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Cthulhu Dark dRifts

Sloanathan

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I want to try a conversion: converting dRifts to Graham Walmsley’s Cthulhu Dark rules. Or rather, something like the Cthulhu Dark rules.

Here is my conundrum: I want to run a one-on-one game, with the dRifts setting, however I need rules that are simple and easy to play. It is fine if a lot of the setting details are handled by me, the GM, because I know the setting and books well. It can’t be off-loaded to the player though, because the player knows very little about dRifts. Enough to start a character who isn’t heavily involved in the setting who then goes out to explore the world. I want rules where the character sheet can be memorized for the most part, I want something that I can start playing at the drop of a hat with minimal equipment. Cthulhu Dark is great for that.
But Cthulhu Dark is not dRifts. Obviously. In many ways Cthulhu Dark fits the simplicity that I am going for, though. So then the question in my head then became "How do I make a hack of Cthulhu Dark that works for dRifts?"

One the biggest problems with trying to use Cthulhu Dark though is that I expect this to be a long term game, more than just a couple sessions. I need to allow for growth and character development, including allowing it to be reflected mechanically.

My design goals: Keep it simple. Allow for as much of the flavour and the setting specific details of dRifts as possible. Let the rules reflect the flavour and setting in more than just keywords, though keywords are almost certainly going to be needed. Make character growth and development possible and encouraged, and reflected mechanically.

This is not going to be easy, and as I have thought about this more and more in the last week or so, I am resolving myself to the fact that I am going to have to work away from the core simplicity that makes Cthulhu Dark what it is, but I still want to work with it as my seed. From that I will grow outward. I may grow more than needed, and require trimming, but that will come with development.
 

Sloanathan

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So lets start by taking apart Cthulhu Dark to see how the pieces tick, and then we can put it back together with some new pieces to make dRifts work.

Cthulhu Dark only really has three components to it: a die to do things that are humanly possible, a die for Insanity, and the character's profession that adds a die if the task at hand has anything to do with said profession.

Taking apart Cthulhu Dark:

Humanly Possible Die: It’s simple, it’s straightforward, it’s there. Running away, swing a bat, calculate probabilities, if you are doing anything a person can conceivably do, you get to roll this die. This helps to create a clear division supernatural activity and the normal mortal world. It also sets the baseline capability of a player character - one die for any non-mystical/mythos type action.

Profession Die: The Profession as presented in Cthulhu Dark is very broad, by nature. You are directed to choose a profession, which in a single word would sum up a whole group of skills and training in a single term. This could effectively be anything. This is a Keyword, that grants a bonus die in an applicable situation. The key difference between the Profession die and the Humanly possible die is that the Profession die is not always available to use. “I want to drive a car to chase after the bad guys” - “Great, your profession is cabbie? You get your Profession die. Oh, sorry, your profession is paleontologist? Driving cars is not something you generally do ‘professionally’, so you don’t get to roll your Profession die”.
One of the key differences between the Profession die and the Sanity die is that when you use the profession die you are not risking anything. It is always advantageous to use the Profession die, if it is available. This is not true of the Insanity die.

Insanity Die: This is the most interesting part of the game. It is a resource available for the character to call upon for a bonus die when desired, but in doing so you are risking your character's well-being in order to gain the benefit. It is also a die you can call on to achieve tasks that are normally beyond human capability. If something is normally impossible to do, you can risk a roll of the Insanity die to try and get it done.
This is an advantage to the player, but making use of it is a risk. You are putting something on the line in order to utilize this asset. This a very important aspect of the game, the risk for advantage. It is also a limited resource, because any time you roll higher than your current value, your Insanity could go up. This means though that in the beginning it is very easy to go a little bit crazy, but as you get crazier it gets less and less likely that you will tip right over the edge and lose your character.
However one of the (very few) other rules to the game is that if you take action to suppress mythos knowledge (burning books, hiding bodies or covering up secrets through any means necessary) you can reduce your Insanity. The effect being that the more crazy you get, the more motivated your character is to do things that normal folk would consider ‘crazy’.

All in all this is a very tight, neat little package of a game. It plays directly to it’s focus. The rules, while simple, all elegantly focus in on the theme and reinforce telling mythos stories.

Now, the difficulty lies in sorting out how exactly I am going to adapt this system, or at least this system’s ideas, into something to reflect dRifts. I’ll start getting into that a bit more in my next post.
 

Rickard Elimää

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I have no idea what dRift is. I'm guessing it's a mod of Rift or something. My google skills failed me when I tried "dRift rpg".
 

The Scarecrow

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I want to try a conversion: converting dRifts to Graham Walmsley’s Cthulhu Darkrules.
You're not alone: I'm trying to hack CD for World War Cthulhu (WWII setting) ;)

One the biggest problems with trying to use Cthulhu Dark though is that I expect this to be a long term game, more than just a couple sessions. I need to allow for growth and character development, including allowing it to be reflected mechanically.
It's possible in two ways, Sloanathan:
1) Assigning bonus dice at the end of every scenario/adventure, usable for every check at player's choice in the next adventures.
2) Borrowing "Advancement" rules by Ilan Rosenstein's CD hack "Delta Dark": at the end of a session the players receive between 1 to 2 advancement points (APs) that can be used to reduce Sanity (by 1 at a cost of 2 APs) or gaining a new skill or talent (at a cost of 10 APs).
And this is a great idea because adding skills in CD makes characters and NPCs different between them. I remember that also Graham Walmsley spoke about Skills in one of his CD Globules in 2011.
You can find more informations about Delta Dark here:
http://boardgamegeek.com/rpgitem/149918/delta-dark
 
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