This post started it’s life as a 2018 predictions post, but that started to bore me so we’re changing directions! Instead, we’re going to take a brief look at some twists you can make on the traditional Cthulhu mythos (as presented by Lovecraft, Derleth, etc). This idea was inspired in large part by the recent novel, Winter Tide by Ruthanna Emrys, which brings us our favorite twist on the theme…
- Misunderstood Mythos – In Winter Tide, the residents of Innsmouth were really the victims of slander and fear from the surrounding communities. In Emrys’ work, the Deep Ones and hybrids are instead a deeply religious people simply awaiting the passing of time, amassing knowledge and protecting their own. You could take a similar tact in your games with any of the major species of the Cthulhu universe or even their human cultists. I’d love to see someone take the cult of Shubb-Nigurath and play on the trope of the fertility goddess from the perspective of the followers!
- Victims – Perhaps the characters for your game aren’t actually brave adventurers, but former victims of the horrors of the Cthulhu mythos. One idea that I really like is the idea of a campaign where the characters are regular humans who have, at some point, met one another while being body-swapped by the Great Race of Yith (the Yith travel through time to study it by swapping bodies with people from various eras; in exchange for this, the unwilling participants are given some degree of freedom to wander the Yith’s time and place). This could be a great setup for a sci-fi game like The Void!
- Saturday Morning Cartoons – One idea that might be awesome or horrible depending on execution is to imagine what the Cthulhu mythos would be like if interpreted through the lens of Saturday morning cartoons (70’s-90’s era). The horror goes away a fair bit and you know good will win, but there are some really interesting opportunities for building suspense and comedy into the same setting that could be a lot of fun!