MUP 103 - Smart Tip: Keep Hands Out of Machinery

Discussion about podcast episodes
Post Reply
Keeper Dan
Daemon Sultan
Daemon Sultan
Posts: 708
Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2012 4:46 pm

MUP 103 - Smart Tip: Keep Hands Out of Machinery

Post by Keeper Dan » Mon Jul 04, 2016 2:13 am

This week, Keepers Dan, Jon and Chad INTerrogate and INTerpret our INTuitions about a certain INTeresting characteristic. Plus, like a wrecking ball through a tenement wall, we’re also continuing our look at lesser used skills and what they can bring to the game. This episode was recorded on June 13th, 2016.

Campus Crier
The Campus Crier is brought to you by our sponsor: Golden Goblin Press!
(Incidentally, Jon mentions a doppelganger plot in one of his scenarios that makes us ponder the timey-wimey mysteries of Jimmy Fallon and Nicholas Cage.)

Feedback

Jason King in Milwaukee sends an uplifting note about MU's role in bringing him back to the gaming table. Messages like this give us feels.

Topics

Character Creation: Intelligence

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

Forgotten Skills: Operate Heavy Machinery

Moving ahead with our series on lesser-used skills in Call of Cthulhu, we talk about the infamous Operate Heavy Machinery skill. Is it too broad? Does it come up in the game?

And a call to listeners: do you have any horrific industrial accident stories to share? Let's add to the folklore of pain and dismemberment, shall we?

Along the way, we mention this 1982 article from Sandy Peterson that mentions the Operate Heavy Machinery skill and how it shows a bias toward academic-minded players in Call of Cthulhu. (The rest of the article is a great read, too.)
Keeper Dan of the Miskatonic University Podcast

dlw32
Freshman
Freshman
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Jul 05, 2016 4:54 pm

Re: MUP 103 - Smart Tip: Keep Hands Out of Machinery

Post by dlw32 » Tue Jul 05, 2016 5:06 pm

Great podcast guys.

You were discussing Intelligence vs Intuition and I want to suggest this:

* If the PC is trying to come up with the answer and has all sorts of facts available that the Player hasn't been able to connect together; that's an INT check. The PC is piecing the puzzle together.
* If the PC hasn't been able to come up with facts to process, that's intuition, and I'd suggest LUCK. If they don't have facts to lead them then they just stumble on the answer... intuitively.

I wouldn't use the intuition often though. if the PLAYERS have an intuition about something that's fine. If the PC's really have no clues to lead them anywhere, something's probably gone wrong...

Go PODS!!!

Keeper Jon
Professor
Professor
Posts: 875
Joined: Sun Jul 15, 2012 10:12 am
Location: Lenexa, KS

Re: MUP 103 - Smart Tip: Keep Hands Out of Machinery

Post by Keeper Jon » Tue Jul 05, 2016 6:56 pm

dlw32 wrote:Great podcast guys.

You were discussing Intelligence vs Intuition and I want to suggest this:

* If the PC is trying to come up with the answer and has all sorts of facts available that the Player hasn't been able to connect together; that's an INT check. The PC is piecing the puzzle together.
* If the PC hasn't been able to come up with facts to process, that's intuition, and I'd suggest LUCK. If they don't have facts to lead them then they just stumble on the answer... intuitively.

I wouldn't use the intuition often though. if the PLAYERS have an intuition about something that's fine. If the PC's really have no clues to lead them anywhere, something's probably gone wrong...

Go PODS!!!
I like it! Thanks man! :cthulhudance:

Dr. Gerard
Professor
Professor
Posts: 1353
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2012 2:00 pm

Re: MUP 103 - Smart Tip: Keep Hands Out of Machinery

Post by Dr. Gerard » Wed Jul 06, 2016 4:19 pm

Luck is also a reasonable stand-in for intuition. If you really wanted to have a highly intuitive character, I think it's probably best to invest in the Intelligence characteristic, and maybe boost POW and Luck secondarily to reflect other kinds of intuition. It would be good to talk with the Keeper and players to work out how you'd be tweaking the traditional use of those stats to take intuition into account.

Incidentally, I love how Cthulhu Dark Ages and Cthulhu Invictus replace Psychology with "Insight." Frankly, I could get behind renaming the skill as Insight for the whole system. I think it's a much better descriptor for reading people, and it could easily be applied more broadly to moments where intuition is needed. But probably that would raise objections because it violates the game's tradition / legacy.

Hmmmmm....Jon's thought that intelligence and intuition could be considered antitheses has really got my gears turning. I've been thinking about it for days since editing the show. He's absolutely right that it's a very common theme in literature and genre media. I think Call of Cthulhu mechanics just aren't built to push that theme. It has other thematic strengths like the Sanity spiral. That's not to say an intelligence vs. intuition theme couldn't be explored in a narrative way during CoC play, like interpreting INT roll results like we discussed, or even mechanically using San or Luck or Pow as occasional workarounds for moments of intuition.

But since Call of Cthulhu is built on a traditional skill-based RPG engine, which simulates dramatic tasks with binary pass-fail results, it's tough to make a single roll reflect this intelligence-intuition dichotomy. It would be strange for a failed intelligence roll to mean that character used their intuition - but poorly. That would mean that intuition is always wrong. And the same would be true if some kind of "intuition" roll failed - meaning that their intelligence somehow got in the way. In CoC, we assume the character is using all of their mental resources to figure something out, whether that's analytical thinking or reflexive thinking. It all goes into the hopper and comes out as a success or a failure of varying degrees.

In traditional RPGs that use an advantage / disadvantage system, you might be able to spend character points for an "Intuitive" aspect, so they'd get an extra roll on intelligence checks or they could replace an intelligence check with some other characteristic roll like "guts" or whatever applies. Regular Call of Cthulhu doesn't really give special privileges to PCs like that. Pulp Cthulhu does have a system of special talents, so perhaps there is room for

HOWEVER - I think the idea could make for very interesting indie-style game mechanics that really puts intuition vs. intellect in the forefront. Perhaps it could work like Arkham Horror board game, where two characteristics are paired together (like Lore and Luck), and if you want more of one then you have to take a point away from the other. Games like Don't Rest Your Head have interesting mechanics where the outcome of a given task depends on which stat you decide to use for the job. In DRYH, the characteristics are Discipline, Exhaustion and Madness - and you can use any of them to do just about anything, but the role play and the results differ. So perhaps you could have two characteristics, Intelligence and Intuition. If you use Intelligence to puzzle things out, you gain information at a slow drip and perhaps eventually risk correlating contents. Or you can use Intuition for the same task and risk a larger hit on your humanity / sanity, but the quality of information you can gain is greater (and perhaps supernatural). Or you could use a dice pool mechanic, where one die represents intellect and one represents intuition. Whichever is higher would control how the results are interpreted, and perhaps there would be a cost one way or the other.

Anyway, something to chew on.
Keeper of the Cthulhu Dark "Secret Everest Expedition" PbP scenario
Rip Wheeler in the Call of Cthulhu "No Man's Land" scenario
Plays for Keepers


MikeM
Sophmore
Sophmore
Posts: 79
Joined: Sun Sep 16, 2012 6:06 pm

Re: MUP 103 - Smart Tip: Keep Hands Out of Machinery

Post by MikeM » Thu Jul 07, 2016 9:47 am

dlw32 wrote: * If the PC hasn't been able to come up with facts to process, that's intuition, and I'd suggest LUCK. If they don't have facts to lead them then they just stumble on the answer... intuitively.

The IDEA roll is for missing facts/pieces of the puzzle - if exchanging this for a Luck roll (or any other roll), what happens when they fail they roll? - It inserts the possibility of failure and so, when the roll fails, things go nowhere. That's why the Idea roll was reworked in 7e. Whether you pass or fail, you still get the clue needed to get you back on track. Whether you pass or fail decides the cirumstances of discovering that information (a failure means a riskier / dangerous situation). It is meant to be an 'intuition' roll of sorts. See page 199 of the Rulebook and page 90.

INT roll is the cousin of a KNOW roll. A Know roll is a summation of general info the PC has in their head (can they remember a certain fact or detail outside of their skill expertise), an INT roll determines whether the PC can piece together / solve a puzzle from information they already have at their disposal.
Mike D Mason
Call of Cthulhu Line Editor, Chaosium Inc.

trevlix
Investigator
Investigator
Posts: 510
Joined: Sun Aug 19, 2012 2:58 am
Contact:

Re: MUP 103 - Smart Tip: Keep Hands Out of Machinery

Post by trevlix » Sat Jul 09, 2016 8:38 pm

Great podcast and loved the discussion on Operate Heavy Machinery. Speaking of which, RPPR has an AP of a scenario based around that skill!

http://actualplay.roleplayingpublicradi ... machinery/
[Trafford: Insanity: 4, Exhaustion: 2]

http://keepingthegame.blogspot.com/

EddyPo
Sponsor
Sponsor
Posts: 434
Joined: Fri Aug 31, 2012 4:40 pm
Location: Milwaukee
Contact:

Re: MUP 103 - Smart Tip: Keep Hands Out of Machinery

Post by EddyPo » Thu Sep 01, 2016 3:26 pm

Hey Jason King from Milwaukee! I'm also a Milwaukean. If you're reading this, hit me with a PM. I'd like to set up a game of CoC at a local game store and you are certainly welcome to join us.
Not a hack!

User avatar
technuthulhu
Freshman
Freshman
Posts: 16
Joined: Tue Aug 12, 2014 8:44 pm
Location: Port Townsend, WA

Re: MUP 103 - Smart Tip: Keep Hands Out of Machinery

Post by technuthulhu » Sun Aug 13, 2017 11:57 pm

Hey Guys, Not to be too contrary, but no all tractors are a "tippy" as you imply... nor are they terribly difficult to operate. It all depends on the era, but in the classic 1920s era, there were plenty of stable tractors. Don't get me wrong there were also plenty of Farmall tractors that were basically 3 wheeled (though they actually had two wheels in front). My great grandfather was killed by overturning one. Having grown up in an agricultural area, I drove a tractor well before I ever drove a car. My kids have done the same. In the 1920s, I'd think that life was more agrarian than it is now so it I'd think for many people tractors were a fact of life. Now for all the "city slickers" that might not be true. Heck, I even have a friend of the family that owns a steam tractor. Which is basically a steam engine that doesn't need tracks. I have no idea how common that was in the 1920s, but the point is while you and I may get lost in a modern locomotive, a farm hand that ran a steam tractor may feel right at home in the Orient Express locomotive. Something to think about.

Keep up the good work guys and I promise to catch up soon!

all my best,
--ron.

Post Reply