Last night we had a game of Cthulhu using home brewed rules. Because character generation is a little complex (still, dagnammit), I used pre-generated characters. One of them was Harvey Walters.
In roleplaying games it always helps to have an example character so as to guide people how to make up a character of their own. Rolling for attributes (Strength, Intelligence etc), selecting skills and advantages/disadvantages etc. The Call of Cthulhu had Harvey Walters.
The very first roll Harvey's character had was for Strength. He got a 4 out of a range of 3 to 18. Most players hate low stats. Low stats mean severe in game penalties to do things. But no, to their credit the makers of Cthulhu played it where they lay and left it in. They built the entire persona around low strength - a portly genial gent who couldn't tear open a wet paper bag.
The climax of last night's adventure featured a winged horror of nameless dread land on the bonnet of the characters' Model T ford as it was trundling along a road next to a ravine and about to turn on to a narrow bridge. A round of actions later and the creature had smashed it's clawed hand through the window, grabbed the steering wheel and reefed it around so the car would speed over the edge. The player characters still in the car elected to make a leap for it.
Harvey, whose motivation was to capture proof of the supernatural, elected to take a photograph first.
'Are you sure?' I asked. 'It will mean a penalty to your diving out of the car.'
'Yep,' said the player.
He succeeded at getting a photo ... then fumbled his Dodge to tumble out. The camera strap tight around the door handle leaving him stuck in the car as it went over the lip and into the ravine.
I was feeling generous - it was a cinematic Indiana Jones style game - so I gave Harvey's player the chance to drop out of the tumbling car and try and grab a protruding tree from the rock wall. A pretty hard Athletics task.
'Now if you take the camera you will get a penalty,' I added gravely.
'I'm taking it! It's proof!'
He made the roll. Harvey ended up hanging with both hands to a sapling, camera strap wound around his neck.
Harvey has a Strength of 4...
As another player character climbed down to get him Harvey's player had to succeed at a strength check.
By god he made that too.
Sometimes the dice can make for a great game.
Oh, a nice Hollywood style coda. He fucked his skill roll to develop the photo...
BTW ever wondered what playing a roleplaying game is like? It's basically seated theatre sports with a piece of paper saying what your persona can do. It's the most fun I have ever had.