HP Lovecraft

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Chuck
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Mon Jan 07, 2019 11:53 am

So I've been reading through a bunch of old Lovecraft stories and it's given me a greater appreciation for his influence over Warhammer. The "Elder Gods" who come from a faraway cosmos and form outposts on other worlds, the cults that crop up around these beings and the cultists who worship them, the creeping inevitability of impending doom, the meteors that crash and slowly warp the surrounding environment and inhabitants, the mind-bending knowledge that wasn't meant for mankind and causes insanity ... all Lovecraft.

Before I read these stories I had a vague sense that the Call of Cthulhu roleplaying game had influenced WFRP, but no real idea how much the mythos of Lovecraft was part and parcel of the Old World.
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Wyrmslayer
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Mon Jan 07, 2019 1:18 pm

I've never ventured into his actual fiction. Reports of casually assumed "ism"s on his part are enough for me. Enjoyed a bunch of the stuff based on it though. There's quite a lot. Remarkable really, that so much has been inspired by his work.
Think Metallica did a song or two with his imagery, and there's a few Cthulhu-ised versions of Chrimbo tunes that do the rounds on Facebook every year. FFG do some board games that lean into the inevitable doom aspect - while CMON ran a kickstarter for one more akin to the Pulp Cthulhu rpg, and had an Innsmouth inspired pack of survivors with necromancer for the Zombicide game I play a lot.
There's an escape room company nearish me that ran a Cthulhu themed room a while back. Set in The Gilman Hotel. Our group had to do it, we were playing in Innsmouth in our regular game at the time. It's odd how much his work has weaved into geekdom, yet invariably have to explain the whole thing to anyone outside of it.
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Chuck
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Mon Jan 07, 2019 2:00 pm

There is a surprising amount of casual racism, which is shocking in 2019 but probably raised very few eyebrows in the 1920s or 30s. Robert E Howard's horror stories suffered from the same problem.
Whymme
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Mon Jan 07, 2019 2:16 pm

Yeah. And don’t forget Sax Rohmer and his Fu Manchu stories.
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Chuck
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Mon Jan 07, 2019 2:31 pm

Fu Manchu! Inspiration for countless villains in the serials of the 1930s and 40s. What a blast from the past.

The Wikipedia article starts out amusingly: "Sax Rohmer, without any prior knowledge and understanding of Chinese culture, decided to start the Fu Manchu series after his ouija board spelled out C-H-I-N-A-M-A-N when he asked what was the most dangerous competition to the white man." I think that pretty much sums up the first half of the 20th century.
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skerrigan
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Mon Jan 07, 2019 5:33 pm

If you like HP Lovecraft but find his prose a little overwhelming, I recommend HPLHS's Dark Adventure Radio Theatre - full cast dramatisations of his stories and lately adaptions of Call of Cthulhu campaigns. https://store.hplhs.org/collections/dar ... io-theatre

There's a free episode as well, although it's a Poe story.
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Iltherion
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Mon Jan 07, 2019 5:48 pm

As a particularly egregious example of Lovecraft's racism, for those who are unaware: One of his stories involves a black cat named after the N-word.
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skerrigan
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Mon Jan 07, 2019 6:08 pm

HP was a deeply disturbed individual - his father and mother both died in an institution and that fuelled his obsession with genetic purity. That said, beyond some pretty extreme views I'm not aware he actually did anything wrong and if he focused that darkness into prose rather than harming people, more power to him.

So, basically, yeah he guilty of wrong-think and some problematic names in his stories, but he didn't hurt anyone as far as I know.. REH's Skullface is also notorious for that.
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Chuck
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Mon Jan 07, 2019 6:53 pm

skerrigan wrote:
Mon Jan 07, 2019 5:33 pm
If you like HP Lovecraft but find his prose a little overwhelming, I recommend HPLHS's Dark Adventure Radio Theatre - full cast dramatisations of his stories and lately adaptions of Call of Cthulhu campaigns. https://store.hplhs.org/collections/dar ... io-theatre

There's a free episode as well, although it's a Poe story.
Ooh, thanks for the link!
Karanthir
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Tue Jan 08, 2019 3:44 am

Iltherion wrote:
Mon Jan 07, 2019 5:48 pm
As a particularly egregious example of Lovecraft's racism, for those who are unaware: One of his stories involves a black cat named after the N-word.
Named after his own RL cat that had that name.
NickM
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Mon Jan 14, 2019 3:06 am

The cat was actually a fairly common name for black cats - the dog in the Dambusters movie has a similar name. HPL was racist beyond the norms of his time but I don't think that's an example of it.
Theo
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Mon Jan 14, 2019 6:22 am

The cat thing may be more of an example of the general racism of his time, yeah.
Robin
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Mon Jan 14, 2019 11:48 am

skerrigan wrote:
Mon Jan 07, 2019 6:08 pm
HP was a deeply disturbed individual -
I don't think he was disturbed at all, and that is, perhaps, the real problem. He was opinionated, extremely ignorant in some areas, and loved writing - never a good combination.

Regards,

Robin
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Tue Jan 15, 2019 8:00 am

I don't think there's a problem.

After all, the man and his opinions are dead. His wonderful creations and role-playing legacy aren't :)
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skerrigan
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Tue Jan 15, 2019 8:29 am

He was literally disturbed by the fact both his parents died when he was young with severe mental problems, and was raised as a girl by his controlling mother while young, called ugly by her at every opportunity.

And for his time and relative isolation he was quite an advocate for the sciences. I wouldn't describe his as ignorant.

But I don't like speaking ill of someone who is not able to defend himself - it's like being mad at cavemen for being ignorant and unscientific. He wrote some good stuff - that's his legacy.
Robin wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 11:48 am
I don't think he was disturbed at all, and that is, perhaps, the real problem. He was opinionated, extremely ignorant in some areas, and loved writing - never a good combination.

Regards,

Robin
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TheWFRPCompanion
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Tue Jan 15, 2019 10:58 am

As much as HP Lovecraft's negative qualities are... negative they did end up quite critically important to shaping the worldview he brought into his writing. He brought the fear that paralysed his everyday life and applied those feelings to what he wrote.

Anyway, I'm not here for a deep discussion on it. I do however want to share this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PmdzptbykzI

It's a high quality summary of both his life and some of his most important works, and I highly recommend it as a way to get a quick overview of his work without having to read it.
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Chuck
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Tue Jan 15, 2019 11:03 am

skerrigan wrote:
Mon Jan 07, 2019 5:33 pm
If you like HP Lovecraft but find his prose a little overwhelming, I recommend HPLHS's Dark Adventure Radio Theatre - full cast dramatisations of his stories and lately adaptions of Call of Cthulhu campaigns. https://store.hplhs.org/collections/dar ... io-theatre

There's a free episode as well, although it's a Poe story.
Thanks for this, I've listened to 2 of these now. Surprisingly well done.
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skerrigan
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Tue Jan 15, 2019 11:22 am

Which one's did you go for? My personal favourite is the White Tree, an original tale they cooked up as a loose sequel to Call of Cthulhu's Tale of Inspector Legrasse, that could easily be repurposed for WFRP.
Chuck wrote:
Tue Jan 15, 2019 11:03 am
skerrigan wrote:
Mon Jan 07, 2019 5:33 pm
If you like HP Lovecraft but find his prose a little overwhelming, I recommend HPLHS's Dark Adventure Radio Theatre - full cast dramatisations of his stories and lately adaptions of Call of Cthulhu campaigns. https://store.hplhs.org/collections/dar ... io-theatre

There's a free episode as well, although it's a Poe story.
Thanks for this, I've listened to 2 of these now. Surprisingly well done.
Verdant Castellan of Bretonnia and Purveyor of the Perilous Realm Podcast
Robin
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Tue Jan 15, 2019 11:32 am

skerrigan wrote:
Tue Jan 15, 2019 8:29 am
He was literally disturbed by the fact both his parents died when he was young with severe mental problems, and was raised as a girl by his controlling mother while young, called ugly by her at every opportunity.
Can I ask your sources on this? It's been about three decades since I read L. Sprague de Camp's biography of HPL, and I still haven't had time to even dip into Joshi's two-volume one. One of these days. (I'm currently finishing the first of Joshi's Variorum Editions of HPL's works, but I'm taking a break with some Clark Ashton Smith after that.)

My understanding that this business about being raised as a girl was due to a photograph of him in a dress as young child. However, such attire was not unusual even for small boys in the Victorian era. I'm happy to learn otherwise.
And for his time and relative isolation he was quite an advocate for the sciences. I wouldn't describe his as ignorant.
I meant ignorance in relation to race and culture.

Regards,

Robin
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Chuck
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Tue Jan 15, 2019 11:36 am

skerrigan wrote:
Tue Jan 15, 2019 11:22 am
Which one's did you go for? My personal favourite is the White Tree, an original tale they cooked up as a loose sequel to Call of Cthulhu's Tale of Inspector Legrasse, that could easily be repurposed for WFRP.
"Haunter of the Dark" and "Dreams in the Witch House." They put a ton of effort into production, even including funny little commercials similar to the ones found in programs of the time like "Suspense" or "Lights Out."
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