Sam and Fuzzy Q & A: Cope Edition
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"Some of the [Underground RPG] mechanics sound suspiciously like a non-scary version of Call of Cthulhu! Specifically it’s sanity meter. I’ve never played myself but the mechanic (and utter creepiness) fascinates me so I recognized it right off. So, what’s up with that?" -Jake
There's a superficial similarity, in that your ability to mentally cope with the supernatural plays a role in both games, but it's pretty different mechanically.
In Call of Cthulhu, a character has Sanity Points, which are more or less like mental HP. As events cause them to lose sanity points, they are driven more and more insane.
In our game, "Cope" is a stat, like the ones that represent a character's strength or speed. A character's Cope represents (among other things) their ability to rationalize and ignore things that don't fit into their worldview. A normal human with a high Cope, for example, will have a bit of a defensive advantage when fighting a vampire as opposed to, say, an armed gunman... because as everyone knows, vampires are obviously not real and are therefore not very threatening. An "in the know" human with a low Cope, on the other hand, knows vampires are extremely real, and is therefore appropriately terrified by the threat that they pose. In other words, Cope is not so much about sanity as it is about measuring how phased a character is by weirdos.
It's a system that's particularly appropriate for (and very consistent with the storyline of) Sam and Fuzzy, which is part of what sold me on doing the whole project!
"What is Rikk Estoban's middle name?" -Justin
"I couldn't help but get the vibe that Roan's behavior in Wednesday's comic was a lot like The Phantom Limb (from The Venture Bros.)'s behavior when he got kicked out of the Guild of Calamitous Intent for trying to make himself the Sovereign in the season 2 finale and when he appeared in the season 4 episode 'The Revenge Society', he had a lot of screws loose and was so obsessed with revenge that he renamed himself 'Revenge'. Was the similarity at least partially intentional or is it just me?" -Danel
Not intentional at all. Phantom Limb is a great character, though! But Limb became obssessed with getting revenge against the people who wronged him. Roan, on the other hand, never actively sought out Hazel... he just wasn't keen to help her solve her problems, which I imagine he views as an extremely fitting karmic punishment for what she did to him.
Our next comic arrives on Monday. See you then!