Booker Hooker
United States
Tennessee
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb

Can anyone suggest some Lovecraft novels that I can read to give me some background on the storyline that inspired games like Arkham Horror and Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game?
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nick Bah Doo
Netherlands
flag msg tools
badge
Stop touching me!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I recently finished Call of Cthulhu as my first, but I don't think they're really chronological. Might need a Lovecraftian expert to confirm this though.

Some links:

Wikipedia
The Official Cthulhu Mythos FAQ
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
kSwingrÜber
United States
Ridgefield
Washington
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb

I dunno anything about the games, but you might wanna start with a book full of Lovecraft's short stories. A few of them deal with the Cthulhu mythos. Then if you like his work, you can go for a novel or two...

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Wim Leenaerts
Belgium
Beerse
Antwerp
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Since there are 85 owners of a 'Lovecraft fan'-MB I'd wait some more. At least one of them should notice this thread...
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/microbadge/3516
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Wim Leenaerts
Belgium
Beerse
Antwerp
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Since there are 85 owners of a 'Lovecraft fan'-MB I'd wait some more. At least one of them should notice this thread...
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/microbadge/3516
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Daniel Danzer
Germany
Stuttgart
southwest
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
You know, we have an "off Topic" fourm here? This is "General Gaming".

Regarding Lovecraft you can also join "Religion, Sex, Politics", too, if you want too.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Justus Pendleton
Australia
Sydney
NSW
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Lovecraft wasn't really a novel-writer. The vast majority of his work are short stories:

http://www.gutenberg.net.au/ebooks06/0600031.txt
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sven
Germany
Frankfurt am Main
Hessen
flag msg tools
badge
We will move from victims to survivors and conquer as we go.
Avatar
mbmb
Just about any collection of HPLs works will do as an introduction. I think there is a nice and cheap paperback from Penguin books.
"The Call of Chtulhu" is of course the halmark of Lovecraft's writing. But "Dreams in the Witch House" and "Shadow over Innsmouth" are also excellent. All of these will give you some insight into certain encounters that you will find in Arkham Horror.

Concerning the background of Arkham Horror (and propably also the CoC LCG ), you have to know, that much of the background is not just taken form HPLs writing, but also from those of other Mythos-writers and from the CoC Roleplaying Game.
So no matter how much reading you do on HPL - some references are to adventrues from the Roleplaying Game and can't be understood unless you played that. (It drove me up the walls, that I couldn't find out, where the Silver Twilight Lodge comes from...)
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Donny Van Zandt
United States
Baltimore
Maryland
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
They are pretty much all short stories man--you can get the three Penguin collections and own nearly everything:
The Thing on the Doorstep and Other Weird Stories
The Call of Cthulhu
The Dreams in the Witch House and Other Weird Stories

the library of america collection is nice, too--and cheap, and has notes.

or the one called necronomicon looks neat, too.

Besides those, I woudl keep away, his stuff is sort of public domain, and people like to piggyback other authors into his anthologies, which really annoyed me back in the day =)

Also, if you like what you read, check out Robert Howard, lovecraft was a contemporary of his and wrote the preface for some of his collections--

Good luck--

(edited--added names of the penguin books)

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jens Hoppe
Denmark
Frederiksberg
flag msg tools
What are you, like 80?
badge
It's not the years, honey, it's the mileage.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Scratches wrote:

Can anyone suggest some Lovecraft novels that I can read to give me some background on the storyline that inspired games like Arkham Horror and Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game?


Take a look at this article:

Getting Started With The Cthulhu Mythos
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tomas Syrovatka
Czech Republic
Beroun
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
For me, one of the best and overlooked stories is The Festival.
It's atmospheric, mysterious and dark.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Richard Rutten
Netherlands
Nijmegen
flag msg tools
the spunk plus the bomb plus the pump plus the torture instrument times frankie equalling the bang is an exclusive piece of ZTT exploitation
badge
You don't need eyes to see, you need vision. (mj)
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I recently got this book as a present for my birthday. Pretty much all the well know stories are in there.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Darth Thulhu?
Mexico
Sonora
flag msg tools
|)@r+# +#¿£#¿
badge
mbmbmbmbmb
Scratches wrote:
Can anyone suggest some Lovecraft novels that I can read to give me some background on the storyline that inspired games like Arkham Horror and Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game?


First, download Strange Eons, an Arkham Horror unit-creation program. Googling "Strange Eons Arkham" should make the main site top of page. Once you're in the download site, click through the inset box for plug-ins. The plug-in you want is Ex Libris, which will let Strange Eons display every published word Lovecraft ever wrote, much if not all of which is now public domain. The 1910s stuff isn't necessarily Mythos, but you can see earlier signs of later Mythosisms.

Once you've got it all, it goes fast. Lovecraft generally wrote short stories for pulp fiction magazines. Many stories are only 30 modern pages, and some breeze by in 4. Only a handful are 60+.

Call of Cthulhu is the seminal work. The Dunwich Horror and the Shadow Over Innsmouth sum up what became two whole expansion boards. Beyond that, it's generally one story per famous Mythosism. Shadow Out of Time gives you all you need to know about the Great Race of Yith and the flying polyps. Whisperer in Darkness is one stop shopping for Mi-go, the fungi from Yuggoth. Silver Key introduces the Dreamlands. Haunter of the Dark gives the iconic avatar of Nyarlathotep of the same name, while Dreams in the Witch House gives you the Rat Things, Keziah Mason, and the Black Man. Pickman's Model gives you the ghouls, Doom that Came to Sarnath gives you Bokrug, High House in the Mist gives you, um, the High House in the Mist, and so on.

One point of exception ... his novels, specifically Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath (almost every major dreamlands critter) and At the Mountains of Madness (Elder things and shoggoths). I'd personally save Mountains of Madness for last. It is very much a flagship work. Dream Quest was, for me, very disjointed, but easily half the Other Worlds from the full Arkham set derive from it.

The fiction will include other stuff, proto-Mythos but enjoyable enough. The Alchemist, The Festival, and The Outsider are quick reads, even if only The festival is all that good.

Moving beyond Lovecraft, you've got antecedents, contemporaries, and successors. One antecedent worth pursuing is the King in Yellow, which Lovecraft consciously embraced and emulated. Among contemporaries, you've got more pulpy Yig cults and Hyperborean magi than you can shake a stick at, which will feel more like Conan expansions than Mythos expansions. After that, you get the endless litany of me-too Ancients, from Cthugha to Glaaki to Eihort to Chaugnar to Tsathoggua to Ghatanothoa. Lots of it is filler, some of it is good, all of it can be saved or skipped, IMO.

Enjoy the reading. Mr. Lovecraft was definitely a man of his prejudiced time, but he did a great job of writing smart people unwilling to see what was in front of their noses.
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brad Miller
United States
Seattle
Washington
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Be careful however, as if you do a library search for Lovecraft, you tend to get things that are actually stories by August Derleth, (who was HPL's executor), and are not HPL.

AFAIK, his only novel was At the Mountains of Madness. Everything else is short stories.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Board games addict
United States
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
At the mountains of madness is very good, I would say read that.

Its about 100 pages so more like a long short story. Its not in many of his story collections, you can buy it singly though at Amazon.

Be warned that Lovecraft uses old fashioned language with obscure words and has a distinctive writing style, so it may not be for everyone.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Paul Lilienkamp
United States
St. Louis
Missouri
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
As mentioned, the Penguin editions look to be the easiest way to get started with Lovecraft.

I'll give you a few of my favorites.

For me, I'd suggest, as others have, to start with stories related to settings in the game and with Cthulhu himself:
-- The Call of Cthulhu
-- The Shadow Over Innsmouth
-- The Dunwich Horror

Some other good stories to get a feel for the investigator's plight:
-- The Whisperer in Darkness
-- Dreams in the Witch-House
-- The Haunter of the Dark
-- The Shunned House
-- The Festival

Then there are a variety of short stories that just provide a dark atmosphere. There are enough non-Mythos monsters in AH that they are worth a look:
-- Pickman's Model
-- The Hound
-- The Rats in the Walls (the first HPL story I ever read, and still one of my favorites)

Lovecraft also has a set of Dreamlands stories, which read more like fantasy. Some folks avoid them, and though the Dreamlands is a location in AH and some of the monsters come from it, it doesn't really have the weight in AH that it does in Lovecraft's fiction.
-- The Silver Key
-- The Statement of Randolph Carter
-- The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath

Once you get a feel for Lovecraft you'll find that there are dozens of other writers that have Mythos stories of their own. Some are welcomed by the Lovecraft community and others tend to be ignored. There are a variety of other authors, and they can be a lot harder to track down because their work doesn't get the reprints that Lovecraft does these days. They added various monsters, tomes, locations, and Great Old Ones in their stories. Here's a couple of examples:
-- Ramsey Campbell - Glaaki
-- Brian Lumley - Cthonians
-- Clark Ashton Smith - Tsathoggua

And then you start reading the various collections of Mythos stories, analysis of Lovecraft and Mythos stories, Lovecraft biographies, his letters, etc...

Enjoy.

Fish.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Robert Stetler
United States
Unspecified
Unspecified
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Check your local Barnes & Noble, see if they still have this book still in stock. Basically everything Lovecraft did in one hardback edition for $13. After that, you won't have to worry about which stories you should buy.

The above book was only recently printed, and it got snapped up pretty quick so chances of finding a copy are dwindling fast. But you still might get lucky in finding one (I'd also recommend the Verne and Wells volumes for some more classics on the cheap action). But B&N tend to reprint their 'Essential Writers' books on a regular but often delayed basis, hopefully this one will make the rounds again in the not distant future.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Pete Lane
United States
Golden Valley
Minnesota
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
KGBRadioMoskow wrote:
Check your local Barnes & Noble, see if they still have this book still in stock. Basically everything Lovecraft did in one hardback edition for $13. After that, you won't have to worry about which stories you should buy.

The above book was only recently printed, and it got snapped up pretty quick so chances of finding a copy are dwindling fast. But you still might get lucky in finding one (I'd also recommend the Verne and Wells volumes for some more classics on the cheap action). But B&N tend to reprint their 'Essential Writers' books on a regular but often delayed basis, hopefully this one will make the rounds again in the not distant future.


I would agree wholeheartedly. I bought this myself, read it cover to cover, and enjoyed it incredibly. I don't think you'll find any of the smaller paperback collections that will have all the best stories together. Also keep in mind that much of the Mythos as we celebrate it was inspired by Lovecraft, and continued onward by his friends and fans. In fact, some of the coolest critters in the Mythos don't even appear in Lovecrafts stories. As for the best Mythos tales, that detail the storyline and histories and personalities in greater detail (IMO):

The Call of Cthulhu
The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath
The Shadow over Innsmouth
The Shadow out of Time
At the Mountains of Madness

Otherwise don't pass up Chaosium's "Call Of Cthulhu Fiction" stories which collect some amazing short stories of the friends and fans, as well as the stories that inspired Lovecraft himself. Most have the word "Cycle" in the title, and are great reads.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brett Hudoba
United States
Bloomington
Minnesota
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Crazy...I was considering posting this exact same subject a couple days ago and hadn't gotten around to it yet.

Merely coincidence? goo

Great advice from all--thanks!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
United States
Tucson
Arizona
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I was able to check out the following books from my local library. I think they include all his fiction, including some unfinished stuff.

The Best of H. P. Lovecraft: Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre
(Read this one first. As the title says, it's a "best of". It doesn't have At the Mountains of Madness or the larger Dream Cycle stories. But everything in it is stellar. Included are Call of Cthulhu, Dunwich Horror, Shadow Over Innsmouth, The Colour Out of Space.)

Dreams of Terror and Death: The Dream Cycle of H. P. Lovecraft
(This one contains all of his Dream Cycle stories including some repeats from the previous book. These stories have a completely different feel than your typcial Lovecraft. Some even have happy endings.)

The Transition of H. P. Lovecraft: The Road to Madness
(This is a collection of leftovers that didn't make it into the other two volumes and includes all his weaker stories. By the end it picks up with a few classics like The Shunned House and At the Mountains of Madness.)

These three books are readily available. I didn't even have to buy them, I just checked them out from the library.

I've tried to read some of the Mythos stories by other authors and was not impressed.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ed Sherman
United States
Colorado Springs
Colorado
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmb
I have the Barnes and Noble book and while hard to get (check BN.com for availability in your area -- that's how I found my copy) it's really nice. I also picked up the Penguin books so I can take something with me.

If I can also suggest a different format: go here -- http://www.cthulhulives.org/toc.html

Their "Dark Adventure Radio Theatre" has full-length dramatizations of four of his best-known stories. I've listened to Dunwich Horror and Shadow Over Innsmouth and they are excellent. It's done like an old-time radio show which really makes it extra fun.

You can get them on MP3 for cheap or the CD versions (which are stuffed with fun props related to the stories).
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Johan L
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Windopaene wrote:
AFAIK, his only novel was At the Mountains of Madness. Everything else is short stories.


'The Case of Charles Dexter Ward' comes to mind as being a novel rather than a short story, and a good one at that if my memory from reading it 20+ years ago is anything to go by.

A quick Google later, and it turns out it's available here:
http://www.dagonbytes.com/thelibrary/lovecraft/thecaseofchar...
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.