Monday, April 15, 2013

The RPG Corner: The Cthulhu Effect

The RPG Corner: The Cthulhu Effect: Anyone who has run Call of Cthulhu for any great length of time will no doubt be familiar with the "D&D Effect" - the phenomena....

I loved this and found it great reading. I've experienced this acutely in Pendragon ... in fact I think more so in Pendragon. When players come to Pendragon from a D&D or FRPG background they immediately think they are in the same thing only with a different skin.

Well your very much mistaken when you take this route. You see in Pendragon your, yes playing a knight. So through FRPG eyes that means "heavy armoured warrior". So off they go. There is also normally someone who want to play the "Magic User" and while there is, in some editions magic rules, they are not so great for a player character (you can end up needing to sleep for a long time - in some cases ...years), its not really a game for players casting spells.

So you start out with some frustrated, some grumpy and some dissatisfied players ["What? We are all Knights!"]. Well yes and no... Sure there is a skill list and different characters can cover different skills and specialisations which differentiates the PC's. But thats not really it.

So to recap you have this group of FRPĂ©rs and they are by now not really jivin'to the game experience as its really not what they expected at all. But they give it ago.

And then they find out that Glory and Passions and playing a god-damn LORD of the Realm is actually really cool. And finding a wife to wed is really cool. Meeting Lancelot really cool. Merlin, magical. Saving Briton cool. Fighting battles with your own ARMY, levied from your own lands. COOL. Then there is the intrigue, Mordred, Le Fay, the Saxons, Rome, finding the relics and at its height the blossoming of MAGIC and the fae..

Yeah you play Knights but not THOSE knight you know, not paladins, fighters and rangers but Chevaliers of the Realm of Briton and actually they are pretty cool in their own right.
Don't believe me go watch Excalibur, or Knights of the Round Table. 

Or play Pendragon...


  1. There's also the Stormbringer effect, evidenced by TPKs suffered by heavily armed parties trying to rob apothecaries or warriors cowering meekly behind demon-armored wizards...

  2. Ohh yeah too true ... I remember my first character got killed by the item my Demon of Desire brought me and one of the other players had a lepper (beggar) with one leg [no arms]and a starting head-butt of 60%. In one of the included adventures there is an ambush and they can really kick your ass. I think one character survived by fleeing onely to die in the desert(so we could all re-roll and start over)