Canberra is the capital city of Australia. With a population of 410,301, it is Australia's largest inland city and the eighth-largest city overall; the city is located at the northern end of the Australian Capital Territory, 280 km south-west of Sydney, 660 km north-east of Melbourne. A resident of Canberra is known as a Canberran. Although Canberra is the capital and seat of government, many federal government ministries have secondary seats in state capital cities, as do the Governor-General and the Prime Minister; the site of Canberra was selected for the location of the nation's capital in 1908 as a compromise between rivals Sydney and Melbourne, Australia's two largest cities. It is unusual among Australian cities, being an planned city outside of any state, similar to Washington, D. C. in the United States, or Brasília in Brazil. Following an international contest for the city's design, a blueprint by American architects Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin was selected and construction commenced in 1913.
The Griffins' plan featured geometric motifs such as circles and triangles, was centred on axes aligned with significant topographical landmarks in the Australian Capital Territory. The city's design was influenced by the garden city movement and incorporates significant areas of natural vegetation; the growth and development of Canberra were hindered by the World Wars and the Great Depression, which exacerbated a series of planning disputes and the ineffectiveness of a procession of bodies that were created in turn to oversee the development of the city. The national capital emerged as a thriving city after World War II, as Prime Minister Sir Robert Menzies championed its development and the National Capital Development Commission was formed with executive powers. Although the Australian Capital Territory is now self-governing, the Commonwealth Government retains some influence through the National Capital Authority; as the seat of the government of Australia, Canberra is the site of Parliament House, the official residence of the Monarch's representative the Governor-General, the High Court and numerous government departments and agencies.
It is the location of many social and cultural institutions of national significance, such as the Australian War Memorial, Australian National University, Royal Australian Mint, Australian Institute of Sport, National Gallery, National Museum and the National Library. The Australian Army's officer corps is trained at the Royal Military College and the Australian Defence Force Academy is located in the capital; the ACT is independent of any state to prevent any one state from gaining an advantage by hosting the seat of Commonwealth power. The ACT has voting representation in the Commonwealth Parliament, has its own Legislative Assembly and government, similar to the states; as the city has a high proportion of public servants, the Commonwealth Government contributes the largest percentage of Gross State Product and is the largest single employer in Canberra, although no longer the majority employer. Compared to the national averages, the unemployment rate is the average income higher. Property prices are high, in part due to comparatively restrictive development regulations.
The word "Canberra" is popularly claimed to derive from the word Kambera or Canberry, claimed to mean "meeting place" in Ngunnawal, one of the Indigenous languages spoken in the district by Aboriginal Australians before European settlers arrived, although there is no clear evidence to support this. An alternative definition has been claimed by numerous local commentators over the years, including the Ngunnawal elder Don Bell, whereby Canberra or Nganbra means "woman's breasts" and is the indigenous name for the two mountains, Black Mountain and Mount Ainslie, which lie opposite each other. In the 1860s, the name was reported by Queanbeyan newspaper owner John Gale to be an interpretation of the name nganbra or nganbira, meaning "hollow between a woman's breasts", referring to the Sullivans Creek floodplain between Mount Ainslie and Black Mountain. An 1830s map of the region by Major Mitchell indeed does mark the Sullivan's Creek floodplain between these two mountains as "Nganbra". "Nganbra" or "Nganbira" could have been anglicised to the name "Canberry", as the locality soon become known to European settlers.
R. H. Cambage in his 1919 book Notes on the Native Flora of New South Wales, Part X, the Federal Capital Territory noted that Joshua John Moore, the first settler in the region, named the area Canberry in 1823 stating that "there seems no doubt that the original was a native name, but its meaning is unknown."' Survey plans of the district dated 1837 refer to the area as the Canberry Plain. In 1920, some of the older residents of the district claimed that the name was derived from the Australian Cranberry which grew abundantly in the area, noting that the local name for the plant was canberry. Although popularly pronounced or, the original pronunciation at its official naming in 1913 was. Before white settlement, the area in which Canberra would be constructed was seasonally inhabited by Indigenous Australians. Anthropologist Norman Tindale suggested the principal group occupying the region were the Ngunnawal people, while the Ngarigo lived to the south of the ACT, the Wandandian to the east, the Walgulu to the south, Gandangara people to the north and Wiradjuri to the north-west.
Archaeological evidence of settlement in the region includes inhabited rock shelters, rock paintings and engravings, burial places and quarry sites as well as stone tools and arrangements. Artefacts suggests early human activity occurred at some po
Melbourne is the capital and most populous city of the Australian state of Victoria, the second most populous city in Australia and Oceania. Its name refers to an urban agglomeration of 9,992.5 km2, comprising a metropolitan area with 31 municipalities, is the common name for its city centre. The city occupies much of the coastline of Port Phillip bay and spreads into the hinterlands towards the Dandenong and Macedon ranges, Mornington Peninsula and Yarra Valley, it has a population of 4.9 million, its inhabitants are referred to as "Melburnians". The city was founded on 30 August 1835, in the then-British colony of New South Wales, by free settlers from the colony of Van Diemen’s Land, it was incorporated as a Crown settlement in 1837 and named in honour of the British Prime Minister, William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne. In 1851, four years after Queen Victoria declared it a city, Melbourne became the capital of the new colony of Victoria. In the wake of the 1850s Victorian gold rush, the city entered a lengthy boom period that, by the late 1880s, had transformed it into one of the world's largest and wealthiest metropolises.
After the federation of Australia in 1901, it served as interim seat of government of the new nation until Canberra became the permanent capital in 1927. Today, it is a leading financial centre in the Asia-Pacific region and ranks 15th in the Global Financial Centres Index; the city is home to many of the best-known cultural institutions in the nation, such as the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the National Gallery of Victoria and the World Heritage-listed Royal Exhibition Building. It is the birthplace of Australian impressionism, Australian rules football, the Australian film and television industries and Australian contemporary dance. More it has been recognised as a UNESCO City of Literature and a global centre for street art, live music and theatre, it is the host city of annual international events such as the Australian Grand Prix, the Australian Open and the Melbourne Cup, has hosted the 1956 Summer Olympics and the 2006 Commonwealth Games. Due to it rating in entertainment and sport, as well as education, health care and development, the EIU ranks it the second most liveable city in the world.
The main airport serving the city is Melbourne Airport, the second busiest in Australia, Australia's busiest seaport the Port of Melbourne. Its main metropolitan rail terminus is Flinders Street station and its main regional rail and road coach terminus is Southern Cross station, it has the most extensive freeway network in Australia and the largest urban tram network in the world. Indigenous Australians have lived in the Melbourne area for an estimated 31,000 to 40,000 years; when European settlers arrived in the 19th-century, under 2,000 hunter-gatherers from three regional tribes—the Wurundjeri and Wathaurong—inhabited the area. It was an important meeting place for the clans of the Kulin nation alliance and a vital source of food and water; the first British settlement in Victoria part of the penal colony of New South Wales, was established by Colonel David Collins in October 1803, at Sullivan Bay, near present-day Sorrento. The following year, due to a perceived lack of resources, these settlers relocated to Van Diemen's Land and founded the city of Hobart.
It would be 30 years. In May and June 1835, John Batman, a leading member of the Port Phillip Association in Van Diemen's Land, explored the Melbourne area, claimed to have negotiated a purchase of 600,000 acres with eight Wurundjeri elders. Batman selected a site on the northern bank of the Yarra River, declaring that "this will be the place for a village" before returning to Van Diemen's Land. In August 1835, another group of Vandemonian settlers arrived in the area and established a settlement at the site of the current Melbourne Immigration Museum. Batman and his group arrived the following month and the two groups agreed to share the settlement known by the native name of Dootigala. Batman's Treaty with the Aborigines was annulled by Richard Bourke, the Governor of New South Wales, with compensation paid to members of the association. In 1836, Bourke declared the city the administrative capital of the Port Phillip District of New South Wales, commissioned the first plan for its urban layout, the Hoddle Grid, in 1837.
Known as Batmania, the settlement was named Melbourne in 1837 after the British Prime Minister, William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne, whose seat was Melbourne Hall in the market town of Melbourne, Derbyshire. That year, the settlement's general post office opened with that name. Between 1836 and 1842, Victorian Aboriginal groups were dispossessed of their land by European settlers. By January 1844, there were said to be 675 Aborigines resident in squalid camps in Melbourne; the British Colonial Office appointed five Aboriginal Protectors for the Aborigines of Victoria, in 1839, however their work was nullified by a land policy that favoured squatters who took possession of Aboriginal lands. By 1845, fewer than 240 wealthy Europeans held all the pastoral licences issued in Victoria and became a powerful political and economic force in Victoria for generations to come. Letters patent of Queen Victoria, issued on 25 June 1847, declared Melbourne a city. On 1 July 1851, the Port Phillip District separated from New South Wales to become the Colony of Victoria, with Melbourne as its capital.
The discovery of gold in Victoria in mid-1851 sparked a
Australia Day is the official national day of Australia. Celebrated annually on 26 January, it marks the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the First Fleet of British ships at Port Jackson, New South Wales, the raising of the Flag of Great Britain at Sydney Cove by Governor Arthur Phillip. In present-day Australia, celebrations reflect the diverse society and landscape of the nation and are marked by community and family events, reflections on Australian history, official community awards and citizenship ceremonies welcoming new members of the Australian community; the meaning and significance of Australia Day has evolved and been contested over time, not all states have celebrated the same date as their date of historical significance. Unofficially, or the date has been variously named "Anniversary Day", "Foundation Day" and "ANA Day", it has been known as "Invasion Day" and "National Day of Mourning". The date of 26 January 1788 marked the proclamation of British sovereignty over the eastern seaboard of Australia.
Although it was not known as Australia Day until over a century records of celebrations on 26 January date back to 1808, with the first official celebration of the formation of New South Wales held in 1818. On New Year's Day 1901, the British colonies of Australia formed a federation, marking the birth of modern Australia. A national day of unity and celebration was looked for, it was not until 1935 that all Australian states and territories adopted use of the term "Australia Day" to mark the date, not until 1994 that the date was marked by a public holiday on that day by all states and territories. In contemporary Australia, the holiday is marked by the presentation of the Australian of the Year Awards on Australia Day Eve, announcement of the Australia Day Honours list and addresses from the Governor-General and the Prime Minister, it is an official public holiday in every territory. With community festivals and citizenship ceremonies, the day is celebrated in large and small communities and cities around the nation.
Australia Day has become the biggest annual civic event in Australia. Some Indigenous Australian events are now included. However, since at least 1938, the date of Australia Day has been marked by Indigenous Australians, those sympathetic to their cause, mourning what they see as the invasion of their land by Europeans and protesting its celebration as a national holiday; these groups sometimes refer to 26 January as Invasion Day, Survival Day, or Day of Mourning and advocate that the date should be changed, or that the holiday should be abolished entirely. On 13 May 1787 a fleet of 11 ships, which came to be known as the First Fleet, was sent by the British Admiralty from England to New Holland. Under the command of Captain Arthur Phillip, the fleet sought to establish a penal colony at Botany Bay on the coast of New South Wales, explored and claimed by Lieutenant James Cook in 1770; the settlement was seen as necessary because of the loss of the Thirteen Colonies in North America. The Fleet arrived between 18 and 20 January 1788, but it was apparent that Botany Bay was unsuitable.
On 21 January, Phillip and a few officers travelled to Port Jackson, 12 kilometres to the north, to see if it would be a better location for a settlement. They stayed there until 23 January, they made contact with the local Aboriginal people. They returned to Botany Bay on the evening of 23 January, when Phillip gave orders to move the fleet to Sydney Cove the next morning, 24 January; that day, there was a huge gale blowing, making it impossible to leave Botany Bay, so they decided to wait till the next day, 25 January. However, during 24 January, they spotted the ships Astrolabe and Boussole, flying the French flag, at the entrance to Botany Bay. On 25 January the gale was still blowing. On 26 January, early in the morning, Phillip along with a few dozen marines and oarsmen, rowed ashore and took possession of the land in the name of King George III; the remainder of the ship's company and the convicts watched from on board Supply. Meanwhile, back at Botany Bay, Captain John Hunter of HMS Sirius made contact with the French ships, he and the commander, Captain de Clonard, exchanged greetings.
Clonard advised Hunter that the fleet commander was comte de La Pérouse. Sirius cleared Botany Bay, but the other ships were in great difficulty. Charlotte was blown dangerously close to rocks. Despite these difficulties, all the remaining ships managed to clear Botany Bay and sail to Sydney Cove on 26 January; the last ship anchored there at about 3 pm. The formal establishment of the Colony of New South Wales did not occur on 26 January as is assumed, it did not occur until 7 February 1788, when the formal proclamation of the colony and of Arthur Phillip's governorship were read out. The vesting of all land in the reigning monarch King George III dates from 7 February 1788. Although there was no official recognition of the colony's anniversary, with the New South Wales Almanacks of 1806 and 1808 placing no special significance on 26 January, by 1808 the date was being used by the colony's immigrants, es
Planet Nerd is a television comedy variety programme broadcast on Channel 31 Melbourne produced by RMITV. It stars local Melbourne comedians Dan Walmsley, Paul Verhoeven, Ben McKenzie, Simon Barber, Jason English-Rees, Andrew Doodson, Lou Pardi, Rob Lloyd, features other local Melbourne talent as well. Segments from the program are uploaded to YouTube, there is an official video podcast. Planet Nerd was nominated for Best Comedy Program in the 2008 Antenna Awards, which celebrate the best of Australian community television, though they did not win the award. On 17 September 2008, a new interview with Rocket Boom creator, Andrew Baron, was posted on the Planet Nerd web site. While no other new content has appeared, the original twelve episodes were repeated multiple times by Channel 31, as late as June 2009, it was broadcast on Triangle TV in New Zealand in 2007. Aimed at the geek demographic, Planet Nerd offers a variation on the variety show format, with host Dan Walmsley acting as an anchor, sometimes accompanied by one of the other presenters, throwing to various segments which include documentaries and sketches.
Each week the hosting segments are filmed in a different context forming a series of linked sketches themselves. Aside from the overt comedic content, Planet Nerd features original, semi-serious documentary segments which explore and celebrate various facets of geek culture. Subjects have included the roleplaying and wargaming convention Arcanacon, RoboGames, Sony's Wonder Technology Lab and National ICT Australia. A similar semi-regular segment is "Geek of the Week", in which a subject is interviewed by Ben McKenzie about their nerdy hobbies or profession. Footage of John Carnack's presentation at Apple Computer's 2007 World Wide Developer's Conference was posted by Planet Nerd on YouTube, resulting in over 43,000 views, making the programme the number one watched comedian on YouTube for 12 June 2007. Paul Verhoeven reviews recent films in an anarchic sketch-based format, concentrating on genre films like Michael Bay's Transformers. Rob Lloyd's "One Minute DVD Review" awards scores out of "Seven Samurai", instead of new releases focusses on classics, including box sets of early Doctor Who, The Muppet Show and the films of Harold Lloyd.
Planet Nerd has gathered some positive press, most notably in an article in The Age newspaper's Green Guide about Channel 31 programming, in which Marieke Hardy referred to the show as "magically dorky" and "adorably earnest". Australian technology web site Gizmodo reported on a Planet Nerd publicity stunt in which they celebrated the release of the iPhone by selling an fake oversized cardboard iPhone on eBay. Dan Walmsley posted a Planet Nerd response, the first video response, to Prime Minister John Howard's YouTube video about climate change policy, a video featured in a news.com.au article about the difficulty of finding the genuine article in amongst the remixes and parodies. The Planet Nerd video response has become an unofficial focus for debate on the site about Howard's announcement after commenting on the original video was disabled, with around 200 text comments and nearly 8,000 views. Official Planet Nerd website
Role-playing video game
A role-playing video game is a video game genre where the player controls the actions of a character immersed in some well-defined world. Many role-playing video games have origins in tabletop role-playing games and use much of the same terminology and game mechanics. Other major similarities with pen-and-paper games include developed story-telling and narrative elements, player character development, complexity, as well as replayability and immersion; the electronic medium increases combat resolution speed. RPGs have evolved from simple text-based console-window games into visually rich 3D experiences. Role-playing video games use much of the same terminology and game mechanics as early tabletop role-playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons. Players control a central game character, or multiple game characters called a party, attain victory by completing a series of quests or reaching the conclusion of a central storyline. Players explore a game world, while engaging in combat. A key feature of the genre is that characters grow in power and abilities, characters are designed by the player.
RPGs challenge a player's physical coordination or reaction time, with the exception of action role-playing games. Role-playing video games rely on a developed story and setting, divided into a number of quests. Players control one or several characters by issuing commands, which are performed by the character at an effectiveness determined by that character's numeric attributes; these attributes increase each time a character gains a level, a character's level goes up each time the player accumulates a certain amount of experience. Role-playing video games typically attempt to offer more complex and dynamic character interaction than what is found in other video game genres; this involves additional focus on the artificial intelligence and scripted behavior of computer-controlled non-player characters. The premise of many role-playing games tasks the player with saving the world, or whichever level of society is threatened. There are twists and turns as the story progresses, such as the surprise appearance of estranged relatives, or enemies who become friends or vice versa.
The game world tends to be set in a fantasy or science fiction universe, which allows players to do things they cannot do in real life and helps players suspend their disbelief about the rapid character growth. To a lesser extent, settings closer to near future are possible; the story provides much of the entertainment in the game. Because these games have strong storylines, they can make effective use of recorded dialog and voiceover narration. Players of these games tend to appreciate long cutscenes more than players of faster action games. While most games advance the plot when the player defeats an enemy or completes a level, role-playing games progress the plot based on other important decisions. For example, a player may make the decision to join a guild, thus triggering a progression in the storyline, irreversible. New elements in the story may be triggered by mere arrival in an area, rather than completing a specific challenge; the plot is divided so that each game location is an opportunity to reveal a new chapter in the story.
Pen-and-paper role-playing games involve a player called the gamemaster who can dynamically create the story and rules, react to a player's choices. In role-playing video games, the computer performs the function of the gamemaster; this offers the player a smaller set of possible actions, since computers can't engage in imaginative acting comparable to a skilled human gamemaster. In exchange, the typical role-playing video game may have storyline branches, user interfaces, stylized cutscenes and gameplay to offer a more direct storytelling mechanism. Characterization of non-player characters in video games is handled using a dialog tree. Saying the right things to the right non-player characters will elicit useful information for the player, may result in other rewards such as items or experience, as well as opening up possible storyline branches. Multiplayer online role-playing games can offer an exception to this contrast by allowing human interaction among multiple players and in some cases enabling a player to perform the role of a gamemaster.
Exploring the world is an important aspect of many RPGs. Players will walk through, talking to non-player characters, picking up objects, avoiding traps; some games such as NetHack and the FATE series randomize the structure of individual levels, increasing the game's variety and replayability. Role-playing games where players complete quests by exploring randomly generated dungeons and which include permadeath are called roguelikes, named after the 1980 video game Rogue; the game's story is mapped onto exploration, where each chapter of the story is mapped onto a different location. RPGs allow players to return to visited locations. There is nothing left to do there, although some locations change throughout the story and offer the player new things to do in response. Players must acquire enough power to overcome a major challenge in order to progress to the next area, this structure can be compared to the boss characters at the end of levels in action games; the player must complete a linear sequence of certain quests in order to reach the end of the game's story, although quests in some games such as Arcanum or Geneforge can limit o
RuneQuest is a fantasy role-playing game first published in 1978 by Chaosium, created by Steve Perrin and set in Greg Stafford's mythical world of Glorantha. RuneQuest is notable for its system, designed around percentile dice and with an early implementation of skill rules, which became the basis of numerous other games. There have been several editions of the game. In 1975, game designer Greg Stafford released the fantasy board game White Bear and Red Moon and marketed by Chaosium, a game publishing company set up by Stafford for the release of the game. In 1978, Chaosium published the first edition of RuneQuest, a role playing game set in the world of Glorantha from White Bear and Red Moon. A second edition, with various minor revisions, was released in 1980. RuneQuest established itself as the second most popular fantasy role-playing game, after Dungeons & Dragons. In order to increase distribution and marketing of the game, Chaosium made a deal with Avalon Hill, who published a third edition in 1984.
Under the agreement struck, Avalon Hill took ownership of trademark for RuneQuest, while all Glorantha-related content required approval by Chaosium, who retained the copyright of the rules text. In an attempt to have a setting they could release Avalon Hill supported a new "default" setting, Fantasy Earth, based on fantasy interpretations of several eras of earth's pre-modern history, including viking and ninja supplements. Avalon Hill published generic fantasy material. A proposed fourth edition developed by Avalon Hill, titled RuneQuest: Adventures in Glorantha, was intended to return the tight RuneQuest/Glorantha relationship, but it was shelved mid-project in 1994 after Stafford refused permission, unhappy with Avalon Hill's stewardship of the third edition. In response, Avalon Hill, as owners of the trademark, began development of a mechanically unrelated game titled RuneQuest: Slayers. However, when Avalon Hill was acquired by Hasbro in 1998, the project was canceled despite being near completion.
The copyrights to the rules reverted to the authors. In 1998, Following the financial failure of the collectible card game Mythos, along with fellow shareholder Sandy Petersen, left the management of Chaosium. Stafford had formed a subsidiary company, Inc. to manage the Glorantha property and took ownership of that company with him. He partnered with Robin D. Laws to publish an all-new game system set in Glorantha called Hero Wars in 2000, it was renamed HeroQuest in 2003 after the rights to that name, along with the "RuneQuest" trademark, were acquired from Hasbro by Issaries. Mongoose Publishing released a new edition of RuneQuest in August 2006 under a license from Issaries; this required that Mongoose recreate much of the function of prior editions without reusing the prior texts. The new rules were developed by a team led by Mongoose co-founder Matthew Sprange, were released under the Open Game License; the official setting takes place during the Second Age of Glorantha. In January 2010, Mongoose published a much-revised edition written by Pete Nash and Lawrence Whitaker called RuneQuest II, known as "MRQ2" by fans.
In May 2011, Mongoose Publishing announced. In July 2011, The Design Mechanism, a company formed by Nash and Whitaker, announced that they had entered a licensing agreement with Issaries, would be producing a 6th edition of RuneQuest. RuneQuest 6th edition, released in July 2012, is an expansion of the Mongoose RuneQuest II rules aimed at providing rules that can be adapted to many fantasy or historical settings, do not contain any Gloranthan content. In 2013, Stafford outright sold the Glorantha setting and RuneQuest and HeroQuest trademarks to Moon Design Publications, which had published the second edition of HeroQuest under license in 2009. In June 2015, following a series of financial issues at Chaosium and Petersen retook control of the company, they in turn arranged a merger with Moon Design, which saw the Moon Design management team take over Chaosium. Shortly thereafter a new edition of RuneQuest, subtitled Roleplaying in Glorantha was announced, it is planned to be based on the 2nd edition, drawing upon ideas from editions.
They successfully raised funds through Kickstarter to produce a hardcover reprint of the 2nd edition as RuneQuest Classic. The new edition of the game referred to as RQG for short, was previewed on Free RPG Day 2017 with the release of a quickstart module; the PDF of the full rules was released in May 2018, with the printed book to follow that year. As with most RPGs, players begin by making a player character. Player characters are devised through a number of dice rolls to represent physical and spiritual characteristics. Characters in RuneQuest gain power as they are used in play, but not to the degree that characters do in other fantasy RPGs, it is still possible for a weak character to slay a strong one through luck, tactics, or careful planning. Both combat and non-combat actions use a percentile roll-under system to determine success of actions; the game features mechanics for critical hits and fumbling. For example, if a character has climbing at 35% and his player rolls 25 on a D100, the character has succeeded.
However, a nuanced range of results existed in every die roll. If a die roll was 1/5 of the necessary percentile roll or less, it was a special success, if it was 1/20 of the necessary roll or less i
Call of Cthulhu (role-playing game)
Call of Cthulhu is a horror fiction role-playing game based on H. P. Lovecraft's story of the same name and the associated Cthulhu Mythos; the game abbreviated as CoC, is published by Chaosium. It makes use of Chaosium's Basic Role-Playing system, with special rules for Sanity; the setting of Call of Cthulhu is a darker version of our world, based on H. P. Lovecraft's observation that "The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, the strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown." The original game, first published in 1981, uses mechanics from Basic Role-Playing, is set in the 1920s, the setting of many of Lovecraft's stories. Additional settings were developed in the Cthulhu by Gaslight supplement, a blend of occult and Holmesian mystery and set in England during the 1890s, modern/1980s conspiracy with Cthulhu Now and Delta Green. More recent additions include 23rd century and Ancient Roman times; the protagonists may travel to places that are not of this earth, represented in the Dreamlands, to other planets, or into the voids of space.
In keeping with the Lovecraftian theme, the gamemaster is called the Keeper of Arcane Lore, or the keeper, while player characters are called "investigators". CoC uses the Basic Role-Playing system first developed for RuneQuest and used in other Chaosium games, it is skill-based, with player characters getting better with their skills by succeeding at using them for as long as they stay functionally healthy and sane. They do not, gain hit points and do not become harder to kill; the game does not use levels. CoC uses percentile dice to determine failure; every player statistic is intended to be compatible with the notion that there is a probability of success for a particular action given what the player is capable of doing. For example, an artist may have a 75% chance of being able to draw something, thus rolling a number under 75 would yield a success. Rolling 1⁄5 or less of the skill level would be a "special success" and would yield some extra bonus to be determined by the keeper. For example, the artist character might draw well or fast, or catch some unapparent detail in the drawing.
The players take the roles of ordinary people drawn into the realm of the mysterious: detectives, scholars, war veterans, etc. Happenings begin innocently enough, until more and more of the workings behind the scenes are revealed; as the characters learn more of the true horrors of the world and the irrelevance of humanity, their sanity withers away. The game includes a mechanism for determining how damaged a character's sanity is at any given point. To gain the tools they need to defeat the horrors – mystic knowledge and magic – the characters may end up losing some of their sanity, though other means such as pure firepower or outsmarting one's opponents exist. CoC has a reputation as a game in which it is quite common for a player character to die in gruesome circumstances or end up in a mental institution. Eventual triumph of the players is not assumed; the original conception of Call of Cthulhu was Dark Worlds, a game commissioned by the publisher Chaosium but never published. Sandy Petersen contacted them regarding writing a supplement for their popular fantasy game RuneQuest set in Lovecraft's Dreamlands.
He took over the writing of Call of Cthulhu, the game was released in 1981. Since Petersen's departure from Chaosium, continuing development of Call of Cthulhu passed to Lynn Willis, credited as co-author in the fifth and sixth editions, more to Paul Fricker and Mike Mason; the game system underwent only minor rules changes in its first six editions. For those grounded in the RPG tradition, the first release of Call of Cthulhu created a brand new framework for table-top gaming. Rather than the traditional format established by Dungeons & Dragons, which involved the characters wandering through caves or tunnels and fighting different types of monsters, Sandy Petersen introduced the concept of the Onion Skin: Interlocking layers of information and nested clues that lead the player characters from minor investigations into a missing person to discovering mind-numbingly awful, global conspiracies to destroy the world. Unlike its predecessor games, CoC assumed that most investigators would not survive, alive or sane, that the only safe way to deal with the vast majority of nasty things described in the rule books was to run away.
A well-run CoC campaign should engender a sense of inevitable doom in its players. The style and setting of the game, in a modern time period, created an emphasis on real-life settings, character research, thinking one's way around trouble; the first book of Call of Cthulhu adventures was Shadows of Yog-Sothoth. In this work, the characters come upon a secret society's foul plot to destroy mankind, pursue it first near to home and in a series of exotic locations; this template was to be followed in many subsequent campaigns, including Fungi from Yuggoth (later known as Curse of Cthulhu and Day