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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default CoC Balance Checking

    All right, my friends, I'm getting ready to step into the breach. I've planned out practically everything for my campaign that I need. I know who the BBEG is, have planned out what might happen for every potential place my players would reasonably go to investigate the mystery, and believe myself to be flexible enough to compensate if they go somewhere unexpected. All that is left is to stat out the bad guys and monsters. Here's my question:

    I haven't been involved in many CoC fights. How can I check to see if my monsters/villains are reasonably statted, or a TPK waiting to happen, or too easy?

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Banned
     
    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: CoC Balance Checking

    What is "CoC" ?

    If you refer to Call of Cthulhu, the system has no expectation of balance what-so-ever. It's all about brains. If the PCs go up against a man with a gun using pitchforks, it's a TPK, and with reason. If they go up against a cthonian with guns, it's a TPK, and with reason.

    And so on.

    The game is supposed to be lethal, largely because you are not supposed to fight things at all.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Lizardfolk

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    Nov 2007

    Default Re: CoC Balance Checking

    Quote Originally Posted by Calinero View Post
    All right, my friends, I'm getting ready to step into the breach. I've planned out practically everything for my campaign that I need. I know who the BBEG is, have planned out what might happen for every potential place my players would reasonably go to investigate the mystery, and believe myself to be flexible enough to compensate if they go somewhere unexpected. All that is left is to stat out the bad guys and monsters. Here's my question:

    I haven't been involved in many CoC fights. How can I check to see if my monsters/villains are reasonably statted, or a TPK waiting to happen, or too easy?
    Start out in very small groups. Of one or less. If you are playing modern era be very careful of assault rifles or automatic weapons that can kill and maim multiple targets in a round. It also really depends on your play style and your PCs. A lot of the monsters in CoC are best run from then fought, but if your group decides to slug it out you have to make the call on what kind of flavor and tone you are setting - bodies hit the floor or pulling punches.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: CoC Balance Checking

    I'm playing the 1920's version, so I won't be worrying about assault rifles. I don't intend for the characters to have access to any ridiculous amount of weapons, though I expect them to have a few guns, and they might pick up something along the way. I suppose that you have a point....after all, you don't play Cthulhu to kill monsters. You play it to have the crap scared out of you by them.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Swordguy's Avatar

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    Default Re: CoC Balance Checking

    Wow - thread's basically done in the first reply...

    Yeah, he's right. Like Shadowrun and other "high lethality" systems, there's no expectation of balance. You're expected to ascertain whether you have a chance in the combat, and run the heck away if the answer is "no" or even anything less than "it's practically a guarantee we'll win".

    There can actually be a lot of combat in CoC games - all of the published adventures I've read have significant mundane combats against a variety of mundane and low-level extra-mundane opponents. But the trick to it is that it's lethal. If your players insist on treating it like D&D where they can take on bad odds and survive, then they're going to wipe. They should treat it like real-life combat. Make it as unfair in their favor as possible - up to and including shooting from ambush, at night, from behind cover, and with very bright lights shining in the bad guys faces so they can't see what they're shooting at.

    You as the GM need to let them do this. If you shut their plans down and force them to go head-on into a gunfight, there'll be a lot of casualties and bad feelings on their end. If somebody comes up with the "bright lights" idea, for example - let it play out, even though there's no rules whatsoever for it. After two or three turns of combat, human-intelligence creatures might try to shoot out the lights - but don't just say "no".
    Quote Originally Posted by Dervag
    Quote Originally Posted by kpenguin
    Thus, knowing none of us are Sun Tzu or Napoleon or Julius Caesar...
    No, but Swordguy appears to have studied people who are. And took notes.
    "I'd complain about killing catgirls, but they're dead already. You killed them with your 685 quadrillion damage." - Mikeejimbo, in reference to this

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Banned
     
    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: CoC Balance Checking

    The ideal Call of Cthulhu combat is over in one successful attack. It's fought in near-darkness, against a human (possibly possessed or insane), using a poker you grabbed from the fireplace, or a wooden leg you broke off a chair. It might be fought over the only loaded gun in the room.

    The other kind of ideal Call of Cthulhu combat doesn't need any dice. It goes like this:

    Player 1: "I fire my gun at the thing!"
    Players 2 through n: "I run!"
    Keeper: "You hear two gunshots, and a gurgling scream suddenly cut short. Player 1, hand over your character sheet."


    The best way to ruin a Call of Cthulhu game is to facilitate or expect some kind of special forces -style tactical combat with firearms. Unless, of course, your hook is that the characters are, say, marines who run into something strange in a desert in Iraq, or mercenaries who come across something in the Congo or the Brazilian rainforest, or something like that. In this case, though, any and all monsters need to be impervious to firearms.

    The biggest mistake I've ever made running Call of Cthulhu was the time I let the PCs get their hands on an assault rifle. It ruined the adventure, but at least they agreed that it was way too risky to try to hang on to a stolen US Army rifle and dumped it afterwards.


    The great thing about CoC combat is that you can easily pull of all the ideas Swordguy mentions. The rules are so loose and so simple (roll d100, roll damage; no list of actions, no action types, no tactical movement, etc.) that you can effortlessly ad-hoc just about anything.

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