Daily Archives: February 12, 2018

[Let’s Study: Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition] Part 1: Making an Investigator


Welcome to the first part of our Let’s Study series for CoC 7th, and we begin with the creation of an Investigator.

In Call of Cthulhu, player characters come from a huge selection of possible backgrounds, from Detectives to Hobos, and while the Keeper’s Guide has a selection of about 27 different occupations to choose from, the Investigator’s Handbook has a whopping 92 different ones.

Don’t spend too much time reading each of them though. In CoC, it’s better to just go with something that fits your concept and go from there. Minmaxing is not really a thing in CoC given how easy it is to get hurt and die.

Generate Characteristics

Investigators in CoC have the following Characteristics that are used to define them: Strength, Constitution, Size, Dexterity, Appearance, Intelligence, Power and Education.

To determine your scores, you roll (3d6) x 5 to get STR, CON, DEX, APP and POW. While you roll (2d6+6) x 5 for SIZ, INT and EDU.

After a bit of rolling, this is what I’ve come up with, along with their Half and Fifth Characteristic Values (Which I’ll explain later on):

STR 30 (15/6)
CON 80 (40/16)
SIZ 50 (25/5)
DEX 40 (20/8)
APP 55 (27/11)
INT 55 (27/11)
POW 25 (12/5)
EDU 55 (27/11)

These values may still be altered by the choice of age for the Investigator.  But since I’m keeping my investigator in their 20’s or 30’s, I only have to make an improvement check for EDU to see if it goes up.

Improvement Checks are a special percentile roll to determine if an attribute increases. If the result of a d100 is greater than the character’s present EDU, then add 1d10 percentage points to the EDU characteristic.

I roll a 1(!?) which basically means I don’t get any increase to my rather lukewarm EDU Score.

The Investigator’s Sanity score begins at the same level as their POW. I’m starting to worry as it seems that my character looks a little prone when it comes to that department.

Determine Luck

To obtain the Luck score for the character, one rolls (3d6) x 5. Luck is useful for all sorts of things, but again, we’ll go into further detail when we hit the mechanics chapter.

The dice gods smile upon me and bestow my investigator a luck of 75.

Determine Other Attributes

Here’s when we determine the Damage Bonus and Build characteristics, as well as the Hit Points and Movement Rate of the Investigator.

Looking up the chart, I see that my character’s STR+SIZ is a less than impressive 80, meaning that I have a Damage Bonus of -1 and a Build of -1.

Hit Points are determined by adding CON+SIZ and dividing the total by 10 for an end result of 13 Hit Points. My Investigator might not be particularly strong, or fast, but they can take a bit of punishment!

Movement Rate is the number of yards (or meters) up to 5x their Movement Rate value in one round. Since my Investigator’s STR and DEX values are each less than his SIZ score, then his Movement Rate is 7.

Determine Occupation

An occupation shows how an investigator makes a living, and determines what kinds of skills they have access to. Given my Investigator’s rather bland spread of Characteristics, I decide to go for a Drifter. This gives me:

Skills: Climb, Jump, Listen, Navigate, one interpersonal skill (Charm, Fast Talk, Intimidate or Persuade), Stealth, any two other skills.
Credit Rating: 0–5
Occupation Skill Points: EDU x 2 + either APP x 2, DEX x 2 or STR x 2

I decide to go with EDU x 2 + App x 2 to determine my skills, giving me 220 Skill Points to work with.

After a bit of points juggling, I decide to spend it on:

Skill (Base Chance) Value [TOTAL]

Climb (20%) 26 [46%]
Dodge (Half DEX) 33 [53%]
Fast Talk (05%) 26 [31%]
Firearms (Handgun) (20%) 26 [46%]
Jump (20%) 16 [36%]
Listen (20%) 26 [56%]
Navigate (10%) 16 [26%]
Stealth (20%) 26 [56%]
Credit Rating: 5%

It’s not the greatest set of scores, but it’ll have to do. It looks like my Investigator was a bit of a survivor.

Personal Interests

Investigators also have other experiences and skills gained outside of their occupation. This is represented by a number of Skill Points equal to their INT x 2 and alloted to any skills, except the Cthulhu Mythos.

This gives me a further 110 points, which I decide to spend on Dodge +37%, Stealth +34%, Firearms +19% and the remaining 20% on Fast Talk.

That brings my totals to:

Climb 46%
Dodge (Half DEX) 90%
Fast Talk 51%
Firearms (Handgun) 65%
Jump 36%
Listen 56%
Navigate 26%
Stealth 90%
Credit Rating: 5

Create a Backstory

Interestingly enough, Call of Cthulhu actually does care for a backstory for the investigators. But if you’re doing things randomly, the game also provides for several tables to roll on to see your character’s Backstory unfold.

To that end I decide to roll for everything and this is what I get:

  • Personal Description – Stocky
  • Ideology / Beliefs – Science has all the answers
  • Significant People – A famous person. Because they caused you financial ruin.
  • Meaningful Locations – A local bar
  • Treasured Possessions – A memento of a deceased person
  • Traits – Suave

Equipping the Investigator

Given my Investigator’s abysmal credit rating of 5 (and assuming a default setting of the 1920’s,) my Investigator only has cash of about $5, Assets of about $50 and a Spending Level of $2.

At least this means that I can afford a $25 .22 Short Automatic Handgun for “Emergencies” and my usual daily expenses suited to my Credit Rating are paid for, which honestly, isn’t saying much.

For the curious, the .22 Short Automatic Handgun deals 1d6 damage with a Base range of 10 yards, and has 6 bullets in the gun. It’s pretty reliable and yes, if you’ve been paying attention, that means it’s entirely possible for my beefy Investigator to die by being shot 3 or 4 times.

There are guns that deal worse damage, of course. The famous .45 Automatic Pistols deal 1d10+2 damage.

Character creation is straightforward and pretty easy if you don’t mind allotting a whole bunch of skill points. Given the nature of the game I don’t think it’s a bad thing either.

Next up, we’ll have a look at the Basic Mechanics behind Call of Cthulhu.

If you’d like to read along, you can pick up a PDF copy of the Call of Cthulhu Keeper’s Rulebook from DriveThruRPG for only $27.95


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