The first version of the Call of Cthulhu role-playing game was released in This is something of a testament to how sturdy of a game it is! In this new edition, we see some of the largest changes to the system yet — a brave move in an attempt to bring Lovecraftian horror to life. Lovecraft grew to fame for his unique take on cosmic horror, weaving tales of unknown and alien entitles that existed hidden and secret in far reaches of the world. His work, while problematic and considered racially regressive even at the time of original publication was impressively unique in how it handled horror, emphasising the damage that the supernatural posed to mortal sanity and emphasis on the otherworldly and alien rather than the spiritual world. With stories based around investigating and mystery, this has always been prime ground for role-playing game for people who prefer puzzle-solving over dragon-fighting.
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The first version of the Call of Cthulhu role-playing game was released in This is something of a testament to how sturdy of a game it is! In this new edition, we see some of the largest changes to the system yet — a brave move in an attempt to bring Lovecraftian horror to life. Lovecraft grew to fame for his unique take on cosmic horror, weaving tales of unknown and alien entitles that existed hidden and secret in far reaches of the world.
His work, while problematic and considered racially regressive even at the time of original publication was impressively unique in how it handled horror, emphasising the damage that the supernatural posed to mortal sanity and emphasis on the otherworldly and alien rather than the spiritual world. With stories based around investigating and mystery, this has always been prime ground for role-playing game for people who prefer puzzle-solving over dragon-fighting.
The explanation of the rules is clear, concise and well-delivered, and the book contains enough sections covering anything from cursed books to alien beings to arcane spells and historical setting eras to feel extensive and thorough.
The writing in this edition is easily as strong and tight as in any other, well-polished and clear. Character creation contains several changes, all of which are for the better. Characters are still composed of primary attribute numbers which are determined via dice rolls, and a number of skills which are bought with points.
In previous editions, skills were rated as a percentage whilst attributes were scored from a range of , the attributes in this edition are now calculated by percentage instead. This has a knock-on effect of unifying the gameplay quite a lot. In challenges, players can be asked to roll against either their skill value attempting to roll under their skill score on a percentile dice or, should the situation be more difficult, half or even a fifth of that value — this serves to allow the game to possess a more flexible range of difficulty, and although it takes more time to fill out these numbers on the character sheet it streamlines the game considerably.
Three other changes to previous editions also stand out and are worth mentioning. Combat, which is a skill role much like any other, is now a simple contested action with the two opposing characters.
This makes combat faster and significantly more brutal, perfectly in keeping with the style of the setting. Characters in Call of Cthulhu are fragile things against the unnatural horrors that surround them. Doing so lowers their luck score by one — permanently — but allows them to raise the number on the dice they rolled by one. They can spend as many points of luck in this way as they like, meaning that this way is a great way for them to barely scrape through a situation in which they failed a roll by only two or three.
Or they can try to save it for a cataclysmic failure at the end of the session, if they have enough left. In this way, luck becomes a resource to manage, if the players are willing to risk it.
In terms of campaign and one-off adventure play, Call of Cthulhu has always been a game that is quite brutal. Characters tend to get chewed up and spat out — sometimes literally. With many of these changes, the potential for long-lasting campaigns is given a much-needed push and becomes far more viable.
There are rules for penalty and bonus dice, which can improve or lower your rolls should you wish to use them — these rules feel slightly extraneous, but are nice to have should you wish to reward a player who has formulated a strong plan of action or give a lingering penalty for a severe wound that someone sustained. The game also incorporates some optional tables which can generate a background for a character, which we have had some fun with and would recommend trying out, even as just a simple basis for a more developed character.
The game also features rules for chases, both on foot and vehicle based, but they feel slightly more cumbersome and have yet to find much play at our table. Full of vibrant, moody and atmospheric full-colour artwork and illustrations, the book is a visual feast. The binding is strong, with a handy bookmark ribbon included. In terms of layout, the book is intuitive, with chapters presented in a sensible order with the information made easily accessible with a minimum of page-flipping.
The text is clear to guide the reader to the right sections whenever necessary, and the appendixes include all relevant tables and summaries. As well as that, the book simply looks very good on the shelf. Playability: Call of Cthulhu has always been an exceptionally flexible game, with a huge variety of settings available such as Roman era, dark ages and so on.
This is due to the impressive level of flexibility inherent in the mechanics, and this edition follows that standard nicely by incorporating both classic and modern setting details. This includes a full list of possible equipment and items, but also thoughtful approaches to the differences in how social classes, racial issues and mental health treatment are contextualised within their respective eras. In this new edition, available points are determined by a mix of education and other relevant skills — sometimes strength possibly for military servicemen , sometimes appearance for entertainers.
This does add very strongly to the playability of the game, giving characters a much more even start. With several previous editions making only small adjustments here and there, none of us expected quite the amount of changes that were introduced in seventh edition.
Download: Call Of Cthulhu Keeper Rulebook.pdf
How do you rate this product? Write a headline for your review here: Write your review here: Your email: We promise to never spam you, and just use your email address to identify you as a valid customer. As such I am in two minds about the changes to the system. So less math, more writing down numbers I guess? This works okay, but if it is an improvement over the older system is up to personal tastes. Taking damage and its effects has also been improved, though it remains simple enough, which is a good thing.
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Horror Roleplaying in the Worlds of H. Lovecraft Strange things are happening, do you dare to investigate? Call of Cthulhu is a game of secrets, mysteries, and horror. You will play the role of steadfast investigators who travel to strange and dangerous places, uncover foul plots, and stand against the terrors of the Cthulhu Mythos.
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