Whats the big deal about Cthulhu? Why do you like the Mythos?


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Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I don't know if this is the best place to put this question but it was the best place i could think of.

I know allot of people here like H. P. Love Craft’s stories. Allot of people love the “Chuthulu Mythos”.

My exposure to the “Chuthulu Mythos” , apart from the D&D then Pathfinder game, has been fairly limited. I have played in a couple of Chuthulu rpg games with friends and I enjoyed myself. I realized I mostly enjoyed myself because I was playing with my friends.

I have been told that I live in “HP Lovecraft” territory……SE Vermont. More specifically Brattleboro VT. A friend has informed me that Lovecraft spent some time in the Brattleboro Retreat. I have also read “The Whisperer in Darkness” which takes place in Brattleboro and Townsend, and mentions the West River. These are places I have some familiarity with.

I am curious. What do people like about the “chuthulu’ mythos? Why should I be interested in it?

Thanks


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I value Lovecraft as a major non-anthropocentric writer. As much as I like the Western canon (and I really do like it), the Western tradition is almost fetishistically anthropocentric. So it's a big deal, and very refreshing, when this enormously influential writer comes along whose work says that humans are not the center of the universe. We're not the best, the most powerful, the most interesting. There might be godlike entities out there, but unlike the deities of most religions they aren't much interested in humans. In fact, they don't necessarily care about us at all.


I never understood the orgasming people have over Lovecraft and his creations. But if what jocundthejolly said, then I can see one good thing about it. Nice that there was someone who didn't make humans be the center of the universe, as I get tired of it. And his description of it is spot on. "Fetishistically anthropocentric". It's my biggest gripe about Pathfinder's world, and I get tired of it so much I am --] [-- that close to removing humans from my campaign world.

But yeah, not sure why so many love the crap out of Lovecraft's work.


Its important to remember that he is the inspiration for many works. He created a mythos that is still referenced today. Public domain helps...

Personally, I'm not a big fan of Call of Cthulhu itself, I much prefer Pickman's Model or Rat's in the Walls.


I like that his gods are utterly indifferent towards their worshipers. They're often inscrutable with unknown agendas. Also, the notion that they predate all religions and are not anthropomorphic appeals to me. Plus, they have neat names.. lol


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For me it's partly just a general love of the whole cosmic-ness of it, and the fact that I like squishy, inhuman monsters. But also, it's the mass of inspiring and intriguing tropes that Lovecraft and his compatriots exploited and evolved to tell the stories, such as left-behind diaries, mysterious books, inhumanly large structures, humans mutated by their hideous associations, etc.


I think there is also nihilism and death worshiping going on as well.. The whole 'Grimdark' of CoC,Warhammer,Kult and other material isn't just 'This is a bad place but maybe we can work on things', instead there is 'There is only war!' with billions dying like flies and the best you can do is eat your gun. It gets tiresome after a while and I just drop it.


Not to forget the aesthetic. Getting back to squirmy and squishy and inhuman, I personally get tired of the standard horned demons and devils of much of Western horror, and appreciate the more abberational based horror of the Mythos.


I think Lovecraft's work is enduring because it stands apart from so much "Pulp Era" fiction where Conan-types cleave all the evil apart with their mighty thews and carry off scantily clad slave girls for debatably consensual sex.

Lovecraft's protagonists were generally flawed intellectuals. They were sometimes brave, but not combat monsters. They faced enemies that could extinguish all of reality, and only "defeated" them through luck, accident, or quick thinking. Rather than destroying monsters and collecting their booty, they often found themselves mad, locked away with the knowledge that they had bought humanity a few precious moments to find it's place in the universe or, more likely, just enjoy some more time before annihilation.

As for it's place in a D&D-style RPG, it is fun to invert the tropes by having the party actually fight a Shoggoth and win. Alternately, it can be played straight to make the usually invincible heros re-evaluate their place in the universe.

They also make for a good "bad guy" when one is needed. In my own campaigns, most of the "evil" people and gods view themselves as acting out of necessity. It is, or should be, hard to slaughter fellow sentients who also think they are trying to make the world a better place. The Elder Things of the Mythos are simply BAD, and fall under the "it's always okay to kill Nazis" category.


I like several things about Lovecraft and his mythos:

--I like his style of writing

--I like that his protagonists generally are not musclebound football stars, but are bookish (I can relate)

--I like the vivid settings he can establish (including the fantastic Dreamworld)

--I like the outre SF/Fantasy elements he dreamt up (so much a departure from what came before him)

--I like the 'slow burn' and 'shuddering, final reveals' he often used

--I like that he can make a story scary without needing to gross out the reader or use crude language

--And as I have always liked mythology, I enjoy the slowly revealed myth cycle he built with his fellow writers


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Don't forget the racism. Lovecraft tends to get a pass on doing things that would get others banned.


Andrea1 wrote:
Don't forget the racism. Lovecraft tends to get a pass on doing things that would get others banned.

It's more that he gets grandfathered in. He was writing in the 20s and 30s when racism was far more acceptable. If he was writing today, in a completely different atmosphere, I doubt he'd be accepted at all.

He also seems as disgusted by "degenerate" whites as by other races. "of the decayed Whately's"
You know, pretty much anyone who wasn't a middle class educated Northern European.


Bruunwald wrote:
Not to forget the aesthetic. Getting back to squirmy and squishy and inhuman, I personally get tired of the standard horned demons and devils of much of Western horror, and appreciate the more abberational based horror of the Mythos.

That's one thing I don't care for. It's all the tentacles and squid/octopus-like things. Also why I never liked the mindflayers from D&D. Kinda glad that they are WotC's property so I don't have to look at them when playing Pathfinder. All those tentacles are like a hentai fan's wet dream.


Adjule wrote:
Bruunwald wrote:
Not to forget the aesthetic. Getting back to squirmy and squishy and inhuman, I personally get tired of the standard horned demons and devils of much of Western horror, and appreciate the more abberational based horror of the Mythos.
That's one thing I don't care for. It's all the tentacles and squid/octopus-like things. Also why I never liked the mindflayers from D&D. Kinda glad that they are WotC's property so I don't have to look at them when playing Pathfinder. All those tentacles are like a hentai fan's wet dream.

The tentacle thing is really just Cthulhu himself and few lesser related things.

Very little else in the mythos draws on squid/octopus.

It's easy to get that impression though.


Adjule wrote:
All those tentacles are like a hentai fan's wet dream.

Was that really necessary? I'm pretty sure Lovecraft doesn't have anything to do with hentai, nor that every hentai is about tentacles...


Completely unrelated. I've read that 'tentacles as porn' was invented as a way to have a 'male member' substitute get past censorship rules. Lovecraft didn't like seafood, so I understand, so anything from the deep would be disgusting to him.


For Lovecraft, things that appeared 'unnatural' or 'degraded' to him (like rotting houses, debased cultists, etc) was fair game to set up a disturbing setting. Makes you wonder how he would have written horror if he were born in the 1970s? Would he have used as a trope the horror of unstoppable diseases (AIDs, Bird Flu)? I do think the nostalgia for better times now lost would still have informed his writing--what's more horrible than losing the things that made your world special while growing up?


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Adjule wrote:
Bruunwald wrote:
Not to forget the aesthetic. Getting back to squirmy and squishy and inhuman, I personally get tired of the standard horned demons and devils of much of Western horror, and appreciate the more abberational based horror of the Mythos.
That's one thing I don't care for. It's all the tentacles and squid/octopus-like things. Also why I never liked the mindflayers from D&D. Kinda glad that they are WotC's property so I don't have to look at them when playing Pathfinder. All those tentacles are like a hentai fan's wet dream.

I really hate how some people just judge anything that exists in a notorious fetish, as existing only to satisfy that fetish.


I just find myself thinking that Lovecraft is somewhat overrated after reading a few of his works.

But yeah, we're in the internet, where some opinions are apparently "wrong" while others are right.

Silver Crusade

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I think Lovecraft created some cool stories that creeped some people out over the years. To some people he's a fantastic writer, to others he's overrated. It's true of any writer.

What captures people's imaginations I suspect is that he was particularly talented with turning a phrase and creating a sense of dread without being truly explicit about the horrors he wrote of.

The Colour Out of Space wrote:


“West of Arkham the hills rise wild, and there are valleys with deep woods that no axe has ever cut. There are dark narrow glens where the trees slope fantastically, and where thin brooklets trickle without ever having caught the glint of sunlight. On the gentle slopes there are farms, ancient and rocky, with squat, moss-coated cottages brooding eternally over old New England secrets in the lee of great ledges; but these are all vacant now, the wide chimneys crumbling and the shingled sides bulging perilously beneath low gambrel roofs.”

As a GM if you describe a scene like that, the players will be immediately put in a most disquieted mood. Very useful.

Furthermore Lovecraft was a contemporary with Robert E Howard (the creator of Conan) and the pair shared ideas. One such idea is that civilization and civility is a temporary phenomenon and the true state of man is barbarism. An idea that is shared by most fantasy RPGs (though you may not realize it) as heroes of the current age explore ruins of bygone ages (evidence that civilizations always fall) and solve so many of their problems with violence.

There's good ideas, and people sometimes fetishize Lovecraft just as the fetishize Tolkien. I say that in the sense that they turn their heroes into idols, ignoring the flaws that those who aren't fans so readily see.

Lovecraft should not be dismissed any more than Tolkien should be dismissed, or any more than any other writer who created enduring works, but they shouldn't be considered sacred either. Some people like the idea of killing Cthulhu, others think that's blasphemy. All that matters is what you and your table enjoys.

It applies to games as much as fiction.

Liberty's Edge

To me, I like the idea that there are things so utterly alien and incomprehensible that our lives are utterly meaningless to them, that there are things man was not meant to know that can drive a man insane if he learns them. But I think Lovecraft's greatest success was in setting the tone without having to have the mythos beings at the forefront, you don't meet Cthulhu in the first chapter, he's not waiting to jump out from under a rock, yet his presence is still felt. Also, his willingness to use sentences and concepts that don't always make sense and his willingness to leave those unexplained.

But all that isn't necessarily to say I care for Lovecraft's work itself because really I don't. I think he's overly wordy and sometimes just wish he'd get to the point. Really, I enjoy other people's takes on his works (including Paizo's) more than I enjoy his works themselves.


One attitude to horror is that things aren't scary when you understand them. A vampire wants to drink your blood, a devil wants to trick you out of your soul. They're just enemies.

Lovecraftian monsters have incomprehensible motives. That's what makes it unsettling. Why is a creature with no face cracking people's skulls open, filling them with worms, and putting their brains in a jar? Your puny brain is too fragile to even imagine what awful things are going on here!


Threeshades wrote:
Adjule wrote:
Bruunwald wrote:
Not to forget the aesthetic. Getting back to squirmy and squishy and inhuman, I personally get tired of the standard horned demons and devils of much of Western horror, and appreciate the more abberational based horror of the Mythos.
That's one thing I don't care for. It's all the tentacles and squid/octopus-like things. Also why I never liked the mindflayers from D&D. Kinda glad that they are WotC's property so I don't have to look at them when playing Pathfinder. All those tentacles are like a hentai fan's wet dream.

I really hate how some people just judge anything that exists in a notorious fetish, as existing only to satisfy that fetish.

Did I say it only existed to satisfy that fetish? No. Gotta love how people can't understand that something is a joke when they see it. I was referring to that meme going around.

Every image of Lovecraft's work, and things inspired by him, has contained lots of squid-arms. Cthulhu, Dagon are the only ones I have seen images of. Plus most "far realm" things that are supposed to be scary have a face full of tentacles or tentacles sprouting from everywhere. I don't know what the other "old ones" look like, as no one seems to give a damn about them, only caring about Cthulhu. And I don't really care enough about Lovecraft's mythos to go reading about it.


Re Conan style pulp.... Robert E Howard and HPL were pen pals, they shared a lot of ideas re the Mythos.

Howard wrote a lot of very good Mythos stories HPL.

Unaussprechlichen Kulten (also known as Nameless Cults or the Black Book) is a fictional work of arcane literature in the Cthulhu Mythos. The book first appeared in Robert E. Howard's short stories "The Children of the Night" (1931) and "The Black Stone" (1931) as Nameless Cults. Like the Necronomicon, it was later mentioned in several stories by H. P. Lovecraft.

But if you want to start reading HPL start with Rats in the Walls.


DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:

I think Lovecraft created some cool stories that creeped some people out over the years. To some people he's a fantastic writer, to others he's overrated. It's true of any writer.

What captures people's imaginations I suspect is that he was particularly talented with turning a phrase and creating a sense of dread without being truly explicit about the horrors he wrote of.

I think that's exactly what draws people to Lovecraft. Even though many can see he wasn't the most technically skilled writer, his works are still appealing because they can see how the kind of horror he was writing was different and it captures people's imaginiations.

DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
Lovecraft should not be dismissed any more than Tolkien should be dismissed, or any more than any other writer who created enduring works, but they shouldn't be considered sacred either. Some people like the idea of killing Cthulhu, others think that's blasphemy. All that matters is what you and your table enjoys.

While I agree that what your table enjoys is what matters most, I would argue that killing Cthulhu misses the point. One of Cthulhu's core traits is that he's unbeatable. It would be like if you took the Paladin and said that in your game they have no alignment restrictions or code of conduct to follow. Then you've got a class called Paladin but it's fundamentally different from the "Paladin" that other people are using (though perhaps enjoyable in its own right). Similarly, a stat block can be given the name Cthulhu and fighting it might well be fun but at the end of the day you're talking about a very different idea from what most people would consider "Cthulhu"


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Cthulhu got beaten by a steamboat, and it is canon.


Evil Finnish Chaos Beast wrote:
Cthulhu got beaten by a steamboat, and it is canon.

The steamboat allowed the guy to get away from Cthulhu, it didn't kill him. Nothing wrong with running from Cthulhu.


Adjule wrote:
Threeshades wrote:
Adjule wrote:
Bruunwald wrote:
Not to forget the aesthetic. Getting back to squirmy and squishy and inhuman, I personally get tired of the standard horned demons and devils of much of Western horror, and appreciate the more abberational based horror of the Mythos.
That's one thing I don't care for. It's all the tentacles and squid/octopus-like things. Also why I never liked the mindflayers from D&D. Kinda glad that they are WotC's property so I don't have to look at them when playing Pathfinder. All those tentacles are like a hentai fan's wet dream.

I really hate how some people just judge anything that exists in a notorious fetish, as existing only to satisfy that fetish.

Did I say it only existed to satisfy that fetish? No. Gotta love how people can't understand that something is a joke when they see it. I was referring to that meme going around.

Sadly this kind of thing is meant seriously way too often.

"What, you want to play a Kitsune? I'm not going to have you jacking off to your furry fantasies at my table!"

Shadow Lodge

Evil Finnish Chaos Beast wrote:
Cthulhu got beaten by a steamboat, and it is canon.

And everytime Dracula assumed mist form, he was defeated.


Aurumaer wrote:
Evil Finnish Chaos Beast wrote:
Cthulhu got beaten by a steamboat, and it is canon.
The steamboat allowed the guy to get away from Cthulhu, it didn't kill him. Nothing wrong with running from Cthulhu.

I said beaten, not killed. But hey, whatever floats your steamboat.

Shadow Lodge

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I like the alien nature of the entities and their sheer otherworldliness and inhumanity.

I like the bizarreness of his world, how there's just enough to recognize the parts that resemble earth and the rest is completely out in Wackyland.

I like that his main characters are all, bluntly, nerds. Bookish intellectuals, scientists, scholars, etc. A lot of them are socially withdrawn as well.

I like that his stories contain nearly zero romantic subtext, and the little there is is always background information.

I like, as others have stated, the non-anthropocentrism of the stories.

And I just like his writing style. I don't find him wordy, as some said above, because everything he says in his long rambling diatribes tends to interest me and contribute to the story in some way; if I try to just skip to the point, I find I've missed something and have to go back and reread. And the reason I don't mind that is because he's one of the few authors I've encountered who can do that and I enjoy it.

Not for everyone I suppose, but I really like it. That's really all there is to it, in the end.


Adjule wrote:
Every image of Lovecraft's work, and things inspired by him, has contained lots of squid-arms. Cthulhu, Dagon are the only ones I have seen images of. Plus most "far realm" things that are supposed to be scary have a face full of tentacles or tentacles sprouting from everywhere. I don't know what the other "old ones" look like, as no one seems to give a damn about them, only caring about Cthulhu. And I don't really care enough about Lovecraft's mythos to go reading about it.

Plenty of things other than tentacles make it through. Most of his novels don't even have tentacles. I think Derlith had more tentacles than Lovecraft did, if I remember my reading correctly. Lovecraft also wrote Reanimator, Dream quest of Unknown Kadath, Colour out of Space, had a mythos involving the Necronomicon, and several types of ghouls(Pickman's model and Rats in the Walls are my examples of favorite stories by him!) That's a lot of things that show up and don't involve tentacles of any sort.

TV tropes has a few pages about him and cosmic horror, though a few of the tropes are definitely flanderized more often than not when you see them. That's probably why it all seems like tentacles to you. There is definitely far more than tentacles though, and the overuse of tentacles tends to be in comedies.


Threeshades wrote:
Adjule wrote:
Threeshades wrote:
Adjule wrote:
Bruunwald wrote:
Not to forget the aesthetic. Getting back to squirmy and squishy and inhuman, I personally get tired of the standard horned demons and devils of much of Western horror, and appreciate the more abberational based horror of the Mythos.
That's one thing I don't care for. It's all the tentacles and squid/octopus-like things. Also why I never liked the mindflayers from D&D. Kinda glad that they are WotC's property so I don't have to look at them when playing Pathfinder. All those tentacles are like a hentai fan's wet dream.

I really hate how some people just judge anything that exists in a notorious fetish, as existing only to satisfy that fetish.

Did I say it only existed to satisfy that fetish? No. Gotta love how people can't understand that something is a joke when they see it. I was referring to that meme going around.

Sadly this kind of thing is meant seriously way too often.

"What, you want to play a Kitsune? I'm not going to have you jacking off to your furry fantasies at my table!"

Yeah, the "hentai fan's wet dream" part wasn't meant to be serious. And I know all too well the attitude you speak of concerning the kitsune. One reason I have never attempted one. That, and hardly anyone seems to allow them.

And my exposure to the Lovecraft "Old Ones" mythos has been through tv shows that mostly show Cthlulhu, that Dagon movie, the "far realm" stuff from D&D/Pathfinder (including that crappy Lords of Madness 3rd edition book), and World of Warcraft's Old Gods (which is mostly just about their names and the fact they turn people insane).

The Exchange

thejeff wrote:
Adjule wrote:
Bruunwald wrote:
Not to forget the aesthetic. Getting back to squirmy and squishy and inhuman, I personally get tired of the standard horned demons and devils of much of Western horror, and appreciate the more abberational based horror of the Mythos.
That's one thing I don't care for. It's all the tentacles and squid/octopus-like things. Also why I never liked the mindflayers from D&D. Kinda glad that they are WotC's property so I don't have to look at them when playing Pathfinder. All those tentacles are like a hentai fan's wet dream.

The tentacle thing is really just Cthulhu himself and few lesser related things.

Very little else in the mythos draws on squid/octopus.

It's easy to get that impression though.

I actually *just* finished reading "the Dunwhich horror" today, where it is kind of said that tentacles are related to the Great Old Ones - after all, the spawn of Yog Shototh have them a plenty, and so do the shoggoths of the mountains of madness. In the part of the necronomicon revealed in this story, the "frozen city in the pole" and "the tower sunken underwater" are said to be related to old ones. These locations are, of course, Cthulhu's resting place and the city in the mountains. Both are very tentacle centric.

I'm now working through all of Lovecraft's stories, but so far, it seems that tentacles are prevalent.

Silver Crusade

I like Lovecraft, in bits and pieces. His horror is evocative, clearly defined and he gives a sort of dreamlike and genuinely alien feel to things. Admittedly my favorites are Color Out of Space, The Festival and Shadow Out of Time, but thats because they're both more creepy and more paranormal, as opposed to so many other Lovecraft stories that are just 'I saw something weird, and I passed out.'

Admittedly the Festival falls prey to Lovecraft's general inability to get his narrators out of the situations where they encounter the weird stuff. You can set your watch by the 'and then I swooned' that ends almost all the stories, having the characters wake up to normalcy be it in a hospital, surrounded by the police or what not. It ties in with the general ethic of them being nightmares, I think.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
ElyasRavenwood wrote:

I don't know if this is the best place to put this question but it was the best place i could think of.

I know allot of people here like H. P. Love Craft’s stories. Allot of people love the “Chuthulu Mythos”.

My exposure to the “Chuthulu Mythos” , apart from the D&D then Pathfinder game, has been fairly limited. I have played in a couple of Chuthulu rpg games with friends and I enjoyed myself. I realized I mostly enjoyed myself because I was playing with my friends.

I have been told that I live in “HP Lovecraft” territory……SE Vermont. More specifically Brattleboro VT. A friend has informed me that Lovecraft spent some time in the Brattleboro Retreat. I have also read “The Whisperer in Darkness” which takes place in Brattleboro and Townsend, and mentions the West River. These are places I have some familiarity with.

I am curious. What do people like about the “chuthulu’ mythos? Why should I be interested in it?

Thanks

Until you actually read the stories themselves, the actual source material, then you won't understand. Lovecraft is essentially the Tolkien of the Gothic Horror genre. He's the inspiration of a bunch of other great names of the period and afterward, and he still inspires today.

But unless you actually read some of his work, you won't be able to understand why.


I would say Lovecraft has probably defined the horror genre even more than Tolkien has defined the fantasy. Lovecraft encouraged collaborative story-telling and conversed regularly with his fans, including offering critiques on their works and referencing there stories in his own works. You have to look pretty hard to find horror and dark fantasy authors who haven't been inspired or used elements of Mythos stories in their fiction.

The above has also meant Lovecraft's creations have stayed more in the public eye than most of his contemporaries. Practically every few years we get new thick anthologies with novel treatments of Lovecraft's creations. Can't say the same for Burroughs or Robert E. Howard.

In contrast most of the Tolkien imitators seem to have been imitations that occurred after his death, and seem less like homages and more like rip-offs (not that there are not plenty of really badly done mythos stories).


also if you do decide to read Lovecraft for the first time...

Do so in small doses. I really enjoy his short fiction, but I will admit his writing style can get repetitive. I can't binge on his work like I can on other authors. I would say he is a good writer, but not a terribly diverse one.

Silver Crusade

MMCJawa wrote:

I would say Lovecraft has probably defined the horror genre even more than Tolkien has defined the fantasy. Lovecraft encouraged collaborative story-telling and conversed regularly with his fans, including offering critiques on their works and referencing there stories in his own works. You have to look pretty hard to find horror and dark fantasy authors who haven't been inspired or used elements of Mythos stories in their fiction.

The above has also meant Lovecraft's creations have stayed more in the public eye than most of his contemporaries. Practically every few years we get new thick anthologies with novel treatments of Lovecraft's creations. Can't say the same for Burroughs or Robert E. Howard.

In contrast most of the Tolkien imitators seem to have been imitations that occurred after his death, and seem less like homages and more like rip-offs (not that there are not plenty of really badly done mythos stories).

Well keep in mind the 'mythos' is a collaborative collection from such luminares of Pulp such as Derleth, Howard and Smith.

Tolkien worked with the Inklings, and in addition to his epic he also influenced other works such as the Chronicles of Narnia. Tolkien's work looms heavilly for making such things popular enough that people picked them up.

People were reading horror and invasion narratives in Lovecraft's day. He didn't precisely 'crack open' the genre.

Still, we shouldn't be saying 'hes so cool because he makes x look bad.'

Silver Crusade

MMCJawa wrote:

also if you do decide to read Lovecraft for the first time...

Do so in small doses. I really enjoy his short fiction, but I will admit his writing style can get repetitive. I can't binge on his work like I can on other authors. I would say he is a good writer, but not a terribly diverse one.

I tried to read lovecraft back in the 80's after seeing the chthulu gods written up in the original deities and demigods.

I got really bored about halfway through the book, I guess I was expecting the deep ones to appear and have some final epic battle at r'yleh.

I also fell asleep watching "the dunwich horror", perhaps I'll give it another shot starting with the short stories

The Exchange

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I think Lovecraft resonates because many of the greatest real horrors of the 20th Century are impersonal forces that are unleashed by humans and kill arbitrarily. Probably started with the first use of chemical weapons, but since then we've gone on to immuno-deficiency viruses, nuclear radiation (and weapons), 'random' shootings, and so forth. There's also the dehumanization of 'population management', the increasing tendency for humans to be little cogs in big organizations - whether as a worker, a soldier, a convict, a nursing-home resident: you are a number. When you die another person will be assigned that number and the universe will roll on. The (relatively) sudden discovery that the Universe was unspeakably bigger and older than human holy texts had claimed - and that humanity and Earth are in no way central or significant on this immense scale - is a third source of alienation.

Lovecraft's style of horror gives this sense of reduced significance a prominent place. It's one thing to be killed because somebody wants your stuff, your home, your spouse, or your soul - but being killed without rancor, sometimes without even awareness, because you are a tiny inconvenience provides a sort of ego-shrinking terror. Other forms of horror grant a human death some significance, even if it's just as "Dracula's breakfast on April 12th, 1772."


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DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:

Furthermore, Lovecraft was a contemporary with Robert E Howard (the creator of Conan) and the pair shared ideas. One such idea is that civilization and civility is a temporary phenomenon and the true state of man is barbarism. An idea that is shared by most fantasy RPGs (though you may not realize it) as heroes of the current age explore ruins of bygone ages (evidence that civilizations always fall) and solve so many of their problems with violence.

...

Lovecraft should not be dismissed any more than Tolkien should be dismissed, or any more than any other writer who created enduring works, but they shouldn't be considered sacred either. Some people like the idea of killing Cthulhu, others think that's blasphemy. All that matters is what you and your table enjoys.

It applies to games as much as fiction.

I'm still looking for a game where I can punch Cthulhu right in his ugly, Zoidberg-like face with a space Jaeger.

>:)

Shadow Lodge

3 people marked this as a favorite.
LazarX wrote:
Until you actually read the stories themselves, the actual source material, then you won't understand. Lovecraft is essentially the Tolkien of the Gothic Horror genre. He's the inspiration of a bunch of other great names of the period and afterward, and he still inspires today.

I wouldn't really say that he inspired Gothic horror, that was Poe. But Lovecraft is definitively the father of cosmic horror (with Machen and Blackwood as the grandfathers).

EDIT: I'd also like to add that Poe didn't really create Gothic horror or even popularize it, he essentially revived it.

Shadow Lodge

Reshar wrote:

I'm still looking for a game where I can punch Cthulhu right in his ugly, Zoidberg-like face with a space Jaeger.

>:)

You're looking for CthulhuTech.


Kthulhu wrote:
Reshar wrote:

I'm still looking for a game where I can punch Cthulhu right in his ugly, Zoidberg-like face with a space Jaeger.

>:)
You're looking for CthulhuTech.

But from what I've read, CthulhuTech is more like "Cyberpunk 2020 meets Cthulhu". The material had more support for characters like Tagers and personal horror in general.

Overall, the system seems nice. Maybe I should look at it a little more.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
LazarX wrote:
ElyasRavenwood wrote:

I don't know if this is the best place to put this question but it was the best place i could think of.

I know allot of people here like H. P. Love Craft’s stories. Allot of people love the “Chuthulu Mythos”.

My exposure to the “Chuthulu Mythos” , apart from the D&D then Pathfinder game, has been fairly limited. I have played in a couple of Chuthulu rpg games with friends and I enjoyed myself. I realized I mostly enjoyed myself because I was playing with my friends.

I have been told that I live in “HP Lovecraft” territory……SE Vermont. More specifically Brattleboro VT. A friend has informed me that Lovecraft spent some time in the Brattleboro Retreat. I have also read “The Whisperer in Darkness” which takes place in Brattleboro and Townsend, and mentions the West River. These are places I have some familiarity with.

I am curious. What do people like about the “chuthulu’ mythos? Why should I be interested in it?

Thanks

Until you actually read the stories themselves, the actual source material, then you won't understand. Lovecraft is essentially the Tolkien of the Gothic Horror genre. He's the inspiration of a bunch of other great names of the period and afterward, and he still inspires today.

But unless you actually read some of his work, you won't be able to understand why.

Thank you all for your thoughts and opinions. LazarX, you make a good point. Until I have read more short stores then "The Wisperer in the Dark", I wont understand HP Lovecraft's appeal. Lovecraft being the "Tolkien" to horror, as Tolkien was to Fantasy makes sense.

Again thank you for your thoughts, I hope you keep them coming. I am enjoying reading the thread.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

You're quite welcome Ravenwood, but I really can't think of anything further to say beyond what I have said.

If you're looking for a free start, try this Gutenberg Link

The Exchange

1 person marked this as a favorite.

H.P. did a few bits that are more 'voyage of discovery (with creepy bits)' than 'shattering horror' - I like to recommend The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath and At the Mountains of Madness to sort of sample the waters before getting into the more existential-dread stuff.


Hello,
We, well my son really , is new to the Pathfinder game and he is looking for advendture stories but solo adventures stories. Are the Pathfinder Tales that one can purchase from this site solo adventures? I tried to find out this answer by reading about the product as well as reading the help section. I know this is off topic for you but I could not find how to post elsewhere and we looked at this site and messageboard because we live outside Brattleboro. Thanks for any information you may have for us!

ElyasRavenwood wrote:
LazarX wrote:
ElyasRavenwood wrote:

I don't know if this is the best place to put this question but it was the best place i could think of.

I know allot of people here like H. P. Love Craft’s stories. Allot of people love the “Chuthulu Mythos”.

My exposure to the “Chuthulu Mythos” , apart from the D&D then Pathfinder game, has been fairly limited. I have played in a couple of Chuthulu rpg games with friends and I enjoyed myself. I realized I mostly enjoyed myself because I was playing with my friends.

I have been told that I live in “HP Lovecraft” territory……SE Vermont. More specifically Brattleboro VT. A friend has informed me that Lovecraft spent some time in the Brattleboro Retreat. I have also read “The Whisperer in Darkness” which takes place in Brattleboro and Townsend, and mentions the West River. These are places I have some familiarity with.

I am curious. What do people like about the “chuthulu’ mythos? Why should I be interested in it?

Thanks

Until you actually read the stories themselves, the actual source material, then you won't understand. Lovecraft is essentially the Tolkien of the Gothic Horror genre. He's the inspiration of a bunch of other great names of the period and afterward, and he still inspires today.

But unless you actually read some of his work, you won't be able to understand why.

Thank you all for your thoughts and opinions. LazarX, you make a good point. Until I have read more short stores then "The Wisperer in the Dark", I wont understand HP Lovecraft's appeal. Lovecraft being the "Tolkien" to horror, as Tolkien was to Fantasy makes sense.

Again thank you for your thoughts, I hope you keep them coming. I am enjoying reading the thread.


I think also that a number of writers miss the essence of Lovecraft regarding how uncaring the universe and great Old Ones care about us. A number of CoC material I have looked at is slanted towards a 'You pitiful fools will never understand!' theme. This isn't in a pulp-style game where BPRD is globe trotting but supposedly classic Lovecraft sessions. This link leads to a review of Unseen Masters that details the problems on sourcebook has.
Unseen Masters

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