Saturday, January 05, 2019

Bruce WIllis Is a Ghost, Probably, but What Do We Do About It?

We are going to play Call of Cthulhu a bit later today; this is excellent news as it is my favourite role-playing game. It's modern day one shot, and our GM, Ben, has sent out a pdf handout to get us prepared.

The thing is, the handout has -- unless I'm way off, which is possible -- literally given the game away. I've been playing Call of Cthulhu for years and I have written a horror adventure or two in that time, so perhaps I just have the mindset for this sort of thing, but that raises an interesting question.

If I am right, then how do I play it? I think I probably know how to "win" the adventure, but my character isn't going to know that. Do I play him or her straight, even though if they were a character in a film I'd be tutting at the screen at their lack of insight? Or do I make out-of-character "hunches" and blow through the adventure's obstacles?

(There is another option: I could be wrong about the handout, but make out-of-character "hunches" anyway, leading to a series of hilarious mistaken assumptions. Call of Clouseau, if you will.)

I suppose this is a subset of the character knowledge versus player knowledge question that has been part of role-playing games since the beginning, but I've always seen that stated in terms of mechanics or monster statistics rather than genre conventions.

I'm playing in a few hours, so we will see what happens.

(Oh, and happy new year, everyone!)


  1. I would probably tell myself to play like my character doesn't know what I know, but then end up allowing what I know to affect the decisions my character makes, but try to justify the decisions somehow.

    1. I got around it by making a character who had a reason to believe and know the things I do. It wasn't 100% deliberate either!