Saturday, October 15, 2016
Lovecraftian Thing a Day No.289: Beyond the Mountains of Madness
Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness is not only my favourite of Lovecraft's work, but I consider it to be a landmark in weird fiction. As an avid roleplayer (at least back in the day), news that Chaosium were releasing a massive Antarctic campaign which effectively functioned as a sequel AtMoM meant that this was an automatic purchase. Indeed, Beyond the Mountsins of Madness is a formidable piece of rpg writing at 400+ pages in length, with lots of incredibly well-researched information detailing the minutiae of polar expeditions of the period - not forgetting an attempt to tie in various of Lovecraft's influences (notably Poe and Roerich) into the campaign's narrative - this has all the makings of an rpg classic. An, indeed, it has every right to be considered as such. However, Beyond the Mountains of Madness ultimately highlights for me the limitations of rpgs as a medium within which to replicate the experience of reading Lovecraft; but, in fairness, this is not what playing rpgs are about. Even so, I ultimately found the denouement of this campaign to be a disappointment. Indeed, I had anticipated this on beginning my initial read of the book, insofar as I knew that it could never offer, as a player experience, anything comparable to what AtMoM suggests in its final paragraphs. Indeed, the book's explanation as to exactly what lies within the needle-like peaks beyond those Mountsins of Madness falls short of what Lovecraft himself indicates in one of his letter. Yet, whilst a failure on this sccount, Beyond the Mountains of Madness remains a marvellous snd rematkable one at that. Bravo.