I’ve seen my first death in Call of Cthulhu… someone shot themselves. However it wasn’t because they were going insane.
It was a situation where we went suddenly from an unknown situation to a threat that was very real. Two chapters in of a six chapter story, the threat was real…
But this wasn’t what literally killed the game… it was a single roll. One of the characters was able to get a point blank on an enemy… or at least he tried and failed on a 20% roll even allowing a re-roll for point blank.
I had a look at the odds and actually… well I was surprised.
Before I go any further I’m not discussing rage quitting or GM mistakes as I believe that there were merits to both arguments, nor will I be discussing the story revealing their hand too early (later); I am purely discussing the odds.
So what was the rule?
This is a standard d100 system; it’s the die vs. the Stat. The player rolls 2 dice; one representing the 10s and the other the units. The player must roll as high as possible without exceeding the stat. If the stat is exceeded, it is an automatic fail.
A bonus can be given where you roll 2 tens die and take the lowest tens die to go with the units die.
The Current Circumstance
Both the player and the enemy were having a roll about on the floor. The player was in extreme close range which would be a default 2 tens die for the pistol he was firing on the enemy.
So what was the actual percentage of the roll? Actually with the percentage of 20% of the firearms skill, the equivalent target is actually 37%, nearly DOUBLE the normal odds. That is actually not bad as a test target, my Rifle skill is 40% and hits effectively well…
… but as a story telling drive… it’s RUBBISH. At that range you would get the shot off UNLESS the gun jams (which is roughly 95 or above). Now I can see why that, in a ground scrap you could assume that you need to position the gun even in melee combat so it would make sense on that level.
This is one of the moments where both scenarios could be used fairly, however using the standard rules induced a rage quit moment.
The Good Thing
Now what I believe is good is that the GM has done a post-mortem and is willing to rewrite to make it work and balance it in the correct way; the mark of a great GM is one that reviews his decisions and makes sure that, in the future, he doesn’t make the same mistake twice OR allows the rules to do something that doesn’t make sense.
After speaking to the group also the majority are happy to continue as well so if we can get over the speed bump then this has all the chance of getting back on track.