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[Reborn] Dateline: Lovecraft, System-Independent 1920s Newspaper Resource

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dce

YSDC folks who like using period (1920s-style) newspaper props to inspire or enhance their games of Lovecraftian dread, might be interested in a new product released yesterday by we mad cultists at Cthulhu Reborn.

1488869835_DatelineLovecraft1Guidebook(sml).jpg.84a333fb66a0bf96582f4654899427b7.jpg

 

Dateline: Lovecraft is a system-independent prop resource which provides a huge Arkham-related newspaper prop for you to carve up and use to dream up some adventures of your own, or to add depth to your depiction of the Miskatonic Valley, or to drop clues into random published scenarios. It's a commercial (i.e., non-free) PDF package, available from RPGNow or DrivethruRPG

 

There is a lengthy description of what's included in the package over on the Cthulhu Reborn blog, but in a nutshell what you get is:

  • a PDF of an entire issue of the Arkham Advertiser, whose period-authentic broadsheet-sized-pages (each about 6 x Letter/A4) is crammed with news, editorials, advertisements, and everything else you'd expect in a newspaper. Overall there are something like 200 items, making up 40,000 words. That might sound like a surprising amount for a 12-page newspaper, but real-world newspapers from the 1920s were pretty densely packed with information, so we've tried to emulate that as much as possible. Within the articles -- some outwardly mundane, others not so much -- we've dropped a wealth of quirky hooks which could be linked up to inspire new Lovecraftian tales or worked in as clues or background colour to your ongoing Miskatonic Valley campaign.
  • a second 58-page PDF which serves as a kind of Guidebook -- providing some ideas about how to make physical props using the newspaper PDF, how to turn newspaper content into clues or on-ramps for an investigative scenario. This guide also includes an exhaustive set of indices to help you track down any person, place, or telephone number mentioned somewhere in the newspaper text. Additionally the guide has a campaign frame "Inkhounds of the Miskatonic Valley" which suggests a specific style of campaign which puts Arkham's news centre-stage, and an example scenario which demonstrates (one way) of exploiting the pieces of the Dateline: Lovecraft newspaper to good Lovecraftian-RPG-type effect.

 

For some samples of what these PDFs contain, you can check out this preview link for the guidebook (which also shows some captures of the newspaper copy itself). There are also a few pictures of newspaper pages below.

 

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Our vision for Dateline: Lovecraft is for it to be a system-agnostic resource which can equally support any of the numerous RPGs that take inspiration from Lovecraft's creations, and particularly the brooding 1920s/1930s college town of Arkham. We'd also like to be able to support this core product with a range of free supplements which showcase different writers' ideas and/or scenarios which are inspired by, or otherwise linked to, pieces found in the Arkham Advertiser issue which forms the core of the PDF product. To allow for that to happen (and pay writers and artists what they deserve), we've elected to release Dateline: Lovecraft as a commercial product ... but with the pledge that all profits we earn from sales will go towards commissioning free add-ons.

 

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As an example, we have already released one tie-in scenario, "Help Wanted" (written by the talented Jo Kreil, and illustrated by our go-to artist, Reuben Dodd). This 20-page PDF is available right now as a free download from the Cthulhu Reborn blog with game stats for Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition.  A version of this same scenario is also available on RPGNow and DrivethruRPG, but for licensing reasons those versions are system-independent.

 

Jo's scenario is a short investigative piece based entirely in Arkham, exploring a set of dark deeds which centre upon a strange series of "help wanted" advertisements that have been appearing in issues of the Arkham Advertiser. Why do these quirky ads ask for such strangely-specific skills ... and why do the people who reply to them inevitably end up disappearing? And what (if anything) do these strange events have to do with an 18th Century self-styled wizard from Arkham's dark past? As we've done with many of our Convicts-related scenarios, Jo has provided multiple Mythos explanations for the odd goings-on in her scenario, giving the GM options when weaving it into his or her own campaign.

 

We hope that folks here at YSDC will consider taking a look at Dateline: Lovecraft and if they grab a copy and decide they like it, also spread the word to other like-minded folks who might also appreciate this style of product. We have a pipeline of writers we'd love to commission to create more free stuff, but can only afford to do so if the core product sells copies.

 

Enjoy! And may your Arkham tales always make good on HPL's creepy words -- "centuries of dark brooding had given to crumbling, whisper-haunted Arkham a peculiar vulnerability as regards such shadows"

 

 

Dean (from Adelaide)

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dce

YSDCers who have been tempted by Dateline: Lovecraft but haven't yet picked up a copy might be interested to hear that we've decided to discount it by 20% on RPGNow and DrivethruRPG for the whole month of October. The "Halloween Month" is a traditional time to celebrate horror gaming, so we thought it was sorta an appropriate time to put it on sale!

 

 

Dean (from Adelaide)

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dce

A very comprehensive review of Dateline: Lovecraft was posted recently online at http://directorygold.com/a-review-of-the-role-playing-game-supplement-dateline-lovecraft-1-arkham-1928/

 

In this piece, the reviewer meticulously describes all the components that make up the product -- possibly of interest to anyone who is intrigued by the idea of the newspaper prop product but unsure of exactly what one gets when purchasing it.

 

BTW the reviewer is generally very positive about Dateline: Lovecraft but does notice a niggle or two.

 

 

Dean (from Adelaide)

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Graham

That is a good, fair review. I hope the criticisms are taken on board. Anything to improve usability is helpful. I've started a project of reading through the main 'Lovecraft County' scenario collections 'Tales of the Miskatonic Valley', 'Adventures in Arkham Country' & 'Dead Reckonings' to see just what newspaper props they have within.

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dce

A quick heads-up for loyal YSDC-ers. Dateline: Lovecraft will be tomorrow's "Deal of the Day" on DrivethruRPG -- at 50% off normal price for the PDF.

 

If you've been curious about our newspaper-prop-themed product but put off by the price-tag, tomorrow might be your chance to pick it up and give it a spin.

 

BTW: a few people have asked whether Dateline: Lovecraft is linked to any one RPG system -- the answer is no; it's designed to be a resource helpful to anyone who plays Lovecraftian investigative horror games, whatever the system!

 

 

Dean (from Adelaide)

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dce

We are delighted to announce that sales of Dateline: Lovecraft have now hit the point where we can afford to publish an additional (free/PWYW) add-on PDF to augment the Arkham-newspaper campaign resource by adding yet another linked scenario.

 

Our new release is titled "Smoke Green" and is written by the very talented Noah Lloyd (famous for being one half of the sinister-seeds website, Reckoning of the Dead). The free PDF runs to 27 pages; to best use it you should have a handy copy of the Dateline: Lovecraft broadsheet newspaper handy (though doubtless a creative Keeper could, in a pinch, run it without that).

 

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The blurb for Noah's gruesome Arkham-based scenario reads:

 

EXTRA! “Smoke Green” is a short investigative scenario of Cthulhu Mythos horror, set entirely in H.P. Lovecraft’s fictional town of Arkham. When millionaire industrialist Reinhart Laine picked Arkham to be the site of his grand new Tobacco Rolling Factory, few could have predicted the rapid good fortune that his new “Reinhart Cigarettes” would achieve. In a short time, not only were many Arkhamites smoking the new brand of cigarettes — distinguished by their unique green-tinged smoke — but so too were many people in Boston, and cities further afield. The green-smoking cigarettes soon came to be associated with good luck, whether as a result of successful advertising or through anecdotal tales of lucky events befalling Reinhart smokers. The new factory, too, has attracted a great deal of attention, drawing visits from influential industrial moguls and politicians alike.

—♦—

But all is not well at Reinhart Tobacco. When company president Reinhart Laine is found dead in his luxury high-rise office, the Investigators are charged with discreetly looking into the matter. Who could have wanted the wealthy tycoon dead? Were his political affiliations in the bitter race for Arkham’s next Mayor somehow a factor in his death? Or is the closely held “secret recipe” for Reinhart Cigarettes’ distinctive green-smoking tobacco something that a rival company might be willing to kill to find out? Diving into this smoke-filled mystery might just leave the Investigators with questions about who really wields power in the sinuous town of Arkham … and what lengths others would go to to get it.

 

The PDF is available right now as a FREE download from the Cthulhu Reborn blog, complete with all the stat's you would need to run the scenario with the Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition Rules. For those who prefer their scenarios system-neutral (or otherwise have designs to run the scenario with a rule system of their own choosing), such a beast also lurks at RPGNow. The statted version of the PDF is produced under Chaosium's "Fan" license.

 

We really hope that folks that have picked up Dateline: Lovecraft also grab this free/PWYW resource which enhances that product, making it even more of a "pick up and use" resource for running Lovecraftian games in the classic era Arkham. With this scenario we've now put out three full scenarios tied to the Dateline newspaper (one in the core sourcebook and two EXTRAs) -- we would love to produce more of these. As described previously, our funding model is a simple one: every dollar we earn from selling the core product goes back to commissioning free add-ons, allowing us to pay new or established writers to share their horrific visions with the world. Hopefully, if the Dateline: Lovecraft product continues selling well we will be back with more freebies for everyone to enjoy!

 

In the meantime, can I just share the shocking and radical news that ... Smoking is Bad For You (especially when the Cthulhu Mythos gets its claws involved) :)

 

 

Dean (from Adelaide)

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dce

Almost as soon as we released Dateline: Lovecraft as a PDF-product, people began asking us if we ever planned to make physical versions of the prop newspaper and guidebook. The logistics of printing a good-looking vintage broadsheet newspaper are somewhat different to making print books ... but we have found a print partner who can make them at a reasonable price point. Thus -- for a limited time -- we will be selling combo sets which contain the newspaper plus a 100-page softcover book (with the guide contents plus system-neutral scenarios from the Dateline: EXTRAs). Here's a moody photograph of what the contents look like (Art Deco lamp not included :) )

 

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If you want the full details, they are available over on the Cthulhu Reborn blog. The same page also has a contact form where you can express your interest in purchasing one of the combo sets. We are definitely aiming to make these as affordable as we can, but ... international shipping (bleh).

 

BTW: the Dateline: Lovecraft product is entirely system-independent and not licensed by any other publisher. It is intended to be equally useful to folks who want to run Arkham-themed games of Lovecraftian investigative horror using ANY rule set.

 

Thanks,

 

 

Dean (from Adelaide)

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jansilence

Looks very nifty!

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dce
8 hours ago, jansilence said:

Looks very nifty!

 

Thanks -- while the photo did turn out looking great, I am quite thankful there's no photographic evidence of the process of taking the pictures. There were ladders, flashlights, and weird contorted poses all round. Still, it's worth it for the end result :)

 

 

Dean (from Adelaide)

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PoC

Thanks to @dce for sending along a copy.

 

Definitely on the menu for Cthulhu Breakfast Club this month.

 

Dateline Lovecraft newspaper from Cthulhu Reborn.

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dce

Glad to see that the Dateline: Lovecraft pack made it safely halfway around the world :)

 

For anyone else still interested in picking up a copy of this "prototype batch" of physical sets ... we have maybe 15 or so left (after having mailed out quite a lot of packages). If you think you'd like to snap one up, get in touch with us via this page on the Cthulhu Reborn blog.

 

(We are hoping to make more of these later in the 2019, but it probably won't be until mid-year at the earliest).

 

 

Dean (from Adelaide)

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dce

For anyone who has been contemplating grabbing one of the printed Dateline: Lovecraft combo packs ... I wanted to advise that most of the print run is now sold (and shipped to generous supporters around the globe). I think there are about 3 sets left, though, so if you have interest in adding one to your collection the chance is still there ... but probably not for long. Details of how to register your interest can be found here: https://cthulhureborn.wordpress.com/2019/01/22/printed-packs-of-dateline-lovecraft/

 

In other news, several of the sets have now been seen "in the wild" ... like this one that turned up on the breakfast table of Mr Mark Morrison :)

 

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And this one that made life interesting for a local gaming group ...

 

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Dean (from Adelaide)

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