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My players want to read what Lovecraft have written.


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Hi,

I'm starting a new campaign of CoC, in the Achtung! Cthulhu setting.

So, as Lovecraft died in 1937, my players are thinking that they could read everything he has written.

I don't feel that I could not allowed that, but I don't know how to handle it.

Did somebody ever had the same problem?

Thank you.

Ghislain Blais

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36 minutes ago, commandercrud said:

You have players that want to read Lovecraft? Great. Recommend your favorite stories. How is this a problem?

Maybe he doesn't what his players to be too familiar with the mythos before they start the campaign, and would like to preserve some of the mystery and horror that comes with an initial encounter? 

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Not easy.

Lovecraft was a US author who was virtually unknown in his lifetime, his fiction only became widely popular after his death.

A group searching through book stores for obscure publications in English would attract the attention of the SS or other intelligence services, who would very reasonably suspect the avid pulp magazine collectors were spies receiving secret instructions through magazine articles. At the very least NAZI intelligence services would think the PCs were subversives, giving way too much attention to effete Jewish trash when they should be focussing on the patriotic work of Reich visionaries or reading the classic founding stories of the Germanic people. Any officer who read a few of the HP Lovecraft stories might even think the group were crypto-homosexuals, which if they survived the interrogation would earn them a one way train trip to a concentration camp. 

They might even attract the attention of the NAZI occultists, if word had spread that an obscure US author was spilling some of their secrets.

If they do manage to get hold of a few stories without getting arrested or shot, give them 1% mythos?

Edited by EricW
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You are not wrong to be concerned. I would simply ask them not to read anything about Cthulhu or Lovecraft. Tell them that you want to surprise them within the game, and they would spoil what you could be inspired to present to them. Tell them that if they read everything, they will force you to make up original creations and situations. That would mean more work for you, and less real, authentic Lovecraft in the game.

I would say the same thing for any game setting I run. You can either read the source material, or be players in a game. You can't do both.

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Do you mean your players want to read Lovecraft's stories, or your players want to have their Investigators read them?  If you're concerned about the former, don't be - it'll stoke enthusiasm for the game, and it won't take any impact away from your scenarios.  If you're concerned about the latter, then Lovecraft may not even exist (his stories are canonically written by other people in the setting).

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13 hours ago, GhislainBlais said:

Hi, I'm starting a new campaign of CoC, in the Achtung! Cthulhu setting.

So, as Lovecraft died in 1937, my players are thinking that they could read everything he has written.

Great. My players devoured the books, I used to have a three volume omnibus of Lovecraft's works I would lend out.

13 hours ago, GhislainBlais said:

I don't feel that I could not allowed that, but I don't know how to handle it.

Did somebody ever had the same problem?

It really added to the game play. Players understood the whole weird background, but as roleplayers didn't let that affect them.

Given the Achtung! Cthulhu setting. It won't have any effect on the game (IMO), just as their knowledge of WWII won't.

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15 hours ago, GhislainBlais said:

So, as Lovecraft died in 1937, my players are thinking that they could read everything he has written.

I don't feel that I could not allowed that, but I don't know how to handle it.

Did somebody ever had the same problem?

It is the same issue as someone playing in Middle Earth having read Lord of the Rings, playing Stormbringer having read the Elric books, or playing in Mythic Earth but knowing about the history.

Some GMs like their Players to have a general idea of the background, others prefer their Players to know nothing about the background, so everything is a surprise.

Personally, I would let the Players read Lovecraft and then completely mess with their minds by doing things differently.

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6 hours ago, SunlessNick said:

Do you mean your players want to read Lovecraft's stories, or your players want to have their Investigators read them?  If you're concerned about the former, don't be - it'll stoke enthusiasm for the game, and it won't take any impact away from your scenarios.  If you're concerned about the latter, then Lovecraft may not even exist (his stories are canonically written by other people in the setting).

Beat me to it. 🙂

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Hi,

Mt question was a bit confusing. My players (friends) donc really want to read Lovecraft (but one already have). They want there characters to read (and me summarising the infos collected!).

So, I like the idea that Lovecraft is unknown, which at least bring a bit of research to find him. And giving then some % in mythos skill seem a fair reward.

Thank you!

 

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Yes, that’s what I thought you meant. My answer addressed that. There are well-known Mythos-related stories / series where the main characters have read Lovecraft’s fiction, and it doesn’t help them at all. Check them out?

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On 8/27/2021 at 3:28 PM, GhislainBlais said:

Hi,

I'm starting a new campaign of CoC, in the Achtung! Cthulhu setting.

So, as Lovecraft died in 1937, my players are thinking that they could read everything he has written.

I don't feel that I could not allowed that, but I don't know how to handle it.

Did somebody ever had the same problem?

Thank you.

Ghislain Blais

I would think that they hope their characters will get some sort of skill increase or bonus from it. That's fine, in abstract, but I would ask them a simple question:
What specific benefit will your character get from having read everything HP Lovecraft wrote?

If they say they expect their Mythos Skill to improve, I wouldn't necessarily have a problem with that. After all, their Max SAN takes a hit from that.

If they expect that you will just tell them more stuff for no extra effort, then that's a different matter. Beyond the Mythos skill there are very few mechanic/rule advantages to knowing more about the mythos. There's no "identify mythos monster" skill, or "avoid mythos machinations" skill.

Hope that Helps,
Rick Meints - Chaosium, Inc.

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28 minutes ago, Rick Meints said:

If they expect that you will just tell them more stuff for no extra effort, then that's a different matter.

Also if Lovecraft's real in the setting, that implies his first-person-narrator characters are not real (there's no reason any of them - let alone all of them - would go to someone like him to publish their accounts), and you have to figure out what that means for the events of those stories.

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22 hours ago, GhislainBlais said:

Hi,

Mt question was a bit confusing. My players (friends) donc really want to read Lovecraft (but one already have). They want there characters to read (and me summarising the infos collected!).

So, I like the idea that Lovecraft is unknown, which at least bring a bit of research to find him. And giving then some % in mythos skill seem a fair reward.

Thank you!

 

The stories are mostly not that long - surely they can muster up an hour to read The Call of Cthulhu, or The Shadow Over Innsmouth

A great adaption of The Shadow Over Innsmouth is even playing on Amazon Prime.
 

Dreams in the Witch House

Some terrific non HP Lovecraft mythos stories;

Crouch End (Stephen King)
 

Granma
 

In the Mouth of Madness

The Screwfly solution - not a mythos story, but sufficiently horrible to qualify.

Seriously, don't read the books then prepare cheatsheets, that just seems wrong. Have a video night.

 

Edited by EricW
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On 8/28/2021 at 5:28 AM, GhislainBlais said:

Hi,

I'm starting a new campaign of CoC, in the Achtung! Cthulhu setting.  So, as Lovecraft died in 1937, my players are thinking that they could read everything he has written.  I don't feel that I could not allowed that, but I don't know how to handle it. Did somebody ever had the same problem?

Thank you.

Ghislain Blais

Let's make this easy.  As Keeper, Call of C'thulhu is your game world.  Does H.P. Lovecraft even exist in it?  I mean, think about it, does H.P. Lovecraft exist in the stories he is writing about?  The answer is no.

It is perfectly reasonable to say that there is no HP Lovecraft in your world.

This is not to suggest that HPL could not exist in your world, but he is a little known writer for fringe literature publications.  Most CoC games start in 1927, by which time HPL is divorced and has yet to write Call of C'thulhu.  He could be an NPC the players bump into, and his early death could be attributed to mythos forces other than the intestinal cancer that killed him.  Or, given that he is basically right about everything, perhaps he is some sort of dark avatar or prophet of Nyarlathotep, every bit as cursed and dangerous as Abdul Alhazred himself, sent to corrupt the readers of Weird Tales for some arcane reason.  I believe there is an edition of Different Worlds magazine that actually covered HPL as a C'thulhu character, but I don't remember which edition it is.

Edited by Darius West
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The best thing to do is have H P Lovecraft exist - and then they meet him and he's this guy, and like in real life, his "Pepe Silvia" is "black people and Jews". Remember, people of his time thought he was a racist-ass douchebag and his books were like "the cosmic horror of Portuguese people living in Rhode Island". Source: I grew up in Rhode Island and my Nana grew up in the house next to his.

Pepe Silvia | Know Your Meme

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12 hours ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

The best thing to do is have H P Lovecraft exist - and then they meet him and he's this guy, and like in real life, his "Pepe Silvia" is "black people and Jews". Remember, people of his time thought he was a racist-ass douchebag and his books were like "the cosmic horror of Portuguese people living in Rhode Island". Source: I grew up in Rhode Island and my Nana grew up in the house next to his.

Actually Lovecraft utterly eschewed many of his former beliefs and shifted from extreme conservatism to being a New Deal Social Democrat late in his life, decrying the emergence of fascism as the greatest threat to the American way of life.  Better late than never.  Idk that he ever actually properly eschewed racism, but he did marry a Jewish girl, for what that's worth.  Yes, he was an asshole vis race, but the Depression made him grow up a bit politically, before cancer got him.

6 hours ago, TheEnclave said:

That's the Mythos skill.

Identifying monsters is definitely mythos skill.  Normally a skill like intrigue would be good for avoiding mythos machinations, but CoC doesn't have one, so it is all about actual roleplaying and the decisions you make.

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