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I'm Totally Not. But If I Was...

I'm not actually working on a fusion of SWSE and Cthulhu d20 at the moment. But if I was...

Something that's occurred to me is that the d20 character creation system is very tied into action sequences. Feats do things like give you extra movement or attack options. Your BAB and hit points go up with level. That kind of thing. The Chaosium BRP Call of Cthulhu, on the other hand, is all about a very granular skill list. Your stats are generated at character creation and never change, but your skills go up in very tiny increments over time.

Honestly, I find myself torn between them. On the one hand, I really like the customization of talents and feats afforded by d20 — but on the other hand, in a mystery/horror context, how useful is Power Attack really, y'know what I mean? Besides, in CoC scenarios as written, half the time character sheets are superfluous anyway. If the characters go to the library / dig into the newspaper archives / interview the witnesses, they are pretty much going to find out what they need, and if they don't, they don't.

This issue is going to take some more thinking. I don't really like the BRP CoC mechanics. The skill resolution is simple enough, but most of the time the character's stats don't actually seem to matter that much except when it comes to "resistance rolls," which require a bit more math than is handy. It's not hard math — the formula boils down to (10 + your stat - the opposed stat)x5 or less on percentile dice — but it's a bit awkward to do in the middle of a heated moment. You could simplify it by taking out the "x5" and changing it to a d20. But even then, your stats are more or less divorced from your skills. It doesn't matter if your DEX is 8 or 18, your Sneak skill is still going to be 10 + however many points you put into it. The rules in general seem to be kind of slapdash, with a lot of arbitrary "roll under POWx3" here and "roll over DEX x 2" there. d20, for all its focus on combat, is a much more coherent system overall.

-TG

Comments

athelind
Jun. 22nd, 2008 05:16 am (UTC)
Besides, in CoC scenarios as written, half the time character sheets are superfluous anyway. If the characters go to the library / dig into the newspaper archives / interview the witnesses, they are pretty much going to find out what they need, and if they don't, they don't.

You know, I'm running a Mutants & Masterminds game set in 2020 Gotham City, and finding that a Batman-style campaign requires an entirely different play style than the sort of Mutant Blaster League game that I'm used to.

I've already been working along the lines you mentioned above, but it didn't really occur to me that the best source of hosting advice for an investigation-style game is the better CoC references. I own CoC d20 and a whole slew of Chaosium supplements (there was a period that people where just handing them to me inexplicably) -- I should be checking them out.

Of course, the fact that my version of Gotham is sitting smack where Boston should be -- in the middle of Lovecraft Country, with Arkham right there in the suburbs and Innsmouth up the coast -- just makes this that much more obvious.

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