There is a new episode of The Gauntlet Podcast out today! In this one, @edige23 and I are joined by @AviatrixCat to discuss her upcoming game, Red Carnations on a Black Grave. We also discuss a fantasy re-skin of @Frasersimons’s The Veil RPG, Alas for the Awful Sea in Cat’s Kingsport setting, and my 9 Lessons from Running 9 Games of @jesseross’s Tophy. This episode is a must-listen!
The Gauntlet Podcast - Red Carnations on a Black Grave, Veil'd Fantasy, Alas for the Awful Sea: Kingsport, 9 Lessons for Trophy
Quite an interesting episode, with a variety of game styles and settings being discussed, which makes for engaging listening.
@AviatrixCat, you talk about how you have your own, deconstructed take on HP Lovecraft. As someone who finds the Mythos pretty appealing but struggles with some of the more… dated… nature of the material.
Is that something you’ve written about or expounded on before? I’d like to read or hear more about that!
Well, about 250,000 words of APs on Story Games
Uh, the Kingsport universe is at least…adjacent…to my Legendarium; I’ve had Kakakatak, the Yithian minor NPC from “Masks of Nyarlathotep” who befriended a human in my campaigns (they swapped bodies for a bit; it was a bonding experience) drop in a couple of times (and having a Yithian for the Infernal’s Dark Power was one of my favorite touches.)
A lot of my revisionism deals with ditching the “knowledge is horror!” themes of your classic Lovecraft and going for a more human-grounded experience–I like to say that the fundamental question of any campaign I run is “What would you sacrifice to save the world?” (and it got answered at least once with “Everything that makes me a hero.”) I swing less through the “the universal indifference will crush us” and lean more into “there is plots, and plotters.” It also helps that I’ve leaned more into the Talky Lovcraftian/adjacent Big Bads; Nyarlathotep (who I tend to play as an infinite trickster god more interested in playing the game than winning), the King in Yellow (I aimed at “paranoia and predestination” but didn’t quite get it to land), and the Liar from Eternal Lies whose name I shan’t say here, as it’s a spoiler.
I tend to swing pretty hard against the colonialist tropes inherent in the more pulpy fiction that I end up running, so there’s plenty of fascists to punch and freedom fighters to help. (My Eternal Lies run basically had a series of mostly helpful Communists, but it was the 1930s and the Popular Front could still be a thing.) One subplot in my run of Eternal Lies involved a global conspiracy headed by women, who could infiltrate many organizations simply by preying on the sexism of their employers.
Another thing I do a lot is to not use the Mythos names for entities when I can. Sure, Nyarlathotep gets named, but They are also “The Messenger” (or sometimes “The Dark Lord” depending on who’s talking.) Cthulhu is almost always The Dreamer; the Yithians often get called Archivists. This gives me some room to maneuver by pulling away from the classic names. I haven’t done anything serious with the Big C yet but the couple of times he’s been around he’s always been a vague if titanic presence, usually only glimpsed as an enormous Eye or simply a menacing psychic shudder.
In the Kingsport series, I’ve been kind of happy about how the Deep Ones have stopped being a metaphor about racists miscegenation and been transformed into an American story of immigration, assimilation, and even isolation–Kingsport’s Deep Ones never formed their own town like the Deep Ones of Innsmouth, and so they were forced to lay low and become a part of the town. This tends to lean a bit heavily on Ruthann Emrys, of course, but we’ve also come up with our own look at things; much credit must go to @Jesseabe who created our first Deep One family and laid the groundwork for a lot of the stuff that came later, including making me dig the name Perdition Wilkins out of the dark recesses of my soul when we had to come up with the Esoteric Order’s local minister.
I could maybe talk more but perhaps its best if you ask questions/make a thread/both
That’s really fantastic, @AviatrixCat! Ever since reading some of your APs (which I really hope get properly archived somewhere - they’re top notch!) and listening to this podcast, I’ve got this itch to do a Cthulhu-esque, historical Monsterhearts game (but, so far, no takers).
I probably don’t have enough questions for a whole new thread, but I’d like to hear about how changing what you see as the underlying themes affects the gameplay on a more practical level. Is it a “deep” change, for instance? (If you have a lot to write, perhaps a new thread could be called for, to be fair - I’m still learning whether this forum can simply do that with some kind of split function.)
Thank you for the thorough answer, in any case!
You’re even indulgent of hare-brained gnostic Christian weirdness, presumably against your better judgment.
Yup, a mod can split out some posts to a new thread. If it starts to look like we have a need we can make it happen.
It was a great episode!! I have a question for @edige23. He said that for his new campaign he used microscope to create the city. It was just a “normal game” but centered on the city or did you use any change or new rule for this case?