View Full Version : Cthulhu / Scooby Doo Style Table Top - What system to use?

2019-02-17, 04:31 PM
Hey y'all, I was wondering if anyone could recommend a table top system to use for a homebrewed campaign I'd like to run for my friends.

I was thinking something very like the board games Manions of Madness at lower levels, Arkham Horror at mid levels, and Eldritch Horror at upper levels.

Obviously it would need a really well done 'madness' mechanic (or some similar concept).

While I'd like the system to be capable of interesting combat; I'm more interested in the players going around and solving mysteries and gathering clues, etc.

As someone whose only ever played 3.5, PF, and 5e I don't have the greatest concept of what other table top systems are out there.

Any ideas?

Son of A Lich!
2019-02-17, 05:06 PM

Now this is a challenge...

I'm going to start with an obligatory M&M shout out. It's doable, but I think it probably would be better served with a diceless system in stead of any roll-for-it game.

So, to start off, you need a good grasp on mysteries and intrigue. It's not enough to have +investigation skill bonus and to just tell the players what they are seeing. They need a methodology of investigation on their own, or it just makes the game "Roll dice enough times to progress" and no one likes that.

Coupling this with Cthulu mythos is a challenge, because a large portion of Lovecraftian terror is the backlash of not being certain of what you are dealing with. If you understand what the elder beings are up to, I think you have lost the feeling of Cthulu.

I think... I would pitch this as Dread with a lil' extra house rule.

Normally in Dread, when the tower falls, a player dies or will die. I would house rule it as "If the tower falls, an NPC dies and it's your fault* (If possible)". So, the players are in, let say Berlin, trying to catch a deranged cultist, who has been killing middle aged men and taking their right foot. The players have the ability to press forward, go to lengthy investigations and you are freely able to aquire evidence and piece together a solution on their own. But the riskier and more challenging investigation methods increase the chance that the players are going to get a call from the Berlin police saying "You're gonna wanna take a look at this" and a new body being discovered.

What's worse is if they drop the tower only to wait for the phone call that isn't coming. Knowing that someone else has died and not having access to that information can lead them to trace their foot prints and find out who is missing and where they went off to.

I think this could work, it's not as cool as a Scooby Doo trap, but I think that could be incorporated.

2019-02-17, 11:07 PM
I was thinking that there was already a game of Scoobythulhu, but I was thinking of this (https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=I1p7L-h2yE8) instead.

But if it is a one-shot, I would say Fate Accelerated. The characters are simple in what they can do, but can be fleshed out nicely. You can even had one person play the animal sidekick without any problems. I cannot say how well it would work for a campaign, having only used it for one-shots.

I have heard good things about the Gumshoe system, including Trail of Cthulhu, but not got to play any of them and only read Ashen Stars.

2019-02-18, 12:31 PM
Obligatory suggestion, Call of Chtulhu. If wanting more staying power, perhaps Pulp Chtulhu.

2019-02-18, 12:57 PM
Have you considered "Chill"?

Lord Shark
2019-02-18, 02:19 PM
I would say Trail of Cthulhu is absolutely what you want. It emphasizes clues and mystery-solving over action, but can handle action fine, and has a good madness system. It also supports two styles of play -- Pulp, for players who want to be two-fisted monster-bashing heroes, and Purist, where PCs are a lot more fragile health- and sanity-wise and will almost certainly end up either dead or insane as a result of meddling with the Mythos.

Black Jester
2019-02-18, 02:51 PM
The best way - hell, the only worthwhile hway - to play anything related to Cthulhu is classic Call of Cthulhu. Trail in pairtuclar is an excellent source of background material and inspirational materials, but the rules are exclusively book keeping and about as much fun and as dynamic as cheiwng glass. A good candidate for the most confounding difference in quality between fluff and crunch of any given RPG.

For that kind of game you have in mind, I would also strongly recommend reading the short story "Fat Face" by Michael Shea. It is basically a Scooby Doo Reveal in reverse...

2019-02-21, 09:10 PM
I mean, Scooby Doo Chthulhu is a pretty good description of Betrayal at House on Haunted Hill, but you can't exactly do a full-blown RPG there...