|Does it get any cooler - Lovecraft and LL?|
Check it out! Lovecraftian critters are coming to Labyrinth Lord.
I just need to call out a few things that seem exceedingly cool - new Race-Class options for Labyrinth Lord! Tired of Tolkien Elves, Dwarves, and Halflings wringing the "Weird Horror" vibe out of your game with their Middle Earthness? The Innsmouth Look is coming to Labyrinth Lord. Arthur Jermyn would be proud of the horrible White Ape Hybrids...
Alright Dan & Co, can you tell me if there are Valusian Serpent Men in there too?
Looks like the Black City campaign will be getting a dose of cool monsters. And stuff. Although this part of the blurb interested me - Evil cultists consummate their union with Shub-Niggurath in dark woods... to the best of my knowledge, Shub didn't originate with HPL and *may* not be public property... but I'm sure those guys did their diligence - could LL have gotten use of Chaosium's whole bestiary?*
I will even do my best to stifle complaints that once again, Lovecraftian critters will be used as fodder in standard D&D campaigns everywhere, stand-ins for ordinary monsters, instead of dread-inspiring antagonists in horror scenarios...
*Geeky clarification; the name Shub-Niggurath appeared in Lovecraft, but the creatures commonly encountered in Cthulhu scenarios, the Dark Young, seem to be Chaosium's, so it could be the open source stuff only...
It's gonna be Awesome!ReplyDelete
"Tired of Tolkien Elves, Dwarves, and Halflings wringing the "Weird Horror" vibe out of your game with their Middle Earthness?"- I guess nothing scares these guys, huh?(But yet they suffer the level limits! ;-)) Seemed to work in Ravenloft, IIRC. I personally don't want to encroach on player choice, especially under the ludicrous rubric of humano-centrism. So, I figure the demi-humans are gonna have to learn to be lunch for Eldritch Abominations. Souls, Spirits, what have you D&Disms. Besides Aragorm and Boromir(we're heroes, don't ya know...) are just as resistant to a good fright as Legiolas, Gimli or Meriadoc! It's all in the attitude... I mean dude, don't forget Nazgul, Shelob, barrow-wights, and even the werewolves, and the vampire from the Silmarillion. Middle-Earth Lovecraft mashup can be awesome! I think it's just a failure of the imagination, and/or the popularity backlash on D&D-isms but YMMV. Just my ¢2!ReplyDelete
"once again, Lovecraftian critters will be used as fodder in standard D&D campaigns everywhere, stand-ins for ordinary monsters, instead of dread-inspiring antagonists in horror scenarios...": this goes for pretty much any horror game fantasy or not, ever(anything by Chaosium exempted, of course; with the exceptions of games that go out of their way to avoid the 'Mythos' like Kult, Sine Requie, Armaggeddon, etc... I would argue that no game has bastardized the atmosphere of pervasive aliennes, loneliness, and dread more than CthuluTech. Giant Fytin Weaboo Robots Smash! FTW! Realms of Cthulu: Cthulu Savage Worlds, what? Survival isn't the point. :-) Delta Green: for all its supposed relevance(i.e. set in the modern day), it boils down to Delta force Rambos shooting Star Spawn and nuking Cthulu... D20 Cthulu? Seriously? And so it goes...*sigh*
That said, this is definitely a purchase. Looks like it might be the product I hoped Tainted Lands for C&C was going to be...
Wow, thank you for pointing out why to avoid CthulhuTech like the plague. I think my head would explode.
Regarding traditional demi-humans; D&D is a catch-all pastiche that has found a home for every fantasy element around, that doesn't mean it's a good idea to use everything in every campaign. But now that I think about the potential of a Tolkien vs Lovecraft mashup, having a Great Old Ones smash Lothlorien and Rivendell, and sending the elves into paroxysms of eldritch horror would make me smile.
On it's own, Tolkien's world does have potential for horror - certainly the Mirkwood spiders are creepy, as is Shelob's lair - but the tone is too heroic and optimistic.
The Tone of the Legendarium:
This is mostly a perception of the recent LOTR movies.(Even the MERP material was more sober and restrained, with a sense of fighting back the tide of darkness for just one more minute.) Read even the Hobbit without visualizing the standard Conan the Barbarian/Destroyer/Comics fight scenes with their pithy rejoinders and see what happens. The world centers on change, leading inevitably to loss, and no sure gain. Note the ending of LOTR; the scouring of the Shire, the Departure of the Elves to the West, the coming loss of Magic. That's not even getting into the Silmarillion! It's not Cthulu, soul-crushing, I wanna die rather than live another minute bleak, but it's not sunflowers, fairy wine, and clean living either.
But now that I think about the potential of a Tolkien vs Lovecraft mashup, having a Great Old Ones smash Lothlorien and Rivendell, and sending the elves into paroxysms of eldritch horror would make me smile.: See there ya go!
'On it's own, Tolkien's world does have potential for horror - certainly the Mirkwood spiders are creepy, as is Shelob's lair' and the Eye of Sauron(Trapped forever as THIS, yeesh!)-Let this vision guide you!
'Regarding traditional demi-humans; D&D is a catch-all pastiche that has found a home for every fantasy element around, that doesn't mean it's a good idea to use everything in every campaign.'-Agreed! For example, running a campaign with either humans being the equivalent of the 'goblinoids'(PCs could be these, of course) or no Homo Sapiens at all. Very fun. Extracting/twisting other elements can be interesting also; I like to tinker. Of course, you know this, you're in the planning stages of just this right now!
Thanks for coming by and defending Tolkien! The sad, elegiac quality of the work tends to get lost when we think about using Tolkien elements in gaming terms; it's hard to carry it over into a game (well). Literature emulation through RPGs is hard in general. So what we end up with are just the superficial trappings - it's good to be reminded sometimes about what made the literature awesome to start with.ReplyDelete
In the taxonomy of horror, Tolkien's horror elements are very much supernatural horror. There are powerful forces of good in the world, and even though there are terrifying moments, the characters are part of a larger conflict; it's a much different tone than the Weird (bleak) horror you see in Lovecraft and Clark Ashton Smith. And what I'd expect in Realms of Crawling Chaos.
But one last thing - how about those Barrow Wights? I had forgotten how creepy those things were - musing on Tolkien's horror moments got me remembering. Get rid of Tom Bombadil and Goldberry (more of those supernatural forces for good hanging out in the background...) - and the wights are pretty dang horrific.
On the Horror found in Tolkien:ReplyDelete
Both the mundane sorrow of war and the headlong rush into otherwordly terror are well represented. The knowledge that there are 'Good' Gods utilizing you as playing pieces to defeat one of Their own rogue servitors is probably not any more reassuring than Unknown Aberrations Who Just Don't Care About You Doing Whatever Mysteriously.(At least the Gods 'Love' us as a consolation prize probably falls flat.) You still get ground up into hamburger either way, amirite? I doubt dogs are trying to gain an understanding as to why they are being 'spayed/neutered', for their own good, of course.
It doesn't seem like they help out the 'Good Side' that much, or not as much as they could. They seem to be existing for themselves. One odd note is Tom's resistance to the Ring's powers; it means NOTHING to him!(How limited can his power be) This is very disconcerting. He seems to help the Hobbits only out of Noblesse Oblige. Who IS this guy, exactly. He's NOT a Vala! But Tom has always Been... HE scares the Wights!(Who are creepy as all Hell.)
Agents of 'Good':
Beorn is largely self-absorbed, the Ents slowly fading away(degenerating, you could say), the Elves succumbing to apathy, humans callously disregarding nature(and they're on the rise), Dwarves slowly dying out, etc... The Istari Maiar seem to exist only to intervene before All is Lost.(Keep the rolling wheel creaking along, tottering, but not falling, if you will.) Not a lot of hope there. Elrond Half-Elven and Rivendell would be about the one bright spot in this potential campaign world. I'd say that'd be necessary, however;
one could argue that moments of respite between bouts of grueling terror makes the experience worse, as it lessens the likelihood of going psychologically numb.
Differences between HPL vs JRRT in this context:
It's the contrast between being on your own in an unfathomable, occasionally hostile, universe with no-one to call on for aid vs. an orderly realm devastated by massive bloody conflagrations overseen by Powers who are using you for their own purposes, out of 'Duty' to 'Law' or 'Love of Life' or 'Universal Order' or Rebellion against an Unjust Cosmic Hierarchy, and suchlike. How comforting! But, of course, only HPL tried to scare people with frickin' angles. Multispatial Physics, how does that work!?!? :-)
Also, different campaigns could be set in different Ages, as MERP suggested, that changes the degree and flavor of play, depending.