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!