I've been eyeing a copy of Call Cthulhu for a little while now. I had mentioned it several times to my newbie players and we'd even talked about taking a week off of Labyrinth Lord close to Halloween to try it out. And now...it is in my possession again! Thanks to crafty ebay dealings, I've gotten a cheap copy of 4th edition for my own grubby hands.
Now some of you are no doubt saying, "No, no, Monk...4th edition kinda sucks!" But have no fear, brothers. The Monk knows about the suckage. I know that Call of Cthulhu has like 7 editions, that the rules are practically identical in each, and that 4th edition is known for having less than perfect organization. For those unfamiliar with the system, Chaosium uses the term "editions" in about the same way most publishers use the term "printings". The content is almost always the same, save for a different adventure included here, or some more spells there. The main difference is the art and layout. In 4th edition, they decided to include the content of 2 sourcebooks with the core rules. And basically they seem to have just pulled the bindings off and physically stuck the sourcebooks to the rule book. No cohesive blending of chapters or anything. Mish mash.
But beautiful, eerie, mish mash, brothers. This edition is the first I owned, when I was 13, so I'll admit to some nostalgia, but I remember even at the time that I far preferred it to 5th edition. Call of Cthulhu is a game that gathers much of its awesomeness from setting and mood. And to me, 4th edition art and layout, even because of its choppiness, delivers that mood perfectly. This is a manual hastily put together by investigators on the run. Cartoony art? No time for that when you've heard that another tiny New England town has dug up some nasty secrets.
Lastly, CoC editions after the 4th all contain source material for playing the game in the modern setting. I know I'm probably in the minority here again, but I hate modern setting CoC so much that I don't even want it in my rulebook at all. As a 15 year old I wrote a long rambly note on the "feedback" card that came with the 5th edition, indicating numerous philosophical reasons why the modern setting sucked juebos. In retrospect, while I stand by those reasons, I hope whoever got that feedback card just copied down the address and tossed it in the garbage. Lots of people love the modern setting and that's totally cool. I'm not one of them, so I'm the perfect person to enjoy a 4th edition scored from ebay!
More on CoC later, as I check it out again after all these years. Anyone have a favorite edition? One that you think sucks?