Sunday, January 07, 2018

Cthulhu City

Cthulhu City is simultaneously a brilliant idea and a coffee table book that is too long, detailed and boring.

What's great about it is the idea of characters being pulled into a strange city, with the traces of the Mythos everywhere while the population studious ignores it. The city is hard to leave and even when one escapes it supernaturally sucks the characters back in.

It's like the best paranoid novels written about cities from the birth of the metropolises.

What's boring about it is the level of detail that is piled onto of this core. There is a description of the city, it's different parts, its politics and history, the secret societies and all the in-jokes of Cthulhu as the various New England locations become parts of the sprawling metropolis.

It all feels like a berserk preparatory research for a novel I'm not going to read. It's clearly aimed at people who are engaged with roleplaying culture but aren't necessarily going to be playing games themselves. I think Steve Ellis said to me that it had been described as the best roleplaying reading of Dragonmeet.

So why am I interested? For me Cthulhu City is exactly what Itras By wanted to be and should have been but wasn't. It's a strange, dangerous noirish world where everything is wrong and no-one wants to acknowledge it.

Where as Itras By relied on its own mythology and a shared understanding with its readers of Thirties cinema reusing the Cthulhu stories allows a more universally understood aesthetic on which the story can be built.

I'm looking forward to running an adapted game soon.
Post a Comment