Counter Monkey – If You Stat It, They Will Kill It

The Spoony One | Sep 24 2012 | more notation(s) | 

Remember when you kicked the shit out of Demogorgon in Baldur’s Gate 2, even when everyone told you it was stupid, and pointless, and actually WORSE than pointless because it would set him free from his imprisonment?

Yeah, and you went and did it anyway, didn’t ya?

  • thehivemind33

    Do my eyes decieve me? Two counter monkies back to back?
    My morning has just gotten awesome.

    • George Rosenbaum

      Actually, it seems like we will have 3 counter monkeys today.

      This is only part 2, and there is supposed to be a part 3.

      • thehivemind33

        Praise be to the Spoony!

      • Mavros St. John

        *sets up a tent* I don’t know about you guys…but I’m gonna’ camp for the next episode to respawn…

        • Drakedragon

          I dunno about camping, but I’m definitely gonna be checking back here periodically for it.

  • Vismutti

    Yes, you did talk about not putting Vader in your game. I think it was in “all jedi or no jedi”. And you talked about alternative universes as a way to get around the continuity nitpickers too.

    Otherwise a good video, though. A bit disorganized but that happens. Btw I had no idea what Call of Cthulhu was like… I’m actually really curious about that now. Also now I’d love a video about the different systems. I only kinda know D&D and D20 really…

  • Joshua William Hastings

    I can understand the mentality behind this sort of things, and I experienced it a lot when playing Mutants and Masterminds, hopefully something I can discuss when I try and get a internet show off the ground >.>

    However, the fact that the Call of Cthulhu would stat the elder gods and old ones would be glorious. I’m always a big practitioner of ‘don’t say no, say yes but’, so, if they wanted to go against the god like beings, they could, and it would always end badly, hopefully telling the players to maybe think next time.

    however, in regards to over-the-top weapons, well… that’s a story for another time.

  • Nicolae Carpathia

    At first I thought you had mislabeled this video and swapped it with the next one (entitled “the problem with superheroes”). I see now how it led into it, though.

  • Dune Blythe

    Part three soon I hope?

  • Mark Richard

    i’ve got a story about killing a god and it’s not the “i totally punked zeus” variety :

    this story happened just before the tail end of 3.5’s production line. probably a year or so before 4th came out. i know it hadn’t been revealed yet.

    DM was running a long-time (IME) game that went to high level. in the “after playing almost weekly every wednesday with a few breaks between arcs or emergencies for two and a half years” long-time. same game that i mentioned the OP druid i retired after one session in the last counter monkey actually. guy wanted to end the campaign in a big finale since we had reached level 20. this was the first game i ever got a PC from 1 through 20 and i will be totally honest here, there were quite a few occasions i should not have survived. hell, when i died the only reason my PC came back is because the next session had to be the one time the only PC would have fought tooth and nail to stop my resurrection happened to have his player missing that night (and i was cool with that, especially since that was the main reason i had the druid written up in the first place as a backup since i was getting tired of my PC, our characters had some animosity and stuck together mainly because we had a common goal and could put aside our differences for the most part. he was the Chaotic Goodish-Neutralish rogue type and i was the Chaotic Evil-Neutralish warlock. he worked with me because in the end our cause was for the greater good and i was more akin to a cannon that he could simply poin in a direction and fired, i knew well enough to hold back my less-then-goodly tendencies as there was a group of rather powerful people who had my home and extraplanar addressess and they kept pointing me at things to destroy. i was Chaotic Evil, not Chaotic Stupid).

    both him, the CG guy, and me were probably the most well-read on the D&D rules in the group. probably moreso then the GM, so when the plot came around to the big finale, where we had to kill demogorgon or his destroy the prime material plane plan will go into effect, everyone was excited.

    except CG guy and me.

    i was the GM previous to this campaign and among the books the now GM had borrowed from my library was, either the deities and demigods, fiend folio or something like that… the one with demogorgon’s stats.

    now, we were not an optimized group. our most powerful PCs were probably the Evoker wizard (he had a VERY large library of spells, he just liked explosions) & my Warlock (some minor versatility but i could mainly spike a LOT of damage on one guy a few times per day), with the rogue guy coming in third being a rather efficient buzzsaw if needed. there was a cleric but he was played as a fighter with a holy symbol, using only the self-buffs. there was also an actual fighter and ranger but by this point they were caddies and meat walls… very little forethought and planning in their characters and their abilities and gear were just not up to par with what an average 20th level PC should be doing. think “my dwarf fighter is tough so i’ll take Toughness and Endurance as my first level feats” line of thinking.

    wizard, cleric, fighter & ranger were ecstatic at the thought of killing the prince of demons. i don’t know if the GM saw our faces but i swear to you that both me and rogue lost all color in our faces when we realized what was most likely going to happen: a TPK.

    so the next few sessions we wrap up a few loose ends as we competently murder our way to demogorgon’s lair, party being excited minus the two of us who were thinking “whelp, time to end this on a TPK” but not saying anything because who wants to be a killjoy.

    to cut this longer then expected story short: the GM noticed a few rounds in that we were… less then effective. demo’s SR was killing us, rogue couldn’t land a decent blow and cleric was . he then starts fudging things behind the screen, and doing a few asspulls. in his defense, they were well executed fudging and asspulls… i probably would not have noticed them if it weren’t for the fact that he was using a rather big-named monster from one of my books :P . rounds go by as the GM is slowly nerfing the boss until he’s on par with our abilities as we chip away at the two-headed demon lord. and then he finally goes down to an eldrich blast. party is overjoyed while the two of us shoot him a knowing glance.

    and that’s the story of how my level 1 warlock became the lord of the abyss because the GM didn’t want a purely curbstomp TPK battle.

  • Matic Kačič

    In reply to your written question: But of coursre! You do that sort of shit becous you can. Heck everytime somebody brings upon the end of the world in Ankh-Morpork (on Discworld) it is becouse they could.

    As for gods in D&D: I haven’t found 4e gods stats (a few of the overfiends are in Monster Manual), but I distinctively remember one ot the Forgotten Relams gods being listed as a level 120ish (40 levels of barbarian, 40 levels of Fighter, 20 levels of weapon master and 20 more level of some other prestige class, and probably a few more other classes) with ungodly stats and divine powers of DM fudging the heck out of the encounter (alter reality, the most poverfu8ll version could just have him have the fight never happened).

    • John Ferrara

      If you would like to check out D&D4e god stat blocks take a look at Monster Manual 3 for Lolth and the Draconomicon books for Tiamat and Bahamut.

  • Oscar Bergqvist

    Spoony you did it again. Is there any ramble that you can’t save from getting boring and drawnout? I think not. You’ve got a talent, not only for acting, but story telling as well. It’s pure joy of hearing about your experiences and adventures. Well done, sir.

  • Patrick Roy

    Regarding the Call of Cthulu game. Have you heard of Old Man Henderson? Sadly, that’s not mine. I’m not clever enough to pull out that kind of a coup de ta, but still. Google it sometime. Goes a long way to show how reading the fine print can help massivly in beating even the most powerful gods of all. (spoiler alert, it was Hastur that was the bad guy)

  • Randall Bohannan

    I blame the old D&D module Queen of the Demonweb pits(?). They give Lolth stats, and a set up-who could resist taking on a goddess? The bragging rights were over 9000+! As for Demogorgon in BG2—I couldn’t help it! He was begging me to bring it on—just had to show that punk who was boss! :P Loved that game–which I hear btw, they are remaking as an aniversary edition or somesuch. Can’t wait.

    • GunsmithKitten

      That’s the one! Course, the group I was in at the time didn’t even get close to Lloth. Demonweb Pits was a first rate meatgrinder.

  • Malidictus

    Vitality as buffer luck? OK, this is an AMAZING idea, and I don’t know why I’ve never thought of it before. I must figure out a way to incorporate it into a character design.

  • Michael Sporzynski

    (TL;DR – “if you stat it, they will kill it”, while universally true, does not NEED to be bad in all situations)

    Very good Counter Monkey episode. It has the right balance of fun stories and concrete explanation/information. I mentioned that I wasn’t a fan of some of the recent ones, but this is one of the better ones.

    Although… while I agree with the “if you stat it, they will kill it” idea, my approach to this is often “OK, let them”. Seriously, I don’t mind. In what game does that matter? Dungeon-crawly stuff? The heroes are eventually gonna end up as near-godlike beings. Killing gods is the stuff of legends, after all. Anything high-magic or high-supernatural? Sure, let them. Epic battles of immortal beings? Fun. A more realistic, or at least more “talky” and less combat-oriented campaign? Let them! There will be consequences for killing even “bad guys”, tailored to how the GM wants to play the game.

    Seriously, you can try to avoid the players’ killing of powerful/evil/inconvenient/random beings, but you can also embrace it. I ran a series of rather successful Deadlands campaigns (for those not familiar with the system – think spaghetti western, but with magic, zombies, cultists, holy men with blessed shotguns, a LOT of cheesy stuff, and some more zombies for good measure), and one thing I absolutely *hated* about the setting, otherwise really brilliant, was the insistence of the creators of the game on keeping the status quo of the setting. Which, among other things, consisted in not statting the Big Bads. I very soon decided “screw it” and let players do whatever they wanted. And I explicitly told that to the players! They knew the rules of the game. They knew they were required to play good (well, good-ish) guys, and they knew that whatever it did, it would have consequences. Everyone and everything was fair game as long as they understood that, say, killing one of the major villains might mean they’d be dead by the end of the in-game week.

    I think mutual understanding is the essence of a good campaign, regardless of style of play. I happily statted everything I needed to stat. My players were happy to utterly own the biggest, baddest guys in the game’s universe. But, who cares? On the flipside, I had a very “objectivist” view of game mechanics, and I saved the characters’ asses only to an extent. They died a LOT. But again, who cares? Bad planning, bad luck, biting off more than they could chew often could, would, and DID result in characters’ dying. We went through like two dozen character deaths, sometimes with a character dying more than once (again, for those who don’t know Deadlands, or more specifically Deadlands Classic that I am referring to – there’s a small, random chance that you will come back from the dead as an absurdly overpowered, free-willed, badass zombie with magical powers). Heck, the fact that Deadlands characters are “recycleable” and that an undead character is more fun to the player AND the GM (can’t go into why, that’d constitute spoilers) contributed to me not having a problem killing off characters if that’s how dice fell.

    Anyway, my point is – there are styles of running an RPG game where killing some NPCs or monsters or gods or beings is a bummer. But there IS fun to be had when you allow it (although I recommend making it crystal clear that in such a campaign, player characters are equally able to die). I’m not saying you MUST play like that, I’m saying that a campaign where the rules are clear to everyone is the best campaign, and allows for pretty much anything that works for the group.

    For the record, by “the rules”, I don’t mean the game rules in this case, I mean the rules of the story, of how you play, of what you expect the players to do and what the players expect YOU to do. It’s just as important as the rules for, say, initiative or damage, and less tangible.

  • Jannick Hegelund Hverkeltoft

    oh yeah forgot about the vitality system… the first thing i ever DM’ed was Star Wars RPG, but we didn’t really like the system that much, so we houseruled it a lot, since then we Tried Saga Edition, which is better, but still has faults. Like as far as i can recall there wasn’t a “level” on powers, so you could chose Force Lightning at low level even though it did 10d6 damage or something, which was like almost twice the damage of a rocket launcher.

  • Kendotuxedo

    Referencing a lot of other Counter Monkey stories we’ve heard… which is fine since it helps me stay on Spoony’s wave link and understand where he’s going with all this.

  • SeanMcTiernan

    Actually, gated creatures CAN gate, so yes, the infinity loop can be achieved, hence why upper deck demons are not to be taken lightly. Most GMs just don’t use the ability that way, but it’s entirely plausible, and should be used, because demons *cheat*

    • doresh

      Too bad they fixed this loop in later editions…

      • SeanMcTiernan

        Yeah, it really dumbed down the power of demons, which are supposed to be a massive threat. It always irks me when new editions degrade the lethality of the setting. I *like* playing in a setting where I have a very real chance of death on a regular basis. It’s what makes you get better.

        • Vernon Swain-Nisbet

          Play Unhallowed Metropolis, both times played has been TPK, although second time was did succeed, but only because my anarchist went out with a bang. Note both these campaigns are easy and both times TPK. That gives ya good idea, I love the game and would recommend it to anyone.

        • Brody Dillon

          You can still flood combat with devils. The pit fiend gets a
          wish once per year. Just have the pit fiend gate in his two ice devils, then
          wish another pit fiend to join him in combat. That pit fiend gates his two ice
          devils, then wishes for another pit fiend. It’s wishing for more lamps to get
          around the rule “no wishing for more wishes.” Wish can very easily mimic a
          summoning spell, so it’s completely within the DM’s power (Like we have
          restrictions, haha) to do that.

          • SeanMcTiernan

            Yeah, but then why not just wish the party dead at that rate? There’s a difference between offering a significant challenge, and misusing an ability just to have a fight.

            As a DM, I do have restrictions, I am bound by the same rulebooks as my players are. This, to me, is what let’s me get away with far more impressive villains, where the party has to work to figure out how the villain is doing it.

            I came to the decision some years ago to never fudge, to let the dice fall where they may, and believe it or not, my games got better, more gripping, and forced the party to begin stretching themselves. They could no longer rely on the fact that I wouldn’t kill the whole party in a single kobold encounter, but they also know that I’m not going to deny them a rolled magical item cause it makes things too easy in the particular situation. On a personal note, I got more enjoyment out of encounters since I didn’t usually know what the outcome would be, and my players didn’t hit that 7th level slump that usually happens.

          • Brody Dillon

            Wish can’t be used to TPK a party, I’m pretty sure there are
            rules for that. And even then, it’d manifest in a spell form (say, finger of
            death, mass), and planar travel when the party is fighting CR 20 monsters is not
            a big deal. That’s not saying that the pit fiend should open with wish. He only
            gets it once a year. He’d have to be pushed into a pretty big fight to want to
            blow that wish on getting a buddy to bail him out of trouble. He might have
            even used it previously, and can’t do it. Won’t stop him from bluffing, though.
            Furthermore, there is still a counter to wishing more pit fiends to the field
            (if your party is properly prepared). This isn’t fudging, this is using the pit
            fiend’s powers in a clever way. If anything, previous editions just godmoded
            pit fiends by letting them gate in whatever the hell they wanted. They left pit
            fiends as a formidable opponent if left in the hands of a smart dungeonmaster.
            They have a number of really good spell-like abilities (the most useful being
            their ability to use greater teleport at will along with quickened fireballs).
            Dimensional lock is a spell your casters should be packing if you expect to
            find devils or demons. If you lock the battlefield down, you set the pit fiend
            back by a lot. He has to dispel the anchor, (which he has a small chance of
            failing if you’re on par with his caster level of 20) take a round to summon
            his first and second ice devil, then, if your caster is familiar with devils,
            you should be preparing to dispel his casting attempts, because none of them
            are pleasant. Worse, dimensional lock keeps him from teleporting away if things
            don’t go as planned. If a pit fiend is in danger, he’s going to teleport away
            and begin plotting your demise. You, a mere mortal, have stained his reputation
            by even daring to stand up to him, and now he and his pit fiend buddies are
            going to drag you to hell to throw you a boot party. If you find yourself in a
            situation where you’re fighting a pit fiend, you’re fucked, and you should be
            fucked, even more so than if you encounter a dragon. Devils aren’t after petty
            treasure or defending their turf, they want nothing more than to see good trampled
            under their cloven hoof, and if your group has allowed a pit fiend to come into
            the equation, they have literally opened up hell. The most dangerous part of
            hell is that it’s LAWFUL, meaning highly organized. If your group wants to
            stomp into hell to kick Satan’s ass up between his ears, he’s not going to sit
            there and take it. HE’S A CHEATING BASTARD! Devils are the most vile, cunning,
            and loathsome creatures of the DnD multiverse. It is in their nature to abuse
            rules to suit their needs, and as a DM, if you are roleplaying the monsters
            right, your party should NEVER want to step foot in hell. Hell should be a
            punishment players have to slog through, not a ride through candyland collecting
            infernal swag.

          • SeanMcTiernan

            No there aren’t. GMs have been using wishes to kill PCs for decades, why would it change now? “I wish for the human, half-elf, dwarf, and gnome I am looking at to be immediately cast into an active volcano.”

            Demons aren’t always necessarily in hell as shown by every “We must destroy the Demon Lord” plotline. Stripping the Pit Fiend of Wish is even worse as an idea, like hobbling a kobold, it’s fudging for the sake of the party. It doesn’t matter when in the fight the Wish occurs, it’s still going to happen, likely when the party gets a leg up. Here’s another quick Wish, “Oh, a teleport anchor? ‘I wish all teleport anchors currently effecting me were immediately and irrevocably destroyed.”

            The point wasn’t the Pit Fiend, specifically. Other upper deck demons had the summon ability. I shouldn’t have to go to Pit Fiend for the possibility.

          • Brody Dillon

            Wishing players cast into a volcano (or the sun, or 20,000
            leagues under the sea) still allows a will save to negate the effect. Wish is
            not as powerful as most players (and even some DMs) think. It has rules, I was
            merely demonstrating how in the special case of a pit fiend it can be lethal to
            a party, and part of the difficulty of fighting a pit fiend is to bait him into
            using his wish so he doesn’t have a get out of jail free card when you’re about
            to beat him. Blowing his wish on removing a teleport anchor is actually a pretty
            lousy use of wish (He has greater dispel at will), but if he has to do that,
            you’re one step closer to beating him. Also, he spent the last round wishing
            something away while the paladin just smote his ass with a mighty blow from his
            Holy Avenger.

            Lesser devils can still work something similar to this. Think
            of a group of devils. Maybe one of them is a caster (They’re allowed to take
            class levels). Maybe he’s got several scrolls of teleportation magic to summon
            buddies in a pinch. Lesser devils shouldn’t be focused on summon baatezu,
            anyway, because they don’t get the 100% success rate that the pit fiend does
            (don’t know if earlier versions did that, but my point isn’t dependent on
            that). Most of them still have a good selection of at-will abilities. A Gelugan’s
            (Ice Devil) ice wall can really mess up a party, giving him time to buff
            himself, summon buddies, heal himself, or kill the rogue he separated from the
            party. By the way, devils are listed even in the core as residents of the nine
            hells of baator, so if you’re going with vanilla DnD, your players would either
            have to be outright looking for trouble or stepped in it big time to be around
            something as high-tier as a Gelugan or Pit Fiend. Although, if I had my choice,
            I’d rather fight a pit fiend on the material plane, because at least then he’d
            be treated as an outsider (In hell, the devil is on his home plane, so
            logically circle against evil won’t work on him).

            Honestly, I think it’s better that devils can’t just
            boom-tube an entire army anymore. It makes them seem much more clever when they
            have to think of their other abilities rather than just zerg-rush the heroes. I’m
            with you on the no fudging. I found myself doing it too much a while ago and
            cut back considerably, and my game is better for it (Still don’t show my
            players the rolls, though :D). I’m just saying that you don’t need to fudge to
            make horrible things happen.

  • Mursa ArtDragon

    Wait! I have to ponder this… WIN… Call of cthulu… No, those words don’t go together.

    • saint23thomas

      In an RPG based on the Cthulhu mythos, I would think that “victory” only means that your character escaped with most of his limbs and no noticeable psychoses.

      • Jonesy89CFPD

        If that. If you’re lucky, you come out of it without ever having come close to contracting a mental illness that results in Mythos monsters getting you sexually aroused, thereby making each combat encounter more dangerous by tempting your character to get in range of the bastards (this has apparently happened at least once in a game my roommate was in). Making it out without any missing limbs or potential psychoses is not so much lucky as it is infinitely improbable.

        • Seth Sebastian-Lohr

          I have to share this, merely due to its sheer improbability. My best friend and myself, me playing a historically based bootlegger with a thing for pistols and him as a veteran turned PI, won not one, but two games of Call of Cthulhu. Now, you could consider blaming it on the GM, but frankly I put a lot of it on the fact that we’re DnD players, so we went in with a “Stand your ground, go down swinging (or shooting)!” mindset. The first game, it was a prepublished but I can’t remember the name, we got some pretty lucky rolls when it came to the instant death and insanity stuff, but we got through a lot by being fucking deadeyes with vast reserves of ammo. People died, too. Our preacher took a shotgun blast to the face when our mechanic tried to blow these little monsters off of him, our pilot/occult expert got her head caved in by this roid monkey devil thing, but we just kept on chugging. We shot the little limb monsters to pieces then locked the door, we just unloaded on the big guy, then we removed a big piece of our pilot’s skull to use as a dish of blood in a profane ritual to seal some jester from Hell back in his hole. I don’t think said monster is part of the traditional mythos, but still. Then said jester stopped the mechanic’s heart, but we finished the ritual in time and resuscitated him. Got away mostly intact. The second time we “won”, also a prepublished, we were a lot more paranoid because it was the same game night. I used our truck to drag a suspiscious looking shed into the road, then crashed into it until it was demolished, set this extravagant estate’s garden on fire, then made this salt-water concoction to avoid the pseudopodia of this fungus monster. Technically, we didn’t beat the big bad, but he and I (again the only survivors) ran out of the mansion in tears but still sane and hauled ass back to America.

    • Pedro Freitas

      In my opnion win in call of cthulu means stoping a bunch of cultists from bringing some kind of monster, or getting out of there alive in case a monster apears.

  • Mursa ArtDragon

    BTW spoony I have to say I like what ever this comment thing you have here is. Id really like it on my site if I ever actually get to work on it. Is their some kind of script for it or a pre-built design?

  • GD82

    Well, depending on which edition of D&D you played, it would be either Ssendam or Ygorl for 1st edition, and add Chourst and Rennbuu for 2nd.
    Anyway, great vid, very interesting. I’ll have to check GURPS because it seems interesting.

  • dasfonzie

    i wonder if part 3 will be up today as well =D

  • JenxRodwell

    Wait, what? Was this in older edition than Planescape, since in PS Slaadi are in Limbo, not any of the Lower Planes, and in general the two Slaad gods can rip apart basically all the Lords of Hell.

    ..Hell I think even the higher-tiers of regular Slaadi (and by “regular” I mean the non-god ones) like the White Slaad or the Death Slaad can beat the shit out of your average army unit of demons. That was the main reason why the Blood War generally avoided spilling into Limbo.

    But yeah, if you give stats for something, someone will eventually want to kill it. Which is why they never gave stats for the Lady of Pain in Planescape. Because you do not fight the Lady. You don’t even talk to the Lady. If you do, you’re dead. Easy and simple.

    • Robert Cousineau

      The planescape setting came out in 1994, While the Slaadi were in the 1E Advanced D&D Fiend Folio (Same as the Gith) putting them among the oldest creatures in the series. Spoony is right, just about every god in the older versions of DnD are given stats. I don’t really agree with not stating creatures just because they are afraid somebody will try and attack it.

      Its their campaign, they should be able to do whatever they want. Even if you don’t include the stats and put it in big letters that you cannot, a GM will just come up with stats probably much weaker than the Authors would like and embarrass them that way.

      I really disagree with authors telling the players what they can and cannot fight. That is for the GM to decide, not the writers. Plus if you have an intelligent group of players that should not really become an issue. Players that actually know the setting in something based on a film or series would know already what not to fight. It’s their own fault if they get cocky and end up eaten or vaporized.

  • Alex Stockwell

    Sounds similar to the Lord British Postulate; if it exists, people will try to kill it.

  • Denderfurger

    Two counter monkeys on the same day! i must be dreaming <3

  • Aaron Kerr

    Bah, why not use Force Choke? Luke does.

    • Cory Williams

      But Luke also purposefully went to the dark side and then pulled himself back to the light

      • Aaron Kerr

        What, when? He uses choke in Return of the Jedi, but I’m pretty sure he refers to himself AS a jedi.

  • Roman Monaghan

    “Oh jesus-” CONTINUED IN PART 3

    Best cliffhanger ever. I want a Counter Monkeys video that’s just three uncut hours of Spoony rambling about completely tangential bullshit and stories.

  • DerKork

    No, sir, I did not try killing the Demogorgon. Because I use this thing called “brain” – something some D&D players seem to leave with their coats when they pull stupid stunts like that.

    Also, going back to TSR’s “Marvel Super Heroes”: Galactus – probably the biggest bad guy in the Marvel Universe – has stats (Gamer’s Handbook of the Marvel Universe Volume 2, Page 59 for everyone reading along at home). Not that these stats would be of any help for a regular old hero (because he’s extremely high powered), but I’m sure there’s a party out there that tried fighting Galactus head on – and won.

  • MrRuse

    The law is called the “Lord British Postulate” (yes, named after THE Lord British) that says that if it exists in an MMORPG, someone will kill it. The law was named after someone found a workaround in Ultima Online and killed Lord British. Long story short, everyone began to kill everyone and the instigators were teleported into space.

    This is also why the Lady of Pain has no stats: she is a multiversal force and not something to be killed. Although based on your intepretation of the 4e 15th level Rogue daily Bloody Path power you might be able to kill her with her own flesh-flaying shadow.

  • amishman

    This reminds me of one of the biggest arguments I’ve had in a campaign my players were pretty high level with some decent stuff fighting demon spawn and the like when they decided to take the fight to the demons, how you ask why fighting the devil so they fought there way past all 7 layers of hell killing countless demons and were face to face with the lord of darkness himself and he kicked there ass using under handed tactics and constantly resupplying allies to help him and they all died. now i did warn them not to try it, it was a bad idea but they wouldn’t listen so i decided to teach them a lesson and they got pissed asking what the fuck why wasn’t it just him and i simply told them “oh i’m sorry you expected the fucking devil to fight fair?”

  • Anthem Morningsong

    okay, whose first thought here, other than mine, when they saw “if you stat it” was immediately Lord British?

  • Bryan John Sauriol

    I call it Gygax’s Law, because he was infamous for wanting to stat up everything.

  • Vex’kun Shadowlands

    You’re not the only one, Spoony. I have most of the D20 Babylon 5 books. I love B5 that much lol. And they did stat the Kosh and the other Vorlon in one of the later books, think it was the Darkness and Light book.

  • sbkMulletMan

    I think there’s a law in the universe that is basically, “All roads eventually lead to Cthulhu”.

    It’s just how our world works. For better or for worse, all roads lead to Cthulhu. And no number of bazookas is going to save you once you’re on that road. Though a bazooka would be nice for dealing with a lot of people who cheapen the Cthulhu mythos.

    • GunsmithKitten

      Eh, actually, all roads in Cthulhu mythos tend to lead to Azathoth or MAYBE Nyarlythotep, but that’s just the nerd in me talking :)

      • Gregory Bogosian

        In The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadeth the main character escapes both Nyarlythotep and Azathoth, although he was only dreaming at the time so you could build a solid case that that does not count.

  • GunsmithKitten

    My CoC players never “won” either. Oh, they really flustered the machinations of the Great Old Ones, make no mistake, and they dry gulched many a cult, but NEVER have they actually pimpslapped Cthulhu even when they had the chance in Shadows of Yog Sothoth. No, they did the sensible thing and RAN.

  • doresh

    I think this “nothing ever chances” rule of comics might be a reason why I’m more into manga. Okay, there are some manga like Case Closed that NEVER end, but most do. And they have progress!

    The OGL license brought quite a lot of good stuff (like Pathfinder, Spycraft, True20, Mutants & Masterminds, all those retro-clones), but did they REALLY had to turn literally any setting from every movie, book and even other roleplaying game into a d20 version Oo ?

    Cthulhu does have stats, but I think this was more of a joke. You can’t even nuke the bastard without him respawning in a few minutes – and this time, he’s radioactive!

    Oh, and that reminds me of The Dark Eye. It’s a low-fantasy game, yet the previous edition (the ones before probably, too) had stats for the 7 Archdemons, the main cosmic badguys of the setting (even though scholar’s aren’t 100% sure if they even exist). They had thousands of HP and dealt several W20s in damage PER HIT, plus a few nastie side effects.
    Strangely, I don’t think their stat block had any kind of spells or stuff besides the raw combat stats Oo

  • Cory Williams

    D20 Call of Cthulu? NO! Call of Cthulu is designed so the players never “win.” Lovecraft’s characters never won. They all went crazy. Call of Cthulu is about actually experiencing the terror and the slow descent into madness that Lovecraft’s character’s experienced. Making a D20 Call of Cthulu pretty much ruins that. I’m just starting a Call of Cthulu game in about an hour and if the DM is doing the D20 game I’m gonna be pissed, even if he home cooks it like he says he is.

    • Taar Koth

      Dunwich Horror: No-one goes mad, characters kick the ass of a giant monster.
      Beyond the Wall of Sleep: Narrator doesn’t go mad. Other main character beats up a fucking star.
      Cats of Ulthar: A kid and a bunch of cats become a hardcore ASPCA.
      Music of Eric Zahn, Pickman’s Model: Successful monster hunters/guardians.

      I suggest you actually read some Lovecraft instead of just the parody others have made of him. While cosmic horror was a big thing in his stories, it wasn’t the only thing.

      • Michael Sporzynski

        I agree, although I’d disagree with using Music of Eric Zahn as an example. It ends on a very bleak note, and we never do find out what happened to Zahn.

        But, to replace the example with another one – Call of Cthulhu itself. Guy rams a ship into Cthulhu, who then decides “screw that, I’m outta here” and goes back to sleep. If that would not be a fitting end to a heroic RPG session, I don’t know what would.

        There’s nothing wrong with Lovecraftian stories, even typical ones, ending in someone “winning”.

      • Cory Williams

        I’ve ready plenty of Lovecraft. I was incorrect when I said they never won. I know Lovecraft didn’t just right horror, he wrote science fiction and fantasy also, but his greatest influence on modern culture has been his horror stories. Most people are more familiar with his stories about character’s going mad. Most games and stories based off of Lovecraft and his Cthulu mythos are designed for people to experience the same thing as many of his characters in a more intimate or new way. Pulling four titles out of the literally hundreds of stories and poems that Lovecraft wrote (many of which do not take place within the Cthulu mythos) doesn’t prove anything other than I was wrong when I said the characters never win, and assuming that I don’t know anything about Lovecraft just because I haven’t read those four is nothing more than arrogantly stroking your own ego by showing the internet that you know something about Lovecraft stories that others don’t and could probably be learned with a quick search on Wikipedia. Don’t make assumptions about someone you’ve never met due to a minor detail.

  • Anyone00

    I thought Vitality points in Star Wars D20 was suppose to represent “Plot Armor” for main charters: which I think works for Star Wars (basically if you were a important character the Storm Trooper Effect was in full… effect), but it would make more sense if the Vitality point damage was based off the character and not the weapon. Plus, didn’t critical go strait for Hit Points (modified by armor).
    I never played it myself but if I did I would be that guy trying to get himself a Phase 3 Dark Trooper armor; screw Jedi, I’m cover in Phrik.

    • doresh

      If criticals work like that, then something tells me that high-crit weapons and crit-enhancing feats are VERY popular.

  • wes

    In the old Call of Cthulhu game they also stated the elder gods… however the stat was what it took to make them incorporeal again, giving the players a few minutes to run from the scene or perform a sending ritual (if anyone had actually taken dark magic as a talent… which is rather risky on the sanity points.) I’m now morbidly curious about the new D20 CoC

  • Troy Dent

    In Deadlands they used to use that saying IYSITWKI all the time in their books in reference to the major bad guys like Stone. So they did not have stats (cause they didnt want players killing them as they were important to the overall story) but they did a great job of explaining why they shouldnt be killed, how to use them in different situations and what happens if they players try to take them out. Essentially you could either kill them (which was extreme). Or what I liked to was embarrass them and remind them that there are more powerful beings out there than them. Had stone shoot the guns and pants off the ‘badass’ gunslinger in the group, put a round in the Martial artists knee while making a joke (think Bill from Kill Bill) and when the wizard tried to cast a spell he disappeared into hell for a few sec and came back all terrified. He gives them a stern warning then walks way all cool, Eastwood style. Eventually they put stats on them due to the majority of the meta plot being over. But even then they have specific way they have to be killed.

  • Dustin Harms

    The ‘Vitality’ system always made sense to be. The ‘damage’ it deals to your Vitality represented a sort of attrition. “You can only evade me for so long!” and such, and the more ‘damage’ an attack did to your Vitality, the more it wore down your ability to fight on, until eventually you’re getting pegged for -real- damage. You’re too worn down, your reserves of grit, luck, or whatever are depleted, and you’re on the ropes. You either get out of there, or you make a last heroic blaze of glory. Always made more sense to me than the Hit Points system, where every HP is actual damage, where a human can take a rocket launcher to the face and keep fighting. :)

    • doresh

      I think the problem lies elsewhere:

      This “Vitality system” is basically a realistic explanation of D&D’s normal Hit Point system, which was always a bit abstract, just like Armor Class. Also remember that in older editions, a single combat round was around a minute, so a single attack roll represented several clashes.

      And now comes the problem: The d20 combat system turned more realistic so that it can serve as a deeper and more tactical miniature game – yet they kept all the abstract stuff in the rules.

      • jaap rutten

        This makes so much sense. I’ve always wondered why DnD would have abstract hit points that represent a characters fighting capacity, when combat is so lightning fast with 6 seconds per round that each and every attack(if you include walking over somewhere and doing multiple attacks at higher level) can represents an actual attack. It makes a lot of sense if it was an imported feature of a system where combat was dealt with in minute long rounds, where attacking someone is basically clashing with them over a period of time.

        • doresh

          And this is what happens if you turn your tabletop wargame (Chainmail) with all its abstractness and long combat rounds into a roleplaying game. GI Joeeeee :D !

    • Atmos_Duality

      The problem with Vitality is that it is double-nested abstraction, and it makes just as little sense as HP can.
      You have three logical responses for handling TWO logical outcomes for defense:
      1) You avoid/mitigate the attack
      2) You take the hit and soak it

      And since those are the only two logical outcomes, with three abstractions (AC, Vitality, and Con), you’re going to reach a point of ambiguity.

      You know what makes as much sense as a dude tanking a rocket launcher blast?
      A dude avoiding or outrunning a rocket launcher blast. Especially when he has nowhere to go.

      “Oh, well, he ducked and rolled”
      “Where? How? He has no cover, can’t run even half as fast as the rocket travels on launch, and is cornered. Did he just wall-run 30 feet up in a split second to avoid the blast?”
      “Uh….I guess? Rules say he doesn’t take hits to Con.”

      (This also plays havoc with weapons that logically have to make contact with the target to trigger their effects, like stun prods/batons)

      Another problem with d20’s Vitality, is that it weights certain builds.
      Namely, Crits reign in combat, because even a pea shooter can deliver a lethal hit.

      In Star Wars d20 (circa 2006), crit-focused Jedi and certain Force powers completely trivialize combat and turn it into a massive luck-fest.

      Nevermind that if you played a non-Jedi, you were limited to a VERY small collection of roles unless the GM was being especially strict with feats and force powers.

      (I rolled a sort of scoundrel-spy, and was rendered utterly useless by the Jedi’s ability to steamroll combat, engage in flawless stealth, AND interrogate better via mind rape than I could ever with skills drugs and feats.

      My second character was a pilot, and he was much more useful, albeit in a very niche sort of way. Didn’t help that the first run of SWd20 was horribly unbalanced. I gave up on that nonsense, and that system so I’m not sure if it was addressed later.

      The GM was a Mary Sue loving asshole anyway.

      …That was a longer tangent on SWd20 than expected. My apologies.)

  • Jumpooleez

    I like CoC.

  • Grzegorz Wojtczyk

    *Sees d20 Call of Cthulhu book*
    Kill THE Great Old Ones ? The Cthulhu ? Dagon ? Zulchequon ? Giving stats to Cthulhu ? ARE THOSE PEOPLE FUCKING NUTS ?! You don’t even joke about this let alone say it or do it ! Fucking blasphemers !
    “a mayyitan ma qadirun yatabaqa sarmadi
    fa itha yaji ash-shuthath al-mautu gad yantahi”

  • magnusk_98

    It’s a pity that Spoony doesn’t like the X-Men very much. Or better said, doesn’t seem to have read Marvel since OMD. And, hey, I understand. OMD was an abomination. Sometimes Marvel gets those horrible, *horrible* ideas and manages to hack off everyone, while PR-flacking blatant BS for months. It’s really discouraging. The next thing which looks totally horrible is Avengers Arena, which is a blatant, round-table created rip-off of Hunger Games and Battle Royale, only with young Marvel heroes. Ugh. You can *smell* the cynical marketing. :(

    But, ahem, back to what I was saying… it’s a shame that Spoony hasn’t looked at Marvel lately, because they overall have been really good in pushing long-term storylines, which have built upon each other successively. Characters have transitioned into new roles in many cases. For example, Kitty Pryde, my favorite female character, by now is co-headminstress of the Jean Grey School for Gifted Youngsters, with Wolverine as the other headmaster. That is quite a development for a character who entered the X-Men at 14 years of age. And also for Wolverine.

    • doresh

      Don’t forget that Wolverine’s origin got retconned AGAIN.

      And it seems that Spoony never read much X-Men and was mainly a Spidey-fan.

  • Daffyd Wagstaff

    I remember playing a Call of Cthulu campaign where I was a scholar armed with a *shovel*. You heard me, a shovel. Not magical in any way shape or form.

    That shovel not only was my favorite weapon, it was the reason why my DM hated my character. I think the end count for that shovel was 20 or so monsters. Needless to say, the DM eventually put us in a situation where all the party lost everything they owned and were wearing.

  • Daniel Kong

    I think you mentioned the Darth Vader thing in “All Jedi or No Jedi”

    • Guest

      I think it was in thieves world.He said that if you put a well know character they will try to kill him.Like fucking tempus.

  • theryno665

    Delta Green is good times for Call of Cthulu. I’ve only played CoC a couple times. First was a regular game I don’t even remember but my character was basically a hired goon because I rolled a borderline braindead character. The second one was a Delta Green game based on the book/movie Phantoms (starring Ben Affleck, who was the bomb in it) but we didn’t know that until the game was over. My first character died almost immediately so I was given a badass army General character who really only lived because he ordered everyone around instead of doing the actual fighting.

    I quickly learned that if you do play Call of Chtulu “right”, chances are you will still die.

  • Xioptocl

    If i remember right, a Call of Cthulhu game I had at one point had Cthulhu stated out. Did more ‘insanity’ damage per round just being there then the absolute maximum most could withstand, especially if they’ve fought through enough horrors to get to said point. So even seeing him or being close enough to ‘know’ he was there was lethal to the character. Not to certain, but there may have been a clause that prevented any perma-death of the gods, too. really need to find that book.

  • Jovan Stipic

    a game with spoony as DM would be fucking AWESOME

  • Mateusz Dąbrowski

    I have Call of Cthulhu rulebook (the old one by Chaosium) and you can’t kill Cthulhu. Even if you by some luck bring him down, he will reform in no time in full health.

  • Filipe Isabelinho

    Killing gods? Fuck yeah! God of War DnD style =D

  • illidan4ever

    The Vitality thing sounds like “exhaustion”

  • Klarden

    Did they stat Shadows, though? Or other First Ones? Iguess, some Shadows/Shadow technologies had stats, as they were actually killed/destroyed in the series
    Anyway, in BG2 it is a bit more of a story question – since i cared about the story i tried killing Demogoron, did it (it was hard, though) and then reloaded from before to just lock him in, because i cared about the game world and the story. But in a pen&paper RPG, i guess it would’ve been a “and why not?” thing, yeah.

  • draxo

    You know, that ‘government force that dealt with cthulhu style threats’ would be like X-Com.

    Don’t expect to bring anything more than half your squad back at a time, and if you survive you become less expandable due to experience but you’re probably not going to retire, and if you do you’ll be lucky to have all your limbs and or sanity.

  • Al Kusanagi

    Everything is nice about that D20 Cthulhu except for, you know, the whole D20 system. The art, and information in it were quite good.

    Shadowrun applies the “no stats” rules to the major/ancient dragons. Hell, even the dragons that do have stats are so much more powerful than characters that it’s basically a done deal.

    • Discordius Erisianus

      Whut’s the problem os D20?

      • Al Kusanagi

        As he said in the video, D20 is geared towards combat, where CoC is all about role-playing and investigation, and it has mechanics like sanity that don’t mesh well with the D20 ruleset.

  • Wulfrik the Wanderer

    Your remark about not having Darth Vader in your Star Wars campaign reminds me of the time my DM made that exact mistake. It was one of those campaigns where everyone, including the DM, is just fucking around, not caring how little sense everything makes. First off, everyone was a Sith, and this was during the time after Revenge of the Sith and before A New Hope, so that made no sense right off the bat. I was an Ewok, and I used my saber staff as a pole vault. The other guys included a Cathar who never really used his Force powers for anything other than helping him fight (the only character that was even half-way serious), a Hutt who specialized in Force Push and Force Pull, and I want to say a Gungan who used a gun, or something to that effect. Either way, this was a silly, silly game.

    Story started off with us working for the Emperor, taking on whatever missions he sent us to do. That lasted a whole session before we decided, fuck it, let’s kill the Emperor. So we go to his ship and walk all the way to the throne room, when who do we find? Why the Big V himself, waiting to kill us (I think it was because we were a threat to his position or some shit, I can’t exactly remember). Well, we started running the fuck out of there, with him following close behind. Suddenly, the Hutt player had an idea. We waited in a room, when Vader burst in… and the Hutt dropped a god damn elevator on his head. All of us figured that was a good way to give us time to run, since no doubt Vader would eventually get up from that. I mean, the guy’s a Sith lord and all that.

    So we continue running, getting into a few minor skirmishes with Stormtroopers along the way which actually was somewhat challenging (for those who don’t know, ST’s are actually somewhat competent in Star Wars RPG). We got to the control center, turned on the self destruct, got to our ship and flew the hell out of there, watching the place explode behind us.

    It was then that it hit us: Vader was trapped under a ton of steel, with no one in several hundred yards to help him out from under it, on an exploding ship. We had killed Darth Vader… at level 2. We just sorta sat there in stunned silence for a minute or two before we resumed.

    The campaign died shortly after, which is probably a good thing. When you’ve killed Darth Motherfucking Vader in your second session, you’ve nowhere to go but downhill.

  • Steven Black

    If they stat it they will kill it. My player characters defeated Verjigorm in Earthdawn because he has stats. Against Ristul, the Horror Passion who doesn’t have stats, TPK to Horror Marks and Ristular cultists.

  • Steven Black

    We got as far as the Second Level of Hell until some crisis of epic proportions made us have to leave Hell and return to the Earth. We never got to kill the major devils and demons.

  • Steven Black

    As for DnD, killing Tiamat and gods is possible because I killed her twice with my rogues. But again, a god with stats is still something you can kill. Statless gods simply shrug off attacks.

  • AtlasRedux

    The hell is up with the piece of shit player forcing us to actually load where we want to skip to, and not just skip to a part and then load from here? Jesus Christ, it’s like being back at the beginning of Youtube!

  • ORCACommander

    wth 16 10 in and red flash?

  • Thomas Atchley

    “They had Vitality and then they had Health”

    …so they had fucking video game style shields?

    • Atmos_Duality

      It’s pretty stupid. And a reason why anything with a reasonable Crit-chance automatically better than anything else.
      In their effort to make the CON score matter more, d20 only managed to make crits and stat-damage King.

  • Darby Bryan-Dye

    I actually had a lot of fun designing a recurring god enemy for my players. It was a Rat Goddess named white eyes (who was “blind” but had true sight), they first met her at level 5, I gave her moderate hit points and damage, but abusively powerful secondary effects. One power I called ‘soul gaze’ or something to that effect. Forced the target to fall to the ground screaming with visions of their death flashing before their eyes (making them helpless). Another power activated when she was close to death, a scream that caused everyone it hit to become stunned, and also summoned rat enemies to come to her aid. Then finally if they reduced her to 0 hit points, she would plane shift to her godly realm. So she could be defeated but not killed (at least not at this point).

    They managed to beat her the first time, but never made it high enough to beat her other incarnations. The idea was that she would level with them. They would fight her at level 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30. With the level 30 encounter being when they were finally able to kill her. Each incarnation had increasingly devastating powers with new effects and larger damage dice.

    • thecraftyknitter

      Oh that reminds me of an idea I had with a demon demi-god of corruption…oh dear god.

      If you look at the vile book of darkness and look at the 20th level corruption cleric… yeah that cleric will kill an entire party on his own. There is one spell called “stop heart” that basically kills a player dead. And you can do this basically five times in a row.

      So what I had was that in this campaign you were chasing after this high elf rumored to have possession of a powerfully evil artifact. The players, (Mainly elves) are told to go get it from her, and if possible bring her to her home. Now her story is that her father and his friends went out of a mission from Corlan….lorathian? Himself to kill this demi god… and succeeded. So the only survivor her father becomes a avatar for this god. What happened was he could not kill his thing, because it was a fucking god. Soo…. what he was able to do as a master wizard was to ‘cut’ him into seven different parts or so, and tie pieces of the demi god to them, since he knew just killing his form on this world would just let him come back. Sealing him away in ‘weak’ parts would make it so that when he could, or when a player could actually destroy the parts for good. Basically going into pocket dimensions and destroying these things. Since no longer could her father do that. (I think I had him have both his legs chopped off or something. Very crippled to the point where not even a god can heal him.)

      SO, he keeps one of these pieces, the strongest one mind you, which is basically a level ’30’ corruption cleric. YEAH. I was a real bitch when I made this up. But this was not for a beginner player. So his daughter finds this, and what it is, is a collar, (things he had on hand, this collar was to prevent a werewolf in the party from transforming at all. It had a powerful ‘magic’ jewel in it to kinda ‘abosrb’ the curse) so the jewel is what holds the demon, she touches it. And though this thing is so utterly strong all the protections and enchantments her father placed on it only ‘implanted’ a small portion of the demon into her. After several years it becomes a little apparent she is a bit obsessed with summoning things. Particularly demons, but since she was the only child of her father to chose ‘the mages path’ he lets it slide. She gets it into her head that maybe the reason why there are so many protections around this collar is that there is a demon in it. Yes, she goes down and basically calls him out, feeding him her own energy until she passes out, and the demon now able to break the spells does so, puts the collar on her, THROUGH HER BODY WRAPPING hair like cords onto and through her SPINE, and taking control of her body. Her father comes down and he can’t kill his own child. She kills him, fucks off, and starts looking mostly unwillingly for these six other pieces of the demon. She is MADE to do these things because this guy is so powerful and he can exert such control over her…and yeah he makes her do the most inhuman, and disgusting things to break her mind so that she basically had multiple personality disorder. Now… I built in someone to kinda… ‘calm’ her. A ‘legendary’ nameless bard that travels with her that prevents many a people being killed by playing her music. This would buy the players time to collect some pieces of the demon and try to destroy one or two of them.

      So… I made this… courruption cleric…. heart which was literally the demons actual heart in a glass jar beating. I made up ONE spell for it, called “the beating rhythm” or something that summons undead for about ten miles. It was level twenty… and it would be located in a TEN MILE WIDE cemetery. They would be fighting as least on lich to get to the heart itself, which… I DUMBED DOWN. That spell? Stop heart? It would KILL them all if I let him just have that. I basically took a GOD, and made it into a killible thing. while still being very very very hard. I made it so that the stop heart thing works on ‘touch’ that if a person touches the jar, if the heart can’t ‘take them over’ on the first roll, it would cast that spell. And it would hit only the person touching the jar. Several other spells I toned down, by about half, because the spells? They would DECIMATE and TPK the party before they could even take five steps to it.

      I never ever got to make this campign. But feel free to use it if YOU guys can. I don’t have like the other five pieces, so that is about all you have to make up.

  • Sam Pagano

    Didnt they technically stat out Cthulhu orriginally but it was impossible to beat him anyway since he did enough SAN damage to kill you instantly and I believe literally ate 1d4 players a turn.

  • Jessica Clarke

    Wouldn’t vitality be like energy? So you have the energy to get out of the way or keep going with light damage for so long, but eventually you just can’t dodge or ignore it anymore and you get hurt.

  • Crawldragon

    I don’t really play tabletop RPGs. I’ve spoken with a friend at college about the possibility, but you’re right about it being really hard to find time to set up a good campaign. I’ve wanted to play Dungeons & Dragons for a long time, but I’m really interested in Call of Cthulhu as well now that you say that it’s primarily non-combat.

    See, when I’m roleplaying, even in single-player games like The Elder Scrolls, I like to go for non-combat characters even if that’s fundamentally not how the game is supposed to be played. I feel like fantasy attaches a serious ball and chain to itself when its primary focus is on a small band of adventurers wantonly destroying everything for the sake of Good and Evil. It’s really not… it’s not deep enough, in my opinion. So like I’ll roleplay a scholar, or a trail blazer, or if I want a particularly magical character I’ll play a pure alchemist so that he has some potions he can drink if he’s in a combat situation. But I feel like fantasy is a lot more fun when you’re playing as a non-combat character. I feel more like I’m a part of the world when I’m a citizen in it rather than the dude with a big sword who randomly wanders around looking for rumors of distant wizards to go kill. I guess that’s why all of my Argonians were bards, come to think of it. Heck even in NetHack I prefer the Archaeologist and the Tourist over the combat classes, and I defy anyone to out-nerd that statement. Actually if you’re watching Counter Monkey you probably can, but ANYWAY

    And for games like Call of Cthulhu, which I’ve never played but I know a guy who could rant about it for hours, or even if you’re playing a random RPG and some zombies come up, as any survival horror game designer should be able to tell you any combat situation is scarier and more tense if your character has a minimum chance of surviving. If I’m playing as a forest ranger or whatever and a band of goblins raids the village it’s scarier if I’m not prepared for it, and if I recall H.P. Lovecraft wrote the Cthulhu mythos to be scary.

    See this is why I’m such a fan of you. It never would have occurred to me that d20 is so biased toward combat characters if you’d never have said it.

  • Sven Liebe

    I actually really love the vitality system. I always hated the effect of having high hit points in D20 or other systems, even video games where you can be hit lots and lots of times without even being fazed until that final hit point is gone and you drop dead. That’s why I often refer to DnD as a superhero game… The vitality system however makes you feel more like heroes and can make combat a lot more cinematic. What’s that quote that I often got to read when I died in a Call of Duty game? “Heroes may not be braver than anyone else. They’re just braver 5 minutes longer.” And that what differentiates normal people from heroes, heroes have the luck and skill to stay alive longer. Most of the times it should be: 1 single hit from a gun and sword and you’re dead. That wouldn’t help gameplay-wise though. Vitality points or a “luck” meter is a good solution for that, until they run out you dodge, parry or only get grazed by the enemy hit. I’d much prefer such a system over the “hide behind a wall and suck on your thumbs until your gunshot wounds are all healed up”-system you get in many videogames of today.

  • Mick Foley

    Heya. Ignoring anything about role-playing this episode, has Spoony ever said anything about the Ultimate Marvel series? I’m pretty sure Earth-1610’s Spider-Man is still dead.

  • HighPriestDre

    Standard d20 is not a good system for anything but D&D, or rather, the midevil fantasy genre. Something that gets proven over and over again, every time something new is made using it. Games that are d20-ish, like Mutants and Masterminds 3rd edition or Mutant Chronicles, that use roughly the same dice for similer things, but otherwise change the rules up as the developers see fit, work a lot better.

  • Michael Marshall

    Had to pause the video at 19:50 to say this.

    Back in school, I had to take a history of technology class. It was neat, lots of cool info. The proff, though, was absolutely badass. I bring it up, because he did have a functional rocket launcher. Which he brought to class. The dude is currently rebuilding his second WWII German fighter, and has about half the parts of a Panzer sitting in his garage.

    I know this was off topic, but yeah, some history scholars are pretty badass.

  • Renegade Red

    If you are a fan of PNP RPGs, and haven’t done so already, go and download Open RPG (Traipse Ornery Orc version) which is a free chat program that allow you to play RPGs. It’s the program Spoony uses and it rocs. Link here:

  • smaco

    “they would go to hell to kill something there, they would go like like:”lets go kick Azmodans ass!””

    Only thing i could think off is my barbarian kicking azomodans ass in like 5 seconds.

  • Griffin Tarampi

    Hey, I’d just like to mention that killing Cthulhu is not that big of a deal. He was killed by someone ramming a boat into him.

    • taranaich

      “The awful squid-head with writhing feelers came nearly up
      to the bowsprit of the sturdy yacht, but Johansen drove on relentlessly. There
      was a bursting as of an exploding bladder, a slushy nastiness as of a cloven
      sunfish, a stench as of a thousand opened graves, and a sound that the
      chronicler could not put on paper. For an instant the ship was befouled by an
      acrid and blinding green cloud, and then there was only a venomous seething
      astern; where–God in heaven!–the scattered plasticity of that nameless
      sky-spawn was nebulously recombining in its hateful original form…”

  • Ian Fay

    I also always liked to compare Vitality/Health to John McClane in Die Hard.

    Vitality = countless cuts,scrapes, grazes, etc as he went along.
    Wound = glass in feet (aka actually hurts)

  • ian morris

    damage control must be really good at their job

  • Justin Alexander

    Man, I have a story about “THAT GUY” (the one with the explosives) WITH Call of Cthulhu.

    The first time I played Call of Cthulhu, it was with the d20 system, because my group at the time was big into D&D 3rd Edition, therefore Wizards of the Coast was in. Anyway, we were rolling up things like private investigators, theologians, and this one guy goes “And my guy was a crazy old miner who has DYNAMITE.” We all roll our eyes.

    Sure as shit, later on, we manage to see like…a Byakhee or something. It was supposed to be big and climactic and scary, but the Sanity checks come, and…crazy miner dude botches horribly. He goes nuts and the first thing he does is light the fuckin’ fuses on his 80 pounds of dynamite.

  • Lybra

    I actually recall seeing one of the White Wolf Vampire games, I’m not sure which one, all I know is it was a LARP, Where they did the Vorlon thing with Kain in the rulebook. They had a stat block for him, but noted in each stat was just “NO”. They knew what was up, because if you cast that line out there, people are gonna bite at it. Worse yet, someone is going to get away with the bait.
    It’s the Gamer Condition, “If you stat it, they will kill it”, like you said. Hell, I’ve gone down that road once before, fortunately I had a DM that could keep our asses in line. We were playing Star Wars D20 set during the Clone Wars, and the DM has Mace Windu giving our rag-tag band of Jedi our orders, and while he’s talking we’re all getting the same thought out-of-game: “How royally would we buttfuck the story if we managed to kill Mace Windu?” We got our laughs from the thought, but the DM reigned us in before we made the colossally stupid decision of throwing down with the Jedi who has “Bad Motherfucker” engraved on his lightsaber.

  • Faust

    Yes, that is a big problem in Star Wars. Over powered beginning characters. It’s much better to make them “force sensitive” when they start out. The force push is even better than choke. Because you could push anything. ANYTHING! No matter the size. Remember what Yoda said? Well, yeah they ran with it. You can even push away the Death Star. Or push a planet into a star.

  • Jessica Collett

    Last time I played Call of Cthulu, my character got ripped in half at the waist by a bloodsucking monster living in a sleepy English village, right before the end. I was lucky to have gotten that far!

  • Matthew Wenke

    If memory serves,and it usually does for this stuff.In the old CoC,he had like 2 stats.One was how much sanity you lost at seeing him.The second was that every round,he grabbed and devoured 1d4 investigators.That was all that was needed.

  • K B

    Mainstream comics lack of continuity is what’s turned me from them too. That and how all these folks with superpowers decide to work as vigilante law enforcement. Realistically they’d pursue whatever they liked and depending on their degree of ability gain influence over their fellow man.

    Good comics are stuff like Bone, Fear Agent, Mignola’s works, Conan, Artesia, Atomic Robo, The Goon, Bad Planet, Moore’s work, and Morrisson’s work.

  • qalest

    There are “win” conditions for Cthulhu – it’s not going insane, preventing an elder god from manifesting wholly on the planet, joining in with the cultists, etc… I’ll buy that signed book from ya if you hate it so much.

  • Mitchell Bandes

    Oh, so Vitality is basically plot armor. That unseen narrative force that protects the major heroes and villains of the story from death, because without them, there’s no story to tell.

  • Ben Alsop

    This counter monkey was shit, but got awesome. Love it Spoony!

  • MFlorian

    Team Rocket! Keeping you on topic agaaaaaaaain!

  • Kostantine

    If You Stat It, They Will Kill It sums up how I felt when I saw the d20 statted Cthulhu

  • Sriseru
    • Kostantine

      None of those tips work.

    • Atmos_Duality

      He didn’t win. He died like everyone else.

  • fatalrob0t

    I refer to Civil War as “The Event That Shall Not Be Named”. Because it’s fucking stupid. Tony Stark goes along with the enslavement of people to the government? Captain America is labeled too old fashioned for modern superhero-ing? The whole thing is just awful. I’m glad Linkara hates it as much as I do. I’m also glad he hates One More Day as much as I do. Marvel… WTF IS WRONG WITH YOU? *sigh*

  • fatalrob0t

    >.> Pay some Shadows to kill Kosh.

  • Guest

    I don’t see a problem with killing gods… I mean, it’s a game… You kill Zeus in God of War too. What’s the big difference?

  • Peter Larsson

    Slodd: What are you doing here!?
    Adventurers: We’re gonna kick your ass
    Slodd: Okay


  • sifer2

    lol I remember he did mention not putting in Darth Vader. The story about how they were escaping Hoth then decided to turn back around cause they saw Darth Vader as they were leaving haha.

    And yeah it’s only natural in a game that has a focus on fighting to want to see if you can kill something no matter how impossible it looks. The only thing that seems to stop people cold is if you let them hit but say it does no damage. Then it’s like they lose interest, and go away.

  • Baroncognito

    Marvel Universe has (or had) Damage Control. It was a short run comic series about the people who get the city back together after things like giant robot attacks. They had to cart away the giant Ultron body and rebuild the city. There’s an in universe explanation of how the the city gets rebuilt quickly.

  • Nathan Jacob Caudill

    the Vorlons seem more like the Jovians from EVE

  • Stephen Rieder

    Spoony, there are two Slaad lords, according to the 1981 first printing of Fiend Folio. ( It is interesting to note, that this was originally the UK version of the Monstrous Manual). The first Slaad Lord, Ygorl-Lord of Entropy ( Once per turn, he can gate in one other slaad). The other Slaad Lord Ssendam-Lord of the Insane, can at will, gate in another Slaadi of any type.

  • shaunpwd

    This was actually a big problem in the campaigns we had with my first DM. Everything had stats, including the stuff that shouldn’t be killable. So we actually had some cases where certain characters killed a few Gods and inherited their powers as a result. So now you’ve got these omnipotent characters running around that are so powerful that they would literally ruin any potential adventures or campaigns you planned down the road.

  • mattia.garavini

    Ah ah! Finally BG2 gets mentioned by Spoony.

  • Alexander Wood

    I love GURPS!

  • David Michael Edgren

    I have to correct you on something Spoony. In 2nd edition D&D they did NOT stat Gods. Gods had no stats. They stated their AVATARS which is completely different. Avatars were a part of the god put on earth to do something, and they were hard as shit to face. If you managed to beat it the avatar couldn’t appear on the earth for a while (like how you explained Tempus dying in Thieve’s World) There were a couple of ways to kill a god, but it was complicated as shit. I believe one way was to get every worshiper of the god to stop believing in the god.

    I love your counter monkeys as well as almost everything you post, but you tend to forget facts. That’s alright, as everyone is mistaken sometimes. Keep these coming man!

  • David Michael Edgren

    Oh and about Slaads (not that this nitpick is worth it, it’s for your information only) the power of Slaads from weakest to strongest are as follows (regardless of edition): Red, Blue, Green, Grey, and DEATH.

  • Guest

    was a rogue in BG2 i never fought any big bad guy fair. i just set traps traps killed demogorgon so fast it was sad.

  • Zack Willett

    I do like how 4th edition is handling it’s gods, you do get the gods themselves who are absurdly powerful, BUT are still unkillable, essentially if you’re fighting say Vecna, he will get knockedout for a few years if you reduce him to half hit points (The process is called discorpation if I remeber correctly), the only way to permanently kill him is up to the DM’s discretion, you could have your party seek the aid of Kas the Betrayer, or get the Hand and Eye of Vecna, that sort of thing, and you can set entire campaigns around this sort of thing.

  • Ali

    woop woop call out to the anthropologists xD

  • Carlos Celurian Torreblanca

    I agree, It is not a Combat Game, but if you do it rigth and your group likes role playing, this is an awesome game without teaching another system. I use to have a Cthulhu game that run until 20 lvl, it was awesome, and it end up preatty fuck up.

  • John Kirkpatrick

    Hey, might I make a recommendation Noah? If you’re annoyed with the static nature of American comics may I recommend that you start reading 2000 AD? It’s a British sci-fi anthology comic. The comic Judge Dredd is from. You might like this because 2000 AD has had an Editorial Policy for pretty much their entire 35 year run. When they kill off a major character, that character stays dead. Any submitted story which will bring that character back to life will be rejected. Period. I’m not just talking about minor characters either. In 1989, they killed off Johnny Alpha and Wulf Sternhammer, the two principle characters from their second most popular strip Strontium Dog and kept the characters in the grave for 22 years despite a widespread outcry, not just from the fans but from Carlos Ezquerra, the artist and co-creator of the series. The editors finally relented late last year and allowed Johnny Alpha to come back but put their foot down on keeping Wulf Sternhammer dead.

    Also things change in the books. Judge Dredd, for example, has run continuously for 35 years with no continuity re-boot. In fact, the character has aged 35 years. It’s one of the huge advantages that being an anthology comic rather than a single-subject book gives them. I do with more American comics would adopt the same format.

  • David Guthman

    Ok, So I have a question. If someone were to have a deck of many things and happen to gain the ability to be granted any wish from said deck. Could you wish for the permanent death of a great one?

  • sprezzatura15

    Monty Cook wrote the d20 Call of Cthulu? Hahaha REALLY? I know this sounds like shameless namedropping (and doubtless actually IS), but I’m friends with one of his relatives… I feel so torn about this…

  • Michael Hemman

    Vitality obviously means you have Main Character immunity.

  • josh martyn

    call of Cthulhu d20 is evil dead

  • Alex Torrence

    i would love to play call of cathulu with Noha…that would be epic.

  • Bob Jones

    At least they didn’t stat Yog-Sothoth. Or did they?

    • kamrom dechu

      Im pretty sure the stats for guys like that aren’t the actual stats, just the stats they gain when they attempt to manifest physically in the world. Im pretty sure if you killed one of the mythos gods, no matter what you define “kill” as, they’ll be back. And annoyed. Heck, the only reason they show up on the planet at all is they want something. too much trouble they just annihilate it utterly.

      • Zachary Rogers

        Except Hastur. Old Man Henderson finished him off for good.

  • kamrom dechu

    I always thought the only point of weapons in call of cthulhu were to shoot the cultists before they summoned the things that eat worlds.

  • wizzbang

    “Stream not found: Spoony-6751_high.mp4″

    Er, what?

    • CrotaroLP

      isn’t it obvious? It says “Couldn’t find the videostream where Spoony got high for 6751 times in a row, wielding an MP 5-1″
      ….wow….brain….what the fucking fuck is it doing in the morning? x.X I just looked at the comment and my brain was like “That must be the correct explanation…trust me, i’m YOUR brain!”

  • Nick

    Darn right i did

  • William Pelletier

    Yes, nuke the planet from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure :-p

  • Brett

    If I was ever DMing a superhero game, I’d probably not have it set at any particular point in time, it would just be in kind of its own little bubble of time where everyone is where you typically think of them being and it’s been real quiet in terms of major world-changing events. Norman Osborn would JUST be Green Goblin, not in charge of anything. The core Avengers are all together, Fantastic Four is still just the happy family of four, Doctor Doom, Namor and Black Panther are all running their respective countries, etc. Bottom line, all is as right as it can be with the world of Marvel or DC when our players get started – and then a new threat emerges which puts our heroes on the map, and successfully dealing with it makes the other major heroes of the world treat them with respect and take them seriously.

    There might be a few details that don’t quite match up with what’s “normal” for certain characters, which you might associate with a particular time period of comics. Spider-man might be teaching high school chemistry instead of working at the Bugle, and maybe the X-men line-up reflects the line-up they had during Joss Whedon’s run on the team, when they had the Breakworld arc. Those would be pretty much the only period-specific factors at the start of the campaign, and even then it would have less to do with being set at a particular point in time and more to do with the fact that THIS is how I like to think of those characters when I think of the comics.

    In order to make the game more interesting, I would also try to come up with my own set of villains for the players to fight, or ask the players to come up with villains of their own that I could use to act as arch-enemies to their hero characters. That way they’d have their own little Rogues Gallery and sometimes even a team of bad guys to fight, in between interactions with the established characters.

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