Recommend
3 
 Thumb up
 Hide
26 Posts
1 , 2  Next »   | 

BoardGameGeek» Forums » Gaming Related » Recommendations

Subject: Cthulhu Mythos - the "right" way to get into it? rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
August Larson
United States
Sandy
Utah
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
So I've always been interested in the Cthulhu Mythos and that whole Lovecraftian world. I've started reading some of Lovecraft's short stories and I really like them! But I was just wondering where I can get most immersed into the Mythos - Call of Cthulhu RPG, LCG, Arkham Horror, etc. I just wanna know where to start. Thanks!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Simon O Keeffe
United States
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I'd suggest going to New England and the Miskatonic University and try and get on a course with a very old professor teaching ancient languages.

Seriously though I always thought the Cthulhu RPG was able to give very good immersion, but that depends hugely on the DM.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
August Larson
United States
Sandy
Utah
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
spokeeffe wrote:
I'd suggest going to New England and the Miskatonic University and try and get on a course with a very old professor teaching ancient languages.

Seriously though I always thought the Cthulhu RPG was able to give very good immersion, but that depends hugely on the DM.


I lived in New York for 2 years, but not sure if that counts, since the farthest I got from NYC was Long Island.

I wonder if I can find people who already play the CoC RPG at a FLGS...
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Edwin Nealley

Ardmore
Pennsylvania
msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmb
Much as I love Arkham Horror, only 'The Dunwich Horror' really gave mankind much hope of driving away the evil of the Great Old Ones of the original books.

I think the followers of Lovecraft, particularly August Derleth, brought in the element of pulp fiction battles against the rising tide of evil.

Consequently, if you want Lovecraftian flavour, and the rising odor of madness, the RPG's are more realistic, again, depending on the GM.

But AH can be terrific fun, if you have the money and time to sink in it.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Rishi A.
United States
Alexandria
Virginia
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I like some of the Mythos board games, but I agree that the RPGs might be a way to get into it. In addition to Call of Cthulhu, you may want to check out Trail of Cthulhu. I think the CoC mechanics feel a little dated.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ayumi Hakase
United States
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Hello!

I teach this stuff, and my students LOVE reading Lovecraft. Here are some links to a solid bio and commentary and a free online archive of his writings.

http://www.themodernword.com/SCRIPTorium/lovecraft.html
Introduction and commentary on the world and the texts

http://www.hplovecraft.com/writings/texts
extensive archive of free, full text short stories

I bought Arkham Horror for my students, and they have a great time. It holds up really well to any number of players, and I've even played it solo. The design, art, themes are excellent.





5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andy Leighton
England
Peterborough
Unspecified
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
colmustard21 wrote:
spokeeffe wrote:
I'd suggest going to New England and the Miskatonic University and try and get on a course with a very old professor teaching ancient languages.

Seriously though I always thought the Cthulhu RPG was able to give very good immersion, but that depends hugely on the DM.


I lived in New York for 2 years, but not sure if that counts, since the farthest I got from NYC was Long Island.

I wonder if I can find people who already play the CoC RPG at a FLGS...


Well in the UK CoC is still very popular. Trail Of Cthulhu also gets played quite a bit. If you are looking for players you can look on yog-sothoth.com
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Byron Campbell
United States
Santa Clarita
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The "right" way to get into the Cthulhu Mythos is, of course, to read Lovecraft. After you have done that, you're free to play any of the games, with the knowledge that what you're going to be playing is wildly different in tone from anything Lovecraft ever wrote. I've heard Mansions of Madness feels the most Lovecraftian of the board games, and others are probably right that an RPG is going to give you the best flavor. But there really is no "right" way to do it; just play the games you want to play!
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
August Larson
United States
Sandy
Utah
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
kittenhoarder wrote:
The "right" way to get into the Cthulhu Mythos is, of course, to read Lovecraft. After you have done that, you're free to play any of the games, with the knowledge that what you're going to be playing is wildly different in tone from anything Lovecraft ever wrote. I've heard Mansions of Madness feels the most Lovecraftian of the board games, and others are probably right that an RPG is going to give you the best flavor. But there really is no "right" way to do it; just play the games you want to play!


I've really been wanting to play the CoC LCG, based on its gameplay, but I also want to get immersed in that universe if I'm playing that game. I didn't want to feel like I was left out of an inside joke when I don't know who Mr. So-and-so from the Miskatonic Univ. is or what the heck a Chiggurath is (that's a thing, right?)

If the RPG will help me understand the Mythos more, then that's something I'd like to play...as soon as I can find someone who already owns it...
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
United States
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I don't think that you're going to get more immersed in Lovecraft's particular brand of horror by playing any game based on his writing. The board and card games, as has been mentioned above, much pulpier. The RPG assumes a unified cosmology which was shoehorned in by later authors.

That's not to say there aren't enjoyable games to be played, just that they tend to use Lovecraft's creatures rather than, say, dragons and goblins, and add mental hit points. There's no creeping dread and feeling of hopelessness inherent in any Lovecraft based game that I've seen.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Aaron Morgan
United States
Sacramento
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
herendil66 wrote:
I think the followers of Lovecraft, particularly August Derleth, brought in the element of pulp fiction battles against the rising tide of evil.

Consequently, if you want Lovecraftian flavour, and the rising odor of madness, the RPG's are more realistic, again, depending on the GM.


The RPGs and board games build almost wholly on Derleth's vision of the mythos.

By all means, though - play them because they're fun. But reading the stories written by HPL will give the best view of the mythos.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jason Farris
United States
Citrus Heights
California
flag msg tools
badge
There is a duck in every game. You may not see it, but it's there.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
alfonzo54 wrote:
I don't think that you're going to get more immersed in Lovecraft's particular brand of horror by playing any game based on his writing. The board and card games, as has been mentioned above, much pulpier. The RPG assumes a unified cosmology which was shoehorned in by later authors.

That's not to say there aren't enjoyable games to be played, just that they tend to use Lovecraft's creatures rather than, say, dragons and goblins, and add mental hit points. There's no creeping dread and feeling of hopelessness inherent in any Lovecraft based game that I've seen.


That would probably cease to be a game then and would be too close to life.

I am going to risk offending purists, but as much as I love the original source, most of his stories were experiences and accounts, not traditional plots. His protagonists were essentially helpless and only witnesses to what occurred. This does not translate well to a game. Otherwise, the GM would just read you a story and you would go home.

On the other hand he also had some stories where characters actively did impact the story. The Call of Cthulhu, The Shadow out of Time, The Shadow over Innsmouth, The Dunwhich Horror, and The Lurking Fear to name a few.

These had a pulp feeling including travels to exotic lands, guns, submarines, torpedoes, and fighting evil in general. I think Call of Cthulhu RPG does an excellent job with this. The Horror on the Orient Express could have been an expanded Lovecraft Story.

Now, I'm going to tell you that I prefer to run CoC as high adventure with creeping horror and some humor, but you can play it entirely straight, and it would be very grim with lots of characters dying in horrible ways. The problem with this is that it is very difficult to just keep ramping up horror and tension across game sessions without having a little bit of relief in between.

I keep hearing how it is dated as an RPG, and it makes me sad as I think it is wonderfully simple with its percentage system. Almost anyone can play, and it has been easier to get people interested than in D&D/Pathfinder (my experience).
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Rishi A.
United States
Alexandria
Virginia
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Smilinbrax wrote:
I keep hearing how it is dated as an RPG, and it makes me sad as I think it is wonderfully simple with its percentage system. Almost anyone can play, and it has been easier to get people interested than in D&D/Pathfinder (my experience).


You'll note that I did call CoC dated, though I recommended Trail of Cthulhu over CoC (and not D&D/Pathfinder). I like D&D, but for completely different reasons. Their approach to RPG design is incompatible with a Mythos game.

I don't want to get too deeply into it, but one of the clunkiest element is the emphasis on skill rolls as opposed to a more narrative method of outcome resolution. From what I've read, the 7th Edition of CoC will include some streamlining of stats and skills, which will be a welcome update. Every good Keeper I've had in CoC has not let the die rolls dictate the adventure but I am not sure that's what the rules intend.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jason Hatton
United States
Westland
Michigan
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb


Aside from playing the games (and reading HPL, of course) I highly recommend the H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast. They've covered all of his stories in a fun, engrossing and highly entertaining way.

www.hppodcraft.com

They've recently finished with all of Lovecraft and will soon be tackling other weird fiction. Just start from the beginning.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
August Larson
United States
Sandy
Utah
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
hattonj wrote:


Aside from playing the games (and reading HPL, of course) I highly recommend the H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast. They've covered all of his stories in a fun, engrossing and highly entertaining way.

www.hppodcraft.com

They've recently finished with all of Lovecraft and will soon be tackling other weird fiction. Just start from the beginning.


Do I listen to that AFTER I've read all of HPL's stories? I've only recently started reading them on Kindle and have finished about 4 stories so far.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mike
United States
Rhode Island
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
There is no right or wrong way to get into it. Do whatever makes you happiest. Whether its playing a RPG, watching a movie/documentary or playing a boardgame.

You've obviously taken the first step by reading his stories which is perfect.

Since you're on this site the boardgames that you should look at are:

Arkham Horror
Mansions of Madness
Elder Sign
Witch of Salem
Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game
The Stars Are Right
Cthulhu Dice
Munchkin Cthulhu

I'm not going to get into which games are good or bad...I just wanted to share some options.

His influence can be felt in mediums beyond books and boardgames. Besides games and books you should look into some movies as well:

The Call of Cthulu
The Whisperer in the Dark
Re-Animator
From Beyond
In the Mouth of Madness
Dagon
The Last Lovecraft: Relic of Cthulu
The Dunwich Horror
Pickman's Muse

Again, I'm not going to get into which ones are good or bad. Just wanted to give you more options for 'getting into' Lovecraft.

Not sure if you're into videogames, but here are some Lovecraftian games to look into:

The Call of Cthulu: Dark Corners of the Earth (XBOX/PC)
Eternal Darkness (Gamecube)
Alone in the Dark (Various)
X-Com 2: Terror from the Deep (PC)
Cthulu Saves the World (Xbox 360)


While you can't visit Miskatonic University, you could certainly visit Providence, Rhode Island. Every October they do an 'International Horror Film Festival' in the city. Part of that includes Lovecraft walking tours where you can visit locations that he was influenced by and wrote about.

Good luck and enjoy the journey!
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
August Larson
United States
Sandy
Utah
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Wow, thanks for all those options, Mike! I have a long (and hopefully horrific) journey ahead of me in exploring all these mediums. Thanks!

I know you didn't want to get into which games are good or bad, but I'm just curious about which is your favorite.

I've been considering getting Cthulhu Saves the World on my iPhone, so now I think I will.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andy Leighton
England
Peterborough
Unspecified
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
colmustard21 wrote:
kittenhoarder wrote:
The "right" way to get into the Cthulhu Mythos is, of course, to read Lovecraft. After you have done that, you're free to play any of the games, with the knowledge that what you're going to be playing is wildly different in tone from anything Lovecraft ever wrote. I've heard Mansions of Madness feels the most Lovecraftian of the board games, and others are probably right that an RPG is going to give you the best flavor. But there really is no "right" way to do it; just play the games you want to play!


I've really been wanting to play the CoC LCG, based on its gameplay, but I also want to get immersed in that universe if I'm playing that game. I didn't want to feel like I was left out of an inside joke when I don't know who Mr. So-and-so from the Miskatonic Univ. is or what the heck a Chiggurath is (that's a thing, right?)


The game (CoC/Trail of Cthulhu) is much better if the players don't know anything. They aren't aware of Miskatonic University or know what any of the monsters are. For most of the adventures (and a lot of the stories) the protagonists aren't aware of Miskatonic University either.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Aaron Morgan
United States
Sacramento
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
hattonj wrote:
They've recently finished with all of Lovecraft and will soon be tackling other weird fiction. Just start from the beginning.


Check out Arthur Machen and Lord Dunsany. Both had a huge influence on Lovecraft.

If you're a comics fan, Mike Mignola's "Hellboy" is one of the best modern examples of the genre.

EDIT: For an awesome collection of Lovecraft's works for e-readers, take a look at http://cthulhuchick.com/free-complete-lovecraft-ebook-nook-k...
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Byron Campbell
United States
Santa Clarita
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
+1 for Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem. While it's not officially in Lovecraft's Mythos, it FEELS more like Lovecraft than pretty much anything else out there. I believe it's the game that convinced me to start reading Lovecraft.

Most Lovecraftian movies are like the board games: they're pulpy, cheesy, and not really a good way to get into the mythos. The best one I've seen was at a Lovecraft film festival last year; it was the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society's version of The Whisperer in Darkness. It's filmed in a retro style that actually goes a long way toward increasing my enjoyment of the film.

For a list of my favorite Lovecraft stories (recommend you read these first), check out:

*At The Mountains of Madness
*The Shadow out of Time
*Shadow Over Innsmouth (duh)
*The Color out of Space
*Dreams In the Witch House

Those are all excellent stories that really set the tone for what you can expect from Lovecraft. Mountains of Madness gets bonus points for featuring references to quite a few of his main mythos creations.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jason Hatton
United States
Westland
Michigan
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
colmustard21 wrote:


Do I listen to that AFTER I've read all of HPL's stories? I've only recently started reading them on Kindle and have finished about 4 stories so far.


I would suggest to read along with them. Since the episodes are all out there already you'll know what's next up (plus they go through them chronologically as they were published) and you can read it before you listen to the corresponding episode. I had already read most of the stories before I found the podcast, but for the ones I hadnt read yet this helped out greatly with the feeling of immersion while listening.

I do sort of envy any one getting into these stories for the first time.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brian Franzman
United States
Tacoma
Washington
flag msg tools
badge
Hey! You don't know where that cursor has been!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
It's already been said, but keep reading the stories. After reading everything you can find by HPL, move on to Robert Bloch, early Ramsey Campbell, don't forget your Poe, perhaps a little Robert E. Howard for fun...

For games, it's really hard to beat Call of Cthulhu (2nd - 6th Edition), though I hear Trail of Cthulhu also works well (better for investigations, but nowhere near as much mythos information). Maybe check out De Profundis to see how it plays out differently from other RPGs. Some have commented that roleplaying games are pulpier than the stories, and I tend to agree, but really it depends on the person running them. While a game like Call of Cthulhu can be done with lots of spells and bullets flying in every scene, the system tends to penalize this style of play with heavy insanity, or grave injury -- both of which can lead to a treadmill of constant new character creation. A wise Keeper knows how to build tension and fear, while reserving combat for only those scenes where it is needed. Disposable heroes give players no reason to become attached to them, whereas the promise of a long, bleak downward spiral of suffering and madness can lead to very interesting roleplaying opportunities.

As for board & card games, to me they tend to gloss over the pure fear reaction so prevalent in the literature, and rely on larger-than-life heroes rather than ordinary people put in extraordinary situations. That said, some of the games have more story to them than others. I like the clunky Mythos CCG because it relies on Lovecraft's original stories, characters, and locales, and makes for a very thematic game in doing so. The lack of a "story" feeling kept me from trying the Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game, as well as the splitting of the Mythos gods and creatures into odd factions I didn't agree with.

While I like playing Arkham Horror on occasion, I really don't think it fits the theme all that well. A race to close mystical gates and fight off godlike beings using magic artifacts sounds much closer to a D&D game than a Lovecraft tale!

I haven't tried them yet, but I think prehaps Mansions of Madness or even Betrayal at House on the Hill might be closer to what you're looking for, if you want a board game.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ian O'Toole
Australia
Queens Park
WA
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
EitherOrlok wrote:
hattonj wrote:
They've recently finished with all of Lovecraft and will soon be tackling other weird fiction. Just start from the beginning.


Check out Arthur Machen and Lord Dunsany. Both had a huge influence on Lovecraft.

If you're a comics fan, Mike Mignola's "Hellboy" is one of the best modern examples of the genre.

EDIT: For an awesome collection of Lovecraft's works for e-readers, take a look at http://cthulhuchick.com/free-complete-lovecraft-ebook-nook-k...



Aurthur Machen's "The Great God Pan" is amazing. Also try Algernon Blackwood (The Willows, John Silence stories) and William Hope Hodgeson (The House on the Borderland, Carnacki the Ghost Finder).

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Robert Carroll
United States
Joplin
Missouri
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Check out Top 10 Cthulhu Mythos Games
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2  Next »   | 
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.