[19:01] <+MikeMason> I’m the line editor and lead writer at Chaosium for Call of Cthulhu. I co-wrote the 7th edition of Call of Cthulhu and also Pulp Cthulhu. I’m here for an hour and happy to answer your questions.
[19:02] <+MonkofLords> DAN HAS RETURNED TO HOST
[19:02] <~Dan> Sorry for cutting it so close!
[19:02] <~Dan> The floor is open to questions!
[19:02] <~Dan> What are some of the elements that make Pulp Cthulhu different from standard 1920s CoC?
[19:04] <+MikeMason> Pulp is very much about action orientated stories with tough and resourceful heroes against mad villains and crazy schemes, whereas traditional CoC is about average folk caught up in the midst of dark plots.
[19:05] <~Dan> How does it differ from the BRP pulp supplement?
[19:05] <+MikeMason> Pulp Heroes can go head to head with Mythos monsters which would easily stomp on standard CoC investigators.
[19:07] <+MikeMason> It is directly linked to CoC, and the rules dovetail into CoC closely. There’s more player agency. The BRP book is a lot smaller and more general. Pulp Cthulhu has lots of advice, supplemental rules, pulp organisations, loads of material on the 1930s, a history of the actual pulps, and 4 scenarios.
[19:08] <+MikeMason> The other key difference, is Pulp introduces Archetypes for player characters.
[19:08] <~Dan> Can it be used for “normal” (relatively speaking) adventure pulp action, or is it very much pulp adventure + Cthulhu?
[19:10] <~Dan> (wb, David_Jackson!)
[19:10] <+MikeMason> It can be used for traditional scenarios as well – in fact there is guidance on fine tuning the Pulp rules for the kind of game you want – e.g. low pulp (CoC+), mid, and high level pulp.
[19:11] <~Dan> Speaking of high level pulp, can it handle what I like to call “proto-supers”, such as the Shadow and Doc Savage?
[19:13] <+MikeMason> Yes, pulp héros get a number of Pulp Talents – extra abilities or enhanced skills/abilities, which can be tailored and constructed together. It doesn’t go as far as to create ‘super heroes’
[19:14] <+MikeMason> There’s also insane talents (which you might get it you go insane!) which allow for some weird and bizarre abilities.
[19:14] <~Dan> Can you give some examples of insane talents?
[19:16] <+MikeMason> insane speed, strength, hard to hit, insane understanding, and skill augmentation – the ability to combine a skill with Cthulhu Mythos knowledge to produce unnatural effects – like reanimating the dead.
[19:16] <+MikeMason> those are just a few.
[19:16] <~Dan> Wow… So a PC can be Herbert West?
[19:17] <+MikeMason> essentially that is a possibility. they can also get into Weird Science and create things like Elder Sign bullets, jet packs, and so on
[19:18] <~Dan> Elder Sign bullets? That’s awesome. 🙂
[19:18] <+MikeMason> yep = they add 1D10+1 damage and are in effect magic bullets
[19:18] <~Dan> Does that mean that if you want to be a mad scientist type in Pulp Cthulhu, you have to be literally mad? Or does that just make Weird Science easier?
[19:19] <+MikeMason> No, you can get into weird science while sane – but when you go insane, more possibilities open up to you
[19:20] <~Dan> As is only fitting for a CoC setting. 🙂
[19:20] <~Dan> How do the archetypes that you mentioned work?
[19:22] <+MikeMason> when creating your hero, you first pick an archetype – there’s a range, and each one gives you certain bonus skills. Archetypes include egghead, adventurer, beefcake, mystic, femme fatale etc
[19:24] <+MikeMason> they also define your core characteristic – which is normally set at a high value – so two-fisted means your core characteristic is either Strength or Size – which can start as high as 95% out of 100%
[19:24] <~Dan> Speaking of mystic, what sorts of powers are available to PCs? Are there psychic powers?
[19:25] <~Dan> (Welcome, Guest37!)
[19:25] <~Dan> (Howdy, Viktyr!)
[19:25] <+MikeMason> yes, psychic powers are in pulp as an option if the Keeper wants them in the game – there’s divination, clairvoyance, psychometry, telekinesis. You can also engage in psychic combat
[19:26] <~Dan> Can you Cloud Men’s Minds(TM)?
[19:27] <+MikeMason> that would probably fall under the Hypnosis skill – which is further enhanced in Pulp.
[19:27] <~Dan> Ah, gotcha.
[19:27] <~Dan> (Welcome, Nyarly999!)
[19:28] <~Dan> Does magic get any tweaks?
[19:28] <+MikeMason> there’s a number of things you can do with hypnosis – like freeze a target, plant suggestions, alleviate pain and so on
[19:28] <~Dan> That’s cool. 🙂
[19:29] <+MikeMason> magic is a bit quicker to learn and also there are a range of failed casting effects which can go from bad to worse quickly
[19:30] <+MikeMason> reading tomes is also quicker
[19:30] <~Dan> Is magic still as hazardous?
[19:30] <+MikeMason> yes – you can end up summoning a Mythos deity is it all goes wrong
[19:30] <+MikeMason> if it
[19:31] <~Dan> But then you can just punch it in the face, right? 🙂
[19:32] <+MikeMason> you can have a go – pulp heroes can take on bigger stuff like dark young, star spawn and hunting horrors and stand their ground – they will still likely get squished by elder god though. In a playtest, my character did punch Nyarlathotep in the face
[19:33] <~Dan> Sweet. 🙂
[19:33] <~Dan> How does sanity work? I’m guessing that Pulp Cthulhu heroes don’t go nuts as easily.
[19:35] <+MikeMason> You can use Luck points to adjust skill roles, and also reduce Sanity loss. One of the pulp talents also helps to reduce Sanity loss. It’s still Call of Cthulhu at the end of the day – you might be tougher and more capable but insanity can still strike – but now with insane talents you can perhaps do stuff you could never have done before.
[19:36] <~Dan> So how much control do PCs retain while insane? Or does insanity simply give access to insane talents, without the PC having to be currently insane?
[19:36] <+MikeMason> you can also use Luck points to survive certain death (under certain circumstances) or choose to go out in a blaze of glory
[19:38] <+MikeMason> if you gained an insane talent while insane you have access to it when sane again (but there is a risk). Essentially, like in CoC 7e, you have an initial bout of madness where your character is directed by the Keeper, but then you control the character after the bout, even if still insance
[19:38] <+MikeMason> insane
[19:39] <~Dan> It sounds almost like gaining a mutation from radiation exposure in one of the more gonzo post-apocalypse RPGs.
[19:40] <+MikeMason> if you get insane brutality – you’ll keep fighting until you’ve killed whatever your fighting against – but your comrades can try to calm you down
[19:40] * ~Dan nods
[19:41] <~Dan> What sorts of pulpy adversaries do you include in the book?
[19:43] <+MikeMason> there’s a whole chapter of pulp villains – from a masked Mob boss, Prof Cobalt a mad scientist, The Goop (half-man, half-monster), The Grave Robber, Scarlet Arachnis, and more – plus stats for things like dinosaurs, killer robots and malevolent spirits
[19:43] <+MikeMason> also – there’s some Evil Cabals – villainous organisations
[19:44] <~Dan> Wow… Sounds like the book really does work as a “standard” pulp game, then, based on the adversaries.
[19:44] <+MikeMason> one is the Grey Hunters – a group who go hunting mythos monsters – so they can eat them to get their powers
[19:44] <~Dan> …
[19:44] <~Dan> That’s a new one.
[19:45] <+MikeMason> yes that was the aim
[19:45] <+MikeMason> It’s is very much a toolkit to allow you to craft the style of game you want – epic pulp to enhanced CoC.
[19:46] <~Dan> How compatible is Pulp Cthulhu — and CoC 7e in general, really — with the BRP core rules? How hard would it be to add low-level superpowers into Pulp Cthulhu, for example? Say, if I wanted a jungle lord with animal control…
[19:48] <+MikeMason> pretty easy – you could either have an augmented Animal Handling skill or create pulp talent that gives you animal affinity or whatever.
[19:48] <~Dan> I see… Cool.
[19:49] <~Dan> I know it’s an ungodly hour for you, so is there anything we haven’t covered that you’d like to bring up before we let you get some sleep?
[19:49] <~Dan> And thanks so much for staying up for this, by the way!
[19:49] <+MikeMason> in fact, we have a supers campaign in the works based on Pulp Cthulhu – can say anymore, it’s early days.
[19:49] <+MikeMason> no worries – it’s been fun.
[19:50] <~Dan> Ooooh, that sounds intriguing.
[19:51] <+MikeMason> Pulp Cthulhu is available from the chaosium.com website and will be in stores very soon. If you’ve not tried Call of Cthulhu before – go to the site and you can download free quick-play rules and the solo adventure Alone Against The Flames, which teaches you the rules as you play through.
[19:51] <~Dan> Good to know!
[19:52] <+MikeMason> Anyway, thanks for having me. Look forward to hearing of your pulp exploits in the future!
[19:52] <~Dan> Absolutely!
[19:52] <+MikeMason> cheers and good night!
[19:52] <~Dan> If you’ll give me just a minute more, I’ll get the log posted and link you.
[19:52] <+MikeMason> okay