Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Free Download For HP Lovecraft's Birthday & The Use Of Time And Space Gates For Your Old School Campaigns

H. P. Lovecraft, June 1934.jpg
Grab it Right Over 
Some shadows loom large in life and some overshadow you to the point where you can never really get away. So its been with me with the man from Providence.
According to Wiki : 
Howard Phillips Lovecraft (/ˈlʌvkræft, -ˌkrɑːft/;[1] August 20, 1890 – March 15, 1937) — known as H.P. Lovecraft— was an American author who achieved posthumous fame through his influential works of horror fiction. Virtually unknown and only published in pulp magazines before he died in poverty, he is now regarded as one of the most significant 20th-century authors in his genre.
Lovecraft was born in Providence, Rhode Island, where he spent most of his life. His father was confined to a mental institution when Lovecraft was 3 years old. His grandfather, a wealthy businessman, enjoyed storytelling and was an early influence. Intellectually precocious but sensitive, Lovecraft began composing rudimentary horror tales by the age of 8, but suffered from overwhelming feelings of anxiety. He encountered problems with classmates in school, and was kept at home by his highly strung and overbearing mother for illnesses that may have been psychosomatic. In high school, Lovecraft was able to better connect with his peers and form friendships. He also involved neighborhood children in elaborate make-believe projects, only regretfully ceasing the activity at 17 years old. Despite leaving school in 1908 without graduating — he found mathematics particularly difficult — Lovecraft had developed a formidable knowledge of his favored subjects, such as history, linguistics, chemistry, and astronomy.
Although he seems to have had some social life, attending meetings of a club for local young men, Lovecraft in early adulthood was established in a reclusive 'nightbird' lifestyle without occupation or pursuit of romantic adventures. In 1913 his conduct of a long running controversy in the letters page of a story magazine led to his being invited to participate in an amateur journalism association. Encouraged, he started circulating his stories; he was 31 at the time of his first publication in a professional magazine. Lovecraft contracted a marriage to an older woman he had met at an association conference. By age 34, he was a regular contributor to newly founded Weird Tales magazine; he turned down an offer of the editorship.
Read More Right Over 
Lovecraft is and was someone whom I think is only now receiving the recognition of history. Here's the reason why I loved him as well. He also took the time to help other writers in the field of weird fiction and science fiction. Had he lived longer I think he might have become one of the most important editors and collaborators in the field of science and weird fiction the world has ever seen.
His creations continue to astound me but there are a few novellas and stories that I love. At The Mountains of Madness is one, The Shadow Out Of Time is another, and a short story that never gets mentioned. 

The Most Under Utilized HP Lovecraft Story 
In Old School Gaming 

One of my all time favorite Lovecraft stories and one that I've used time and again for gaming isn't the Call of Cthulhu. Its 'From Beyond', this short story encapsulates everything about HP Lovecraft's ethos. From our insignificant place in the cosmic order of the universe, the ideas of perceptions beyond our own causing things to break into our world from just outside, isolation of the man & the breakdown of reality against the horrors from outside.
According to Wiki:
"From Beyond" is a short story by science fiction and horror fiction writer H. P. Lovecraft. It was written in 1920 and was first published in The Fantasy Fan in June 1934 (Vol. 1, No. 10)

The short is short, to the point and very entertaining in its own right but it also threads its way through the Mythos stories and into the Lovecraft circles other author's stories and novels as well. The basic plot: 

The story is told from the first person perspective of an unnamed narrator and details his experiences with a scientist named Crawford Tillinghast. Tillinghast creates an electronic device that emits a resonance wave, which stimulates an affected person’s pineal gland, thereby allowing them to perceive planes of existence outside the scope of accepted reality.
Sharing the experience with Tillinghast, the narrator becomes cognizant of a translucent, alien environment that overlaps our own recognized reality. From this perspective, he witnesses hordes of strange and horrific creatures that defy description. Tillinghast reveals that he has used his machine to transport his house servants into the overlapping plane of reality. He also reveals that the effect works both ways, and allows the denizens of the alternate dimension to perceive humans. Tillinghast's servants were attacked and killed by one such entity, and Tillinghast informs the narrator that it is right behind him. Terrified beyond measure, the narrator picks up a gun and shoots it at the machine, destroying it. Tillinghast dies immediately thereafter as a result of apoplexy. The police investigate the scene and it is placed on record that Tillinghast murdered the servants in spite of their remains never being found.

The Mega Dungeons Of Crawford Tillinghast
Everything begins and ends with the researches and manipulations of Tilinghast. But who was he? A delver into the deeper mysteries of super science and a DM's best friend.
 According to wiki :
The best friend of the story's narrator, Tillinghast is a researcher of the "physical and metaphysical". Characterized as a man of "feeling and action", the narrator describes his physical transformation after he succeeds in his experiments: "It is not pleasant to see a stout man suddenly grown thin, and it is even worse when the baggy skin becomes yellowed or grayed, the eyes sunken, circled, and uncannily glowing, the forehead veined and corrugated, and the hands tremulous and twitching."
In the first draft of the story, Lovecraft called the character Henry Annesley; he replaced that name with one composed of two old Providence surnames.[1] In The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, Lovecraft mentions "the seasoned salts who manned...the great brigs of the Browns, Crawfords, and Tillinghasts"; James Tillinghast and Eliza Tillinghast are minor characters in that story.
I believe that the Tilinghasts have been messing around with the magic and science of the mythos for a long, long, time and Crawford built his work upon the foundations established by his ancestors. This fact also enables a DM to introduce the worlds and gates created by the Tilinghast family into a large variety of venues. The fact is that if you've got a crazy megadungeon location and want to plunk it into your campaign with some fleshed out Mythos monsters add in a member of this family and a resonator. Then your gate as well as location will draw the party in. 
From Beyond also threads its way through other bits of Lovecraft's work as well.                                                           According to wiki :
Joshi points out that "From Beyond"'s theme of "a reality beyond that revealed to us by the senses, or that which we experience in everyday life", is continued in later Lovecraft tales, such as "The Shunned House" (1924), "The Colour Out of Space" (1927), "The Dreams in the Witch House" and others.[5] For example, in "The Shunned House", the narrator says that "scientific study and reflection had taught us that the known universe of three dimensions embraces the merest fraction of the whole cosmos of substance and energy." Then wiki goes into a whole host of popular culture connections right HERE. But like always Wiki misses the mark. We've had a much more recent adaptation of many of the ideas of From Beyond going all the way back to 1979. The Phantasm movies use the gate system which has some really interesting ties in with parallel worlds, time streams, and in the fourth movie Oblivion a deep tie with From Beyond. 

 In Phantasm Obvilion we are finally shown the origin point of The Tall Man. Mr. Morningside studies and creates a gateway to the red world of the Phantasm mythos. I believe given the time period, means, and mechanisms of Mr.Morningside that there's a connection to the Resonator of the Lovecraft novella. I think that there were possibly a circle of scientists, magicians, and delvers into the forbidden sciences that throughout history have been opening gates and keys that should never be disturbed. This all dovetails nicely with the cheesetastic 1980's film From Beyond. Once again Wiki: 
"From Beyond" was adapted into a 1986 film of the same name by horror director Stuart Gordon. Gordon has also written or directed such Lovecraft adaptations as Re-Animator (1985), Dagon (2001), and an episode of Masters of Horror (2005) entitled "Dreams in the Witch House". The short story was also the inspiration for the 2013 horror film Banshee Chapter, which loosely adapts the short story and 1986 Gordon film. Could all of these folks be building upon a body of work and technology that goes back centuries? Sure they could in fact it it all builds upon two warring races of Lovecraftian fiction - The Elder Things and The Great Race of Yith. The so called Great Race has had its clippers other manipulations throughout time and space. They first appeared in Lovecraft's tour de force The Shadow Out of Time. 
They're a race of time travelers whose had some very interesting interactions through the mythos and will continue to for a very long time. They make the 'Time Lords' look like rank fools. They've got operatives throughout history moving minds along the entire thread of Earth and the universe's existence. They've also warred and traded with other Lovecraftian races even as they salt history with their technology at key points including the Nazi's time travel efforts. The Shadow Out Of Time and Dreams In The Witch House has the gate technology and Mythos science squarely laid at their feet. This is just the sort of thing that they'd create with ties that go deep into the Phantasm movies as well other 80's Cheestastic films. Its also a great device for use when creating megadungeons. The resonator From Beyond might in fact be another facet of mythos science that has other connections to the Great Race. Only time will tell what other weird gems will be uncovered.

Happy Birthday HP Lovecraft!
Thanks for all the insanity! 


  1. Gutenberg actually has some (Four, I think) issues of Fantasy Fan.

    It's a fascinating read, and things were not too different than modern day message board culture. For instance, you have Forest J Ackerman trolling by writing a letter that says CAS shouldn't write horror fantasy, and then having people write in angry at him (with the encouragement of the publisher)

  2. Yeah, I've downloaded those and yeah its there are some really weird echoes of modern message boards. I'm a huge Forrest J Ackerman fan but then fandom doesn't always change much.
    I love Clark Aston Smith though so its a bit of a toss up. I need to revisit those issues of Fantasy Fan soon. So its a bit a weird toss up with those issues. Thanks for the comment and more coming soon.


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