Actual Play: First Impressions of Pulp Cthulhu
We just had our first Penny Dreadful Cthulhu game, giving us our first opportunity to try out the Pulp Cthulhu rules changes. We decided to go with the default level of pulpiness - PCs have double their normal hit points, more skills, and possess talents that provide minor enhancements or supernatural abilities.
As I'd suspected, the game is definitely still Call of Cthulhu - creepy animated dummies are still a bit endangering to one's sanity. I did notice an overall improvement in character competence and the fact that some characters had psychic abilities did make a difference as well. I noticed that for the most part these abilities sped up play - psychic powers proved a nice way to make sure characters had enough information to proceed. Also, luck being more flexible kept things moving nicely.
There wasn't a whole lot of combat so I cant yet comment on what sort of a difference the changes make for that. I feel a bit guilty about a low-combat pulp game, but there was a nice action seen involving wrestling an animated, razor-wielding ventriloquist's dummy back into its box. And I also learned I need to review grappling rules for Call of Cthulhu.
Overall it was fun. The Cthulhu by Gaslight era seems to fit the pulp genre just fine. I definitely think there will be a visit to the United States, where my knowledge of the USA in that period is a bit superior to mine of the UK of the same period. Anyone want to hook me up with a six-month vacation to London? For research purposes of course...