Disconnect Between Designer's Intent and Player Intepretation


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Yora

Legend
Where this changed at many tables (including ours) was when xp-for-gp was dropped; and this became RAW in 2e. Now, monsters become the only real source of xp; meaning a greatly-slowed level advancement (good) and combat becoming the go-to option (not so good).
While I get that awarding XP for collecting treasure incentivizes a single specific form of campaign play that by no means has to be the only style to play a fantasy RPG, making XP for defeating enemies the only clearly codified way of getting experience was just a horrible thing with, I would argue, severe permanent damage to the RPG medium.
So much dumb followed from it that became the default for all fantasy RPGs.
 

Azuresun

Adventurer
With regard to Vampire, it's worth comparing it to how vampire fiction at the time (and still today) was steadily moving away from vampirism being a miserable curse and into being something cool. You can see a major change in how Anne Rice (one of the codifiers of the modern vampire) was approaching it, even between Interview with the Vampire and the sequel. The first one is a depiction of an abusive relationship where the vampires are superficially glamorous, but hollow and numb to the monstrous things they do, the latter has literal rock star vampires who love their life and only eat naughty people. The Lost Boys would sum it up pretty well around the same time with the tagline "Party all night, sleep all day and never grow old."

White Wolf kinda makes a habit of this--Exalted springs to mind. The game pushes characters HARD towards being heroic in the "Classical d-bag" sense. Achilles sitting in his tent while his army gets killed, Odysseus flipping out and murdering his wife's suitors and her slaves, etc. There's a Virtue system which is designed to push PC's towards rigid and extreme behaviour and when you act against your Virtues too often, you flip out and succumb to some extreme behaviour for up to a week.

Nobody (that I played with or heard of) played it like that. The Virtue system was kind of broken because Conviction was a) the most important one for gaining Willpower and b) so flexible about what you actually had Conviction in that it became the Virtue Of What I Was Going To Do Anyway. That, and nobody really wanted to lose control of their character for that long, and the implicit nihilism of "No matter how heroic you try to be, your character will undo all their own progress because of factors they have no control over." was a very hard sell.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
For the stuff in the middle or at the top I think you need to be Hellboy instead of Ash. Or possibly Titus Crowe.

In any case, even they didn't get through without being maimed, all three of them have artificial limbs

Yeah, to a large extent the issue is that typical CoC and similar characters just don't have the tools to address the problem directly.

That's partly why addressing the mid-range stuff often involves explosives and/or dropping a building on them, and with the top-range stuff breaking the necessary conditions to allow them to be here at all.

But when it comes to the low-end types, the reason you don't see them being dealt with in the fiction much (at least outside of Brian Lumley) is they're done as cosmic horror, not action horror or even survival horror. Its just not the sort of thing those stories normally deal with. But that doesn't mean at that scale action horror isn't viable.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
While I get that awarding XP for collecting treasure incentivizes a single specific form of campaign play that by no means has to be the only style to play a fantasy RPG, making XP for defeating enemies the only clearly codified way of getting experience was just a horrible thing with, I would argue, severe permanent damage to the RPG medium.
So much dumb followed from it that became the default for all fantasy RPGs.

Eh. Honestly, while I can see the argument that it tended to cut off approaches that were non-combat intensive, I still think there were other factors that were going to make that the dominant approach in the hobby anyway, maybe to a slightly lesser degree.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
With regard to Vampire, it's worth comparing it to how vampire fiction at the time (and still today) was steadily moving away from vampirism being a miserable curse and into being something cool. You can see a major change in how Anne Rice (one of the codifiers of the modern vampire) was approaching it, even between Interview with the Vampire and the sequel. The first one is a depiction of an abusive relationship where the vampires are superficially glamorous, but hollow and numb to the monstrous things they do, the latter has literal rock star vampires who love their life and only eat naughty people. The Lost Boys would sum it up pretty well around the same time with the tagline "Party all night, sleep all day and never grow old."

I'd argue that those tended to still suggest it was a fundamentally corrupt life-state though. Its not like David and his friends were depicted as the heroes of the piece; they just showed that it was a state that could be tempting.
 

Azuresun

Adventurer
I'd argue that those tended to still suggest it was a fundamentally corrupt life-state though. Its not like David and his friends were depicted as the heroes of the piece; they just showed that it was a state that could be tempting.

Oh yes, but there's been a definite progression of vampires to the "X-Men With Fangs" / "Hunky Attractively Tormented Romance Hero" state that predominates today, and the cool villains of Lost Boys were one of the marks on the road. In a sense, Vampire was pushing against that tide almost from the time it was first released.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
As a GM, I want to love CoC for a lot of reasons, but I am frustrated that neither the system nor the examples of seem capable of producing the results that I want and it's not obvious to me how to create a game that does accomplish what I want.
I agree with you - CoC RPG as a system does not support the feel I want for CoC mythos.

If I wanted to get away from the heavily armed and more back to the investigators, I'd start putting in resistance to modern weapons depending how eldritch something is. So against a cultist sure your guns work, but against things like zombies they aren't more effective than a knife, and against something horrifying they are a lot less effective.

At the same time, put in occult means to hurt them. I'm not talking about making an Occult check just a mystic bullet to beat them up, but things that need to be prepped with either investigation or time. Like finding out that these fish-men are hurt by iron filings, while we know a name that causes torment to that abomination, and if I draw a ritual circle and lure them inside my chanting can dissolve them. And armed with that prep and/or knowledge allow Occult to attack. With it being more effective the more knowledge/prep you have. And things like enchanted athame and such still will work as well.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
While I get that awarding XP for collecting treasure incentivizes a single specific form of campaign play that by no means has to be the only style to play a fantasy RPG, making XP for defeating enemies the only clearly codified way of getting experience was just a horrible thing with, I would argue, severe permanent damage to the RPG medium.
So much dumb followed from it that became the default for all fantasy RPGs.
For a laser-focused RPG like some of the PbtA games we see today, having a "Do a dungeon crawl to find monsters to kill so you advance" mechanic works just fine.

D&D though as the 800 lb gorilla and the original blueprint for RPGs it had a different effect. Does (or did) D&D have a responsibility to be an appropriate "role model" because of it's dominant position, or is that other games adopted that from D&D unexamined on the shoulders of those other creators?
 

James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
I agree with you - CoC RPG as a system does not support the feel I want for CoC mythos.

If I wanted to get away from the heavily armed and more back to the investigators, I'd start putting in resistance to modern weapons depending how eldritch something is. So against a cultist sure your guns work, but against things like zombies they aren't more effective than a knife, and against something horrifying they are a lot less effective.

At the same time, put in occult means to hurt them. I'm not talking about making an Occult check just a mystic bullet to beat them up, but things that need to be prepped with either investigation or time. Like finding out that these fish-men are hurt by iron filings, while we know a name that causes torment to that abomination, and if I draw a ritual circle and lure them inside my chanting can dissolve them. And armed with that prep and/or knowledge allow Occult to attack. With it being more effective the more knowledge/prep you have. And things like enchanted athame and such still will work as well.
I'm reminded of the Winchester boy's go-to, rock salt. But yes, perhaps an investigator should be more like Dr. Van Helsing, armed with knowledge of the weaknesses of his foes; silver, crucifixes, holy water, wooden stakes (with a mallet because, as a doctor, he knows that there's bone protecting the heart!), etc..
 

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