I’ve spoken about my problems with Lovecraft and how I’d reconcile it with the trying to make games inspired and the Mythos. Last time I talked about making the man himself part of the fiction. My second idea is something I jokingly refer to as “The Indigenous Man’s Burden”. It was inspired by discussion with Chris Chinn, who is always into some smart stuff.
It’s typical in pulp fiction of all sorts that the intrepid Western Adventurers come to show some indigenous culture how their beliefs and ignorance are causing them some problems. Inevitably the “natives” are educated by force or through persuasion how to do the “right” thing. This is pretty prominent in HPL’s work as well. I feel his treatment of other cultures is where his xenophobia is most prominently on display. The theme seems to be that evil is associated with older, “primitive” cultures.
What if they were right though? What if these older beliefs were ways that “primitive” cultures kept the Elder Gods at bay? As places around the world became colonized however, the artifacts and knowledge that kept them at bay became lost as well. Under the influence of colonialism and the post-colonial corporatist era, the Elder Gods have broken their seals and are able to make their present more strongly felt.
The goal with this framework is not to advocate a “go back in time” mindset –what’s done is done — but rather to present a more nuanced view of the this preternatural evil. The players not only investigate the phenomena, but to solve problems they need to understand the story of what happened or is happening in some place. It has a bit of a social concious, but tries to get there implicitly.
Imagine that the statues that Western explorers thought were simple trinkets depicting Elder Gods were actually wards! And now they are sitting in some rich collector’s cabinet somewhere. Can you get them back or will you have to improvise another solution?
This approach is something I would like to run with, as I think it is both broad and deep and capable of delivering some really strong adventure premises.
What adventure would you make based on this premise?