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NyarlathotepScribe

RM308 and The Mysteries of Mesoamerica

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takowagon

Blair is sooooo precious when he gets huffy!

He's like a cute little eldar godling-poo on the ram-page.

:)

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gnarley_bones

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.

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AdamAstonbury
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.

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Necrothesp
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.

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cjbowser

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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Necrothesp

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...

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Mike_N

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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papalazarou
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.

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doccthulhu

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.

 

Doc

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Propnomicon

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.

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Necrothesp

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.

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doccthulhu
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

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Necrothesp
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.

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jasonw1239

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.

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kafka47
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.

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moonbeast
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

 

The book, IMHO, is actually very well written. The content is on par with what a Lovecraft-inspired Wanna-be Ivy League university should be. The tone is moderately serious. The NPCs are all there as we know them and expect them to be (from prior HPL sources).... like Dr. Henry Armitage.

 

No fruity Fighting Cephalopods (that's just a stupid name). They went with a more typical New England mascot: the Badger.

 

The Department of Medieval Metaphysics is a YES and NO inclusion:

 

#1) In the official Listing of Programs and Academic Departments, it does not exist. This is in the section for generating first-time MU students and their majors, stats, etc. It is not a selectable Academic Major or discipline.... such as say... Law, Business, Literature, Nursing, or Medicine.

 

#2) But apparently, there is still a class taught regarding Medieval Metaphysics. The Arab-Turkish-like named professor, Dr. Omar Something is the lone instructor. It's written there that he does teach the class from time to time. Altho since he is nothing more than a visiting professor from Turkey, the Metaphysics studies itself seems transient. It might be there one semester, and then gone the next. And that students such as Asenath Waite are the ilk that have been drawn to such a class. The MM issue could easily be ignored by the Keeper.

 

The rest of the book is good. The campus environs is well-drawn, and even the neighboring streets, shops and businesses are well done. For example, there is a small tiny garage mechanic shop right across the street from University. The students/investigators can have their motorcycles, bicycles, or automobile flat tires fixed there if needed. But then, it's also closed on Sundays. Well... you know... New England Sabbath Day tradition and all that. The little things like that did enhance the overall mood.

 

The description of the Underground Tunnels below the Miskatonic University (and really below most of Arkham) is a valuable element. And the fact that there are secret tunnel entrances in places like..... the Temporary Morgue underneath the University Teaching Hospital (next to the medical school) .... it just harkens back to HPL's brilliant works such as Herbert West the Re-animator. It leaves many possibilities for the Keeper, from ghoul lairs to zombies to necromantic re-animation scenarios.

 

And yes, the cover is misleading. The cover portrays some silliness, and it makes you think that the Miskatonic University sourcebook is going to be Lovecraft Meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

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doccthulhu

For what it's worth, I like the way the Medieval Metaphysics problem was handled, IMHO, of course.

 

I agree, the cover didn't do much for me. And didn't look at all the correct time period.

 

Doc

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AndreasDavour

I think a lot of the newer covers have been a bit cartoon-ish so I try to ignore them and learn a bit about the stuff insides instead, from reviews and such.

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ProfSpender

Actually, Miscatonic University might even be described as scholarly. The authors explains his resoning in speculations from HPL's stories (such as why Armitage is never mentioned again after "The Dunwich Horror"), he is explicit about what he took from Herber, what from Antunes in giving a consitent organisational structure of the university, he includes many established NPCs like Jason Gaspard and Basil Ives. There is more based on Derleth than I really care for, but it is not too intrusive.

Anyway, I myself would probably buy any book that would credit me as one of the co-authors, even if the cover is campy. Especially if the cover is campy.

 

I also rather like the humorous elements of the Cthulhu Mythos and its incarnations, even though Cthulhu's alledged fixation on eating humans is annoying. But after all, they tell us what not to do in the game. ("Your investigator is dead! And insane!") I can't see that CoC books have become worse than they used to be (even though, of course, the early 90s were the Golden Age of RPG books). I wonder if bringing in foreign language products (like Pegasus', obviously) can help shedding light on this matter.

 

Given that is now is in Pagan's hands, how certain is that 2008 release date for MoM?

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Blackmyron
For what it's worth, I like the way the Medieval Metaphysics problem was handled, IMHO, of course.

 

I agree, the cover didn't do much for me. And didn't look at all the correct time period.

 

Doc

??? I thought it was you that originally referred to the coursework in "Medieval Metaphysics". Let me dig out my copy of Arkham Unveiled...

Yep, on p. 62:

"Dr. Shalad is presently teaching a special course in medieval metaphysics, with emphasis on the difficulties of translation from Arabic originals, that numbers Asenath Waite among its most interested students."

The volume was a nice combination of the depictions in Arkham Unveiled and the original Miskatonic University sourcebook, with new material. My only complaint was that the original MU was clearly set in 1920 - not everything has to be set in 1928 in Lovecraft Country...

The first Chaosium product I bought was the Miskatonic University Graduation Kit back in 1989. I never considered it to be a "canonical" work in the sense of the larger RPG, although I was glad to see the recent Miskatonic University sourcebook did salvage some of the non-silly bits from it. Compared to some of the Mythos fiction out at the time it was downright staid. If anything, I've found that CoC has been more faithful in its depictions of HPL's Mythos in the overall sense, IMHO - although that may be more due to the influence of a few key individuals than anything else...

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Cthulhus_voicemail

I would just like to say that the Miskatonic University sourcebook made me look at my own campus a little bit differently...that twisted pine we so affectionately call the Seuss Spruce looks rather a lot like a tentacle...

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trancejeremy

While I really don't like the Cthulhu plush dolls and silly stuff, I think that the Mythos, even just HPL's stuff, just isn't that serious sometimes.

 

I mean, you have a lot of inside references to his friends. Like him and Robert Blake killing off each other. References to Clark Ashton Smith like he's famous and then to him as "Klarkash-Ton".

 

But beyond that, the real trouble is Cthulhu himself. He's just not very scary. He's basically a squid-headed Kaiju (ie, big monster like Godzilla).

 

There is genuinely creepy stuff in some mythos stories - The Dunwich Horror with Yog-Sothoth's spawn; At the Mountains of Madness with the shoggoths.

 

But at the same time, I think the game made some entities more sinister than portrayed in Lovecraft. The Yithians seem fairly benign, just curious more than anything else. The Mi-Go don't seem too troublesome, apparently unwilling to kill a nosey human (just harassing him at first to get him to move away), yet they are major amoral villains in CoC.

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cpt_machine

Well I would say that if you dont like the mythos songs, the comics strips and the plushies then simply dont consume that medium, its called self censorship.

 

I am sorry to say I that I disagree with NyarlathotepScribe on this one, while I understand where your coming from and I respect you opnion, I dont agree with it. I feel that if you were to take the vanilla work of HPL then anything beyond that detracts from the horror he wrote about. Considering the Call of Cthulhu game, its has always been the subject of jokes in gaming circles, from the comics in the back (I thik that was 4th or 5th edition) to the constant table chatter of burning books, walking into rooms with your eyes closed and going insane in fresh and amusing ways. The sattire of the mythos (plushies, songs, comics, etc...) is just a development of that mindset, there is a market out there or people wouldnt make this stuff. I personally love it, you have to make fun of what your affaid of to make it consumeable...

 

As for you decision to end productions of your works, I have no issue with that, it'll be a shame to miss out of them, I for one had not heard about these items until this news popped up so I realise I may be out of the loop somewhat. However I dont agree with is some of the people on here who are suddenlly anti-satire when some of them comsume this medium as much as the rest of us because NyarlathotepScribe doesnt like it.

 

Well I better stop before I offend someone...

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justadame

I'll certainly look out for Mysteries of Mesoamerica, when it comes out.

 

What time period is it planned to be set in ? (1920's, 1990's, mix ?)

 

Personally, I would just use the elements of the sourcebooks that fit in with my view of the Mythos, that helps to keep the Players guessing.

 

Mythos creatures can have quite complicated motivations (if the Keeper wants) and don't have to automatically attempt to kill/eat the PC's..........

 

Wasn't the insignificance of Humanity a key theme in HPL's writing ? So, some Mythos beasties would be inclined to just ignore the puny PC's rather than waste time on them.

 

Who would believe their wild tales anyway ?

 

:lol:

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doccthulhu
??? I thought it was you that originally referred to the coursework in "Medieval Metaphysics". Let me dig out my copy of Arkham Unveiled...

Yep, on p. 62:

"Dr. Shalad is presently teaching a special course in medieval metaphysics, with emphasis on the difficulties of translation from Arabic originals, that numbers Asenath Waite among its most interested students."

 

:oops:

 

Well, there's old age for you. At least I didn't embarass myself by saying it sucked. :)

 

Doc

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