Sunday, May 12, 2024

CoC Rules Secrets & Surprises

As I noted with Stormbringer, a lot of the rules were fuzzy in my head from years away working, or else there were little tidbits of rules sequestered in different parts of the rulebook I had missed. I am finding much the same phenomenon with Call of Cthulhu, so here are the things that are standing out to me as I do my prep.


You only get ONE chance a round at this, as opposed to multiple parries at cumulative 20% penalties in Stormbringer. Makes sense for Lovecraft as opposed to fantasy. Also, having parrying objects take damage also fits the genre, as opposed to weapons that only break on fumbles or criticals. Finally, not being able to parry Grapple is an interesting choice that I agree with as a martial artist.


Surprising that this has two uses, as a kind of reflex save AND in combat. For the former, it is a good choice, but muddled in The Haunting by the DEX x 5% rolls to avoid falling. Just use the skill fellows! Allowing characters to try and dodge only the first bullet in a round is hilarious and very a propos.

In combat, having to choose between Attack & Parry OR Dodge & Parry has always been what I like about Chaosium games. I'll have to explain this well to my D&Ders.


I find it weird that with Impales, ie rolling 1/5 of skill with blades and bullets, you get this HUGE effect of doing double damage dice, but there is no equivalent advantage with blunt weapons. That is unless you apply the K.O. rule, which allows a roll of damage vs POW to knock out foes hit on a similar 1/5 of skill success. Since there is no mention of the need to call a K.O., I'll just assume that ANY critical with a blunt weapon has a chance to K.O. if the POW vs damage roll is failed. The low damage of blunt weapons vs high POW of characters should prevent this from being overpowered.


The rule with opponents over SIZ 30 giving human sized attackers +5% for every +10 SIZ is interesting considering the monsters they'll eventually face. Would also be worth porting to Stormbringer when facing dragons (20D8 SIZ, average 42) or similar creatures.


I find this skill lackluster - you just get double damage if your roll is both a successful personal attack and under the Martial Art skill. Ho hum.

As a blackbelt in karate who has tried other styles, I would propose the following alternative rule:

Hard Striking Style (ie karate, sanda) - On a successful fist or foot attack AND Martial Arts roll, allows double damage die as above, also does normal damage on a successful parry.

Soft Striking Style (ie taichi, aikido) - On a successful defense (parry or dodge) AND Martial Arts roll, can also roll an attack, even if they have already attacked or are being defensive that round (ie parry and dodge only). Remember, characters can parry and dodge OR attack and parry in a round. This is a bit like the Stormbringer Riposte rule. Damage is NOT doubled, however.

Throwing (ie judo, jijitsu) - On a successful Grapple AND Martial Arts roll, can immediately apply the 2nd round effects (ie KO, immobilize, strangle etc) as per rulebook instead of waiting for the 2nd turn. If the Grapple succeeds but Martial Art fails, resolve effects as normal, ie over 2 rounds.

Of course, you could go through different styles of martial arts and make different combinations of the above effects, but it would be clunky and hardly worth the effort.

No comments:

Post a Comment