Category: General

Another Lovecraft birthday sale…

Building on yesterdays Happy Birthday Howard post and once again not wanting to sound like an endless advert for the Onebookshop web sites; they are having an amazing Lovecraft birthday sale – for the next twelve days.  The sale includes “mountains of madness” for you and your players so take our advice and “shambler” along and prove what a “fungi” you are by treating yourself to something different.

Here are three recommendations from me for a slightly different Lovecraftian experience.

Firstly, go back to a time where it all began – Primeval Thule with the setting from Sasquatch Game Studio.

Thule“Thule, a primordial land of fierce barbarians, elder horrors, and savage wilderness. In this ancient age, humankind is a young race, newly arisen on a monster-haunted Earth. Cities of cruel splendor lie scattered across the great lands of the north like a handful of gems strewn from a dead thief’s hand.

This is a doomed age, a time of great deeds and inhuman terror destined to be lost and forgotten beneath the numbing cloak of endless winter. But for one glittering moment, Thule lives—and it is a fierce, cruel, splendid, and marvelous moment indeed”.

Available in both D20 and for Savage worlds I personally prefer the latter, there is also a wealth of other Thule material – The best Lovecraftian High Fantasy.

Secondly try a game system different to any other you will have played – Macabre Tales from Spectrum Games.

macabreMacabre Tales is the dominoes-based RPG of Lovecraftian horror that strips out the “contributions” of later authors and focuses solely on what Lovecraft himself created. Spectrum Games, known for accurate emulation of various genres in their products, offers a brand new take on role-playing in the terrifying and abhorrent world of Howard Phillips Lovecraft. Will you emerge from the experience unscathed? Or will your mind snap in the wake of all the hidden abominations that lurk in the shadows, just out of sight of humankind? “

monstersLastly – but by no means least – use the sale as an excuse to pick up a copy of Monsters and Other Childish Things by Arc Dream Publishing (the folk that bring you Delta Green), and then whilst you have your finger on the button add Road Trip, a full-length adventure campaign to go with it.

In Monsters and Other Childish Things, Monsters are real.  You know this because you have one. He’s more fun and way tougher than all the other kids’ monsters. Try not to let him eat your friends.

“Monsters and Other Childish Things is a distressingly fun and funny roleplaying game about kids and the relationship-devouring horrors from beyond time and space who love them. Players take the roles of kids and the vicious monsters who are their best friends in all the world — and the source of all kinds of otherworldly trouble.”

This is a really great game – embrace your inner child – Think Monsters Inc.  but only if the script had been written by Lovecraft when he was having a particularly bleak day…  I love it.

road-tripRoad Trip provides a great campaign for this gem of a game – nine adventures centred around “The Best Summer Vacation Ever …and maybe the last!

“A crazy cult plans to destroy the world — not just a school or the boring grown-up shops at the mall, but the WHOLE WORLD — and it’s up to you to stop them.

Now you and your friends, and your horrible friendly monsters, are taking on the Cult of the Ur-Monster from one end of the United States to the other. You’ll explore creepy amusement parks, dusty tourist traps, and quaint roadside farms in the throes of violent revolution. Also, the land of Oz. “

 

With all that horror abounding in the world how could Howard not have a happy birthday – have fun looking at our recommendations and enjoy the birthday sale.

Happy Birthday Howard

August 20th 1890 Howard Phillips Lovecraft was born and it is fair to say that in his 46 years he managed to change forever the horror genre.  In honor of his memory we once again present our five top tips for doing something Lovecraftian.

1. Play a game of Call Of Cthulhu

Since 1981 people have been playing Chaosium’s Call Of Cthulhu Role Playing Game – it has become the definitive horror RPG, and frankly I can’t think of a better way to spend an evening than deep into a 1920’s setting, battling the horrors of Lovecrafts Mythos.  However the Lovecraftian mythos has spilled over to so much more than the roaring twenties and if you are looking for something a little different then you could do a lot worse than to pick up something from Modiphius’ Achtung Cthulhu range of titles.

AC-trans“In the Achtung! Cthulhu universe, a band of Allied heroes fight the Secret War against the Nazi Black Sun and their rivals Nachtwolfe. Powered with ancient secrets and terrible Mythos allies, Black Sun and Nachtwolfe are on the verge of unleashing terrible weapons upon the Allied forces.”

To celebrate the anniversary of the birth of the master of the macabre, we’re having a Lovecraft Lives sale with a massive 20% discount on all Achtung! Cthulhu titles!

To claim your 20% discount, just the use the code LovecraftLives when you checkout.  You can only use the discount once and the sale lasts for a limited time, so make sure you get in early and celebrate HP Lovecraft’s birthday with a whole new world of adventure!

2. Check out the Cthulhu Mythos PDFs available online

I hate sounding like nothing but an advert for the Onebookshelf marketplaces, but if you like RPG’s then you can’t ignore the fact that they have changed the way we buy our games and have probably done more to keep our industry alive than anyone else.  But that’s a debate for another day, all you need to know is that there is a mountain of material to indulge in related to the Cthulhu Mythos  at DriveThruRPG, DriveThruFiction and DriveThruComics.

3. Lots to see on Cthulhu’Tube

Well actually I mean YouTube, but there are no shortage of really cool Cthulhu Mythos clips to be found.  My favorites are and will probably always be the “Calls For Cthulhu” series.  Check out the available episodes here, or click below to watch my personal favorite – Episode 1.

 

 

4. Watch a movie

For sure there are some awful adaptations of Lovecraft stories into film, but there are also some fantastic ones and more importantly there are some movies that are inspired by and just would not exist if it wasn’t for the influence of Lovecraft’s tales.  My personal favorites are clearly the Reanimator films starring Jeffery Coombes, (see the trailer for the 1985 classic below), but for greater and wider inspiration check out “MIKE DAVIS’ LIST OF RECOMMENDED LOVECRAFTIAN MOVIES” over at The Lovecraft eZine.

 

5. Read a book!

I’m always staggered by my CoC players who actually haven’t read any of Lovecraft’s books.  So treat yourself and read some of his works.  If you have an e-reader (Kindle, Nook etc) then treat yourself for free and visit Cthulhu Chick’s blog and download her fantastic “The Complete Works of H.P. Lovecraft” which contains all of the original stories which Lovecraft wrote as an adult. It begins in 1917 with “The Tomb” and ends in 1935 with his last original work “The Haunter of the Dark”.

It is a great piece of work and to make it available in this way I think is a truly kind spirited thing as I am certain it was no small effort.  If you like it, then you could always consider hitting the button on the page to make a donation.

The Download Stacks

Miskatonic_PDF_dwnldOver the many years that miskatonic.co.uk has been floating around the ether of the web we have shared a goodly number of downloads. Anything from house rules, GM resources, weapons cards, character sheets through to scenarios, pregen character packs and of course our much downloaded Cthulian Charades & Taboo cards.

For the first time we have collected all of the most popular downloads into one place to make them easy to find without having to go through the backlog of posts on the site.  So on the menu bar at the top of this page you will now find a link to the miskatonic.co.uk official Download Stacks.

Have fun with what you find there, all we ask that is that you bear in mind that all of the material is made available free of charge and ask that you respect the rights of the authors and any other attributions contained in the documents.  Furthermore, it is asked that where a banner or other reference to miskatonic.co.uk is included it should be retained.  No material available from miskatonic.co.uk may be sold or used for personal gain.

That’s just about all the legal mumbo jumbo covered, for more you can take a look at our websites legal disclaimer here.

3. 2. 1. And you are back in the room…

Unreal MailThe last six months have been a complete rollercoaster for miskatonic.co.uk. For all sorts of reasons, some personal and some practical, the site has been largely off the air. This is the first time since I registered the domain in 2000 that I haven’t had some kind of regular activity whether that be sharing our own game content, reviewing products or promoting games, books or crowdfunding.

Well what is important is that we are now back online – new server, upgraded databases, spinach, power-ups and no kryptonite to be seen. We also have a backlog of content to get through over the next few months.

So I want to say thank you to everyone who mailed and asked what was happening, why no updates, a special thank you to the people who helped me with the migration of old content from one installation to another and a huge thank you to everyone who continued to visit the site looking at the old content. I always find it a huge lift when someone takes the time to look at an old review or mails me with questions about something that we posted many many moons ago.

Anyway… On with the show.

Regards

Derek.

PDF Piracy – A Roleplayers Rant…

Dear Derek...Yesterday I was somewhat saddened when one of the Kickstarter projects I have backed sent an update out notifying  all backers that someone had publicly posted a copy of the PDF from the project online on a Russian hosted filesharing forum.  Presumably, this was someone who backed the project which made it all the sadder that they  had the appalling lack of respect to just distribute the material in such a way.  This PDF represented a huge effort by its creators and had been produced as a result of the pledges of over a thirteen hundred separate backers, and in this respect I believe that to publicly distribute the material was stealing not only from the publisher but from all of those backers as well.

There were numerous messages of support from backers of the project and the publisher in question dealt with the issue in a professional and pragmatic manner, taking the necessary steps to submit requests to have the materials removed and to ensure that a more secure mechanism is used to distribute subsequent PDF’s to backers.  But, the amount of unnecessary effort this has caused him cannot be underestimated, not to mention any potential revenue losses resulting from the action.

I had to ask myself what the idiot that posted it in this way was looking to achieve? And I’m afraid that the truth is that there were probably two drivers.  The first is, looking at the filesharing site, that it was clear that many people are requesting copies of newly published files and that by contributing they seek to perpetuate the ongoing sharing of future material. But secondly it was clear that it was an act of vanity, a deluded self importance that he was able to rapidly fulfil the request of some other person for this material only a few days after publication, and frankly thats just sad.

We enjoy an incredibly diverse hobby, where, by and large the stranglehold of the bigger companies that threatened to ruin the industry in the late eighties and early nineties has been broken by the power of the internet and the ability for smaller independents to publish high quality materials at reasonable prices.  Where cowd-funding and print on demand technology, tablets and e-readers have transformed the way that many of us will now buy and use our games and resources.

Like many I recognise that the acceptance of an element of filesharing is inevitable, especially if we want to avoid the proliferation of DRM technology which inevitably restricts the devices we can use and the software we need, and in truth if you want to share a PDF with your gaming group, well maybe thats fair game. Who knows one of them might then buy a copy of the physical book if they like it.  But what is really important is that we don’t mindlessly abuse this technological freedom to the detriment of our hobby.  That the wholesale and indiscriminate sharing of files isn’t allowed to proliferate and to subsequently deter and damage independent publishers.

In this case it would have cost a backer of the Kickstarter a whole $15 for the finished PDF (and a bunch of other material as well), and lets face it $15 isn’t going to break the bank for anyone who really wants a copy of a good RPG sourcebook.  Even after the project had finished the same PDF is available on DriveThruRPG for $20 – that’s a little over £12, or slightly under 15 Euros.  When this kind of mindless “piracy”, (a term which I think glorifies the whole business),  is perpetrated it isn’t just the publisher that loses out on a few dollars, its all of us that enjoy the roleplaying games industry that will lose out in the long run.   Actions such as these are truly damaging to smaller independent publishers.

So please – don’t accept materials from filesharing sites, and do report such abuses when you come across them and by so doing, help protect our industry, our hobby and our passion.  Rant over…

Ia! F’tagn!

Derek.