Monthly Archives: May 2021

Homebrewing an Investigative Horror RPG, Part 2


original photo credit: Martin Schmieder, Stuttgart

Aside from the system, for the setting of this investigative horror RPG, I use an alternate Earth history as the basis of past events, peoples, and locations that lead up to a different present. Robert W. Chambers used this technique in his collected short stories, The King In Yellow, to produce a subtly unsettling effect on the reader. Alternate history also serves as protection for the lazy gamemaster from history buffs.

The alternate pivotal moments of history in this setting include the following:

  • Scandinavian explorers successfully settled the northeastern parts of North America in the 10th century.
  • The Yellowstone Cauldera erupted in the 15th century, plunging the world into a little ice age, delaying further European exploration, expansion, and the so-called “Enlightenment” by centuries.

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Reading Gurdjieff: Categorical Necessity

Not an aphorism of Gurdjieff

I have heard some say, in approaching the work, that reading Mr. Gurdjieff’s writings is entirely optional, that taking or leaving them is a matter of personal preference, conveniently forgetting how unconscious and habitual personal preference is. Besides the practical examples of the reading of Mr. Gurdjieff’s writings during group meetings, there is a passage in his third series that sheds more light on the importance of reading Beelzebub’s Tales.

“This benevolent advice of mine to you Americans, composing in the given case this group, and who became, thanks to a series of accidentally arranged circumstances of life, my nearest essential friends, consists in indicating the categorical necessity that each of you should cease entirely, at least for three months, the reading of your newspapers and magazines, and during this time should become as well acquainted as possible with the contents of all three books of the first series of my writings entitled An Objectively Impartial Criticism of the Life of Man. “ 3

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Garden Update: Berry Flowers, Corn Bed, Green Door

Strawberry Blossoms

Strawberry blossoms

All of the berry bushes and plants have begun to flower. We have about fifty strawberries plants scattered around the garden. We heard that they can be invasive (and what’s better than invasive food), so we were somewhat concerned that they would spread far beyond their designated areas. But this has never happened. So my wife transplanted many of them to a better location in hopes that they will spread and be more productive. We harvest around 1 gallon of strawberries per year.

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Homebrewing an Investigative Horror RPG, Part 1

142857 Dice

[This post may seem arcane for the uninitiated; it is on the topic of roleplaying games.]

For a long time, I have wanted to gamemaster an investigative horror roleplaying game that involved the Cthulhu mythos. The problem was finding a game system and setting that balanced my players’ expectations with my own. I’ll focus here on system, and detail setting in subsequent posts.

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