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Dimensions for Call of Cthulhu


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Not sure how familiar people are with Buddhism and Hinduism and as Lovecraft himself got a lot of ideas from the latter - Yog-Sothoth, Azathoth and Nyarlathotep being three prime examples. Plus nowadays with a lot of information only being a click away I'd thought I would share this.

Buddhist cosmology - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brahman

It would be quite easy to incorporate all of the above. Hope this helps anyone and gives you all lots of ideas.

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I didn't see the Buddhist angle previously but I did run into a seemingly Lovecraftian influence in an unexpected place. I'd never read any of E.E. "Doc" Smith's pulp science fiction tales, so picked up Gray Lensman (1951, 4th in a series, only book by him my library had) and encountered this description of an alien boss who is apparently pulling the strings of a human bad guy from the previous novel:

"... there crouched or huddled or lay at ease a many-tentacled creature indescribable to man. It was not like an octopus. Though spiny, it did not resemble at all closely a sea-cucumber. Nor, although it was scaly and toothy and wingy, was it save in the vaguest possible way, similar to a lizard, a sea-serpant, or a vulture. Such a description by negatives is, of course, pitifully inadequate; but, unfortunately, it is the best that can be done."

Sounds an awful lot like Lovecraft's not-description of the creatures from The Festival. Like H.G. Wells' Martians, the creature above possesses a vast, emotionless intellect unsympathetic to man, although it doesn't mind using human stooges to work its will.

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Another interesting thing about Gray Lensman is its Lensman Corps, a peacekeeping organization comprised of heroes of assorted galactic species (many/most not humanoid), each equipped with a ultra high-tech gadget that grants him/it vast powers. Now "Doc" Smith's novels didn't predate the original (magical) Green Lantern, but they did precede the Green Lantern Corps, which apparently was created by DC Comics around 1981. But Gray Lensman Kim Kinnison's companions are weirder and more alien than anything I've seen in the comics or in assorted animated series. Make your SAN roll, even if these are the good guys!

Also, the technology of the Galactic Patrol (of which the Lensmen are a part) puts both Star Trek's Starfleet and Star Wars' Imperial Navy to shame, even if we are talking massive tail-landing, finned rocket ships with no integrated circuitry (heavy on the bus bars and vacuum tubes) and no computers (that's what slide rules are for). The Navy never leaves its galaxy far, far away and even the latest Enterprise (whatever letter designation) struggles to break the galactic barrier. Meanwhile, Kinnison thinks nothing of zipping over to the next galaxy (and back) to pursue an investigation, his ships are protected by multiple layers of force fields, and each ship can unleash a light show of destructive energy that makes The Last Starfighter's Death Blossom attack look puny.

Edited by seneschal
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Another interesting thing about Gray Lensman is its Lensman Corps, a peacekeeping organization comprised of heroes of assorted galactic species (many/most not humanoid), each equipped with a ultra high-tech gadget that grants him/it vast powers. Now "Doc" Smith's novels didn't predate the original (magical) Green Lantern, but they did precede the Green Lantern Corps, which apparently was created by DC Comics around 1981. But Gray Lensman Kim Kinnison's companions are weirder and more alien than anything I've seen in the comics or in assorted animated series. Make your SAN roll, even if these are the good guys!

Also, the technology of the Galactic Patrol (of which the Lensmen are a part) puts both Star Trek's Starfleet and Star Wars' Imperial Navy to shame, even if we are talking massive tail-landing, finned rocket ships with no integrated circuitry (heavy on the bus bars and vacuum tubes) and no computers (that's what slide rules are for). The Navy never leaves its galaxy far, far away and even the latest Enterprise (whatever letter designation) struggles to break the galactic barrier. Meanwhile, Kinnison thinks nothing of zipping over to the next galaxy (and back) to pursue an investigation, his ships are protected by multiple layers of force fields, and each ship can unleash a light show of destructive energy that makes The Last Starfighter's Death Blossom attack look puny.

I certainly think we need quick and easy rules to simulate that though. lol

Maybe we should open a thread and go into detail on it?

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I've previously advocated Skeletor as a possible CoC opponent. Another candidate, in keeping with this thread's Buddhist theme, is Sun Wu Kong, the Handsome Monkey King, a character from Chinese literature. Imagine a being with the power of Goku, the personality of Bugs Bunny, and the ambition of Doctor Doom. Born of elemental forces on a mystical mountain, the Stone Monkey became a hero to a troop of normal, biological monkeys when he saved them from a carnivorous ogre. Reproved by the Powers That Be for his hijinks, Sun Wu Kong studied Buddhism under an exalted master but drove his superior nuts and was kicked out of seminary. A compulsive trickster, he robbed several sea kings of mystic items, including an unbreakable 9-ton staff that could extend to infinite lengths. The Monkey King defeated assorted monsters that were terrorizing the countryside (not necessarily out of altruism) and became so proud of himself that he sought to overthrow the Jade Emperor, King of Heaven, and seat himself upon the Jade Throne. He almost won (!) but was defeated when the Buddha himself buried Sun Wu Kong beneath a mountain and placed a scroll containing the weight of the universe at its summit. He was released after 1,000 years and, as a sort of penance, was assigned to be an assistant to a Chinese monk journeying into the West (aka India) to retrieve valuable Buddhist scrolls.

Unlike Mythos entities, Sun Wu Kong isn't malicious, or even evil exactly. He's amoral, utterly thoughtless and selfish like a small child is. His rages are interrupted by "Ooooh, shiny!" moments. He's annoying and somewhat dangerous to be around but he manages to accomplish some good despite himself.

I'm not sure that even Superworld could stat out this guy ... but it'd be fun to try.

Edited by seneschal
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Here's the manga I read, which captures the humor of the saga as well as the monster-bashing action:

Monkey King # Volume 01 : Birth of the Stone Monkey: Wei Dong Chen, YK Kim, Jonathan Evans, Chao Peng: 9788994208459: Amazon.com: Books

One of my favorite scenes is when, released from his imprisonment, the somewhat less than repentant Monkey King tosses Five Fingers Mountain into the stratosphere like a baseball. The Buddha's scroll was the only thing really holding him there.

The Dark Horse Publishing version looks just plain scary, probably more appropriate to Call of Cthulhu than the iteration I know but yikes!

Edited by seneschal
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Ah, the Lensmen series - I have an old and rather battered copy of Gurps Lensmen, and its starkly* brilliant, in a pleasantly old-fashioned and nostalgic way... cool aliens too :)

And regarding the Monkey King (and yes, I'm of an age where I have nostalgic feelings about the TV show 'Monkey' as well), I've been trying to find a good eBook copy of 'Journey to the West' online... my colleague at work is of chinese descent, and has been introducing me to aspects of chinese culture between work items... As an aside, NEVER mention the TV show 'Monkey' to a Chinese person ... it was made in Japan (oh, the earache I got for that one)

* Anyone who has read a copy of GURPS Lensmen will know why I used that particular word

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I've been on a Fifties sci-fi kick lately since re-acquiring Classic Traveller. But I keep running into bits that refer me back to another recent acquisition, Call of Cthulhu. In this case, it is Robert Heinlien's Have Spacsuit -- Will Travel (1958). Recent high school graduate Kip Russell, through a convoluted series of events, is kidnapped and taken to the Moon by insectoid aliens who are scouting out Earth as a possible colony (they regard humans as tasty cattle). Like Lovecraft's Mi-Go, the Wormfaces (we never learn their proper name, they call themselves the Only People) are short, physically fragile, hyper-intelligent, have hypnotic powers (or are at least super intimindating, forcing cooperation), shoot nosey humans with portrait camera-like ray guns, and have set up an advance base on Pluto and a smaller one on the Moon. Unlike the Mi-Go, they require spacesuits and flying saucers to travel through the stars. No brains in jars; they dump the victim's whole body literally into the soup after a human minion has served his purposes.

After describing the creature's tentacled upright tripedal body, Heinlien continues:

No nose. He was an oxygen breather but where the air went in and out I couldn't say -- some of it through the mouth, for he could talk. The mouth was the second worst part of him; in place of jawbone and chin he had mandibles that opened sideways as well as down, gaping in three irregular sides. There were rows of tiny teeth but no tongue that I could see; instead the mouth was rimmed with cilia as long as angleworms. They never stopped squirming

I said the mouth was "second worst"; he had eyes. They were big and bulging and protected by horny ridges, two on the front of his head, set wide apart. They scanned. They scanned like radar, swinging up and down and back and forth. He never looked at you and yet was always looking at you. When he turned around, I saw a third eye in back. I think he scanned his whole surroundings at all times, like a radar warning system.

The Only People wouldn't get along with the Mi-Go (or anyone else, for that matter). Their racial superiority complex prevents them from regarding other sentient creatures as anything but food (although playing with one's food can sometimes be useful).

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  • 4 weeks later...

Not sure how familiar people are with Buddhism and Hinduism and as Lovecraft himself got a lot of ideas from the latter - Yog-Sothoth, Azathoth and Nyarlathotep being three prime examples. Plus nowadays with a lot of information only being a click away I'd thought I would share this.

Buddhist cosmology - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Brahman - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

It would be quite easy to incorporate all of the above. Hope this helps anyone and gives you all lots of ideas.

Secrets of Japan has a lot of stuff on integrating buddhism with the mythos. Chaosium Inc. - Pages

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