[d20 Call of Cthulhu] Web Enhancements found!

Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn.
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[d20 Call of Cthulhu] Web Enhancements found!

Post by Big Mac » Sun Jan 25, 2009 11:04 pm

After searching for something else (as often happens) I bumped into something interesting. A person who had an Internet Archive Wayback Machine link of the (now deleted) Wizards of the Coast d20 Call of Cthulhu homepage:
d20 Call of Cthulhu (at the Wayback Machine)

This page was pulled offline (and all the Web Enhancements were deleted) when the Cthulhu licence ended.

Hopefully, some of you will find something useful here...

...before you go mad! :P
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Re: [d20 Call of Cthulhu] Web Enhancements found!

Post by Havard » Mon Jan 26, 2009 7:03 am

These are sweet. Thanks Big Mac! :)

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Re: [d20 Call of Cthulhu] Web Enhancements found!

Post by Big Mac » Wed Aug 18, 2010 8:46 pm

I've had more of a look around here.

It definatley isn't Dungeons & Dragons, as the skill system is different, but I don't see a mention of d20 Modern on the WotC website (of that era), so it might actually predate d20 Modern.

In another world, I think that Call of Cthulhu might have slotted in well as a d20 Modern horror campaign setting. The idea of a fairly modern horror setting also seems similar to the Ravenloft variant: Masque of the Red Death.

Has anyone here got this?

Apart from the sanity rules, is this anything like d20 Modern?

I'd also like to know how well the monsters work with the 3e Ravenloft Campaign Setting.

Come to think of it, I would love to know if there are any of Cthulhu's illithid-like monsters in this book, that might be conscripted into D&D games (maybe as critters found on illithid controlled planets in Spelljammer).
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Re: [d20 Call of Cthulhu] Web Enhancements found!

Post by Ashtagon » Wed Aug 18, 2010 10:33 pm

I think a review is called for...

Character Creation - There are only two "classes", called "offensive" and "defensive" (makes d20 Modern's six look good). This distinction determines the number of good saving throws and your base attack bonus. There are no class features at all, just the basic feats due to a human. Both get a d6 HD. Characters have 12 skill points at 1st level. In effect, they are somewhere between commoners and warriors in 3.5e terms. Characters additionally choose one of a dozen professions, which determines his list of class skills and modifies starting wealth (here we see a very crude early form of modern's occupations). Starting money is measured in USD, and was apparently the reason Modern went for a more abstract system, as this was mentioned in some of Modern's web enhancements.

Skills - You get 8 skill points per level after 1st, which is a notable departure from the standard for a d20 game (compared to your 12 at 1st level, anyway). The skill list is essentially the 3.0 list, with some additions: Cthulhu Mythos (which cannot be purchased, only acquired through gameplay), Computer Use, Demolitions, Drive, Operate Heavy Machinery, Pilot, Psychic Focus, Psychoanalysis, and Repair. The CM mythos skill is required for using magic, but decreases your sanity score. The Knowledge skill has a large array of sub-skills; they had not yet consolidated it into the near-dozen subskills of the final 3.5e game. Psychoanalysis is essentially the Heal skill for mental injuries.

Feats - The entire list appears to be a subset of the SRD, and is rather uninspiring. Many of the "cool" feats are missing. There are also Psychic Feats, which essentially act as skill-driven unlimited use spells (they use the Psychic Focus skill).

Sanity - These rules were never repeated in another wotc product. Characters have a starting sanity (averages 50), maximum sanity (averages 99), and 0 sanity essentially means roll up a new PC. Sanity works in many ways like hp, except that loosing a largish number may cause a temporary psychotic episode. Losing a larger number still can induce an indefinite insanity, randomly selected from a list that is depressingly close to real life mental health issues (potentially not fun stuff).

Combat - No surprises in this chapter. Firearms use some special rules not seen elsewhere to simulate their higher rates of fire.

Equipment - Again, no surprises. Firearms and armour are generic, although an optional list of "branded" firearms also exist. These are generally on a par with, or slightly weaker than, d20 Modern's firearms. Just to confuse matters, there is also a tabel which lists firearm damage by bullet calibre, which has been a bit of a holy grail for modern homebrewers. Shotguns have unique rules to emphasise their greater damage at closer ranges. General equipment has prices listed for 1920s campaigns and for modern (2000s) campaigns.

Magic - Another unique system, and very suited to low-magic campaigns. To learn a spell, you first find a book of magic, and study it for a certain period. This then forces a study check to see if he gained anything. Failure may lead to a strange event. Either way, you lose some sanity and gain some mythos skill. And then the spells inside may or may not work, and may or may not be useful. Magic items following some marginally kinder rules, although you might accidentally activate them anyway. Another notable difference is that spells do not have levels or even uses per day. Instead, they have a sanity and/or ability score cost.

Creatures - No surprises. The monster list is pure Cthulhu mythos - no illithids (or at least, nothing by that name).

Plus three more chapters about the setting, GMing, and making adventures.
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Re: [d20 Call of Cthulhu] Web Enhancements found!

Post by Cthulhudrew » Wed Aug 18, 2010 10:58 pm

Ashtagon wrote:Sanity - These rules were never repeated in another wotc product.
There are rules for Sanity in Unearthed Arcana (which makes them OGC); I was always under the impression they were the same rules they'd used for D20 Cthulhu (which weren't that much different from Call of Cthulhu), but then I was one of those who put off getting the d20 Cthulhu book for too long that it went out of print and is now hard to come by.

Are the UA rules different from the ones in d20 Cthulhu?
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Re: [d20 Call of Cthulhu] Web Enhancements found!

Post by Cthulhudrew » Thu Aug 19, 2010 12:23 am

Speaking of, here are the OGC Sanity Rules from Unearthed Arcana, if anyone's interested.
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Re: [d20 Call of Cthulhu] Web Enhancements found!

Post by Ashtagon » Thu Aug 19, 2010 5:52 am

Cthulhudrew wrote:Speaking of, here are the OGC Sanity Rules from Unearthed Arcana, if anyone's interested.
Goof find. I had a look but didn't see that. That is essentially the same sanity system that d20 CoC uses.
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Re: [d20 Call of Cthulhu] Web Enhancements found!

Post by Cthulhudrew » Thu Aug 19, 2010 10:09 am

Ashtagon wrote:Goof find. I had a look but didn't see that. That is essentially the same sanity system that d20 CoC uses.
Yeah- I'm glad they included it in UA (a lot of good stuff in there). What's great is that they can pretty well fit into any edition of D&D, since they use the d20 system.
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Re: [d20 Call of Cthulhu] Web Enhancements found!

Post by Ashtagon » Thu Aug 19, 2010 10:52 am

Now, if I were to play CoC using d20 rules, here's what I'd do...

* use d20 Modern as a base.
* Import the sanity rules as seen in UA (essentially the same as in the d20 CoC book, but with the serial numbers filed off).
* Limit PCs to the six base classes only. NPCs too, for that matter. CoC humans are supposed to be weak compared to eldritch horrors, and advanced/prestige classes break this idea.
* Anyone can cast spells, provided they have previously learned it, as per the sanity rules.
* Monsters from d20 CoC could probably be used in d20 Modern as is.
* Drop the Psychic Feats from d20 CoC. They aren't that central to the mythos, and skill-driven casting is wonky at best anyway.
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Re: [d20 Call of Cthulhu] Web Enhancements found!

Post by Big Mac » Sat Aug 21, 2010 11:31 am

Ashtagon wrote:I think a review is called for...
Thanks, Ash! :cool:
Ashtagon wrote:Character Creation - There are only two "classes", called "offensive" and "defensive" (makes d20 Modern's six look good). This distinction determines the number of good saving throws and your base attack bonus. There are no class features at all, just the basic feats due to a human. Both get a d6 HD. Characters have 12 skill points at 1st level. In effect, they are somewhere between commoners and warriors in 3.5e terms. Characters additionally choose one of a dozen professions, which determines his list of class skills and modifies starting wealth (here we see a very crude early form of modern's occupations). Starting money is measured in USD, and was apparently the reason Modern went for a more abstract system, as this was mentioned in some of Modern's web enhancements.
This sounds awful to me. WotC do seem to be incapable of creating alternate class systems for these D&D based games. :roll:

I was kind of hoping that d20 Call of Cthulhu would contain (some) elements that could be raided for a D&D game (or a d20 Modern game) but it looks like this section is "un-raidable".
Ashtagon wrote:Skills - You get 8 skill points per level after 1st, which is a notable departure from the standard for a d20 game (compared to your 12 at 1st level, anyway). The skill list is essentially the 3.0 list, with some additions: Cthulhu Mythos (which cannot be purchased, only acquired through gameplay), Computer Use, Demolitions, Drive, Operate Heavy Machinery, Pilot, Psychic Focus, Psychoanalysis, and Repair. The CM mythos skill is required for using magic, but decreases your sanity score. The Knowledge skill has a large array of sub-skills; they had not yet consolidated it into the near-dozen subskills of the final 3.5e game. Psychoanalysis is essentially the Heal skill for mental injuries.
A skill for using magic sounds unusual. I suppose that (along with the sanity thing - which from what you say is tied to it) could be used to create a D&D skill based spellcaster. Maybe they could have a certain amount of sanity per day and go beserk instead of going insane. That could give you a spellcaster that flips into a warrior, in a "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" way.

I wonder if Psychoanalysis, perhaps under another name, could be used to "repare" mental injuries in D&D.

The additions to the Knowledge skill sounds like they might be raidable. I've always thought that someone should make netbooks (or a netbook) for Knowledge, Perform and Create.
Ashtagon wrote:Feats - The entire list appears to be a subset of the SRD, and is rather uninspiring. Many of the "cool" feats are missing. There are also Psychic Feats, which essentially act as skill-driven unlimited use spells (they use the Psychic Focus skill).
Sounds like the Psychic Feats system is using D&D's magic system instead of psionics. This might be something someone wants to consider, if they think that 3e's psionics system is too complex and want to stick to D&D core spells, but with a different mechanism. I have no idea if it would be balanced.
Ashtagon wrote:Sanity - These rules were never repeated in another wotc product. Characters have a starting sanity (averages 50), maximum sanity (averages 99), and 0 sanity essentially means roll up a new PC. Sanity works in many ways like hp, except that loosing a largish number may cause a temporary psychotic episode. Losing a larger number still can induce an indefinite insanity, randomly selected from a list that is depressingly close to real life mental health issues (potentially not fun stuff).
I played a d20 Modern game with sanity. I wasn't really impressed with it. Rather than feeling like "proper" adventurers, the PCs felt like a bunch of people just waiting to go mad. The game stalled before we finished, which was a shame because I would have liked to have been proved wrong.
Ashtagon wrote:Combat - No surprises in this chapter. Firearms use some special rules not seen elsewhere to simulate their higher rates of fire.
There are some rules for things like machine guns in d20 Modern. This section sounds like it might be raidable for d20 Modern players.
Ashtagon wrote:Equipment - Again, no surprises. Firearms and armour are generic, although an optional list of "branded" firearms also exist. These are generally on a par with, or slightly weaker than, d20 Modern's firearms. Just to confuse matters, there is also a tabel which lists firearm damage by bullet calibre, which has been a bit of a holy grail for modern homebrewers. Shotguns have unique rules to emphasise their greater damage at closer ranges. General equipment has prices listed for 1920s campaigns and for modern (2000s) campaigns.
As you say, this would be mostly of use to d20 Modern gamers. But I wonder if some D&D gamers might want to import some things into tech-heavy D&D games. I'm sure that a giff with a shotgun might appeal to some people. You could even make a cartridge-using weapon that works like a sworn-off shotgun.
Ashtagon wrote:Magic - Another unique system, and very suited to low-magic campaigns. To learn a spell, you first find a book of magic, and study it for a certain period. This then forces a study check to see if he gained anything. Failure may lead to a strange event. Either way, you lose some sanity and gain some mythos skill. And then the spells inside may or may not work, and may or may not be useful. Magic items following some marginally kinder rules, although you might accidentally activate them anyway. Another notable difference is that spells do not have levels or even uses per day. Instead, they have a sanity and/or ability score cost.
The non-level system sounds a bit similar to what one of the later versions of Talislanta was trying to do with its bespoke rules for level-less spellcasting.

I've got mixed feelings about level-less magic, but I do think that the study-system could be used to create a D&D spellcaster that converts something like intelligence into another stat (maybe mentalism), in the same way that FRCS converts spellcaster's over into Shadow Weave users.
Ashtagon wrote:Creatures - No surprises. The monster list is pure Cthulhu mythos - no illithids (or at least, nothing by that name).
You won't see anything called an illithid, but everyone says that mind-flayers are ripped off from ispired by Cthulhu, so Cthulhu-like monsters would work well in a game using mind-flayers.
Ashtagon wrote:Plus three more chapters about the setting, GMing, and making adventures.
Anything raidable here?
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Re: [d20 Call of Cthulhu] Web Enhancements found!

Post by Ashtagon » Sun Aug 22, 2010 6:20 am

Big Mac wrote:
Ashtagon wrote:Character Creation - There are only two "classes", called "offensive" and "defensive" (makes d20 Modern's six look good). This distinction determines the number of good saving throws and your base attack bonus. There are no class features at all, just the basic feats due to a human. Both get a d6 HD. Characters have 12 skill points at 1st level. In effect, they are somewhere between commoners and warriors in 3.5e terms. Characters additionally choose one of a dozen professions, which determines his list of class skills and modifies starting wealth (here we see a very crude early form of modern's occupations). Starting money is measured in USD, and was apparently the reason Modern went for a more abstract system, as this was mentioned in some of Modern's web enhancements.
This sounds awful to me. WotC do seem to be incapable of creating alternate class systems for these D&D based games. :roll:

I was kind of hoping that d20 Call of Cthulhu would contain (some) elements that could be raided for a D&D game (or a d20 Modern game) but it looks like this section is "un-raidable".
Yes, chargen is utterly without merit in d20 CoC.
Ashtagon wrote:Skills - You get 8 skill points per level after 1st, which is a notable departure from the standard for a d20 game (compared to your 12 at 1st level, anyway). The skill list is essentially the 3.0 list, with some additions: Cthulhu Mythos (which cannot be purchased, only acquired through gameplay), Computer Use, Demolitions, Drive, Operate Heavy Machinery, Pilot, Psychic Focus, Psychoanalysis, and Repair. The CM mythos skill is required for using magic, but decreases your sanity score. The Knowledge skill has a large array of sub-skills; they had not yet consolidated it into the near-dozen subskills of the final 3.5e game. Psychoanalysis is essentially the Heal skill for mental injuries.
A skill for using magic sounds unusual. I suppose that (along with the sanity thing - which from what you say is tied to it) could be used to create a D&D skill based spellcaster. Maybe they could have a certain amount of sanity per day and go beserk instead of going insane. That could give you a spellcaster that flips into a warrior, in a "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" way.

I wonder if Psychoanalysis, perhaps under another name, could be used to "repare" mental injuries in D&D.

The additions to the Knowledge skill sounds like they might be raidable. I've always thought that someone should make netbooks (or a netbook) for Knowledge, Perform and Create.
Psychoanalysis is essentially the Heal skill for Sanity damage. Contrary to what I originally said, the sanity rules are actually in the SRD (on the d20srd site too). Psychoanalysis got folded into Heal, and Knowledge (Cthulhu Mythos) got renamed to Knowledge (forbidden lore).

The Psychic Focus skill is very closely tied to the Psychic feats later on. Each relies on, and is useless, without the other.
Ashtagon wrote:Feats - The entire list appears to be a subset of the SRD, and is rather uninspiring. Many of the "cool" feats are missing. There are also Psychic Feats, which essentially act as skill-driven unlimited use spells (they use the Psychic Focus skill).
Sounds like the Psychic Feats system is using D&D's magic system instead of psionics. This might be something someone wants to consider, if they think that 3e's psionics system is too complex and want to stick to D&D core spells, but with a different mechanism. I have no idea if it would be balanced.
Without re-reading the psychic skill/feat system, I imagine you could reasonably plug in any low-level (1st/2nd)spell from D&D as a feat for this system. That's about the right power level. The problem is that in terms of uses per day, there didn't seem to be any particular cap. You either had an unreliable power to use out of combat given enough time, or a foolproof at will unlimited spell.
Ashtagon wrote:Sanity - These rules were never repeated in another wotc product. Characters have a starting sanity (averages 50), maximum sanity (averages 99), and 0 sanity essentially means roll up a new PC. Sanity works in many ways like hp, except that loosing a largish number may cause a temporary psychotic episode. Losing a larger number still can induce an indefinite insanity, randomly selected from a list that is depressingly close to real life mental health issues (potentially not fun stuff).
I played a d20 Modern game with sanity. I wasn't really impressed with it. Rather than feeling like "proper" adventurers, the PCs felt like a bunch of people just waiting to go mad. The game stalled before we finished, which was a shame because I would have liked to have been proved wrong.
This is true, and quite intentional for the system. CoC is *meant* to be a descent into insanity. In that, it is similar to the game Paranoia; the emphasis isn't on winning, but on telling a story. Insanity is essentially a way to enforce the body count.
Ashtagon wrote:Combat - No surprises in this chapter. Firearms use some special rules not seen elsewhere to simulate their higher rates of fire.
There are some rules for things like machine guns in d20 Modern. This section sounds like it might be raidable for d20 Modern players.
The special rules are nothing too fancy. It effectively amounts to having an extra attack roll and bullet fired. I think Modern dropped this for balance, because it had a design goal of encouraging melee combat in a world that should realistically favour firearms to a crazy degree. I think Modern choose to implement the higher rate of fire with Double Tap and similar actions anyway.
Ashtagon wrote:Equipment - Again, no surprises. Firearms and armour are generic, although an optional list of "branded" firearms also exist. These are generally on a par with, or slightly weaker than, d20 Modern's firearms. Just to confuse matters, there is also a tabel which lists firearm damage by bullet calibre, which has been a bit of a holy grail for modern homebrewers. Shotguns have unique rules to emphasise their greater damage at closer ranges. General equipment has prices listed for 1920s campaigns and for modern (2000s) campaigns.
As you say, this would be mostly of use to d20 Modern gamers. But I wonder if some D&D gamers might want to import some things into tech-heavy D&D games. I'm sure that a giff with a shotgun might appeal to some people. You could even make a cartridge-using weapon that works like a sworn-off shotgun.
For weapon stats, either Modern of CoC could be imported, but not both. CoC guns are noticeably weaker in damage output.
Ashtagon wrote:Magic - Another unique system, and very suited to low-magic campaigns. To learn a spell, you first find a book of magic, and study it for a certain period. This then forces a study check to see if he gained anything. Failure may lead to a strange event. Either way, you lose some sanity and gain some mythos skill. And then the spells inside may or may not work, and may or may not be useful. Magic items following some marginally kinder rules, although you might accidentally activate them anyway. Another notable difference is that spells do not have levels or even uses per day. Instead, they have a sanity and/or ability score cost.
The non-level system sounds a bit similar to what one of the later versions of Talislanta was trying to do with its bespoke rules for level-less spellcasting.

I've got mixed feelings about level-less magic, but I do think that the study-system could be used to create a D&D spellcaster that converts something like intelligence into another stat (maybe mentalism), in the same way that FRCS converts spellcaster's over into Shadow Weave users.
The only real issue with the non-level system is that it effectively allows a 1st level character to cast a 9th level spell. However, he will probably go insane immediately as a result (from sanity point or mental ability score loss), so maybe it all balances out anyway. PCs aren't really meant to be flinging spells around casually in CoC, and the sanity point system does effectively prevent that. Characters, played right, will be afraid to use their magic, and go in guns blazing instead.
Ashtagon wrote:Plus three more chapters about the setting, GMing, and making adventures.
Anything raidable here?
Not really. The last 3 were essentially standard "how to gm" and mythos fluff. No crunch.
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Re: [d20 Call of Cthulhu] Web Enhancements found!

Post by Big Mac » Tue Aug 24, 2010 2:18 am

Thanks Ash. There isn't much to say back (as you covered everything really well). But I've got one comment on this bit.
Ashtagon wrote:
Big Mac wrote:
Ashtagon wrote:Feats - The entire list appears to be a subset of the SRD, and is rather uninspiring. Many of the "cool" feats are missing. There are also Psychic Feats, which essentially act as skill-driven unlimited use spells (they use the Psychic Focus skill).
Sounds like the Psychic Feats system is using D&D's magic system instead of psionics. This might be something someone wants to consider, if they think that 3e's psionics system is too complex and want to stick to D&D core spells, but with a different mechanism. I have no idea if it would be balanced.
Without re-reading the psychic skill/feat system, I imagine you could reasonably plug in any low-level (1st/2nd)spell from D&D as a feat for this system. That's about the right power level. The problem is that in terms of uses per day, there didn't seem to be any particular cap. You either had an unreliable power to use out of combat given enough time, or a foolproof at will unlimited spell.
This is sort of the opposite directtion from what Sean K Reynolds did with his Beholder Monster Class. I think if I wanted to use Psychic Feats, I'd go back to tying it into levels and make it like Sean's rules.
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