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Author Topic: "Lovecraft Holmes" - A system for Lovecraftian-Gothic pastiche  (Read 4495 times)
Gibbering Mouther
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« on: March 22, 2013, 02:01:04 AM »

      The Great Old Ones Come

      “The performance finished with a rousing historical narrative: the entire company played the men and women of a village on the shore of the ocean, seven hundred years before our modern times. They saw shapes rising from the sea, in the distance. The hero joyously proclaimed to the villagers that these were the Old Ones whose coming was foretold, returning to us from R’lyeh, and from dim Carcosa, and from the plains of Leng, where they had slept, or waited, or passed out the time of their death.”

      Based on my desire to run a convention game based on Neil Gaiman's excellent A Study in Emerald, I have been working up the rough bones of a system to run such games. Inspired heavily by Steerpike's "Rugged" system and by my reading of the Dresden Files variant of FATE, may I present the temporarily-titled "Lovecraft Holmes" system.

      Inspiration

      In addition to Gaiman's short story, I'm turning to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, The Phantom of the Opera, Dracula, The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll & Mister Hyde, Sherlock Holmes, Carmilla, The Portrait of Dorian Grey, The Lair of the White Worm, Lokis and the various works of Arthur Machen, Ambrose Bierce, Robert W. Chamber and Algernon Blackwood for the mood and feel of a horrifyingly inimical late 19th Century that never was.

      Attributes
      All characters have 5 Attributes – Thews, Nerves, Guts, Wits and Temper. Attributes are measured on a scale of 1 – 10, with human capability limited to the 1 – 5 range and 6+ being restricted to the Star-touched or the Lesser and Greater Star-Spawn themselves. Starting characters have 17 points to spend on their Attributes (alternatively, one could roll 1d4+1 for each Attribute if strongly opposed to point-buy).

      Thews covers physical strength, brute force, athleticism and raw power. Use Brawn to force open a door, outswim a Deep One in the Thames or inflict greater damage upon opponents in a fight.

      Nerves covers agility, reflexes, hand-eye coordination and manual dexterity.  Use Nerves to pick a lock before the Yard catch up with you, dodge the swooping dive of a Nightgaunt or to land a hit on an opponent.

      Guts covers toughness, endurance, durability and staying power. Use Guts to resist sickness in the presence of horrifying sights, to avoid succumbing to the hallucinatory effects of ichor-tainted opium or to avoid flinching in the face of surprise.

      Wits covers reasoning, perception, quick thinking and raw intelligence. Use Wits to get the drop on an enemy in a fight, take refuge in hysteria to avoid sanity-shredding truth or to grasp the truths of Star-Spawn nature based on eldritch tomes.

      Temper covers force of personality, mental fortitude, willpower and intuition. Use Temper to exert influence over others, resist having your mind crumple before an oncoming Shoggoth or to identify the cause of the shiver that just ran up your spine.

      Condition Pools
      All characters have 3 Condition Pools – Vitals, Grip and Drive. The pools are used to measure the wellbeing of the character in several key areas. Each Condition Pool is derived from a specific Attribute and is calculated by multiplying the relevant Attribute by 3. Damage to Condition Pools occurs as per the rules for Violence and Madness (see below)

      Out of Character

      I’m toying with the thought of an extra set of rules for damage to Drive titled 'Disillusionment' or something along such lines - at the moment it seems too similar to Grip, but we'll see.

      Vitals is derived from Guts and covers the physical wellbeing of a character – how good their health is and how far away they are from death. As Vitals lessens a character will find pain beginning to detract from their performance and injuries starting to impose limitations on their actions until at zero Vitals they become food for the worms and crows. System Shock inflicted by loss of Vitals affects Thews and Guts.

      Grip is derived from Wits and covers the resilience and flexibility of a character’s world-view – the strength of the framework by which they interpret the inconceivably horrid truth of the universe.  As Grip lessens a character will find knowledge they had been sure in fracturing and their self-control beginning to fall apart until at zero Grip they become utterly and irrevocably insane. System Shock inflicted by loss of Grip affects Nerves and Wits.

      Drive is derived from Temper and covers the motivation and beliefs of the character – the force that keeps them pushing on in pursuit of those causes and courses of action in which they’re invested. As Drive lessens a character will find their energy flagging and commitment waning until at zero Drive they become lost to apathy and hopelessness.  System Shock inflicted by loss of Drive affects Temper.

      Calculating Condition Pools
      The total for each Condition Pool is determined by multiplying the relevant Attribute by 3. However, Condition Pools consist of a number of smaller tracks used to determine the thresholds for system shock and so should be recorded in the following format (or a clearly understandable alternative):
      Condition Pool Name: Triple Attribute | Double Attribute | Attribute | Zero

      System Shock
      When a Condition Pool is between full and two-thirds a character suffers no penalty to related Attribute rolls; when between two-thirds and one-third a -1 penalty is imposed; when between one-third and zero a -2 penalty is imposed.

      Aspects
      Aspects are a key part of the "Lovecraft Holmes" system - characters have them, NPCs have them, the environment has them. Even the story itself can have some at the DM's discretion. Aspects come in 3 different varieties - True, Stable and Vulgar. Only 1 Aspect can apply its bonus to any given roll - though any number of Aspects may be invoked and counter-invoked in order to gain the advantage, the bonus that can be given by Aspects is limited to the effects of a single one.

      Vulgar Aspects are those invoked on the spot by a character (or the GM on behalf of an NPC). Though they must not contradict previously established Aspects (a player cannot suddenly invoke the Vulgar Aspect 'Hot-Tempered' on an NPC already established as 'Calm') Vulgar Aspects can otherwise add minor details or advantages to a Setting as the character wishes (within the bounds of common sense and GM fiat, of course). Vulgar Aspects have a value of +1 to either success or difficulty.

      Stable Aspects are Vulgar Aspects that continue to be invoked by characters. As soon as a Vulgar Aspect is invoked for a second time it becomes a Stable Aspect and remains that way for the remainder of the scene. Stable Aspects have a value of +2 to either success or difficulty.

      True Aspects are pre-existing pieces of established information that are to be found in a character's stats or within the description of a scene. True Aspects are largely set 'in stone' (beyond the need for the GM to alter them to reflect changes in the story) but some Stable Aspects may become True Aspects if the characters return to the same Setting later on. True Aspects have a value of +3 to either success or difficulty.

      Aspects and Characters
      Each character begins play with 5 True Aspects, chosen at their discretion from a rough set of categories: Defensive, Item, Skilled and Special.
      • Defensive Aspects are those that describe something about the character that affects their Condition Pools. They cause the relevant pool to be calculated as if its associated Attribute were 1 point higher. Example: Frankenstein's Monster has the Defensive Aspect 'Patchwork Corpse'. Though his Guts is 4, his Vitals are calculated as if his Guts were 5.
      • Item Aspects are those that describe a signature item possessed by a character that is unique or unusual in some way. All items allow characters to exercise capacities they might not otherwise possess, but an item tied to an Item Aspect can never be permanently destroyed or lost and the character can invoke the Aspect to gain its bonus whenever the item is used. Example: The Phantom has the Item Aspect 'Punjab Lasso'. It can be invoked to gain a bonus when performing the actions enabled by a lasso and also ensures that the Phantom always has a lasso in hand (or can soon obtain one, failing that).
      • Skilled Aspects are those that describe a set of skills in which the character is trained. They allow the character to gain bonuses when a roll falls within a specialty or area of expertise. Example: Abraham van Helsing has the Skilled Aspect 'Doctor of Letters'. It can be invoked in any situation where his university training would have bearing upon a test (as decided by the GM).
      • Special Aspects are those that do not fall into the other categories - usually they describe a power or ability that is unique to or remarkable about the character. Example: Frankenstein's Monster has the Special Aspect 'Monstrous Strength'. As a result, his Thews score is allowed to be above the human maximum of 5.

      Task Resolution
      Basic task resolution in the "Lovecraft Holmes" system - whether that be passing yourself off as an officer of the Yard, sneaking across a damp-lit square using the night-time fog as cover, attempting to comprehend the complexity of Royal genealogy or any other task where failure is both possible and interesting - is achieved using a simple exploding roll (if a 6 is rolled, then reroll and add 5) against a static Difficulty Class. This roll is always a d6, plus any modifiers (the relevant Attribute, and an Aspect if applicable).

      Difficulty Class
      The base Difficulty Class in the "Lovecraft Holmes" system is DC 6 - below this, tasks are considered too trivial for our heroes to be bothered with. DC 6 corresponds to a challenge of Average difficulty, and from there levels of difficulty and their associated DCs increase as follows:
      • Above Average | DC 8
      • Moderately Difficult | DC 10
      • Difficult | DC 12
      • Very Difficult | DC 14
      • Incredibly Difficult | DC 16
      • Nigh Impossible | DC 18+

      Order of Play
      At the beginning of every Scene, all characters (including those controlled by the GM) make Nerves checks and compare their rolls, acting in the order of play in accordance with their results. (in the result of a tie, compare first the Nerves Attributes of the characters, second the Wits Attributes and third any relevant Aspects they may possess. Past this, resolution is at the GM's discretion - paper-scissors-rock is not a bad method). The one exception to this rule is while in situations of Violence, in which case the rules for calculating Initiative given there should be used instead.

      On Static Order of Play: In a session where time is of the essence or where simplicity is desirable, simply compare the Nerves Attribute of each character and roll off in the event of a tie. (The same system may be used for Initiative if Nerves is simply replaced with Wits)

      Violence
      Arm-wrestling a riverside thug to win his respect so he'll show you the way to the Deep One's lair, pulling the carpet from out under the feet of the Queen's loyal bodyguards or struggling desperately for your life in the grasp of a Shoggoth - all these things and more fall under the category of situations of Violence. Any time one or more characters attempt to have a physical affect upon others, the following rules apply:

      Initiative: As soon as Violence breaks out, all characters involved in the conflict make Wits checks and compare their rolls, acting in the turn-by-turn order of the conflict in accordance with their results.

      Attacks: All attempts to hit or physically affect another character during incidents of Violence are resolved as Nerves Tests against an Average difficulty. This difficulty may be adjusted upwards in the usual manner in favor of the threatened party should they invoke a suitable Aspect or may be affected by a subset of Defensive Aspects largely confined to Starspawn that permanently increase Attack Difficulty.

      Damage: Once an Attack has been successful, damage must be calculated:
      • If inflicting Vitals damage, the attacker makes a Thews Test against an Average Difficulty (which may be raised as per the rules on Attacks) with a bonus equal to the amount by which the Attack Test succeeded and deals 1 point of Vitals damage per point by which the Damage Test beat the Difficulty.
      • If attempting another physical affect, the attacker may invoke a negative Vulgar Aspect on the defender representing their success ('Prone', 'Temporarily Blinded' and 'Winded' are always popular examples) which can then be invoked as a Stable Aspect for advantage in following turns.

      Madness
      Resisting the all too-human instinct to faint away in the presence of the Queen, struggling to avoid curling up in a gibbering ball at the sight of a Star Vampire unveiled or fighting back as your grip on reality slips in the fact of the Royal Sorcerer's logic-shredding might - all these things and more fall under the category of situations of Madness. Any time one or more characters come into contact with the Old Ones, their Starspawn, their eldritch workings or similarly mind-crushing situations, the following rules apply:

      Revulsion: The first defense that man has against the Old Ones is the most primitive and hard-wired of all - in the face of unimaginable horrors the body shuts down so that it is physically incapable of perceiving them. When faced by such a situation of Madness, a character must pass a Guts Test at a Difficulty Class dependent on the trigger or be temporarily incapacitated by some mechanism of the body (represented by the Player invoking an appropriate negative Vulgar Aspect) - they retch uncontrollably, go temporarily blind or faint clean away - but do not take any Grip damage.

      Hysteria: The second defense that man has against the Old Ones is almost as basic as the first - when faced by nightmares made flesh the mind revolts in denial, shutting down and simply refusing to acknowledge reality. When faced by an appropriate situation of Madness, a character must pass a Wits Test at a Difficulty Class dependent on the trigger or be temporarily incapacitated by some mechanism of the mind (represented by the Player invoking an appropriate negative Vulgar Aspect) - they babble uncontrollably, stare absently into space or rock back and forth in a corner - but do not take any Grip damage.

      Insanity: Should mind and body fail to protect a character against the awful and nihilistic truths of the greater universe as they should, then their sanity is in real damage as their Grip is threatened by awful truths that man was never meant to know. If a character passes their Test against Revulsion or Hysteria then they must then make a Temper Test at a Difficulty Class dependent on the trigger and either:
      • Fail, descending into temporary insanity as they struggle to incorporate their new revelations into an order they can make sense of (represented by the Player invoking an appropriate negative Vulgar Aspect) - they begin speaking in tongues, acquire a profound delusion or are overcome with wild mania or blackest melancholy OR
      • Succeed, the very stability of their sense of reason and soundness of reasoning making them all the more fragile against such impossible truths - taking 1 point of Grip damage per point by which the Insanity Test succeeded.

      Observation
      Noticing the thin temporal war-cry of a Hound of Tindalos left ringing through time in the vicinity where it has (or will) erupt/ed into angled space, successfully identifying the markers of distant Deep One ancestry of a corpse or reconstructing the purpose of a ritual based on the traces left behind - all these things and more fall under the category of situations of Observation. Any time there are Clues present in a Scene that one or more characters can gain, the following rules apply:

      'Simple' Observation: In situations where a character is searching for Clues without any relevant Skilled Aspects a basic Wits Test at Average Difficulty is called for; on a success, the character gains the Clue, on a failure they gain nothing (or fail to make sense of what they notice, at the GM's discretion). If the character reaches a Difficult result or better then the GM should chose a Hint that they gain as well.

      Trained Observation: In situations where the Clue a character is searching for relates to a Skilled Aspect they possess, the character automatically gains the Clue and, if there are any associated Hints available, may choose to make a Wits Test at Above Average Difficulty, gaining 1 Hint for every two levels of Difficulty achieved past this (1 Hint for Above Average, 2 Hints for Difficult, 3 for Incredibly Difficult). If more Hints are available than the character will gain, then the GM should describe the general nature of each Hint and allow the Player to choose their preference/s.

      A Note on Items: Certain items can provide bonuses on Observation Tests - however, generally the rule is that such bonuses apply only to Tests of 'Simple' Observation as Trained Observation includes by its very nature education in the proper use of relevant tools.

      Sample Characters
      The Limping Doctor (Dr John Watson)
      Attributes: Thews 3, Nerves 5, Guts 2, Wits 3, Temper 4
      Condition Pools: Vitals 6|4|2|0, Grip 9|6|3|0, Drive 15|10|5|0
      Aspects: Loyal unto Death, People-Pleaser, Steady Hands, Trained Surgeon, Trusty Scalpel

      Adam (Frankenstein's Monster)
      Attributes: Thews 6, Nerves 2, Guts 4, Wits 4, Temper 2
      Condition Pools: Vitals 15|10|5|0, Grip 9|6|3|0, Drive 9|6|3|0
      Aspects: Deathless Automaton, Graveyard Pillar, Monstrous Strength, Patchwork Corpse, Quicksilver Psyche

      The Good Professor (Abraham van Helsing)
      Attributes: Thews 3, Nerves 2, Guts 5, Wits 4, Temper 3
      Condition Pools: Vitals 18|12|6|0, Grip 15|10|5|0, Drive 12|8|4|0
      Aspects: Doctor of Letters, Indomitable Resolution, Master-Mesmerist, Open Mind, Will of Iron

      Erik (The Phantom of the Opera)
      Attributes: Thews 2, Nerves 4, Guts 2, Wits 4, Temper 5
      Condition Pools: Vitals 9|6|3|0, Grip 12|8|4|0, Drive 18|12|6|0
      Aspects: Gypsy Hedge-Magic, Inhumane Self-Mastery, Le Mort Vivant, Punjab Lasso, Unearthly Voice[/list][/list]

      Sample Foes
      Junior Constables
      Attributes: Thews 2, Nerves 3, Guts 2, Wits 2, Temper 2
      Attribute Pools: Vitals 6|4|2|0, Grip 6|4|2|0, Drive 9|6|3|0
      Aspects: Driven by Fear, Her Majesty's Finest, Hunting Rifle or Wheelock Pistol, Knuckledusters or Truncheon

      Senior Constables
      Attributes: Thews 3, Nerves 3, Guts 3, Wits 2, Temper 3
      Condition Pools: Vitals 9|6|3|0, Grip 6|4|2|0, Drive 12|8|4|0
      Aspects: Her Majesty's Finest, Oath of Service, Police Sabre, Truncheon, Wheelock Pistol

      Captain of the Yard
      Attributes: Thews 3, Nerves 4, Guts 3, Wits 3, Temper 4
      Condition Pools: Vitals 9|6|3|0, Grip 9|6|3|0, Drive 15|10|5|0
      Aspects: Ceremonial Hex-Blade, Her Majesty's Finest, True Believer, Wheelock Repeating Pistol

      Aleister Crowley, Her Majesty's Royal Sorcerer
      Attributes: Thews 1, Nerves 3, Guts 3, Wits 5, Temper 5
      Condition Pools: Vitals 12|8|4|0, Grip 15|10|5|0, Drive 15|10|5|0
      Aspects: Guardian 'Angel', Ichor-laced Blood, Malakhim Goetia, Occult Philosophy, Wickedest Man Alive

      Colonel Sebastian Moran
      Attributes: Thews 4, Nerves 5, Guts 3, Wits 3, Temper 2
      Condition Pools: Vitals 9|6|3|0, Grip 9|6|3|0, Drive 9|6|3|0
      Aspects: Crack-Shot, Eagle Eyes, Faithful Companion, Military Man, Well-Worn Rifle

      Doctor Victor Frankenstein, The Royal Physician
      Attributes: Thews 2, Nerves 3, Guts 4, Wits 5, Temper 3
      Condition Pools: Vitals 15|10|5|0, Grip 18|12|6|0, Drive 12|8|4|0
      Aspects: Barely Human, Hardened to Madness, Master Ichorist, One Thousand Unnameable Things (bher'dand), Queen's Man

      Professor James Moriarty
      Attributes: Thews 3, Nerves 3, Guts 2, Wits 6, Temper 3
      Condition Pools: Vitals 6|4|2|0, Grip 18|12|6|0, Drive 12|8|4|0
      Aspects: Cambridge Boxing Champion, Consulting Detective, Deductive Reasoning, Uniquely Brilliant, Stung by Pride

      Drakulspawn
      Attributes: Thews 4, Nerves 6, Guts 3, Wits 1, Temper 4
      Condition Pools: Vitals 12|8|4|0, Drive 15|10|5|0
      Aspects: Blood-Sucker, Bottomless Hunger, Un-Dead
      • Inhuman Reflexes: The reaction time of the Drakulspawn is beyond even the most paranoid human, a combination of their great unlidded eyes and impossible speed. Attack rolls made against the Drakulspawn are made against a Difficulty of 9.
      • Subtle Wrongness: The too-pale skin and eyes, slightly unnerving movements, and ever-so-slightly wrong angles of the Drakulspawn's features provoke a skin-crawling disgust in most folk that is only worsened when their true predatory nature is revealed. The sight of a Drakulspawn provokes an Above Average Test of Revulsion and an Above Average Test of Insanity.
      • Unnatural Anatomy: Many of a Drakulspawn's vital organs are vestigial, non-functional or are of a configuration that belies their near-human appearance. Damage rolls made against the Drakulspawn are made against a Difficulty of 7.

      Shoggoth
      Attributes: Thews 3+, Nerves 3+, Guts 3+, Wits 4, Temper 0
      Condition Pools: Vitals 9+|6+|3+|0
      Aspects:
      • Upper-Dimensional: Most of the mass of a Shoggoth is spread across various higher dimensions largely inaccessible from the mere three-dimensional existence that humans know. When enraged, a Shoggoth begins to draw its extra substance through from these higher planes of existence, thus swelling its size and strength. Every Turn that a Shoggoth is actively pursuing prey, roll 1d6 and increase its Thews, Nerves and Guts as follows: 1 = +0, 2 - 5 = +1, 6 = +2.
      • Mindless: Terrifyingly efficient killing machines from the empty void between the stars, Shoggoths do not experience existence in any way humans would recognize as conscious or sentient. A Shoggoth cannot make use of its Wits Attribute for anything but basic sensory perception.
      • Unnatural Anatomy: The non-terrestrial nature of Shoggoth anatomy renders them highly resistant to most earth-bound forms of damage. Damage rolls made against a Shoggoth are made against a Difficulty of 8.
      • Hideous: The protoplasmic and constantly mutating motion of a Shoggoth is so alien to the human eye that looking upon one often induces blindness or violent seizures. The sight of a Shoggoth provokes a Moderately Difficult Test of Revulsion and an Above Average Test of Insanity.
      « Last Edit: October 27, 2013, 05:49:36 AM by HippopotamusDundee » Logged


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      « Reply #1 on: March 22, 2013, 02:07:03 AM »

      Terra Macabre was inspired more than anything else by Neil Gaiman's A Study in Emerald, so I cannot wait to see this.  laugh
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      « Reply #2 on: March 22, 2013, 09:43:06 AM »

      Xathan

      Terra Macabre was inspired more than anything else by Neil Gaiman's A Study in Emerald, so I cannot wait to see this.  laugh
      Glad to know there's so many fellow Gaiman fans on the boards. Can't wait to hear what you think.
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      « Reply #3 on: March 22, 2013, 12:52:54 PM »

      Not to shamelessly self-promote too much, but you might also want to take a look at my Asura System for some inspiration. (It was also inspired by Dresden FATE, and Asura in turn inspired quite a bit of Rugged, so you're already fairly well acquainted with its antecedents and progeny)
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      « Reply #4 on: March 22, 2013, 01:22:16 PM »

      So far (ill try to give it a more detailed look over at work if call volume is low) its a pretty solid 2 page system (my term for things like q&d, grit, and other simple but good systems.) keep it coming!
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      « Reply #5 on: March 22, 2013, 03:12:58 PM »

      I'm glad my system was helpful!   The "three types of hit points" system of the condition pools is pretty interesting.

      I'm curious about how you'll be handling something.  One big aspect of the Holmes universe/works is the idea that characters can assemble a picture of events by noticing things - perception and observation are the greatest source of power in any Holmes story.  Different systems have approached the problem of perception in different ways.  In various editions of D&D this has manifested as a Spot, Listen, Search, or Perception checks.  In Spirit of the Century, it's bifurcated into "Awareness" (passive perception) and the broader "Investigation" skill which not only covers looking for clues but also "looking for deep patterns and hidden flaws," both of which are supplemented by other abilities.  In other systems (I'm thinking of GUMSHOE in particular), characters never fail to notice clues - they're just supplied to them, and then the character must piece those clues together, i.e. characters never miss anything.

      Given the centrality of observation to the Holmesian milieu, and the importance of Holmes in "A Study in Emerald," how do you plan on handling observation?  Is it simply a Wits check?  Or do players automatically notice most details?  Or something else?

      Beyond this quite lovely system, do you plan on fleshing out a Lovecraft/Holmes hybrid setting?
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      « Reply #6 on: March 22, 2013, 06:25:49 PM »

      sparkletwist

      Not to shamelessly self-promote too much, but you might also want to take a look at my Asura System for some inspiration. (It was also inspired by Dresden FATE, and Asura in turn inspired quite a bit of Rugged, so you're already fairly well acquainted with its antecedents and progeny)

      It's been on my to-do list for a while - I just thought I'd better rough out what I had before consulting any further material and making any changes.

      Steerpike

      Given the centrality of observation to the Holmesian milieu, and the importance of Holmes in "A Study in Emerald," how do you plan on handling observation?  Is it simply a Wits check?  Or do players automatically notice most details?  Or something else?

      This a very good point, and one I hadn't really thought about. Despite the fact that this is ostensibly a Holmesian pastiche I suppose I'd been thinking of it in more of a general Gothic sense where those kinds of elements aren't quite so central.

      I think my current thinking on the matter is that generally it's just a straight Wits test to notice a Clue, but that if that Clue falls within the umbrella of a character's Skilled Aspects then they automatically gain the basics and can roll for a chance to gain further information.

      Steerpike

      Beyond this quite lovely system, do you plan on fleshing out a Lovecraft/Holmes hybrid setting?

      There will inevitably be some degree of fleshing out of what Neil Gaiman wrote in order for me to write and run the module (which takes inspiration from the reference to "the recent events [in 1881] in Russia" - the assassination of Emperor Alexander II which is, of course, in the world presented by A Study in Emerald the death of a Great Old One) but in all likelihood my dual love for Gothic fiction and Lovecraft will unwisely tempt me into doing more with this setting than perhaps I should (haven't worked on my other setting in months so should probably get onto that) - maybe incorporating some more Chambers, Machen and Blackwood after removing the Derleth taint of 'the Mythos'?
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      « Reply #7 on: March 22, 2013, 06:39:21 PM »

      Derleth is rather tedious, I agree, and probably had a deterimental impact on the "mythos" as a whole.  Certainly his classificatory system is obnoxious and his moralistic take on Lovecraft misses the point to an absurd degree.

      I think Arthur Machen is a particularly good fit since so many of his stories are urban (or at least set in England), as compared to Blackwood's, which sometimes range a lot further.  After Lovecraft, Machen is probably my favorite "weird fiction"/late-Gothic author.
      « Last Edit: March 22, 2013, 06:41:45 PM by Steerpike » Logged


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      « Reply #8 on: March 22, 2013, 07:28:04 PM »

      Steerpike

      Derleth is rather tedious, I agree, and probably had a deterimental impact on the "mythos" as a whole.  Certainly his classificatory system is obnoxious and his moralistic take on Lovecraft misses the point to an absurd degree.

      ^ This

      I also object to his inventing of the "Mythos" label, which seems to have somewhat frozen in place a great deal of Lovecraft's creations so that altering them in the same way that HP did (to reflect a milieu where humanity's inability to define them was half the point) is now seen as violating the 'Mythos Canon' (the most ridiculous term I've ever run across online)

      Plus "Yog-Sothothery and Shub-Niggurathism" is a much cooler sounding phrase anyway laugh
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      « Reply #9 on: March 22, 2013, 08:06:14 PM »

      Yeah, that's very true.  I think the term "Mythos" has utility if treated as a mythos - a pattern of myths and stories, not a set of facts or a canon.
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      « Reply #10 on: March 22, 2013, 08:36:44 PM »

      I agree with that, too.

      That's why settings like Xathan's Terra Macabre, Steerpike's Sixguns, and so on, are pretty interesting to me. They take the "mythos" but then, rather than treating it as sacrosanct, inject a lot of new craziness into it and create new stories in what I believe is more the spirit that Lovecraft (and the other early people who didn't screw it all up) anyway.

      So... I'm hoping that's the direction you take this. A title like "Lovecraft Holmes" is certainly a fine step in that direction. laugh
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      « Reply #11 on: March 22, 2013, 08:46:09 PM »

      sparkletwist

      So... I'm hoping that's the direction you take this. A title like "Lovecraft Holmes" is certainly a fine step in that direction. laugh

      Well, fingers crossed tongue At least the whole project should let me re-immerse myself in the Gothic and wash the bad taste of Austen's Northanger Abbey out of my mouth (I *hate* first-year English courses)

      Also truth be told I'm not overly sold on "Lovecraft Holmes" as a title simply because it places (I feel) not enough emphasis on other Gothic works (Frankenstein, Dracula, Strange Case of Dr Jekyll, Phantom of the Opera, etc.) that will be a key part of the setting as a whole. But as I can't think of anything better, it'll have to do for now.
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      « Reply #12 on: March 23, 2013, 02:36:00 AM »

      The more I see the Mor I love; this is really what I wanted to do with Terra Macabe. Would you be interested in collaborating on the setting? I haven't done a good one of those in awhile.
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      Sparkletwist

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      « Reply #13 on: March 23, 2013, 07:45:23 AM »

      Out of Character

      Rules for Task Resolution, Order of Play, Violence and Madness are up, along with a handful of Sample Characters.

      Xathan

      The more I see the Mor I love; this is really what I wanted to do with Terra Macabe. Would you be interested in collaborating on the setting? I haven't done a good one of those in awhile.

      I'd absolutely be interested in collaborating on the setting, though at this point my interest is mainly in getting the system functional and the milieu just fleshed out enough to get this module written (yes the convention isn't 'til July next year but I like to be prepared tongue).

      But if you'd like to borrow this system for use in Terra Macabre or work together on a setting for it then I'd be very keen. (your choice of Ceremorphs already revealed your Lovecraft-tastes to be superior xD)
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      « Reply #14 on: March 24, 2013, 12:39:45 AM »

      HippopotamusDundee

      Out of Character

      Rules for Task Resolution, Order of Play, Violence and Madness are up, along with a handful of Sample Characters.

      Xathan

      The more I see the Mor I love; this is really what I wanted to do with Terra Macabe. Would you be interested in collaborating on the setting? I haven't done a good one of those in awhile.

      I'd absolutely be interested in collaborating on the setting, though at this point my interest is mainly in getting the system functional and the milieu just fleshed out enough to get this module written (yes the convention isn't 'til July next year but I like to be prepared tongue).

      But if you'd like to borrow this system for use in Terra Macabre or work together on a setting for it then I'd be very keen. (your choice of Ceremorphs already revealed your Lovecraft-tastes to be superior xD)

      I've been, of late, godaweful at mechanics, so I'm not sure how much help I'll be here.

      And I'm a huge Lovecraft fan - not the student of the Mythos (I like how Steerpike defines it) that you and Steerpike are, but still a fan.

      This system would be perfect for Terra Macabre, since TM was always a blend of the Gothic and the Renaissance and Lovecraft (and really, the middle one was just aesthetics) but you have a unique take on Lovecraftian horror that I think would mesh well with mine - once you get the module done, maybe we could work together on some kind of Mythos-esque setting/forum game using Lovecraft Holmes.
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      AnIndex of My Work

      Sparkletwist

      It's llitul and the brain, llitul and the brain, one is a genius and the other's insane
      Proud Receiver of a Golden Dorito

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