Call of Cthulhu: The Most Important Question

I’ve scoured the Internet high and low, to no avail.  I’ve gazed into the Nietzschean abyss, but lo! there was no wisdom to be found.  I even asked the crackheads at the Bottle Shop, and they usually know everything.

No one can tell me the most important thing about Call of Cthulhu:

Will we be able to unlock new haircuts?!?

Investigator
I’m thinking … Bob Ross afro

Or at least – some new hats?

c4jn9yuwcaeqyxz
Maybe someone will write a mod

Or … OMG … could it be possible!  Think of the sanity-shattering implications of that most awful truth, kept hidden for centuries in the unhallowed corners of the distant and abominable earth, watched over by drug-crazed adepts of forbidden cults ….

Will we be able to dress up Cthulhu?!?

Speaking of the maddening abyss, Sunless Sea is free to play on Steam.  Go get eaten by a squid.

 

Call of Cthulhu: Lifting the Veil

I’ve been hearing rumors that Call of Cthulhu was due out sometime late in 2017, but I wasn’t able to find any actual links or announcements from the studio itself.  It was like IGN just went to bed with a terrible headache, and when it woke up, it just knew that CoC was “due for release 4th quarter 2017

The strangeness has been increasing as we come closer and closer to that time – it was rumored that half the production team had to be institutionalized due to “the maddening whispers of sussurating voices late at night where no words should be” but also, following a playtest session at their Charleston studio, the nearby wildlife became … tainted

Furthermore, a mysterious silence has fallen over The Sinking City, the other Lovecraftian game that was due out in 2017.  Shoggoths?  Perhaps.

But at long last, archaeologists working in forbidden corners of the Internet have unearthed an ancient and heretofore unknown interview with the game designers, along with some gameplay review.  Needless to say, all that follows is unspeakable, not to mention eldritch:

http://www.gamesradar.com/call-of-cthulhu-is-all-about-investigation-madness-and-surprise-surprise-dark-secrets/

irklx8xzzaao2vm7loxbrh-970-80

Also, that guy really needs to be in a Star Wars movie, along with this guy:

bug-eyes

although apparently in Call of Cthulhu you are not able to whip out a lightsaber and bring the lasery death.  Or actually, apparently defend yourself in any way.

One of the fun things about playing Layers of Fear after Skyrim was going from an undead-slaying demigod to an insane painter who walks with a leg brace.  It really felt like missing a step on a stair to reach for your trusty mace only to realize you left it in your other game.  Although by that point, the ghost was usually eating your face.

Same thing applies in Call of Cthulhu, where your primary weapon is “knowin’ stuff.”  I’m happy they’re keeping the RPG dynamic that “knowin’ stuff” about the Mythos also costs you valuable marble space in your head, and that you gradually go crazy as the true horror of the universe unfolds itself.  It will hopefully make a nice tradeoff where you spend the entire game uncertain of how much you can know before going off the deep end, always wanting to turn the next page but afraid of going too far.

Which kind of describes learning physics, actually.  I knew HPL was onto something.

The story starts with a mysterious fire –

I knew it.  When you absolutely, positively have to kill every eldritch abomination in the room, always go for fire.  It’s primal.  It’s cleansing.  It never actually seems to work, but it does give you some nice treacherous architecture to impale yourself on.

…. a mysterious fire on a foreboding New England island.  No, not that one!  Probably!

… a mysterious fire that no one seems to want to talk about, until you are hired to determine what, ultimately, happened on that fateful night.

It’s probably safe to assume things go downhill from there.

So don’t make any plans for Autumn, and in the meantime, keep you eyes on the heavens.  Watch out for planetary alignments, comet sightings, and most especially orange alligators.

Fhtaghn, cultists.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Call of Cthulhu: The Noodle Dream

In case the inauguration wasn’t enough to cause permanent SAN loss, the good folks over at Cyanide Studios have released another trailer for Call of Cthulhu:

 

which delves into the terrible nightmare world of … the visual arts?

What is it with horror and painters?  Just last autumn, jonesing for a horror video game to get into the proper Halloween mood, I picked up Layers of Fear during one of Steams “F Your Budget” sales, and it looks like CoC and LoF both went shopping at the same trope store.  You’ve got

Insane painters.  I guess it’s a stressful art.  Makes no sense to me.  Back in school, the kids who could draw were always super popular, while us poet types were forced to hang around with the shady, disreputable band kids.  Insane poets, now; that I could understand.  Insane mathematicians?  Hell, it’s practically a job requirement.  But insane drawer-ers?  Nope.

Creepy paintings.  Obviously.  What other kind would insane artists paint?

layers-of-fear_20160215123521-635x357

CoC 1 paint.PNG

Actually, I think an insane artist should paint only happy pastels, maybe with bunnies and flowers.  That would be awesome.  And by awesome, I mean “pants wetting terrifying.”

Fire.  Because you’ve got to do something with all the creepy paintings would couldn’t offload on eBay.  Also because what would be the fun in wandering around a perfectly structurally sound house with running  water and working electricity?

Skewed visual perspective.  We should have seen this one coming, but we couldn’t because the angles were wrong.  Ha ha!  Narf!  But seriously, while it makes sense for Call of Cthulhu, I’m not sure why a schizophrenic painter would acid wash his eyesight.  I mean, I have anxiety disorder, and my most hellish nights are usually when I see things for what they really are.  But I guess a two hour video game that consisted of staring at a barren room while you tried to calm your breathing would be bordering on postmodernism.  So F that.

20160917200038_1
The doll is really just an added bonus.

But the part that really got me was the line about “dozens of dead whales.  With … lacerations.”  If nothing else, the smell is going to be abominable.

Also, we get this guy:

bug-eyes

who … okay, who’s with me?  This guy needs to be in the next Star Wars movie.

We still don’t know much about the plot, although I’m willing to guess it doesn’t end well for the hero.  You play Private Detective Edward Pierce, who is hired to unravel the mysterious doings on a small New England island (I assume it’s New England; it is HPL) only to find, as with all good horror, that he has become trapped within the story.  And worse, that this may have been his fate all along.  Toward the end of the trailer, a mysterious voice describes dreams of a “lightless city,” and then asks Pierce:

“Have you had those dreams as well?”

“Is that the one with all the noodles?  Wait – you mean you had the Noodle Dream too?!?

“Those aren’t noodles, Mr. Pierce.  They’re tentacles.”

AIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEE!

My Christmas Special

A little Solstice something for all the cultists here at Conspiracy Central.  I should have posted this two days ago, but honestly all I have been doing for the past week is gorging myself on ham and green bean casserole.  Hmm … canned goodness topped with deep fried vegetables.  It positively screams 1950’s heart attack Americana!

Meanwhile, you can while away the winter by listening to Martian Migraine editor Scott R Jones recite my story “We Three Kings,” from Cthulhusattva: Tales of the Black Gnosis, available wherever eldritch literature is sold.  Like that little shop round the corner from you, that wasn’t there yesterday.  Say hi to Danielle for me.

Wasn’t that lovely, boys and ghouls?

If you still have any SAN left, why don’t you stop by Martian Migraine Press and pick yourself up a copy?

Call of Cthulhu: Fear and Loathing

Haven’t update the blog in a while, for a variety of reasons, one of which included a week long personal and professional meltdown in the middle of Las Vegas, a la Hunter S. Thompson.  It was supposed to be a four-day conference on anti-money laundering and Title 31 regulations, but after the approximately 14 gallons of beer I drank at the Hofbrauhuas (if you go, say hi to Tracey for me) it turned into something from a Kafka nightmare with accountants.

What’s that?  Pics, you say?  Pictures weren’t at the top of my list when I was having a paranoid meltdown at the security desk in the Aria Resort & Hotel.  Full-bore panic freakout, booze sweats and palpitations, google-eyed stares of the passers by … there was no high white noise to be found in that place, just souls that don’t even know they’re lost, yet

Anyway, while it was definitely an item off the ol’ bukkit list, it left me feeling about like Raoul Duke by the time we got back to Reno.  I got home, locked the door, and didn’t speak to anyone but my cat for four days.

Fortunately, a week of complete radio silence left me feeling somewhere on the outskirts of human, just in time for the folks over at Cyanide Studios to release an update on Call of Cthulhu, which answers the age-old question: so can we, like, just blow the ever-lovin’ hell out of the Big C with a machine gun?  (Answer: No.)

Which is a good thing, at least for this HPL obsessed drooling nerdboy.  A quick image search on the Interwebz shows that when we think of Cthulhu, what we think of

se

is a giant hungry squid.

Which misses the point, for me.  The horror of Lovecraft isn’t that you’ll be eaten by a monster, it’s what those monsters represent: the utter, alien, unfathomable otherness of the universe, the fact that in the end, reality neither loves nor hates us, but doesn’t even notice our existence.

And, of course, the REAL horror isn’t what the characters in the story experience – it’s what YOU, the reader, experience, as you realize that (aside from the rampant racism, sexism, and yearning for 17th century Britain) HPL’s vision of reality is more accurate than Steinbeck’s.

You can’t shoot something like that.  “Fighting Cthulhu” is like fighting “Thursday.”  Cthulhu, is, yes, a giant squid.  (I want that carved on my tombstone.)  But He is also the doctor telling you the results are positive, he’s your nose itching during a funeral, he’s every reminder that there is nothing to life except what we bring, and that is subject, at any moment, to an abrupt and unrefutable cancellation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Call of Cthulhu Video Game: First Trailer

I haven’t been blogging as much ’cause I’ve been sick.  The doctor says it’s just a cold, but I’m pretty sure it’s zika, even though they’ve been spraying for mosquitos …

… hmm.

Actually, I got sick right about the time they started spraying.  Coincidence?   If I were going to test a secret Army bioweapon, I’d look for a small, isolated town in the middle of nowhere, ideally with limited road access, so I could blockade the population if it turned into a pandemic.

This is a map of Modoc County.  The red dot is Alturas.  The white space is miles of untracked cow-haunted wilderness.  There are no other towns with a significant population in the entire county.  There are two roads out of the city: one leads to hellish badlands of the Nevada desert, the other to mountains that are impassible when it’s snowing.  We could be Ground Zero for the zombie plague, and no one would know until the weekly beer delivery at the casino.

Modoc_County_California_Incorporated_and_Unincorporated_areas_Alturas_Highlighted.svg

Attribution: By Arkyan – My own work, based on public domain information. Based on similar map concepts by Ixnayonthetimmay, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2486002

Yeah, I’m surprised we’ve lasted this long.

So this may be my last post, although as bioweapons go, “bad head cold” probably isn’t going to terrify the Chinese.

Speaking of certain and utter doom, the first trailer is out for Cyanide Studio’s Call of Cthulhu game.

Okay … see … I just … you know that old joke about what happens if you drop a nuclear bomb on Cthulhu?  How he reforms fifteen minutes later, only now he’s radioactive?  And how you’ve heard it so many freakin’ times you swear you’ll slap the shoggoth out of the next drooling fanboy who tells it to you?  It’s like the joke that is as undying as the Big C Himself?

That HPL quote about “the oldest and strongest emotion is fear” is kind of getting that way for me.  It’s everywhere!  Is there a form you have to sign or something, that says you’ll use that quote whenever you talk about Lovecraft?  I mean, here are some other Lovecraft quotes:

I am well-nigh resolv’d to write no more tales but merely to dream when I have a mind to, not stopping to do anything so vulgar as to set down the dream for a boarish Publick.
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/h/h_p_lovecraft_3.html

I am essentially a recluse who will have very little to do with people wherever he may be. I think that most people only make me nervous –
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/h/h_p_lovecraft_3.html

“But as for jam or jelly—I am your utter opposite, for I like it so well that I pile on amounts thicker than the bread which sustains them!” (to J. Vernon Shea, 10 November 1931) from http://www.hplovecraft.com/life/interest/foods.aspx

But no, it’s always gotta be “the oldest and stongest …” yada yada yada.

Lemme tell you, buster – if you open a horror game with an HPL quote about strawberry jam, gamers would be wetting their shorts with terror.  What’s that?  What’s jam got to do with horror?  That’s my point!  What does it have to do with horror, and can our febrile minds survive knowing that unspeakable gelatinous truth?!?

You see?  You have to think outside the box, especially because in non-Euclidean geometry, the box actually looks kind of like one of those Blair Witch stick men:

sticks

https://www.etsy.com/shop/BehindTheRowsStudio?section_id=14925676

But I think I’m getting sidetracked.  Oh, right – Call of Cthulhu: Far Harbor.

No, stop that, Raymond!

Although you do have to admit:

Far Harbor

20160521101001_1

The similarities are eerie, although I’m going to assume in the Cthulhu game you don’t have a machine gun.  ‘Cause we did once, in a pen-and-paper session, and while eldritch monstrosities might strike fear into professors of antiquarian literature, they don’t do much against a 7 foot Rastafarian with a Thompson gun.

Not that it would matter – if you shot Cthulhu, he’d just reform in 15 min… <taze>

Thanks, I needed that.

From the trailer, it appears that our hapless investigator has stumbled on a sinister plot to raise up Our Lord and Destroyer, Great Cthulhu.

Investigator
Be in a Cthulhu game, they said.  It will be fun, they said.

So we know right away that you won’t be able to customize your character – no battling the unspeakable evil as a 90 year paraplegic with asthma.  Which is disappointing, as part of the fun of Cthulhu games was designing ludicrously inappropriate characters, then loading them down with crippling shoggoth-induced neuroses, until the game became a race to see who could overdose on lithium the fastest.  Good times!

One the other tentacle, the plot will be more involved than just survival horror.  That will be a nice change of pace.  Also, apparently at some point you will have to fight Casper the Friendly Ghost:

Sheet ghost

So let’s just hope to heck Wendy doesn’t show up, ’cause she can mess some sh^t up.

Call of Cthulhu is releasing some time in 2017, assuming we aren’t all dead of the zika virus, or whatever it is they’re testing up here.

Cthulhusattva: Tales of the Black Gnosis

 

cthulhusattva

 

The stars are right.

After eons of anticipation, I can announce that my short story We Three Kings will be published in Cthulhusattva: Tales of the Black Gnosis, by Martian Migraine Press.

 

The Bible says that Three Wise Men came from the East to pay worship to the Christ Child.  The real truth is far more terrible …

Brooklyn_Museum_-_The_Magi_Journeying_(Les_rois_mages_en_voyage)_-_James_Tissot_-_overall

 

Pre-orders are available now at http://martianmigrainepress.com/Cthulhusattva-Pre-Order-Contest and any cultist who orders before May 23rd will also be entered into the Pre-Order Prize Contest of Utter Madness!  Ok, I made that name up, but the contest is real – see the link for details.  But that’s not all!  Just for my readers, I am revealing here, for the first (and only) time, that one lucky winner will receive, at no additional charge, a free story recital by me!  Provided, that is, you are willing to meet me at the Peppermill Casino in Reno and listen to the drunken ramblings of a half-mad poet.  It’ll be fun!

(Special offer for Alturas residents – the Casino bar here is also acceptable.  Please provide a pitchy of Icthyosaurus Pale Ale.)

So shamble on over to Martian Migraine Press and order sum unspeakable tomes of eldritch evil.  SAN loss guaranteed!

Also, some preparatory reading …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Post is Dark and Full or Errors

Jon Snow is alive.  He was raised from the dead by Melisandre.

Called it.

Or at least, he’s still alive in the TV series; we’ll probably have to wait until the next Ice Age for a new book, but I think Martin will stick pretty closely to the show; after all, “science fiction storytelling in a fantasy world” is one of the main themes of the series.  The final conflict will come down to Caitlyn, Jon, and Daeryns or however you spell her name.  Eventually, the political posturing of the various houses will be meaningless against the power of magic.

Or … he could be building it up to appear that way, and then end by having political machinations and mob rule be more powerful even than the Old Magic.  That would turn GoT into a commentary on the strangulation of creativity by bureaucracy, and would subvert the genre as developed by Roger Zelazny.

“And those damn stupid barbarians with their damned stupid swords will win after all.”
— Larry Niven, The Magic Goes Away

It would also be seriously fcking depressing, and a miserable way to end a zillion-word story, so one I wouldn’t have bet on until I read Joe Abercrombie.  I’m still depressed about the First Law series.

I have to confess, I haven’t actually watched GoT, partly because I don’t have an actual television, and I haven’t read the books in years.  Given my alcohol and (former) tobacco consumption levels, once I hit 35, I decided not to get too involved in long running series.

Speaking of leaving things unfinished, I haven’t updated the blog in a while, and I figure it’s about time I do some work around here.  Hopefully I’ll start updating this thing regularly again, which of course is the last sentence written on every abandoned blog since Ancient Egypt.

 

Easter Astronomy and Sunken City update

Happy Easter!

As we all learned in school, Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday following the third full moon during a conjunction of Saturn and Mercury in the constellation Ursa Minor … ok, I’m confused; what this has to do with chocolate rabbits, I don’t know.

Hopefully this article can explain.

Okay, simple enough – something something … ooh, the equinox!  Now we’re cooking!  The equinox falls halfway between the solstices, when day and night are equally long.  From here, the days will begin to get longer, leading up to the summer solstice, the longest day of the year.

If you were the type of person (i.e., one with more patience than I’ve ever had, and also one with a fancy camera) who would take a picture of the sun at its highest point in the sky, every day, and then superimpose those pictures, you’d get something called an annalemma:

tutulemma2_tezel_big

The point where the figure eight meets are the equinoxes; the sun crosses once in the spring and once in the fall.

Unless, of course, Mithra held the world still, and the sun traced that path in a single day.  Imagine looking up and seeing the sun and stars all superimposed on the twilight sky … that’s the stuff of nightmares.  Or religions …

… but until then, it’s time for boiled eggs and chocolate rabbits, because it’s the Sunday after the first full moon following the vernal equinox …

ech.  My head hurts.  Simple version:

Easter is when the stars are right.

Speaking of eldritch monstrosities, Frogwares Games has an update on Sunken City.  I think their focus on urban design (if you notice, the writer has a PhD in urban planning, which is more qualification than I will ever have for anything) is a good sign they’re on the right track.  Lovecraft and I share a passion for urban landscapes.  For me, it’s not as much the architecture as the possibility of discovering some secret place – a hidden street, an unusual house (which could only be, at minimum, the lair of a sinister haunt) or even a hidden time: a quality to the gloaming of a spring evening as the lights in the distance can suddenly cross darkened space to impress themselves upon you.  I’m even starting to sound like him, don’t I?

The level of thought they’re putting into the geography means they’ve hopefully caught some of what Lovecraft was really about, which wasn’t always tentacles and aliens, but an overwhelming sense of place.

But that’s not until 2017.  In the meantime, let’s celebrate the rebirth of nature by eating baby chickens.  Never made sense to me.

 

The Council of Nicea, Part II: Easter

As we discussed in a previous post, Emperor Constantine called the Council of Nicea for two reasons:

  1.  To decide which version of Christianity would be considered orthodox, and which would be condemned as heresies.  In the process, the books of the Bible were canonized.
  2. To rewrite the story of Christianity in order to serve his agenda.

What did Constantine need to hide?

We know that due to a “mistranslation” in Matthew (actually done at Constantine’s express orders) Jesus’ promise to turn his followers into “fish-men” – that is, Deep One hybrids – was taken to mean “fishers of men.”

As a consequence, many of Jesus’ promises – or bribes, might be more accurate – had to be reinterpreted to align with the new Roman Christianity.  For example, Christ’s promise of eternal life was obviously meant to apply to the children of these abominable unions – the undying hybrid spawn of the disciples and the Deep Ones lurking in their cities just off the Mediterranean coast.

We shall swim out to that brooding reef in the sea and dive down through black abysses to Cyclopean and many-columned Y’ha-nthlei, and in that lair of the Deep Ones we shall dwell amidst wonder and glory for ever.

— -HP Lovecraft, The Shadow Over Innsmouth

Similarly, his followers would walk upon “streets paved with gold” not in some mythical heaven, but in their sunken cities, which is also why  Jesus commanded his followers to spurn earthly wealth – after all, Jesus drove the moneylenders from the temple in his messianic zeal to bring about a utopia of infinite wealth and freedom.

The time would be easy to know, for then mankind would have become as the Great Old Ones; free and wild and beyond good and evil, with laws and morals thrown aside and all men shouting and killing and revelling in joy.

— HP Lovecraft, The Promise of the Necronomicon

By accepting silver from the Romans, rather than the gold that the Christ promised, Judas showed where his ultimate loyalty lay – not with Rome, per se, but with humanity.  And it is revealed in the Gnostic Gospel of Judas that he was Yeshua’s most trusted disciple.  If even his most trusted friend could betray him upon learning the Truth, what terrible secrets must have been left out of the Bible?

Precisely why the Council of Nicea delcared gnosticism a heresy punishable by death.

 

“In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,”

— Matthew 3:1-17

800px-Domenico_Ghirlandaio_-_Preaching_of_St_John_the_Baptist_-_WGA8864

Domenico Ghirlandaio [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

A messianic revolutionary cult was already alive and well in Israel at the time of Jesus’ birth.  Dozens of Jewish rebels, self-proclaimed saviors half-mad from sunstroke and famine, lurked in the Judean desert, raising up armed insurgents and waging guerilla war against Rome, only to be crushed, time after time, by the Legions.

Jesus was the leader they thought they had been looking for.  The story of Jesus’ life is strangely incomplete – we know of his birth in Bethlehem, and then nothing until he  is nearly thirty. Where did he go during his “Lost Years?”

Perhaps under the sea?

There, his hybrid DNA would have been unlocked, allowing him to access abilities that would seem magical to the outlaws and revolutionaries who infested the deserts of Israel – what is walking on water to someone who’s half alien fish?  Loaves and fishes?  Even Obadiah Marsh demanded more than that.

And Jesus gathered unto him twelve disciples – revolutionaries who, all unknowing, became the first leaders of a cult that lives on to this day.

But of course, the story doesn’t end there.  In  Gethsemane, Judas, most faithful of the disciples, kissed the man he had once loved before turning him in to the authorities.  Torn by the realization that everything he loved had been a lie, Judas ended his life in Potter’s Field.  The other disciples, horrified at the awful truth that had been revealed to them, renounced their beliefs.

“Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.” — Mark, 14:30

… all except one: the Most Beloved Disciple.  Jesus’ Wife.  Mary Magdalene.

TINTORETTO_-_Magdalena_penitente_(Musei_Capitolini,_Roma,_1598-1602)_-_copia

By Domenico Tintoretto – Google Art Project: Home – pic Maximum resolution., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20105581

The story of Easter is a story of betrayal and loss; as Mary looked upon her husband … her god … dying on the cross, she must have seen her future dying as well.  All hope was lost.  The cult was shattered, the plans of the Deep Ones ruined, the disciples scattered.  But there were secrets, hidden against that day …

… for Easter is also a story of hope; of rebirth.  But not, as the Church would have you believe, as survival of the old.  It is the celebration of new life – the egg, the baby rabbit, the first bloom of spring.

Jesus died on the cross, but his final message to Mary was that she was pregnant.

“Let not your heart be troubled . . . . in My Father’s house there are many mansions” (Jn. 14:1,2)

Mary Magdalene, whore of Shub-Niggurath, was to be the Mother of the Thousand Young … the bloodline between the Deep Ones and the Elder Things would survive … for there is a legend, in another place, of a king sired by a sea monster … but that shall come later.

Meanwhile, the Deep Ones turned their attention to a far more promising target than Israel – Rome itself.

In our next post, we examine the most unexpected rebirth of all – the disbanded  Cult of Yeshua, betrayed by its disciples, finds its savior in a Jew who once swore to oppose all it stood for:

Saul of Tarsus, Traitor of Man, Savior of the Savior

 

 

 

Cover image attribution: By Leonardo da Vinci – High resolution scan by http://www.haltadefinizione.com/ in collaboration with the Italian ministry of culture. Scan details, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3032252