Magic is one of the defining aspects of most paper RPGs, and Call of Cthulhu is no different – it has magic too. Except that magic in Call of Cthulhu is a much more expansive affair than in many other RPGs. Spells often take lots of time and require preparation. I’ve always felt that magic in the Call of Cthulhu games had an authenticity that meant it was not that far from high-magic as described by famous historical figures like Dr John Dee – indeed Dee is reputed to have translated the Necronomicon into English! Another important facet of magic in Call of Cthulhu is that is costs Sanity to use. This is another vital part of the system that sets it apart from other RPGs – that magic has a permanent cost to it, that by subverting the laws of nature, you incur a cost.
Having established that magic is important, it also comes with it own challenges in a turn-based combat game; we can’t take days of preparation before casting a spell nor can we make the process overly complicated (for the same reasons we need to simplify the stats in the game). So we will be having magic in the game but is this version restricting the magic to spells that don’t require days and days of preparation work. On top of that we’ll be the link between magic and sanity, so using magic does incur a cost.
As ever, your feedback is welcome!
“There is unknown magic on Hatheg-Kla, for the screams of the frightened gods have turned to laughter, and the slopes of ice shoot up endlessly into the black heavens whither I am plunging… Hei! Hei! At last! In the dim light I behold the gods of earth!” H.P.Lovecraft, The Other Gods (1921)