Crikey, sounds like they have dropped the ball a bit on this one. To be honest mate, you could probably use the new artwork to represent the ageing of the NPC's over the time lapse between each TPK, in almost all of the scenarios from memory :P
Sounds like a Chaosium fail. Why would they do this?
"Can you minister to a mind diseas'd..?"
I imagine it's cheaper than paying writers for new material or editors to revise the old material, and there's no real work involved (just increase the font size and layout in the new art) in comparison to putting together a new or highly revised book.
What's the last really great piece of work produced by Chaosium, the kind of thing that makes gamers, not just CoC fanboys, sit up and take notice? Tatters of the King, some of the Secrets books, Cthulhu Invictus and Terrors from Beyond were okay, but I don't think it really falls into that category. I'm guessing it'd be Beyond the Mountains of Madness, and that was published twelve years ago. Since then, it's mostly been monographs, reprints, or average-to-mediocre products. This is why I don't hold much hope for 7th edition being anything special.
As I've played through Tatters of the King, it gets my vote too.
Tatters looks good, although there's a few art pieces that didn't quite warrant splash-page status. The Mansions of Madness reprint from a while ago was kind of disappointing; it looks like they didn't have the original art on file to rescan—or nobody at Chaosium knows how to run a scanner.
I've read all and played through most of Tatters of the King (the Keeper stopped the game before Tibet, claiming that it would just be more of the same), and it struck me as alright but more of what the baseline epic CoC campaign should: that it should be at least as good as this but certainly no worse, and always aspiring for something truly great (for their time) like Beyond the Mountains of Madness, Masks of Nyarlathotep, and Horror on the Orient Express. Yet if we still mark Tatters as Chaosium last really good book, it should be noted that it was published five years ago. Five years is a long time to go without something comparable.
I remember someone mentioning here many many moons ago that Chaosium could be had rather cheaply (something like forty to sixty thousand dollars) based on some previous negotiations. However, I don't know if that took into account the amount of debt that any purchase would also take on. I've heard that years ago, Fantasy Flight Games discussed buying CoC from Chaosium (and Kenneth Hite was floated as the potential line editor), but that it all fell through due to FFG pulling out of it.
Honestly though, all I'd really like to see at Chaosium is a little editorial oversight and more energy to produce new products. Editors that were engaged both with the material and the CoC community at large, and using more playtesting and proofreading to perfect their products before shipping them out. A focus to develop new campaigns, new settings, new mechanics, new stuff period, rather than simply reprinting and repackaging the same old things.
A GOOD editor DOES require money. But yes, these things require money, and Chaosium obviously doesn't have much. I'm disappointed in the number of reprints, and the way they're produced (which is to say, with pretty clear mercenary intent). So until they get their act together and start cultivating new, cheap talent, or paying seasoned pros better, the status quo is probably gonna stay pretty quo.
The alternative is, some of us dumb bastards go back to work for them hoping the money won't be as hard to scrape together as it has been in the past. I did the Gaslight reprint mainly because I had some of the stuff laying around and knew who to turn to for the rest. I'm doing the western book because it's another thing that's stuck with me for years and it's been damn fun to work on. Will I do more for Chaosium? I dunno. We'll see how the money situ works out. Right now it's fun, but like in the olden days, at some point the fun wears out and you want a goddamn sandwich. (And no, I don't work for sandwiches. 's a metaphor-thingie.)
Thing is, right now I've got more creative freedom working for Chaosium than I would for some of the licensees. (By which I guess I might mean, Chaosium is desperate enough to take whatever gets thrown at them?) Strange times indeed...
's a, whatchacallit, Catch-22 or something.
I'll also say this: I just saw one of John Snyder's pix for the new Gaslight and let me say right now: he's better than ever, by light years. And that's saying something.
who let the old timer in?
P.S. Also can't believe Cthulhu Invictus went from YSDC's darling to an also-ran in less than a year and a half. Tough room, this is.
Someone somewhere within Chaosium should've looked through Curse of the Cthonians and done a little basic editing to at least get the stats in order. It would've been nice to include an extra scenario or two instead of increasing the font size to expand pagecount, and creating a couple of decent scenarios (especially in comparison to the rest of Curse of the Cthonians, this isn't Shakespeare here) shouldn't be beyond the workload of someone in that position. None of that work should have cost more than what Chaosium pays for the average monograph.
Yup, that's basically my take as well.I'm disappointed in the number of reprints, and the way they're produced (which is to say, with pretty clear mercenary intent). So until they get their act together and start cultivating new, cheap talent, or paying seasoned pros better, the status quo is probably gonna stay pretty quo.
That's just my opinion. If I put Cthulhu Invictus side-by-side with Beyond the Mountains of Madness, it just strikes me as two very different products and level of aspiration involved. I'm sure others think Cthulhu Invictus is still among the pantheon of great CoC products, and I won't fault them for that.P.S. Also can't believe Cthulhu Invictus went from YSDC's darling to an also-ran in less than a year and a half. Tough room, this is.
I was disappointed to see Curse as well. The scenarios within I find to be good, not necessarily as run straight as written, but as bits you can pick up and play with. I've had fun with Thoth's Dagger in the past (Stephen Alzis with the Dagger in the cafeteria), and Dark Carnival would be fun to run if you had a bit more structure to the cult and cleared out some of the antagonistic and dungeoneering edge on it. Nonetheless, I'd have preferred to see a new edition of the Cthulhu Casebook with "Dark Carnival" added.
Overall, it would be nice to see Chaosium:
1) Put more effort into maintaining excellent authors. They do a good job of finding them, but some don't stay for reasons we've covered ad nauseam.
2) Have a plan for the Call of Cthulhu line. It's safe to say that, since Doc Herber's tenure as editor (and likely before then), the line has been driven by what the freelancers want to do. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, mind you, but it's better to decide what products are wanted and then find freelance authors for them.
Also, for anyone who thinks at some point about buying Chaosium - remember, the company is secondary to the Call of Cthulhu license. There have been cases in the past in which people have assumed company=license and ended up with egg on their faces.
Hey there Dan,
yer point number two struck a chord with me. Agreed. There doesn't seem to be a clear cut direction from the Chaosium crew...they seem to start one thing and put others on the back burner (Pulp Cthulhu) and then let some things just fade (Cthulhu Dark Ages).
It's very strange times, when the licensees are far outshining the mother company as far as quality product goes.
I don't mind the reprints at all....I think they should churn out reprints for cashflow and concentrate on coming up with something new and focused.
I'm still waiting for Pulp Cthulhu....
“From even the greatest of horrors irony is seldom absent.”
― H.P. Lovecraft
Sheesh, if they want to make some good money from a reprint, why not bring back really good adventures - Great Old Ones, for example, or Horror on the Orient Express?
"Is all that we see or seem but a dream within a dream?"