I posted last week about the possibility of running a Call of Cthulhu/Delta Green game. Of course, this got me thinking about Horror RPG’s in particular. I have a couple of newbies in new gaming group so I was thinking how would I differentiate the play between a horror RPG and good old D&D.
Let me start with this point. IMHO, the two best horror RPG’s are Call of Cthulhu and Chill. These games have two some similar mechanics and design philosophies. Horror is about fear. Chill has a solid Fear mechanic and, as most of you know, CofC has the Sanity mechanic which can play into a fear mechanic. So basically, there are rules to say when your character might run away or otherwise crack.
Now, this is the big one. The monsters. Sure a lot of the common horror monsters are in D&D. There’s ghosts, vampires, werewolves, and zombies even a few things that mirror or were inspired by Lovecraftian horrors. And, of course, many of those horrors have been converted to various editions of D&D. But generally in D&D, most of those monsters are designed with expectation that the player characters will beat the monsters. Heck, you’ve spells and other magical abilities plus magic swords and crap. That certainly evens up that playing field.
But in Horror RPG, the monsters are designed with the intention that they are going to wipe the floor with a party of meddling kids. The player characters probably won’t have a magical arsenal at their disposal.
The basic formula for the monster of the week type scenario is pretty simple. Bad things happen. Player characters investigate. Figure out it’s a monster. Research and discover what monster. Research how to kill said monster. If they make wrong assumption anywhere along the line then that final confrontation will go very badly for them.
I’ve also heard the argument that Horror games don’t lend themselves to heroic adventures. Really? Who’s more heroic the normal guy who’s outclassed by the monster or Mr. +5 Sword of Killing with a Resurrection scroll at the ready just in case?
Yeah, I know. YMMV. It all depends on the campaign and other factors. There’s more than one kind of fantasy campaign and there’ s more than one kind of horror campaign. Just some random thoughts.
Last week I posted about about what I’m planning next. But that’s not the only thing that I have bouncing around inside my head.
Last week’s post was what I was thinking about for an old-school D&D style campaign. But since we’re playing 5E now, I don’t want to put two campaigns that have a lot of similarities (be mechanical or fluff/genre) back to back. I like to mix things up. So what does that mean for future plans? Well.
Oh that’s right. Delta Green. I did a post at the beginning of the year about some random thoughts about running Call of Cthulhu or Delta Green. And those thoughts are still in the back of my mind. I am leaning towards Delta Green over 7th Editions Call of Cthulhu. I just like the rules more and find them a little easier to hack. I do plan on adding a few of the 7th Edition rules like Pushing the Roll and the Luck mechanic.
Delta Green’s character abilities are much more aligned with the d20/D&D vibe. Since I’ve got new players, it would be one less new thing that they would have to wrap their minds around. Now, I do plan on making character generation a bit quicker and even easier. One of my philosophies about gaming is that character generation time should be inversely proportional to character life expectancy. And like every other game , I’ve got some random thoughts on various house rules and tweaks. And who knows? Maybe this will go off into some other weird direction. But that’s for a later posts.
I also know myself and my players. Just because the game is about cosmic horror doesn’t mean that there will be no crazy dark humor. There will be. I admit that and relish it.
Like most COVID practically wiped out any chance to game. This year I’ve got to get something happening. I doubt in person gaming will happen and I’m still looking at various online platforms and haven’t decided on any of those yet. But first I want to talk about the ideas bouncing around inside my head on what to run.
Call of Cthulhu: Yeah, I know that sounds kind of odd but I have been really wanting to run CofC again. I’ve got a couple of ideas for this. On the game mechanics side, I’m more partial to the old editions of CofC and the current edition of Delta Green. So I’d probably do a crazy house ruled hybrid. I’m just that kind of guy. For setting/campaign, I’ve got two ideas.
But then if I want to keep with the White Box theme, I could go with Eldritch Tales.
Old West/Down Darker Trails: I’ve been listening to Ain’t Slayed Nobody and have been enjoying it. It seems like a perfectly natural fit and just outside the standard. And there’s some pretty good inspiration out there like Bone Tomahawk.
Oh wait there’s more. Like The Burrowers.
And Dead Birds. Yes, I know there are many more like Ravenous but these jumped right out at me.
Of course, since I mentioned Delta Green that also means that a more modern game is on my mind too. And if you know me one little bit then here’s a double feature crossover bit of inspiration.
Now, I also stumbled onto Highway of Blood for 7E CofC for adding even more grind house creepy to it.
Who knows? Maybe this is just wishful thinking on my part. But we shall see.
It’s been a busy weekend and it’s going to be a busy week but here’s this week’s episode.
I actually get to play Dungeon Crawl Classics and had two characters survive the funnel. Lord Bob and Mysterio. This week the Blight game is coming but I’m already thinking about the next campaign. It may sound silly but Cthulhu Vs either Pirates or Cowboys. I know strange and I’ve talked about it before. Oddly enough, I’m thinking about hacking Mini 6 for this or maybe Savage Worlds. Or heck maybe even stick with good old D% system with some hacks. Thanks to Steve C for the call in!
Go ahead and give this episode listen. Just stream it here or subscribe on your favorite podcast platform.
So what do you think? Savage Worlds, Mini 6, or don’t mess with it and make it Standard Call of Cthulhu.
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My Swords & Wizardry Campaign in The Blight started this week!
Here’s a quick rundown of the player characters. Yes, I did lots of house ruling but that’s how I roll.
Xander: Kenku Thief/Cleric of Sister Shadows
Connor Cyan: Human “Knight” (Fighter)
Frederick: Wererat Druid
Sylas Kane: Aasimar Assassin