The Fate Toolkit
The Horror Paradox vs The Cthulhu Paradox
I was reading through the Fate System Toolkit on http://fate-srd.com/ when I came across the section The Horror Paradox in Subsystems chapter. I have many reservations about Fate being a good system for Cthulhu. The Game Creation section of Fate Core all but rules Cthulhu out as a good fit in the section “What Makes a Good Fate Game?” So I was happy to see and read the section on The Horror Paradox.The Horror subsystem breaks things down by working from this premise:
Horror is as a combination of oppressive atmosphere, impossible circumstances, and stark desperation.
With that as the philosophy, It attempts to focus on each of the three elements and how to add them into the game. There are a lot of good stuff and much of it is easy to implement without any huge rules changes.
After more thought, I start thinking that while Cthulhu Mythos is horror, it has an element of suspense that seemed to be missing. The Horror Paradox adds the feel of death, but it seemed to me to like death was a sudden. While this can be true with Cthulhu Mythos, I believe that with Lovecraftian Horror it is more generally a slow descent towards doom. So I think a different description:
Cthulhu horror is a combination of oppressive atmosphere, impossible circumstances, and creeping desperation.
The one thing I changed was “stark desperation” to “creeping desperation.” The difference being the stress tracks. With “stark desperation” it is suggested that the stress track be shortened. The reasons are because characters shouldn't have much of a buffer before they start to break, bleed or go mad.What I propose is that instead of shortening the stress track to instead extend it. With a longer stress track, there is room for additional tiers of consequences. These consequences will be longer lasting and more insidious by nature and by their potential to accumulate. These mechanism help portray that the path towards madness as a slow deliberate one.
Link to The Horror Paradox in Fate System Toolkit – Link