New Orleans, 7th Ed. CoC, Island of Ignorance, and more

Today’s the final day for Golden Goblin Press’ Island of Ignorance’s Kickstarter.  As of this posting, they’re at about $12,750, so well above their goal, but short by about $1000 to add a fifth scenario.  Looking forward to seeing how I do in the voting for the bonus scenario.

The Grunch, apparently

There have been two new episodes of the Miskatonic University Podcast.  The first is a regular episode, this time the subject is an interview with one of their regular readers NewOrleansMythos (Matt), who talks about his New Orleans centered campaign and how he ties local history into his game.   Check it out and learn about the Grunch, among other things.

The MUP crew also posted a 30 minute interview with Mike Mason and Paul Fricker previewing the soon-to-be-launched Kickstarter for the 7th Edition Call of Cthulhu rules.  There are a lot of details about not only the Kickstarter to come, but about the contents of the 7th Edition book as well.  Two new scenarios, eh?

(Lo and behold, it looks like the Kickstarter has begun.  LINK.)

Lastly the Gaming Grunts have been posting new episodes of their playthrough of Realm of Shadows.  Have a listen.


Graveyard visit: Auburn Center Cemetery

Having some free time, I paid a visit to Auburn Cemetery (aka Auburn Center Burial Ground) in Auburn, MA.  Established in 1777 it is the second oldest burial site in Auburn (after the Cudworth Family Burial Ground c. 1750; that graveyard has only a 20th century marker however).  There are a nice collection of stones created by William Young as well as an unusual portrait stone by James New.

Unfortunately, I arrived while a grounds crew from the city of Auburn was mowing the grass and cleaning the grounds so, even when I wasn’t in their way, many of the stones were coated in grass clippings.  Combined with intermittent rainfall coloring the stones meant that the quality of the photos is not very good.  There are more stones of interest to photograph but it just wasn’t to be, today at least.

I did have a lovely chat with the director of the grounds crew about the cemetery and his hope to find funding to have some repair work done.  They do have a grant to repair their Civil War monument in Hillside Cemetery, so perhaps there is hope?  I always like to see a cemetery that is well-kept (and to thank the people who care for them).

Findagrave listing

Faber Gravestone database

A double dose of Golden Goblins and an Actual Play for one of my scenarios

With but seven days to go on the Kickstarter for Island of Ignorance, Golden Goblin Press’ Oscar Rios has hit the podcasting circuit, giving interviews for the Miskatonic University Podcast and the Goblin Beat. If you have had any questions, it is pretty likely that Oscar answers it in either one of these interviews. Check ’em out. They are only about $1000 from adding a fourth scenario (in this case one from Jeff Moeller); if you’ve been on the fence about contributing, jump in .

The crew at the Miskatonic University Podcast have posted an actual play of my Shotgun Scenario “Last Things Last”. Yeah, I was a little surprised how that went… now that was some bad dice rolling guys. Nevertheless, it is always interesting to hear how something I wrote translate from the page to the table.

Pseudoarchaeology, ‘America Unearthed’, and b-s for profit

My research for the “Arkham Gazette” (still looking for a new name, btw…) has led me to some strange corners of pseudo-archaeology, from Great Ireland and Carl Rafn to NEARA and the Upton Chamber. Most, if not all of it, is total bunk. Fortunately for my purposes (those of writing for a game that is happy to mix and match fact and fiction for the sake of a story) bunk is just fine, since hopefully no one is ever going to read one of my scenarios and mistake the cults and creatures I write about for reality. While I have a high tolerance for bunk, I have a much lower acceptance of bullshit, and that is exactly what the folks behind America Unearthed have been trying to pass off as real history.

Perhaps I should not flip on any tv show that bears the hint of Fortean content; I’ve seen far too many Sasquatch hunts,”close” encounters, EVP pareidolia, and this idiot. Usually there is always some sop to the fact that the show is mostly conjecture… at best.

America Unearthed, which airs on the ‘History’ channel give us Scott Wolter, a Minnesota geologist whom the network compares favorable to Indiana Jones. If they mean to say he’s ridiculous and improbable, like Dr. Jones flying through the air in a refrigerator to escape an atomic explosion, I might buy that. In the typical episode they take some long-discredited pseudo-archaeological find, say the Newport Tower or the Bat Creek Inscription, make some highly spurious connections to a popular conspiracy theory, say the Templars or Atlantis, interview some crackpot or true-believer type, mash it all together with some quick cuts and splashy graphics, and wrap the whole illogical contortion of fact with a sweeping overstatement of the case. Yes, it is that bad.

I neither have the time nor interest to debunk the show episode by episode; I’ll leave that to the experts. Writer (and Lovecraft enthusiast) Jason Colavito has done just that on blog – He’s even published a book on the topic. It is really a fun read, especially when you realize how far the folks behind American Unearthed had to work to ignore reality in order to put their bogus program together.

If nothing else, Keepers running a Cthulhu Now or Delta Green game can take inspiration from both America Unearthed and its primary debunker; while PhenomX might be gone, I’m sure there are plenty of programs to carry on its legacy.


Graveyard visit: Dwinnel Cemetery (Millbury)

2013-05-14 11.47.00While the weather remains overcast, I decided it was time to visit another small cemetery in the area, this time Dwinnel (sometimes Dwinell) Cemetery in Millbury.

Quick run-down; established c. 1741 in when Millbury was the north parish of Sutton as the area’s first burying ground.  At the time it was on the main road between Millbury and Auburn, but today it is on a dead-end road bracketed by suburban houses.  The grounds are mowed and relatively clean; the stones are in generally good shape (with a few broken) but lichen is very common.  There were very few foot stones, something suggesting they’ve been removed.

Here is the MACRIS entry (click on the INV button for the PDF file), the Findagrave listing, and lastly a list of everyone interred here.

Interesting stones include a few from William Young, two winged skulls, and some very late field stones.

Blog housekeeping and news roundup

As summer approaches my corner of Lovecraft Country, free time fades like the bloom on my daffodils (what, I can’t talk about Lovecraft, colonial graveyards, AND flowers?).  Nevertheless, I wanted to pass on a few items that might be of interest to my small cadre of readers.

  • The gents at 314 Games have let me know that some reviews have come in for Central de Maquineria Jarkov-37 and they are positive… assuming that I passed my R/W Spanish roll (current skill level 4%), of course.  Here’s a video review (he’s wearing a Red Army hat) and a text one, where it looks like the book tied for Best CoC product of 2012.  ¡Excellente!
  • In Kickstarter news, Golden Goblin Press’ Island of Ignorance has reached it’s funding goal and is creeping upwards while HP Podcraft’s “Live in Providence” project, which reached in initial goals weeks ago, will close up in a little over 40 hours.  I kind of hope the later somehow his $8000 so they’ll do an audio production of “The Yellow Wallpaper” but that’s not looking too likely at this point.  C’est dommage.
  • The gang at the Miskatonic University Podcast released a new episode… now almost 10 days ago… guest hosted by Brian Sammons who talks about Atomic-Age Cthulhu and House of R’lyeh, among other topics.
  • I’m still at work on the demo issue of the Arkham Gazette.  I hope to have it wrapped up by the end of the month, ideally sooner.
  • I’ve had the time to do a few more visits to smaller graveyards and will post about those as life permits.
  • Speaking of graveyards- I finished my map of Franklin County’s graveyards.  Check it out.

Perhaps I should wrap up with a quick survey of my current Lovecraftian projects?

  1. A “Mysterious Manuscript” submission for the Unspeakable Oath.
  2. Another article for the Unspeakable Oath.
  3. Large, unannounced project of which I cannot speak in slow development.
  4. A booklet for Necronomicon of which I shall speak more on later.
  5. A scenario and article for a publisher I’ve not worked with before, due by the end of July.
  6. Weekly attempts to prod various parties into releasing the Masks of Nyarlathotep Companion at long damn last.

I should go and actually get to work on that list.  Until later…

Graveyard visit: Brigham Street Cemetery (Northborough)

With Spring fully arrived, I’ve decided to revisit a few smaller graveyards in my area and take few photos for your edification. Smaller yards mean that the Homunculus has less of a chance to grow restless.

Today’s graveyard is the Brigham Street Cemetery (aka First Burying Place) in Northborough, Massachusetts.

Here are the Findagrave and MACRIS (click on INV icon for PDF file) entries for the graveyard. To summarize, Northborough (like South- and West-) was originally part of Marlborough, eventually breaking away from the parent community as settlements expanded away from the original village. This site was close to the original meeting house but was superseded by the Howard Street Cemetery.

The graveyard is the oldest in Northborough, dating to around 1727. Lambert’s A Guide to Massachusetts Cemeteries mistakenly says that the burials were all removed, but there are at least four burials at this site, and likely more since there are four intact gravestones and three more rock piles (cairns) like those placed over the remaining graves.

Of the four intact gravestones, three are in the Merrimack Valley style, with a stylized human face and geometric rosettes. These stones (of slate, probably carved by Jonathan Worcester) have the distinctive headboard shape, with rounded timpanums and shoulders which tapers towards the bottom, that are the hallmarks of this style of early gravestone. The fourth stone has a winged skull; sorry my picture cuts off the right shoulder a bit.

There is no parking beyond street, but the open area allows you to pull off to the side Brigham Street safely. The few stones are to the northeast of the plaque, about 30 yards.