Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Stars are Wrong

Look. I love Cthulhu and Lovecraft as much as the next gamer.  But I was going through a stack of games today with my oldest and looking at things coming up and decided that I am not seeing anything new.

So can we get a moratorium on Cthulhu for a while.  Five years should be about right.
I was re-reading some Lovecraft between some meetings.  The Tomb, The Picture in the House, and Polaris.  Not a tentacle in the lot.

I think we need a collective break.


Tim Knight said...
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Tim Knight said...

You raise a good point - there's a lot more to Lovecraft than "tentacles", but for many it's an easy (lazy?) shorthand to make the one synonymous with the other.

I think people should simply consider their usage of Lovecraft more carefully.

For me, it's always meant ancient tomes of knowledge man was "not supposed to know" and the insignificance of the protagonists in the face of uncaring cosmic entities (tentacled or otherwise)

Porky said...

I see your point. While we certainly can't tell each other not to enjoy certain things, we can make friendly arguments like this for an overall change in emphasis.

I see this in myself too, a love of comfortable, familiar things - if this kind of thing can be called 'comfortable'. Even beside that though, I'd guess most of us have a passion for new directions, fresh experiments, and we likely each know when the time has come to take a break or move on.

ConanTheOctogenarian said...

You think that's bad? How isn't everyone in the world sick of zombies yet?

Anonymous said...

Right on.

The Picture in the House is among my favorite horror stories and it signifies an entire spectrum of themes that HPL wrote that had zip to do with cosmic horror.

Kaiju said...

What The Acrobatic Flea said.

You make a good point. Although if we can find new things to like about old school "D&D"-style fantasy, then there is much more we can discover about Lovecraftian horror. I agree that it's difficult to maintain the scary level of horror necessary when people have stuffed Cthulhu dolls and plush Cthulhu slippers, but I think that's part of the iconic nature of that style of horror. It taps a nerve somewhere.

We could also go back to HPL's contemporaries like Smith, plus his inspirations like Blackwood and Machen for new insights into that style.

And ditto to what Conan said about zombies.

Good discussion topic!

Rhetorical Gamer said...

Let me also third what Conan said about zombies. I've had enough with zombies...

That said, I find this topic interesting because for me, whenever someone brings up Lovecraft my associations always run to the dream stories and the fantasies. I go back to HPL not for horror inspirations, but for stories like, The Street, the story of Iranon, Sarnath's doom and those things... maybe spending some time with those stories can ease the pain a little?

Timmy Crabcakes said...

In all the games of CoC I've run there's never been a single appearance of Cthulhu and the only tentacles belonged to a perfectly mundane octopus.
Our games had a lot more to do with human monsters and madmen than slimy aliens... but still felt very Lovecraftian, IMO.
RPG players often don't seem to be fans of subtlety though... "Why would there be rules for it if it wasn't meant to be used in the game... a lot?"

scottsz said...

Sounds good.

Less tentacles. More fear, horror, and players realizing that they are less than insects in a vast and very old universe. OK.

Just occurred to me... is Arthur Clarke's 2010 actually 'Lovecraftian'?

Anonymous said...

Lovecraft had distinctive modes of operation from cosmic awe and body horror, to ghostly and psychological or gothic horror ala James and Poe. However, I don't think he was defined by tentacles or dangerous books His dread of the Other and his tendency to Other those unlike himself may have been the most pervasive element of all.