Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from September, 2016

At the Mountains of Harrogate - #TrailOfCthulhu

Okay this is not strictly a gaming post but it will I'm sure be of interest to some gamers.   HP Lovecraft's "At the Mountains of Madness" has been turned into a play and I went to see it last night at the Studio Theatre in Harrogate.

It was the last performance in Harrogate but I know it's also been performed in other venues and will continue to be:  The production company's website is Here

The play is a one-actor piece, with Royal Shakespeare Company actor and RADA lecturer Tim Hardy delivering a bravura and strung out performance as a desperate William Dyer pleading with his fellow scientists not to repeat his mistake and carry out an exploration of the heart of Antarctica.  He reluctantly recounts the tale, aided by radio-broadcast flashbacks of the voices of the other members of his team and incredible lighting and audio effects.

The piece was dramatic, compelling and very true to the original tale and I really recommend that anyone who gets a chance to …

Commonplace Cullen - #TrailOfCthulhu #FearItself #Esoterrorists

A friend of mine shared the following humorous graphic on Liber Faciem recently:


And there is more than a modicum of truth to it. I've recently taken to jotting down simple ideas as they occur to me using the web tool Trello as a scratchpad (though anything would work of course) because I know full well that if I wait till I actually have some time to myself the ideas will all have run together like coloured plasticine and their bright hues lost in the murky brown average of "Uhhhh what now..."

My list was originally going to be a list of potential story seeds for my Trail of Cthulhu campaign but having taken the time to review them I think that some may be more suited to one-shots of a Fear Itself nature or possibly (in one particular case) an Esoterrorists investigation.

I'll probably get round to fleshing out one or more of these at some point and figured that if I post them here it will provide a spur in my side to actually get on and do it, and there's also …

HP Lovecraft and the Opera Ghost #TrailOfCthulhu

I came across something today that puzzled me at first and then intrigued me.

I found this essay online - "The Horror on the Wall" by ST Joshi about Lovecraft's opinion of movies, and in it was a passage about a favourite of mine which I am glad to hear that Lovecraft also rated highly - the Phantom of the Opera, starring Lon Chaney (in my opinion one of the finest actors who has ever brought his art to the screen.  That is only my opinion but you are entitled to disagree and that's fine as long as you don't mind your opinion being held in justified contempt by right thinking folks).

Lovecraft saw Phantom in 1925 and wrote this:
 ". . . what a spectacle it was!! It was about a *presence* haunting the great Paris opera house . . . but developed so slowly that I actually fell asleep several times during the first part. Then the second part began--horror lifted its grisly visage--& I could not have been made drowsy by all the opiates under heaven! Ugh!!! Th…

Found Carcosa #TrailOfCthulhu

I’ve been plundering the themes and flavours of Chambers’ work recently but today for the first time I came across this little gem.
The Carcosa mansion, built in 1896 to 1897 was intended as the residence of the British High Commissioner in Malaya.  It’s now a luxury hotel though given the antecedents of the name I suspect that the much vaunted Hotel California would be a safer place to visit.
The name was taken straight out of Chambers’ work as Sir Frank Swettenham, the aforementioned High Commissioner, explained:
To the Editor of “British Malaya” [British Malaya, May 1936] SIR, In the April magazine your correspondent in Malaya asks me, in courteous terms, to tell him why I gave the name “Carcosa” to the house that was designed and built for me at Kuala Lumpur by the late Mr. C.E. Spooner, assisted by Mr. A.B. Hubback – as he was in those days – and I have no objection to answer the question even though the simple truth may spoil a number of excellent stories. When this house was finis…

Rolling out the rules #NightsBlackAgents

I've been running a Night's Black Agents campaign for a while now, the Pelgrane game of elite spies versus vampires and the rules, the ideas for structuring campaigns and the atmosphere have all combined into being one of the most involving and exciting games I've played in a gaming career that goes back far longer than I am comfortable admitting.



For most of those years of gaming I've been pretty emphatically anti-crunch.  I've played with players, lovely each one of them, that fall everywhere on the spectrum from "pure story" to "pure number crunching" but I've always been biased toward the former end.   Consequently I've tended to favour systems that are light on mechanics and that de-emphasise combat detail in favour of narrative immediacy.

However in Night's Black Agents the details actually do their damned job and make the game more exciting.   The core mechanics of the Gumshoe system are simple enough to make intuitive sense …