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TheEnclave

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About TheEnclave

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    BRP is one of my favorite generic systems, despite its kinks. I've enjoyed Lovecraftian fiction and Call of Cthulhu for several years, along with various other systems. I've only recently gotten into running games, but it's been an absolute blast so far. Mythos litwise, I'm a fan of Lovecraft, Howard, Derleth, and Lumley.

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  1. The Sanitorium would be great remastered, maybe even given a modern makeover to be something akin to Outlast.
  2. Whatever works best. I usually do skill improvements at the beginning of a session, luck rolls at the end, and characteristic improvements when they arise, either in downtime, rolling an 01 for luck, or other situations.
  3. When it comes to interaction I might let another player help out, maybe doing a good cop/bad cop thing, but usually it's one check, unless the roleplay's good enough (or bad enough) to warrant otherwise.
  4. Honestly, much as I love the game, I've never thought the spells were designed well at all, and if a cultist wants to contact his alien overlords I handle it through roleplay and the story rather than a hard roll. The entire Magic system is more or less optional, in my opinion.
  5. Yeah, agreed. Our opinions on all this aside, it's definitely off-topic.
  6. You state, verbatim, that someone can't be a Lovecraftian author without being an atheist, and you imply, in so small way, that Lovecraft drew nigh-exclusively from nihilistic philosophy and literature, and that themes of hope, survival, friendship, or faith are incompatible with cosmic horror. Both of these things are factually incorrect. I will quote your prior posts if you want me to. If you feel like I'm mischaracterizing you, please explain your positions. Whether you find it interesting or not, whether you like Derleth's work or not, it proves my point and utterly invalidates yours, and I don't say that from personal bias. "You can't write Lovecraft without being an atheist." Yes you can, Derleth wasn't an atheist. "But I don't like Derleth/I don't think Derleth was Lovecraftian." Lovecraft evidently thought Derleth was Lovecraftian, or nevertheless valid and welcome to write with him. I'm not sure what else you need from that, unless you want to go by your own definition of what is and isn't Lovecraftian horror. And "80s era positions"? Do you mean the old arguments about Derleth, or do you mean that being a fan of Derleth is some kind of outdated concept people abandoned? The former, it's relevant to the discussion. The latter, false. You mention too that I'm mischaracterizing Nodens, which I'd like to know why you believe that. Lovecraft wrote Nodens as an Elder God adversary of Nyarlathotep, by far the most expressly evil and malicious of the Outer Gods. Nodens has been known to aid humans when confronted by Nyar's minions. It's hardly a stretch to say Nodens is at the very least not a malicious god, and at best a benevolent one. This material I'm referencing is exclusively Lovecraft's, leaving out any of Derleth's additions. If you don't like Nodens, that's obviously fine, but acting like he's an invention of Derleth's or only became benevolent under Derleth is wrong, and again, this is fact. Lovecraft wrote Nodens, and he was still an enemy of Nyarlathotep before Derleth. Do you advise that because Joshi is an atheist? It may be better, if one's gonna get into the nitty gritty of the discussion, to expand their sources. Not to say that an atheist or theist are any more or less valid than each other for insight into it all.
  7. In fairness, you wouldn't have to explicitly say "Lovecraft was rigid" for it to be what you mean.
  8. I'm stating what you're stating. Saying Lovecraft's theme and influence was restricted to two authors and their interests, and that he wasn't a, quote, "heterodox dilettante", implies severe rigidity that wasn't there. Lovecraft's only influence was not nihilist philosophy and nihilist philosophy was not his only influence. Maybe it wasn't what you meant, but your wording suggested an opposite view of that. I'm passionate about pointing out the truth, and I've seen enough similar claims to yours over the years that, again, are factually untrue, that I feel a response is warranted. I've got no hostility either.
  9. The only time I attributed a claim was with a direct quote that states said claim verbatim. If I messed up somewhere else though, my bad. I didn't intend it. Not every single horror story ends badly. A happy ending, or at least a surviving ending, are great too. Everything and everyone involved being screwed is if anything a tired and monotonous trope to a lot of people, one of many reasons I'd wager something like Aliens is critically acclaimed and the myriad Friday the 13th sequels are flops.
  10. In your case yes, you're not questioning it, but apparently others are. I'm up front about enjoying Derleth's work quite a bit, and I don't at all mind those who don't. It isn't the kind of work every person may want from Lovecraftian horror. I do reject the notion however, no matter how critical or flawed one might view Derleth's writing as, that it's improper and clashes with Lovecraft's work. Derleth was a close friend and pupil of Lovecraft as I've stated several times. If Lovecraft was fond of and eagerly encouraged Derleth to write cosmic horror, then that to me says that Derleth and others like him, while definitely a different flavor of cosmic horror not everyone will enjoy, are still very much a valid, consistent part of it all. How can he not be "proper" Lovecraftian when Lovecraft approved of him and even helped him with his stories? Lovecraft didn't care about keeping everything 100% consistent to his personal stories, he said it himself, and was quite the opposite. He thought to do so would be incredibly restrictive and openly expressed his desire that people contribute however they want to his weird fiction. Derleth isn't for everyone, some people hate him and find his work clashing, but from all we know, Lovecraft himself would disagree in both cases, even though he held widely different personal viewpoints and wrote different stories than Derleth did. They were still strong friends, and Lovecraft still happily welcomed him to write, and in the end, Derleth was one of two men almost singlehandedly responsible for saving Lovecraft's legacy from fading into the unknown like the majority of other Weird Tales fiction of the time. He has his critics, but I wouldn't say it's generally agreed on that he veered away from Lovecraft. It is generally agreed that his Catholic views influenced his work, yeah, but that's not a good or bad statement, depending on how you see it. It was just his beliefs, just as Lovecraft's love of archaic history and enjoyment of using verbage that even people in the 20s thought was ancient influenced his work. It adds its own flavor in my opinion and, when influences are done right, makes it unique. No one writes quite like Lovecraft does. Others may disagree about all this though. I take absolutely no issue with that. It's just my view on the subject. In King's case I agree. It wouldn't make sense for a Buddhist monastery to run amok in coastal Maine. However, the original point is still one I think is true. There's a lot of reluctance to cast certain things into a villainous or negative light, even for fiction, and at times it seems almost undeniable that political correctness is in play. Society at large won't balk at a villainous Christian character, but there may be some vocal backlash against a villainous Buddhist, or a villainous Shamanist, enough backlash to keep writers on their toes about doing it. Not always, but I think that kind of feeling is there. You know, I didn't think about that. In another side note, the Lovecraft-inspired Deadlands has Native Americans as the ones who summon a load of demons that nearly wipe out the continent, so there's that as well. It's definitely not so exaggerated that there's never a single villain of those cultures or peoples, and I agree on that.
  11. It isn't fundamenetally atheistic, nor is it fundamentally antireligious. The existence of Outer and Elder Gods of blatant supernatural power constitutes as theistic in and of itself. There's a philosophical pessimism to the idea that we're a tiny part of an infinite universe, yes, but that's the only point of cosmic horror, or Lovecraftian fiction in general. Lovecraft wrote numerous stories that had nothing to do with anything cosmic or nihilistic, and he wasn't always pessimistic either. Nodens, a benevolent Elder God who fights against Nyarlathotep and will give aid to mortals fighting him, is a note of optimism, and one made entirely by Lovecraft. The genre is way more than a single note or single theme. If it was, it'd get stale very quickly. He held a wide array of people as influential to his work, from gothic horror to mystery to adventure authors. He also praised religion, quite frequently, for its additions to art and culture, and he was a sucker for good art, strong metaphor, and epic stories. He enjoyed history greatly and philosophy as well. To call him nothing more than a rigid materialist with no other interests is, again, false, and undercuts the depth of a fantastic author and turns him into a mediocre one-note wonder. Who says they have no place? Lovecraft doesn't, he says the opposite with Nodens and the Elder Gods, long before Derleth expanded on them as well. The Call of Cthulhu game for example mentions incorporating any real-world religions you want and giving them as much impact and meaning as you want. The point of the mythos is to be vast and unknownable, and to dillute it by ruling out anything that isn't the Outer Gods is, in my view, antithetical to what Lovecraft intended. He didn't even intend a single cohesive universe to begin with, that was Derleth's work. Lovecraft simply wrote what came to mind and tied it together with plot devices and writing styles. Cosmic horror is a great many things, not just one specific thing. An example I like is if someone were to say all D&D has to be Dark Sun and can't be anything else. Genres of dark fantasy, cosmic horror, sci-fi horror, sci-fi adventure, gothic horror, action-adventure, and so on, all prevalent genres in Lovecraftian fiction, are broad and varied, not restricted to one singular thing or one singular narrative. This is by Lovecraft's design. It isn't accidental or some hindsight interpretation, it's literally how he wanted his stories to be and the worlds they took place in to develop. And cosmic horror can't? The most common hook of Call of Cthulhu is a group of nobodies banding together to face otherworldly horrors. Sure, you don't have to go Captain Planet on it and have friendship alone win the day, but cosmic horror isn't some utterly nihilistic slog where there's nothing but unending demise and doom for those involved. Lovecraft wouldn't have made use of humor and in-jokes had that been the case. Lovecraft also designed a loose pantheon of Elder Gods, who are at best benevolent and at worst ambivalent, and that was later expanded on, so such a thing is present in Lovecraftian fiction, again by Lovecraft's design. I take it to heart because I enjoy Lovecraft's work and the Lovecraft mythos, and I see people way too often making claims as fact, like "you have to be atheist to write proper cosmic horror", that aren't just their taste or intepretation, but completely, objectively wrong statements. I care about the truth, and when claims like this pop up, in this case to somebody genuinely interested in writing professional cosmic horror fiction, or in cases like Call of Cthulhu where, for example, someone may say "there is no combat ever in Call of Cthulhu and any combat rules were invented by 7th edition which is bad", they can actively damage the genre and the game by chasing off prospective writers and players, and if people were turned off from it by truthful aspects, that'd be one thing, but it's completely different when the statements being made are totally false and those without prior knowledge may not know any different than what they're being told.
  12. And a lot of people greatly enjoy Derleth's contributions and admire his work in preserving and building on Lovecraft's legacy. Without his and Wandrei's work, a lot of Lovecraft fiction would've fallen into complete obscurity or been lost altogether. Those two preserved, and in many ways formed, the fiction we're discussing today. Liking or disliking Derleth's writings is opinion, but his influence on the genre is fact. Without Derleth, the "Cthulhu Mythos" wouldn't be what it is today. Remember that it was Lovecraft, not Derleth, that introduced the Elder Gods, and even before Derleth's work, where they became expressly benevolent, they still were considered the enemy of the Outer Gods and Great Old Ones, many of whom Lovecraft described as wholly evil and wicked beings. Nodens being an enemy of Nyarlathotep, one willing to directly aid humanity to oppose him, is all written by Lovecraft himself, so while he may not have conceived of a full-fledged War in Heaven, the idea of there being a conflict between malevolent and benevolent (or at least benign) entities is very much his own creation. Lovecraft drew from a very wide array of influences and sources to make his work, and he encouraged others to do the same. He absolutely wanted people to play in his world and make up worlds of their own. Selling Lovecraft as just scifi Nietzsche not only undercuts the work of all other Lovecraftian authors, but it undercuts Lovecraft himself. Authorial intent and reader interpretation is one thing, but I find it disingenuous to advise, to an aspiring author no less, that if you aren't an atheist then you can never be a true Lovecraftian writer. That's not an interpretation, it's an absurd falsehood. Factually, theists like Derleth and Petersen have immensely contributed to the Cthulhu Mythos and Lovecraftian fiction as we know it. Factually, a devout Catholic was seen as a close friend and talented pupil by the staunch atheist that fathered cosmic horror. Factually, these guys and many others, be they theists or atheists, have contributed to Lovecraftian fiction in great amounts, and that's exactly what Lovecraft wanted. I call it pretentious because that's how I see it, claiming to know better about Lovecraftian fiction than Lovecraft himself did. If theists can't be "proper" and "pure" Lovecraftian writers, why did Lovecraft have so many theist friends that he eagerly encouraged to write fiction in his worlds with? Why did he mentor Derleth to write cosmic horror? I wonder how he'd have reacted if someone told him that only atheists could write his stories the "right" way, and that theists could never be "true" cosmic horror authors. I don't see any hostility from you, but I do get the sense of a strong bias against religion and/or theism, enough to tell someone asking a genuine question that, no, they can't actually be a cosmic horror writer because they aren't atheist, and Stephen King actually never wrote Lovecraftian fiction, because he too isn't an atheist. It's as ridiculous a claim as saying every Lovecraftian story must involve the Cthulhu Mythos and that anything else isn't "pure" Lovecraft, another statement I've run into before (not from you). Claims like that aren't and never will be true, objectively and factually speaking. I don't at all begrudge you for whatever personal preferences, beliefs, or opinions you hold, but to claim what you've claimed goes beyond preference and into straight-up giving false advice. Cosmic horror and the ability to write it, play it, and enjoy it does not in any way hinge on or have prerequisities of your personal beliefs, whatever they may be. You're referring to earlier posts, but you're not refuting his point. Do you disagree that political correctness is why we don't see more villainous Buddhists, Shintoists, Shamanists, and the like? Why is the go-to good guy in a lot of modern fantasy stories so often the wise Native American elder and the villain so often the cruel, power-hungry Western priest? His claim wasn't talking about King either, not that I can tell, but more of, in general, there's a lot more placement of Christianity in the villainous role, and comparatively little of other religions, and why that doesn't seem very consistent or fair, and is disingenuous to do in the name of political correctness. I may be wrong, but that's what I gathered from his post.
  13. Quoting: Continuing: No one's saying everyone has to like Derleth, but his influence is undeniable. Aside from Lovecraft himself he's one of the most recognized mythos writers, a close friend of Lovecraft and something of a writing student under him, and the person to come up with the idea of a Cthulhu Mythos in the first place. He's a very important contributor and component of the mythos as we know it. This isn't to say you have to enjoy or use his works or ideas, you don't. However, it is objectively false to say that you can't write Lovecraftian fiction without being an atheist, when one of the most prominent writers of Lovecraftian fiction, tutored directly by Lovecraft himself, was Catholic. You don't have to explicitly exclude or negate religion and spirituality to have cosmic horror themes, and you don't have to be an atheist to write cosmic horror stories. It's a wide genre with more influences than just Lovecraft himself and more themes than just what's seen in Lovecraft's stories, and that's exactly what he wanted. Three more things. Derleth wasn't the first to introduce cosmic hope either, that'd be Lovecraft with Nodens. Also, Sandy Petersen, AKA the guy who made the game we're discussing right now, the game that had a major impact on bringing back the popularity of Lovecraft, is a Mormon, not an atheist either. And, most importantly of all: Naturally, if these conceptions seem good and well done to the Keeper, use them at will. Call of Cthulhu is your game. - What Was Left Out
  14. Even still, I don't at all agree with the claim that theists can't write Lovecraftian stories and can only be knockoffs, more or less, because it's totally false. Derleth is the best example. Don't feel like you can't write or engage in cosmic horror without being an atheist. That's complete nonsense.
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