Well, I picked this up during Christmas in July and am finally getting around to rant about. OH boy! Wow! Cool. Yeah, I like it. Now let me talk about a few reasons why.
Eldritch Tales: Lovecraftian White Box Role-Playing is as advertised. It takes the well known White Box mechanics and puts them into the setting of Lovecraftian horror. If you’re used to all the core mechanics of D&D then you pretty much get how the game works. Since it is White Box for most game mechanics, you are either using a d20 or a d6. That’s it. Skill checks are resolved on an x in d6 chance. But unlike most other White Box where you want to roll low, Eldritch Tales is set up to roll high. Actual skills and “occupations” modify the character’s chances of success.
Another way that it deviates from the standard is an awesome magic system. It is skill based (x in d6) and modified by the difficulty of the spell. There isn’t a spell casting class. Any one can learn a spell. There isn’t a specific limit on the number of spells. It all depends on how much you want to risk. There’s usually a cost and most spells take some time to cast. But the real catch is that something bad always happens if you fail the casting roll. Of course, there’s a list of spells. And I shouldn’t have to say this but just in case, there is good bestiary as well as plenty tome of forbidden knowledge and weird artifacts.
I’ve said this before. I’m not really that fond of the current edition of Call of Cthulhu. The most annoying thing is that flow chart for wounds. I do like the old editions and even think that current Delta Green is much more fun to play. I have this philosophy that character life expectancy should be inversely proportional to character generation time. So if there’s a high body count, character generation should quick. Eldritch Tales has much quicker character generation time than either Call of Cthulhu or Delta Green. Overall, you don’t lose that much of the feel of the other games but you’ve got faster and easier character generation mixed with a set game mechanics that most players already are familiar with.
As a default “setting”, the game is set in the 1920’s but since the White Box mechanics are so simple it’s no problem to use it for other time periods without that much conversion and you can easily reference other material for White Box games for inspiration. Hmm.
Speaking of inspiration… Throwing these two together seems like a great and natural idea. White Box Fantasy Cthulhu? Why the hell not? It is mentioned in the back of Eldritch Tales. Now, I’ve got some crazy ideas in my head. Excuse me while insanely type away. The voices in my head are really loud right now.