New Release: Starlight on the Gutter

We’re excited to announce the release of our first ever scenario showcasing the Victorian Era ruleset for Cthulhu Eternal. The magnificent adventure in question is called “Starlight on the Gutter” and is available right now for purchase as a 50-page PDF over on DriveThruRPG.

The scenario centres upon a new production of Oscar Wilde’s Decadent play Salome, being prepared in London West End theatre. Persistent rumours of curious happenings have attached themselves to the majestically-staged production. And Oscar Wilde — usually the most gregarious of souls — has become sullen and withdrawn. The playwright’s close friend Bosie approaches the Protagonists to try to understand the strange pall that seems to have settled over Oscar and the forthcoming play.

This scenario has quite a long history of its own. I first encountered it in January 1996 — back in the pre-WWW era, when Lovecraftian gamers used to gather conspiratorially in USENET newsgroups and on subscription-only email lists. In the latter category, one of my favourites was the “Chaosium Digest”, a list where fans of every RPG currently supported by Chaosium could be freel share house-rules or new skills ideas or anything else for the whole community to enjoy.

Simon Lee posted a convention scenario to the Chaosium Digest, something truly inspired that he had written for a South African con in 1995. It was called “Prophecy” … and that free text-only scenario forms the basic core of the adventure we’ve just released. On its 25+ year journey from then-to-now a lot of complexity has been added to create a whole world of intriguing Aesthete NPCs and offer a more detailed long-form clue trail. The end result is something that I truly believe is one of the most intriguing Victorian Cthulhu scenarios to have been published for any game system.

Doing the in-depth research to flesh out this scenario was one of the most enjoyable tasks I’ve had for a game project, since it gave me an excuse to read an enormous amount about the Aesthete and Decadent movements in 1890s English art. Or, more to the point, read about the outlandish, scurrilous and flamboyant artists who populated that particular “school” of subversive counterculture. Where most game depictions of the Victorian Era focus on the “derring do” and “stiff upper lip” central to the vast Imperial achievements of Britain, there is an whole parallel strata of the late Victorian world that is far more concerned with foppery, indolence, and “art for art’s sake.” Oscar Wilde is the most famous of its scions (in England anyway, there is a whole separate Decadent tradition in fin de siècle France), but he is but one of many adherents. And many of them were extraordinary and outlandish individuals — and proudly so.

The NPCs I picked to use to bolster the backdrop of Simon’s scenario are all exemplars in this regard. They are pieces of real-world history that I could never invent as fictional elements … because, frankly, people would label them too OTT … I challenge anyone to read the biography of Count Eric Stenbock (writer of the incredible short tale “The True Story of a Vampire”) and not think he was someone’s elaborate literary creation.

We really hope that people enjoy this gem of a Lovecraftian scenario, and gaming tables everywhere can revel in the “Yellow” antics of the Aesthetes even as they recoil in horror from the terrors that seem to lurk behind the artwork they are bringing into existence. You have tickets for opening night … do you dare to take your seats?


2 responses to “New Release: Starlight on the Gutter

  • Shelby

    Wow. This sounds amazing. Out of all the things I wish I had the time to run, this just went to the top of the list. This year, I swear. Purchased.

    • deanadelaide

      Thanks Shelby, we really appreciate it.

      As I posted a couple of months back, we recorded the internal playtest sessions we held for this scenario … so you can hear exactly how much fun WE had with it (spoiler: it was “a lot”).

      Dean

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: