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Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition - Keeper's Rulebook
by Edward K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/23/2016 17:51:42

Ring Side Report- RPG Review of Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition

Originally posted at www.throatpunchgames.com, a new idea everyday!

Product- Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition System-Call of Cthulhu Producer-Chaosium Price- $30.00 here http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/150997/Call-of-Cthulhu-7th-Edition--Keepers-Rulebook?affiliate_id=658618 TL; DR-Great RPG with an ok execution. 85%

Basics- ia ia cthulhu fhtagn! Call of Cthulhu is back with the newest edition of the classic horror RPG. It’s got a new update, a new hardcover, and a new look. Let's see How it stacks up to the current stack of other RPGS!

Mechanics or Crunch-Let’s break this one down into a few different areas.

Base Mechanics- This is a classic percentile dice based game. Much like any other RPG, when you are told you need to roll the dice, you roll percentile dice (d100). The goal is to roll under your skill or ability. An example would be trying to read an ancient Egyptian manuscript. You would see if you have the skill Language(Ancient Egyptian). If you do, you can roll your d100. If you roll under, you roll succeed. It’s quick and simple.

Additions that are new to the system (or at least to me)-CoC 7th edition my first edition of Call of Cthulhu . What this system does instead of modifying your percentage in a skill or ability like other systems is the use of ½ and ⅕ skills. If the test is difficult, you may be asked to roll under ½ your skill. If the task is amazingly difficult, then you have to roll under ⅕. Again, it's a quick and easy way of executing difficulty .

Pushing- Let’s say you fail, but you want to try again. You want to steal a wallet. You fail once, but you think you could do it again. This is called a push. When you push, you get to reroll a skill. Failing to steal the wallet is bad as you might get caught. BUT, if you push, you might get the wallet and not get caught. HOWEVER, if you push and fail, then it get really bad. Maybe instead of pushing you off as a harmless carpetbagger, the target of the theft calls the cops and starts swinging immediately instead of just yelling loudly. It’s a great addition to the risk and reward of Call of Cthulhu. Also note-you may never push in combat. Speaking of which….

Combat-Combat is quick. There is no initiative. You have an statistic called dexterity (dex). Combat resolves from high to low dex. Each turn you can move a bit and then do one action. Just like the base mechanic it’s roll under. If I want to attack, I roll under an attack skill, and the target tries to roll under a dodge or counter attack skill. If we both succeed , then we look if both are under ½. If that happens, we check to see if we’re under ⅕. If that happens, the defender wins. Each character only has a few hit points and damage adds up quickly, so combat is deadly fast! I love quick and efficient systems.

Bonus and Penalty Dice- Many other percentile based systems have modifiers you add or subtract from a skill. Call of Cthulhu 7ed doesn't do this, but It uses something similar to DnD 5th edition advantage system with bonus and penalty dice. When a situation is particularly good like doing research on ancient Egyptian mythology in at the University of Cairo’s Egyptology department library, you would get an extra d10 die. You roll this die along with your other percentile die and use the lower of the 10 position dice. Penalty dice work exactly the opposite. Say you are trying to decipher a deep one script while riding across the countryside in the dark avoiding horrors from beyond time and space, you get an extra d10 die. Now, you get the higher of the two dice as you have a harder time doing the skill. Of all the things I’ve seen develop in the RPG world lately, this is one of my favorites.

Money-Here is a weird one. Characters don’t have cash, per se, they have a credit rating. This is a rough estimate of how much they can spend at any given time. You walk into a shop and want to buy something and it’s under your credit rating expenses in a day, you just get it. If it's massively above your credit rating, then you might lose some credit rating at the end of the adventure!

Advancement-Every session, a character marks all the skills they use and succeed at. At the end of every session, the character makes single attempt to roll over their current skill in that task. If they do, then they gain 1d10 extra points in that skill. In addition, characters can also attend school and do a test over their skills and advance much the same as above.

Sanity-It wouldn’t be Lovecraft without someone going mad! When you see something scary or learn a spell, you make a sanity roll. Sanity is like any other skill that you roll under. If you roll under, you lose less sanity. If you roll above, you lose more. Both events make it harder to deal with in the future! Lose all your sanity and you go insane!

Magic-Magic exists, but it comes with a cost. Spells use skills like any other action, and each spell uses magic points. When you run out of magic points, you start to lose hit points. To cast a roll, a character has to succeed at a ⅕ power roll. From then on, the character doesn’t have to make a check to cast the spell. Again, it’s a sleek and easy system.

Summary- Overall, I like what I see here. It’s sleek, easy to run, and more important, easy to play. Players are not buried under a mountain of information at the start of the game. You want to do X. If X could fail, then you roll. If you do fail maybe you can push and succeed or things get really hairy. Call of Cthulhu has an advantage-like system that makes life easy instead of having to fiddle with different modifiers. Money is easy to handle, and advancement is a snap. I like what I see here. My only issue is diversity and options. You really only advance in things you succeed at. If I want to learn to speak Aramaic, I have to know it at the start of the campaign. I don’t freely learn that unless I train which might not happen. My second problem is character options. Sure there are lots of cool options, but beyond character generation, character are more flung into situation and can’t really build in a direction. It feels a bit swingy to me, but that also enhances the helpless feeling from Lovecraft. These are minor complaints, but overall, it's a good system. 4.5/5

Theme or Fluff-The theme of this game is on point. This is the 7th edition of the game, so they know how to make a good story with Lovecraftian themes. In general, you CAN’T hack and shoot your way out of a confrontation with the horrors beyond time. The book has lots of help to get new investigators into the game quickly and efficiently. There are even two fully fleshed out adventures that the keeper(GM for this game) can throw at the players to get them playing the day you get the book. 4.75/5

Execution-This is the one area where I have some significant problems. Things are written relatively well, and the art is good. But, the layout of the book is a problem. The PDF is hyperlinked, but finding what you need is still a pain. The book has over over 300 pages, and I still have problems every time trying to find the credit rating table to figure out how much my players can spend at any given time. That is a significant problem! 3.5/5

Summary-This is a great system that the layout of the book hurts a bit. I love the way the system works in general, but wish that it had just a bit more options for the players during the game. The theme is on point, and I love what here. My major problem is the book's design. I can’t find what I need when I need it. I will admit, that might be a problem from me not having much experience, but if a new keeper is having problems, then that’s bad no matter what. However, if you can push through some problems with using the book, you can easily fall in love with this horror RPG. 85%



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition - Keeper's Rulebook
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A Resection of Time
by Joshua O. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/08/2016 16:49:06

The authors clearly know a lot about Mayan archaeology, like on a grad student level. One of my players studied Mayan archaeology and so did I and the fluff really holds up. The handouts are extraordinary, lots of glyphs and everything really looks like real archaeological research material. Lots of handouts means a few red herrings that my players turned into a whole other act of the campaign (a trip to a town in Lovecraft Country).

It's a good 1990s or modern campaign, of which I haven't found too many. The story is very good, very suspenseful. The plot can get convoluted, but I only found one loose thread. I think we did it in six sessions which is pretty good -- there's a lot of meat in this volume. Plenty of sections of texts to read to players, I always knew what to say. And the ending; well, this is a campaign that is actually scary, no matter how jaded your players are. Full marks. One of the best campaigns I've seen for any game.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
A Resection of Time
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Ravenar Sagas
by SengKok L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/04/2016 22:16:46

The monograph series of adventures from Chaosium are some of the most unusual (and creative) material published for their flagship Call of Cthulhu (CoC) game. These monographs while not as polished in layout and art from Chaosium's standard books, provide for some truly different and interesting CoC sessions.

The Ravenar Sagas is a set of three linked adventures spanning the adventuring career of six Norse crewmen of the titular ship The Ravenar. Unlike the typical Call of Cthulhu "investigators" these player characters are men of their time and place in history (Scandanavia, 989 AD - 1002 AD), warriors and men of action who fear only the "Straw Death" of dying in beds without their bloodied swords in hand. While there are some aspects of investigation and social encounters, these Viking adventures will revolve around resolving problems with shield walls and swords. The player characters are going to be running towards the mythos creatures shouting battle cries instead of fleeing from them. If you have a group of CoC players who might enjoy 'going Viking' for a change of pace, they are going to have a lot fun with these adventures.

The first adventure "The Unsung Saga" sees the crew of the newly launched Ravenar embark on its maiden voyage and first adventure. The next part, "The Second Saga" takes place 3 years after the first, and the now-seasoned crew of the Ravenar are thrown into their second encounter with creatures of the mythos. The last part "The Vinland Saga" sees the former crewmen - now lords of their own right, with retainers and ships - reunite for an epic adventure at the edge of the known world.

Conclusion: The adventures are well written and there are tactical problems in each of the three parts that need to be resolved with smarts and not simply by hacking and slashing.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Ravenar Sagas
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Mythic Iceland
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/03/2016 22:37:14

A pretty good source book for Icelandic/Norse mythology. I think the price is way too high for a PDF - especially since there are NO bookmarks. c'mon really?



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Iceland
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The Cruel Empire of Tsan Chan
by Raymond W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/22/2016 02:40:44

The Cruel Empire of Tsan Chan is a wonderfully inventive extrapolation of a future Mythos setting where Cthulhu emerges to begin an apocalyptic reign of psychotic madness, and the titular Tsan Chan Empire becomes the primary surviving human civilization. But this is not a story of plucky survivors who prevail against daunting odds - appropriately for a setting with Old Ones stomping around the Earth, things are only slightly less awful for the time being, and doom seems assured. It's very much in keeping with a Lovecraftian interpretation of the future, where our choice is extinction or transforation into something terrible and alien.

This is also the primary weakness of The Cruel Empire of Tsan Chan as a campaign setting: it's bleak as hell. There are no happy endings in Tsan Chan, even less so than in your typical CoC campaign. Some groups will definitely be into this, but it might grow old, after a while. Personally, I would prefer to use TCEoTC as some kind of alternate timeline or planet in another campaign. Or you could just take advantage of the many excellent and atmospheric details, like The Empress: a toxic gelatinous mass as large as a city, godlike in power, but only capable of communicating through cryptic pronouncements and dreams to be interpreted by the surgically-tortured Eunuchs.

There's a lot of great gonzo detail here, and plenty of intriguing dangers and rewards that could be introduced into any campaign. I really like TCEoTC's interpretation of the Tcho-Tcho, and the terrible implications of what could happen if they allied with the ghouls. Traditional Mythos entities are given slightly tweaked interpretations to fit into a coherent setting. Why are the Elder Things giving Tsan Chan access to their technology? Because we have agreed to serve as their foot soldiers against the Shoggoth in Antarctica. Who even Cthulhu might be a little afraid of. It all fits together very nicely, while staying true to what the Mythos is all about. All the while, this creates a setting rife with possible "adventure" (generally ending in madness and mutation or death).

This monograph is mostly setting detail, with very little in terms of mechanics, which is fine for what I'd want to use it for. There are some guidelines on creating characters, campaigns and plot hooks for this setting. The latter are more useful for me since, as I mentioned, I'd probably not use this as a primary setting. Tsan Chan would be a great place to have your players visit through a gateway in a more contemporary CoC campaign, or even via a portal in a more fantasy-oriented game. This is a solid and inventive use of Mythos ideas for roleplaying purposes.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Cruel Empire of Tsan Chan
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S. Petersen's Field Guide to Lovecraftian Horrors
by Michael M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/16/2016 22:00:39

A great illustrated guide to lovecratian creatures. This is not a game mechanics or monster stats book. Rather it takes the form of journal entries and encylopedia style descriptions of the major 'things' of the game. Art is beautiful and the information reads a bit like a zoological book. It this required for the Calll of Cthulhu game, no. Would it give Keeper's more information and better art to show investigators, yes.

I think the price was a bit steep for what it is and the fact it is a PDF. Luckily I recieved a free one when I bought the book.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
S. Petersen's Field Guide to Lovecraftian Horrors
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Call of Cthulhu Investigator Handbook 7th Edition
by Michael M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/16/2016 21:55:22

The 7th edition books and PDFs of Call of Cthulhu have fantastic art and offer updates to the previous rules. The Investigator's Handbook is a great resource for makign characters and giving players background for the standard campaign timeline. If your looking to just play this is the book for you. If your looking for more in depth Call of Cthulhu rules knowledge or looking to run a game, go with the Keeper's Rulebook.

The PDF seems to load slower than most PDF game books I have. I think it is either the hight quality art or maybe the PDF is not optimized. Great purchase and worth the value though.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Call of Cthulhu Investigator Handbook 7th Edition
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Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition - Keeper's Rulebook
by Michael M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/16/2016 21:50:11

For me, Call of Cthulhu 7th edition provides a much needed update to the rules. The pdf version of the book is beautiful and the extensive bookmarks come in handy. If your not going to ever run the game chose the Investigator's Handbook instead. The only major downside is that the pdf doesn't appear to be optimized and the beautiful art slows dow accessing pages. Would like to see improvements to page loading in a future update. So great product but could use a bit of tweaking to make it more responsive while reading.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition - Keeper's Rulebook
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The Cruel Empire of Tsan Chan
by Mark S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/25/2016 22:02:53

A fascinating read, "The Cruel Empire of Tsan Chan" extrapolates a post-Cthulhu society from a few fragmentary mentions in Lovecraft's work. Witthout losing any of the stark horror of the Mythos, this monograph creates a decadant empire that hangs by a thread over a world gone mad. While it may not be for everyone, it will definite find a place in the heart of those who like exotic civilizations with a "Sword & Planet" feel to them.

The lack of illustrations is the only thing keeping this product from earing a full five-stars. A world this rich and strange begs for an artist to render it in full.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Cruel Empire of Tsan Chan
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Shadows of Yog-Sothoth
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/19/2016 15:15:31

I've been running Call of Cthulhu since 1981, and have more than four shelf-feet of published Call of Cthulhu stuff (including the original saddle-stapled version of this campaign). Of late I've been converting to PDF to enable me to prep games on my hour-long commute and reduce in-game table clutter, hence this purchase.

This PDF represents the expanded version of the original (and first) campaign for Call of Cthulhu, the version published in 2004.

I ran this in the original 1981(?) version and from a brief but targeted reading judge some segments to be now more challenging for the GM than the original. The Scotland episode is particularly over-the-top in infoload, and some of the reasoning presented to the players doesn't bear close scrutiny in the Silver Twilight section. You may have some work ahead if you need tight consistency in your game (and this is a detective-style game at heart).

Looking through my notes I see that the original campaign was extremely lethal, wiping out player characters with the ease of a gatling gun. The GM is going to have to do deep preparation and read ahead and make notes before running any of the episodes so he or she can mitigate the fallout where necessary.

That said, the players who went through the experience with me in 1987 had fun (or so they say) and certain events are trotted out by those "who were there" when we congregate on rare occasions. A GM can't really do better than have people talk about imaginary events as if they were real.

My low star rating is mostly because the standard approach used by Chaosium to make these PDF products results in a basic scan with OCR underneath but no bookmarks. This means a GM will have to "search" for everything he or she wishes to find in-game and weed the false positives for what he or she wants to see.

Bookmarks aren't a luxury in PDF RPG products, they are essential for flipping back and forth as the game plays out.

Better still would be adding an internally hyperlinked contents page as well. PEG and Pelgrane Press can show Chaosium how it is done.

But that isn't how Chaosium has made the PDF products I own so far. Even the brand-new Gaslight, a product born well into the 21st century and authored electronically, was sold in PDF form sans bookmarks.

It breaks my heart because these pre-"finacial collapse" products are extremely high quality in their concept and execution in print form, and this specific product revolutionized what people would come to expect in terms of hands-on clues and handouts from printed scenario/campaign RPG products. Literally a game-changing idea.

Given the lack of bookmarks, I think you will probably be working from highlighted paper copies of whichever part you are playing, like we did in the 1980s.

So three stars for overall quality and user experience.

If you are reading and are affiliated with the publisher, I'd have paid five bucks more for those bookmarks.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Shadows of Yog-Sothoth
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Keeper's Kit
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/07/2016 12:47:37

I bought this solely for the GM screen but found out only after downloading it that it doesnt contain it. I am rather unimpressed. Save your money



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Keeper's Kit
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Publisher Reply:
While we are sorry that you are disappointed in the product, we tried to be very clear about what the \"5th edition Keeper Kit\" contains. To that end, we did not use the phrase \"GM screen\" or even the word \"screen\" in either the product title, or the detailed descriptions of the contents. If you feel we could be more clear in our description, we would be happy for any and all suggestions. In contrast, our 7th Edition Keeper Screen Pack mentions it has a screen in the product title, and in the contents description.
Snake Pipe Hollow (1981)
by Simon H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/07/2016 06:51:12

A classic adventure from the glory days of Runequest, this is a tough challenge for even an experienced band of adventurers. It's a cavern crawl for sure, but as so often with RQ adventures it's the realisation of the monsters and denizens as characters with a history, motivations and goals of their own that elevates this above the dungeon crawls of it's day.

Combine that with Runequest's highly tactical combat and magic systems and deep links into they mythology of Glorantha and it's no wonder this adventure has such legendary status among RQ fans.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Snake Pipe Hollow (1981)
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Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition Quick-Start Rules
by James L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/09/2016 10:10:56

This is a very nice face-lift of the CoC quick-start. There really aren't many rule changes, CoC/BRP is still one of the most consistent RPG rule-sets after all this time. I also really liked the new artwork and layout. If this is an indication what the full 7E rule-book will look like, my wallet is ready. 6E really had over-wrought fonts and a really dark look that was hard and painful to read.

If there's only one real downise, it's that at this point it would have been nice to get a new adventure. I can appreciate The Haunting, but assuming it'll be included in 7E like it has been for the past few releases, something new would be nice, especially veteran/returning GMs introducing CoC to new players with this quick-start.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition Quick-Start Rules
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Call of Cthulhu Quick-Start Rules
by Darren M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/08/2016 11:00:13

So I like role playing games and game mechanics. I remember a time when game mechanics and adventures were easy to engage with and referee. This adventure reminds me of that time. The rules that are included make sense for beginners and vetrans who want to strip it down.

The adventure itself is easy to follow and contains many hooks for further exploration into the Cthulhu pantheon of materials and adventures.

Recomend this product highly! Fun easy engaging, worth the look!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Call of Cthulhu Quick-Start Rules
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S. Petersen's Field Guide to Lovecraftian Horrors
by Christoffer N. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/04/2016 08:32:37

This book is filled with amazing artwork and lots of fun facts about H.P. Lovecraft's well-loved (and feared) mythos creatures. While the book stands on it's own for those who are only interested in the Cthulhu Mythos, it's also a well-made book for those running Call of Cthulhu games.

Overall I'm very pleased with the PDF version of this book. It's everything I hoped for, times ten.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
S. Petersen's Field Guide to Lovecraftian Horrors
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