the mask of cthulhu


Pulled this list together as a challenge prompt for all forms of art. Drawing, painting, photography, sculpting, writing, photography, etc.

  1. Ghost
  2. Zombie
  3. Goblin
  4. Imp/Demon
  5. Chainsaw
  6. Vampire
  7. Werewolf
  8. Pumpkin
  9. One of the 7 Sins
  10. Relax - Make something you want.
  11. Skeleton, or other undead
  12. Eyeball
  13. Alien
  14. Corvidae (Raven or Crow)
  15. Reaper
  16. Witch
  17. Robotic Gore
  18. Blood Moon
  19. Doll
  20. Relax - Make something you want.
  21. Poison
  22. Candy Gore
  23. Amulet
  24. Lich
  25. Mask
  26. Spider, or large insect(s)
  27. Cthulhu, or Kraken, or Tentacles
  28. Cryptid, such as a Skinwalker, Mothman, Wendigo, Bigfoot, etc
  29. Torture or Transformation
  30. Vivisection/Dissection, Medical, or Experimentation
  31. Your costume or relax! Enjoy Halloween & Day of the Dead. 


NOV 1. Mourning
NOV 2. Celebration

I tried making the prompts increase in difficulty as you go along. Have fun!

Today we have Curse of the Cthonians. As you might expect, that means there are a number of giant burrowing tentacle monsters in these scenarios, which makes them of questionable use to a keeper who enjoys the friendship of his players.

I love the cover, but Call of Cthulhu mainstay Tom Sullivan. So bright and squishy and obviously about eat/crush me. And this is probably a good spot to mention my deep love for the early Call of Cthulhu font and how its art nouveau curves subtly signal both the decadence of the 20s and the sorcerous mysteries the game revels in.

The contents, on the other hand, are a mixed bag. “Dark Carnival” is one of many flawed early Call of Cthulhu scenarios that begins with a too-brief investigation followed by a large dungeon crawl, which, in Call of Cthulhu, are pretty much always death trap for soft, squishy investigators. “The Curse of Chaugnar Faugn” is a great, complicated scenario probably best used as a one-off rather than part of an ongoing campaign.

Finally, there’s “Thoth’s Dagger” and “The City Without a Name,” which form up two halves of a cruel mini-campaign. The first part is descent enough, though it involves a trip to Egypt and Nyarlathotep, two things handled much more capably in Masks of Nyarlathotep the same year. The second part involves a puzzle requiring knowledge of Hebrew gematria, leads to a large, deadly dungeon crawl and ends with the investigators likely stranded in the middle of the Rub al-Khali without water. I’m all for grisly investigator deaths (it is a horror game after all), but that is just a dick move.

On a slightly related note, speaking of investigator deaths, my group finished the Kenya chapter of Masks of Nyarlathotep last night without a single party death. #proud


Call of Cthulhu this week! First up is the original Masks of Nyarlathotep box set.

Masks was my introduction to Call of Cthulhu. I had read Lovecraft by then, but I was surprised by how dark his themes seemed in the context of an RPG. All the murder, insanity and human sacrifice in Masks, much of which was visited upon players, seemed almost cruel. Introducing an interesting character not just to kill him, but to use his murder to fuel the entire game? Jeezus. It’s a horror game after all, though, and because of that, for me, Masks finally fulfilled what the air of transgression that surrounded early D&D books promised.

Masks is a pulpy mystery, written by Chaosium mainstay Lynn Willis and Larry DiTillio (who, at the time – 1984 - was also writing all the episodes of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe). It’s a pulpy, world-spanning mystery, one of Call of Cthulhu’s best and certainly the high water mark for the time. The game benefits greatly from Call of Cthulhu’s love of physical handouts – there are a ton of them and the writers’ investment in them compelling is obvious. They’re lovingly detailed, with fake newspaper stories having real old newspaper stories on the back. There’s even a fold up matchbox! All that adds a layer of verisimilitude to the game.

The box mainly consists of booklets for the game’ five locations – New York, London, Cairo, Kenya and Shanghai. A sixth chapter, set in Australia, was cut for space (it eventually showed up in a modified form in Terror Australis, and was restored to Masks of Nyarlathotep in recent editions)

Of course, being 12 and having only played D&D up to that point, we played Masks like D&D and it wasn’t the greatest. I’ve been attempting to correct that error over the last year and a half, which explains why you’re not seeing a ton on interior art – my players all follow this account and I wouldn’t want to give anything away. To make it up to you, though, I’ve included a photo of our investigation board, which gives a good sense of the amount of information the group needs to handle in order to effectively investigate the game’s central conspiracy.


In the spirit of Halloween, here are some gorgeous books from Arkham House Publishers.   Arkham House was founded in Sauk City, Wisconsin in 1939, by Derleth and writer Donald Wandrei. Their initial intent was to publish editions of H.P. Lovecraft’s fiction—hence the company’s name.  Arkham House published Lovecraft as well as other writers such as Ray Bradbury, Clark Ashton Smith, Algernon Blackwood, Robert Bloch, Seabury Quinn and Sheridan Le Fanu.  These books represent a small fraction of the Arkham House holdings we have in the Hevelin Collection. Enjoy the madness!!!!!


Derleth, August. The Mask of Cthulhu.  Arkham House, Sauk City: 1958.   Cover by Richard Taylor.

H.P. Lovecraft & Others.  The Shuttered Room & Other Pieces.   Arkham House, Sauk City: 1959.   Cover by Richard Taylor.

Derleth, August.  The Trail of Cthulhu.   Arkham House, Sauk City: 1962.   Cover by Richard Taylor.

Derleth, August.  Something Near.   Arkham House, Sauk City: 1945.  Cover by Ronald Clyne.

Long, Frank Belknap.  The Horror from the Hills.   Arkham House, Sauk City: 1963.  Cover by Richard Taylor.

Hartley, L.P.  The Traveling Grave and Other Stories.   Arkham House, Sauk City: 1948.  Cover by Frank Utpatel.

@dcpeshow wanted a started with Cthulhu!

A…mask? Odd idea to hide an identity. With all the different ways that people have learned to identify others (fingerprints, iris scans, artery scans), his face would be the least of his worries. And although Halloween is coming around soon, it is a little soon to be dressing up in costumes…he suspected.

「 ༀ -  A mask? Unless you have something worse than tentacles under there, there is no need for it. 

theunvanquishedzims  asked:

What is everyone wearing for the masquerade? Is it just masks with fancy dress, or is there a theme, like animals? Does someone show up dressed like a swan and freak out the trolls' "omg strange lusus FLEE" instincts?

Ohmygod, I love that image.  Okay, let’s see.

This one was a troll-organized event, but it was Feferi’s thing, and she’s doing a dramatic gesture of cultural acceptance for whatever (probably human?) planet she’s visiting.  So, yes, this is a firefly-verse “deep south upper-class” aesthetic meets “half of us have never even heard of a masquerade before and have no clue how this goes.”

Feferi’s entourage are all perfectly costumed in  fancy dress (or dress uniform as appropriate) plus stylized half-masks.  They mostly represent local flora and fauna and about a quarter of them are mildly if inadvertently offensive in some way.  The rest of the trolls are all over the map in terms of costume design and extent, (that one lady in the corner is just a straight up lobster-monster body suit) and, yeah, they seem to have decided to function of this event is to one-up each other by presenting themselves as the SUPERIOR LUSUS (usually some iteration of their own).  Each troll’s definition of superior is slightly different, but tends to vary along a spectrum from MOST EXTRAVAGANTLY DANGEROUS to MOST UNDERSTATEDLY DANGEROUS to MOST UNSETTLINGLY DANGEROUS and etc.

And actually all of the trolls are finding themselves kind of really freaking unnerved? And pretending not to be? THIS IS A SAFE PARTY.

The scattering of other aliens are equally all over the map.  (One dude’s got, like, a salad bowl on his head. It says “pumpkin.”)

The humans have a better grasp on how masquerades go and are in more typical space!deep-south fancy dress and stylized half or full masks like Feferi’s coterie.  A good number of them are meant to convey political sentiments.  A small minority are subtle barbs that they’re counting on flying over the alien’s heads.  (p sure there’s a guy fawkes mask in there somewhere.)  Also, one lady picked a cthulhu theme, which is pinging the trolls majorly as horrorterror/ Gl'bgolyb and that lady is having an interestingly tense evening.

Also, if you’re interested: Jane- playfully mustachioed white bunny mask; Dave - crow, Dirk - gull, Cal - angel (Calliope went by the book on this, and they are thus a very striking many-winged, many-faced creature of great beauty and terror), Jake - cosplaying a character from a movie he just watched; Roxy - keeps switching her mask and making her crewmates track her down  (kitty-monster, regular angel, a a hot pink version of Dave and Dirk’s masks, etc).  Oh, and  Karkat - like if sharp-edged crab-styled white face-plating was crossed with a knight’s helmet, probably expensive, similar in design to Feferi’s group.

The subjugglators are, of course, just doing their usual skull mask + paint thing.  They have won at unnerving.