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RM308 and The Mysteries of Mesoamerica


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#21 Robbie

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Posted 04 February 2008 - 09:54 AM

I'd be striving to bring the mythos back on track -- a futile task perhaps? But beating the plushie brigade with my quality output, rather than abandoning it to its fate, would be a worthwhile, positive endeavour. I guess that's just my optimistic nature.

Personally though I have no problem with plushies (I possess a couple), card games, stickers, sing-song CDs and the rest. NONE of these encroach on my enjoyment of reading around or playing the game. However they enhance my enjoyment of the hobby overall.
Robbie


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#22 GHill

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Posted 04 February 2008 - 12:12 PM

Shame, with no disrespect to the works of others, I had hoped Blair would, as Robbie suggested be the man to bring things back on track. At least we have Meso America and Black Sands to look forward to.

#23 Bokrug

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Posted 04 February 2008 - 08:49 PM

H.P. Lovecraft spent his life being horrified at the encroachment of crass and tawdry commercialism on what he saw as the genteel, aesthetic and non-commercial culture of the New England gentry. This revulsion is a significant theme in a lot of his fiction, especially "the horror at Red Hook"

The fact that those same gentry funded their lifestyle and culture by having ancestors who were fanatical capitalists: who saw accumulating money as a duty to God, who would trade in human lives as labour for sugar plantations, who were prepared to declare independence rather than pay a tax on tea; conveniently escaped him.


Agreed. I read Lovecraft: A Life many years back, and I recall that he took a strong stance against commercialism and popular culture in general. I believe he felt that society was entering a swift decline, and his writings often reflected this view (The Rats in the Walls, anyone?).

He certainly eschewed "selling out", and likewise, I feel that he was happy with the relatively narrow acceptance of his works at the time, based on some of his correspondence with his circle that I've seen. And let's not forget who we're talking about here. HPL was a racist, to be sure, but although he took on the gloomy affectations of his idol, Edgar Allen Poe, he was not humorless. He often joked with others in his circle about having a pet ghoul, and certainly did not take his own mythos seriously. At the same time, he despised games and pastimes! So I'm of the opinion that he would be more approving of the GOO plushies and Christmas carols than he would have been of the RPG we love so well!

That said, I'm very sorry to hear that Mr. Reynolds has decided to get out of the business of writing game material. I do hope he continues to provide artwork for future Pagan supplements; he's simply the best at evoking tension and terror! His covers made me pick up the early Unspeakable Oath so many years back, and I look forward to his Black Sands works.

I hope the "Mysteries of..." series continues for a very long time - I plan to buy every one of them!

Cheers!
Glub glub!

#24 PoC

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Posted 04 February 2008 - 09:09 PM

At the same time, he despised games and pastimes! So I'm of the opinion that he would be more approving of the GOO plushies and Christmas carols than he would have been of the RPG we love so well!

It is interesting to note that Lovecraft: A Life mentions that HPL used to be part of 'let's pretend' Detective Agency with some of his childhood friends - investigating various mysteries.

It's also interesting to note that the company Blair has chosen to publish his last set of game-based works, also sell their own Cthulhu plushies. ;)

It is sad to read that we won't see more of his talent in the games sphere, but, owning a copy of the original Black Sands I am also very much looking forward to its re-issue and future installments!

Paul

#25 vogless

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Posted 04 February 2008 - 10:01 PM

So, the site is gone. Sorry, I'm late on this. What is "Black Sands" and where can we get info on Secrets of Meso?

#26 takowagon

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Posted 05 February 2008 - 12:55 AM

Blair is sooooo precious when he gets huffy!
He's like a cute little eldar godling-poo on the ram-page.
:)

#27 gnarley_bones

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Posted 05 February 2008 - 02:38 AM

So rather than be a part of the solution to the (perceived) problem, he feels the appropriate response is to take his ball and go home? How very dramatic and self-centered. Perhaps his next act will be to realize that art itself has become crassly commercialized and he will abandon his craft entirely and take up data entry.

Certainly a disappointment, but the torch will be picked up and carried.
The vast wings of dark, forgotten gods hovered over that hideous pile of antiquity.

#28 AdamAstonbury

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Posted 05 February 2008 - 09:39 AM

So rather than be a part of the solution to the (perceived) problem, he feels the appropriate response is to take his ball and go home? How very dramatic and self-centered. Perhaps his next act will be to realize that art itself has become crassly commercialized and he will abandon his craft entirely and take up data entry.

Certainly a disappointment, but the torch will be picked up and carried.


I think that's being a bit harsh.

I don't agree with his comments re plushies etc at all. I strongly disagree in fact, because I just don't buy the argument that their existence makes Call of Cthulhu games any less 'blood soaked'. Nor do I buy his implied case that he is somehow being faithful to the Mythos while plenty of others are not.

However, I do believe that the opening comments - about the work being overwhelming for one man - are more likely the main reasons for his withdrawal.

#29 Necrothesp

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Posted 05 February 2008 - 02:26 PM

It must be said that I had meanwhile also grown increasingly disenchanted and frustrated (again) with the games industry’s orthodoxy, mediocrity, vapidity and apathy. Especially where Lovecraft and roleplaying are concerned, I feel strongly that too many bubbly, juvenile, tender-hearted milksops have infested the genre: Pollyannas promoting a kinder, gentler version of the Cthulhu Mythos by way of Cthulhu plush dolls, Elder Sign earrings, ‘Niggurath nursery rhymes, Miskatonic Christmas carols, and buttloads of other flippant silliness.

Can I say that I agree with Blair 100% here. It wouldn't make me give up CoC, but I too am sick and tired of this endless stream of Mythos-themed rubbish, which now seems to take precedence over new books for CoC.

#30 cjbowser

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Posted 05 February 2008 - 04:34 PM

Can I say that I agree with Blair 100% here. It wouldn't make me give up CoC, but I too am sick and tired of this endless stream of Mythos-themed rubbish, which now seems to take precedence over new books for CoC.


It should be added that a lot of the items described are produced without license from Chaosium, because Chaosium doesn't own the license to Cthulhu* either as a squamous beastie, adorable ball of tentacular fluff, or suitably creepy ditty. They are produced independently, by individuals and organizations without ties to Chaosium, as they should be. Therefore, these items do not take precedence over CoC books in any production schedule. A lot of them are sold by the same vendors, but that's about as far as it goes.

*Cthulhu is being used in this case as a generic catch all phrase for Mythosy type stuff.

While it is a little disappointing to see Blair go, I do wish he had decided to keep going and make the industry into something he wants it to be. I do wish him the best of luck with Black Sands.

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#31 Necrothesp

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Posted 05 February 2008 - 05:25 PM

Can I say that I agree with Blair 100% here. It wouldn't make me give up CoC, but I too am sick and tired of this endless stream of Mythos-themed rubbish, which now seems to take precedence over new books for CoC.


It should be added that a lot of the items described are produced without license from Chaosium, because Chaosium doesn't own the license to Cthulhu* either as a squamous beastie, adorable ball of tentacular fluff, or suitably creepy ditty. They are produced independently, by individuals and organizations without ties to Chaosium, as they should be. Therefore, these items do not take precedence over CoC books in any production schedule. A lot of them are sold by the same vendors, but that's about as far as it goes.

Yes, I'm aware of that, but Chaosium's regular R'lyeh Reports do these days seem full of it, described in glowing language which sums up everything Blair says he hates. It would be nice to see so much enthusiasm devoted to their supplements...

#32 Mike_N

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Posted 05 February 2008 - 05:55 PM

Yes, I'm aware of that, but Chaosium's regular R'lyeh Reports do these days seem full of it, described in glowing language which sums up everything Blair says he hates. It would be nice to see so much enthusiasm devoted to their supplements...


Really? Most of the R'lyeh reports seem to be about fiction anthologies, reprints of older supplements, monographs & news of upcoming books. I just don't see this deluge of cuddly mythos merchandise that Chaosium are pushing instead of their core CoC gaming.
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#33 papalazarou

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Posted 05 February 2008 - 09:12 PM

I remember playing a game involving a trip to the dreamlands and talking cats and I had to bite my tongue or would have said something very disagreeable to the keeper at the time.


I'm just wondering if you've ever read The Cats of Ulthar? Or The Dreamquest of Unkown Kadath.

Regards

Robin


If you read further down my post I did mention that authors (including HPL himself) are just as guilty of writing stuff that is plain silly. I happen not to like his dreamlands stuff but thats maybe because I don't really like fantasy. But hey some people do.

#34 doccthulhu

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Posted 05 February 2008 - 09:36 PM

Yes, I'm aware of that, but Chaosium's regular R'lyeh Reports do these days seem full of it, described in glowing language which sums up everything Blair says he hates. It would be nice to see so much enthusiasm devoted to their supplements...


I don't think it's anything recent. Chaosium's always had a 'jokey' attitude about the Mythos. For instance, the Miskatonic Grad Kit of (I believe) 1984. Their attitude was always somewhat disparaging, almost condescending. I know they were unhappy when Arkham Unveiled ignored the characters and other details of the Miskatonic Grad Kit, but I refused to recognize it.

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#35 Propnomicon

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Posted 05 February 2008 - 09:59 PM

I know they were unhappy when Arkham Unveiled ignored the characters and other details of the Miskatonic Grad Kit, but I refused to recognize it.

Doc


This.

I'm cool with anyone merchandising the Mythos any way they want, but this is the kind of thing that would genuinely upset me. Cthulhu Kitsch in all it's forms is amusing exactly because it plays off the inherent brutality of the Mythos. When that attitude starts leaking back into the game/psuedo-canon it hurts not only the source material, but any entertainment value that the kitsch had in the first place.

This is one example where I think the "purists" have a point.

#36 Necrothesp

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Posted 06 February 2008 - 09:42 AM

I know they were unhappy when Arkham Unveiled ignored the characters and other details of the Miskatonic Grad Kit, but I refused to recognize it.

Doc


This.

I'm cool with anyone merchandising the Mythos any way they want, but this is the kind of thing that would genuinely upset me. Cthulhu Kitsch in all it's forms is amusing exactly because it plays off the inherent brutality of the Mythos. When that attitude starts leaking back into the game/psuedo-canon it hurts not only the source material, but any entertainment value that the kitsch had in the first place.

This is one example where I think the "purists" have a point.

Some people I know now automatically treat anything to do with Miskatonic as a joke because they associate it so much with that sort of stuff (silly Mythos-related departments, team names and the like). That's what damages the genre. Some were put off the recent(ish) 'Miskatonic University' sourcebook because they assumed from its subject and its rather cartoony cover that it was full of this sort of rubbish and wasn't a serious CoC book. I don't think that works in favour of the game, the genre or Chaosium.

#37 doccthulhu

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Posted 06 February 2008 - 02:50 PM

Some people I know now automatically treat anything to do with Miskatonic as a joke because they associate it so much with that sort of stuff (silly Mythos-related departments, team names and the like). That's what damages the genre. Some were put off the recent(ish) 'Miskatonic University' sourcebook because they assumed from its subject and its rather cartoony cover that it was full of this sort of rubbish and wasn't a serious CoC book. I don't think that works in favour of the game, the genre or Chaosium.


How was that book? I never saw it. Did it include Fighting Cephalopods, or a Dept. of Medieval Metaphysics (or other silliness)?

Doc

#38 Necrothesp

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Posted 06 February 2008 - 03:23 PM

How was that book? I never saw it. Did it include Fighting Cephalopods, or a Dept. of Medieval Metaphysics (or other silliness)?

No it didn't. That's the point. It was actually completely serious, but people's perceptions of it had been skewed by that silliness in earlier products.

#39 jasonw1239

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Posted 06 February 2008 - 04:02 PM

The Miskatonic University Sourcebook is a great addition for any keeper running a classic period campaign. I have used it many times.

Lots of great NPC's to help or harm the PC's plus many scenario hooks for just about anything that can be done in and around (or under) Arkham.

#40 kafka47

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Posted 06 February 2008 - 05:04 PM

Well, now the official word is out and I can unzip my lips. The project is back fully at Pagan Publishing and is still on course. The artwork and layout that Blair has done for this book is truly amazing and I am proud to be a part of it. I leave it to my other esteemed colleague at Pagan, A. Scott Glancy, to set forth an official statement as well as announce our upcoming books.


It is a disappointment that Blair has pulled out of the project, as I would have liked to give him directly the money for his vision of Cthulhu that I concur with. In addition as a gesture of appreciation for all the great artwork over the years that he sent me into a state of awe and terror.

But, given that the project now rests in Pagan hands, it gladens my heart, as they will not be brutal and have always put out a fine product.

But, I am sure, I echo the sediment of others and ask what is Pagan's publishing schedule like. Given that their licence only allows two books a year and we have yet to see Unspeakable Oath or the promised PDF. Surely, the rapid sell off of Eyes Only hardbound has convinced the good folks at Pagan that we will buy in sufficient numbers to be profitable for all.