A boon from Boon, Stuart; FoCoLoCo news

That was easy; when asked about the status of Cubicle 7’s other Call of Cthulhu products, Mr. Boon replied:

I can tell you that I have received the completed manuscript for Cthulhu Britannica: London, yes. So watch this space!

I have also received the layout proof for ‘The Ballad of Bass Rock’, the seventh scenario from Shadows Over Scotland which had to be cut when the book ran long. I’ll be able to say more about this soon.

We also have writers working on two other projects, but those will have to remain secret for the moment.

To which I say, “Excellent!”  I hope at least one of those in development secrecy is the hinted at new unspecified Northern British County sourcebook.

In other news, while I can’t say anything more on the topic, at least not until the publisher does so, known serpent (owning) man Dan Harms has mentioned the following regard Forgotten Corners of Lovecraft Country Vol. 1 (aka “The Aylesbury Book”):

It’s moving homes. More on this as it develops.

More indeed.  No matter what happens, my scenario “Shadow Alchemy” will see the light, ha ha, of day somewhere.

 

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Shadow Alchemy (revised) is done(ish) and other news

Today I submitted my revised draft of “Shadow Alchemy”, my scenario for Forgotten Corners of Lovecraft Country vol. 1.  I revamped the plot the scenario, streamlining things by taking out a layer of characters, which allowed me to shorten it from about 18,000 words to 13,000.  While my target was 10k, I’m still mostly satisfied with how it turned out (save for losing the text of one of the handouts… where the hell is that notebook?!?).  I know there are a few places where I was less than economical with my words, so I’m sure Oscar will find ample targets for his editor’s pen.

In other news, yesterday was the birthday of one of my favorite Call of Cthulhu authors, Kevin Ross.  Kevin authored some of my favorite CoC books – Kingsport and Innsmouth, as well as great scenarios like “Dust to Dust” and the fantastic modern campaign Our Ladies of Sorrow.  Happy Birthday, Kevin!

Using Local Myths and Legends

Having already touched on making use of local history, I wanted to talk a bit about using local (or at least regional) myths and legends in crafting Call of Cthulhu Scenarios.

The easiest (but I caution not the only) place to look is online.  A couple well-worded internet searches go a long way towards setting you on a path of further research.   Please don’t imagine that everything of interest can be found online, especially when it comes to the realm of local history and legend.  I also notice that often you’ll see a story repeated (sometimes verbatim) from one site to another.  Ah internet plagiarism.

It is better to, once you have an idea of where you are looking, to hit the old library (either public or personal) and find some dead tree fuel for your imaginative fires.

For example- based on Lovecraft’s description of Aylesbury’s location, I settled on a cluster of towns in north central Massachusetts as useful proxies for Aylesbury itself.  They all were mid-sized industrial towns with a population floating around 20,000 in 1920; this included Gardner, Fitchburg, and Leominster.  With those proxies in mind, I took to the library

There I found several books of interest- an collection of tales from the region (anecdotal history, collecting unusual or interesting events), a history of the Swift River valley (which was flooded to form the Quabbin Reservoir– not quite right but with some interesting tall tales), and a children’s book of Wampanoag myths.  I found tales of witchcraft (well, unpopular old ladies, spoiled milk, and questionable illnesses), spirits, curses, lost treasures, and all manner of oddness.

The purpose of this is two-fold; the first is generate inspiration for your writing and the second is to strengthen your foundation of knowledge, as the better you know your real-world inspiration the richer you will understand your fictional version.  The plus for fiction and gaming authors is, of course, that we can pick and chose what we include and are free to twist reality to fit our narrative.

Not all of these bore fruit of course, at least not immediately.  For example, in my reading I noticed that Mount Wachusett, the highest point in MA east of the Connecticut River, once had a hotel at the top, one destroyed in a fire… This didn’t fit for Aylesbury, either by location or the themes that Dan was seeking to expand upon.  I filed that away for future reference.  😉

I did come across an account of a late 18th century forger and con-artist who claimed to have found a method by which he could turn a barrel full of coins into three barrels of coins… now that was inspiration for my scenario for the Aylesbury book- “Shadow Alchemy”.  But more on that later.