Monday, October 31, 2016

Gearing up for Cthulhu (Last step of Character Building)

All right Game Fans, it’s Halloween and we’re going to cover the last step of building an Investigator for Call of Cthulhu today.  The last thing we’re going to need for our Investigator is to gear up for the myriad of potential things you could bump into while investigating the Mythos. Bear in mind, you aren’t playing Oregon Trail, so you need to figure out exactly what your character has on hand, and what he or she can lay his or her grubby mitts on when the situation demands. Let’s take a closer look at equipping yourself in Call of Cthulhu.

A quick recap, for those playing along at home.  

Strength     (Rolled 11) 55
Constitution     (Rolled 13) 65
Size         (Rolled 9) 45
Dexterity     (Rolled 11) 55
Appearance     (Rolled 13) 65
Intelligence     (Rolled 15) 75
Power         (Rolled 14) 70
Education     (Rolled 14) 70
Luck         (Rolled 16) 80

Appraise 65%
Art/Craft (Fine Art) 45%
Brawling 65%
Charm 45%
History 75%
Library Use 70%
Other Language 71%
Spot Hidden 25%
Credit Rating 70%

Name:  Henry Reed
Age 31
Birthplace: London, England
Gender: Male

HP 11
Damage Bonus: -
Build: +0


“Henry is a shorter man, standing about 5’8” tall.  He’s got short black hair and green eyes.  Elegantly dressed, Henry is always dressed in a 3 piece suit and favors pin stripes over solid colors.  He walks with a slight limp (a holdover from his adventures during World War I)  and carries a elegant mahogany cane.”


After a long stint doing some things he can’t talk about during World War I, Henry has come to the conclusion that he is where he is supposed to be.  Whatever happens is supposed to happen, and he accepts the world as it is.  Fate has been determined, and its up to people to accept it.  

Significant People:

Jack, his friend from World War I.  They survived some harrowing experiences throughout the war, and he wouldn’t have gotten through it with Jack.  Jack’s come on hard times after the War and Henry takes it upon himself to see that his friend is taken care of.  

Significant Locations:

The Library of Congress:  Henry has relocated to D.C. after the war, and spends a majority of his time in the Library of Congress when he isn’t teaching at the University of Virginia.  He has fallen in love with the vast collection of books in those archives.  

Memento:  (Key Backstory Connection)

Henry and Jack were in Germany during WWI, and while they were exploring a site, they found an icon belonging to an unknown faith.  He’s spent years trying to figure out what it’s for, what it represents, and any other details about it.  It remains a mystery.  


Loyalty is a key defining trait for Henry.  He lives and dies by his loyalty to his friends, and once he gives his word, it is his bond.  Henry’s loyalty is unshakable once given, and some folks have taken advantage of this in the past.  


We have a character who was asked to do something that he can’t talk about by the Government during the 1st world war.  He and his companion Jack (a possible PC) were operating behind enemy lines during the war doing something.  While there, they found the mysterious Icon that Jack has spent his post war career studying and researching.  He’s an associate faculty member at the University of Virginia and authenticates rare pieces of art from around the world.   

Let’s chat for a second about how wealth works in Call of Cthulhu, and how you can use it to do a lot of things.

Wealth is an abstraction, representing a character’s ability to pull funds from a myriad of sources.  Represented by the Credit Rating, this gives you a rough idea of how much cash your character has immediately available, their total assets, and how much money they can reasonably spend a time without having to roll dice or make a check.  

Remember when consulting the chart on page 57 that you are using the right era.  Henry’s built for a 1920’s game, and has a Credit Rating of 70%.  This puts him firmly in the middle of the Wealthy strata on the chart.  This means several important things.

Cash:  Henry has $350 available to him at the drop of a hat.  Anything more than that and he’ll have to make arrangements, transfer money etc.

Asset:  Henry has $35,000 in assets.  These are either investments, properties, antiquities or other items of value that aren’t immediately convertible into liquid spending cash.  

Spending Level:  Henry has a spending level of $50, which means he can reasonably purchase things with a cost of less than 5$0 without it adversely affecting his Credit Rating.  

Some basic thoughts and ideas about gear:  

Henry’s a sharp dresser, so i think it’s perfectly reasonable that he owns several Cashmere Dress Suits, and overcoats and the other assorted accessories that go with them.  Since he is also supporting his old friend Jack, we assume there’s a similar assortment of clothing appropriate to Jack.  

We’re going to assume that Henry has a house in/near Washington D.C. (referenced above in his backstory.  We’ll assume it’s a higher cost townhouse to represent the expense of DC, and note that 8,000 of the assets are tied up in that (that still leaves 27,000 uncategorized).  Assume another 2,000 on furniture and fixtures (down to 25K)  On a side note, both Henry and Jack love Cadillacs, and they both have 1 (4500 spent, just over 20.5K left in assets).

Again, we’re going to focus on what’s absolutely essential for the line of work Henry is in, and noting that there’s a lot of neat stuff in the Equipment section, we’re going to ignore most of it.  Is it stuff that he might have?  Sure, but it isn’t necessarily stuff that he either has on hand and findable immediately, or stuff that hasn’t gotten broken or otherwise is unusable.   

Stuff on hand
Jeweler’s tool kit (this is more representative of fine detail brushes and lenses to examine artifacts)
Handlebag (to store documents, notes and his tool kit)
Writing Tablets. Fountain pens, mechanical pencils

For weapons, Henry’s a bit simple.  He’s got his Cane (counted as a club), and he’s adopted the fancy new Colt 1911 (.45 automatic).

So If Henry’s out and about investigating something, heading to the library, or coming back from class, he will have in his possession

His Black bag with
    Writing tablets
    Mechanical Pencils
    Self-filling fountain pens
    Jeweler’s Kit
His Cane
His pistol (in a shoulder holster under his jacket)

His black Cadliac.  
He still has almost 20K in unidentified assets, so there's some room to maneuver with that, but this has a home base, a method of transportation, and the right tools for the right job.  He's as ready to find Cthulhu as anyone else is. 
We’ve completed all the steps of character building, and are ready to go find some trouble on a spooky Halloween night.  

Game on, Game Fans

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