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January 22, 2007

Sometimes I believe that this less material life is our truer life, and that our vain presence on the terraqueous globe is itself the secondary or merely virtual phenomenon

Gorthos kindly sent me a link to what is potentially the greatest and most satisfying time-waster since I ventured into Baldur's Gate. In fact, as a text-based on-line interactive rpg, the time-wasting potential of Lovecraft Country is practically incalculable by that fragile apparatus laughingly described as the human mind. I may not risk venturing into these dreamlands until my lottery schemes come to fruition.

When you create a Lovecraft Country character, you will be asked to declare a course of study for your first semester at the university. At present, the only character creation option is to make a student character. As the game matures, other options will become available.

The three classes you select will be areas in which you will be tested at the completion of the semester. If you do not pass, you may be required to retake those courses in subsequent terms. Of course, studying and practicing during the course of a semester will increase the likelihood that you will pass and learn to be yet more skilled, eventually graduating with your bachelor’s degree and advancing on to advanced graduate study. You may study knowledges with books or with teachers and skills through practicing with teachers.

By a strange coincidence I was chatting with a fellow this weekend who speculated that he was trapped in a Mythos role-playing game all unawares. I replied I had assumed this to be the case for myself since I first read Lovecraft at the age of fifteen. It seems to me the next iteration of Lovecraft Country should agree the parameters of an off-line version of the same process. Players would assume alternate identities and enroll in courses of study at whatever local college or university campus best approximates Miskatonic's gothic millieu. Mazes and Monsters was only a first step...

Great rugose cone Update: This H.P. Lovecraft story generator might come in handy.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at January 22, 2007 06:44 AM


Oh no... why did you have to do that, Flea? Why??? I was nearly over my Kingdom of Loathing addiction and looking forward to having my life back again, but now... [sob]

Posted by: Varenius [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 22, 2007 01:40 PM

I never did defeat the Naughty Sorceress...

Ok, I am NOT suggesting that if you signed up for Lovecraft Country our characters could join the Miskatonic glee club while figuring out how to break into the special books room of the library. And I am NOT about to open the character template and start hammering out the details of my Syrian exchange student character concept.

Posted by: Ghost of a flea [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 22, 2007 01:57 PM

That movie is the reason why I've never played D&D.

Posted by: cm [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 22, 2007 06:14 PM

Okay, as a Lovecraft virgin looking to shed his innocence, may I be so bold as to ask which of his works you think would be best to start with?

Posted by: NexIn [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 22, 2007 09:02 PM

Tricky... the important thing about reading Lovecraft, it seems to me, is to expect to be disappointed on a first pass. This is the greatest horror writer of all time and yet this is not immediately obvious from reading any particular story. Expect a lot of over-wrought prose and off-kilter adjectives. It is after reading four or five or ten of his works that the genius becomes apparent. It is not what he is doing in any particular story but what is happening to your mind in between his stories that accounts for the devotion we have to him...

That said, I would save "Call of Cthulhu" and "At the Mountains of Madness" until you have read a few of the shorter pieces. One might start with "The Rats in the Walls", it has a clear lineage to Poe and should be familiar... then perhaps "The Shadow over Innsmouth"; genius and utterly his own.

Posted by: Ghost of a flea [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 22, 2007 09:21 PM

CM well you can start by reading my short Lovecraftian tales at Temple of Dagon and then peruse the site for all the advice you need when it comes to Lovecraft. I have written a helpful Idiots Guide to Chuthu as well.

Posted by: Andrew Ian Dodge [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 23, 2007 06:12 AM