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Monday, June 25, 2012

Maybe a little too much Cthulhu in the OSR?

Don't get me wrong, I like Cthulhu stuff. I've run and played numerous Call of Cthulhu games. It just seems lately that many of the OSR fantasy games are defaulting to tentacle monsters, starspawn, etc. Of course, Cthulhu is now public domain and at least initially, new to the fantasy genre.

It's still really cool, in moderation. However, it's getting to the point that many "standard" monsters are getting ignored. On one hand, tentacle monsters are inherently creepy. On the other, if every other adventure a group plays has them, they become kind of lame.

Monsters I'd like to see used more: demons, angels, plant-based stuff like assassin vines and treants, werewolves, and the various types of fae. A good OSR adventure based in a faerie wood would be fantastic, actually.


Beedo said...

I've seen this complaint on the blogs a few times, but I haven't seen examples - are their specific published works that are overdoing the Cthulhu themes?

DCC RPG came out recently, it has Cthulhu as a patron - that's the only one I can think of, off hand.

There was the Realms of Crawling Chaos, and LOTFP is coming out with a Lovecraft themed scenario at some point (The Monolith Beyond Space and Time).

Just curious what else you're seeing in our space.

Dan said...

Carcosa, LoftP, most of the newly-published DCC modules, etc. It's not every publisher, but it's becoming pretty noticeable.

Johnathan Bingham said...

I've noticed a general trend towards "weird fantasy" but not necessarily Cthulhu based stuff. Sure, there have been some tentacled creepy crawlies, but I think that overall I like the break from more traditional fantasy. There is plenty of that out there and still more being generated.

That being said, I would like to see some more of the stuff you mentioned as well as fantasy based around Russian folklore (Mythic Russia is a pretty good game - I'd like to see more of this) and there are some pretty cool MesoAmerican fantasy games coming out.

John Bell said...

Yeah, it's getting close to the saturation point.

Steve said...

May be related to a general nodding of the head back to writers like Howard, Leiber, and Moorcock, who seldom used "standard" fantasy creatures like trolls and vampires. Or it may be a desire to distance the game from Tolkien and set it apart from the pack, which is quickly becoming self-defeating as everyone jumps onto the same cosmic horror bandwagon.

Lee B said...

Lovecraftian pit-spawn in S&S games is not a suprise. Seeing them invade your Uncle's house in 20th c New England...that is the weird twist. Finding "out of time & place" monsters for D&D is tough, but sifting sources is half the fun.

Pilgrim said...

lovecraft an robert e. howard were actually friends and usually "borrowed" from each other, so as much as Vance was one of the sources so was Conan, and conan and the mythos were deeply connected so I guess it was just a matter of choice of the Mainstream publishers to dig more in the Tolkien well than on the Mythos. That said I have to say that it feels right to see the mythos and the Weird creeping back into heroic fantasy.