What say you, Cthulhu?

Continuing on my last post, I’ll outline a theory of what investigative play in Call of Cthulhu is really about. Investigation in roleplaying games is at the same time a rare yet common beast, so it’s important to understand what it does. Consider: almost any plot-based roleplaying game adventure is predicated on characters investigating this or that. At the same time Call of Cthulhu is pretty much the only game that outright comes out and says that it’s a game about investigation. Simultaneously, Cthulhu is about Lovecraftian stories. Let’s see what the investigation does to faciliate a horror story. Read the rest of this entry »

Hacking Call of Cthulhu

Our Acts of Evil campaign was on shore leave this week, as one of the players couldn’t come and play. (Yeah, I realized only belatedly that AoE doesn’t actually require group cohesion from session to session. I should have thought about that before.) Anyway, this being the case, we played a nostalgic one-shot of Call of Cthulhu. The prescription came along thus: I wanted to play something horrorful, for I have been studying the Call of Cthulhu adventures of fourth and sixth editions of the game for an article I’ve been trying to write. So it was to be CoC, except for one problem: that game never had a fully functional rules system. Read the rest of this entry »

Playing Descent

A bit under a month ago I was in Helsinki due to the Studio Arete meeting I wrote about earlier. I also had several days of free time I could have used in whatever way I wanted. What I ended up doing was that I borrowed Descent: Journeys in the Dark from a friend and played it for a couple of days straight with my brother. These are my notes on the game; it proved quite interesting for several reasons. Read the rest of this entry »

Act Your Evil #4

More Acts of Evil: we noticed yesterday that we’d been reading the rules wrong in a minor matter. The thing is, the small detail in question happens to be a reward cycle linchpin, so player intent has been running a bit wrong in places. This repudiates a part of my earlier analysis, so I better write down some corrections for my notes… Read the rest of this entry »

Act Your Evil #3

Time to write more playtest reportage/commentaries on Acts of Evil we’ve been playing this fall. The last reports are here and here. Fifth session of the campaign happened last Tuesday, so it’s been two sessions since my last report. Right now it seems that the game will stretch for another five sessions still, which is around three times longer than I’d ever have expected of a relatively simple game like this. Doesn’t bother me, however, as this is some of the most entertaining roleplaying I’ve had this year. Read the rest of this entry »

Challenge-based adventuring

As I promised in the previous post, I’m going to write down the scenario we played a while back with Sami, Joonas and Sipi. The intent here is to substantiate my earlier musings about adventure gaming with an example, as well as introduce the dear reader to one possible way of construing an enjoyable gamist (challenge-based, in other words) adventure game. Here’s a cover image made by my brother Jari, linked to the scenario itself:

Fury of Nifur title

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