I wrote a rant about this on Facebook this morning. I thought I’d reproduce it here, because (as you might gather) it’s something I feel strongly about. 🙂
Brief triple-rant spurred by John Haynes on the Cthulhu mythos and LRP. May apply to other uses:
i) “How do you phys rep a mythos creature?” You don’t. Seriously. You want proper scariness out of them, the emptiness, nothingness of knowing that you’re up against something vast and unimaginable. Not your mate Kevin in a rubber fatsuit where you can see the joins when he flollops. Yes, smoke, darkness and a healthy dollop of hair gel can make it a scary thing to see in a corner. But you can do far, far more with little tricks of atmosphere, smoke, mirrors, sound and the right story and tension building. You can make massive creatures hiding just behind the corners of a room or under the earth or inside your own head by using people’s own imaginations.
Which leads me to rant 2:
ii) “Cthulhu did it” is not an interesting plot. Ever. The interesting thing to me about the mythos is never “weird things are happening here and a mythos creature is behind it”, yet I see that so often in LRP. It’s lazy and dull. The interesting thing to me about a mythos-driven plot is the things that it drives characters (whether NPCs or players) to do, not having something from the mythos as active protagonist. Those unknowable monstrosities are unconcerned with the affairs of us ants. It’s the fallout effect they have on people when the world becomes thin that’s interesting.
And rant 3:
iii) Stop automatically using Lovecraft as a go-to. Horribly over-used. Seriously – we went to a small convention with lots of small freeforms played over a weekend, a whole variety of genres, from Western to Downtown Abbey. And every game we played bar one was actually “there’s a mythos monster behind it all”. Do something more interesting!
This rant has been brought to you by Monday morning and lack of coffee.