Monthly Archives: December 2018

A Very HPL Christmas to All

Some 92 years ago, a writer of weird tales thus spake:

There is snow on the ground,
And the valleys are cold,
And a midnight profound
Blackly squats o’er the wold;
But a light on the hilltops half-seen hints of feastings un-hallowed and old.

There is death in the clouds,
There is fear in the night,
For the dead in their shrouds
Hail the sin’s turning flight.
And chant wild in the woods as they dance round a Yule- altar fungous and white.

To no gale of Earth’s kind
Sways the forest of oak,
Where the sick boughs entwined
By mad mistletoes choke,
For these pow’rs are the pow’rs of the dark, from the graves of the lost Druid-folk.

Best wishes to all readers of Cthulhu Reborn and those who download our stuff (and help spread the word about what we do). May the best of the season — unhallowed and old — be yours.

This Book Shatters Minds!

There have been so many new Lovecraftian Kickstarters that have been delivering goodies over the past few weeks that it’s almost too hard to keep track … but one very exciting development was Pelgrane’s release of Absinthe in Carcosa, the enormous in-world “city-guide-slash-insane-notebook” prop for the Yellow King RPG.

 

The reason this is exciting for us is because Pelgrane kindly allowed us to design almost all of this 194-page book based on detailed notes and outlines written by Robin D. Laws. The original concept was that Absinthe in Carcosa should be a photo-realistic replica of a notebook compiled by an 1890s American art student (of shaky sanity) studying in Paris. As this poor unnamed fellow gets caught up in reality-shattering revelations, he gains insights into both the true nature of things and also the future stalwart figures who will read his words years later. Accordingly he takes a pair of scissors to an assortment of handy contemporary guidebooks to Paris — some mundane, others luridly sensationalist — and compiles a syncretic guide to everything an occult investigator might need to know about 1890s Paris … hand annotated with various scratchings. And illustrated with art and pictures that, to the compilers tattered mind at least, elucidate his message.

Needless the say the resultant mish-mash is both exceptionally full of handy information, strangely idiosyncratic and at times elliptical, and full of art which implies dreadful truths … In short, it’s a nifty and entirely unique artifact.

Putting together the 180+ pages of collages from dozens and dozens of real-world Victorian era books and posters was a huge undertaking, but also a lot of fun. Robin’s notes spelled out exactly what needed to be where but also left enough free to slot in all manner of weirdness (and even a few deeply-buried “easter eggs” for the eagle-eyed). Pelgrane have been kind enough to list me as first author on the book … which is probably undeserved (since the vision and composition is really Robin’s work). But I am more than happy to take the credit!

Backers of the Yellow King RPG who backed at a level where they will receive Absinthe in Carcosa should have now received a “grabcode” from Pelgrane (I got mine on 7 Dec) to download the PDF version. Be warned, it’s big: something like 530MB of high-resolution art-quality PDF. But I hope those who grab it will enjoy paging through the unravelling mind of a sensitive Belle Epoch art scholar … and find ways to use his curious compilation to enhance their games of the YK:RPG, or any other game which needs some solid 1890s Carcosa-inspired weirdness dropped into it unceremoniously.

BTW: if you have downloaded a copy of Absinthe in Carcosa and have some thoughts on what you liked (or didn’t like) about it, I am sure that Pelgrane would love to hear about it. And so would I!

I can’t wait to see what it looks like in print!


Released: Convicts & Cthulhu Muster #1

Today we are delighted to be announce the release of our fifth (and final) Convicts & Cthulhu product for 2018 … and the launch of a brand new line of supplements. Available for free download right now is Convicts & Cthulhu: Muster #1 — The Turbulent Mason.

Most readers of Cthulhu Reborn will probably be familiar with the “Tickets of Leave” line of supplements that we have been releasing since July 2016 on a (somewhat) regular schedule. Those PDFs have mostly been a combination of sourcebook material and scenario seeds or full-blown detailed “ready-to-play” scenarios. Those supplements have been very well received, and by my count we have now released about 224 pages of scenario-related “fuel” to keep a Convicts & Cthulhu campaign going (on top of the extensive scenario seeds and starter scenario in the 96 page core book).

But, we are always looking for interesting new things to try — and the C&C Muster series represents a different kind of product altogether. Each is based around a detailed portrayal of a single historical (or historically-accurate) person, offering not only a complex and three-dimensional portrait of their character, background, and general history but also looking at the character through a “Lovecraftian gaming” lens to offer some ready-to-use ideas about dropping the character into an ongoing campaign or scenario, either as an ally or adversary. Or even a replacement Investigator.

For the first installment of the C&C Muster series, Geoff has chosen to write a piece on an intriguing fellow by the name of Anthony Fenn Kemp. History records Kemp is figure that lived a multi-faceted life on the periphery of many of the major events which defined the early history of the penal colonies. He had mercantile interests despite also being a soldier, and despite being a somewhat upstanding member of society Kemp also was at the heart of some rather scurrilous campaigns to defame some of the colonial leaders of the day.

While there is plenty of juicy history written about Anthony Fenn Kemp, the C&C Muster also takes inspiration from a much less documented aspect of this curious man … namely his strong ties to Freemasonry. As all good Lovecraftian game authors know, it’s only a hop-skip-and-jump from masonic affiliations to associations with all manner of OTHER secretive societies, and we suggest a few different ways of creatively being inspired by this facet of Kemp’s history.

C&C Muster #1: The Turbulent Mason is available for free download right now from this very blog. It will also be available (in a stat-free form to meet Chaosium’s licensing constraints) on DrivethruRPG soonish.

We will be keen to hear back from our loyal Convicts & Cthulhu readers, players, and lurkers to hear whether the C&C Muster format meets its goals of providing helpful “drop in” character resources for games. If you have any thoughts about this or any other C&C release, feel free to let us know via the contact form below. In the meantime … best wishes for a rugose and squamous Christmas, and may all your Convicts be accounted for at the January muster ūüôā

 


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