Tuesday, March 19, 2013

So we have more Cthulhu: Mysteries in Darkness

Have you ever wanted to play an entity straight out of Lovecraft's nightmares? Ever wonder how it would work to have a playable Deep One character? Maybe one of the Mi-Go? Well, then this isn't your game. It just has vampires who look exactly like other vampires except they're "Cthulian".
I wrote about the original preview of a few days ago, and now there's two more preview documents: one an excerpt from the intro and another some player's information. The writing's pretty bad (which is to be expected) and there are some strange details. Ten percent of the human population knows about vampires? Is that the world population or the U.S. population? Because one would be bigger than the population of the contiguous United States and the other still makes vampires a worse-kept secret by orders of magnitude than the Manhattan Project. It's these small slip ups that continue to amuse me.
The intro document has a story about a vampire archaeologist receiving a letter from an archaeological dig in Central America. An Incan site. In Central America. Protip: the Olmec were not only older than the Maya and Inca, but the location is right. Location is everything. Also, the term "diggers" brings to mind the National Geographic show of the same name, which is generally poo-pooed in the archaeological community. They're usually just called "workers".
I don't see any Inca there. Do you?
But I'm being really nitpicky for no particular reason - it's certainly not the first (or last) horrible piece of fluff fiction to be found in a role-playing book. Even really awesome games sometimes have them (I still shudder when I read certain fluff pieces in Tribe 8).

The second document adds only a little more than what was in the preview, stressing that the Cthulian vampires are different (but the same) and that they are waiting for the stars to become ri..."The Arrival." So we have monsters from beyond time and space, poised to drive mankind to the brink of madness and bring about our destruction, who are pretty much identical to the vampires and other creatures except for "small twists that make them unique".

It really seems more of a mild makeover than anything setting-shattering. The setup is going to be rife with internal inconsistencies and disconnects as a result of having "things man was not meant to know and the universe hates you" alongside a pastiche of Judeo-Christian like concepts such as demons, angels, God, etc. It's just plain poorly thought out. It essentially treats the Mythos like something you can just add to whatever to try to make it better. Kind of like sriracha. Everything is better with sriracha, right?