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As a Grognard I hesitated, questioned and stalled updating to 7th edition. As a player since the 80's Cthulhu is my favourite game and I loved 1st through 6th edition and I wasn't happy about the changes until I bought it and realised I was being a luddite. Great new rules with the same horror feel. Some of the new rules increase the tension which is what Cthulhu is about. Excellent!
Between 1st and 6th edition the Call of Cthulhu rules hardly changed, but 7th edition introduces some real changes.Changes include:
Characteristic values have been multiplied by five placing human values in the percentile range and saving the need for mental arithmetic during play.
Occupational skill points are no longer derived solely from EDU. It depends on your occupation. For example an actor derives half his points from EDU and have from APP.
Luck has been divorced from POW and is now a discrete Characteristic. Optional rules enable players to spend Luck points to turn failed Skill rolls into successes, and to increase Luck in the same way as Skills.
The Skill list has been overhauled and new rules allow for varying degrees of success, which replace the Resistance Table in previous editions.So an Extreme Success beats a Hard Success, and a Hard Success beats a Regular Success.
The weapon proficiency skill list has been streamlined so a competent fighter needs fewer skills. For example all unarmed attacks and attacks with simple weapons use the same skill (Brawling). And characters now have the option to fight back instead of dodging, which makes combat more of a two-way process.
And these are just some of the changes. I haven't even mentioned rules like Pushing and Bonus/Penalty Dice.
All the changes are for the better. 7th edition is just as simple as previous versions but it's far more dynamic. At last the game has been dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century. And despite the numerous changes it's easy to convert previous editions to 7th editions.
Finally the rule book comes with two adventures, both of which are new.
7th edition is however rather expensive. Chaosium is selling it for about $85 and many UK distributors are selling it for about £85, and despite the improvements and glossy hardback format it's not worth £85. So shop around. I got mine for £45 including postage. You may also want to check out the Quick Start Rules before you part with your cash. They're available as a free download on the Chaosium site and cover many of the new rules.
After 6 previous editions it seems as if Chaosium felt compelled to finally make some changes to the basic rules. Having read some reviews I did not like what I was hearing and on buying the book found my low expectations were met and then some.
The rules they have changed add nothing to the game, either by making it more realistic or improving gameplay. Mongoose Publishing originally came up with the idea of matching levels of success in percentage rolls when they published their version of Runequest. It made sense in a fantasy RPG, but there is no need for it in Call of Cthulhu which rarely involves such competitions. The result is a character sheet that looks more like a spreadsheet, and the simplicity and ease of using percentages is lost.
7th Edition has also taken the strange decision to change base ability scores into percentages. Previously players were quite capable of multiplying an ability score by 5 to find a percentage if needed but here you take the step at character creation. The result is a fairly meaningless percentage score when it comes to comparing to a Mythos creature like a shoggoth, which might have 350% in Strength for instance. There was no need to make this change, most skills are related to ability scores so why would you ever need to make a percentage Intelligence roll rather than a skill roll? Previous editions had specific scores derived from ability scores, like Idea, which was not duplicating any skill.
Then we get the idea of pushing dice rolls. The concept is OK, essentially you can reroll a skill test if you accept it has serious consequences if you fail. But hold on, shouldn't the original dice roll mean you have consequences if you fail as well? What this effectively means is everyone gets to roll twice for any test. Also, what are the consequences of a failed knowledge skill - the examples struggle to come up with adequate suggestions. Perhaps your head explodes?
Added to these completely unnecessary and badly thought out rules changes the general presentation of this book is shambolic. At a time where games publishers are putting more and more effort into making their games look good (just look at the beautiful new Alien RPG book) Chaosium have once again left it to amateur poor quality artists to illustrate the rules. The art is terrible, it does nothing to encourage an atmosphere of horror, much of it is cartoon like and looks like it was intended to be child friendly. Added to this whoever wrote the captions under each illustration doesn't appear to have spoken to the artist about what the picture is supposed to be showing.
I'm really annoyed at Chaosium for producing this version of Call of Cthulhu. It has always been my favourite RPG, and at its heart the game is still there under additional dross. I can only recommend that if you are thinking of playing Call of Cthulhu for the first time that you pick up a copy of an earlier edition.
A rejuvenated Call of Cthulhu- I ried to resist but couldn't and very glad I am now! Even more so as it's relatively easy to convert older scenarios from earlier editions to to 7e. The only thing that marred the whole process was the inadequate packaging used by Amazon who placed a heavy hardback book at the bottom of a box then jammed a twist of brown paper on top. Unsurprisingly edge-knocks and dents to the spine were the result. Here's hoping Amazon are pursued by a dimensional shambler for crimes of thoughtless vandalism.
I'm currently waiting on my fourth copy of this book to be delivered - the previous three have all had cosmetic damage - the first had scoring on the back cover, a small rip on the spine and dented corners, the second had been hit so hard on the top right corner that it had caused creases throughout the whole book (plus small, random cuts to the top on the book and dinged corners). The latest 'replacement' has a huge, rectangular oil stain or mark in the middle of the front cover. Simply unacceptable for a 'new' £40 book.
I was actually really blown away by the quality of the rulebook. Well laid out, with lots of excellent illustrations and also well bound (some rule books for RPGs are shockingly put together). I also like the 7th edition - some nice builds on the older version we have been playing to date. I would certainly recommend the book - CoC is a great game I have been playing for (ahem) 30 years or so.
I have played CoC since 2nd Edition in the 1980s. 7th Edition makes some fundamental rule changes, but they all work to make the system more streamlined and allow players and keepers to focus more on the story, than 'crunchy' gameplay. The presentation is top class, the rules are laid out clearly and the product oozes quality. I am very happy with my copy and the delivery from the supplier was prompt and in good order. Would definitely recommend.
Order late on a Thursday, arrived, well packed on the Friday. Wow, what wonderful piece of Art and Literature. The print quality is excellent, solid hardback too. Also the pages and illustrations are beautiful. The info is well laid out with lots of handy tables and extensive Appendices. I had downloaded quick start and was reluctant to pay pay for a rule book, however, I am glad I did. On offer at £30 it was good value.
played COC years ago, got back into it now with the kids... this is a great update of the system, much easier to get to grips with. the book is really nicely produced with lots of great art, also well worth downloading the (free) quick-start set from chaosium to get a free game to play straight away. have fun!