Call of Cthulhu 6th vs 7th editions

I know quite a few people who’ve been unhappy with the changes made to CoC 7th edition, and are sticking with 6th (or earlier, since 6th doesn’t differ hugely from earlier editions).

I have no particular feelings either way, but I’m curious to know what people prefer about one over the other.

I loose track - 7th is the one where your basic attributes are percentages? That seems a somewhat useful simplification to me, but I haven’t noticed a lot else being different in the few sessions I’ve played.

I have played a few games of 7th ed and it’s fine, but feels like modern ideas bolted on to and older system. I’m not sure it offers much that is new, although the general trend is towards a slightly pulpier system with slightly more empowered players, which feels a little like rather defeating the point of CoC in the first place.

I don’t have particularly strong feelings either, but my preference is for older versions. However, I do understand that this view doesn’t help sell a lot of role playing books - a problem as old as RPGs themselves. I’ve some sympathy with this too, but I supppse many of us tend towards Grondards as we age (beautifully, in my case, obviously, although the knees may disagree).

As far as I can see, things that have changed in 7th:

  • attributes are percentages, no ×2, ×3 etc. rolls any more
  • ½ and ⅕ value pre-calculated for all attributes and skills, for something (“special”?) and “extreme” levels of success
  • you don’t auto-die from just running out of HP, but you are dying and need help
  • there are chase rules
  • optional spending of luck to adjust bad rolls

Pushing rolls is the only major change incorporated into 7th that I worry over. In a horror game it seems preferable to keep success and failure clear. Pushing rolls fees like it adds an option for worse failure at the risk of slowing down play.

I may be looking at it wrong but it seems that pushing rolls changes the result menu from success/failure to success/normal failure/pushed failure. Aren’t enough bad things already in store for the investigators?

I was listening to

during the run-up to 7e, and I was very confused not to hear one particular idea about pushed rolls: might not a pushed failure be something akin to a fumble? Nobody ever seems to mention this possibility, but (speaking as an occasionally hard-pressed GM) there are already four possible outcomes to a roll (fumble, fail, succeed, crit) and I don’t really want to have to think of other complications on the fly.

That in turn is why I am a bit dubious about new Star Wars / Genesys (the constant pressure on the GM to come up with little extra bonus/malus effects), though one of the WH crew has the latter and hopes to try it on us soon.

Certainly when the Esoteric Order of Roleplayers were playing Achtung Cthulhu

they misinterpreted the rules to allow pushing or luck spending, and they definitely preferred luck spending when they had the option.

When 7th edition was announced it sounded like an unnecessary set of changes bolting somebody’s house rules onto a perfectly functional game. When it actually came out, however, I discovered that it was an unnecessary set of changes bolting somebody’s house rules onto a perfectly functional game.

I still don’t see the point of it.

I love 7th, it gives lots of great optional rules that enhance play and make the game fit more of what I want from the table than older versions. If 7th was going to be another 6th (5th, 4th…) then there wouldn’t really be any point, so it’s good to see some extra changes and option for those that want it.

There was a limitation that the new edition had to be backward compatible with the old, so while there is some change, it’s maybe not as radical as I’d like, but is sufficiently near the old set that long time fans can use it (or carry on using previous editions with new material that comes out).

Pushing rolls adds a lot to games and leads to many exciting situations in the sessions I’ve played and run. I’ve no problem with escalating conflicts on the fly. One thing to note is that if you’re pushing you should be narrating what it is you’re doing to put extra effort in rather than just declaring a reroll. So you might go from quitely trying to browbeat someone to shouting in thier face - you might get what you want, but if you mess it up again the fallout will be more profound.

Of course the good thing about strictly optional rules is you can choose to use them if you want, and ignore if you don’t - keeping those who want a more classic experience and those who want something new both happy.

I also like Luck, as the “I missed by one” frowny face from players can be draining. Steadily seeing an Investigator get more and more unlucky as time progresses is great for the setting. I recommend calling for Luck rolls relatively often (or having the bad thing happen to the unluckiest investigator when there’s a choice) if using Luck as a resouces as there should be a consequence - and it gives players the incentive to only really use Luck if they definitely want to make that roll, not willy nilly.

I also like Bonus and Penalty dice as an easy way to boost or hamper rolls based on circumstance with no extra maths needed to work out new special success etc. from changing the percentage. A lot of people I’ve played with like the simplicity.

Another change is that around fights and struggle, so there aren’t a bunch of different skills depending on if you kick or punch someone and drawn out fights with lots of roll to hit / dodges making things go quite some time in dice rolling. Active opposition and the quicker rush to some kind of resolution fits more with where I want the weight of my time in Cthulhu games.

There are other tweaks and changes, but these are my main ones. Folk who don’t have any issues with earlier editions can carry merrily on, using the new source material with little effort needed to adapt - and for people wanting something a bit different like me - we have some great new toys to play with.

So overall, 7th is a great edition, if you wanted a new edition of Cthulhu. if you didn’t then you can stick to one of the previous ones without losing much.