March 7th, 2009

South Park Me

Adventures in Character Creation

In between creating characters for my DunDraCon game and another to play in an 1890s campaign, I've been doing a lot of character creation with Call of Cthulhu, and it has not been a happy experience. A common complaint about CoC using their traditional Basic Role-Playing (BRP) system is that characters are almost always incompetent bumblers, constantly failing underskilled rolls with even the most menial of tasks. I think a lot of this comes from a wrongheaded approach to the rules, where Keepers call for skill rolls in situations that should be an automatic success unless the player rolls a 01 for a critical failure, or when, outside of combat, a failed skill roll is interpreted as a complete failure rather than simply less than a full success (i.e. your failed Spot Hidden roll may still give you the clue necessary to get to the next scene, but it doesn't give you all the clues that could have alerted you to the cultist ambush in that next scene). That said, characters created under BRP do end up as poorly-skilled even for an average person, which might be okay if you're trying to play H.P Lovecraft in a Lovecraftian game, but less so when you want to break out of that mold and play an even slightly competent and well-rounded human being, much less a WWII commando. So I am going to try to create a typical Our Darkest Hour character from just the basic CoC rules (the ones in the 6th edition book) and those in the Basic Role-Playing book, and see if I can come up with a system that works. Here is the character I am trying to create:

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