The Stars Will Be Right
One of the best things for me about the Cthulhu Mythos is how adaptable it is. You can take almost any setting or genre and inject the Mythos to great effect. Unnamable creatures from beyond the pale of imagination are just as sanity-shattering to modern investigators as they were to those in the 1930s, or the Victorian era, or medieval times. But the Mythos does not belong only to the past. Clearly, since the investigators (not to mention all of human society) are still around, the stars have not yet been right, which only means that they will be in the future.
But how far in the future? Next month? Next year? Ten year from now? How about fifty or a hundred?
When I think about the possibilities inherent in mixing the Cthulhu Mythos into a sci-fi setting, my creative juices start boiling. I LOVE this idea and have for some time. Certainly, it’s been done before in dribs and drabs. The movie Event Horizon is certainly one example, though the possibilities were squandered when the evil from between dimensions turned out to be just another creature to be shot at and blown up. Several manga and anime series have taken better shots at the concept, my favorite being Silent Mobius (the manga or the movies, as opposed to the TV series). But nothing has yet quite captured the near-future distopian mixture of society collapsing under its own “progress” sped along by the subtle (or overt) influences of malevolent entities that man was not meant to know … sort of like Ghost in the Shell meets The Dunwich Horror by way of Constantine.
Well … no one has made a MOVIE like that. But WildFire LLC has published CthulhuTech, probably the best iteration of a futuristic Mythos we’ve seen anywhere. And it has me just aching to follow up on some ideas I’ve been carrying around for year … a laser whose very color is so abhorrent that it firing it eats away at your sanity … an astronomical computer so advanced that it can project where in the galaxy the stars ARE right at any given moment … and arcology built to be a giant mystic rune/dimensional gate, fueled by the despair of the people living in it … oh, and so much more.
The stars are not right, but they are going to be. Will another few decades or centuries of progress make mankind more or less capable of resisting the call from beyond when that time comes? Are other people as intrigued by that notion as I am?
Want to learn more about CthulhuTech? Read on…
- Atomic Array: Episode 013: CthulhuTech RPG
- Mad Brew Labs: CthulhuTech: The Game That Almost Wasn’t
- Critical Hits: When Horror Meets Awesome: CthulhuTech
- Kore Dice: Interview with CthulhuTechâ€™s Mike Vaillancourt
- Stan!: The Stars Will Be Right
- Arcane Underground: The Saga of CthulhuTech (Updated)
Drop by BattleCorps to pick up your copy today!
The Littlest Shoggoth Is Coming
I just posted this on my blog, and realized that it probably would be of interest to the Super Genius Games audience, too.
We found out this week that The Littlest Shoggoth is also about to ship from the printers. Yes, Virginia, that means that this “Holiday Tale of the Cthulhu Mythos” WILL be available in stores in time for you to put one in the stocking of your favorite investigator, cultist, or Great Old One.
To celebrate, here’s a preview look at a a piece of art from the book.
Don’t worry, I think you’ll enjoy the WHOLE thing.
I’m thinking about making some Littlest Shoggoth wallpapers and user pics … y’know, just cuz I can. Keep your eyes peeled to the Super Genius Games site for more news on those and other preview materials.
Which Creature of the Mythos Are You?
Here’s a friendly quiz to help you find out!
And the Reviews Keep Coming In
Dan Harms reviews The Doom from Below here:
He was a little lukewarm on Murder of Crows, but he digs Doom.
Awesome The Doom from Below Review
We’d like to thank the AWESOME people over at Flames Rising for their review of The Doom from Below. They give it a 9/10 and to say we’re ecstatic would be an understatement.
Todd Cash, the reviewer, lays out his thoughts here:
The Doom from Below and The Littlest Shoggoth
Both books have been sent to the printer and should be shipping to our warehouse at the end of this week/beginning of next week. Then it’ll be in stores just in time for your Holiday shopping needs. Each book will retail for $12.00 USD. As a reminder for what to look for, here are the covers and back cover copy.
Of all the Mythos creatures roaming around lost R’lyeh, Squammy the shoggoth is the smallest, least frightening of them all. Tired of being teased and picked on, he sets off for the world of man to prove he’s got what it takes to be a real monster.
The Littlest Shoggoth is a heartwarming tale of holiday horror. With its non-Euclidean verse and sanity-blastingly cute illustrations by award-winning writer and cartoonist, Stan!, it is the perfect addition to any collection of seasonal stories … or occult tomes.
Cthulhu Protests Deep Sea Drilling
When I first saw the following video of an oddly Cthulhoid-looking rare “elbowed” squid, I thought there was a really good chance it was a hoax. I mean, it’s just clear enough to be creepy … but fuzzy and shaky enough to prevent you from taking a REALLY close look at the creature. Given that it was taken deep under the Gulf of Mexico, and given the recent debates about opening up new drilling, I half expected to see the thing carrying a “No Drilling” picketing sign.
Then I was pointed toward a National Geographic article about it, and I had to admit that this was a pretty dang reliable source.
So Many Ways To Cthulhu
As Murder of Crows and Midnight Harvest enter into wider and wider circulation, and The Doom From Below prepares to ship from the printer, we’re starting to see more and more reviews. They are, by any measure, fairly flattering in their assessment of our work so far. However, even MORE flattering on a personal level is the fact that so many of the people writing about our adventures have NOTICED some of the things we’ve done very purposefully to make Super Genius Games adventures a bit different from those you’ll get from other publishers.
Our products are shorter than those you usually see for Call of Cthulhu products, usually around 32 pages and having more physically in common with classic D&D adventures than with Masks of Nyarlathotep or Beyond the Mountains of Madness. That was a specific choice. We wanted to produce products that were not only easy to use, but easy to decide to purchase … almost impulse buys. And something you could run for your group on relatively short notice, without needing to commit to many sessions (probably over the course of many months) to complete.
However, perhaps the biggest intended difference is the scope of the adventures. Rather than being tales writ large on the cosmic scale, involving the movers and shakers of the Cthulhu Mythos, our adventures for the most part are focused on smaller horrors. That’s not to say they’re necessarily less dangerous for the investigators — the result for them will be the same whether they fail in the face of a Great Old One, a member of a servitor race, or a cabal of cultists. There’s only so “dead” you can get (reanimation not withstanding). But it always seemed odd to me how many of the Call of Cthulhu adventures focus on the actual return or direct influence of deities or major entities. In a setting where all things must wait until “the stars are right,” astrological alignments seem to happen with alarming frequency.
Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE playing in those kinds of big, apocalyptic games. But I ALSO love to play in ongoing campaigns where the characters can develop over a period of time and a series of adventures. I’ve had the good fortune to play in two or three fairly long-running CoC games, and they are among my favorite campaigns of my long gaming career. But many people out there just don’t understand how you can play a Lovecraftian game as a campaign. “Aren’t those the games where everyone goes crazy or dies at the end of every session?” they often say.
“Not necessarily,” I usually answer. “That’s certainly ONE way to play, but you can also do something more in line with a standard RPG campaign.”
“Really?” They often seem incredulous as they ask this. “How?”
Well, the Super Genius Games adventures are in part intended to help answer that question. Our INTENT is for you to be able to use many of our adventures as the basis of an ongoing campaign … say, one that meets once or twice a month and has continuity in both characters and story. A campaign where the investigators start out relatively unaware of the Mythos and learn more as they go, where the level of Mythos involvement ramps up over time and may eventually lead to a cataclysmic event.
Certainly, you can do this with the basic Call of Cthulhu game, but it was not built specifically for long-term play with a single character. Although investigators DO gain skills over time, the improvements are small in nature, and it is unlikely that a player will notice a significant change in how the character feels mechanically. And players who are used to modern RPG characters, where each level introduces some new or improved facet to the character may feel something is missing from the game.
On the other hand, there are now a whole handful of alternative Lovecraftian RPGs on the market. From material that you can use to expand your existing Call of Cthulhu game (in the recently released Basic Roleplaying volume from Chaosium) to whole new games like Trail of Cthulhu and Cthulhutech. The most recent entry into the realm of Lovecraftian roleplaying games, may also be the one that is most easily adaptable to the standard campaign model — this is because Shadows of Cthulhu is powered by the True 20 game rules, themselves a variation on the core OGL/d20 System rules. In other words, the rules for Shadows of Cthulhu are constructed with long-term campaign play in mind.
Gamers who come to Shadows of Cthulhu will be building their investigators with the preconception that the character will survive long enough to advance in levels and gain new abilities. That’s just the way the game is played. Even more than the d20 Call of Cthulhu published by Wizards of the Coast back in 2002. That volume was more about using the d20 System to play game in the classic Call of Cthulhu style than it was about being able to use the Cthulhu Mythos as the basis for an ongoing campaign style of play. Shadows of Cthulhu does BOTH, making the Super Genius Games adventures especially good for adaptation. An adaptation that, as I look at the game, would be relatively easy to perform (for ANY Call of Cthulhu adventures, not just ours).
It’s The Time of the Season For Cthulhu
From today until Great Cthulhu tells us otherwise, all of our officially licensed Call of Cthulhu adventures in PDF format are on sale for $4.99. With the nights a little longer, and a little colder, what could be better than some investigation and insanity? Not only is $4.99 an insane deal for some Call of Cthulhu goodness, but each adventure also includes pregenerated investigators so you can get into the asylum right away! You can download each of the adventures here: