Sunday, May 23, 2021

OSR Commentary - When The Hills Ran Wild - With William J Barton's 'The Killer Out of Space ' Adventure - H.P Lovecraft, Cepheus Engine, Cthulhu Now, & Call of Cthulhu

 "WEST of Arkham the hills rise wild, and there are valleys with deep woods that no axe has ever cut. There are dark narrow glens where the trees slope fantastically, and where thin brooklets trickle without ever having caught the glint of sunlight. On the gentler slopes there are farms, ancient and rocky, with squat, moss-coated cottages brooding eternally over old New England secrets in the lee of great ledges; but these are all vacant now, the wide chimneys crumbling and the shingled sides bulging perilously beneath low gambrel roofs."

"The old folk have gone away, and foreigners do not like to live there. French-Canadians have tried it, Italians have tried it, and the Poles have come and departed. It is not because of anything that can be seen or heard or handled, but because of something that is imagined. The place is not good for imagination, and does not bring restful dreams at night. It must be this which keeps the foreigners away, for old Ammi Pierce has never told them of anything he recalls from the strange days. Ammi, whose head has been a little queer for years, is the only one who still remains, or who ever talks of the strange days; and he dares to do this because his house is so near the open fields and the travelled roads around Arkham."

HP Lovecraft's  'The Colour Out of Space' 

Amazing Stories, vol. 2, no. 6  (September 1927)  edited by Hugo Gernsback
The Colour Out of Space by H. P. Lovecraft

The key to this blog post is to go back & reread 
HP Lovecraft's  'The Colour Out of Space'. All of the following hinges on it. 

So DM Paul (my physist friend co player/DM) & I on Saturday were shooting the breeze & knocking back some beers. He was explaining to me his past games of Call of Cthulhu campaigns & so forth.
 We've been over here concentrating on Call of Cthulhu & Cepheus Engine rpg  specifically some of the early 2nd CoC adventures. More specifically William J Barton's 'The Killer Out of Space' from Cthulhu Now   Could 'The Killer Out of Space' be adapted to Zozer Games Hostile rpg?
Now we've seen Delta Green & other products taking up the slack of the  Cthulhu Now supplement. But with so much Eighties nostalgia I thought it was time to revisit this classic. I was zipping around doing a bit of research on this one & came across Alexander Scott's review on Amazon; "The first one, "The City in the Sea", was a wash for me. Not particularly excited about it - it could have been set in any time period as far as I could tell (even a "Jules Verne" version of Gaslight). An investigator gets sent an idol from a deceased uncle - haven't seen that one before. The second, "Dreams Dark and Deadly", is set in a lodge turned into research station. Dreams are studied using a supercomputer recording electrical signals. Perhaps it was science-fiction at the time, but it sounds exciting in the modern day to me. Very believable, could be well adapted to the 90's or even today. "The Killer out of Space" is about an alien that causes a space-shuttle to crash, bringing its infection to Earth. Some have said this could be in bad taste after the Columbia disaster. I think it could also be very apropos, depending on your players. "The Evil Stars" is a about a rock band bringing Hastur to Earth - at first glance I thought "That's so 80's." You could change the superficials - rock band to grunge or death metal, particularly, and still have a good modern scenario. Some scenarios are a prisoner of their times, but I think this one has an enduring core idea." 

Now I agree with (mostly) everything that was said in this review. But when we started thinking about a corporate Earth suddenly taken with a crashed shuttle with an alien threat on it.  Things got interesting really fast. So let's say that in our take on the Hostile universe such as shuttle comes down. And now 'the Night Stalkers' are called in. Is this going to make much of a difference to the alien threat behind  'The Killer Out of Space'!?! Honestly I really doubt it. This isn't an alien threat that can simply be shot at nor disissed with psionics or magicks. This really would be an investigation, identification, & possibly elimination. The whole adventure of  'The Killer Out of Space'  would play out like a Seventies science fiction film. A bleek & dire threat against the backdrop of a small Midwestern setting. But can anything be done for the victims & those who are caught within the web of the alien's influence?! 
Even with some of the advanced technologies of the Hostile rpg line of products & even Cepheus Engine rpg there's very little that could be done. 
But a key to running this adventure? Are two different supplements. Supplement number one is Shadowfall by Baggage Books. 

Zozer Games Explorers has some excellent material in relation to dealing with unknown & weird situations such as the colour entity. The proticals for such an first contact might take the corporations & governments by surprise! They are not ready for the revelations of such a contact!

The key here is that even the governments & corporations are not going to be ready for this entity. The best that the Earth can hope for is to deal with the alien essence in such a way as to minimuize the damage to the local area. A large percentage of farmland will be lost however. Could "The Killer out of Space" be set else where in the Cepheus Engine rpg setting products that are currently on the market?! Yes I believe that Independence Games organization   CCA (Cascadia Colonization Authority) team might be a good fit for  run through of  'The Killer Out of Space'. 
All of the elements are already present within the interstellar  setting of Indpendence Games Cepheus Engine rpg materials. 

This is only a thought excercise but its an interesting take on one of my favorite 2nd edition Call of Cthulhu rpg supplements. And we love getting the most miles out of the rpg materials that we can. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.