[Western] Thinking about a Cthulhu Campaign in the Old West

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Havard
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[Western] Thinking about a Cthulhu Campaign in the Old West

Post by Havard » Sun Mar 06, 2016 4:57 pm

Okay, I have been thinking about running an Old West campaign for quite some time, but just recently it occurred to me that I could do it with Call of Cthulhu.

One thing I would like to do is keep the Mythos stuff a bit in the background. So that is something that could come up every now and then, but in between there could be several fairly mundane adventures in between.

Period:
This is something I haven't yet settled on. The video game Red Dead Redemption is set in 1910 which is really a little late for the Old West feel, but it did allow the game to add some new neat weapons. Also the game involved "the Agency" which I'm guessing are the Pinkertons. At first I thought they were established late in the period, but looks like they were around since 1850. This video game is one of my influences, but I am still thinking of moving it to an earlier time to get more of a wild west type feel.

Location
Here I am also torn. One idea is to do a more northern location like the Dakota Hills or something to evoke the feel of Deadwood or even the Revenant, Hateful Eight etc. On the other hand, I would have liked to place it on the border to Mexico since that opens to treks across the border, possibly involving Mexican revolutionaries etc.

First of all, does anyone have suggestions for these things I am debating? Also, what would be good ways to get some involvement of the Mythos?



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Re: [Western] Thinking about a Cthulhu Campaign in the Old W

Post by agathokles » Sun Mar 06, 2016 8:00 pm

In principle, it is possible. I suppose Gaslight era might also have some support. I think you could take inspiration from the tales Lovecraft wrote set in Oklahoma (the mound, the curse of yig).

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Re: [Western] Thinking about a Cthulhu Campaign in the Old W

Post by BlackBat242 » Sun Mar 06, 2016 11:04 pm

This one might be somewhat inspiring... Dead Reckoning by Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill.

It features created & controlled zombies in late 1860s West Texas. The protagonist was driven by a combination of greed and a twisted religious belief - perfect for a cultist on the fringe of Mythos worship.


Allegedly a "young adult" novel - but I didn't find it to be really markedly different from an "adult" novel without sex & excessive gore - it certainly lacked the teen angst/relationship-exploring typical of "YA" fiction. The style of writing was reminiscent of most classic western fiction of the 1950s etc.
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Re: [Western] Thinking about a Cthulhu Campaign in the Old W

Post by willpell » Tue Mar 08, 2016 1:47 pm

The problem with putting Cthulhu in the past (or in a past-flavored setting such as D&D) is that Lovecraft wrote the Mythos stories in response to what was, at the time, a very modern degree of scientific knowledge. The whole point of Cthulhu is that learning more about the world makes it more, not less, horrifying to have to live in...ignorance is bliss, and knowledge leads only to insanity. In an age with more ignorance and less knowledge, there is more bliss and less insanity, and that's kind of like having a D&D game with more treasure and fewer monsters, where you can just wander around picking up gold coins and there's no danger involved.

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Re: [Western] Thinking about a Cthulhu Campaign in the Old W

Post by agathokles » Tue Mar 08, 2016 4:28 pm

agathokles wrote:In principle, it is possible. I suppose Gaslight era might also have some support. I think you could take inspiration from the tales Lovecraft wrote set in Oklahoma (the mound, the curse of yig).
Just found the time to check on Yog-Sothoth.com, there are indeed a few scenarios and a "Worlds of Cthulhu" article on using Cthulhu within a Western setting.

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Re: [Western] Thinking about a Cthulhu Campaign in the Old W

Post by Cthulhudrew » Tue Mar 08, 2016 5:34 pm

Hey, Havard!

This actually sounds like a really cool idea, to me, for a lot of reasons. I'd suggest a late 19th century time, possibly tying your campaign with the building of the transcontinental railroad (the 1860s). It is a time of the first "real" expansion into the west and the uncovering of new frontiers for the larger populace in ways that hadn't been quite so precedented at the time. There is conflict with native American peoples, and HPL often linked them to Mythos practices and rituals in his work. You can also work in mysterious oriental ways, as many Chinese (and others) first came to the US during this period to work on the railroad. You could have the PCs uncover ancient mythos related ruins while scouting out for the rail, or other similar sorts of encounters. There might be political scheming going on that is related to more than just economics and politics- perhaps cultists have infiltrated the government or public agencies working on the rail?

Beyond the rail, there are also other industries that would/could interacts with mythos creatures. What if gold miners dig a little too far into the Earth and uncover that which man was not meant to know?

I'd also check out ghost storiesand myths from American legend that could be used as inspiration for Mythos stories.

A lot of ripe territory to mine (no pun intended) in an Old West mythos campaign, IMO. :twisted:
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Re: [Western] Thinking about a Cthulhu Campaign in the Old W

Post by willpell » Fri Mar 18, 2016 12:54 am

Yig and Tsathoggua are the two main Great Old Ones with a North American powerbase, so they'd be appropriate to focus on here, along with Ithaqua the Wind Walker, who is reflected in the Wendigo myth of the First Nations. Unless of course you were creating your own original GOO. Maybe your investigators actually managed to (semi-)permanently destroy this one, and that's why Lovecraft never mentioned it....depending on how your players react, either it no longer exists by then, or the world doesn't, so either way HPL never wrote about it.

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Re: [Western] Thinking about a Cthulhu Campaign in the Old W

Post by timemrick » Thu Apr 07, 2016 12:05 pm

There is a Deadlands/CoC crossover adventure, Adios, A Mi-Go!, that you might want to take a look at. I haven't read or played it, though, so I have no idea how well it would mesh with what you have in mind. (Can anyone else chime in about it?)
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