terror, horror and fear (oh my!)

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manifold
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terror, horror and fear (oh my!)

#1 Postby manifold » Thu Nov 13, 2008 12:41 pm

I had asked Clint a few questions about nausea and Fear (the monstrous ability), based around a scenario that I ran as a prequal for my current campaign. In the scenario, three wild cards and three extras were on a small ship taking a mysterious pair of treasure chests to Puerto Rico from Hispaniola. In the middle of the night, thier ship was boarded by a horde (is 10 a horde?) of undead. One of the zombies, as an intimidate attempt, ripped open his torso and spilled a bunch of crabs onto the deck. (more on how this was a missed opportunity later.)

In the middle of the battle, two fish-men also clammored aboard and used sorcery to levitate the chests out of the hold and into the sea, after which they dove back in and dragged the chests into the depths. The zombies were dispatched a bit later.

My question is: how would you structure the Guts checks for this encounter?

1. The characters are ordinary sailors with no supernatural experience, but they are highly superstitious. The year is 1680.

2. The Zombies are standared SW zombies, with the Fear ability.

3. The gut-ripping zombie is a special zombie with a one-time use ability that forces a Guts check versus nausea when it spills the crabs. Or it's an ability like Rebel Yell that Intimidates everyone in an LBT. Which do you think is a better fit?

4. The fish-men also have the Fear ability. New Guts check? Or once they pass/fail the zombie check are they jaded?

5. Should the presence of sorcery require a Guts check also? I think not, because we're at at least three Guts checks in one scene at this point.

Where would you have put Guts checks in this scenario? Where do they seem unnecessarry?

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Adam Baulderstone
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#2 Postby Adam Baulderstone » Fri Nov 14, 2008 1:05 am

I've run a lot of Call of Cthulhu over the years and I've developed one rule of thumb for Fear/Sanity checks. I watch the players. If I get a rise out of them when I describe the event or action I make them roll.

It gives me an incentive to get a reaction out of the players, rather than blandly stating, "You encounter a horrific zombie. Roll Guts." Also, I'm often surprised at things that will freak a player out dring a game and have them roll for something I didn't intend as a check.

Now to get specific with your encounter, I would make the first roll when they realize their opponents are dead. If the attack is at night, they may not realize right away. It's also avoid calling them zombies until later in the campaign. Just describe the horrific wounds of their bloated fish-gnawed oppponents. It is just that little bit scarier if they put two and two together themselves.

As for whether to make another roll for the fish men and the sorcery, follow their lead, like I mentioned above. If they seem to feel the fishmen are monstrous abominations, make a Guts check. If they view them simply a reinforcements, rolling the dice isn't going to make the scene any more fightening.

I like the zombie filled with crabs. That's a nice ghoulish touch. I'm not sure Intimidate is the right way to go. Having the zombie get a +2 on his next attack just doesn't seem like the right reaction. I'd go with the nausea check or a straight fear check.

manifold
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Thanks!

#3 Postby manifold » Mon Nov 17, 2008 12:58 pm

Thanks for the reply!

That's a really good idea. I like the notion of simply watching the rp'ing and seeing what really throws them. I also agree that adding a fear check won't make the encounter any more scarry.

Good stuff. Thanks again.

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#4 Postby RegularDarcy » Tue Nov 18, 2008 7:14 am

The crabs should definitely add something else to the fight... like, maybe they put everyone on unsteady footing until they disperse?

manifold
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Agreed.

#5 Postby manifold » Thu Nov 20, 2008 5:40 am

I had thought of that, after the encounter.

I had also thought "man! I should have made the crabs a swarm, and had them climb the mast to get at the guy in the crow's nest..."

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Re: Agreed.

#6 Postby RegularDarcy » Fri Nov 21, 2008 9:37 am

manifold wrote:I had thought of that, after the encounter.

I had also thought "man! I should have made the crabs a swarm, and had them climb the mast to get at the guy in the crow's nest..."


Now you're thinking with crabs!.... :1eek13:


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