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The new Malleus Monstrorum: some Work-in-Progress


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Great news: layout for the Malleus Monstrorum is almost done! Here's a few finished pages to whet your appetite for our mighty mythos bestiary...

Weighing in at 480 pages, the new Malleus Monstrorum will be coming out as a two volume hardcover slipcase set! Volume I Monsters of the Mythos - 216 pages Volume II Deities of the Mythos - 264

More malignant MALLEUS MONSTRORUM work-in-progress by the amazing Loïc Muzy...Chakota, Cold One, Crawling Ones, Thrall of Cthulhu

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On 9/10/2019 at 10:43 PM, midwinter said:

Or spectacles, clothes and lots of books like the guy turning ghoul in "Paper Chase". Btw, I dislike that scenario because the ghoul guy is such a friendly chap. He breaks the Peterson mold of a horror creature being malign. The NPCs reasons for becoming a ghoul who gnaws upon the dead is probably the weakest motivation ever. He dislikes company and the demands of the civilized world, just likes to read and being a ghoul crawling around underground among the rot and filth with other monsters allows him to do all this apparently.

He could just have sold his house, moved to Alaska or somewhere else that's isolated, bringing his books with him to live the life like any other recluse. But nah, eating wormridden flesh and slurping adipocere in order to be left alone reading Kipling or something is choice numero uno for this mental midget. A small price to pay for personal leasure, lol.

Well thats the thing. Even in HP lovecrafts works the Ghouls were rarely malevolent.  They were kind of people.

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More Mythos monsters! – masterful work-in-progress from Loïc Muzy for the new MALLEUS MONSTRORUM, one of most anticipated Call of Cthulhu releases for 2020:


—The Martense Kin, from HPL's 'The Lurking Fear'.

Martense-Kin.thumb.jpg.ffb24e58d589ea963f683b65945f71cc.jpg
—Inhabitants of L’gy’hx, from Ramsay Campbell's 'The Insects From Shaggai'.

448016741_L-gy-hxInhabitantsof.thumb.jpg.e11119fd085b7ee247f1961d0d47db4d.jpg
—Nioth-Korghai, from Clark Ashton Smith's 'The Tomb Spawn'.

Nioth-Korghai.thumb.jpg.46cc2a3063ced4c2fe63b8100b8c70dd.jpg
—Spawn of Nyogtha, from Chaosium's 'Fatal Experiments'.

Spaw-of-Nyogtha.thumb.jpg.06e8b9b3b38b78c172f42f0c2b735521.jpg

 

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I'm not a big fan of illustrations of monsters, it's rarely good. It's a bit like when the monster is completely revealed in a horror movie. The tension and mysticism disappear, falling flat. In the horror genre, it is extra important to think about what is not shown. (maybe even more when it comes to a Lovecraftian monster)
For some reason, the gaming world forgets this. Everything should be displayed, big weapons, big monsters, stereotypical faces, tentacles, etc. It results in very graphically packed books but it has a tendency to overflow and the price thereafter.

I should be honest to say everything that has so far been shown from the new edition of Malleus Monstrorum is not "bad" I want to avoid criticizing the pictures. But does it belong in a Call of Cthulhu role-playing game?

The great quality of the first edition is precisely that one has chosen not to illustrate the monsters, it makes the book so much more frightening and creative for me as a reader and keeper.

I was hoping that Chaosium would go in the opposite direction, today we are surrounded by so many different Lovecraftian games and all of them portraying Mythos monsters over and over again. Chaosium have always kept some level of weirdness but are now loosing some of that, you can be more daring and innovative?  

Roleplaying is mostly about storytelling, using your voice, your acting, building characters, it is about a group of people creating magic and images in our heads. But books are also important for most of us who play role-playing games (that explains why so many reacts on covers and new illustrations for new books), they set the tone and create the mystery surrounding the game. How that tone should appear and look is very personal and everyone feels different, but my advice is to hold back and keep the Mythos in the dark.

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You created an account to say that? "Well, back in 1st Edition, we knew how to do it! Uphill both ways!" You think art should be kept out of books because you don't personally find it useful. Art in books doesn't need to be shown to players. It can give Keepers descriptive inspiration though. 

So, since you don't find it personally useful, no one should have it? That's your argument? Come on. The hobby is more than just you.

My current hypothesis is that there is one small group of fans that are creating accounts and posting these contrarian posts about the art. Because the world would be righted again if 7th didn't exist and members of The Club get to play CoC.

Folks, if the cover or internal art is making or breaking your Call of Cthulhu games, your problem isn't the art. And if you don't find something valuable in a game, you are entitled to your opinion. You are not entitled to your opinion preventing other people from getting useful things. 

Edited by klecser
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It's worth noting that good art in a book also provides more tools to the GM. I (almost) never show any of those illustrations to my players (I don't name monsters either... if they fight a Deep One, I never label it, I just describe it in as creepy/vague/etc. a way as possible). But having a good illustration gives me something to draw from (get it?) for that moment in the game when I need to describe it.

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Monster art (in fact, any art) is subjective. When drawing anything, the artist must rely on their interpretation of the briefs (which, in this case are drawn from numerous sources including original text wherein they appeared) - just as a writer tries to convey their sense of the monster using words and terms understandable by humans - hence, Lovecraft using phrases like "an octopus-like head" = we use "xxx-like" because it gives us a common frame of recognition, it does not actually mean Cthulhu is an octopus.

Monster art provides another form for Keepers to picture the monster in their heads and is a big help when describing said monsters to others around a gaming table. 

The overwhelming response to our new monster art across social media has been very positive. 

 

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4 hours ago, Mike M said:

the artist must rely on their interpretation of the briefs

Aha! That explains why some people find it a bit pants. <badum tish>

OK, I know, I’ll get my coat. 

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Monster art provides another form for Keepers to picture the monster in their heads and is a big help when describing said monsters to others around a gaming table. 

This exactly. A little bit of lubrication in the creative juices is always appreciated when you’ve already got enough to think about when running a game. If the art doesn’t match your personal vision of the entity then you don’t have to use it, any more than you would have to use  a text description of the monster exactly as written.

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The overwhelming response to our new monster art across social media has been very positive. 

It gets a thumbs up from me too. Very evocative, which is what we want if it’s to be useful. 

Edited by Cloud64
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49 minutes ago, midwinter said:
7 hours ago, Mike M said:

Monster art (in fact, any art) is subjective.

I must object to that,

Like most things, it's normally agree or disagree. People have different opinions, you either agree or disagree with them. Objecting to someones opinion is neither agreeing or disagreeing. it often comes overs as "you are wrong, I am right". In my experience with art there is normally like or don't like (or the worst which is ambivalent/boring), so you either agree or disagree on whether something is "good" or not". Your opinion of some of the Call of Cthulhu art is like most people - mixed - not everyone likes everything. Because all of this is subjective, even terms describing the art can be hard to agree upon. Cartoony is clearly one of them, your subjective view of what is cartoony is not going to be shared by everyone, but that doesn't make anyone wrong. 

My guess is that English is not your first language, so I'd would suggest being careful with words like object unless you're certain what you are trying to achieve. Generally when people disagree that's okay, but objecting to their opinions just steps up the annoyance factor. Objecting to what the Call of Cthulhu line editor is saying won't ever come over well. However disagreeing with him is perfectly okay.

I only like the first and third pictures, they are funny, I've always felt the Mona Lisa boring and that generic "Wild West Indian's" art never did anything for me. 

image.png.d3c4dbb50b8a19ab0f77d374e3193dcd.png

This image is too cartoony for my games, but I like it.

disclaimer - I work for Chaosium and there's plenty of art they've commissioned that I don't like. but there's also plenty that I do.

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20 hours ago, Agentmax7 said:

I'm not a big fan of illustrations of monsters, it's rarely good. It's a bit like when the monster is completely revealed in a horror movie. The tension and mysticism disappear, falling flat. In the horror genre, it is extra important to think about what is not shown. (maybe even more when it comes to a Lovecraftian monster)
For some reason, the gaming world forgets this. Everything should be displayed, big weapons, big monsters, stereotypical faces, tentacles, etc. It results in very graphically packed books but it has a tendency to overflow and the price thereafter.

I should be honest to say everything that has so far been shown from the new edition of Malleus Monstrorum is not "bad" I want to avoid criticizing the pictures. But does it belong in a Call of Cthulhu role-playing game?

The great quality of the first edition is precisely that one has chosen not to illustrate the monsters, it makes the book so much more frightening and creative for me as a reader and keeper.

I was hoping that Chaosium would go in the opposite direction, today we are surrounded by so many different Lovecraftian games and all of them portraying Mythos monsters over and over again. Chaosium have always kept some level of weirdness but are now loosing some of that, you can be more daring and innovative?  

Roleplaying is mostly about storytelling, using your voice, your acting, building characters, it is about a group of people creating magic and images in our heads. But books are also important for most of us who play role-playing games (that explains why so many reacts on covers and new illustrations for new books), they set the tone and create the mystery surrounding the game. How that tone should appear and look is very personal and everyone feels different, but my advice is to hold back and keep the Mythos in the dark.

I don't think the gaming world has forgotten that illustrations of monsters are rarely good (worth it) since there is nothing to forget. The majority of the buying public likes more illustrations and more color illustrations in particular. A large majority of our customers have complimented us on switching to most of our books having full color interiors. The original Petersen color Guides sold well, and the 7th edition update of the Petersen Guides is an ongoing best seller.

The first edition had few illustrations for a number of reasons, all of which had nothing to do with purposely choosing to not show the monsters.  The creatures section is 25 pages, with 11 monster silhouettes. The whole 96 page main book has 12 illustrations in total, 3 of which are of Monsters. The art budget for the boxed set was relatively tiny, and much of it was spent on the color box cover. As for the price, it cost $20 in 1981, which is $55 in today's money. That means the current 7th edition full color hardcover 444-page rulebook basically costs the same as the original 1st edition boxed set with its 96 page B&W rulebook and 32 page B&W 1920s sourcebook. 

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21 minutes ago, midwinter said:

I DO object to art being subjective. Art is a skill. There's a reason why there are schools of fine art.

Of course art is subjective. It always has been.

I might look at one painting and think it's OK, someone else might think it's a beautiful piece of work.

Some Modern Art is completely inaccessible to some people, even though it has been around for over a century. I know people who cannot stand portraits and others who dislike landscapes.

Edited by soltakss
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1 hour ago, midwinter said:

Mona Lisa is "boring" and C. M. Russell's wild west art is "generic"?

in my opinion yes. I’m not interested in the making part, just the looking bit. You are welcome to disagree as is everyone. 

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And your suggestion concerning my choice of words sounds almost like a little threat.

No threat intended.

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That's not nice coming from a Chaosium employee.

only stated so that no one points the finger that I may be a “company guy”

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Should I worry now because I object to what Mike Mason thinks about art?

I’m not sure what there is to worry about?

my only concern was that you had misunderstood the use of the word. It’s clear to me now that you chose what you’ve  said.

It would be good to show some Cthulhu art, the stuff you’re posting now is a bit off topic.

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37 minutes ago, midwinter said:

Well, I didn't find any Picasso Cthulhus online. Besides, it would be off topic too since it wouldn't be from the new Malleus Monstrorum.I just replied to a post. What is this forum made for? Discussions for customers/consumers, the Keepers and players, or just promotion for Chaosium products and posts made by Chaosium employees?

These forums are here for peaceful and polite discussion. Many people who work at Chaosium post in these forums because they want to contribute to the discussion and often answer questions about what's in the works in the company. All are welcome to agree or disagree. All are welcome to share their opinions as long as it is done kindly. That's the vast majority of what happens on these forums. As for me, I mainly just try to provide history, background, or factual info. I'm not of a mind to tell anyone what they should or shouldn't like when it comes to matters of taste. If we just wanted to have employees post and promote things we'd do it via our twitter account or our website's blog, to name a few examples.

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1 hour ago, midwinter said:

... And the Mona Lisa is not a matter of taste. It is estimated to be worth $1 billion and people come from all over the globe just to see it.

One of the things about "art" is that it's a matter of taste and preference.  $-values don't dictate the taste of every person.  Anyone is free to find the Mona Lisa to be boring, or ugly, or whatever... that's their opinion.  It doesn't make them right, but it's their opinion, to which they are entitled and which is valid as an opinion.

By the same token, a $1BN valuation doesn't make those who LIKE the Mona Lisa "right," either.  It just means there are more of THOSE opinions.

===

It's like... what's the best color?

You can ask someone their favorite color, but that's their opinion -- it doesn't make their favorite color "better" or more valid.

As a matter of taste, "blue" is the most-favorite'd color.  That doesn't make someone "wrong" if their favorite color isn't blue!

 

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