Thoughts on GMing
As something to do at Halloween with my friends, I wrote and GMed a modern / uncanny horror one-shot using the Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition rules. I had an absolutely incredible time doing so. It was a really rewarding experience to see my friends engaging with and enjoying something that just kind of spilled out my brain, bolstered by a few internet horror touchstones, such as Eckva, The SCP Foundation and The Backrooms. I have some mental notes about the session that I’d like to jot down for the record:
Trusting your friends / players to engage with your work in good faith, or what I often hear referred to as ‘high-trust play’ is so rewarding and affirming.
Being flexible and changing things on the fly to accomodate your players should be a common courtesy when hosting.
I have not bought the Call Of Cthulhu Keeper Rulebook. I have not read it and I don’t intend to. Everything needed to play Call Of Cthulhu is in the player’s handbook.
I deliberately omitted ‘sanity points’ because they’re gross. I was considering trying to replace with a Mothership-style panic table, but in the end I just trusted that my friends wouldn’t make light of any incurred trauma. It worked.
D100 roll-under is great as a resolution mechanic because you don’t need to be constantly pissing about with modifiers.
Call of Cthulhu’s default skill spread is not great. There are very obvious optimal choices such as ‘listen’ or ‘spot hidden’, and there are important skills that present as dump-stats, such as ‘navigate’.
Overall, I’d have preferred to use a much lighter system, such as Liminal Horror, but at the end of the day, Call Of Cthulhu was what was agreed on for the session. I may end up tweaking it for Liminal Horror later though, as I think it’s a much more natural fit for the setting.
I have included all my scenario notes, warts and all, as a separate post, accessible here.