... now with 35% more arrogance!

Friday, August 20, 2010


Everyone's celebrating H P Lovecraft's birthday today. Normally, I try to avoid posts here that won't really be useful for a game, but Lovecraft is important enough to my conceptual background that I once made a pilgrimage to his gravesite, so I'll try to say something.

There is something game related I could say, tying into another blog or forum post I can't find again: Lovecraft's fantasy, as opposed to his horror, is sadly underused setting material. The Dreamlands had a quality that you don't find in Howard's Conan stories or Leiber's Nehwon, but which Clark Ashton Smith approaches slightly. The Dreamlands aren't a typical epic fantasy or sword & sorcery setting, where there's magic, a couple monster and a weird event or two inserted into a mostly archaic setting. Instead, every place or thing seems to have a little weird twist to it, one thing that makes it stand apart from the familiar. You don't just have pre-industrial villages and towns, you have towns that won't let you through the gates unless you can recite one true dream, or towns where it is forbidden to kill a cat because they are intelligent and supernatural. You don't reach a distant continent if you sail too far west from civilized lands; you sail over an endless waterfall and plunge to your death, unless you're on one of the ships that sailed east from the void, which will take you to the moon.

I bought the Dreamlands book when I was playing a little Call of Cthulhu, but I never had a chance to use it. I didn't even use it when I ran InSpectres/UnSpeakable at a convention (I went with a traditional horror situation patterned after the Supernatural TV series.) But I'm influenced by the Dreamlands now.

Thank you, HPL, for creating something so inspiring.

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