The Roleplaying Game of the Month club took the March off, but that’s probably okay since I still have not written up a report for February.
In most RPGs character death is possible but rare. The assumption is that your character will survive many battles, defeat the bad guys, and increase in power. Of course there area always exceptions to the rules, and if you have been around RPGs long enough, you’ve probably heard to the most significant exception to the rule of character survival: Call of Cthulhu.
We played a classic adventure called Grace Under Pressure by Pagan Publishing. In short the PCs are on a flashy new submarine and things go horribly wrong as they stray too close to Cthulhu’s resting place.
One of the most interesting things I’ve observed playing CoC is a difference in playing PCs who want to live vs. those who want to see the story unfold. When things first started to go screwy, one PC immediately wanted to surface and get the heck out of there, while others wanted to take one of the mini-subs out to explore the strange happenings. In the end, I think this made for a great extra layer of drama.
On on a more mechanical note, I enjoyed the Basic Role-Playing system. Unlike the d20 system (which I’m most used to), it does not have a target number, the PCs just need to roll lower than their skill (percentile), and thus know instantly whether or not the have succeeded. For things tasks that are easier or more difficult, you can apply a modifier to your roll. I think this system works slightly faster than the d20 systems and it also grants the players greater ability to know whether or not they will succeed before attempting any roll.
At the end of the day, most of the party even survived. There was only one fatality and two PCs driven indefinably insane.