MUP 101 - No Accounting for that Fella's Strength

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Keeper Dan
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MUP 101 - No Accounting for that Fella's Strength

Post by Keeper Dan » Wed Jun 15, 2016 12:59 am

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This week, Keepers Dan, Murf and Chad test their Might on the Bend Bars/Lift Gates chart to see if they have to muscle to pull off this episode. We also begin our look at lesser used skills and what they can bring to the game, starting with Accounting. We also have a fun time when Dan shares his one complaint about 7e and apparently blows Chad and Murf's minds.
This episode was recorded on May 30th, 2016.

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Convicts Have Broken Loose at Cthulhu Reborn!
Convicts & Cthulhu, the Australia as a penal colony source book has just been released for download via RPGNow. This is a huge 96 page volume that gives Keepers all they need to bring their players to a setting not addressed in Call of Cthulhu before!

Bundle of Holding had a Pulp Adventure bundle. Apologies for the delay in the episode, resulting in this bundle already being finished.

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Cover artist for the upcoming Golden Goblin title, Heroes of Red Hook, Ian MacLean, mentioned that the image we had of the cover was a little off on the color spectrum. He sent in a more accurate version of what he created for the book.

Topics

Character Creation: Strength

This week, we're covering the Strength characteristic - what it means, its various roles in the game and what happens when you fail a STR check.

Forgotten Skills: Accounting

Moving ahead with our series on lesser-used skills in Call of Cthulhu, we talk about how to apply Accounting

In the conversation, Chad brings up the long running radio show, Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar. A program about the adventures of "the man with the action-packed expense account, America’s fabulous freelance insurance investigator, Johnny Dollar"
Keeper Dan of the Miskatonic University Podcast

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Re: MUP 101 - No Accounting for that Fella's Strength

Post by tiamat » Wed Jun 15, 2016 12:30 pm

One of the arguments made during the (surprisingly controversial) discussion about multiplying characteristics by 5 was that characteristics for monsters are never rolled. I don't think this is the case. The rules permit a PC's skills to exceed 100 (though 00 is always a fumble). Increasing a skill that high permits you to keep increasing the threshold of hard and extreme successes. Same thing for monsters. Assume a Chthonian needs to make a Strength check to see if it can peel open the roof of a warehouse the Investigators have just run into. Assume the strength of the roof is 300; the Chthonian has a strength of 260. According to the rules, the level of success required to peel open the roof is an extreme success. The Chthonian would need to roll less than 260/5 = 52 on a d100. If the Cthonian rolls a 77, the Investigators get an extra round to set up. Same thing when a spell-casting Star Spawn (that rolls really well and has a POW of 130) attempts to cast a spell on an investigator, calling for an opposed POW roll. An Extreme success would be a roll of 26 or less. So I can see monster characteristics being very important in-game.

One (I think fantastic) implication of the characteristic times 5 system is that the Resistance Table now sleeps at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, waiting to rise again in unfathomable aeons to drive us all crazy. Not that it was difficult to use; I think most of us could figure out the resistance table numbers in our heads (unless we were using the arctangent function from the Keeper Companion, Vol. 1). But there were entirely different mechanics for dealing with opposed characteristic rolls versus opposed skill rolls; now challenges between and among characteristics and skills are handled the exact same way. I think that was the primary motivation for the change, and I'm definitely finding that it makes things go much more smoothly in my game.

The only thing about the new characteristics system I don't like is that there was no change to the expenditure of POW needed to make permanent magical effects. Instead of spending a flat 5 POW for an elder sign, why not 1? Or 3? Or 2D4? The possibility of variable POW being drained when you enchant a knife makes it that much more dangerous. I think it was a missed opportunity.

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Re: MUP 101 - No Accounting for that Fella's Strength

Post by MikeM » Wed Jun 15, 2016 4:16 pm

tiamat wrote:. The only thing about the new characteristics system I don't like is that there was no change to the expenditure of POW needed to make permanent magical effects. Instead of spending a flat 5 POW for an elder sign, why not 1? Or 3? Or 2D4? The possibility of variable POW being drained when you enchant a knife makes it that much more dangerous. I think it was a missed opportunity.
The 7e Rulebook actively encourages Keepers to mess around with magic - see the section on creating or adjusting spells - if you prefer variable POW or even MP loss for spellcasting, then do it. Anything to make players fear magic use is always a good thing. ; )
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Re: MUP 101 - No Accounting for that Fella's Strength

Post by viscounteric » Wed Jun 22, 2016 3:01 am

Accounting isn't one of what one of my players dubbed the "Holy Trinity of Skills" (Library Use, Spot Hidden, Shotgun) but it's not uncommon in classic CoC material. Masks, Day of Beast, and Spawn of Azathoth have more calls for Accounting than second tier skills like Psychology or Natural History. It's also a oft-mentioned skill in most mob/bootlegging related scenarios.

Of course, our current campaign started with a crooked bookkeeper who ran roughshod over duplicate ledgers and convoluted invoices.

I would suggest Physics as the next skill, but we still have our brilliant physicist after 32 sessions. Outside a physics-focused scenario in Secrets of New York, it pops up in the most interesting spots in published books.

Next session we complete Masks, and his well earned 93% Physics and 92% Mechanical Repair might be put to use in the lair... :science:
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Re: MUP 101 - No Accounting for that Fella's Strength

Post by Dr. Gerard » Thu Jun 23, 2016 2:56 pm

Physics is a great pick. And I agree that Accounting isn't really underused. Not sure what to call the skill segments. Still not as used as often as the "trinity" as you call them, or as much as Psychology and Fast Talk. Deep background? Fringe? I dunno.
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Re: MUP 101 - No Accounting for that Fella's Strength

Post by trevlix » Thu Jun 23, 2016 4:17 pm

Great episode. Murf, was the movie you were thinking of with the obsessed person called The Number 23?
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Re: MUP 101 - No Accounting for that Fella's Strength

Post by Nvision » Tue Jun 28, 2016 7:01 pm

tiamat wrote:One of the arguments made during the (surprisingly controversial) discussion about multiplying characteristics by 5 was that characteristics for monsters are never rolled. I don't think this is the case. The rules permit a PC's skills to exceed 100 (though 00 is always a fumble). Increasing a skill that high permits you to keep increasing the threshold of hard and extreme successes. Same thing for monsters. Assume a Chthonian needs to make a Strength check to see if it can peel open the roof of a warehouse the Investigators have just run into. Assume the strength of the roof is 300; the Chthonian has a strength of 260. According to the rules, the level of success required to peel open the roof is an extreme success. The Chthonian would need to roll less than 260/5 = 52 on a d100. If the Cthonian rolls a 77, the Investigators get an extra round to set up. Same thing when a spell-casting Star Spawn (that rolls really well and has a POW of 130) attempts to cast a spell on an investigator, calling for an opposed POW roll. An Extreme success would be a roll of 26 or less. So I can see monster characteristics being very important in-game.
This. Excellent illustration of how above 100% skills should work. Also, I like how the new metric works for combined skill checks. Subtracting combined skills from the target number makes it easy to ascertain the level of success needed when up against a task normally outside of that range of human ability. Comparing this against monsters, imagine a group of five investigators that have harpooned a chtonian and are trying to tether it down (why? because investigators). Even the group's strongman with a STR of 85 can't tackle the beast with a STR of 260. If the entire group pulls together, subtracting their combined STR from the cthonian's 260, they may be able to pull it off. It took a few readthroughs to get a solid handle on this one, but it's been working well in practice.

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Re: MUP 101 - No Accounting for that Fella's Strength

Post by fox01313 » Sun Jul 10, 2016 11:35 am

Another fun pulp system I prefer until getting Pulp Cthulhu, look at Hollow Earth Expedition.

Things that came to mind for pushing strength:
* holding up/open something but now you're trapped & getting free results in some damage (like using your back to hold a door shut & sticking your legs against some furniture, but once done the furniture falls & hits you for damage)
* just getting snagged on something in general (take the time you don't have to get out safely or leave evidence that the cops or monsters can use to trace you)
* knocking over something important (moving the cabinet to barricade a door damaged a fragile vase inside where you needed to follow the map painted on it)
* how about hurting another player? (same scenario as above but you knock something over on them)
* break through the floor/wall so now a new hole should be sealed before the monster sees you or gets through

Accounting:
* skip the mythos for pushing a roll, there are the simple letter/number substitution of the first 26 numbers (so now looking at the first section on each page corresponds to a letter, spelling out my wife's name, so is she a target now?)
* you don't remember this (probably an insanity version) but you stayed up for a while & got very good at copying the handwriting in the ledger to alter the numbers or fill them in (so the ledger now proves that the person is innocent or just can't be used as proof to free someone)
* love the idea of eating the pages, burning them or getting them mixed in with other paper for other things like a birdcage or packing material would work
* hate math? do it wrong & now you get some information wrong, or you are copying info out of the ledger like important addresses/names but you get some wrong & swear they were right (so commence the raid not on the cultist hideout but the orphanage a block over, get the PCs in the area but enough that they screw up the plans)
* family pet knocks over the ledger & ruins part of it
* staying up way too late, falling asleep on the ledger & as you move in your sleep nearby stuff gets spilled/torn so now pages are ruined
* how about leaving other clues mixed in with the ledger? (had clue B when you were looking through the ledger & can't find it now, yes you started using it as a bookmark & left it there
* convinced that the guy/girl doing the accounting in the ledger is not only innocent but a genius, maybe you should hire them as they're great & only slightly suspected as a cultist
* find enough criminal activity in a ledger that you find it's a good idea to try it out for your character's business (adjusting numbers for tax evasion or blackmail)
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