Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Call of Cthulhu Character Creation Resources

So, I'm going to be running a Call of Cthulhu scenario for the next three weeks as a kick off to my group's Halloween season horror game anthology (3 games of 3 weeks each). I'll be posting the scenario here once I finish writing it (I need something playable by Monday, so don't expect too much of a wait), but in the meantime, here are a couple of resources I've put together for my players to get started with the character creation process.

Automated Character Sheet and Character Creation Walkthrough

I made an excel character sheet and have uploaded it to Google Docs for ease of access and sharing. If you want to make use of this, I recommend you copy it to a Google docs folder of your own or download it as an excel file. The formulas are based on the free Call of Cthulhu quickstart rules and the skill list comes from Trail of Cthulhu with a couple of additions for my setting. The occupations list is from Trail of Cthulhu with a few additions from Tremulus and of my own creation for the setting. I think it should retain all the cool conditional formatting and formulas and what not. There's a few setting-specific notes for my 1930's Texas boomtown game, but those are pretty easy to change or ignore. 

Name List Weighted for 1933 Texas Demographics

So, I needed a name list for my game and I maybe went a little over the top. I found the top 100 US given names for the decades of the 1890's, 1900's, and 1910's, so that I'd have the most common American given names for adults in the 1930's. I eliminated duplicates and made a list of male and female names(a little over 200 names). You can use the top 100 if you want a D100 list, or use the generator link if you want all of them involved. 

For surnames, I went even crazier. I found a Texas Almanac from 1933 and found the ethnic mix of the Texas population by percent. Then I found surnames from the representative ethnicities' countries. So, for example, I found English, Welsh, and Scottish surnames for "whites" and I found another statistic for what portion of Texas whites were German in origin and used that percent for German surnames. I had to use modern most common surnames in most cases, but I figure there's probably less variation there than given names and I had to work with what I had. Anyhow, I took all this craziness, and I used the percent of population to figure out how many names on a d100 list should come from that nationality. For example, by assuming a little over half of the 73.5% white population were English/Welsh by descent, I picked the top 36 names from the English/Welsh surname list. Then I repeated the process for the top however many names for each ethnic group (I used "English/Welsh, Scottish, Black, Latin American, and German" which neglected Czechs, Irish, and any other Ethnic groups, but I think worked out pretty well). Sure, an oil boomtown would probably have more immigrants from other states than the rest of Texas, but I figured too much realism isn't that necessary. I probably already got more involved than necessary, but you can reap the fruit of my labors.

Overall this should work pretty well as an "American Name" generator for most of the 20th century, but you'll be missing out on some of the diversity of later times and/or other regions. If you get a result that doesn't seem to make sense like "Juan Schmidtt" either figure out a cool backstory or roll again.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Adventuring Companies Expeditions and Sites of Interest

So, I know I've been slow the last couple of months, and I apologize. Currently, I've been extremely lucky to be working on a layout project that should turn out to be something pretty cool, but I don't want to advertise it loudly until it's closer to completion. The downside to this very exciting news is that my own personal hobby projects, like the Adventure Companies one, is going on the back-burner (still thinking about it and working on it, but I can't make it a priority of my gaming hobby time). 

But it has been a while, so I wanted to get the stuff that was near completion out the door, so to speak. This post gets us really close to being complete on rules except for setting creation rules, so if you see any major flaws in how this whole thing works, let me know now. The rules in this post are for companies setting out into the wilderness, moving around the map, finding sites of interest (mostly dungeons) and engaging them.

The Expedition Turn
The default expedition turn is one day. Each turn, a company can take two of the following actions:
        - March
        - Explore
        - Engage
- Rest

Every seven turns (a week) each person consumes one food resource, each pack animal consumes two, and anything especially large or special like an elephant or an ogre consumes 3.
Marching is the movement of companies over long distances. For each march action, the company can spend its full available movement points.
The unit of movement and exploration in these rules. The default area is a 6-mile wide hexagon.

Movement Points
Each company has a movement score in its company profile, determined by the slowest member of the company. A normal company consisting of men and normal riding or pack beasts has 6 movement points. [Cross reference with company section for movement points. Add movement point calculation to company section]

Movement Costs by Terrain
Each area costs a certain number of movement points to enter from an adjacent area based on its terrain type. If multiple terrain types are applicable, always use the most difficult terrain cost. A company can always move at least one area.
Example terrain costs:
        - Plains or roads: 2 points
        - Hills, light forest: 3 points
        - Heavy forest, foothills: 4 points
        - Mountains, dense jungle, extremely rough terrain: 6 points
If anyone in the company is encumbered, reduce the company’s available movement points by 2.
Navigation Rolls [Should I come up with some way of indicating “core” and “additional” rules, or present all rules as totally modular?]
Before beginning a march, the controlling player announces the intended route, including all areas to be moved through. The player then rolls the best navigation skill in the company. If the skill check is passed, the company proceeds on the intended route. If the skill check is failed, the company’s initial direction will be wrong. It will then make the same planned turns and move the same planned distance, if able. Determine the actual initial direction on a failed navigation roll by rolling 1d6 [Probably format this cleverly – next to the paragraph, so that not as many words are needed]:
        1 - Opposite of intended direction
        2-3 - 45 degrees left of intended direction
        4-5 - 45 degrees right of intended direction
        6 - Intended direction
In each area moved through, there is a 1 in 6 chance of a random encounter. If an encounter is rolled, roll on the appropriate terrain type’s encounter table. Completely resolve the encounter before continuing movement. A company may choose to stop and forfeit the rest of its movement after resolving an encounter. [I figure it would be redundant to hash out encounter rules here, right?]
Travel roll
2d6 – Highest Terrain Cost Paid to Enter an Area this Action. Indicates how well members of the company dealt with the rigors of the route. Test after all movement is completed in a single action. A roll of 5+ is a success and there are no effects. A failure indicates that one random unit loses one hit point.

Example Resolution Using all Rules:
        1) Announce intended route
        2) Make Navigation Roll
        3) Spend movement points and move company
        4) Check for an encounter in each area
        5) Resolve any encounters
        6) Make Travel Roll and resolve results

A company can attempt to locate sites of interest in an area by using an explore action. The controlling player rolls 1d6 – two times the number of already discovered sites of interest in that area. A result greater than 0, or a roll of “6” indicates that a site of interest has been discovered in that area. The maximum number of sites of interest in one area is six.

Whether or not a site of interest is discovered, an explore action grants a cumulative +1 to the next navigation roll the company makes.

A company can use an engage action to interact with a known site of interest, a settlement, another company, or any other entity within the area it occupies.

For every turn where at least one action was not spent resting, the company and its members take a cumulative -1 to all rolls on the next day. A single rest action resets these penalties to zero. Each consecutive rest action beyond the first provides a cumulative +1 to the next travel roll.

Order of Actions
Unless order of action becomes important, expedition turn actions are considered simultaneous. When order of action is important, use the following precedence:
- The company that rested most recently acts first for movement or exploration
- A company exploring an area where it began the day may act before companies that moved
- If otherwise tied (such as resting at the same time or beginning in the same area), proceed from the smallest company to the largest
[I could use some help with wording this as carefully as possible without getting too wordy]

Sites of Interest
Creating a Site of Interest

Site of Interest - A fixed location that can be engaged by a company to extract treasure such as ruins, a dungeon, or a mine
Tier - The level of detail at which a site of interest is created
Level - A level is a grouping of encounters within a site of interest.
Difficulty - Skill Check encounters have a difficulty modifier that reduces a unit’s effective skill for that encounter that is equal to 1d4 - 1
Skill Check - an encounter that is passed by successfully rolling equal to or less than a unit’s named skill. Failure results in 1d6 x the difficulty modifer HP damage to a random unit in the company.
Combat - Encounters that involve a fight.
Default is a company with 1d6 HD, AC 1d6 better than unarmored.
1: improve AC by 2
2: improve HD by 2
3: can cast 1 random spell (of lvl 1d4) once
4: Does +2 damage per attack
5: Has a randomly determined skill at level 1d6, finds ways to use it
6: another ability and roll again
Exhaust - An encounter is exhausted after it is engaged. An exhausted encounter cannot be engaged.
Refresh - Some encounters refresh after being exhausted. A refreshed encounter no longer counts as exhausted.

Tier 1
a) Randomly determine a skill for the Skill Check
b) Company performs a Skill Check
d) Success exhausts the site, and allows the company to remove up to the total treasure value of the site
e) Failure ends the engagement action in addition to any other consequences

Tier 2

a) Roll 1d6 for number of Skill Checks
b) Randomly determine each Skill Check & Difficulty modifier
c) Each check must be attempted in the order determined, failure ends the engagement action
d) the total amount of treasure determined for the site of interest is divided equally among encounters. Treasure can be recovered from any successfully passed encounters
e) any successfully passed encounters are exhausted

Tier 3
a) Roll 1d6 for total number of encounters
b) Determine if each encounter is a skill check or combat: 1-4: skill check, 5-6: combat
c) the total amount of treasure determined for the site of interest is divided equally among encounters. Treasure can be recovered from any successfully passed encounters
d) any successfully passed encounters are exhausted

Tier 4
a) Create a Flowchart
i) Roll 1d6 for Levels
ii) Each level has 1d4 encounters
iii) Each encounter has 1d2 connections to encounters on next level and 1d2-1 connections to encounters on same level
b) Determine if each encounter is a skill check or combat: 1-4: skill check, 5-6: combat
c) the total amount of treasure determined for the site of interest is divided equally among encounters. Treasure can be recovered from any successfully passed encounters
d) any successfully passed encounters are exhausted

Tier 5
An adventure or skirmish using more granular rules.

Nature of Site of Interest
a) roll 1d6: 1-3 Site of Interest is human, 4-6 Site of Interest is Monster
b) roll 1d6-2 for number of weeks it takes encounters at site of interest to refresh after being exhausted. A result of “0” or less indicates that encounters at this site of interest never refresh

After a company resolves an engagement action at a site of interest for the first time, determine the treasure at the site of interest in the following manner:
a) the base treasure for a site of interest is 3d6 x 10 treasure units
b) for each encounter, add 1d6 x difficulty modifier for skill checks or 1d6 x HD for combat

Site of Interest Record Sheet
Site of Interest Record Sheet

Hex 0526
Doom Cave
4 HD