really crunchy (to my way of thinking) with Player-Keeper dialogue about Dodging and Fighting Back and Maneuvers, as well as considerations for SIZE and Build. I'll handle that with Keeper decision-making, too.

If you want to Dodge rather than attack in combat, say so up front and we'll give it a roll. If you succeed, your opponent will miss unless they roll an extreme success.

Bottom line, this isn't going to be RAW 7th edition Call of Cthulhu.
Keeper of Dark Secrets
 GM, 257 posts
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Thu 6 Feb 2020
at 13:16
Words from the Keeper – Game Mechanics
The .45 caliber revolver does D10+2 damage. It can be fired once per round.

The .32 caliber revolver does D8. It can be fired up to three times per round.

When you roll a success with these weapons, go ahead and roll the damage. If you hit with an extreme success, the damage is doubled.