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Call of Cthulhu - Character Creator (And Rules!)

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Call of Cthulhu - Character Creator (And Rules!)

Post by Dr. Phazon on Sun 25 Dec 2011, 3:36 pm

Alright dudes and dudettes, whose up for playing some Call of Cthulhu? And no, I don't mean that video game one, talking to White about that since apparently he's played it. I mean the tabletop RPG Call of Cthulhu. Think DnD. Not familiar with the game? No problem! I barely have any experience with it either. I read a quick-start guide to the rules last night, so I only have about 20 pages worth of experience in the game right now. And I'll give you a reduced-version of those 20 pages so that you can learn, too.

So, first of all, if you've played any tabletop RPG before, you can probably guess that you'll need a character sheet. Call of Cthulhu has a few different character sheets, corresponding to different eras for different settings. We will be using the 1920's Era - 5th Edition character sheet, which you can find here.

Since were doing this over the forum, we obviously can't just print a sheet and fill it out in real life, so I'm just going to put it in bio-form. Here's what your bio should look like:

Personal Info-
Nationality, Birthplace:
Colleges, Degrees:
Mental Disorders:

Strength (STR):
Constitution (CON):
Size (SIZ):
Dexterity (DEX):
Appearance (APP):
Intelligence (INT):
Power (POW):
Education (EDU):

Knowledge (KNW):
Damage Bonus (DB):
Magic Points (MP):
Hit Points (HP):
Sanity (SAN):



Now, I'll step you through the process of making a character. Most of the personal information should be obvious. Note that you are not required to have any college degrees or mental disorders (in fact, I have absolutely no idea if they have an in-game purpose yet, but even if they do, they won't be relevant for the first campaign, so you can ignore them for now if you want). Common occupations for player characters in Call of Cthulhu are professors, archeologists, and occultists, but you can choose whatever you want- be aware that when you choose your skills later, you'll need to pick ones that make sense with your occupation.

The next section contains your character's stats. There are two kinds of stats: primary attributes and secondary attributes. They are so named because you need your primary attributes in order to figure out your secondary ones. The primary attributes are the first group of stats listed (STR, CON, SIZ, DEX, APP, INT, POW, and EDU), the secondary attributes are the next group (Idea, KNW, Luck, DB, HP, MP, and SAN). Here is an explanation of each stat, along with how to calculate it:

Strength: This is how much muscle your character bring to the table. It affects not only how hard of a punch your character can throw but also things like the strength of his grip and how much weight he/she can lift. To calculate your STR stat, simply roll three six-sided dice and add their numbers together.

Constitution: This is how tough your character is. It affects how much damage your character can take before going unconscious or dying, and how resistant your character is to disease and poison. CON is calculated in the same way as STR, by rolling three six-sided dice and adding their numbers.

Size: This is a measure of your character's physical mass.It affects both how much damage your character can deal and how much they can take, as well as how easily your character could be picked up and tossed around. To calculate your character's SIZ, roll two six-sided dice, add the results together, and then add six.

Dexterity: This stat is how agile and quick your character is. It affects things like keeping from tripping or stumbling while running away from a horde of flesh-eating ghouls. DEX is calculated in the same way as STR and CON, by adding together the results of three six-sided dice rolls.

Appearance: This stat is how appealing and charming your character is to others. Your character's APP is calculated like their STR, CON, and DEX: roll three six-sides and add them together.

Intelligence: This stat is how cunning and able to deduce logical conclusions your character is. Your character's INT stat is calculated in the same way as their SIZ stat, so you roll two six-sided dice and then add six to their sum.

Power: This stat is a combination of spirit, willpower, and mental stability. It affects a character's ability with the use of magic, as well as their resistance to the damage to their sanity that knowledge of the Cthulhu Mythos brings. POW is calculated in the same way as STR, CON, DEX, and APP, by rolling three six-sided dice and adding their values.

Education: This stat reflect the knowledge your character has acquired from their formal education. To calculate your character's EDU stat, roll three six-sided dice, add the results, and then add three.

Now that you have values for your primary attributes, you can calculate your secondary attributes. Also, before you begin playing, you can switch around any of the primary attributes that are rolled in the same way. So you can swap your STR, CON, DEX, APP, and POW stats with each other, as well as switch your INT and SIZ stats. Do that if you would like to. Once you've done so, you can calculate your secondary attributes, as so:

Idea: Multiply your INT score by 5 to get your Idea stat. The Idea stat will be used for when your character is making deductive leaps or trying to figure out the solution to a problem.

Knowledge: Multiply your EDU score by 5 to get your KNW stat. The KNW stat will be used for showing how your character's training and education gives you insight in certain situations.

Luck: Multiply your POW score by 5 to get your Luck stat. The Luck stat will be used for seeing if fortune favors your character.

Damage Bonus: Your DB is a modifier applied to the damage caused by your character's physical attacks. If your character is powerful enough, he/s will deal extra damage with their punches and kicks, but if they are too weak, they will deal less damage. Add your STR and SIZ scores. Then determine which of the following DBs you get based on the sum:
STR + SIZ Damage Bonus
2 - 12 -1D6
13 - 16 -1D4
17 - 24 +0
25 - 32 +1D4
33 - 40 +1D6

Hit Points: Add your SIZ and CON stats, then divide by two and round up. This is your character's HP stat. This number will fluctuate as you take damage, so keep track of it. If it drops to 2 or less, your character will fall unconscious. If it drops to -2 or less, your character has died.

Magic Points: Your character's MP is equal to their POW. Like HP, it will fluctuate as you cast spells and find arcane alien technology. If your character's MP drops below 0, he/she will fall unconscious until their MPs are recovered.

Sanity: You character's SAN starts at five times their POW stat. This stat represents your character's ability to remain sane when confronted by the terrors they face. It can go both up and down, but can't exceed 99 minus your Cthulhu Mythos skill.

Speaking of skills, that's the last part of your bio. If you haven't already, you'll need to pull up that character sheet I linked earlier because I'm not going to list all of the skills. Choose eight of the Investigator Skills that relate to your character's occupation. These are your Occupation Skills. You can choose any of the Investigator skills EXCEPT Cthulhu Mythos (all characters start out ignorant of the threat posed by the Mythos).

Once you have selected your Occupation Skills, you can spread skill points into them (but be aware that character's can't start with more than 75% in any skill). You get a number of skill points equal to fifteen times your character's EDU stat to use. Most skills also have a base chance, which is the number in parenthesis next to the skill. These are like free skill points. For example, the Accounting skill has a base chance of 10%. So even if you put no points into that skill, your character still starts with a 10% rating with Accounting. But if you put, for example, 20 points into the Accounting skill, then your character will start with a 30% rating for Accounting. These ratings are used for making percentile rolls, which determine whether or not you succeed at tasks related to that skill.

In your bio, only list skills that your character has a rating with that differs from the Base Chance. So don't list the Climb skill if you put no skill points into it. For those skill that you DID put points into, list the skill name followed by the total rating you have with it (that's the skill points you put into that skill plus the base chance). Remember, you can only put your skill points into the eight Occupation Skills you choose (you can still improve your rating with the other skills by successfully using those skills in the game).

Lastly, the final section of your bio should contain any other information about your character you find worth mentioning, such as their background and personality. Once you're done with this section, then you've finally finished your character.
Dr. Phazon

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Re: Call of Cthulhu - Character Creator (And Rules!)

Post by Dr. Phazon on Sun 25 Dec 2011, 4:00 pm

Okay, so now you should know how to make a character for Call of Cthulhu. In this game, the player characters are usually referred to as investigators, seeing as campaigns involve the investigation of the horrors and terrors that lurk within the shadows of our world. In order for your investigators to properly unravel the mysteries set before them, you'll have to know how to actually play the game.

Dice Rolls and Skill Checks

Call of Cthulhu uses dice to decide how high-tension situations are resolved, just like most other tabletop RPGs. However, passing a skill check in Call of Cthulhu is a bit different than in, say, DnD. You actually want low numbers, not high numbers.

Remember when I mentioned that the skill ratings are used for percentile rolls before? This is what I was talking about. It's simple: when you need to make a skill check, roll a hundred-sided dice. If the number you roll is lower than your rating with the skill being used for your task, then you pass the check. For example, let's say you want to see if there are any monsters hiding nearby. When you do a skill check, you use the rating of the appropriate skill, which in this case would be the Spot Hidden skill. In this example, your Spot Hidden skill rating is 40%. When you roll the D100, if the number you roll is equal to or less than your Spot Hidden skill rating of 40, you pass the check and your investigator notice that there is a monster sneaking up behind you. If you roll above 40, then your investigator doesn't notice the monster.

Whenever you succeed with a skill check, you'll also get a chance to increase your investigator's rating for that skill. After a successful skill check, roll a D100 again, and if you roll a number higher than your current skill rating, you improve with that skill. Roll a D6, and add the result to your skill rating. Because of this system, the better you are with a skill, the harder it is to improve.

The Resistance Table

Sometimes you'll have to make a check against something that there isn't an appropriate skill for. In this case, the rolls are made using your character's attributes. Based on the particular situation, an attribute will be chosen to be used. If your character is in an arm-wrestling contest, for example, you will need to make a roll using their STR attribute, since there isn't and Arm-Wrestling skill. These checks can be handled one of two ways, depending on which attribute is being used. For checks against the Idea, KNW, Luck, or SAN attributes, you do it the same way as a regular skill check. Roll a D100, and if the roll is equal to or less than the corresponding attribute, you succeed at the check. Since your other attributes are probably much lower than those four however, they are handled a little differently, using the resistance table:

You need two numbers to use the resistance table, a passive characteristic and an active one. The active characteristic is the attribute your character is using for the challenge, while the passive characteristic is the one he/she is competing against. Using the arm wrestling example from before, the active characteristic would be your character's STR and the passive characteristic would be the other arm wrestler's STR. If there is no clear number to be used as the passive characteristic, then the game's host will choose a value to be used that fits the difficulty level of the challenge.

Once you have both an active and passive characteristic, use the resistance table to look up the corresponding difficulty. For example, if your character has a STR of 13 and the other arm wrestler's strength is 18, the difficulty of the challenge is 25. Once you've found the difficulty of the challenge, the rest is simple: do a skill check using the difficulty number. If you roll equal to or less than the difficulty number, then you clear the check and succeed at whatever task your character was attempting.


While vicious monsters and crazed cultists are quite threatening to your physical health, they can be just as threatening to your mental health. Finding the truth behind the mysteries of the Cthulhu Mythos will take a toll on your character's psyche, and though skill and luck may enable your character to keep their mind intact, going insane is a real possibility.

Any time your character encounters the terror of the Cthulhu Mythos, or sees something mundane yet horrific, such as the mutilated corpse of a dear friend, you need to make a percentile roll against their current SAN. If you fail the check, your character will lose a certain amount of SAN. if you pass the check, they will lose less SAN, perhaps even none at all. The amount of SAN at risk is usually described with two numbers separated by a slash, such as 0/1D6 or 2/1D10. The first number is how much SAN your character will lose if you succeed with the check; the second number is how much they lose if you fail the check.

Regaining your sanity is possible, but typically difficult. You may get a few points of SAN returned after a successful scenario, or as a reward when you raise one of your character's skill ratings above 90%, but other methods of regaining SAN such as therapy may be a long and troublesome process.

Losing sanity has an affect on your character. There are three different penalties that can be applied as a result of losing your mind: temporary insanity, indefinite insanity, and permanent insanity.

Temporary Insanity: If a character loses five or more points of sanity at one time, then they have experienced an event so traumatic that the character may begin suffering from temporary insanity. The host will ask for a percentile roll against five times the value of the character's Idea attribute. This is a roll that you actually want to fail. If you succeed on the check, then that means your character fully understands the implications of what they have seen, and temporarily goes insane as a result. When a character goes temporarily insane, they may (at the host's discretion) faint, scream wildly, or even flee in terror. The effects of temporary insanity will last for 1D10+4 rounds. Afterward, the character may still be left with a mild phobia or PTSD.

Indefinite Insanity: If a character loses a fifth or more of their Sanity in one hour of in-game time, they will suffer from indefinite insanity. Such bouts of insanity last, on average, 1D6 months of game time. The character may have to deal with continuous symptoms of their insanity, such as amnesia or depression. Other times, the symptoms may be sporadic, and only manifest at random moments. For example: multiple personality disorder or intermittent explosive personality. Often, the result is an anxiety disorder of some sort, perhaps causing the character to suffer from flashbacks and recurring nightmares.

Permanent Insanity: If a character loses ALL of their Sanity, they go permanently insane. This may not actually be lifelong insanity, but it will certainly be at least a year's worth of game-time before the character recovers from the trauma they experienced. A character going permanently insane will have to be committed to an asylum. A lucky character may have a hope to one day be released, but this is likely the end of the character's run as a player's investigator.


For the sake of your investigators, it may be better to avoid confrontations with the horrors of the Mythos. However, your investigators won't always have a choice in the matter, and at times they will have no other option than to fight. Combat is handled in a simple manner. To begin with, combat is divided into rounds. A round lasts until everyone has taken an action, and is vaguely defined in-game as "long enough for everyone to do one or two interesting things". The order of combat is determined by DEX scores: highest DEX score goes first. When it is your turn to attack, choose a target and roll for a check corresponding to your kind of attack. Succeeding in the check means your character has hit their target, and dealt damage fitting the type of weapon they are using. Melee attacks also factor in your character's damage bonus, increasing or decreasing the damage dealt as appropriate.

Sometimes the target may have armor or some other form of protection from damage. This is rare for investigators in early settings such as the 1920's era, but you may still encounter foes possessing such defenses. The damage prevented by the armor is simply subtracted from the damage value at the end of the calculation.

If your investigator's HP drops to 2 or less, he/she falls unconscious. If it drops to -2 or less, then the investigator dies.

Last edited by Dr. Phazon on Sun 25 Dec 2011, 9:41 pm; edited 2 times in total
Dr. Phazon

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Re: Call of Cthulhu - Character Creator (And Rules!)

Post by GenericSpider on Sun 25 Dec 2011, 8:26 pm

Name: Jonah J. Johnson
Sex: male
Age: 25
Nationality, Birthplace: New Port Richey
Occupation: Detective
Colleges, Degrees: Doctorate
Mental Disorders: none.

Strength (STR): 10
Constitution (CON): 14
Size (SIZ): 17
Dexterity (DEX): 17
Appearance (APP): 15
Intelligence (INT): 13
Power (POW): 3
Education (EDU): 20

Idea: 65
Knowledge (KNW): 99
Luck: 15
Damage Bonus (DB): 1D4
Magic Points (MP): 3
Hit Points (HP): 16
Sanity (SAN): 15


Martial Arts: 38
Biology: 36
Handgun: 58
Rifle: 61
Spot Hidden: 63
Track: 53
Law: 42
Knife: 59

Notes- He's a manly man full of manly manliness.

In a world torn between Team Edward, and Team Jacob, I have one thing to say:

Go Team Godzilla

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Age : 29
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Re: Call of Cthulhu - Character Creator (And Rules!)

Post by Simply David on Tue 27 Dec 2011, 12:33 am

Personal Info-
Name: Jennifer Anderson
Sex: Female
Age: 29
Nationality, Birthplace: USA, Oklahoma
Occupation: Gambler (Card Counter)
Colleges, Degrees: None
Mental Disorders: None

Strength (STR): 13
Constitution (CON): 10
Size (SIZ): 12
Dexterity (DEX): 15
Appearance (APP): 13
Intelligence (INT): 17
Power (POW): 10
Education (EDU): 11

Idea: 85
Knowledge (KNW): 55
Luck: 50
Damage Bonus (DB): +1D4
Magic Points (MP): 10
Hit Points (HP): 12
Sanity (SAN): 50

Occult (10%)
Blackjack (70%)
Handgun (30%)
Library Use (25%)
Knife (50%)
Bargain (20%)
Persuade (65%)
Conceal (35%)

Notes- She's an occultist in secret, studying various arcane things. However so far she has yet to find anything real.

She uses her wits and wiles to gamble enough money out of casinos from all over, but only takes enough money to live on and fuel her occultist curiosities. She takes such a small amount she's never noticed or blacklisted.

She has learned to take care of herself, in the case of something going wrong. She's a strong independent woman roaming around, so she has to be prepared for anything.


Have you seen this girl's bear Tibbers?
Simply David

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Re: Call of Cthulhu - Character Creator (And Rules!)

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