Lovecraftian horror is a staple of horror roleplaying, but it has its detractors as well. They don’t see anything frightening about Cthulhu and some also try to argue intellectually that no one else should either. I raise some questions about it, offer some answers — including one that says that questions are the answer — and venture into a territory I’ve not seen dealt with before: what happens to a Buddhist who meets a Lovecraftian monstrosity? Continue reading →
An essay on the session of Trail of Cthulhu I played at Ropecon, being a rather lengthy treatise on what made it work and on the merits of the rules and the GM, and on the responsibilities of the players in horror roleplaying games, and by extension, in other sorts of roleplaying games that try to engage the participants’ emotions.
I’ve loved Trail of Cthulhu ever since I read it. The art is perfect for a Cthulhu book, Kenneth Hite—the author—really knows his Lovecraft, and the system is trimmed down to the essentials and really suits my playstyle. There are some bits that I don’t like, but are really easy to hack; overall, it’s very versatile beginning from the system right down to the Mythos monsters, so that every Keeper can make it their own. One year at Ropecon, I ran my ass off of Trail—25 hours within 48 hours—but now was my first opportunity to play it. Bonus: it was run by a woman, which I don’t get too often. This was also my first opportunity to play Cthulhu (and horror) after reading Kenneth Hite’s Nightmares of Mine (which has been updated to GURPS Horror) and his terrific essay on Cthulhu in his Dubious Shards. Continue reading →