Well, the good news is that it’s “Full Steam Ahead” on finishing up our next freebie CoC Scenario for release here on Cthulhu Reborn. As announced a little while back Geoff Gillan’s “The Machine King” is an absolute (almost) lost classic, written by one of the games most loved writers … so of course we are excited about the fact that we will be publishing it. Hopefully within the next week.
In the interests of providing loyal readers of the blog with a few “sneak peeks” at this book before its release, I’ve put a few (hopefully spoiler-free or at least spoiler-light) snippets from the book layout below. Readers of Geoff’s previous scenario work for Call of Cthulhu (e.g., his pivotal work on “Horror on the Orient Express” or his often-cited war scenario “Regiment of Dread”, and our own “The Past Is Doomed”) will know that his stories are always packed to bursting with imaginative and dark ideas. If you’ve been lucky enough to read his published fiction (e.g., his wonderful, yet hard-to-find fantasy novel “Envious Gods”) you’ll know that this frenzied and vivid tone is something they too share. So, it’s no surprise that “The Machine King” is darkly baroque, offbeat, extravagant occasionally whimsical — all the things that define classic Gillan.
It starts with a horrifying dream vision (here depicted by commissioned art from the talented Cinthya Álvarez)
… and if the Investigators cannot put a stop to the bizarre (and old) machinations behind the vision, they might be unlucky enough to witness some very odd mechanical intrusions into the real-world of Victorian London:
Here’s how the scenario is described in the (spoiler-free) blurb from the back cover:
A Mechanical Nightmare Awakens
Victorian London: Heart of the most industrialised empire the world has ever seen. A heart that pounds to the rhythms of steam hammers, pistons, and whirring cogs.
Since the time of the Industrial Revolution over a century ago, London has been at the forefront of mechanisation. Every facet of life now brings men of all stations into daily contact with the coldly implacable machines which free them from the back-breaking labours of earlier generations.
The rise of the machines cemented Britain’s dominance over the world … but has it made men slaves to the very machines that were built to liberate them? And do the machines have their own cruel ambitions and dreams?
Curious reports have begun to circulate London claiming the impossible: machines have been witnessed acting on their own volition, attacking innocent men and women.
What strange power drives otherwise unremarkable lumps of cold metal to murder? What fuels the odd machine-haunted dreams that nightly plague hundreds of Londoners?
In a world ruled by machines . . . who rules the machines?
The Machine King
To give you an idea of how the book design has turned out, below are a couple of page spreads from the finished layout (featuring more art from Cinthya Álvarez as well as my own humble map-work). Some text is blurred to avoid spoilers.