Category Archives: Gumshoe System

Alternatives to Lovecraft?

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We all love Lovecraftian horror. Call of Cthulhu has always been a pretty popular roleplaying game. For most people it’s THE horror roleplaying game. But this popularity comes at a price. Over the years, you have seen it all. You quickly know so much about the Cthulhu Mythos, that there are fewer and fewer surprises. Sure, the story presented by the GM may have unexpected twists, but the mystery at the core of it all becomes a bit stale after a while.

cthulhu-art-lovecraft-cthulhu

Luckily there are games that try to press the same buttons as CoC without actually being based on Lovecraft’s stories. Unfortunately these games don’t get the attention they deserve, so that’s why I want to talk about two games dear to my heart.

Continue reading Alternatives to Lovecraft?

RPG a Day 2015 Challenge – Day 20

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Fourth favorites RPG entry this week for the #RPGaDay2015 challenge! Big thanks to everybody who’s left a comment, liked or shared in social media, It’s good to be back blogging, and one of the best things is getting back in touch with the wonderful community of Stargazer’s World and the greater RPG blogging community.

The topic today is spine tingling, in special mythos vision!

Day 21 – Favorite horror RPG

No contest, Call of Cthulhu!

CoC

The first edition I owned!

Lately it seems Cthulhu is everywhere, like John Kovalic said in Dork Tower, Cthulhu is the bacon of gaming! There are so many systems you can play a Cthulhu game in, D20, Gumshoe (Trail of Cthulhu), Tremulus, and I’m missing a few, but for me the original Basic RPG, percentile based, Call of Cthulhu, is still the best.

Amazingly I’ve never run a CoC game! I’ve only ran a couple of horror one shots using a freeform system, a one shot zombie game and a 7 session zombie mini campaign using Savage Worlds, but never Call of Cthulhu. Why is that?

I really believe it has a lot to do with player expectations, CoC really requires a different mindset from the combat intensive, kill’em loot’em typical fantasy game, and sometimes players are not ready to play character with sanities flimsier than a Kleenex.

However, I LOVE playing horror games, I was spoiled by my good friend Luis Miranda who really ran some amazing Call of Cthulhu games. I would play another of his CoC adventures in a heartbeat.

On the last three posts I’ve listed all the genre media that inspired my love of those games, but in the case of Call of Cthulhu it was the game that introduced me to the works of HP Lovecraft, others that contributed to the mythos and all the wonderful horror literature inspired by this mythology. Granted Lovecraft can be a controversial figure, but his stories still hold my interest and I discovered so many wonderful authors thanks to this game, and that’s a good thing!

What’s your favorite horror game? Let us know in the comments. See you tomorrow.

PS – I might have shared them before, but I think they are appropriate for the post, the Reaper Cthulhu miniature (and that term is relative) painted by my good friend Braulio Rivera in front of a CoC boxed set. Enjoy…

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NaGaDeMon: It’s Full Of Stars!

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One thing which makes NaGaDeMon so hard for me is that I tend to read a lot of roleplaying games especially the ones I like while I should be focusing on writing stuff myself. There are a couple of systems I love, and everything I write tends to slowly transforms into a bad copy of those systems. Instead of hanging my head in shame, I decided to share some of these games with you.

The main reason I started to work on WR&M Pocket Edition was that I wanted to create something as simple and elegant as Chris McDowall’s Into The Odd. Chris took D&D, stripped away almost everything and combined it with a very unique and awesome setting. The free version is still available on his blog, while a new version (which will also be available in print) is being worked on right now. Into The Odd has all the weirdness of a game like Numenera while being extremely simple to run and play. If you haven’t checked it out, you definitely should do so.

Apropos Numenera, Monte Cook’s Cypher system is another rules system I recently fell in love with. It’s fully player-facing, very easy to run, and has a couple of very intriguing mechanics I wish I came up with. One thing I love about the system is the Effort system. The players can lower the difficulty of tasks by spending points from their attribute pools.

This also reminded me of the way General skills in Robin D. Laws’ Gumshoe System work. Like the attribute pools in the Cypher system, the skill ratings in Esoterrorists, Trail of Cthulhu, etc. are resources to spend. Skill checks are done with a d6 and you can add points from your skills to improve your chances. I always wanted to write a system which uses skills/attributes in such a way, so it was no surprise that my updated version of Galaxy Core started to look a bit like a Frankensteinian creation – one part Galaxy Core and one part Gumshoe or Chyper. Not a pretty sight, I can assure you.
By the way, Gumshoe is now available under not one but two open licenses (CC and OGL). If you haven’t done so, you definitely should check out the SRD.

By the way, I also found the perfect magic system to be included in WR&M Pocket Edition or a WRM 2nd Edition.  R.E. Davis recently told me about his fantasy “rule manifesto” Patchwork Fantasy which is partly based on WR&M. It features an awesome spell system, which basically allows players to design their own spells by assigning 3 to 4 tags. Brilliant! You can check it out here.

At the moment I am not sure how I should proceed with my NaGaDeMon projects. I am tempted to put the two projects I wrote about earlier this week in favor of a simplified version of the Gumshoe system. It might even be possible to turn it into a system suited for fantasy games. And since it’s now licensed under CC it’s even perfectly legal now. It’s very tempting to mess with a system written by my favorite game designer, it really is.

Note: The image above was created by Pauline Moss and has been used under the terms of the CC-BY-NC 3.0 license. Check out her DeviantArt site!