Grab-baggery

Let us get to it, in no particular order:

Pagan Publishing’s Kickstarter for Horrors of War: A Covenant with Death reached its initial goals… eagerly awaiting news of an stretch-goals.  Huzzah!!

Modiphius has announced they are working on an Achtung! Cthulhu movie.  Really?!?

Paul of Cthulhu (from Yog-Sothoth.com) has posted a short video of a visit to London’s The Atlantis Bookshop, an occult book emporium of considerable age.  More videos are available to YSDC patrons.

Golden Goblin Press continue to offer glimpses of art from De Horrore Cosmico.  As Oscar reports: “Currently all of the scenarios are written. In fact, two are ready for final edits, two are in editing, and the last two should be back from re-writes over the weekend”.  Skips, is that you?

Dan Harms has been conducting a reconnaissance of Lovecraftian sites in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.  Hmmm… very suspicious.

A smattering of post-GenCon reports continue to filter in:

  • Matthew Sanderson (of the Good Friends of Jackson Elias) was nearly killed by horseradishes
  • Chaosium minion Dustin adds his report
  • and RPPR posted their first panel recording – Diversity in Gaming
  • There’s also a video of Goodman Games panel

Finally, we have a new episode of Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff – covering Dracula’s castle, the Oak Island mystery, and answer a listener day to come up with an advanced civilization lacking fine motor control (and no, they don’t say “give them scotch”).  It was recorded pre-GenCon so they don’t spend the entire show calling themselves “ENnie awarding winning…”

Four fingers and a thumb

Let’s organize things in a pseudo-Occult way!  Cue the Hand of Glory…

Pointer – Role-playing Public Radio have released their 100th episode (in two parts).  An interesting behind the scenes discussion and retrospective.  Speaking of podcasting mile-stones, the Good Friends of Jackson Elias have marked their 1st anniversary, which in the world of gaming is the used copy of X1 – the Island of Dread anniversary.

Index – I’ve added a new blog to the links list, this one dedicated to reviewing Call of Cthulhu scenarios, which goes by the enigmatic name of ‘Call of Cthulhu Scenario Reviews’.

Ring –  Goodman Games’ Kickstarter for “Starfall Over the Plateau of Leng” has about 11 days to go and has doubled the initial target.  Golden Goblin Press expects the PDF of “Tales of the Crescent City” should be available by the end of the month.  Why do I suspect Oscar Rios takes his authors’ and artists’ families hostage… 😉

Pinkie – Yet another assassination attempt on Cthulhu scholar Dan Harms has failed.

Thumb – Something I’ve been thinking about lately, is that, considering we’re 1/2 way through the year, that there has been so few Call of Cthulhu releases this year.  We have three ‘Trail’ products, a pair for ‘Achtung!’ and a ‘Laundry’ book (both PDF only), Cathulhu, and three (very well done) free fan-made products. I understand there is a hiatus waiting for the release of CoC 7th edition, but jeez.  This is the slowest year since the nadir of the game in 2003 and none of the professionally released books are for traditional CoC.  Let’s hope the back half of the year is better.

A Link roundup, from Leng to ‘Dick a Tuesday’

Mon dieu! It is already June. Better update the blog!

I’ve been mulling over an essay I read detaling Lovecraft’s racism and antisemitism. It deserves a longer response beyond a perfunctory mention, but I wanted to at least highlight it now.

I’ve updated the list of Lovecraftian RPG materials for 2014, including a new Trail of Cthulhu collection and a batch of scenarios for the Laundry.

On the podcast front – the Good Friends of Jackson Elias talked about player-lead gaming, the Miskatonic University Podcast gang talked about map resources and moon-beasts, while Ken and Robin talked about Robin’s trip to the Chimeriades game convention in France, the Lemurian of Mount Shasta, and Canada’s own evil clown Rob Ford.

Speaking of the MUP, Keeper Jon’s next project for Goodman Games – “Starfall Over the Plateau of Leng” is having a Kickstarter to upgrade the book from paper back to hardback among other improvements.

I’ve reissued my call for submissions at the Arkham Gazette next issue. Pretty please?

From the rumor desk… I might be a GenCon this year. Please remain calm.

Finally, whilst doing some rather meandering research, I came upon The Devil and His Imps, a journal article from 1895 as part of the Transactions of the American Philological Association (vol. 26), which provides a fascinating etymological discussion of a host of British supernatural beings. The author, Charles P.G. Scott, lays out a rather amusing roll-call of ever imaginable traditional folkloric entity from the United Kingdom:

With this view having recently felt moved to take the matter up sooner than I expected when I laid it aside I began to write up the Devil and his Imps placing at first no limit on their number I had no sooner thrown open the doors than the air was darkened by a grisly flight of black winged demons and the ground was covered by a trooping host of uncanny creatures of vague unseemly forms and unassorted sizes Devils, Devilets, Devilings, Dablets, and other Imps, Black Angels, Black Men, Black Bears, Black Bulls, Black Dogs, Bogles and Bogies and Boggards, Bollies and Boodies, Bugs, Bugaboos, and Bugbears, Bullbears, Bull beggars, Barghests and Boghests, Boggleboes and Boboggles, Boocows and Boomen, Churchgrims, Demons, Dobbies, Doolies, Gallybeggars, Galliments, Goblins, Hobs, Hob Goblins, Hob Thursts, Hob Thrushes, Hodge Pokers, Lobs, Padfoots, Pokers, Pookas, Pucks, Puckles, Pugs, Thurses, Urchins, Woodwoses, Banshees, Cluricaunes, Leprechauns, Logherimans, Mermaids, Mermen, Merrows, Kelpies, Necks, Nicks, Nickers, Nixes, Nixies, Niogles, Shagfoals, Shocks, Shucks, the family of Ghosts, Specters, Spooks, Vampires, Fetches, Swarths, Warths, Waiths, the half saved tribes of Elves, Fairies, Fays, Brownies, Buccas, Spriggans, Knockers, Nisses, Piskies, Pixies, Colepixies, Drows, and Trolls with ‘Jack with the Lantern’, ‘Kit with the Candlestick’ and ‘Will with the Wisp’ lighting their darker kinsmen and the Shoopiltie, the Shellycoat, the Ganfir, the Bwbach, and his Welsh brethren in the background; the Deuce, the Devil, the Dickens, Ragamuffin, Ruffin, Humdudgeon, and Tantrabobus and all their company; the neglected family of Scarecrows and Wussets all these came up for an historical and etymological review I might have been appalled by the troop of dark and yelling demons and bogles or by the task of all these came up for an historical and etymological review, or by the task of explaining their denominations ; but it is well known that in the still air of etymology no passions, either of fear or hate or joy, can exist, and that etymologists, indeed, consider it their duty to feel no emotions, unless it be gratification at finding their work improved and their errors rectified, by an other and a better etymologist. This sometimes happens.

The whole article is worth a read, of course.

 

2012: The year in Lovecraftian RPGs

It’s that time again… time for my year-in-review recap of 2012’s Lovecraftian RPG releases.  I suppose the first thing I should mention is that caring for the homunculus is rather time intensive and my free time for reading has greatly diminished. I find that books sit on my nightstand longer and longer and my desire to sacrifice sleep to finish another scenario shrinking. C’est la vie. Without further ado (and with apologies for the delay), let’s get started — Continue reading

New books for the list

A quick note to mention I’ve added two new titles to my 2012 Lovecraftian RPG releases:
First off we have The Timeless Sands of India, the seventh in Goodman Games’ “Age of Cthulhu” scenario series.  Written by the Miskatonic University Podcast’s own Jon Hook and edited by reviewer par excellence and friend of the blog Matthew Pook, I will probably end up getting a copy as I’ve been told that the quality of the series has been improving.  India is certainly an underused location… I do have some questions about why Bettie Page is pitching in to help the chap in the pith helmet and lightning gun and his pal Kilik fight off a gaggle of… sand-dwellers maybe?
Secondly there is Terror from the Skies, a 1920s campaign set in the United Kingdom. Beyond that I know it involves the Shan, and apparently some sort of zombie wyverns or maybe shantaks?  I will almost certainly pick this up, assuming I don’t get it as a gift first.

How many synonyms for ‘potpouri’ are there?

No earth-shattering news, but since it has been about a week since my last update, I figured it was time to post my meager bits of new information:

  • I have continued to add and expand the Massachusetts Graveyards page; in addition to expanded notes about resources I’ve also continued to enlarge my listing of sites for Middlesex County. I’m now up through the Ns.
  • I managed, for the first time in a long time, to get to the library and do a little research. I found a copy of Inscriptions from Burial Grounds of the Nashsway Towns, which is a compilation from Lancaster and all its ‘daughter’ towns, which includes portion of gravestone inscriptions, some cemetery information, a little on some local gravestone carvers, and whatever the local historical society saw fit to include.  It is very helpful in those cases where they saw fit to include information about the history of a town’s graveyards (like for Sterling).  Still, it is odd when local historians overlook facts I’ve learned elsewhere (Lancaster’s cemetery list omits one family plot, Harvard’s records neglect the burials at the Still River church… for example)
  • There has been an update from Thomas Phinney regarding Cristoforo, including a spiffy contributor only limited preview.  I must confess I had the pleasure of playing around with seeing a few of my titles up in ‘Cthulhu font’.  Looking forward to seeing the finished version in the fall.
  • It looks like Goodman games has another Cthulhu release in the works – The Timeless Sands of India.  I would normally not mention yet-to-be-released products (though there have been so few of late) but the author, Jon Hook, and the editor, Matthew Pook, were contributors to the Masks of Nyarlathotep Companion, so plugging their book is the least I can do. {For the record Jon did the layout for our pre-gens, while Mr. Pook wrote, edited, and provided much moral support}.  Also, India is a seriously neglected corner of the world when it comes to Cthulhu gaming (a few brief sections of Spawn of Azathoth and Tatters of the King aside… and Mysteries of the Raj, a book I’ve not read) so anything set in the subcontinent is going to garner my interest.
  • Voting for the ENnies is going on now.  Call and Trail of Cthulhu are well represented; give them some love, yes?
  • LATE DEVELOPMENT: Shane Ivey is now reporting reception of our psychic emanations!  Behold: “Did I hear that correctly in the whispers the night brought me?”  Keep up the meditative focus people (and people-like entities)!

The Year in Cthulhu (gaming)

Now that 2011 has gone bye bye, I thought I might look back at the past 12 months and assess the state of Lovecraftian gaming. By the numbers we have a grand total of four (4!) in-print books for Call of Cthulhu, two reprints, five monographs, and two pdf only products; for Trail of Cthulhu we have two in-print books and eight pdf releases. I think this speaks to the vitality of Trail as well as Pelgrane’s embrace of PDF releases and the relative sluggishness (to be kind) of the Call of Cthulhu game line.

Let’s break this down company by company

Chaosium:

Chaosium put out but a single new book this year- the Cthulhu Invictus Companion. Clocking in at 64 pages it is rather a slight book (I’ve not read it and can’t really comment on the quality beyond noting it was authored by the same people who wrote Cthulhu Invictus, which bodes well). This release was followed by a reissue of Curse of the Chthonians, osteinsibly as a “second edition” but doing little more than removing references to out-of-date rules (no more Oratory skill checks!) and, apparently, doubling the font size. Even generous reviewers were openly surprised by this move. Unlike the Dreamlands book, also reprinted, the source material is painfully dated, with scnarios that are little more than expanded narratives with statistics.

Cthulhu Invictus Companion

Curse of the Chthonians (reprint)

H.P. Lovecraft’s Dreamlands (reprint)

As to the monographs, I confess I have only read some of them, so I can’t speak to the quality of each one. I did pick up a copy of The Sevenfold Path, entirely based on my enjoyment of author Jeff Moeller’s previous work. I’ve not yet finished it, but I am not disappointed so far. The same can also be said for Horrors of War; I’ve listened to a podcast version of the scenario “Goodnight Vienna” already and I think the book offers some interesting scenarios anchored around WW2. Finally I picked up Dead Leave Fall, a scenario collection and the latest installment in their annual Halloween scenario competition. I’ve only skimmed it, but there are a couple of scenario that look interesting.

The Dreaming Prince (monograph)

The Gods Hate Me (monograph)

Dead Leaves Fall (monograph)

The Sevenfold Path (monograph)

Colonial Terrors (monograph)

Pelgrane Press:

Pelgrane had one of (if not the) best books of the year in their Bookhounds of London, a sourcebook and, to coin a term, a campaign anchor for a game set among the community of occult book dealers in Depression-era London. What a setting! More than just a great idea, the book is a cornucopia of detail about London in the period, accompanied by beautiful maps of the city. I splurged and picked up the limited edition version, which came with a copy of The Occult Guide to London, an in-game resource book and prop AND murder-mystery all in one, as well as some period ephemera (ostensibly related to the murder-mystery) and a satchel dressed up to appear to be a possession of the murder victim. While we’ve yet to crack the case, I unreservedly loved this book.

As for their other published book, Out of Time, I haven’t picked up a copy yet but, I suspect it keeps up the same quality level of Pelgrane’s other releases.

Bookhounds of London

Out of Time

The Big Hoodoo (pdf only)

They also release a raft of individual scenarios (or discrete campaign chunks), dwarfing the competition in quantity if not total page count. I’m rather old-fashioned though, and really hate to get a PDF without a print edition as well, so I’m waiting to get these once they’re in print.

Cthulhu Apocalypse Pt. 1: The Dead White World (pdf only)

Cthulhu Apocalypse Pt. 2: The Apocalypse Machine (pdf only)

Hell Fire (pdf only)

Invasive Prodecures (pdf only)

Many Fires (pdf only)

The Rending Box (pdf only)

The Repairer of Reputations (pdf only)

Miskatonic River Press:

I must first note that I’ve written for MRP and am currently working on a project for MRP, so my comments are colored by knowing (and liking) the crew at MRP. With that caveat, I must confess that, while I generally liked The Legacy of Arrius Lurco (MRP’s sole release for the year), I didn’t love it. I think it comes down to a different sense of game style; Oscar Rios’ campaign is unabashedly ‘Swords and Sandals’ and I’m more a gritty, personal horror sort of guy. Obviously my mild feelings weren’t so widely held, because Lurco got very favorable reviews and, apparently, was enough of a seller that MRP released their first PDF only release hot on its heels. Lux in Tenebra (Light in Darkness) is a sort of spiritual twin of Chaosium’s Cthulhu Invictus Companion, covering different ground for the Invictus setting.

The Legacy of Arrius Lurco

Lux in Tenebras (pdf only)

Cubicle 7:

Cubicle 7, while only releasing one book, released a monster in Shadows Over Scotland, a guidebook to Scotland in the 20s, including six scenarios. A lovely hard-back book, Shadows was a fascinating read, stuffed full of fun ideas and more than enough to fuel a Scotland campaign. The only book to give Bookhounds of London a run for the best book of the year.

Shadows Over Scotland

Goodman Games:

Goodman continues to put out scenario in a pulp vein; I’ve not yet read their release this year, but will give it a look-see at some point.

The Long Reach of Evil

Everybody else:

A couple other folks put out a release this year. I probably won’t take a look at these (I don’t play Cthulhu Live and don’t usually get PDF only books), but kudos to these folks for getting a book done.

Cthulhu Live: the Island (pdf only)

The Red Eye of Azathoth (mostly pdf)

MIA:

Of course, it goes with out saying that there are books promised that are, as I write this at least, unreleased. Here are those books…

Chaosium: Pulp Cthulhu, Blackmoore Global Laboratories, Cthulhu by Gaslight, 3rd Ed., Atomic Age Cthulhu, the Masks of Nyarlathotep Companion

Cubicle 7: Folklore

Supergenius Games: Deep in the Heart of Texas

Miskatonic River Press: Tales of the Sleepless City

Sixtystone Press: Lost in the Lights, Ghouls: Eaters of the Dead, the Investigator’s Weapons Compendium: Classic Era

I mention these not to mock, but to suggest what, hopefully, is coming soon. 2011 was a pretty slow year for Cthulhu book. While the quality of the releases- save Chaosium’s weak tea- was high, I’d really like to see more releases of a wide variety. I’m glad the licensees are at least keeping up the standards of the game.

Here’s hoping for 2012?