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Non-Mythos Novels that could be used as the basis for a scenario


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#21 Graham

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Posted 06 July 2016 - 05:50 PM

Lovecraft devotes a paragraph to this book in chapter 10 of his Supernatural Horror in Literature.

 

Must remember to read that.

 

Now...

 

Anon. An Old Manuscript, 1911

 

http://www.users.glo...chiveOldMS.html

 

and

 

The Lost Stradivarius by John Meade Falkner

 

http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/14107


"If you do good, you'll live forever, if you do bad you'll die hearing a single note for I am the one true sound...", Fragment found in a cult hideout.


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#22 DAR

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Posted 07 July 2016 - 05:06 AM

​The Black Wolf​ by Galad Elflandsson has always been a fave, also The Secrets of Doctor Tavener by Dion Fortune. Dennis Wheatley's  The Devil Rides Out and To The Devil - A Daughter  are both worth a glance - along with Crowley's Moonchild.

 

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#23 Graham

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Posted 07 July 2016 - 07:51 AM

I've just found a blog with a very impressive set of 18th/19th & early 20th C ghost fiction available including the only ghost stories by H. P. Blavatsky....

 

https://gothictexts.wordpress.com/

 

This quotation from Australian (Well at the time he was Victorian...) author Fergus Hume's novella "Professor Brankel's Secret" reveals the potential inherent in HPLs predecessors:

 

 

 

...I am in space, the center of the... great wheel of the universe...around throng nebulous masses of worlds...and the heaving mass of fire, is this the earth?...I stand before the portals of creation.. Open... God... Fire... Chaos...

 

And for anyone who needs more information this blog has capsule biographies of several ghost story writers...

 

http://www.grcollia....aunted_library/


Edited by Graham, 08 July 2016 - 07:23 AM.

"If you do good, you'll live forever, if you do bad you'll die hearing a single note for I am the one true sound...", Fragment found in a cult hideout.

#24 yronimoswhateley

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Posted 07 July 2016 - 01:25 PM

Any collection of short stories by Robert Aickman or Thomas Ligotti are going to contain something that will be useful for scenarios; Ligotti is particularly easy, but Aickman has some amazingly suggestive ideas to work with. 

 

Also,

 

I Remember Lemuria, by Richard Sharpe Shaver (apparently based on the author's paranoid schizophrenic delusions and hallucinations, this novel helped lay the foundation of the modern UFO conspiracy mythos, with tales of hidden populations of insane ancient aliens living deep in the Earth, where they use mind-control rays and abductions to cause torment and woe for surface people.)

 

A Wrinkle in Time (and sequels, AKA "The Time Quintet"), Madelaine L'Engle (the series follows a family through decades as they fight various incarnations of evil from beyond our time and space, occasionally with the help of extremely weird allies - the books read a bit like C.S. Lewis fantasy filtered through a Lovecraft-light cosmic lens, with absolutely no overt Yog-Sothothry, and might be a great choice for those groups who don't like the bleak hopelessness of a traditionally Lovecraftian world view....)

 

John Carter of Mars (and sequels, the "Barsoom series"), Edgar Rice Burroughs (the novels - not necessarily the movie; in some ways, this series comes across as a prototype for Lovecraft's Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath without the overt Yog-Sothothry, mashed-up with a strange prototype for Star Wars uninformed by Dune, filtered through a haze of Dungeons & Dragons dungeon-delving and adventuring weirdness uninformed by Tolkien, with psychic powers and "fifth ray" pseudo-science replacing magic.  Can be deconstructed easily into a sort of pulp Dreamlands, for those groups that like a bit of hack-and-slash in their RPGs....)

 

Day of the Triffids, John Wyndham (the novel as well as the 1960s film and BBC serials; portrays a Cold War world blinded by strange radiation from space possibly originating with meteors or from space-based super-weapons, and haunted by hordes of walking, talking, quasi-intelligent carnivorous plants with mysterious origins; most of the conflict comes from the various dystopic societies that spring up from the post-apocalyptic ruins; comes across as a somewhat weirder variation on the old "zombie apocalypse" theme, while pre-dating Night of the Living Dead...)

 

The Midwich Cuckoos, John Wyndham (the novel, and the 1960s film version Village of the Damned; describes a small rural village whose population falls unconscious, and awakens to find every fertile woman pregnant with sinister children who are apparently part alien, or possibly an evolutionary aberration, and gifted with terrifying powers; parallels many of the usual Lovecraft tropes without using any of his "mythos", opting instead for a more modern and clinical tone, and comes across perhaps even more coldly nightmarish for it.)

 

Gulliver's Travels, Jonathan Swift (thanks to many bowdlerized film adaptations and parodies and third-hand cultural references, almost everyone is familiar to the first part of the novel, about the tiny Lilliputians, and many people are familiar with the subsequent part about Gulliver's journey to a land of giants, but not many people are familiar with the rest of the novel, describing the increasingly disillusioned, bitter, and cynical Gulliver's journeys to a series of increasingly bizarre and surreal lands including a flying island powered by anti-gravity peopled with irrational scientist-warriors, an island peopled by immortal liches, and an island ruled by seemingly intelligent animals who keep debased and deformed vaguely-human monsters called "Yahoos" as contemptible beasts of burden; the novel is ultimately a collection of brilliant satires that apply just as well to cultures and counter-cultures anywhere today as they did in 1700s England, and delivers lots of weird content....)

 

 

 

I like and second the suggestion of H.G. Wells - a wealth of great stuff can be found in his work; Jules Verne should have a couple good options, too (in addition to the already-mentioned 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, see Journey to the Center of the Earth, From the Earth to the Moon/Around the Moon, Off on a Comet....)  One could imagine some sort of Gaslight "steam punk" "mythos-light" Call of Cthulhu setting being produced from this material, with Victorian gentlemen-adventurers inventing their way into exploration of strange and exotic locations....

 

The suggestion for Harlan Ellison is excellent, and I'll add Ray Bradbury as well (see The Martian Chronicles, The illustrated Man, Golden Apples of the Sun, Something Wicked This Way Comes, and others....) 

 

The suggestion for William Hope Hodgson is also excellent (the Carnacky "Ghost Finder" stories could make a fine template for non-Mythos CoC scenarios that could continue naturally from the classic CoC scenario "The Haunting"), and I'll also suggest Edgar Allan Poe (the ghoulish "Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar", and the weird adventures "Descent Into the Maelstrom" and "MS. Found in a Bottle"), Lord Dunsany (Beyond the Fields We Know, a small collection of Dreamlands stories that were a very direct influence on Lovecraft's stories, though without "mythos" references), R.W. Chambers (The King in Yellow, which comes across today like a feverish alternate history fiction with elements of horror and fantasy), Arthur Machen (The Great God Pan, The White People, The Three Impostors, "The Red Hand", "The Shining Pyramid", and others detailing Machen's horrific "little people", who are sort of a non-Mythos template for Deep Ones and Ghouls), Algernon Blackwood ("The Willows", "Ancient Sorceries", "The Wendigo", "The Man Whom the Trees Loved", which feature strange explorations into remote wildernesses alive with oppressive nature spirits)....

 

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had more than a couple good science fiction tales that could be adapted nicely into non-Mythos scenarios, too - "The Horror of the Heights" (a story which describes a doomed attempt by an early airplane pilot to explore the "jungles of the upper air" where monstrous horrors wait to spring upon terrified men and snatch them from their fragile aircraft), and the Professor Challenger adventure stories (a wide mix of journeys into primitive lost worlds, threats of planetary disaster, explorations into spiritualism, and tales of bizarre super-science), and perhaps some of Doyle's horror stories.


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#25 Graham

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Posted 08 July 2016 - 01:17 PM

Any collection of short stories by Robert Aickman or Thomas Ligotti are going to contain something that will be useful for scenarios; Ligotti is particularly easy, but Aickman has some amazingly suggestive ideas to work with. 

 

Also,

 

.....

 

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had more than a couple good science fiction tales that could be adapted nicely into non-Mythos scenarios, too - "The Horror of the Heights" (a story which describes a doomed attempt by an early airplane pilot to explore the "jungles of the upper air" where monstrous horrors wait to spring upon terrified men and snatch them from their fragile aircraft), and the Professor Challenger adventure stories (a wide mix of journeys into primitive lost worlds, threats of planetary disaster, explorations into spiritualism, and tales of bizarre super-science), and perhaps some of Doyle's horror stories.

 

Thanks for all the suggestions, I'd forgotten about the Doyle stories.


"If you do good, you'll live forever, if you do bad you'll die hearing a single note for I am the one true sound...", Fragment found in a cult hideout.

#26 Graham

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Posted 09 July 2016 - 03:59 AM

From one of a series of 1920s pulp adventure novels (The usual warnings apply to the easily offended....):

 

 

“Nine individuals, each independent, collectively forming a self-perpetuating board—each known to all the other eight but to no other individual on earth—not known, that is to say, to any other person in the world as being a member of the Nine.”

 

Talbot Mundy, The Nine Unknown, 1923

 

http://gutenberg.net...9/0900641h.html

 

Interestingly this novels concept became very popular amongst the New Age movement, this blog entry by Jason Colavito covers the full history of the 'Nine'

 

http://www.jasoncola...mysterious-nine


"If you do good, you'll live forever, if you do bad you'll die hearing a single note for I am the one true sound...", Fragment found in a cult hideout.

#27 Graham

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Posted 09 July 2016 - 09:39 AM

And another pulpy novel that could be used as the basis again for a Gaslight era campaign from England to Italy and thence to Egypt...

 

Guy Boothby, Pharos the Egyptian, 1899

 

https://gothictexts....by-guy-boothby/


"If you do good, you'll live forever, if you do bad you'll die hearing a single note for I am the one true sound...", Fragment found in a cult hideout.

#28 skaye

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Posted 09 July 2016 - 01:45 PM

One session of my 1890s campaign cribbed from The Maltese Falcon - I'd thought it would be interesting for the players to encounter a less-scrupulous set of investigators. Didn't reckon with the ruthlessness of one Tong-connected player character, though...



#29 yronimoswhateley

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Posted 10 July 2016 - 01:57 AM

I like the sound of that Maltese Falcon scenario!

 

I've messed around with scenarios based on The Great Gatsby and Heart of Darkness before. 

 

I've dabbled in Mythos-flavored Barsoom (John Carter of Mars) material recently, and mentioned that already, but I forgot to mention that Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan and Pallucidor (Earth's Core) novels could probably also be adapted into fine non-Mythos Call of Cthulhu scenarios.

 

Though they wouldn't really count as novels, you could probably put together a few good ideas for monsters and basic plots, if not complete scenarios, from the likes of books of fairy tales, mythology, and even religion (there are some extremely outre creatures and useful plots and themes to be found in your basic King James bible....)  Remember that mythology and folklore provided the original templates for some of Lovecraft's most useful monsters, cults, and other props!


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#30 wombat1

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Posted 10 July 2016 - 02:19 AM

It is claimed that the Knyphausen Hawk owned by the Duke of Devonshire, provided the inspiration for the Maltese Falcon story:

 

http://eyefordesignl...lish-jewel.html

 

I got to see the Dingus of All Dinguses when the Chatsworth collection exhibition passed through the United States some years ago--definitely worth a peep.  I then used the idea of it--a pitcher or container jeweled in a campaign set in the old west in the 1860's.  Instead of having the thing be quite so elaborate, I envisioned it carved out of a single large emerald--"the world's largest emerald' in the 1600s as an effort to cure the last Habsburg King of Spain of, well, being too inbred for his own good.  Unfortunately the dingus was then lost during an uprising of some rather misguided Aztec throw-backs, who made off with it into the wilds of Arizona or New Mexico.  Our heroes, such as they were, then had to track it down (or not, as they carefully avoided anything strenuous like that.)



#31 Graham

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Posted 10 July 2016 - 01:06 PM



It is claimed that the Knyphausen Hawk owned by the Duke of Devonshire, provided the inspiration for the Maltese Falcon story:

 

http://eyefordesignl...lish-jewel.html

 

 

 

Now that is an impressive bird!

 

My latest find, the novel that inspired just about every Mummy film ever made, I think the aftermath of the novels plot would make for a brilliant 'hook'

 


 

It is a haunting tale of American archaeologists in Egypt, who get more than they bargained for when they excavate an ancient tomb and break open a door marked ‘Forbidden’...

 

Charlotte Bryson Taylor, In the Dwellings of the Wilderness, 1904

 

https://gothictexts....-bryson-taylor/


"If you do good, you'll live forever, if you do bad you'll die hearing a single note for I am the one true sound...", Fragment found in a cult hideout.

#32 Graham

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Posted 17 September 2016 - 09:20 AM

Two more novels that might be worth looking at

 

Eye of Ra by Michael Asher, the novel itself is set in 1995 and involves the hunt for a lost oasis in Egypt. While the plot itself is heavily based on 20thC 'flying saucer' lore, many of the details about the hunt for the 'Oasis of Fluttering Birds' (Wikipedia: Zerzura) which takes place in the 1930s could be re-purposed. The first clues as to just where this place can be found were discovered when King Tut's tomb was opened.

 

Brood of the Witch-Queen by Sax Rohmer - A non-Fu Manchu novel and the one generally considered to be the authors best work. Murder and Mayhem with an Egyptian twist. Features a cameo by the 'Book of Thoth'.

 

http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/19706


Edited by Graham, 17 September 2016 - 11:40 AM.

"If you do good, you'll live forever, if you do bad you'll die hearing a single note for I am the one true sound...", Fragment found in a cult hideout.

#33 ReydeAmarillo

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Posted 17 September 2016 - 09:48 AM

Some of the Sherlock Holmes stories are easy conversions (Speckled Band, Devils Foot and Musgrave Ritual).

Others have a good weird cult feel (Five Orange Pips and Dancing Men).

And many others can be mined for atmosphere and situations.

I don't know if he's already been mentioned, but MR James is a personal favourite of mine for real spooky atmosphere and a sense of hopelessness in the face of terror.

And, although I have only ever seen the film, the Devil Rides Out by Dennis Wheatley (for me) is quite Jamesian in atmosphere.

Edited by ReydeAmarillo, 17 September 2016 - 01:11 PM.


#34 Graham

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Posted 18 September 2016 - 06:22 AM

Just revisited the Haunted Library blog and they have changed their web-address. As I cannot edit the post I put the old link in, here is the updated link below:

 

http://hauntedlibrar...logspot.com.au/


"If you do good, you'll live forever, if you do bad you'll die hearing a single note for I am the one true sound...", Fragment found in a cult hideout.

#35 Finn

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Posted 18 September 2016 - 12:05 PM

"Declare" by Tim Powers is hands-down the novel that gives me the greatest impression of utterly alien creatures lurking in the background and the way those in the know respond to them.   It follows the life of a man press-ganged into British Intelligence and covers pre-World War 2, through World War 2 and into the Cold War.   It totally eschews tentacled nasties but still conveys an impression of entirely alien power in a way I've never seen equalled.



#36 deuce

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Posted 18 September 2016 - 05:43 PM

"Declare" by Tim Powers is hands-down the novel that gives me the greatest impression of utterly alien creatures lurking in the background and the way those in the know respond to them.   It follows the life of a man press-ganged into British Intelligence and covers pre-World War 2, through World War 2 and into the Cold War.   It totally eschews tentacled nasties but still conveys an impression of entirely alien power in a way I've never seen equalled.

 

I must agree. An excellent novel and an excellent example of "secret history". Powers didn't change one known "fact". He simply slipped around those facts to tell an amazing, disturbing tale. He's a master at that.

 

Anubis Gates also has many possibilities.



#37 Dante7

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Posted 20 September 2016 - 09:26 AM

Anything by William S. Burroughs comes to mind.  The books of his I find most evocative of adventure gaming:  Naked Lunch, Nova Express, and Cities of the Red Night.

 

In fact, someone told me once there was an RPG written in the style of Burroughs and his set, but I've forgotten its name.

 

Would they mean Over the Edge?  That one acknowledges a WSB influence openly.



#38 DavetheLost

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Posted 20 September 2016 - 01:55 PM

Conrad's Heart of Darkness of course.

 

Also Jack London's story The Red One.



#39 GBSteve

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Posted 20 September 2016 - 11:32 PM

Roadside Picnic by the Strugatskys is pretty Lovecraftian, as is Solaris by Lem, if you like your aliens unfathomable.


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#40 Mysterioso

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Posted 04 October 2016 - 12:30 AM

I've just found a blog with a very impressive set of 18th/19th & early 20th C ghost fiction available including the only ghost stories by H. P. Blavatsky....

 

https://gothictexts.wordpress.com/

 

This quotation from Australian (Well at the time he was Victorian...) author Fergus Hume's novella "Professor Brankel's Secret" reveals the potential inherent in HPLs predecessors:

 

 

 

 

And for anyone who needs more information this blog has capsule biographies of several ghost story writers...

 

http://www.grcollia....aunted_library/

 

The Mystery of the Handsom Cab, also by Fergus Hume, truly makes me wish that there was a Gaslight Melbourne setting book.

 

http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/4223

 

I must confess I cheated on this one and watched a DVD found at the library instead of reading it: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2174072/