Monday, 2 July 2018

FUCK CTHULHU

WHAT'S THE POINT OF AN UNKNOWABLE HORROR THAT IS VERY KNOWN

The knife-edge of cosmic horror is that single moment of realization wherein an inky black vista yawns wide before you, utterly engulfing the entire world you knew and rendering it insignificant whilst being utterly unknowable by it's very nature - not only have your illusions been shattered, you're not getting a new one - this being the cut, severing you utterly, leaving you floating, alone. And that's pretty neat.

In the abstract our insignificance is relatively easy to grasp, but the illustration, or demonstration, the rendering literal of such a fact, is the cutting moment that severs us utterly. Survivors are wounded and left detached with nothing to cling to.

The unknowablity of the outside directly correlates to it's cutting ability - the less comprehensible, systemisable, the fewer links and logical consistencies it produces, the further enhanced it's wounding capacity.

That's why we need to stop focusing on the surface level aesthetics of cosmic horror, the recognisable characters and entities and forces - we're way past that point now. These surface trappings are graspable by anyone with an internet connection and some time to kill - both their fictive biographies and their genesis in the waking world. They are stripped and bereft of their edge, blunted for easy consumption.
comparable to how punks had sharp studs and now fashion loves blunt square studs. atrophied and nonthreatening, fucking pointless. PUN UNINTENTIONAL

Stop leaning on the old names and techniques - players/readers will guess Hastur! Cthulhu! Yog-Sothoth!, a flight from the actual simmering mindless pointlessness that cosmic horror attacks you with. What's more, they'll shit themselves twice as hard when you cut the guide ropes and push them away from the shores of knowledge and into the black ocean of the unknown.

Fuck 'em, let them drown.

I love day drinking.







7 comments:

  1. Just get the Silent Legions corebook and use it’s generation tables. Keep your players on their toes.

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    1. Oh yes, the silent legions tables are fantastic for this

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    2. SL immediately came to mind upon reading the post. I don't particularly like the classes in there, but the random tables are, dare I say, insanely good.

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  2. Yep. Horror's got a shelf-life, before it either loses freshness or turns into another genre.

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  3. How would you do it instead? I figure some combination of good descriptions, pacing and fucking with the players a lil' bit should do the trick. Oh, and body-horror! It's no good on it's own, but as a tool? Definitely has a place.

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    1. Absolutely use every trick in the horror toolbox, combined with deliberately incongruent improv to pull the rug out at every opportunity. I love body horror and infection/corruption as tools to directly attack the players.

      Savagely taking away the things their characters care about in the most mundane and prosaic ways can give strong effects too

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  4. FREE CTHULHU

    CTHULHU IS INNOCENT

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