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Jun 21, 2021

In this episode, Jon and Seth talk about game mechanics from other game systems, and how to adapt them into Call of Cthulhu. And, they provide advice on where game masters and players can divine inspiration for playing Call of Cthulhu in other eras or settings. 

Topic #1

Using game mechanics from other games: 

  • Traveler -- During character creation, players can create backstory links between each other, and as a result of that, gain one skill improvement check each due to that backstory event. 
  • King in Yellow -- Shock and Injury cards. In addition to the normal hit point and sanity damage, physical and mental injury cards could be introduced that are handed to the players to give them flavor text and game mechanical info that expands on their physical and mental injuries. 
  • Blades in the Dark -- Flashbacks can be used to roleplay how the investigators execute some of their kooky plans. Skill checks can be used to see how well the investigators prepared to sneak into a building or bribe a guard. 
  • Trail of Cthulhu -- Core clues are given to the investigators just by simply being in the location to gain that clue. But skill rolls can be used to determine if the investigator gains anything extra beyond just the core clue. 
  • Dungeons & Dragons -- Inspiration. If a player does something commendable (good idea, great roleplay, says a funny joke, etc.) they get a 1-time credit to add a Bonus Die to a future roll.
  • Kult (Powered by the Apocalypse) - unless the PC is in danger of being caught or in combat, no skill roll is required for actions like First Aid, Picking a Lock, etc. Can relate to not having to make a Drive Auto check if just driving to the store on a normal day. 
  • ALIEN - Buddies and Rivals - having special relationships with other player characters where some are good and some are bad. 

Topic #2

Listener Request - Because the most popular setting for Call of Cthulhu is in historical periods, how might players and GMs learn more about those settings in order to paint them properly and make them feel real?

  • Watch movies of shows set during the time period. (The Mummy (1999), Boardwalk Empire, Peaky Blinders for UK, Indiana Jones is 1930’s but still works) Murder on the Orient Express (or several Agatha Christie movies and books). Ken Burns’s “Prohibition” Documentary.
  • For Gaslight Era - From Hell, Penny Dreadful, tons of Sherlock Holmes, The Nevers
  • Down Darker Trails - Warrior, spaghetti westerns, True Grit  
  • Cthulhu Invictus - Rome, Spartacus
  • Dark Ages - (13th Warrior is technically a Cthulhu Dark Ages movie)
  • One of Seth's players really got into 1920’s automobiles and went down several Wiki-holes on early auto manufacturers. Learned of the Stanley Steamer and the Jewett (with magic amulets imbedded into the dash)
  • Straying from perfect history is OK. It’s your game. Racisim, Sexisim, Homophobia, Classism, etc. 

Things Seth keeps in mind when doing 1920’s

  • Telephone operators and switchboards. Long distance could take over an hour to connect.
  • Travel, even by car, took a long time (Interstate system not established. Many roads unpaved and winding) and gas stations weren’t on every street corner
  • Guns (even automatic) available in hardware stores or by mail. Concealed in most cities was still illegal.
  • Bribery -- Government officials (cops and elected officials) are more than happy to accept a bribe 
  • Prohibition (speakeasies, or cafes. Private Clubs. Booze Cruises)








Thank you!!!

We can’t do this show alone. We want to thank our amazing editors Max Mahaffa and Edwin Nagy for their hard work and keen skills at making us sound awesome!

We also want to thank John Sumrow, for our badass logo. He’s a very talented artist, so please follow him on Facebook, check out his official website,  and please consider joining his Patreon account.

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And finally, we want to thank The Darkest of the Hillside Thicket for generously allowing us to use their song, Gluttony, as our intro and outro music. If you are a fan of Lovecraft’s writing and the Call of Cthulhu RPG, then you need to check out The Darkest of the Hillside Thicket. Please check out their BandCamp site and their official band site.


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