Howard, Tolkien and Lovecraft Comparative Studies (II)

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toothill man

Mongoose
what is horror is a strange question as it is differant for everyone my wife hates spiders so they would be a horror :roll: I think their cute so not a horror 8) lovecrafts skill was to teach that yes we are not alone and the others are far greater :twisted: ,tolkien teaches that the past holds all the answers with the future a far poorer place :evil: and howard teaches nothing lasts but party while you can which point of view is more you :wink:
 

GregLynch

Mongoose
Defining horror is very difficult. To me, it's the intrusion of the alien and malevolent upon the familiar and safe.

Example setup: You're walking through your house at night, maybe to get a drink of water from the kitchen, when you notice something out of the corner of your eye. You look, and there's nothing there, but you're sure there was something, and you're sure it saw you, and most of all you're sure it did not belong there.

That opinion sometimes made playing CoC difficult. Some of the adventures would truly creep me out. The ones that wisked my character off to the Dreamlands, however, just bored me. In a place where everything was alien and strange, there was no horror.

The fact that my character (who I believe may have been the longest-lived Cthulhu character in the history of the game) suffered from Panzaism (was unable to believe in the supernatural) and thus required me to come up with a rational explanation for everything he saw was another reason I hated the Dreamlands so. Writing off a shantak seen at night as a big bat is one thing, writing off a menagerie of Dreamlands critters is something else entirely. :)
 

Kazzigum

Mongoose
Well, I'm not actually saying that I agree with Lovecraft on Mankind's insignicance, just that it was an important theme in his horror writing. Often, I think, part of the horror that Lovecraft's characters experience is learning that Mankind really is just an insignificant blip in the big picture that is the cosmos.
 
toothill man said:
and howard teaches nothing lasts but party while you can which point of view is more you :wink:

I'm not actually a tradional party person. I just believe desire, not intellect is the fuel of life. Intellect seems the root of all fear IMHO- which is why the smarter people are usually the ones afflicted with neurosis and other mental maladies. Which is why Lovecraft's characters always go nuts from the mereest contact with anything out of what they think should beb real and Howard's characters just cut off it's heads and be done with it- or run like hell if they can't.

GregLynch said:
Defining horror is very difficult. To me, it's the intrusion of the alien and malevolent upon the familiar and safe.

True, but wouldn't that make horror more of an extreme and possibly fatal learning experience than a blasphmey against the 'true order of things' (tm)?
 

toothill man

Mongoose
but which is the true bits :shock: it depends on the outlook as Our 3 lads have shown completly differant views on horror with 2 of them meeting truly horrific ends
 

Mark Dunder

Mongoose
When Conan killed the creature that had a face of classic beauty but the body of a snake (The God in the Bowl). He fled in horror of what he saw behind the screen. Conan was fearless, and he had already killed the creature, but he still could not handle the reality of such a thing existing.

But, I think horror has to have a shock value for real effect. If you are exposed to daily horrors, eventually they stop being horrifying. One reason CoC gets less horrific as you keep encountering strange creatures, is they get familiar and eventually just become another alien. Of course, if the beings generate a feeling of fear around them, you will feel fear, but I can't really say if you can call this horrifying anymore.
 

The King

Cosmic Mongoose
dunderm said:
But, I think horror has to have a shock value for real effect. If you are exposed to daily horrors, eventually they stop being horrifying. One reason CoC gets less horrific as you keep encountering strange creatures, is they get familiar and eventually just become another alien. Of course, if the beings generate a feeling of fear around them, you will feel fear, but I can't really say if you can call this horrifying anymore.
That is why Sanity plays such an important role in CoC. It prevents uncommon encounters to ever become too common.
In Fact Conan has also some brief period of madness when he faces magic or a demonic creature but it always translates in a killing rage not unlike that of a berserker.
 

The King

Cosmic Mongoose
toothill man said:
the more exsperianced the investigator the quicker his player whent :twisted: :wink:
and the less books he read. :wink:
Quite an oddity with Lovecraft heros. but what would not we do to survive?
 

toothill man

Mongoose
my players found that I didnt put too many books around stained glass windows,statues,sacrifical knives and in one case a snow globe :wink: but I made the books safe or in the hands of people well out of all but the best groups league
 
The King said:
toothill man said:
the more exsperianced the investigator the quicker his player whent :twisted: :wink:
and the less books he read. :wink:
Quite an oddity with Lovecraft heros. but what would not we do to survive?

The trick is to put the spell needed to banish the otherwise indestructable creature in such a book. Lovecraft did this in The Dunwich Horror requiring Professor Armitage to research the spell he needed from the pages of the Necrocomicon itself....it should be noted that Prof. Armitage is listed as having only a 50 SAN after that adventure though. 8)
 

The King

Cosmic Mongoose
yeah this is what is great in Cthulhu; most monsters are too strong for the adventurers (with an average HP of 10-14), and they have to make compromise and self-sacrifice to vanquish.
This is also one of the only game where the expression "knowledge is power" is true.
 
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