Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas


Merry Christmas to you all. For something a little festive, may I suggest the H.P.Podcraft's reading s of H.P.L.s Christmas poetry. Set one, set two and set three.   

As for me, I have a bunch of posts lined up for the new year. I hope to use the next couple of weeks off to make some headway. 

Here's to a mysterious 2014.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Feminist Yog-Sothoth

Been away on holidays, where I planned to read through the new quickstart rules for 7th edition Call of Cthulhu, however, it was not to be. I still plan to do this, and will post my thoughts on the new edition, and how it differs from 6th (and previous) editions of Call of Cthulhu, but in the mean time, here,s omething a little different in tone: Feminist Yog-Sothoth.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Baby Teeth

The wonders of the modern day publishing system, allowing new authors to be easily published is something I really treasure of this internet age. The barriers to self publishing have been lowered, and the advent of crowd sourcing makes projects of many kinds even more attainable.

To this end, I bring to your attention "Baby Teeth". What a great name for a collection of horror short stories by fledling authors. 
Based on the chills and shivers of the creepy things children have been heard to say at the most unexpected times, this collection is an assortment of unexpected frights, nervous giggles and often poignant reflections on life, childhood, and the terrors of growing up. Mostly horror, you'll also find stories in this book of fantasy, science fiction, crime and even comedy, from a wide range of established and emerging writers (36 stories from 26 authors!).

I must admit, I have only heard of one of the authors, and he is a friend of mine, but I like the set-up, and look forward to reading the final product. What's more, it's for charity.

As of my writing this, the project has been funded, but there are still 17 days to go to get on-board and help make the project even more successful, as if they make the stretch goal of $1500 NZ, they'll throw in a digital copy of Tales to terrify, Vol 1.

$10 NZ for a ebook version, that's only $8.17 Can, or $7.92 US (or even 5 of your British pounds), which really, that's nothing these days . Count me in.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Movie Threatres in Montreal

There are a great number of cinemas or movie theatres in Montreal, many of them dating from the golden age of cinema. Including the Ouimetoscope, the first Canadian theater dedicated exclusively to showing movies (opened in 1906), and which was situated right round the corner from my house (and is currently being transformed into a block of appartments).
Showing local productions, including his own, news movies, French and translated American movies, the theater would remain open for eighteen years until, in 1922, Ouimet's financial difficulties forced him to sell the Ouimetoscope, which closed two years later.
Another is the Rialto Theatre (official site), built in 1924, and although it stopped being a cinema in 1990, the building is protected as a Candian Heritage Site. You can see a few pictures of the wonderful interiors here.

It would be remiss of me, being a Call of Cthulhu Blogger, if, whilst on this subject, I did not mention the tragedy that was the 'Laurier Palace Theatre Fire'.

In summary:
Movie house Madness - January 9, 1927   About 800 children were enjoying a Sunday matinée at the Laurier Palace Theater on St Catherine Street in Montreal.  Panic struck when at 2 p.m. a man yelled, "FIRE!!"    500 of the movie viewers sitting in the orchestra section were able to make their way out to the street.  The children in the balcony section however were not so lucky.  Of the two stairways leading to the safety of the ground floor, one was locked.  In the space of two minutes smoke filled the air so thick that the children started choking and having trouble seeing.  By the time firefighters arrived on the scene, they found children's bodies piled 8 deep in a stairway.
The projectionist, Emile Masicotte, grabbed and pulled about 30 children to safety. The firefighters sprayed the pile of bodies with water, quickly extinguishing the fire. They cut the stairs down in order to reach them. Some of the children had been only a few feet away from safety.  Seventy-eight children died that Sunday.  Some from the smoke, and some crushed to death, but only a few died from the actual fire.

In the aftermath of the tragedy, there were calls from the Catholic Church to ban children from movie theatres. Claiming that the cinema ruined the health of children, weakened their lungs, troubled their imagination, excited their nervous system, hindered their studies, overexcited their sinful ideas and led to immorality ("ruine la santé des enfants, affaiblit leurs poumons, affole leur imagination, excite leur système nerveux, nuit à leurs études, surexcite les désirs mauvais et conduit à l'immoralité"). That all sounds very familiar, doesn't it? Plus ça change...

There's a copy of the original Gazette article here, which can be used as a handout. And of course, there's always the possibility it wasn't an accident. Afterall, there's always cultists looking to have the blood of innocents as a sacrifice. And the blood of 78 innocents is sure to have been a successful sacrifice to grab the attention of any dark presence nearby.

Other Movie Theatres of the era included  The Corona Theatre (1912), The Empress Theatre (1927), the Seville Theatre (1929), The Snowdon Theatre (1937) and the York Theatre (1939).

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Masks of Nyarlathotep Companion


Six and a half years? Has it really been that long? That's when the first discussions and recruitment took place for the Masks of Nyarlathotep Companion over on the YSDC forums. At the time, I was running my New York Campaign, and had started to plant the seeds of the Campaign, by introducing Jackson Elias and preparing myself in other ways. With this in mind, I was hugely anticipating the information, maps, handouts and other additional material that was being discussed for inclusion in this work. I was worried however, that it wouldn't come out in time for me to use in my campaign. I need not have worried, not because of the speed of publication of this document, far from it, it took a lot more time that I anticipated, but for the closer to home reason of my gaming group and CoC game folding for reasons of life getting in the way of gaming (isn't it always the case?).

However, I was very pleased to see the following news on the YSDC front page. In the words of Paul of Cthulhu:
This publication has a long and varied history. It was originally anticipated to be a benefit publication for YSDC (as a Call of Cthulhu MULA monograph) with the payment going to help keep Yoggie online. However after six and a half years it had reached a state of production limbo, which seemed grossly unfair as it meant that all the brilliant, creative work and effort that had gone into it was not being seen.

So we pulled the trigger.

What is available for download here can be considered version 0.9 of the Companion. Adam Crossingham of Sixtystone Press is currently doing sterling work finishing the last edit and finalising the layout of the 550 page beast.

We hope you enjoy the book and accept its contents with our gratitude for your support of a venerable web site. Thank you.
550 pages is indeed a beast of a document, in fact, the original campaign only has 250 pages. That's more than double the original size. This says a couple of things about the original work. First off, I think it shows how much the original work is respected, and still played. Also, that it sparks the imagination of so many gamers and writers now that they can expand and riff upon the original work to this extent.

It also says a little about some of the holes in the original work that needed filling, but this is as much to do with the evolution of the hobby, and the technology now available make our products (in terms of handouts etc) than necessarily flaws in the original work (although they do exist).

So, go here to download version 0.9 of this work. I have already done so, and am slowly reading through it. I for one would pay real actual money for this work, and for the moment will show my appreciation by becoming a YSDC patron. If and when this is released as a hard copy manuscript, in whatever fashion that is, I fully intent to buy a copy of that too, but in honour of Free RPG Day (which has just passed) go get your free copy now.

The original campaign is available from the Chaosium website, either in softcover, or now in new and improved hardback. There's also a free download which contains an introduction to the campaign, and more usefully, all the handouts in pdf format, for easy printing.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition

It has been in the news for a while, but it is finally coming to a head. Call of Cthulhu is printing a 7th edition. Furthermore, this is not a new edition in the way that many of the other CoC editions, in that, they were mere clean-ups of the book and rules, tidying and modernising the layout and such. This seems to be very much a new edition. What I do know is that they are trying their hardest to make the new edition backwards compatible with all existing adventures. For a company like Chaosium, where their back catalog of adventures is what they are renowned for, this really was a must. Also, all playtesting done for the new edition of Horror on the Orient Express has been done in 7th ed, thereby assuring the new adventure is not out of date as soon as it hits the shelves, whilst also being backwards compatible with all older versions of the rules, as befits a classic adventure.

Want to know more? Go here for the kickstarter. I have yet to pledge, as I am waiting to see what other benefits are being added to sweeten the pot. This may seem a little mercenary, but I am not actually in the market for a new set of RPG rules right now, as writing of the monograph is on a bit of a hiatus and there is no role-playing being done (for now). I may have to buy in at the end though, and call it spending in the name of research. Yeah, that sounds about right!

Anyway, there's plenty of time left, and the project is already passed its funding level, so there really is nothing to lose by supporting it. Afterall, we're all going to end up buying it...

What I do find helpful, is this little diagram of what each pledge level will get you. Very handy.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Cogs, Cakes & Swordsticks

On my wargaming blog, I have been going through rather a Steampunk phase, with the release of Dystopian Legions amongst other things. Which is why I clicked on a link for a free version of the RPG Cogs, Cakes & Swordsticks at DriveThru RPG. Since it is an RPG, I though it best to cross post the links here.

As I have only just downloaded it, I can not as yet comment on the game itself, but the simplicity of the system as indicated on the blurb suggests it may be a game that does not require a huge time investment to play (unlike some CoC campaigns). Thus, is of interest to the time challenged gamer like myself.

The game is published by Modiphius Games, publishers of the Achtung Cthulhu range of games (see, there is a relevance!) which is another project I have half an eye on, even though I'm not too keen on WWII gaming itself.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Bugthullu

Tiny octopus-like microorganisms named after science fiction monsters


The subheading says it all. Some researchers at UBC (University of British Columbia) found some new micro organisms in the saliva of termites. They named them  Cthulhu macrofasciculumque and Cthylla microfasciculumque. They were named so after they were though to swim in an octopus like fashion, although that seems a little bit of a stretch, my instinct is someone in that lab has been itching to name something after Cthulhu since he started grad school, and you don't get to name new species often these days.

This is, however, the first time I have ever heard mention of Cthylla. Maybe I'm not so well versed in the mythos as I would like to think (although she is one of Lumley's, and

Source
Original Paper.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

On this day, 1928

Camillien Houde

Médéric Martin
Camillien Houde was elected as the new Mayor of Montreal. The Conservative Deputy won by 20 000 votes over his rival, the previous Mayor, Médéric Martin, who had held the post since 1926 (and for ten years between 1914 and 1924). It seems both men went on to be big in Canadian politics, rather than just staying in local/city politics, being elected into the House of Commons after serving as mayors. I can't see any of the modern equivalents being able to do so, especially after recent scandals.



Thursday, March 7, 2013

BBC: At the Mountains of Madness

Follow this link to the BBC radio's version of At the Mountains of Madness, read by Richard Coyle. This will open in BBC's iPlayer, so be ready to be in the UK, or somehow fool the internet into thinking you are.

Thanks to Craig Oxbrow for the heads up.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Anglophones in Quebec

This is a slight detour from our normal service, but my good lady wife brought this to my attention. With information taken from the 2011census, here we have a map of Quebec, showing the anglophone population (and by extension, the franco population too) by region.

Click here for the map.

Leaving politics aside, it's a fun and interesting representation of Modern Quebec.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

On this Day 1929

Camillien Houde
As of today, in 1929, all married Montreal women, who pay municipal taxes, gained the right to vote (in municipal matters). The then Montreal mayor, Camillien Houde was not too happy about this law passing, even though a subset of women had had the right to vote in federal elections since 1918, full sufferage for the women of Quebec dd not come about until 1940 (source).

Monday, February 25, 2013

Abandoned Asylum Suitcases

No, not a 90's album name, but a collection of just that, suitcases from asylum patients that were stored after their death, and rediscovered on the closure of the asylum, and donated to a museum. This is not only a very poingant site, that may even bring a tear to your eys, but is a great place to get ideas for adventures, and handouts.

Food for thought.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Map of the Dreamlands

The dream quest of unknown Kadath was one of HPL's longer works of fiction, and gives a great deal on insight into the man himself (it's no secret Randolph Carter is HPL's Mary Sue). The very reasoning behind the Dreamworlds in my opinion makes it difficult, if not unrealistic, to map, however, a guy called Jason Thompson has given it a good go for his new graphic novel.



One of the things I’ve been working on for the Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath graphic novel is a map of the Dreamlands, as described in Dream-Quest and other Lovecraft stories. The results which will appear in the book are here, or here if you want a closer to full-size version.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Another Kickstarter Blog, and while we're at it...

I bring to your attention, yet another Blog, the Orient Express Writers Blog. In their own words:
This blog is published by Penelope Love and Mark Morrison. We have been writing for Call of Cthulhu since our first book together, Terror Australis, in 1987.
The revised edition of Horror on the Orient Express will be published by our friends at Chaosium in August 2013. We are undertaking the editing and rewriting as freelancers.

Whilst I'm on the theme of blogs, I would also like to draw attention to another couple that I have added to my blogroll.

Cthulhu Reborn. This blog bills itself as "An online resourse for recycled Call of Cthulhu scenarios and stuff". I've had a glance through it, in an attempt to summarise it's contents, but it's best if you just head on over and delve right in! There's a host of handouts and game materials to be had.

Chaosium Digest is a blog that has formed from the original Chaosium digest email list. In their own words:
"The Chaosium Digest supports the role-playing games produced by Chaosium Inc. and all content is fan submitted. Begun in 1994 by Shannon Appelcline who passed it to myself in 2000 and previously distributed via email, this is the newest incarnation of the Chaosium Digest. Enjoy!"

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Lynn Willis

Lynn Willis, pillar of the Chaosium community, has sadly passed away.

In memory of the man and his legacy, Yog-sothoth.com have hosted for our viewing pleasure his designer notes for the 1st edition of Call of Cthulhu.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Oldhammer find

I know the word Oldhammer has been coined for 3rd ed WFB, but I think it works ust as well for the GW version of WFRP. In a trip to an LGS, I found a batch of first edition hard back WFRP supplements. Mostly for the Enemy Within Capaign. Commonly thought of as one of the best campaigns for any RPG.

WFRP was one of the first RPGs I really got into, and I had played in, bought and run the campaign as it was sold in the early 90s in the guise of Warhammer Adventure and Warhammer City of Chaos. I had never got round to either buying or running the latter parts of the campaign.

The Books I found today were Power Behind the Throne (1988), Something Rotten in Kislev (1988) from the Enemy Within, Warhammer City (1987) and The Restless Dead (1986). The only issue seems to be a missing map from Warhammer City, and from SRiK, but since either will likely be available online, I don't see that as a big issue. All the other handouts still seem to be in place. At $8 each, they were a bargain, even if I never play with them, and sell them on at some point. There was one other old WFRP book that was there that I didn't pick up, the Castle Drachenfels adventure supplement. I own this already, (although my copy is in the UK), and I was never really taken with it as an adventure. It was much more in the realms of a dungeon bash, with each room being weird and whacky. I think it was written based on a Warhammer Jack Yeovil novel, but I have never read the novel, so most of the references went straight over my head. I left that one on the shelf.

I was particularly excited to find The Restless Dead. This is a module I have heard lots about, but never seen. It contains such classic adventures as Rough Night at the Three Feathers, The Haunting Horror, and Grapes of Wrath. I'll be putting these guys away for future use for sure, although whether i bought them to play with, ot it's the collector in me that has come out to play, I'm not entirely sure.

It is a real treat to flick through these guys and look at all the old artwork, adventure details and PCs supplied with the campaign. Brings back some great memories.





Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Horror on the Orient Express Kickstarter IV: Updates

I have had a couple of update emails from the kickstarter, which I would like to share. 

Update #65
We want to share some exciting news! Steff Worthington will be signing on to create new and improved maps for Horror on the Orient Express! Steff created some amazing maps for Cthulhu by Gaslight, and we are very excited that he has climbed on board the Orient Express!
Check out Steff's work on his blog.
I have been along to the blog, and I can say I am heartily impressed by his work, and will be sure to be using those maps for Cthulhu and any other project they fit. In fact, he has already mapped the route of the Orient Express for another project.

Also of interest from that blog is this post, containing the map of Cairo from the upcoming Masks of Nyarlathotep Companion.

Update #66 A new city along the route
Hello everyone,
While Meghan and Nick travel to Istanbul to conduct photo research for the many handouts and merchandise we are producing for the new edition of Horror on the Orient Express, the writers are steadily working towards their deadlines.
As part of the Kickstarter campaign we promised a brand new stop for the 1920s adventure: the city we have chosen is Vinkovci. It lies on the route between Trieste and Belgrade.
Vinkovci (then in Yugoslavia, now in Croatia) was a major junction for the Simplon Orient Express, with carriages being added to or removed from the train as it continued on to Constantinople, Bucharest or Athens. Vinkovci was the birthplace of Roman emperors, a long history which may take a dark turn under the watchful pen of our dynamic new railway man Oscar Rios as he writes this new 1923 chapter. Oscar has already completed his Cthulhu Invictus scenario for the campaign, so expect some secrets of the past to be unearthed in the Vinkovci of the present.
Vinkovci is already famous in Orient Express fiction as the place where the train becomes stuck in a snow drift in Agatha Christie's novel Murder on the Orient Express (an event inspired by a real incident in 1929 at Tcherkesskeuy in Turkey, where the train was snowed in for 5 days).
If you're interested in Christie's story, we highly recommend the 2010 adaptation Poirot: Murder on the Orient Express starring David Suchet. Starting in Istanbul, this version has a doomed atmosphere entirely suited to Call of Cthulhu and some fine period visuals. It would make great viewing for your players prior to beginning the campaign.
We are commencing our own complete playtest of the revised campaign next week. You may hear screams from Australia. Please ignore them.
I may have seen a version of Murder on the Orient Express, but I have yet to see this one. I'll be sure to be looking it up on the interwebs soon. Also, if you haven't been over to the blog yet, head on over and see what there is. There,s plenty of pictures that work as inspration for games, as well as giving us an insight into the inspirations that will have an effect on the supplement.

The more I hear about this one, the more glad I am to have participated, and the more eager I am that August arrives with all my goodies!