Alternate Character Generation


The true challenge of Call of Cthulhu that sets it apart from all other games is the fact that the PCs are supposed to be just normal people caught up in horrific events.  Investigators are not the steely eyed, strong-jawed heroes that are the traditional hallmark of RPGs.


However, it is a given that the mind jarring evil-which is the backbone of the game-induces a high mortality rate.  PCs in CoC just don't have the life spans that PCs in other games enjoy. The standard rules for character generation, while fine for initial PCs, can be a problem when a player loses a character in the middle of a long scenario or an on-going campaign.  GMs sometimes have to stretch the limits of plausibility to introduce replacement PCs in the first place, just how many siblings looking into a loved one's "sudden death or breakdown" can one person have?  If the dice decide to roll up something completely inappropriate such as a PC with a INT of 8 and EDU of 10, when a professor of oriental antiquities is what the player wants (or the campaign desperately needs), then it just makes the GM's job that much more difficult


The following point based character generation system is for when a specific type of PC is needed.  I for one enjoy playing a less than "perfect" character in most situations, as CoC is not driven by combat prowess, but by the intelligent investigation of hidden facts.  Strong jawed heroes have their place in an investigation, but they are not required.  The fact still remains that sometimes a specific character type is needed and random character generation just doesn't fit the bill.  Thus, the following rules for those all too frequent times that a replacement PC must be created.


Players have a base of 50 points to buy stats for their PC. Extra points can only be gained by reducing another stat from its base value.  Once stats have been purchased, character generation proceeds as per fifth edition Call of Cthulhu rules.


STAT                   COST        MAX   MIN     BASE 


STRENGTH                2          18        3          10


CONSTITUTION        2          18        3          10


SIZE                            2          18        8          13


DEXTERITY              2          18        3          10


APPEARANCE          1          18        3          10


INTELLIGENCE         3          18        8          13


POWER                      3          18        3          10


EDUCATION              4          21        6          13

You will notice that you can build that steely-eyed hero, or that professor of oriental antiquities with these rules, but the point cost is just too high to build a certain heroic professor of cinematic fame.  Players seeking a truly outstanding PC will just have to trust in Madam Luck, which is as it should be.



Examples are as follows:


Example #1              Example #2                    Example #3


STAT  Value   Cost  STAT   Value   Cost       STAT  Value   Cost


STR     18       16     STR        10        0          STR     8          -4


CON    15       10     CON       10        0          CON    8          -4


SIZ      15       4       SIZ         13        0          SIZ      13        0


DEX    17       14     DEX       10        0          DEX    10        0


APP     10       0       APP        10        0          APP     9          -1


INT      13       0       INT         16        9          INT      18        15


POW   12       6       POW      13        9          POW   18        24


EDU    13       0       EDU      21         32        EDU    18        20


TOTAL           50     TOTAL              50        TOTAL           50




Our first character is our traditional hero.  (I know I said that CoC is usually resolved by brain and not by brawn, but those pesky cultists do have a tendency to get physical, so it doesn't hurt to have at least one in your group).  The second PC is that much-needed orientalist and our third member is a parapsychologist, or possible an alienist (the twenties term for a psychologist).  As you can see these rules are flexible enough to build most types of characters, and since the battle against the Cthuloid menace is never ending, you'll never know when an orientalist will be needed, so now you'll have him when you need him.