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Cthulhu Fthagn! Ia! Ia!

August 19, 2013

Tomorrow is H. P. Lovecraft’s birthday.

Chances are high that something you’ve played has had a “Lovecraftian” influence. Whether it’s Chaosium’s “Call of Cthulhu” or Munchkin Cthulhu or even perhaps just an aberration like the aboleth in your local D&D game, you owe it to Mr. Lovecraft.

My personal favorite Lovecraft-influenced game was Living Death. Back when Living Greyhawk was the organized play opportunity of it’s time, two other properties were among the ones I played that were supported by Wizards of the Coast: Living Force, a Star Wars-themed worldwide campaign and Living Death. LD was unique in that it didn’t have a big bunch of sourcebooks that WotC was trying to sell. There were a few books, the Masque of the Red Death (Ravenloft) chief among them, but mostly it was a series of modules published by volunteers over the span of 10 years, run mostly at conventions from 1997 to 2007. It had a very defined beginning, middle and end. It was Victorian Horror at it’s finest: you started as your choice of character in 1890 and progressed until the year 1900. My character was Lady Cora, a septuagenarian nanny who had lost her latest charge under mysterious circumstances. Well… lost to everyone but Lady Cora, as his spirit lingered and only she could see him. During that campaign, she tangled with vampires, saved the Queen, was punched out by the evil Kaiser Wilhelm and once spent an uncomfortable weekend trapped in the coffin of a mummy.

Living Death and many others of it’s kind wouldn’t be possible without the imagination of Mr. Lovecraft. And his birthday would make an excellent excuse to grab your favorite plushy horrible monster and play some Call of Cthulhu. It’s only your sanity at stake, right?

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