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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    Griffon

    Join Date
    Jan 2015

    Default More magic for CoC characters?

    I imagine that more hardcore Call of Cthulhu players will find this to be sacrilege but I have been thinking of running a CoC game where players have much more access to magic, possibly using Pulp Cthulhu rules or importing a magic system from some other BRP game. I'm kind of stuck on how to pull it off or if there's a better system to use.

    I have a very specific concept for this campaign. CoC scenarios or similar ones where the player characters are occultists and magic-users who are able to fight back. I keeping of old Dr Strange comics as appropriate atmosphere but obviously don't want a party that powerful.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    GnomeWizardGuy

    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: More magic for CoC characters?

    Here's 2 games to look into:

    Mage the ascension/awakening: mix and match magic. Create new spells and learn to balance paradox.

    Unknown armies: pick an obsession, do magic based on that obsession. Get magical mana charge by doing difficult or dangerous stuff relating to your obsession.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Mar 2020

    Default Re: More magic for CoC characters?

    You should look at Carcosa.

    To wit: there are six types of ritual: invocation, conjuration, binding, banishment, torture and destruction. These all operate on some entity of the mythos, or comparable paranormal creatures. Effect depends on the creature, of course. Invocation brings the wisdom of the creature into the mind of a person, conjuration brings the creature physically into the sorcerer's presence, binding binds the creature to the sorcerer's will, banishment repels or sends back a conjured creature, torture causes pain on the creature and destruction kills it for good.

    Those are the least interesting parts. The most interesting parts are that each ritual and its associated atrocities are described in detail. Sorcery is never free, but the decision players face is not whether to use abstract build resources or mana points or sanity. It's whether they really want to hang a child in the swamp of Deep Ones at midnight during full moon. Special conditions for the rituals (specific times, specific places, specific materials) also naturally serve as adventure hooks and to create time pressure.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    DrowGuy

    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    NJ
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: More magic for CoC characters?

    Pulp Cthulhu is absolutely the way to go for this type of game. I would also look at other BRP sources like Runequest or Magic World. The Magic Book is another resource I recommend looking into. Check out Advanced Sorcerey if you like it and wand to get more stuff involved.
    Last edited by Beelzebub1111; 2023-09-13 at 12:08 PM.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Aug 2022

    Default Re: More magic for CoC characters?

    We've been successfully combining RQ with CoC for many years now. But any of the BRP stuff should work (all more or less the same basic system).

    One caveat I would caution about is that the spells in CoC are really designed for more ritual use, while a lot of the other BRP magic sources are more of a traditional sword and sorcery focused methodology. I can't speak to all of the sources out there, but this does tend to mean that direct combat magic and spell balance is completely different. In the more traditional systems, the magic and mundane stuff is balanced a bit more, with more combat magic, but designed to be manageable against mundane targets. CoC doesn't really balance this at all. Spells tend to be more of the "all or nothing" variety, with "all" often meaning complete doom and despair for the spell target. The primary objective in CoC is to not be targetted by magic at all if possible, and stop rituals before they are completed. And most spell casters in CoC aren't really that tough to deal with once you can find and confront them directly (very few actual combat usable spells that work better than a shotgun blast to the face).

    Depending on the setting/theme you are going for, you'll either want to import additional magic stuff into your CoC game, or import CoC stuff into some other system. We've found that it tends to work best to use the more traditional magic systems for the day to day magic use out there (again, depends on what you are going for), and include the ritual stuff into this, since it's often more of an environmental effect. Of course, if you're going for a more classic CoC game feel, then even the "day to day" magic should be rare and limited to just some folks (which it sounds a bit like what you are going for). You'll have to do some playing around and testing to get the right balance though.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    PirateWench

    Join Date
    Jan 2012

    Default Re: More magic for CoC characters?

    Quote Originally Posted by gbaji View Post
    We've been successfully combining RQ with CoC for many years now. But any of the BRP stuff should work (all more or less the same basic system).
    Yeah, many years ago, I wanted to run a game set in the CoC universe but where the PCs had superpowers, so they could actually fight some of the more interesting creatures (but would still lose against a god of course). This led to a very weird and complicated multiversal multi-genre game, but the relevant part is that there was a superhero game created by Chaosium (the Runequest/CoC/Elric etc people) called Superworld. It wasn't any good (which is why you've probably never heard of it), but it worked well enough for a short period of time.

    Trivia: If I'm remembering correctly, it was a campaign in the Superworld system that was the basis for the characters from the Wild Cards novels edited by George R. R. Martin.

    But something that's more relevant to a normal CoC game is this: You know the Dreamlands supplement? It has spells in it, meant for the more fantastic adventures in the Dreamlands. I think it would be pretty reasonable to bring those spells into the waking world version of CoC if you want to have more powerful spellcasting. The spells still aren't too ridiculous, but they are a lot more powerful than the regular CoC spells.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Aug 2022

    Default Re: More magic for CoC characters?

    Quote Originally Posted by SimonMoon6 View Post
    Yeah, many years ago, I wanted to run a game set in the CoC universe but where the PCs had superpowers, so they could actually fight some of the more interesting creatures (but would still lose against a god of course). This led to a very weird and complicated multiversal multi-genre game, but the relevant part is that there was a superhero game created by Chaosium (the Runequest/CoC/Elric etc people) called Superworld. It wasn't any good (which is why you've probably never heard of it), but it worked well enough for a short period of time.
    Yeah. I played Superworld. Like... once. It really didn't work very well IIRC. And since we were already well into playing Champions at the time, we just never felt the need to use the system for a super level game anyway.

    Quote Originally Posted by SimonMoon6 View Post
    But something that's more relevant to a normal CoC game is this: You know the Dreamlands supplement? It has spells in it, meant for the more fantastic adventures in the Dreamlands. I think it would be pretty reasonable to bring those spells into the waking world version of CoC if you want to have more powerful spellcasting. The spells still aren't too ridiculous, but they are a lot more powerful than the regular CoC spells.
    Yup. Have and use the Dreamlands stuff as well. And you are correct, the Dreamlands spells are much more in line with what you might expect from a more traditional sword and sorcery style game. There are some tricky bits to just bring them into the waking world, but it is doable. And yes, they are much more powerful in terms of direct/immediate effects than anything in CoC.

    In our RQ game, we actually incorporate both CoC and Dreamlands. But we use the more standard RQ magic system for "normal magic" that everyone uses day to day. CoC stuff is more in the "horrible ritual evil stuff that crazy people might try doing". And Dreamlands stuff we actually play pretty much as straight Dreamlands (with some hooks as to how one gets there, and what they can do when there). It can be a lot of fun.

    One of the best single session adventures I've ever run was a Dreamlands adventure. It was that super rare combination of perfect timing, perfect execution, and perfect player reactions. I've run a few dreamlands adventures since then, but haven't ever been able to do it quite as perfectly since (had a couple that were "really good", but...). So yeah. I really realy like doing Dreamlands stuff.

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