A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Halfling in the Playground
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    Default Call of Cthulhu and dice rolls

    I've started my first WORKING Call of Cthulhu campaign recently, and I wonder whether or not I should let my players do dice rolls.

    In my opinion, having to talk rules and percentages and points and dice rolls with the players ruins the atmosphere. Rolling behind the screen and telling players the results is a much better way to keep them in the story.

    On the other hand, managing four characters' statistics AND all of the NPCs is hard work. There has to be a way to make things easier.

    Please tell me about your experiences with open vs. hidden rolls in Cthulhu and tell me how you solve the problem of atmosphere vs. rules without finding players who are actually able to manage statistics while immersing themselves ...

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Kesnit's Avatar

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    Default Re: Call of Cthulhu and dice rolls

    I've only run 1 campaign and it only went a few sessions. (I set it up to be short to see if I could run and others wanted to play.) Also, my players are all in their 30s or 40s and are long-time gamers. YMMV.

    I didn't have a problem with my players rolling their own dice. Sure, they would know if the reason they got "nothing happens" was because they failed the roll, as opposed to there being nothing to happen, but they didn't metagame it.

    As you said, you have enough to do juggling everything behind the screen.
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  3. - Top - End - #3
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    some guy's Avatar

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    Default Re: Call of Cthulhu and dice rolls

    Yeah, dice rolls can lessen atmosphere. But I think it increases player involvement. Rolling dice is part of the fun (for a lot of people).

    Quote Originally Posted by Kesnit View Post
    I didn't have a problem with my players rolling their own dice. Sure, they would know if the reason they got "nothing happens" was because they failed the roll, as opposed to there being nothing to happen, but they didn't metagame it.
    Sometimes, these bit of metagame knowledge are wonderful. Failing a Spot Hidden check for example. The player knows something can be up, he also knows his character doesn't know this. So the player is all "Oh crud, oh crud, something bad is going to happen. I do not want to do this.", but his character will just continue what he's doing. This too can create tension.
    It's the same thing if you're watching a horror movie and a character does something stupid or does not notice the drooling mass at the ceiling. The viewer is all "Look up, you stupid! Aaahh! I can't believe you won't look up!".

    I've had plenty of times in my CoC games people freak out because they knew what they rolled.
    Of course, there are times where player dice rolls are immersion breaking.

    All in all, I would say let them roll their own dice.


    EDIT: Mind you, I run both BRP CoC and d20 CoC. I base this post on d20 CoC, since I play that more often. d20 has the advantage of the players only knowing that they rolled high or low. BRP has the disadvantage of players knowing they succeed or fail. I'm using the words "advantage" and "disadvantage" here, because if a d20 player rolled a 17 on spot and spots nothing he knows that there are two possibilities:
    "There's nothing hidden here, so safe."
    or
    "I didn't spot anything with a high roll, anything hidden here must be real difficult to spot. Oh god, what if it's a star vampire. Ohgodohgodohgodohgod."
    while if a BRP player rolls 15 out of his 55 points in Spot hidden and sees nothing he knows that there is only one possibility:
    "There's nothing hidden here, so safe."

    So, d20 dice rolls still carry an uncertainty factor with them while BRP dice rolls do not. I do feel this makes a difference in the two systems.
    Last edited by some guy; 2011-02-23 at 07:38 AM.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Re: Call of Cthulhu and dice rolls

    Give the players their character sheets. They don't need to have a bacherlors of science to understand they need to roll under whatever stat you ask for. Call of Cthulhu is one of those games where it's easy to understand the character sheet once you know what you're looking for.

    Plus, you as the GM can figure out anything that's more complicated then a spot hidden check.

    Atmosphere in Cthulhu is based on things happening in the game. The players don't need you to tell them they failed something in order for them to freak out. Them rolling a 97 on a shotgun use or critically failing when they tried to throw the bomb at the ghouls chasing them will get the same result.

    Atmosphere in Cthulhu comes from good descriptions of horrible monsters and the sad lack of knowledge when you try to fight them. You should be running! You should go to a library to do more research!

    Whether you roll the dice or they do really doesn't have much to do with that.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Re: Call of Cthulhu and dice rolls

    Quote Originally Posted by SatyreIkon View Post
    I've started my first WORKING Call of Cthulhu campaign recently, and I wonder whether or not I should let my players do dice rolls.

    In my opinion, having to talk rules and percentages and points and dice rolls with the players ruins the atmosphere. Rolling behind the screen and telling players the results is a much better way to keep them in the story.

    On the other hand, managing four characters' statistics AND all of the NPCs is hard work. There has to be a way to make things easier.

    Please tell me about your experiences with open vs. hidden rolls in Cthulhu and tell me how you solve the problem of atmosphere vs. rules without finding players who are actually able to manage statistics while immersing themselves ...
    Use Risus rules (or other rules-light system).
    Really, it's not like you are doing a dungeon crawl. You don't care about the stats.
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