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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    ken-do-nim's Avatar

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    Question Call of Cthulhu/D&D combined campaign?

    I've got this crazy idea for a campaign in which by day the players run investigators in d20 Call of Cthulhu, and when they go to sleep they enter the Dreamlands and become their D&D 3.5 selves. They soon learn that the two worlds are interconnected, and that everyone has a dreamlands alternate self. Someone who dies in one world dies in the other. The main badguy is a wizard who has learned to jump between the worlds and plans to unleash his plot in the "real" world, where there isn't an abundance of magic to stop him. Probably in the finale the investigators gain their D&D powers in the real world too.

    Okay, so that's the concept, now I'm faced with the mechanics. Each player will have 2 character sheets, one for their CoC self and one for their D&D self. But how do I make them interconnected? If you level in one do you go up a level in the other? Should the hit points be the same? Etc.

    Does anybody have any experience in running a campaign like this?

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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Call of Cthulhu/D&D combined campaign?

    Well, it's really up to you. There's no reason why they have to level up in one world and do the same in the other, and hit points should definitely not be the same (giving D+D characters CoC hit points would just make them very weak, and giving CoC characterd D+D hit points would make them too strong).

    Really there's no reason why they can't function completely seperately in dream and waking lives, just keep the challenges properly in proportion. When in the real world their opponent may just be a crusty old man with a few weak spells, in the dreamworld he might have the power of an archmage.

    The big thing is what you're describing doesn't sound much like Call of Cthulhu, it sounds more like a hybrid of d20 modern and D+D. Call of Cthulhu's spells and available abilities are very different and don't necessarily work too well in combination with D+D. The biggest issue is the mage, who will clearly be using extremely weird magic compared to the sort normally available in CoC. it's not necessarily an impossible combo but you might get a smoother experience in something like d20 modern.
    Last edited by oriong; 2007-02-16 at 10:13 PM.
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    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: Call of Cthulhu/D&D combined campaign?

    I would say no, don't level up the waking characters to match their dream-selves. I don't know much about CoC but I have in mind Lovecraft's dreamscape stories, where there wasn't really any indication that being powerful in your dreams translated into anything in the real world. What might work would be to use some D&D skills as bonuses in CoC, so that your experience in the dreamworld would give you better knowledge checks or similar while awake.

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    Default Re: Call of Cthulhu/D&D combined campaign?

    I would tend to agree. The 'selves' should level up seperately, but you might consider providing a mechanism that allows knowledge from one world to bleed over into the another.
    Last edited by Matthew; 2007-02-17 at 08:52 AM.
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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    ken-do-nim's Avatar

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    Default Re: Call of Cthulhu/D&D combined campaign?

    Quote Originally Posted by oriong View Post
    Well, it's really up to you. There's no reason why they have to level up in one world and do the same in the other, and hit points should definitely not be the same (giving D+D characters CoC hit points would just make them very weak, and giving CoC characterd D+D hit points would make them too strong).

    Really there's no reason why they can't function completely seperately in dream and waking lives, just keep the challenges properly in proportion. When in the real world their opponent may just be a crusty old man with a few weak spells, in the dreamworld he might have the power of an archmage.
    I see what you mean, I was just looking for something more to tie the two different characters together besides role-play knowledge.

    Quote Originally Posted by oriong View Post
    The big thing is what you're describing doesn't sound much like Call of Cthulhu, it sounds more like a hybrid of d20 modern and D+D. Call of Cthulhu's spells and available abilities are very different and don't necessarily work too well in combination with D+D. The biggest issue is the mage, who will clearly be using extremely weird magic compared to the sort normally available in CoC. it's not necessarily an impossible combo but you might get a smoother experience in something like d20 modern.
    Lovecraft's literature already has the concept of a Dreamlands built in, but of course I could definitely play a Cthulhu-like campaign using d20 modern rules. Trouble is ... I can't find any d20 modern adventures besides those available on the wizards website. At least for d20 cthulhu I have Nocturnum.

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    Default Re: Call of Cthulhu/D&D combined campaign?

    Steven King's "The Talisman" is pretty much the same premise, maybe you get inspired from there.

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    Default Re: Call of Cthulhu/D&D combined campaign?

    One way to connect them might be to keep the selves separate except for skills. Let them use the highest skill rank of either self, regardless of which world they're in. That way, the one who is a Bard in his dreams will get better at diplomacy in the real world, the one who dreams of Rogues will remember how locks are picked, etc.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Call of Cthulhu/D&D combined campaign?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dark View Post
    One way to connect them might be to keep the selves separate except for skills. Let them use the highest skill rank of either self, regardless of which world they're in. That way, the one who is a Bard in his dreams will get better at diplomacy in the real world, the one who dreams of Rogues will remember how locks are picked, etc.
    I think you're on to something!

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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Call of Cthulhu/D&D combined campaign?

    In that case keep in mind that not all skills will carry over, for example many science and academic skills are often used in call of cthulhu and modern games which will never see the light of day in D+D, the same goes for stuff like Drive, electronics, and many other modern skills. You'll need to be cautious about forcing players to sacrifice skill points for one 'self' to the exclusion of the other.

    A different option might be allow skills from one 'self' to synergize with itself for the other 'self'. For instance, the D+D rogue is going to have a ton more skills than the CoC investigator, it'll be almost certain, likewise the D+D wizard may have a lot less skills than his CoC counterpart. So, if say one 'self' has the same skill at 5 or more ranks the other 'self' gets a +2 bonus to it's use whether he has any ranks in it or not (this also helps handle problems like the fact that picking a lock in the quasi-medival D+D setting has little or nothing to do with picking a modern lock).
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    Default Re: Call of Cthulhu/D&D combined campaign?

    Why run the Dreamlands with different mechanics or systems? They're an integral part of the Cthulhu Mythos, and the rules of CoC and CoCd20 both obviously support them. It's not some high-fantasy world where characters are supermen - it's a really bizarre, dreamlike, fantastic place where monsters and gods are found in abundance.


    ... er, I guess I'm assuming here that anyone who runs CoC knows what the Dreamlands is, and has read The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, at the very least.

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    HalfOrcPirate

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    Default Re: Call of Cthulhu/D&D combined campaign?

    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas View Post
    Why run the Dreamlands with different mechanics or systems? They're an integral part of the Cthulhu Mythos, and the rules of CoC and CoCd20 both obviously support them. It's not some high-fantasy world where characters are supermen - it's a really bizarre, dreamlike, fantastic place where monsters and gods are found in abundance.
    The different mechanic would serve to mark the absolute alterity which (in the stories) is conveyed in a shift of narrative style. Alternatively, one might chose some other mechanic besides D&D, one more fantastic and bizzare, rather than high-fantasy. But D&D not a bad option, given that it's ready and available.

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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Call of Cthulhu/D&D combined campaign?

    I for one think it'd be a neattastical campaign

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Call of Cthulhu/D&D combined campaign?

    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas View Post
    Why run the Dreamlands with different mechanics or systems? They're an integral part of the Cthulhu Mythos, and the rules of CoC and CoCd20 both obviously support them. It's not some high-fantasy world where characters are supermen - it's a really bizarre, dreamlike, fantastic place where monsters and gods are found in abundance.


    ... er, I guess I'm assuming here that anyone who runs CoC knows what the Dreamlands is, and has read The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, at the very least.
    Ooh ooh I can answer that one! Not all of my players are ready to make the switch to a different game system, so I thought this would be a neat way of getting variety and have everybody go along with it.

    Yeah I know that Randolph Carter certainly didn't gain any superpowers in the Dreamlands, he never gets to use his sword because he gets disarmed by a whatcha-ma-callit, but I figure it isn't too big a stretch to say the characters gain additional powers when there.

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