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Design Discussion from Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land

May 21, 2011

I’m blogging over on our Red Was Design site too, and our plan is to use the blog as a forum to chat about the games development, design issues and more.  So here’s the first batch of issues I’ve been talking about…

First off I talked about the creation of one of the key characters in the game and what sort of a person he would be:

Professor Brightmeer knows a little of the cosmic horror that exists and has dedicated much of the last decade to combating it. He is a classic Call of Cthulhu investigator – a dilettantish academic with a wide knowledge of the emerging field of psychology, of chemistry, medicine and biology and a little dash of Mythos knowledge. Indeed his wide knowledge of the mind and body led him to be consulted in treating the victims of insanity caused by exposure to the Mythos horrors in Arkham in the US where the lives. …

Now this design is important because it follows into the next section – about how we handle emotions in general, and sanity specificity (a key Call of Cthulhu concept) in video games:

Sanity has been something we’ve debated a lot during the design of the game. For the paper RPG, IMHO, Sanity (SAN) has been a key part of not only the Call of Cthulhu playing experience but also what separates it out from other RPGs. There is a built-in shadow of insanity that stalks all players of the game and in the end will get you. As you learn more of the cosmic horror, so your character’s grasp on reality ebbs away. It makes a cool addition to the tabletop experience and is something I’ve enjoyed role-playing over the years. However in a video game, things are a bit different…

So after explaining the issues with Sanity in games, we still have to resolve the issue – and keep the important SAN score running. Here’s how we are planning to solve it…

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