Cthulhu is coming, look busy

Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn.

In one way or another, I've been getting into the Cthulhu Mythos via several types of media, over the past months.

The Reading of Cthulhu

It all started a few years ago, after I bought a compendium of all of Lovecraft's stories on Kindle. However, it wasn't until recently that I began reading it.

So far I have read a handful of short stories, including The Nameless City, The Colour Out of Space and The Festival. I'm currently in the middle of the famous Call of Cthulhu.

Lovecraft's literature is infamously difficult to read; it is written in a manner which was already archaic, even by 1920s standards. This has prevented me from reading at a comfortable rate, as I constantly see myself turning back a few pages after losing track of what was happening.

Luckily, I found the H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast, which has served as a great companion material. Each episode is dedicated to one or two of Lovecraft's stories and I found it useful to check them after finishing reading a story.

The Roleplay of Cthulhu

Perhaps the most popular game about "The Great Dreamer" is the table-top roleplaying game published by Chaosium and named after the eponymous Lovecraft story.

Call of Cthulhu is one of the most known and popular alternatives to Dungeons & Dragons and, most certainly, the one that is most closely associated with the mythos.

My interest for the game began a few months ago, after I started playing D&D and I stumbled upon one of my favourite TRPG YouTubers, Seth Skorkowsky. Seth has an 9-part series dedicated to Call of Cthulhu (7th edition), plus plenty others more about adventures and other supplements (such as Pulp Cthulhu).

Call of Cthulhu Overview
A multi-part series about the 7e Call of Cthulhu RPG from Chaosium
Seth Skorkowsky has a nice series of videos, introducing CoC 7e

The Vintage RPG Podcast also has at least 3 episodes dedicated to the game.

After a couple of weeks of consuming them non-stop, I ended up buying the Slipcase Set of the game, which includes: the Keeper Rulebook, the Investigator Handbook and the GM screen.

Call of Cthulhu Slipcase Set
The home of Call of Cthulhu, RuneQuest, Pendragon, 7th Sea, and Questworlds. Your gateway to mythic adventure.

The set just looks gorgeous and I'm amazed with its high production value.

I also have my eyes set on the slipcase set for Masks of Nyarlathotep, which is said to be one of the best adventures around.

So far, I haven't got the opportunity to play it yet as I have been busy lately. However, this might be the game I'll look to first once I resume my DM-ing.

The Gaming of Cthulhu

In the land of videogames, I played Cyanide's Call of Cthulhu, released in 2018 and based on the aforementioned RPG.

Prior to playing it, I was already aware of its deficits and shortcomings. I think it was the fact that I was interested in the RPG that made me get to play it to completion.

The character models are just awful and the gameplay has some serious issues. However, it manages to capture the atmosphere really well and the scenarios can look really neat. This is specially true for its last chapter, which looks phenomenal with its green hues and overall atmosphere.

The game can be summed up as good ideas that were badly executed.

One great game I recommend is Darkest Dungeon, which I played a lot last year. The game, much like other games and media, is eldritch themed (the generic branding that is derived from the mythos) and it manages to capture the idea of insanity in an interesting way.

Aside from them, I'm not much into survival horror games but I have played a bit here and there of other games in the genre, such as Amnesia, Outlast and Resident Evil 7.

The Film of Cthulhu

I don't normally watch terror/horror movies but some of them I find intriguing.

Only a few examples come to my mind at this point, most of them not directly related to the mythos.

Last year, in-between confinements, we organised a couple of movie nights at work. Since we are fans of Nicholas Cage, we decided to watch The Colour Out of Space and Mandy. Out of the two, I confess to have enjoyed the former much more than the latter.

I also started wanting the Evil Dead trilogy. One down, two sequels and a TV series remaining.

I also watched The Lighthouse. And I think I enjoyed it? I certainly got the whole "falling into mayhem" theme, the film did a great job messing up with my mind. I'm not much of a fan of endings and plots that are too open to interpretation; and yet, this film kept me intrigued. At some point I'd like to revisit it.

My current bucket list for similar movies include:

The Music of Cthulhu

Last but not least, I also found eldritch-inspired music enjoyable. There's a sense of mystery around them that make them sound and feel unique.

Tales from the Necronomicon is perhaps my current top album of this genre.

Although I think my earliest introduction to this type of music was a few years ago, with The King in Yellow.


Author: Andrée Wallin