Jump to content
Graham

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

Recommended Posts

Graham

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.â€

 

Talbot Mundy, The Nine Unknown, 1923

 

http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks09/0900641h.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.jasoncolavito.com/blog/review-of-ancient-aliens-s11e08-the-mysterious-nine

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
skaye

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...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
yronimoswhateley

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!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
wombat1

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

 

http://eyefordesignlfd.blogspot.com/2013/03/chatsworth-housean-english-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.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Graham

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

 

http://eyefordesignlfd.blogspot.com/2013/03/chatsworth-housean-english-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.wordpress.com/2013/07/29/in-the-dwellings-of-the-wilderness-1904-by-c-bryson-taylor/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Graham

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ReydeAmarillo

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Finn

"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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
deuce

"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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Dante7

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DavetheLost

Conrad's Heart of Darkness of course.

 

Also Jack London's story The Red One.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
GBSteve

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mysterioso

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.com/the_haunted_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/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mojojojo

The Last and First Men, Odd John, and Star Maker (all by Olaf Stapledon) as they deal with future evolution, superhumans and life on other worlds (in that order)


Also Floating Dragon by Peter Straub https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Floating_Dragon

gideon.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Graham

Conrad's Heart of Darkness of course.

 

Also Jack London's story The Red One.

 

Jason Colavito has The Red One up on his site, it is well worth looking at.

 

http://www.jasoncolavito.com/the-red-one.html

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Graham

Algernon Blackwood was an author Lovecraft admired. 'The Human Chord' describes an attempt to tamper with things best left untouched, the results are as always not as the experimenter wanted:

 

http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/11988

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Lisa

From Graham's post:

 

Daniel Easterman, The Ninth Buddha, 1988

 

Plot summary: The year is 1920, the young son of a former British Intelligence agent who spent the whole of WWI in India is kidnapped by those who see him as fulfilling a prophecy. The quest to recover him goes from Britain to India, Tibet  and Mongolia.

 

The novel is very dark in tone, and the quest could be very easily recast in Lovecraftian terms.

 

[No idea why the blockquote didn't come out right]

 

Just finished the book. Yeah, it's very dark.

Still trying to figure out why I didn't like it -- e.g., was it me, the writing, or it just not being the eighties anymore?

 

Either way, that plot can totally be recast, and a lot of the background information in it was familiar to me because of Trail and Call material. I'm trying to figure out how to use it for my Kerberos Club game (currently in nominal 1860 which is more like about 1856 or 1857...), and I suspect I will be greatly aided by the fact that most of the players won't have done a lot of research about the period... maybe they won't have, anyway...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thekinginpurple

You could probably use Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Graham

You could probably use Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness?

 

Or H.R.F. Keating's last novel (Written circa 1987, published as an audiobook in late 2016, will be out as an ebook/paperback sometime in 2017), if the information is correct it was inspired and takes it's title ('A Kind of Light') from Conrad's legendary short story.

 

http://www.endeavourpress.com/hrf-keatings-undiscovered-novel/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JMG

This is more a source of sources, but the Old Solar System website at http://www.solarsystemheritage.com/ is the best guide to the pulp-era solar system, back when Mars had canals, Venus was a jungle world and Mercury had an inhabitable Twilight Belt. Lovecraft's fiction is set in that imaginary space -- see "In the Walls of Eryx" for a classic tale of Venus by Lovecraft himself -- and Clark Ashton Smith even more so. Weaving that outer-space dimension into a pulp-era story makes for seriously cool plot twists in a game: the investigators pass through an uncanny glowing portal, and oops! They're in the deserts of Mars, with a long adventure ahead of them before they finally make their way home again...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Graham

This is more a source of sources, but the Old Solar System website at http://www.solarsystemheritage.com/ is the best guide to the pulp-era solar system, back when Mars had canals, Venus was a jungle world and Mercury had an inhabitable Twilight Belt. Lovecraft's fiction is set in that imaginary space -- see "In the Walls of Eryx" for a classic tale of Venus by Lovecraft himself -- and Clark Ashton Smith even more so. Weaving that outer-space dimension into a pulp-era story makes for seriously cool plot twists in a game: the investigators pass through an uncanny glowing portal, and oops! They're in the deserts of Mars, with a long adventure ahead of them before they finally make their way home again...

 

That is a very nice find.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
yronimoswhateley

Agreed - that's a fantastic find, JMG!

 

I'd gotten interested in that sort of thing lately while working out a "Lovecraftian" Mars and Martian Dreamland based on the sort of Percival Lowell-inspired dying Mars that seems to run through the work of H.G. Wells, Edgard Rice Burroughs, Clark Ashton Smith, Ray Bradbury, and so many other writers, and I've been planning to look into the Jungle Venus and other worlds as well, so this is the perfect resource at exactly the right time for me!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.