Monday, October 15, 2012

[Q&A] Dan Harms (Cthulhu Mythos Encyclopedia)

[19:04] <+DanHarms> I'm Dan/Daniel Harms.  Of immediate interest to RPGnet people, I'm the author of the Cthulhu Mythos Encyclopedia, an editor for The Unspeakable Oath and (past) Worlds of Cthulhu, and a writer of source material and scenarios for the Call of Cthulhu RPG.
[19:04] <+DanHarms> I also have written books on the Necronomicon, Pennsylvania German folk magic, and other stuff.
[19:05] <+DanHarms> You can ask me about any of that.  Plus, I'm soaking my ball python, Yig, because she's getting ready to shed, so I might vanish for a couple minutes to wrap her in a big fluffy towel.
[19:05] <+DanHarms> But not right now.
[19:05] <+DanHarms> (done)
[19:05] <~Dan> Thanks, DanH!
[19:05] <+Snake_Eyes> :3 cute!
[19:05] <~Dan> Anyone have any questions to start us off, or shall I begin?
[19:06] <&Le_Squide> I do, actually!
[19:06] <~Dan> Go ahead, Squide!
[19:08] <+Snake_Eyes> can I ask a quick one in the meantime pls?
[19:08] *** WonderRat has quit IRC: Disintegrated:
[19:08] <+DanHarms> Go ahead
[19:08] <~Dan> Go ahead, Snake.
[19:08] <+Snake_Eyes> Hi DanHarms! I was wondering how confusing is the Cthulu mythos to the professionals? Was there anything that took a while to grok for yourself or your peers?
[19:08] <+Snake_Eyes> :) thx
[19:09] <+DanHarms> Not horribly confusing, once you manage to track down the original authors and recognize what goes where.  When I wrote the book originally, that was quite difficult.
[19:09] <+DanHarms> Now, you can get most of the stories in paperback through Amazon, but many of the Bloch, Campbell, etc. books were OOP at the time.
[19:10] <&Le_Squide> Ok, this might be a bit heavy to start out with, but an accusation I see leveled against a lot of Mythos-based RPG stuff and associated writings is that the idea of a coherent and/or itemized Mythos really removes a lot of the original Lovecraftian elements from Lovecraft's own creations, and makes other stuff purloined for use in the Mythos (like the King in Yellow/Hauster/Carcosa stuff)...
[19:10] <&Le_Squide> ...become sort of homogenized when they become part of the 'greater' body of the Mythos. I wanted to know your take on this, especially given this particular undertaking.
[19:10] <+DanHarms> The only part I found tricky was that I came in form the Call of Cthulhu RPG.  By the second edition, I was starting to recognize what was original to that (e.g. Dark Young), and what was a re-interpretation or adaptation of what came before.
[19:10] <~Dan> (Question pause while DanHarms catches up, please.)
[19:11] <+DanHarms> After I got that, it was pretty easy sorting out the rest.  One has to be willing to read the stories as they come, and not try to drop a layer of interpretation on top of them.  Once you have that mindset, it becomes much easier. (done)
[19:11] <+Snake_Eyes> :) okay, thx for your answers sir. I find a lot of the origins a bit confusing as was it Lovecraftor another author. Thnaks
[19:12] <+DanHarms> LeSquide:  It really depends upon how it's used.  On one extreme, you have Lin Carter's stories, where every deity fits into a family tree and has its own servitor race in lengthy lists.
[19:13] <+DanHarms> On the other, you can take out a piece and do some crazy, beautiful things with it, e.g. Don Webb's stories, or John Tynes' work on The King in Yellow.
[19:13] <+DanHarms> Snake time - give me a minute here.
[19:14] <~Dan> Sure thing, DanH.
[19:15] <+Snake_Eyes> it is a cute image isnt it him wrapping a snake in a towel, my next question should be "can we have a photo?"
[19:15] <~Dan> :)
[19:15] <+DanHarms> I think it's best to see the Mythos as a toolkit assembled by Lovecraft and those who came afterward.  Sure, you can say that people are misusing the toolkit, but that doesn't mean it's not worth using.
[19:16] * &Le_Squide nods!
[19:16] <&Le_Squide> (Is Lin Carter where those silly elemental associations came from, BTW?)
[19:16] <+DanHarms> I'll take the King in Yellow as an example.  Does it do Chambers justice to shoehorn the King into the Mythos?  Perhaps not.  Then again, if not for Lovecraft's usage of Chambers in his work, we probably wouldn't have ANYTHING creative having to do with the King in Yellow.  It'd just be some long OOP 1895 book by a romance novel author that nobody reads.
[19:16] <+DanHarms> (Derleth)
[19:17] <+DanHarms> (done)
[19:17] <+Snake_Eyes> DanHarms, do you have a favorite Dungeons and Dragons module to run or play? And why?
[19:17] <~Dan> So is the Encyclopedia an official CoC book, and if so, does it include stats?
[19:17] <~Dan> (Question pause.)
[19:17] <+DanHarms> Ooh.  Tough.  It's been a while since I ran D&D.
[19:18] <+DanHarms> My first module was Keep in the Borderlands, from the Basic set.  I've always had a fondness for it.
[19:18] <+Snake_Eyes> :) groovy!
[19:19] <+DanHarms> I think I did try to run some classic modules a while ago - Steading of the Hill Giant Chief, for instance.  And I can say I've played every edition of D&D since Basic, at one point or another.
[19:20] <+Snake_Eyes> again, :) thx for your answers.
[19:20] *** Silverlion has joined #rpgnet
[19:20] *** ChanServ sets mode +v Silverlion
[19:20] <+DanHarms> The Encyclopedia has always sat outside the Call of Cthulhu official canon.  It overlaps considerably, but you simply don't want to bring in everything from the Mythos, because you end up with elementals and people getting in shouting matches with Cthulhu and superheroes.
[19:21] <+DanHarms> It did have stats in the Chaosium versions, largely because people asked and I got tired of it.  So there are stats for Mythos lore, sanity loss, use as an improvised weapon, how long it can serve as a torch, etc.
[19:21] <+DanHarms> Those aren't in the most recent versions, as the book has parted ways with Chaosium, but past editions do have them.
[19:21] <&Le_Squide> XD
[19:21] <+DanHarms> (done)
[19:22] <~Dan> How far afield do you go for entries? Do you include Brian Lumley's stuff, for example? Like Cthulhu's sparkly happy brother? :)
[19:22] <+DanHarms> (Re. Chambers:  I think Lovecraft's response on discovering The King in Yellow was to basically say, "Did you know that hack turned out something good?"  That's hardly a direct quote, but that's how I've read it.)
[19:23] <+DanHarms> Lumley went in, because it's really hard to ignore him.  This is a guy who's been writing for decades, turning out probably ten books' worth of Mythos stuff.
[19:24] <+DanHarms> I've really tried to hit the most available, most popular stuff.  The first lesson I learned when writing the book is that, if you start judging the quality of the material that goes in and making decisions by that, you're lost.
[19:24] <~Dan> So I'm guessing you didn't try to determine what's "canon"?
[19:24] <+DanHarms> I might think some of Bloch's early stuff is horrible, for instance, but if I'm writing a book for Mythos fans, it's not appropriate to draw a line based on personal tastes.
[19:25] <&Le_Squide> The Burrowers Beneath is a great lovecraftian story until Titus Crow shows up.
[19:25] <+DanHarms> In the later editions, I did - but in terms of webs of associations.  You start from "The Call of Cthulhu", take the fictional elements therein, and work your way out.
[19:26] <+xyphoid_> Do you cover Stross's stuff?
[19:26] <+DanHarms> It helped to keep me honest - I had to prove that something did connect back to CoC to include it, which cuts down on the subjective factor somewhat.
[19:26] <~Dan> See, that's the thing: some authors (like Lumley) directly contradict others, including Lovecraft himself. How do you make all the contradictions "fit"? Or do you even try?
[19:27] <+DanHarms> Some of the early stuff of Stross.  Most recent work therein is THE JENNIFER MORGUE.
[19:28] <+DanHarms> If I can find an elegant way to handle a contradiction, I've addressed it.  Otherwise, I just state that "the sky is blue, the sky is destroyed by Cthulhu, opinions differ."
[19:29] <+DanHarms> Even Lovecraft's work contradicts itself, and most people just ignore that and move on.
[19:29] * ~Dan nods
[19:29] <~Dan> To what degree do you cover the Dreamlands?
[19:30] <+DanHarms> I try to work in a good amount of Dreamlands material.  I don't go full bore into it, but it overlaps enough with the "regular" Mythos stuff that it needs to be included.
[19:30] <+DanHarms> The idea is that you can pick up the book and figure out just about any prominent Mythos reference you come across.
[19:31] <+DanHarms> I made that call after the first edition, and that's when much of the Dreamlands material went in.
[19:32] <+DanHarms> Plus, much of the Dreamlands stuff wasn't actually IN the land of dreams to start.  HPL decided it should be in "Dream-Quest," and most of us just went with it.  It's not clear that "The Doom that Came to Sarnath" is in the land of dreams, I don't believe.
[19:32] <+DanHarms> (done)
[19:33] <~Dan> To what extent do address magic in the Mythos, and do you treat it as "real" magic, weird science, or something else altogether?
[19:33] <~Dan> (do you address, rather)
[19:35] <+DanHarms> I don't directly address it, because it's another contradictory area.  Lovecraft does at times try to dress up magic as advanced science, but I never could really buy that.
[19:36] <+DanHarms> Stories like "The Dunwich Horror" and "Charles Dexter Ward" are really about magic in the sense of incantations and charms, no matter how much subsequent authors have tried to assert otherwise.
[19:36] * ~Dan nods
[19:37] <+DanHarms> On the other hand, CoC RPG goes straight for that interpretation, so you have spells that are cast with funky components and the like, with alien science on the side and not quite connected.
[19:37] <~Dan> Well, personally, I always felt like HPL treated "magic" as "the science of the way the universe really works.
[19:37] <~Dan> "
[19:37] <&Le_Squide> What's your favorite Mythos game supplement, by the way (CoC or otherwise)?
[19:38] <+DanHarms> I'd go with that - but his vision of it strikes me as humanocentric nonetheless, in some ways. (done)
[19:38] <+DanHarms> Favorite supplement?  Hmm...
[19:39] <+DanHarms> In the sourcebooks category, I really like H. P. Lovecraft's Arkham, followed by the Cairo Guidebook.  I really liked Dunwich until I started running it.
[19:40] <+DanHarms> As for adventures - Masks, of course.  I also like Day of the Beast, because it was the first campaign I bought for the game, and there's a lot of fun stuff in it.
[19:40] <+DanHarms> Also, Delta Green, of course.
[19:40] <~Dan> Really? What was wrong with Dunwich?
[19:40] <~Dan> (I've never run it, but it always seemed well-designed to me.)
[19:40] <+DanHarms> Exactly!
[19:41] <+DanHarms> That was my view as well.
[19:41] <+DanHarms> Now that I'm running it, it's got a lot of interesting characters and neat stuff going on, and yet... it doesn't always work together.
[19:41] <~Dan> Hmm. Interesting.
[19:42] <+DanHarms> The connections among the various parts could be stronger.  I started to run it out of the box, just to see what would happen, and the group and I had to conclude that it wasn't working.
[19:42] <+DanHarms> Now, we're having fun with it anyway.  Well, we were until last session when the group accidentally unleashed the Horror again.
[19:43] <+DanHarms> It could have benefited from a clue trail, I think - "X and Y lead to revelation Z, which brings you to A."
[19:43] <+DanHarms> I've done that with scenarios in the past, and it can often illuminate problems before they emerge.
[19:44] <~Dan> What do you think of the overall design scheme of that one; i.e., "Here's where everything/everybody is, and here's a timeline of events. Go nuts."?
[19:44] <+DanHarms> That doesn't mean that Doc Herber wasn't an absolutely wonderful author, by any means.  One of my great missed opportunities was to meet him at iCon in Long Island, and he passed away a few days beforehand.
[19:45] <+DanHarms> I really have a lot of respect for him and what he did, as my list of favorite supplements shows.  Dunwich, though, I can't quite get to work. (done)
[19:45] <+Snake_Eyes> DanHarms, did you aheva anything to do with JG Traveller Dathanon Queen?
[19:45] <+Snake_Eyes> *have
[19:46] *** Anduwaithe has joined #rpgnet
[19:46] *** ChanServ sets mode +v Anduwaithe
[19:46] <+DanHarms> I think that's a structure I like, but it needs to have stronger personalities involved and more of an agenda.  I threw in a sorcerous lawyer from Boston into the mix, who's exploiting one of the Dunwich townsfolk.  I think with some elements like that, it can work.
[19:47] <~Dan> (Howdy, Anduwaithe!)
[19:47] <+Anduwaithe> (Heya.)
[19:47] <+DanHarms> In a sense, it's a sandbox, and I'm coming to appreciate sandboxes more as I go.  This one has some elements that don't quite come together, but a creative Keeper who's aware of that can definitely get some good mileage out of it.
[19:48] <+DanHarms> Traveller Dathanon Queen?  If I was involved, I haven't told myself.  Why do you ask?  I'm just curious.
[19:48] <+Snake_Eyes> rpg drive though mentions you as the author, 1 sec
[19:48] <~Dan> What is that?
[19:49] <+Snake_Eyes> (Link: http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/index.php?x=0&y=0&author=Dan%20Harms)http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/index.php?x=0&y=0&author=Dan%20Harms
[19:49] *** Aemilia is now known as Lioness
[19:49] <+Snake_Eyes> down near the end...
[19:49] <+Snake_Eyes> (Dan, Judges Guild)
[19:49] <+DanHarms> Ah!  Here we go.  It's got Ray Harms and Dan Hauffe as authors.  That's why it's showing up.
[19:49] <+Anduwaithe> :)
[19:49] <+Snake_Eyes> cheers! (i feel dumb)
[19:49] <+DanHarms> I'm all for circulating questionable information about myself, so this is all for the best.
[19:50] * ~Dan chuckles
[19:50] <~Dan> So you've written for Delta Green?
[19:50] <+DanHarms> S'OK.  Seriously, this is one of the less ridiculous rumors I've had to field.
[19:50] <+DanHarms> A little here and there.  I was responsible for the King in Yellow Tarot in COUNTDOWN, which garnered me a whole 1.5% of an Origins award.
[19:50] *** CRKrueger has joined #rpgnet
[19:50] *** ChanServ sets mode +v CRKrueger
[19:51] <~Dan> (Howdy, CRK!)
[19:51] <+CRKrueger> Hey Dan
[19:51] <+DanHarms> Mostly, I just read and play Delta Green.  Creating DG material usually means knowing more about espionage, law enforcement techniques, etc. than I can muster.  Seriously, I'm one of those people who would probably make a game with the gun options being "Revolver," "Rifle," etc.
[19:52] <+DanHarms> Yet I really enjoy it, and I greatly appreciate the creativity and knowledge that goes into making it.
[19:52] <~Dan> I've always felt that modern-day Cthulhu lacks something... That today's world isn't a very likely future for HPL's 1920s-30s. Any thoughts on the subject?
[19:53] <~Dan> (This, as compared to Eldritch Skies, which has an alternate history that builds toward a sci-fi future, incorporating HLP's stories directly.)
[19:53] <+DanHarms> In the sense that R'lyeh has yet to rise and destroy everything, yes, I can see that.
[19:53] <~Dan> Well, not just that... I mean that it seems like by now, we'd have found out enough to drive us back into the dark ages, to paraphrase HPL. We'd have discovered too much.
[19:54] <+DanHarms> Yet I agree with Sandy Peterson - if Lovecraft were still alive today, he'd be writing stories set in the 2010s.  There's nothing sacrosanct about the Twenties for me.  It's often a fun era, until people start asking me if their car has a trunk that locks.
[19:54] <~Dan> HPL's contemporary stories seemed like we were this close to overstepping. The Deep Ones were just offshore, for example.
[19:54] <~Dan> Oh, that's certainly the case.
[19:55] <+DanHarms> I can see the point, but it doesn't particularly bother me when it comes to being creative.  I think there are some specific problems to address, e.g. the Mountains of Madness, but if you put it in the context of the inability of the human mind to correlate its contents, maybe it's not so odd.
[19:55] <~Dan> I'm thinking mainly about taking the 20s as the background for, say, Delta Green or Cthulhu Now. As opposed to just ignoring all that and just introducing the Mythos in the modern day, if that makes sense.
[19:55] <~Dan> True.
[19:55] <&Le_Squide> What's your least favorite Mythos gaming product?
[19:56] <&Le_Squide> (I'm thinking of straight-shooting stuff here, but if something like Pokethulhu gets your goat, that'd be interesting to hear as well)
[19:56] <+DanHarms> Humans do what they've done for millions of years - ignore it, downplay it, look at something shiny.  I can see a case being made for what you're talking about, and maybe it would work better to bring in the Mythos in a modern setting, but creatively it's never something that's bothered me.
[19:56] * ~Dan nods
[19:56] <+DanHarms> Let me look at my shelf really quickly here.
[19:57] <~Dan> I should mention here that I'm just talking about my personal Mythos tastes. I don't mean to suggest that Delta Green is badwrongfun. :)
[19:57] <+DanHarms> No, that's cool.  And I wouldn't tell anyone they had to keep with a Twenties Mythos if they wanted to do something different with it.
[19:57] <+DanHarms> As an author and Keeper, you have to go with your sensibilities.
[19:58] <+DanHarms> I see much more on my shelf that I like than that I don't, so that's a good start.
[19:58] <+DanHarms> Problem areas:  Much of the TOME stuff, the Age of Cthulhu line.  Both have their high points, but neither really has a great grasp of the rules or the setting.
[19:58] <+CRKrueger> The "secret occult history" of the world idea is a lot more complete and thoroughly explored now then it was when HPL was writing.  It can make the Mythos seem a little primitive compared to something like Kult/WoD etc.
[19:59] <+DanHarms> I rate Age of Cthulhu lower, because TOME came out with its books very early in the cycle and couldn't be expected to know better.
[20:07] <+Snake_Eyes> How has editing rp such as Nemesis worked with your personal projects, such as the Cyclopedia? Do you think of it as an editorial role as much as a writer's role?
[20:07] <+DanHarms> On the "secret occult history," I'd disagree, and that's as someone who's enjoyed Kult, the WoD, Nephilim, etc.  Lovecraft might not have the same level of complexity as those do, but he's got a very different feel.  Which becomes apparent when the authors of other systems start trying to pull him back into them.
[20:08] <+DanHarms> He does something that they don't do.  That's not to say they don't do what they do very well, of course.  (done)
[20:09] <+Snake_Eyes> (sry for the interrupting question before)
[20:09] <~Dan> Speaking of Kult, do you prefer cosmic or humanocentric horror? Or is it an apples-to-oranges question to you?
[20:09] <~Dan> (Oh, and question pause, please.)
[20:10] <+DanHarms> You really have to keep the editor's role separate from the writer's role.  As an editor, I'm enabling someone else's vision, and as a writer, I'm expressing mine.  I've learned a great deal about writing from editing, because you often get to see different ways of handling things, right or wrong.
[20:10] <+DanHarms> But getting them mixed up is a recipe for ticking off writers and other editors. (done)
[20:11] <+DanHarms> Cosmic to humanocentric - I prefer cosmic, but I can get into humanocentric.  I think the trouble comes when people don't make a distinction between the two.  If there's a good group of players out there, I'll play pretty much anything.
[20:11] <+Snake_Eyes> Thanks for answering that DanHarms
[20:11] <+DanHarms> My longest running local group (now defunct) usually played nothing but GURPS.  Middle Earth GURPS, Japanese GURPS, superhero GURPS, etc.  I played them all, and I enjoyed them all.
[20:11] <~Dan> Yeah, I'm with you there. I always thought the comparisons between CoC and Kult were really strange.
[20:11] <+DanHarms> (done)
[20:12] <~Dan> What are some of the CoC products you've written, Dan?
[20:13] <+DanHarms> Let's see... much of what I've written hasn't actually been published yet!  I revised Doc Herber's excellent work in The Keeper's Companion, for one, and I've had various articles published in The Unspeakable Oath and Worlds of Cthulhu.
[20:13] <+DanHarms> We did a whole series of articles set in CAS's Averoigne, in Worlds, and I was particularly happy with it.
[20:13] <~Dan> What is Worlds of Cthulhu? I'm not familiar with that one.
[20:13] <+DanHarms> I've got a Ghouls book that's with Sixtystone (no release date as of yet), and a full-length modern campaign call FURY OF YIG.
[20:13] <~Dan> You wrote an adventure about your pet snake? O.o
[20:14] *** Snake_Eyes has quit IRC: Disintegrated: (Link: http://www.mibbit.com)http://www.mibbit.com ajax IRC Client
[20:14] <+DanHarms> Worlds was the English version of the German Cthulhu magazine Cthuloide Welten.  I was an editor and a writer for it, and it was great fun.  I wrote a whole piece on the cult of Tsathoggua, for instance.
[20:14] <+DanHarms> lol
[20:14] *** Snake_Eyes has joined #rpgnet
[20:14] *** ChanServ sets mode +v Snake_Eyes
[20:14] <+DanHarms> I got Yig while I was working on FURY.  It gave me some insights I wouldn't have gotten otherwise.
[20:14] *** Snake_Eyes has quit IRC: Disintegrated: (Link: http://www.mibbit.com)http://www.mibbit.com ajax IRC Client
[20:14] *** Anduwaithe has left #rpgnet
[20:15] <~Dan> Heh. :)
[20:15] *** Snake_Eyes has joined #rpgnet
[20:15] *** ChanServ sets mode +v Snake_Eyes
[20:15] <~Dan> So how extensive is the ghoul sourcebook you mentioned?
[20:15] *** Le_Squide is now known as Le_AFK
[20:15] <+DanHarms> I also wrote a scenario in Miskatonic River Press's upcoming book TALES OF THE SLEEPLESS CITY, to be released soon!
[20:15] *** BigDamnHero has joined #rpgnet
[20:15] *** ChanServ sets mode +v BigDamnHero
[20:16] <~Dan> (Welcome, BigDamnHero!)
[20:16] <+DanHarms> All aspects of ghouldom, with the exception of some of the latest material.  Society, religion, biology, etc.  Last I heard they were starting to round up scenarios for various eras.
[20:16] <+CRKrueger> How much gaming content is referenced in the Encyclopedia?
[20:16] <~Dan> Does it go into their connection with the Dreamlands?
[20:17] <+DanHarms> Gaming content in the Encyclopedia:  It goes into a good deal of it.  After all, the game is popular, and I wanted it to be a reference for players and Keepers.  Even I use it from time to time.
[20:17] <+DanHarms> Dreamlands - yes, it's got material on that, along with notes on how they fit in with that mystic land.
[20:17] <~Dan> Very cool.
[20:17] *** Le_AFK has quit IRC: Ping timeout
[20:17] <~Dan> (As you may have surmised, I'm a big Dreamlands fan.)
[20:18] <+DanHarms> The Dreamlands are fun.  I have run a picaresque Stormbringer game set in the Dreamlands a couple times.
[20:19] <~Dan> Now, I see you've written for Trail of Cthulhu?
[20:20] <+DanHarms> No, I just review it.  But I'll add that to my list.  This is better than when I'm accused of membership in secret cults or heroin trafficking.
[20:20] <+Snake_Eyes> lol...
[20:20] <+DanHarms> Let me look at this list...
[20:20] <~Dan> Heh. Sorry. Just going by that list Snake linked to. :)
[20:20] <~Dan> Sure, we'll wait. :)
[20:21] <+Snake_Eyes> can I ask who are the people that had the most personal influence on you Dan
[20:21] <+DanHarms> I'll cop to The Black Seal, that strange German piece (a translation from Worlds), the Unspeakable Oath, and Diggin' up the World.
[20:21] *** AeonPhoenix has joined #rpgnet
[20:21] *** ChanServ sets mode +v AeonPhoenix
[20:21] <+DanHarms> Literary or life?
[20:21] *** Teylen has quit IRC: Connection reset by peer
[20:21] <+AeonPhoenix> I'm down with the sickness
[20:21] * +AeonPhoenix coughs up acid
[20:21] <+Snake_Eyes> Harms in getting into the rpg writing scene, and did it influence you in choosing cthulu?
[20:21] <+AeonPhoenix> CTHULHU 2012
[20:21] <+Snake_Eyes> (sry i pressed enter instead of space) :)
[20:21] <+AeonPhoenix> THE STARS ARE RIGHT
[20:22] <+AeonPhoenix> This song sounds like a mix of Tom Petty and Led Zeppelin (Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tnUwwYUq8RI)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tnUwwYUq8RI
[20:22] <~Dan> (AeonPhoenix: Q&A in progress. :) )
[20:22] <+DanHarms> Honestly, I picked up Call of Cthulhu because I thought I could use it as a D&D supplement.  No joke.  I think that Lynn Willis was really great when starting out.  My relationship soured with Chaosium later on, but he was always helpful in getting me started.
[20:22] <+DanHarms> After that, I fell into writing for Cthulhu because that's what I knew and what I was passionate about.  Much of the game writing I just kind of found my way around on my own.
[20:23] <+luc> DanHarms, You mention using it as a reference for Keepers, and I always think it's interesting to see what writers choose to compliment their work. What reading material, reference or otherwise, do you recommend for helping Keepers along? Similarly for 'G/DMing' in general?
[20:23] <+Snake_Eyes> I dont find that very surprising, esp if finding lovecraft through legends and lore (deity and demigods, cant remember)
[20:23] <+DanHarms> I never felt I was important enough to be hanging out with Kevin Ross and guys like that.  Now, it's different.  I turned down Kevin Ross's last phone call.  To be fair, I didn't want him paying for calling me in Paris!  No, Kevin's a great guy, and I wish I'd talked with him and Doc and others much earlier.
[20:23] <+DanHarms> (done)
[20:23] <+luc> (Apologies for the interruption)
[20:24] <+Snake_Eyes> thx again, for your answers DanHarms.
[20:24] <+DanHarms> To run Call of Cthulhu, I'd suggest picking up Lovecraft stories.  Also, Graham Walmsley wrote a great book called STEALING CTHULHU which I've been reading and highly recommend.
[20:25] <~Dan> Speaking of Trail of Cthulhu, have you tried playing a Mythos-based game with one of the several non-BRP-based games out there?
[20:25] <+DanHarms> General advice is harder - maybe ROBIN'S LAWS OF GOOD GAME MASTERING?  I've been running games for twenty years now, so I'm not the best person to ask.  "It's easy!  Now, just calculate the resistance table in your head!"
[20:25] <~Dan> I'm thinking Cthulhupunk, Cthulhutech, Eldritch Skies, Trail of Cthulhu, Realms of Cthulhu, etc.
[20:25] <+luc> DanHarms, I can see that, I'm a fan of Robin's book too.
[20:25] <~Dan> (Robin will be here in a couple of weeks! :) )
[20:26] <+luc> (Dan Hope I can make it, it's only because of a restless night that I'm even awake currently)
[20:26] <+Silverlion> Allo.
[20:26] <+DanHarms> No.  I really like what TRAIL does, as the overall quality of writing is high and it's often doing something different than CoC.  When it comes to other Lovecraftian games, I don't see the point.  I've got one of those, and I don't need to memorize a new set of rules to play it.
[20:26] <~Dan> (Howdy, Silverlion! Q&A with DanHarms in progress.)
[20:26] <+Silverlion> awesome.
[20:26] <+CRKrueger> What the best and worst recent Cthulhu fiction you've read?
[20:27] <+DanHarms> Now, that doesn't mean I think Call of Cthulhu is perfect, by any means.  They originally wanted to write a 1920s simulation game with horror elements, instead of a Lovecraftian horror game.  If I found one that worked well for that, I might be tempted to try it.
[20:27] <+Silverlion> Have you tried Cynthia Celeste Miller's Macabre Tales?
[20:27] *** Lioness has quit IRC: Disintegrated:
[20:28] <+DanHarms> I haven't read much recent Cthulhu fiction, but I've particularly been enjoying Don Webb's works, especially collected in WHEN THEY CAME.
[20:28] <+DanHarms> If something is bad, I just stop.  Otherwise, it's a waste of time.
[20:28] <+DanHarms> Silverlion:  I'm afraid not.
[20:28] <+Silverlion> Ah well. She's a friend, but I haven't read it myself, just heard good things of it, which was why I asked.
[20:28] <~Dan> Have you seen the movie version of The Whisperer in Darkness?
[20:28] <+luc> DanHarms, Any particular literature from outside the Mythos that you'd like to see integrated? For instance, I'm a fan of Davidson's 'A Dictionary of Angels' for names and the like for mythos entities.
[20:28] <+DanHarms> My last big read of Mythos literature was for the Encyclopedia, and I've been reading other stuff since.  An unfortunate side effect of writing the Encyclopedia and thereby contributing to the Mythos boom is that I can't keep up any more without substantial purchasing!
[20:29] <+Silverlion> What story elements do you think Lovecraft horror can be best conveyed by current games?
[20:29] <~Dan> (Question pause.)
[20:29] *** Le_AFK has joined #rpgnet
[20:29] *** ChanServ sets mode +v Le_AFK
[20:30] <+DanHarms> Whisperer in Darkness:  Yes.  It was great for the first two acts, and kind of lost me in the third.  Nonetheless, I'd encourage people to see it.
[20:30] * ~Dan nods
[20:30] <~Dan> I really enjoyed it.
[20:30] <+DanHarms> Silverlion:  I'm working my way to you.  Could you please rephrase?
[20:30] *** Le_AFK is now known as Le_Squide
[20:30] *** ChanServ sets mode +ao Le_Squide Le_Squide
[20:30] *** AeonPhoenix has quit IRC: Disintegrated: (Link: http://www.mibbit.com)http://www.mibbit.com ajax IRC Client
[20:30] <+Silverlion> Are there things perhaps, that the games available "do right," from your point of view?
[20:31] *** Snake_Eyes_ has joined #rpgnet
[20:31] *** ChanServ sets mode +v Snake_Eyes_
[20:32] <+DanHarms> Literature from outside?  All sorts!  One of the great aspects of the Mythos is that you can work in all sorts of angles to make new, more terrifying situations.  My current projects are in the field of magic, so I'm out there on the cutting edge, learning things man was not meant to know.  I'm just concerned about preventing my life from becoming a
[20:32] <+DanHarms> Mythos story.
[20:32] *** Snake_Eyes has quit IRC: Disintegrated: (Link: http://www.mibbit.com)http://www.mibbit.com ajax IRC Client
[20:32] <+luc> "Tread lightly in your dreams, they might come true tomorrow"
[20:33] *** Le_Squide is now known as Le_Memnon
[20:33] <~Dan> Looks like we have about 15 minutes left in "regular" Q&A time, although you're more than welcome to hang out as long as you like, DanHarms. Is there anything you'd like to discuss that we haven't brought up yet?
[20:33] <+DanHarms> What games do right:  Even if I am critical of aspects of CoC, it sets the power level low, creates characters that work in a particular world, and has the long slide of Sanity to look forward to.  Trail brings in connections to the world around and approaches matters from a different angle.
[20:34] <+DanHarms> Cthulhu Dark - a new system by Graham Walmsley - is very bare bones and can be used to compose chilling tales.
[20:34] <+DanHarms> Other games do other things well, but of those I know, they do the best jobs of catching that flavor.
[20:35] <+DanHarms> I can give it a few more minutes.  I'm just glad nobody asked me about the new Delta Green RPG, because I would have lied outrageously.
[20:35] <+Silverlion> That would be awesome. Tell me about it? :D
[20:35] <~Dan> Wow... I didn't even know there was a new one. :)
[20:35] <+Silverlion> I forgot about it actually.
[20:36] <+DanHarms> The new Delta Green game is in development by Arc Dream.
[20:36] <~Dan> How different will it be?
[20:36] *** Sigul is now known as JasonP
[20:36] <+CRKrueger> Are you involved in writing it?
[20:37] <+Silverlion> ..I just hope it isn't ORE.
[20:37] <+DanHarms> It deals with the big questions:  Will your heiress bereft of her fortune choose the lusty farmhand with the heart of gold, or the mysterious stranger with the compelling eyes?
[20:37] <+DanHarms> So, quite different.  ;-)
[20:37] <~Dan> -_-
[20:37] <~Dan> Fine, fine. ;p
[20:38] <+Silverlion> With "before cthulhu eats him?"
[20:38] <+DanHarms> I know little about it other than what's been discussed at various cons.  It's a new system modelled on BRP, it includes a few different organizations for different styles of play, and it's set up for both fans of espionage books and newbies.
[20:38] <+CRKrueger> Last week Stolze mentioned he was working on Delta Green stuff, didn't realize it was a new game, thought it was supplements
[20:38] <+Silverlion> Cool.
[20:38] <~Dan> Yeah, same here, darnit.
[20:38] <+DanHarms> No, it's a new game.  Stolze, Ken Hite, Glancy, Detwiller... a bunch of people.
[20:38] <+CRKrueger> We could have put his feet to the fire if we knew
[20:38] * +luc puts some money by in preparation.
[20:39] <~Dan> Ah, well. We have more of your Arc Dream cohorts scheduled to grill about it. :)
[20:39] <+DanHarms> I've just sent them notes a few times, and encouraged them to keep it newbie friendly.  Which they very much want to do.
[20:40] <+CRKrueger> Hopefully they toss in all the good stuff from UA and Trail, yet keep it basically BRP
[20:40] <+luc> DanHarms, Don't blame a guy for trying, what kind of ball-park ETA could we be looking at?
[20:40] <+DanHarms> You've got two Delta Greens, as best as I understand it - the cowboys with which we're familiar, and a revamped version of Majestic 12.  Glancy assures us that both will screw you over thoroughly.
[20:40] <+DanHarms> No clue as to ETA.  Soon, I hope.
[20:40] <+DanHarms> I really want to see this, as I think it'll be great.
[20:42] <+DanHarms> It should be compatible with CoC, so that shouldn't be an issue.  I gave them a little guidance near the beginning on what Mythos elements are "public domain" and what they need permission for, but that's about it.
[20:42] <&Le_Memnon> Huh! So MJ12 is going to be a default playable faction?
[20:42] *** Geek2theRight has joined #rpgnet
[20:42] *** ChanServ sets mode +v Geek2theRight
[20:43] <+DanHarms> Not quite.  If you've read Detwiller's novel THROUGH A GLASS DARKLY, it gives you a better idea.  Most of the leadership of MJ-12 is gone, and it's now been partially co-opted by a couple former DG guys.
[20:44] <+DanHarms> You've got backers and official clearance, but your bosses are up to Bad Stuff nonetheless.
[20:44] <+Snake_Eyes_> how does Indiana Jones and the Lost Arc fit in with Cthulu mythos?
[20:44] <+CRKrueger> the Ark is in an MJ-12 warehouse :)
[20:44] <+DanHarms> As much as you want it to.
[20:45] <+Snake_Eyes_> sweet, all i needed to know!
[20:45] <+Snake_Eyes_> :) Cheers!
[20:45] <+DanHarms> I think they also knocked out the Karotechia, and probably Saucerwatch.  But the Karotechia was designed as a group your group could knock out.
[20:46] <+CRKrueger> The Crystal Skull was Indy failing a Sanity Check once too often, hallucinated the whole thing.
[20:47] <~Dan> Anyone have any more questions for DanHarms this evening?
[20:47] <+Snake_Eyes_> (lolling)
[20:47] <+Silverlion> While dying in a Locker after seeing the unleashed doom of a fully grown dark young?
[20:47] <+Snake_Eyes_> how is your snake? can we get a photo of it in a towel?]
[20:47] <+CRKrueger> hey now
[20:47] <+Snake_Eyes_> actual snake he was washing before CRKrueger
[20:47] <&Le_Memnon> Not Saucerwatch!
[20:48] <+DanHarms> The snake is sulking in her little cave.  I won't get a picture, because she's endured enough indignities today.
[20:48] * ~Dan chuckles
[20:48] <+Snake_Eyes_> fair enough i had a good giggle at her prediciment
[20:48] <+DanHarms> It is quite funny, in its own way.  She is not amused.
[20:49] <+CRKrueger> What kind of snake is it and what's a proper sacrifice to the avatar of Yig
[20:49] <+DanHarms> Ball python.  Three years old, three feet long.  She accepts sacrifices of rats and being left alone.
[20:49] <+Snake_Eyes_> thanks for answering all my questions, Ill def look out for your kickstarter projects.. :) have a great day
[20:49] <+DanHarms> You're welcome!
[20:49] <~Dan> DanHarms, as I mentioned, you're welcome to stick around and field questions as long as you like. I'll just call the "official" chat wrapped upped and would like to thank you for stopping by to field our questions!
[20:49] <+Snake_Eyes_> does she like insects?
[20:50] <+DanHarms> You're welcome.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Post a Comment