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Some Thoughts on the Rules Changes of Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition

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I've had the opportunity to clock in a decent amount of time playing the Call of Cthulhu 7th edition RPG since its initial release in 2014. Like the previous editions, characters from one edition are very much compatible with previous editions, though the rules themselves have undergone a lot of tweaking and fine-tuning.

So what changed?

Looking at the character sheet the first thing you notice is characteristic scores no longer are in the 3 to 18 range but rather in a percentile range. You generate characteristics in the same way - 3d6 or 2d6+6, depending on the stat, but you multiply by 5. This makes it perhaps a bit easier to make percentile rolls against abilities but it doesn't affect gameplay very much. Looking at the quickstart rules for Chaosium's upcoming RuneQuest revision it doesn't seem like this change will carry over there.

Perhaps the biggest change is the addition of a full difficulty system. In previous versions of Call of Cthulhu, there was no difficu…

RPG Review: Blueholme Journeymanne Rules

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For a number of older D&D players, their introduction to the game came from the D&D Basic Set as written by Eric Holmes. It wasn't my start - I began with the magenta set that followed it - but some of the people I gamed with had the Holmes Basic Set.

The Holmes Basic is an interesting artifact, an intermediate step between the Original and Advanced D&D rules. Michael Thomas a few years ago developed a retroclone of the Holmes Basic rules, called Blueholme PrenticeRules. Like the original Basic Set it was a low level game. With the JourneymanneRules the game covers levels 1 to 20.

It's a well done book that fits a lot into a slim volume - when I received it I was amazed how much it crammed into its 112 pages. This review will assume familiarity with D&D which I presume is a reasonably safe assumption.

Like every D&D game it has the classic six ability scores. As is often the case in older versions of D&D these scores aren't as important as they are …

The Sims as a Tabletop RPG Gateway

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My 12-year old daughter, the geekier of my two kids, has begun experimenting with tabletop RPGs. Over the holiday break I decided to spin up the Sims 4, a game she's pretty obsessed over. I played the Sims once a gazillion years ago - I think the one I tried was the Sims 2 if I recall correctly.
For those totally unfamiliar with the franchise, the premise is it is a life simulator type of RPG. You create one or more characters or "Sims". Your Sim has various traits that you can decide and by completing various aspiration quests you can build up more traits. You manage money, your Sims' social lives, hygiene, careers, relationships, eating, bladders, etc. 
One thing I found as I build up a household is how much of the skills a player develops in playing the game are applicable to a tabletop RPG. I've built up a household from a single Sim who got married, had four kids, a cat, and a dog. The initial stages of play are like a low-level D&D game - living in a c…

My Dream Call of Cthulhu Sourcebooks

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I've been poking my nose in Call of Cthulhu a bit of late. I recently picked up Chaosium's Darker Trails supplement for Call of Cthulhu, detailing Mythos gaming in the Old West. It's very well done, though I'm not yet at the point of being able to give it a full review. I'm pleased that Chaosium seems to have regained its footing after many years in the gaming wilderness.

With Chaosim exploring new settings for Call of Cthulhu, I got to thinking of a laundry list of settings that would be interesting for current edition of the game.

Updating the Gaslight and Dark Ages sourcebooks. The Clark Ashton Smith setting of Averoigne could work well in a Dark Ages type campaign.Gilded Age America - kind of an east coast counterpart to Darker Trails. I've had Gaslight games find their way to New York City and it's an untapped setting for such gaming.Colonial-era America - Using Cthulhu Dark to experiment with colonial American Mythos gaming really made me appreciate h…

My Thoughts on Star Wars: The Last Jedi

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I've waited a little while to post my thoughts on The Last Jedi to give a reasonable delay for spoilers. This isn't a review per se as it pretty much assumes you've seen the film.

Being a Star Wars geek I've seen it in the theatre three times. My 12-year old Jasmine came along for all those viewings. I think she might be a bit of a geek too (with additional family members at some of those viewings).

Overall I liked it a lot - and surprisingly, I found my opinion going up with repeat viewing. My initial thoughts were I found the storyline with the Resistance Fleet being pursued to be a little bit weak and taking too short an amount of time to sync with Rey's story. Repeat viewings made me appreciate it a lot more. The Last Jedi goes for more subtlety than most Star Wars films. The Resistance Fleet storyline nicely exhibited the importance of leadership. If Poe, Rose, and Finn had done nothing, there would have been far fewer casualties. In most stories the hot-shot…

Fiction Review: Ready Player One

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Big hair from the eighties looks normal to me. My best friend from high school - she had huge hair.

This is relevant as the novel Ready Player One  is part love-letter to the culture of the 1980s - especially the geek culture. A 2011 novel by Ernest Cline, I noticed some buzz about it but never got around to reading it. Having seen a number of trailers for the upcoming movie adaptation - trailers from which I couldn't quite tell if it looked awesome or dumb - I decided to give it a read on my time off from both work and grad school at the end of the year. The audiobook is read by Wil Wheaton, which read to a bit of oddness when Wil Wheaton is mentioned briefly in the novel itself...

Ready Player One takes place in a dystopian 2040s. Cheap oil is a thing of the distant past, leading to the United States and the rest of the world suffering from a decades long economic disaster. The protagonist Wade Wilson, is the orphaned child of refugees. American refugees, as people unable to fue…

RPG Review: Star Frontiers

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I was never able to get a copy of the Traveller RPG as a kid. The local hobby shop, long since departed, had the Traveller books, but I never knew where to start. I saw little black books -  Books starting with 4, Supplements, etc. But I never knew where to get the first three books. 
My first science fiction RPG was Gamma World but shortly after it I obtained Star Frontiers. Gamma World scared me a little bit. This was the early and mid 1980s. It was a time when nuclear war didn't seem all that unlikely a possibility. Yes, Gamma World was over the top and wild, but the setting of a fallen Earth always made me feel a little down.
Star Frontiers, on the other hand, was something I could get into. Gleaming towers, hover cars, laser pistols etc. 
Let's talk a little about the setting of Star Frontiers. It takes place in the "Frontier", a region close to the center of the galaxy where four species have come together to form the United Planetary Federation - the UPF. They…