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Call of Cthulhu: Horror Roleplaying in the Worlds of H. P. Lovecraft, 6th Edition Paperback – March 30, 2005
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1. The instructions for playing are clear and informative. The book also makes it very clear that the adventures require some sort of familiarity with the book and with the scenarios. It's not a book one can just pick up and play. However it's not something that requires a degree in rocket science in order to play.
2. This game runs on the D100 system, which was an odd duck to learn. I have been playing D&D for about two years, and the transition between playing D20 to D100 was confusing for me. I can't speak for everybody on that though. Some people will pick it up faster than I.
3. The book contains a very informative section on the mythos of Lovecraft, a detailed glossary of Old Ones, Monsters, Enemies, differences between the eras (1890's, 1920's, and Modern), and an incredibly detailed section defining each trait.
4. This book contains 4 scenarios in the back, each with their various levels of difficulty and various levels of how well they're written. The only one I've had a problem with is Dead Man's Stomp, which contains an unruly amount of flavor-text for my tastes.
5. If you're an experienced D&D player looking into this game, please take into consideration that "looting the room" is far less necessary than interrogations or library checks.
Overall, this game is an awesome and refreshing game to DM and to play. Having knowledge in Lovecraftian mythos is not required, as you learn a LOT along the way!
As a game, CofC is even more attractive to me than ever. With the d20 system taken over by endless amounts of crap, a simple, easy to play, easy to understand, very straightforward system that LETS YOU ROLE PLAY and develop a story is very welcome. The updated version does actually very little other than tweak a few bits and add a bit more source material, so you dont need to feel like you have to buy this if you have a prior edition.
If you want a dice fest and super heroes in chain mail, play d20, if you want stories, characters, and fun, play CofC. The horror element doesn't even need to come into play!
Monty Haul players, and folks who want to obsess "with what they can get" won't like this. People that want "a plan" for character development won't like it. That said, nearly every one I've ever played this with loves the game... but be warned, you're GMing skills will be put to the test because there is very little system to hide behind.
CoC thrusts the player into the Lovecraft Horror Universe of the 1920's. Where investigators(players) are pitted against "things" beyond understanding. Many loose their minds, while others loose their lives; not a game for "deep" character investment. But a brilliant game concept that has gathered players for more than thirty years.