Animal Handling in Call of Cthulhu

Earlier this year I ran the single-player scenario Love You to Death, one of two in the excellent sourcebook Does Love Forgive? During that scenario my player’s investigator acquired a pet dog, a German Shepherd called Highball. I thought this photo on the left, a Google search, was a good match for him until my player pointed out that this dog looked more like a Malinois.

Which shows how much I know!

If I’d looked a little further I would have found an actual photo of Highball. Poor chap. In my universe he’s now living happily with Betty in Old Town, Chicago with regular walks in the local park.

Highball is effectively Betty’s sidekick, an NPC, but we’ve developed a simple set of house rules to determine how successfully he carries out one task or another using the Animal Handling skill. That’s what this blog post is all about.

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Traveller Psionics: Break/Fix

I love Mongoose Traveller and I say that as a diehard Classic Traveller fan. I started playing Traveller in the early 80s and I still use my Little Black Books.

I’ll admit I was a bit sceptical when I first saw the big shiny Mongoose books and their fancy pants artwork but I bought the Core Rulebook anyway. As soon as I started reading I recognised its clear kinship to Classic Traveller and I soon realised that my house rules had been heading in the same direction anyway. 

But, Mongoose Traveller Psionics rules are broken. (Well, I guess Cepheus broke them first.)

Let me explain. I’m afraid we need a short history lesson. There will also be number crunching.

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Madam Long: Call of Cthulhu NPC

Two of my players just completed a Call of Cthulhu scenario I’ve written called Love to Hate set in 1929 Chicago. This is a sequel to the fantastic Love You to Death featured in Does Love Forgive? written and edited by Lynne Hardy, Airis Kamińska and Anna Maria Mazur. Love You to Death was a single player scenario which, in our campaign, left a loose end, brought to a conclusion in this sequel with a second investigator tagging along for the ride.

During the scenario the investigators needed to trace the whereabouts of a missing Chinese laundryman. They ended up at the fictional Xi’an Palace restaurant in the heart of Chicago’s Chinatown. This was an establishment owned by Madam Long, leader of the infamous (again fictional) Dragon Tong who controlled most of Chicago’s Chinatown.

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Pulp Cthulhu Talents

I’ve spent a sizeable chunk of my time during the last couple of years re-engaging with a much-loved hobby from my younger years, roleplaying games. I’m currently obsessed with Call of Cthulhu, especially Pulp Cthulhu which gives my players the character survivability they enjoy in campaign play.

I particularly love the Pulp Talent system, but I noticed a gap in the talents with social skills. Whereas Charm and Intimidate are covered with the Smooth Talker and Scary talents (p.24 & 26 Pulp Cthulhu rulebook), Fast Talk and Persuade are not.

This got me thinking about adding a couple of house rule talents, which then became ten. And I’m working on another set of ten at the moment to appear in a later post. Bonus points if you spot the various references! Scroll down for a PDF copy of this talent table to print out.

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