Monday, November 20, 2017

Gorgon Archer - Call of Cthulhu 6th Edition - Character Advancement

Character advancement in Call of Cthulhu is accomplished by the use of skills. When you succeed at a skill in a particular adventure then you gain a check mark against that skill. At the end of the adventure, you will make a roll against that skill. If you roll higher than your percentage then you have learned something new and increase the percentage by 1d10. If you roll lower or equal to your percentage then the success falls within something you already knew and you do not improve.

Reversing the criteria for success from rolling low (in gameplay) to rolling high (checking for improvement) means that as your character becomes more skilled at something that it becomes harder for them to improve it which is realistic to some degree.

There is also the chance to improve your skills by training. The book presents this as taking six months during which time you target a single course of study. At the end of that time, you roll and try to get equal or less than your Intelligence plus Power x2. On a success you get 1d10 added to the skill in question. I have, however, seen GMs reduce this to two to three months of focused time.

Another avenue of improvement comes in the reading of tomes and in encountering creatures of the mythos. These will tend to increase your Cthulhu Mythos which has the downside of reducing your maximum Sanity. That said, as most players will not begin with a Sanity of 99, there is a buffer space before your pursuit of Cthulhu Mythos will start to have a noticeable effect. This is because 99 minus your Cthulhu Mythos is a maximum Sanity score beyond that of your Power x5.

Power may also improve. There's a chance for it to improve after an adventure where you've successfully cast a spell and a chance whenever you roll a 1 on a Luck roll.

Because of the time required to read tomes, seek therapy to recover sanity, and conduct training, most Call of Cthulhu cases happen months apart from each other rather than one on top of another the way you often find happening in other RPG campaigns.

To make it easy on myself I am going to follow the trail of cases that is presented in "Let's Die in Call of Cthulhu" with Kikoskia in the roll of GM or Keeper. Also there are Klyka, Helloween4545, Rufert, and a few other let's players whose links I do not have.

I am breaking up the Damocles Gambit into several sub-cases as that seems to be the way they've handled them in that campaign. I'm including the solo-adventures of E. Died and Helloween's Doctor but not the otherworldly adventures of Stravinski. There's no reason for this because it doesn't change the rather unrealistic way I'm simulating the weirdness that might develop, but I do like that bunch of Let's Players so might as well use them just for a story frame work to make this interesting. This gives me about 10 sessions worth of game play so I'm going to add a few more on top of that to make fourteen, which has been my minimum session count so far. I may go back and enter in the books later when I've listened to the let's play again and gotten their names.

I am deliberately testing for a lot of different skills, in fact I'm testing each skill and Luck once despite basing on a scenario I've heard played. This produces a lot more rolls than you'd really get in a case, including testing skills not really appropriate to the case as I remember it, but could account for a lot of weirdness and variety in how a scenario was played. However, due to this I am not accounting for between case training. I am also only rolling once each skill even if it is something like Spot Hidden which would be used several times. If I actually get a low enough when I test for punch, headbutt, or kick, I'll also check martial arts but not test it on its own. In the interest of space, I'm only noting successful improvements.


  • The Haunting - A classic set-piece adventure for the game. - 1 session
    • Skills
      • Accounting +8 
      • Throw +7
      • Listen +8
      • Hatchet +6
      • Grapple +10
      • Dodge +9
    • Corbet's Journal -1 Sanity, +1 Cthulhu Mythos
    • Monsters: Reanimated Wizard, Ghost
      • Corbet - -10 Sanity, Hallucinations/Delusions, Indefinite Insanity: Hallucinations, +5 Cthulhu Mythos
    • Sanity Recovery
      • Ended haunting: +1
      • Psychotherapy 3 Months: +8
  • Do What I Cannot - The dying wish of a man to fix his youthful mistakes. - 1 session
    • Skills
      • Swim +1
      • Library Use +10
      • Hide +8
      • Spot Hidden +1
      • Credit Rating +8
    • Book: Journal -2 Sanity, +2 Cthulhu Mythos
    • Monsters: Spawn of Yog-Sothoth
      • Sanity -1
    • Sanity Recovery
      • Banished monster +2
  • A Knife in the Dark - The search for a missing young man. - 1 session
    • Skills
      • Drive Auto +7
      • Hide +7
      • Rifle +8
      • Listen +10
      • Punch +8
      • First Aid +4
      • Credit Rating +1
      • Dodge +9
    •  Monsters: Cultists, Headless Monster
      • Sanity -7
    • Sanity Recovery
      • Completing Case +2
  • A Pit of Blades - Retaliation for past deeds. - 2 sessions
    • Skills
      • Handgun +4
      • Submachine Gun +8
      • Climb +8
      • Jump +10
      • Sneak +5
      • Occult +3
      • Psychology +5
      • Dodge +6
    • Monsters: Zombies, Cultists, Headless Monsters
      • Sanity Loss -4
    • Sanity Recovery
      • Case Completion +2
  • Sneaking into Trouble - Looking into the aftermath of the past case. - 1 session
    • Skills
      • Physics +8
      • Shotgun +10
      • Swim +2
      • Rifle +8
    • Monsters: Cultists
    • Sanity Recovery
      • Revenge +5
  • The Damocles Gambit - Danger strikes in transit to a new country. - 1 session
    • Skills:
      • Electrical Repair +2
      • Handgun +10
      • Mechanical Repair +1
      • Ride +2
      • Swim +8
      • Dodge +2
    • Monsters: Cultists, two unknown summons
      • Sanity Loss -2
    • Sanity Recovery
      • Safety +3
  • A Cursed Gem - Looking into the origin of an mysterious artifact. - 1 session
    • Skills
      • Drive Auto +10
      • Handgun +2
      • Shotgun +5
      • Psychology +7
      • English +10
    • Monsters: Unknown beast
      • Sanity -9
    • Sanity Recovery
      • Safety +2
  • Unjustly Slain - A man has been executed for a monster's crimes. - 1 session
    • Skills
      • Art +6
      • Mechanical Repair +8 
      • Throw +7
      • Occult +9
      • Bargain +2
      • Credit Rating +6
    • Monsters: Moonbeast
      • Sanity -0
    • Sanity Recovery
      • Banish the beast +5
  • Below the House - The group's host has secrets of his own. - 1 session
    • Skills
      • Mechanical Repair +4
      • Shotgun +9
      • Climb +1
      • Persuade +2
      • Kick +6
      • Martial Arts +4
    • Monsters: Ghouls
      • Sanity -0
    • Sanity Recovery
      • Escape +1
  • A Wrench in the Works - The group seeks to interfere with the cult. - 2 sessions (my add)
    • Skills
      • Accounting +9
      • Handgun +5
      • Machine Gun +3
      • Shotgun +7
      • Throw +3
      • Track +9
      • Climb +5
      • Grapple +4
    • Monsters: Cultists, Zombies, Wizards, Headless Monsters
      • Sanity -14, Temporary Insanity: Phobia, Indefinite Insanity: Fetish
    • Sanity Recovery
      • Defeating Cult +5
      • Treatment 3 months +6
  • From the Sea they Come - Something is seeking the gem. - 1 Session (my add)
    • Skills
      • Head Butt +1
      • Physics +5
      • Ride +5
      • Swim +6
      • Sneak +4
      • Hatchet +7
      • Fast Talk +8
    • Monsters: Deep Ones, Cultists
      • Sanity Loss -0
    • Sanity Recovery
      • Survival +1
  • On a Knife's Edge - The clock is ticking to track the cult's new holdings. - 1 session (my add)
    • Skills
      • Electrical Repair +10 
      • Handgun +1
      • Natural History +8
      • Photography +7
      • Swim +1
      • Persuade +4
      • Jump +3
      • Kick +4
      • Knife +3
    • Monsters: Cultists, Undead
      • Sanity Loss -4
    • Sanity Recovery
      • Ending the cult +10

Gorgon Hunter - Era 1920s

Strength: 9
Constitution: 13
Power: 10
Dexterity: 11
Appearance: 13
Size: 10
Intelligence: 12
Education: 8
Sanity: 50
Idea: 60
Luck: 50
Hit Points: 12
Magic Points: 10
Sanity Points: 47
Damage Bonus: +0

Starting Money: $3500 (rolled a 3)

Occupation: Hunter (using the Drifter package)

Native Language: Greek 40
English 41

Accounting 28
Art 11
Bargain 42
Climb 54
Credit Rating 30
Cthulhu Mythos 8
Dodge 48
Drive Auto 37
Electrical Repair 22
Fast Talk 18
First Aid 34
Hide 55
Jump 38
Library Use 35
Listen 83
Mechanical Repair 33
Natural History 18
Occult 17
Persuade 11
Photography 17
Physics 14
Psychology 10
Ride 12
Sneak 49
Spot Hidden 56
Swim 42
Throw 42
Track 59

Grapple 39
Handgun 42
Hatchet 33
Head Butt 11
Kick 35
Knife 28
Machine Gun 18
Martial Arts 5
Punch 58
Rifles 81
Shotgun 61
Submachine Gun 23

Further Notes

Let me start by saying that, with the knowledge of the scenarios I am using in my head, that some of these skill ticks are just a bit odd, even hilarious. I'm sitting here imagining the character going out and randomly doing repair work or sabotage on a cruise ship crossing the Atlantic for...reasons. I would also like to note how often you see 100s, 1s, 2s, 99s, and 3s, when you're rolling a whole bunch of times in a row. It is often quite frustrating. At one point I rolled a 01 for a success and then rolled a 01 to see if it improved so that the skill did not improve.

In any case, beyond the couple of books I noted early on (and formatting is doing weird things right now so not sure adding in new books will be that easy) I did add any. Aside from that, however, note that the character doesn't have many languages so there would be a limited number of books that she could read.

In all honesty, I did a sort of accelerated deal here by testing every skill once for each case because that's almost never going to happen. I can tell you right now that I am not going to usually roll to test Physics when I'm at a 1% chance in most games, but there you go. That said, she started off as the team shooty person and has pretty much sustained that position. Though, as another note, surviving this long in a Call of Cthulhu game is a truly amazing feat.

The advancement system here is interesting as it encourages players to at least try to roll on tasks that they have really low skills on just on the chance that they do succeed and cause that skill to improve. Also, the improvement of skills doesn't really make the characters more powerful or more survivable directly. It improves the ability to gather information primarily and in combat may have a marginal impact but in general even at really high skill levels, weapons do very little to affect the outcome of a fight.

One last note, I really wish credit rating improved that way in real life. That would be wonderful.

Character Creation and the Gorgon Archer

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