Thursday, September 29, 2016

Lovecraftian Thing a Day No 273: The Thing in the Darkness

I discovered only yesterday that a previously unobtainable Call of Cthulhu solitaire scenario - The Thing in the Darkness - has become available from Steve Jackson Games. It appears in issue 3 of The Fantasy Gamer (first published in 1983), which is now purchasble from SJG's Warehouse 23 website in pdf format. Nice.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Lovecraftian Thing a Day No.272: Mansions of Madness Expansions

I picked up two new expansions for the Mansions of Madness boardgame recently: Suppressed Memories and Recurring Nightmares. I've yet to get MoM to my gaming table, but with the built-in solitaire capability that comes with this edition, this is a game that I'm very excited to play - once I've had the chance to paint all of the lovely miniatures which come with it, that is...

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Lovecraftian Thing a Day No.271: The Star of Hastur

Well this was an unexpected find: I was picking up some books relating to a research paper I am about to start work on, and unexpectedly discovered Karl Stone's The Star of Hastur. I think this is supposed to be a talismanic book of sorts, even though it is a small paperback. At least I'm presuming  that is the case given that I spent THIRTY THREE of your finest (but rapidly devaluing) British pounds on it! I'll just repeat that to give you time to take that in: a small, 160 page paperback about the size of the typical pulp novel you'd find in the late 1970s for £33.00 (well, £32.99 to be precise, but lets not quibble). But being a sucker for this kind of thing, I picked it up regardless (in any case, as this is actually for work purposes, it should be covered by my research fund...)

A brief perusal indicates that this a fairly standard Typhonian Left- Hand Path take on Lovecraftian occultism, replete with lots of Grantian language - as well as illustrations by the author somewhat reminiscent of Michael Bertiaux's art. The early chapters outline Stone's 'sexo-magical' initiation into the mysteries of the Yellow Mist (whatever that might be), along with his explorations into 'Hyperchemistry' (again utilising alluded-to-but-never-described sexo-magical means), leading to the discovery of a constantly capitalised SUBSTANCE (I shudder to think), which in functions as a medium of communication with/manifestation of praeter-human intelligences and the like (cue more Grantianisms...).

Oddly, Stone works from a primarily Derletho-Lovecraftian (see what I did there) interpretation of Hastur, the King in Yellow, and so on; but whilst Robert W. Chambers is included in the bibliography, there is no mention of either Lovecraft or Derleth. In addition to which, Stone treats the Mi-Go as servants of Hastur and the Yellow Sign, even though this is contradicted in The Whisperer in Darkness (and here I am being rather picky).

In fairness, though, I haven't read the book in its entirety, and parts of the text have piqued my interest - so there may be more here than I'm currently giving credit for.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Lovecraftian Thing A Day No.270: Alone Against The Wendigo

My work year doesn't quite follow the pattern of typical of many other people's, such that today effectively marks the beginning of a 'new year' workwise for me. As a consequence, it us also a time of reflection on what has passed, as well as a time for for new resolutions. With regard to the latter, I have not only resolved to try and make better and more creative use of my time over the next twelve months, but to improve my overall quality of life with regard to things that are important to me re: my leisure/hobby time. To this end, Monday evening is (at least until January, when my work schedule changes) now designated as gaming night. I haven't been part of a gaming group for a couple of years, so any gaming that I do tends to be of the solitaire variety. In any case, so far this evening I've played a game of Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu (which I won); next up is a session of Call of Cthulhu using tonight's offering: Chaosium's classic solitaire scenario Alone Against The Wendigo. 

The author of this piece, Glenn Rahman, has an interesting history re: Lovecraftian gaming. Prior to the advent of the Call of Cthulhu rpg, he co-authored a couple of articles in the Sorcerer's Apprentice gaming magazine for using the Tunnels & Trolls rules set for running games of Lovecraftian horror - apparently these also inspired aspects of Sandy Petersen's Call of Cthulhu rules (if anyone is sble to point me in the direction of copies of these articles, please do let me know).

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Lovecraftian Thing a Day No.269: Call of Cthulhu 7th Ed. Keeper's Screen

I picked this up earlier in the week - I'm not sure what the likelihood is of me playing 7th ed. Call of Cthulhu anytime soon (although there is a solitaire scenario available), but this contains some lovely maps which will look very nice when framed and hung on my study wall...

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Lovecraftian Thing a Day No.268: Pokethulhu!

Yes, this really is a thing: Lovecraft and Pokemon get the mash-up treatment in this light roleplaying game published by Dork Storm Press. I believe that a set of Pokethulhu miniatures were also released by Steve Jackson Games. I'm not really into the mash-up genre (especially where Lovecraft is concerned) and I have never played this - but it does look quite fun; I especially like the map that plays on various Lovecraftian locales (and which forms the game's setting), as well as the cut-out standees which emulate those found in the first edition of the Call of Cthulhu rpg. And, frankly, what's not to find appealing about a game in which, as the cover informs us, 'the monster in your pocket is...itching for action'? Nice.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Lovecraftian Thing a Day No.267: Echoes from the Primal Grimoire

I picked up Richard Ward’s Echoes from the Primal Grimoire: Kenneth Grant, H.P. Lovecraft and Magical Reality in the Quantum Universe (published by Von Zos) from Treadwells Bookshop just the other day, so unfortunately haven’t yet had a proper look at it. I was acquainted with Richard many years ago, and was aware of his interest in Lovecraftian occultism; he was also a participant in Andrew Collins’ psychic questing activities (Collins is perhaps better known today for his involvement in the alternative archaeology scene). I’m not sure how well-known psychic questing is outside of the UK, where Collins’ The Black Alchemist - the supposedly true account of Collins and his associates’ attempts to psychically combat a powerful black magician bent on evoking dark forces, culminating in the ‘Great Storm of 1987’ (when the UK was hit by a hurricance) - was something of a minor hit (as well as stirring up some controversy in the occult scene). In any case, The Black Alchemist is a cracking read, and has a bit of a Lovecraftian feel to it. I also recall one occasion when Richard intimated that his involvment in psychic questing had, in fact, led in a Lovecraftian/Cthulhu Mythos-inflected direction; somewhat ominously, he refused to say anymore regarding the matter - and if an account of those events exist it has, as far as I am aware, yet to see print.

On a final note: whilst I’ve yet to read Richard’s monograph in its entirety, a brief scan of some of the early sections has, nonetheless, indicated that the historic influence of a certain hidden occult sodality continues to resonate into the present.