Conversion, Solo Gameplay 0 comments on The House of Hell

The House of Hell

It was an experiment in the possibilities of solo gaming that occurred to me at work.

I genuinely have no recollection of why this struck me when it did, but I had the thought that one or two of the classic Fighting Fantasy books might provide an interesting challenge as solo sessions for The Cthulhu Hack. Recently re-released, could I fend off the threat of the House of Hell?

And how?

What adjustments did I need to make?

Hapless Wanderers

Create a character as normal for The Cthulhu Hack. That means rolling all your Saves and setting the dice to your investigative resources. You don’t really needs to consider Special Abilities – if you want to give yourself a break, assume that you have the option of Topped-Up Hip Flask that can restore D6 hit points once per session and On The Hop that allows you to burn a Flashlights or Smokes to score an automatic success with an attack.

When the book asks you to Test Your Skill or Test Your Luck, make a judgement on what Save to roll, with a touch of honesty. If you’re in a situation with people trying to overcome your sense of self or with hypnosis, it’ll be Charisma. Genuine luck, roll Wisdom. Dodging a trap, roll Dexterity. Releasing something or facing a melee attack, roll Strength. Just opt for a Save that feels right.

Investigative Resources are harder to judge. I’m tempted to use these as burnable resources. If you have a choice, keep a note of the paragraph you’re on and make it. If you turn to the choice and it either kills you straight off the bat or causes you to lose Hit Points, lose a dice from your Resources and go back to make another choice. I know… it isn’t entirely in the spirit of The Cthulhu Hack, but it at least provides a mechanic for that thing we all do anyway when reading a solo gamebook!

Blood-Curdling Adventures

Most standard fights will lend themselves to Strength or Dexterity, as normal. Take the Skill of your opponent, as listed, and divide by three, rounding down fractions. Check the Average Antagonist chart (pg 19 in the current core book) and assume they have that number of Hit Dice, for calculating damage and armour. Yes, you’re going to die.

Most creatures in the game will probably have 2 or 3 Hit Dice, inflicting 3 or 4 damage. You can actually choose whether to roll damage or suffer a fixed amount. When inflicting damage yourself, roll as you would in normal group play.

When you suffer any damage, deduct it from your Hit Points. Stamina deductions work the same way – coming off as Hit Points. When you strike a foe, the same applies – deduct whatever you roll from their Stamina.

Oh, and remember – you start this adventure off unarmed. Until the book tells you that you’ve found a weapon, you’re stuck tackling fights with your bare hands. And most enemies will have a point of armour, as 2HD opponents.

Night to Remember

The game includes the addition of Fear, on top of the standard Skill, Stamina and Luck. Whenever the book asks you to deduct Fear points, roll your Sanity resource instead. If you run out of Sanity, you lose the game – just as you would in the original by running your Fear up to the threshold. If you somehow uncover a way to restore Fear, add a die back to your Sanity.

Adopt a similar approach to recovery when handling Hit Points, restoring the amount indicate for Stamina.

Your Last Memory is…

The stab of sharp teeth. Yes, he got me. Indeed, I didn’t even get this far, as the Fear that struck before meeting him forced me to roll the d4 of my Sanity. Babbling in the face of this horror, I lost myself in the House of Hell forever…

Conversion 0 comments on Rough Conversions

Rough Conversions

Yog-SothothWhen I do play testing for The Cthulhu Hack, I often turn to other publishers for their adventures. As I noted in A Call from the Trail, Chaosium and Pelgrane do some good stuff – and it’s pretty easy to convert on the fly.

Someone asked whether any conversion rules existed for Call or Trail of Cthulhu. I see fuller consideration of conversion as a much bigger project, but for the time being I have a rough-and-ready approach.

Conversion should be rough, unless you’re looking to convert pre-gen characters or major NPCs. If the investigators interact with a non-player character for just a moment, you don’t need to spend time coming up with anything more than appearance and a tic or two.

Trail of Cthulhu

Because Trail of Cthulhu doesn’t have characteristics or attributes, you need to extrapolate strength and expertise from Abilities. VERY roughly, look to see whether the character has more points assigned to Academic or Interpersonal Abilities. If the former, give them more Flashlight dice; latter, give them Smokes.

For Hit Points, divide Health by 5 to see how many HIT DICE they have (rounding up).

You should look to General Abilities and work out where the character has more points spent. This is probably way too complicated

  • STR (physical power and performance)
: Athletics, 
Scuffling, 
Weapons
  • DEX (accuracy, coordination and bodily control)
: Driving
, Firearms
, Stealth
, Riding
  • CON (resilience and fortitude)
: Fleeing (it isn’t necessarily how fast, but how long you can run), 
Health (this is really rough, as a guide only – as characters will dump points here and in…)
, Stability
  • INT (knowing technical stuff)
: Electrical Repair
, First Aid
, Mechanical Repair
, Psychoanalysis
  • WIS (instinct about the right or the wrong moment)
: Conceal
, Filch
, Preparedness
, Sense Trouble
  • 

CHA (exerting your presence or hiding it)
: Disguise
, Hypnosis
, Shadowing

For an NPC, see what Abilities the character has and note those with higher points assigned. If a character attempts to leverage the NPC for assistance, they would provide Advantage on those topics. If a character seeks to ‘beat’ an NPC with notable point allocations in any Ability, a Disadvantage would be in order.

Call of Cthulhu

Call of Cthulhu has a history in the Basic Role Playing system where you used to categorise skills into things like Communication and Academic. I did the same with 7th Edition – see the linked character sheet.

Again… VERY roughly, you can look to see how many points have been spent and convert to Flashlights and Smokes. Many skills I’ve categorised as Instinct fall into Smokes; a few of those and Learning are Flashlights. The rest – Training – cover physical stuff.

Saves you can extrapolate from characteristics by dividing them by 5.

I would suggest for a quick NPC, divide Hit Points by 6 to see how many HIT DICE they have (rounding up).

If a character significant enough to have skills, PCs will suffer Disadvantage against them if the skill is used as a threat. I’d suggest only do this if the NPC has a skill of 50% or higher.

For example, if the character has Persuade 60%, the investigator will make WIS Saves at Disadvantage if the NPC tries to deceive them.

For spells and unusual abilities, check the Spell list and existing Creatures for close equivalents.

I will almost definitely cover this in a supplement next year!


And, just a reminder: at time of posting there are less than 16 hours left to the end of the RPGNow / DriveThru Halloween sale – including the everything-so-far The Cthulhu Hack Halloween bundle for less than $8.