Conan and Cthulhu

A

Anonymous

Guest
Hi!

Have you ever used Cthulhu-Stuff in your games? Lovecraft and REH were freiends, and they often mixed their stories with ideas of each other. HPL-Monsters in Conan-Stories (Ghouls etc.), Cimmerians in Lovecraft-Stories...Heck, in fact is the Hyborian Age part of the Cthulhu-Mythos. In the CoC-Rulebook is a timeline and whhich includes the Hyborian age.
In my campaign a Shub-Nigurath-cult is the archenemy. I think it works, because the magic is in both stories very dark and dangerous.
What is Your expwerience with mixing thios things and have you good hints to create an atmosphere that will fit both Lovecraft and Howard style?
 

XcomSquaddie

Mongoose
It's been talked about quite a bit.

http://www.mongoosepublishing.com/phpBB2/search.php?mode=results

As far as comparing styles, you really can't "mix" them per se.

Lovecraft wrote about dark gods, evil cults and cruel, twisted magic. In his later stories, his "gods" were revealed to be powerful, "god-like" alien entities worshipped by ignorant humans. The core of all of Lovecraft's work is his misanthropy. Humans had no hope, no chance of survival and in many cases, the best option was death rather than corruption or insanity. Or getting butt-slammed by Deep Ones. :shock:

Howard on the other hand wrote dark gods, evil cults and cruel, twisted magic. His "gods" were always considered to be mortal but powerful entities. The key difference is Howard railed against the inimical and uncaring universe whereas Lovecraft surrendered.

Howards characters fight. They bleed, they lose, they may even die. But they never, ever quit fighting. Characters in a Howard story can make a difference. They are often foolish, ignorant and doomed, but they can still make a difference.

That said, it would be easy enough to insert Lovecraftian elements into Conan, especially if You have the Chulhu D20 rules. Rather than alien non-humans, Deep Ones would be degenerate humans. Ghouls already exist as do mythic tomes. The artifact & creature from "The Haunter of the Dark" would work okay in a Conan game. Especially since it could easily be re-summoned.

Anyway, that's enough for now.
 
I mix Cthulhu in with Conan the RPG quite often. Howard even mentions the Nameless Old Ones in a Conan story.

"He shuddered to see the vast shadowy outlines of the Nameless Old Ones, and he knew somehow that mortal feet had not traversed the corridor for centuries." ~Robert E. Howard, Phoenix on the Sword
 

The King

Cosmic Mongoose
a "Cthulhu" setting could be very good to present new adventures with much investigation. As examples I could cite most adventures from Warhammer RPG or Call of Cthulhu.
Not all player's characters are as ressourceful or powerful as Conan so it is sometimes a good idea to investigate the weak points of some monsters in some forgotten forbidden book before fighting it.

Moreover most descriptions of demons by Howard are very Lovecraft-like. The only difference in the end is that Conan jumps immediately on it to destroy it while the hero of Lovecraft turns insane.

Clark-Ashton Smith is also a good inspiration.
 

ReptileJK

Mongoose
I've used a slightly altered Gelid Abomination (Scrolls of Skelos) in an adventure. That's a Lovecraftian-type critter in my opinion (and I made it even more so. Most of the adventurers failed their "Terror of the Unknown" roll against it :D ).

Reptile
 

Hyborian

Mongoose
I've used Deep Ones on nameless islands of the Vilayet (some of them interbreeding with the Yuetshi), some ancient idols of Chaugnar Faghn in the Rabirian Mountains), tcho-tcho tribes in the Himelians, and various other horrors burrowed from CoC. Indeed, it is very easy to use Call of Cthulhu material in Conan RPG. But I never call it "cthulhu mythos". People of the Hyborian Age shouldn't really make a difference Nyarlathotep and Seth, or a deep one and a man-ape : gods are gods, and monsters are monsters. Also, even if Howard and Lovecraft used the same "material", their vision of the universe was really different. Even if they are some "detective stories" in Conan yarns (The God in the Bowl for instance), action always prevails, and I think it should be the same in a Conan RPG campaign. Indeed, I only use the Cthulhu mythos to add some flavour, a sense of weird familiarity (since most gamers know HPL and his works).
 

argo

Mongoose
Oh yes, using the mythos as additional background material and a source of inspiration is very rewarding in a Conan game. And if you have the d20 CoC book that too is a great roesource to raid for monster stats, new spells, etc (it has to be slightly tweaked for the system, but still). Plus if your players know something of the mythos it is tons of fun to give them oblique hints then watch them jump to conclusions and basically psyche themselves out. :twisted:

Darth Mikey said:
Howard on the other hand wrote dark gods, evil cults and cruel, twisted magic. His "gods" were always considered to be mortal but powerful entities. The key difference is Howard railed against the inimical and uncaring universe whereas Lovecraft surrendered.

Howards characters fight. They bleed, they lose, they may even die. But they never, ever quit fighting. Characters in a Howard story can make a difference. They are often foolish, ignorant and doomed, but they can still make a difference.

And I think that that is the real key right there. Remember that most of Lovecraft's heroes were urbane artists, scrawny bookworms and blue-blooded arsitrocracy. Not really the sort of people well-suited to adventuring. Howards heroes were folk like Conan and Solomon Kane who were made of significantly sterner stuff. In that light it is much easier to explain the shift in the "flavor" of the universe as a shift in the persepctive of the protagnist's. After all one of the hallmarks of dealing with the mythos is that much depends on your perspective anyway and you almost never really know what was going on anyway.

Later.
 

UncleBear

Mongoose
I've got a Dreamlands campaign plotted out. It's where the people go in Xuthal of the Dusk. Black Lotus and all that. Haven't run it yet.

I've been fiddling with an adaptation of Shadows Over Innsmouth. I was going to have the PCs shipwrecked in a storm and wash up in a remote, dying fishing village cut off from the rest of the world. The village patriach was a trader and world traveler who brought Dagon worship back with him, heh heh. I was going to put it on a small island off of Argos. Deep Ones are corrupted humans who were brought back and are interbreeding with the locals.

I'm using Temple of the Elephant as the rationale for creatures from beyond the stars. I'm tinkering with reasons to use the Mi-Go.

Tcho-tcho, as Hyborean posted before, fit PERFECTLY.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Yeah, the Dagon stuff and the fish-men is a good idea, but I think there is a problem, because in the CONAN RPG is Dagon mentioned, but he seems very different to the Lovecraft-Dagon.

BTW, to the difference betwenn HPL and REH characters...do you know the story "The Challenge from Beyond"? It´s a Round Robin, where one author wrote a part of the story and gave it to next who wrote the next part. It`s very funny. Lovecraft makes a horror atmosphere and his parts ends with the hero transformed to a big worm (shock effect).The REH part continues with the hero slaughtering all other worms and he becomes the king of an alien planet.
But I think, this style-mix wouldn`t work in a RPG-campaign.
 

UncleBear

Mongoose
Teutonic said:
Yeah, the Dagon stuff and the fish-men is a good idea, but I think there is a problem, because in the CONAN RPG is Dagon mentioned, but he seems very different to the Lovecraft-Dagon.

Yup, and exploring those differences (and similarities) is going to be part of the fun.

Teutonic said:
BTW, to the difference betwenn HPL and REH characters...do you know the story "The Challenge from Beyond"? It´s a Round Robin, where one author wrote a part of the story and gave it to next who wrote the next part. It`s very funny. Lovecraft makes a horror atmosphere and his parts ends with the hero transformed to a big worm (shock effect).The REH part continues with the hero slaughtering all other worms and he becomes the king of an alien planet.
But I think, this style-mix wouldn`t work in a RPG-campaign.

I think it works perfectly. The Hyborean heroes encounter fish-men... and instead of the dread of turning into one of them (Corruption! Quick, spend Fate Points!), they kick their scaley arses... I'm looking at Lovecraft from another perspective, not the gamer-created Mythos (as different from Lovecraft as Derleth's, really) where Cthulhu is totally unstoppable, but the original Lovecraft stories where it's creepy and alien but Cthulhu gets rammed by a boat and sinks back into the deep and the FBI raids Innsmouth and depth-charges Devil Reef. THAT is the spin on the Mythos best used in Conan.
 

Mythos

Mongoose
UncleBear said:
... but the original Lovecraft stories where it's creepy and alien but Cthulhu gets rammed by a boat and sinks back into the deep and the FBI raids Innsmouth and depth-charges Devil Reef. THAT is the spin on the Mythos best used in Conan.
Don't forget, Cthulhu reformed him(it?)self after getting rammed by that boat. And that city off the shores of Innsmouth, it was being rebuilt at the end of the story. 8)
 

Maximo

Mongoose
I intend to finish writing -someday- an epic adventure where PCs try to find the Silver Key (from Randolph Carter's stories) before some Hyperborean Witch King uses it to further his evil goals. It will be part Raiders of the Lost Ark, part Cthulhu, part old fashioned Hyborian steel :D
I am also deciding whether to include some Mythos sects, so I'm very interested in whatever you have about Shub-Nigurath in this age.

In any event, I think the key is being subtle and remembering it is Conan d20, not Cthulhu d20. And as far as I'm concerned, being a long time Cthulhu gamemaster I've found players find a situation more horrifying if there is even the slightest chance to get out alive.
 
I flavor some of my sessions with HPL mythos.

I ran a scenario awhile back using REH's "The Vale of Lost Women" as a base, which had a very Cthulhuian monster in it. Scared the stuffings out of the players when its huge vague shape showed up through the clouds and they caught a brief shadowy glimpse of it. Of course, despite being scared, they bravely stood their ground, drove the beast off, and rescued the damsel. The PC barbarian's "Crimson Mist" helps in such encounters.
 

The King

Cosmic Mongoose
A D20 CoC investigator gets a D6 as HP and the massive damage threshold is set a 10 HP instead of 50!
 

muppet

Mongoose
I have though about incorperating Cthulhu and Conan together many times. (COC was my very first roleplaying game, so I have a real soft spot for it.)
 

The King

Cosmic Mongoose
muppet said:
I have though about incorperating Cthulhu and Conan together many times. (COC was my very first roleplaying game, so I have a real soft spot for it.)
It shouldn't be too difficult, all the more as there is now a sourcebook for the middle-age.
In the pastiche work "Conan the valorous" by John Maddox Roberts, we see a Vendhyan mage celebrating some unknown deity on the sea and calling a huge very Cthulhu-like creature.
This novel has alos some excellent details on the Cimmerian tribes.
 

Sven

Mongoose
I have mixed Conan and Cthulhu quite often:

Best adventure yet was in Shem, closely to the northern mountains of Shem. There was a great copper mine and there they encountered an outpost of mi-go.

Yes, the legendary funghi of yuggoth. They had battled a large band of one hundred asshuri, and lost. The last asshuri hunted them into the mountain. Because the bodys of dead mi-go quickly dissolve into nothingness, the heroes only found dead asshuri (mostly all were dead)

They (the players AND the characters) were very frightened and thought the asshuri were defeated. But they followed the trails into the mountains and found more dead asshuri. Slowly they realized that whatever lived here was retreating.

I gave them some good fights, mi-go with strange high-tech weapons (the heroes have even now one strange electric pistol, but don't know how it works) and a last stand with the leader of the asshuri on their side against the last mi-gos. The mi-go boss teleported with the help of a strange device away. Then the mine began to shake and collapsed just after the characters were jumping out. The characters were real heroes that day.

Dagon and his deep ones will appear someday also, I hope. I also used some inspiration of one of Howards other works (i don't know the title of the story) where he used the harpies. The characters run into some harpies and they even managed to come out of this without killing one of the harpies. (One character used her animal handling with near perfect results, and I accepted it)
 

The King

Cosmic Mongoose
Your Mi-Go adventure is a great idea and the plot is typical for a Conan scenario.
I also think of Chaugar Faugn that looks very much like Yag-Kosha. In the short story "the tower of the Elephant" we learn that Yag-Kosha was forced to escape his home planet. Now let us imagine a group of Koshites come on Earth to search for these rebels.
 
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