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Author Topic: Cthulhu Dark  (Read 544 times)

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Offline DarklingAliceTopic starter

Cthulhu Dark
« on: March 17, 2011, 11:41:07 PM »
So, I stumbled across a new indie rpg thanks to the webcomic Full Frontal Nerdity

Cthulhu Dark is a minimalist game designed for running classic adventures of Lovecraftian horror. It boils down your investigators' stats to an occupation and a sanity stat (although there are optional health rules, generally attempts to fight monsters lead to a messy demise) allowing you as players and keepers to focus on their story elements and personality, but without fully removing the safety net of the dice. Plus, this makes characters nicely expendable as no one has to spend 20 minutes painstakingly assembling a new investigator after a great old one eats 1d6 characters.

Mrs. A and I playtested it today (with the health rules and a few minor houserules) on a simple scenario and it runs impressively smooth and easy. The freedom to toss together characters on the fly proved to be a great boon. Once her character wound up held on suspicion of murder, she took maybe three minutes to come up with the lead homicide investigator and began playing as him investigating the (mythos infested) old house where her character had been arrested. Then, once her first character was released (monsters tend to leave little forensic evidence), she switched back and confronted the greater evil.

Game can be found here: http://www.thievesoftime.com/news/cthulhu-dark/

Offline Silverfyre

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Re: Cthulhu Dark
« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2011, 02:03:34 PM »
I blame you for two things, Darkling.  One, I am now spending the entire weekend reading "Full Frontal Nerdity".  Second, I am now looking into that game.  It's all your fault.

...in other words, thanks for sharing both.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Cthulhu Dark
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2011, 02:15:09 PM »
Is this as opposed to Cthulhu-Lite?

Online Callie Del Noire

Re: Cthulhu Dark
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2011, 04:09:21 PM »
I blame you for two things, Darkling.  One, I am now spending the entire weekend reading "Full Frontal Nerdity".  Second, I am now looking into that game.  It's all your fault.

...in other words, thanks for sharing both.

I like PS238 better.. but it's a good slice of gamer life. :D

Offline DarklingAliceTopic starter

Re: Cthulhu Dark
« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2011, 11:18:32 PM »
Is this as opposed to Cthulhu-Lite?

Most likely <_<

Offline Ebb

Re: Cthulhu Dark
« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2011, 11:28:47 PM »
Is this as opposed to Cthulhu-Lite?

Yes. It's a great lightweight game, and the author has written a number of impressive Cthulhu scenarios. His intent was to call it "Cthulhu Lite", since that's what it is, but he decided that anything Cthulhu-related couldn't reasonable be called anything like "Light". Hence, "Cthulhu Dark".

I think it would be a wonderful system for use in forum play, actually. It really gets to the heart of how a Cthulhu story would run, hewing very closely to Lovecraft's original stories. For example, if you run into a Mythos creature and try to fight it, you die. There are optional rules, but that's the base one.

Offline DarklingAliceTopic starter

Re: Cthulhu Dark
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2011, 03:36:27 AM »
And it is very easy to add your own hacks and optional rules. When we played we did a couple of things that made it a bit more involved but still left it streamlined:

-Gave Investigators 1 or 2 hobbies to supplement their occupation (e.g. we had a nurse who studied local history in her spare time, and a cop who liked to fish and sail) and let them roll the bonus occupation die when they did anything related to these. Which I think made the characters less one dimensional without giving too much power.

-Wrote up one paragraph biographies and required justification from character background if a technical skill wasn't covered by occupation or hobby to even get the "human capability" roll. To draw from some of the examples that came up: climbing a tree is something everyone can do, but lockpicking or tinkering with electrical wiring required justification to even make the basic roll. (The cop was able to justify lockpicking from a rough and tumble childhood in a gang and thus got his one die, but neither of them could justify the ability to tinker with a broken fuse box).

-Used the optional Harm rules from the official sources and mocked together...not really a combat system, more like an injury system. Bashing damage (falling, fisticuffs, etc) was done on the harm die as written. Lethal damage (knives, guns) afforded characters a coin toss; either they died instantly or rolled the harm die. Aggravated damage (magic, giant monsters, coup-de-grace, anything that should common-sense cause instant death) caused instant death. This allowed them to have consequences from clumsiness, still take on cultists albeit in high risk combat, and kept monsters terrifying and lethal.

-And lastly we did away with re-rolls, it just didn't seem to jive with the air of dire finality.

Currently we are brainstorming a way to make play more long term. Historically I have gravitated towards the drawn out CoC scenarios where you can take weeks to research tomes, spend stretches of temporary insanity in the hospital, make relatively sedate trips cross-country to consult experts, etc. all while the slowly looming horror grows and the stars move towards alignment. So to that end we are looking at working up some medical/psychiatric care rules, some injury/temporary insanity rules, and re-introducing the Cthulhu mythos skill sort of thing (that last one to be done with 'mythos points' which drive your insanity die ever higher; 6 at one time means you either need to head to an asylum or a cult ^_^).

All in all, it is a great system as written and fertile ground for houserules!