House Rules 0 comments on Hit Dice as Resource

Hit Dice as Resource

I put a very short section on Hit Dice as a Resource into the new v1.5 core book. It’s very short. And just today – I realised, too short.

The Hit Die

What’s in the core book is a fairly abstract and underdeveloped idea – so, use it at your own risk.

When you’re hit by something, instead of deducting hit points you roll your Hit Die like a Resource. If you roll a 1 or 2, the Hit Die drops a step. If you’re a Ruffian, you start with D6. Someone shoots you. Roll 3-6, you get a graze or something. Roll 1-2, you drop to a D4. Healing restores a Die step.

It works OK between fairly similar opponents, but when you start using big guns or monsters it makes less sense. If you battle a Shoggoth, something has to give because that Crush attack is not small beans.

Big Damage, Big Disadvantage

Therefore, I offer this suggestion as a general system – more damage has a greater chance of forcing a drop.

When hit with damage, compare the amount against the Hit Die of the character. The player then rolls the Hit Die with appropriate adjustment. A big creature means the possibility of rolling with Disadvantage – roll two dice and take the worst result – or Double Disadvantage – roll three dice and take the worst result.

This means that a Shoggoth will make a greater impact that a Cultist with a knife. Robust characters will get Advantage on their Hit Die roll if all they face is a knife, but everyone rolls with Double Disadvantage when subjected to a Shoggoth’s crush attack – unless the character with a D12 hit die can get behind the cover of a metal barrier (AP 9), which means they’ll only roll with Disadvantage.

The original example still holds – the Ruffian getting shot will still roll D6 as normal, as an average attack with a gun does 3 damage. That falls in the Normal range for making a Hit Die roll. A shot run, which might do 5 damage by an NPC, means Disadvantage.

Player vs Player

Really? In Cthulhu? Like you didn’t have enough enemies already.

You have a choice:

Roll the Damage: Roll as normal and compare against the table. If you roll well with a pistol, it could be bad for that Ruffian. Roll a 6 on D6 for the pistol damage, and the poor chump has to roll with Double Disadvantage.

Half the Die Type: Take the size of the Die and half it. A D6 attack does 3; a D10 attack does 5. If you’re rolling multiple dice for some reason, add all the Die sizes together and then add half the number of dice rolled.

For example, the player has found some hideous Mi-Go blasting gun that does 4D4 damage. If the GM chooses to use the fixed damage method, it inflicts ((4+4+4+4)/2) + 2 (half the number of dice) = 10 damage.

Care Instructions

Please use with care. While I have used Hit Dice as Resource myself, I did so in adventures with relatively human-scaled opponents; therefore, this has not been tested at all — but, it will be now!

House Rules 0 comments on Double Features

Double Features

safecrackingI freely admit that I have been ruminating on expanding Special Features for a while, but I haven’t had the chances to playtest that I’d hoped for. Therefore, it seems a better idea to start posting those thoughts here and let someone else give them a go!

In the current version of The Cthulhu Hack rules, at 3rd level and every odd level thereafter, you can increase one of your investigation resources by a single step. In this alternate version, you can still choose to do that OR you can select a Special Feature to add to your arsenal instead.

On top of that, you may choose to spend a later advance to get an Improved version.

Admittedly, you could do both – offer an extra die and a Special Feature. That will make the game way pulpier and characters will buff up faster as both investigators and worthy protagonists. Really, The Cthulhu Hack isn’t about that sort of thing.

Alternatively, you could let a character swap out an existing Special Feature for one of the new ones. Maybe you want a Ruffian safecracker who can turn his hand to any lock and do away with the ‘assassin’-esque backstab ability?

Every odd level (3rd, 5th, etc.), either:

Enhanced Investigation – increase the Usage Die for either Flashlights or Smokes by one step, up to a maximum of d12

OR acquire an additional Special Feature (or an Improved Special Feature if possessed of original):

Pugilist – increase unarmed damage by one step (if currently 1, raise to 1d4)
Improved Pugilist – as Pugilist, plus roll d6 – if 1 or 2, cripple one of your opponent’s limbs

Heavy Hitter – increase melee damage by one step
Improved Heavy Hitter – as Heavy Hitter, plus DEX Save to disarm

Like a Mule – increase Encumbrance by +5
Improved Like a Mule – as Like a Mule, suffer no Disadvantage while Encumbered

Like a Rock – while standing still you temporarily gain 2 Armor Points and do +2 melee damage, but DEX Save at -2
Improved Like a Rock – as Like a Rock, roll DEX Save to disarm

Lockpicker – you can crack any lock by making a Flashlight roll
Improved Lockpicker – as Lockpicker, but roll with Advantage

Scrounger – you can offset the loss of an Ammo die by losing an Investigation die instead
Improved Scrounger – as Scrounger, plus always roll Ammo die with Advantage

(Sorry, I couldn’t help myself but use the D&D-esque parlance of a better ability being Improved X.)

House Rules 1 comment on Shock


screamThe current version of the Sanity rules in The Cthulhu Hack aims to turn the slow slide into insanity into a source of stress. All Usage Dice use challenges the ability of the player and the group to manage their personal and joint resources. If they push too hard, too early — they may find they lack the faculties and facility to get the job done. In a Lovecraftian sense, that works. Characters start strong and then they begin to struggle as the revelations grind away, wearing them down.

However, the danger of insanity might be too extreme and you may prefer something more like a short sharp Shock. Most of the results below last for a Moment (rather like when you Miss a Turn in a boardgame). Take a counter and drop it on your character sheet to remind you. Or take two, or whatever the result indicates.

When your turn comes around, discard a counter (or use a six-sided dice and spin it down a number).

If you forget, keep the counters (or don’t move the die) until next time you have a fight or face a Test that challenges the attribute listed – and face the listed modifier. You managed to struggle through the original shock, but it all comes back to you when you next push yourself.

See — that moment of forgetfulness about book-keeping might just come back to haunt you.

1 Shaking Shuddering shock, roll d6: DEX Saves reduced by the result for a number of Moments equal to the roll. The penalty reduces in-sync with the number of Moments remaining.
2 Can’t Think Straight Struggling for focus and lost for words, Disadvantage on INT, WIS, and CHA Saves until the end of the Scene (or when the GM says)
3 Rabbit Stand motionless, as if trying to avoid attention while in plain sight, for the next Moment. Can make no physical action or reaction in this state.
4 Dive No action possible, other than hiding, for the next 1d3 Moment
5 Black Out A Moment for someone else to revive, Disadvantage on STR, DEX, and INT Saves for the next Moment
6 Scream Expel a lengthy and piercing scream, certain to attract attention