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.

Handouts 0 comments on Props for The Haunting

Props for The Haunting

Concept Art by Gary Cole (Cisticola)

Gary Cole, a UK artist who posts his work on Deviant Art under the name Cisticola, has been labouring for some time on several exquisite hand-outs suitable for someone running the classic Cthulhu adventure ‘The Haunting‘.

For those who have yet to indulge in my porting of this stalwart classic over to The Cthulhu Hack, these will surely help with the immersion of your game and players into the world of esoteric realty management.

As well as various news articles from The Boston Globe on the varied fates of occupants at the troubled address, Gary has created versions of articles never published, postcards from Roxbury Sanitarium, pictures from the newspaper morgue and more besides – scattered across various sites, including his blog.

Well worth the time to seek out all the elements, as I have found The Haunting a worth way to introduce new gamers and entertain old hands alike.

Mechanics 2 comments on A Call from the Trail

A Call from the Trail

Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

In completing playtesting for The Cthulhu Hack, I made a point of using adventures from other varieties of Cthulhu. Both Chaosium and Pelgrane do Cthulhu rather well. The Cthulhu Hack looks to run Cthulhu, too; it just looks to do them simpler.

Both Call and Trail of Cthulhu look to recreate a sense of Lovecraftian horror. Investigators from fairly common occupations get mixed up in a world of the esoteric and occult. They have different backgrounds, motivations, and skills, but they work together to battle against the unknown.

They have different game systems, but both have a wide range of skills that support an investigation. Trail of Cthulhu has abilities split between Investigative (Academic, Interpersonal, and Technical) and General. Call of Cthulhu investigators has a range of occupational skills. In the original Basic Roleplaying system, categories exist as a way to break out and align the skills – like Perception, Communication, and Physical.

The Cthulhu Hack looks to the purpose of these skills and condenses right down. Trail abilities and Call skills fulfill two basic needs: survival and discovery. Both systems have their own way of handling these and what a player does to trigger success. The Hack offers something different.

While threat and harm continue to demand a roll for success – because players always seem to like to hold fate in their hands – the discovery of information works on the basis of ‘Yes’ or ‘Yes, but…’. You always discover a new piece of information, but the dwindling pool offered by The Cthulhu Hack‘s use of The Black Hack‘s Usage Die mechanic means that you can’t keep pushing forever. Rumours peter out and clues dry up.

The mapping of basics – abilities and skills to Saves or Usage rolls – means that you can take an adventure for either system and quickly swap out checks, even on the fly. I have posted my version of the Call classic The Haunting. Over the last two weeks, I have run a Trail of Cthulhu One-page adventure called The Keepers of the Wood.

Adventures might include other mechanics – like handling damaging traps or sanity-blasting major entities – but these exceptions, when they come, can be handled with the application of common sense. For example, damage from either system could work straight off the page, with a degree of caution.

The more chances I get to run the game the better grasp I hope to get for quick off-the-page conversion.