Saturday, September 24, 2022

Cults on the Edges of the Map - OSR Commentary - Lovecraftian White Box Role-Playing in the 1900's through the 1930's

Of our relation to all creation we can never know anything whatsoever. All is immensity and chaos. But, since all this knowledge of our limitations cannot possibly be of any value to us, it is better to ignore it in our daily conduct of life.

H. P. Lovecraft

 There's a fairly serious void in the Swords & Wizardry rpg market for 'Eldritch Horror' or at least it  was the thought that ran through what's left of my head. Then I remembered 'Eldritch Tales: Lovecraftian White Box Role-Playing' From Raven God Games. If you want to set a 1920's style Halloween one shot. This is the OSR rules set to use. 

 'Eldritch Tales: Lovecraftian White Box Role-Playing'is right in line White Box Gothic from Gallant Knight Games. Why because it adds the Gothic horror in spades with an OSR Swords & Wizardry twist or two. 

The late 1900's through the 1930's were really the last golden ages of exploration on Earth. The last places where the Earth's darkest places were finally revealed. And these are the last edges of the map where the Lovecraftian cults might exist. For White Box Swords & Wizardry this is a perfect time to squeeze in a mini game with OSR overtones. Indianna Jones & Call of Cthulhu style PC's whose exploits cover the gamut of occult & supernatural happenings. 
With world wars, market crashes, & more make such a campaign very dynamic. Especially if we use the dreaded Clerical Lich as a part of the cult of the Lovecraftian horrors or even the dread cult of Cthulhu itself. Check the stats from White Box Gothic; 
"Clerical Liche Armor Class: 1 [18] Hit Dice: 12 - 18 Attacks: By weapon (1d6) Special: See Below Move: 12 HDE/XP: 15/2,900, 16/3,200, 17/3,500, 18/3,800, 19/4,100, 20/4,400, 21/4,700 While the vast majority of liches have mastered the arcane arts of the Magic-User in rare cases, some of them devote themselves to the service of a malign god or goddess with such zeal that they rises as powerful and terrible 42 Eric Fabiaschi (Order #34172416) masters of corrupted divine magic. These are known as Clerical Liches. They are able to cast spells as a 10th level Cleric. In addition, they have also mastered the spells of a Magic-User, though to a lesser degree than traditional liches. A clerical liche can memorize and cast spells as a MagicUser with a level equal to half their normal hit dice, rounded down. This means that a liche with 14 or 15 hit dice would memorize and cast spells as a 7th level Magic-User and as a 10th level Cleric. Clerical liches cannot paralyze with either their touch or aura, but can Turn Undead as a Chaotic Cleric of 9th level, as described in Swords & Wizardry: WhiteBox."
With a clerical liche as the head of cell of a Lovecraftian cult then the PC's are going to have their hands full! What many people don't realize is the global reach of the Cult of Cthulhu. 
If we take a look at Ken Kelly's 'OLDSKULL LIBRARY - The Shadow over Innsmouth' then we've got an excellent prop to get the PC's involved in a campaign why? Because Ken Kelly's OLDSKULL LIBRARY - The Shadow over Innsmouth treats the HP Lovecraft story an rpg prop ;  "a confessional journal created by Robert Martin Olmstead, who disappeared some years after revelations that he experienced in exploring the seaside fishing and gold refining town of Innsmouth. Instead of treating Olmstead’s writings as fiction, I have created a series of artworks which crystallize the events, locales, thoughts, and nightmares experienced by Olmstead and later his brother and his “bride”." 

 Ken Kelly's 'OLDSKULL LIBRARY - The Shadow over Innsmouth' is a great way to bring in Innsmouth into a Lovecraftian campaign. Especially when such a campaign takes place within a 1920's or 1930's in New England. And this New England connection could lead to Raven Games 'The Eldritch Inquirer #1' 's Return of The Wind Walker. 
This campaign's  'Return of The Wind Walker' could plug into some of the Lovecraftian adventure elements present within  'OLDSKULL LIBRARY - The Shadow over Innsmouth'
Eventually such a Lovecraftian campaign could lead to other horrors including pathways even into Lamentations of the Flame Princess's Rpg Mark Hess's Colony of Death. Within this campaign is a Mi Go connection in the mountains of Maryland. The Mi Go also have connections to the cult of Cthulhu. And this could lead even further down the Lovecraftian rabbit hole.
Witch cults are a clear part of the Lovecraftian landscape. And as we've seen in H.P. Lovecraft's Dreams in the Witchhouse they have their own links into the Cult of Cthulhu. So what is my own point here?! That the world wide cult of Cthulhu has its tentacles in many,many, areas of the pre modern world. And that these areas can be just around the corner of civilization. 

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