A Thing For Man To Not Know: Cyclopean

By Kieron Gillen on January 11th, 2010 at 11:31 am.

Don't fancy yours much

Since Age of Decadence is showing progress towards release, I thought now would be a good time to mention that it’s not the only thing that Iron Tower Are up to. Cyclopean is a Lovecraft derived RPG set in Arkham and involving – oooh – things with tentacles, things man was not meant to know and extreme adjective abuse. It is Lovecraft, after all. It’s clearly long way off, but here’s some concept art and here’s some of the in-progress 3D models. It’s certainly a classic setting for an RPG, but always a tricky one. What sort of things would you have in a Lovecraft RPG? At least it cuts down on the books you’re meant to read as in Lovecraft YOU SHOULD NOT READ THE BOOKS.

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45 Comments »

  1. gulag says:

    I’ll be interested to see how they handle those non-euclidean dimensions in their isometric engine :P

  2. Premium User Badge Darkelp says:

    Anything and everything to do with Lovecraft please. Especially anything to do with the colour out of space, or the Shunned house.

    I didn’t realise this was in the making, but now I do I shall watch it very closely.

    Maybe it will come up with a blank screen when an enemy arrives, with Lovecrafts face saying ‘YOU CAN’T COMPREHEND THIS!’
    Ace.

  3. Joe Martin says:

    I used to like some of the short stories personally. The Creeping Horror was a good one and I think Lovecraft’s overwhelming density is actually quite good if you limit yourself to the smaller doses given in a short story. Don’t read too much at once though or you’ll come away feeling feebleminded.

    The idea of an RPG looks good though and reminds me to go and try playing The Arkham Horror co-op tabletop RPG.

  4. Reverend Speed says:

    WANT. WANT SO MUCH. ANYTHING TO DO WITH LOVECRAFT, really, to be honest, it’s a major weakness, BUT A LOVECRAFT RPG?

    WITH INSANITY?

    Well, ‘yes’, please.

    Great name choice, by the way.

    Oh, and, Joe – yeah, play Arkham Horror. The games are always fairly long, but it’s a LOT of fun with friends and can even be played singleplayer, if you’re so inclined. Great design.

    • Casimir's Blake says:

      What are the chances they’ll ruin it with grind?

    • Reverend Speed says:

      Not if the grind is in collecting adjectives and adverbs.

      Oh! Ho! Ho!

  5. Hyoscine says:

    I’d rather have an MR James inspired point and click thing. Or an HG Wells island management sim.

  6. Utharda says:

    It’s squamous, and rugose!

  7. Serenegoose says:

    Darkelp said:

    Maybe it will come up with a blank screen when an enemy arrives, with Lovecrafts face saying ‘YOU CAN’T COMPREHEND THIS!’
    Ace.

    You cannot comprehend the nature of Giygas’ Attack! *bzzt*

    • Zerrick says:

      Then the game is more suited for a text-based browsergame.
      Example: Improbable Island.

      You notice thunderclouds gathering around you. Miniature ones, in fact, about the size of your head. And that snail over there… is it actually grinning?

      One way to find out.
      ~ ~ ~ Fight ~ ~ ~
      You have encountered Storm Snail which lunges at you with thunder and lightning!

  8. Meat Circus says:

    I LOVE YOU IRON TOWER.

    You’re my favourite indie gobshites that have never released a game yet I really want to play on the Internet ever.

    Cyclopean sounds positively tenebrous and eldritch.

  9. rei says:

    “Inexplicable goings-on continue, inexplicably”

    What it should have: a weather system that alternates between overcast and raining.
    What it could skip: hilariously straight faced racism.

  10. Fenchurch says:

    +10 to level of monster. =-P

  11. Machina says:

    ‘At the Mountains of Madness’ is well worth a read.

  12. phil says:

    What should a Lovecraft RPG contain? Racism. Specifically an acknowledgement that it’s impossible to ignore Lovecraft’s horror of virtually everyone that didn’t look, sound and possibly smell exactly like him, and his particular horror of those from a mixed race background. Warren Ellis’ Planetary/Authority crossover, with a nutty Lovecraft played for laughs, spouting appalling nonsense as the teams faced off with one of his cosmic horrors, did it perfectly.

    Though like a blue tac jumper this would be incredibly difficult to pull off successfully.

    • Hyoscine says:

      I’m so stealing that blu tac jumper simile. Cheers!

    • yutt says:

      Eh, it isn’t that bad unless you’re obsessing about it. Abraham Lincoln was racist and Jesus endorsed slavery. Not sure why people try to hold people of different times and cultures to their personal modern ethical standards.

      Baffling, really.

  13. Karhax says:

    Did anyone play Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth?
    It was a good game

    I mean, a boss fight where you had to avoid looking at the boss because this made you go insane.
    There where some cool ideas there.

    • Joe Martin says:

      Good ideas, but like the texts the game was just a touch too impenetrable for most.

    • Casimir's Blake says:

      Was that end-game “bug” ever fixed, where passing through a tunnel automatically killed you no matter what?

      Fascinating game, otherwise, but did succumb to “FPS-ness” the further you got into it. I’m not calling that a negative, mind you…

    • Nick says:

      I never encountered a tunnel passing kill bug, only a tunnel passing alerting the enemies bug (which, unless you ran like buggery and managed to hide, had a similar effect). Great game though, sadly underbought and overlooked. Definition of a flawed gem.

  14. Wizlah says:

    All things cthulhu get instant thumbs up, reminding me of fond halcyon days gone by, and formative hours spent reading CoC scenarios in White Dwarf.

    Shocked that no one has said gibbous yet. Although rugose is pretty damn fine.

    I have dark corners of the earth stashed away for a rainy day when I’m on my own and can take a run at it for about 10 hours straight, thus sending myself into a gibbering and terrified mess in the corner, pawing at my own face, almost silently meeping.

  15. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    If I recall correctly, this has been mentioned before. As was the work-in-progress character creator.

    Not that I mind, it seems like it might be an interesting game.

  16. Toyoch says:

    Dark Corners of the Earth was a bugged piece of software (for me atleast, game crashed randomly every few minutes)..however, it was buckets of fun. Sadly the announced sequel was never released

  17. john_silence says:

    Hah, thanks RPS. Great info. Not being overly interested in AoD this would have passed me by. I hope it manages to bring back some fond memories from my teenage Call of Cthulhu sessions.

  18. The Great Wayne says:

    Aahhhh… this sounds great and reminds me of the countless hours mastering the Call of Cthulhu table rpg (Chaosium 1st ed., good ol’ time).

    Life expectancy of player characters: 1 and a half game sessions… really, that was the shit.

    A no saving – perma death mode would be great, for immersion and roleplaying sake of course… *grin*

  19. Pantsman says:

    …Black people?

    • Pantsman says:

      Hurrah for broken reply function.

      …I was tempted to leave this off and just have my post be a bizarre and slightly discomforting non sequitur. But no. The original was meant as a reply to Meat Circus’s last comment.

  20. screeg says:

    Casimir’s Blake: “What are the chances they’ll ruin it with grind?”
    Zero.

    Thanks for the interest, guys! I’ll be nagging Kieron every time there’s something decent to show. If you’re feeling verbose, stop by the forums. Pre-20th century adjectives welcome.

  21. Starwars says:

    I’d advise everyone to take a look at the various short stories, as well as the backgrounds, that Scott (or screeg on here) have been cooking up. They are delicious.

  22. Sunjammer says:

    Lovecraft anything please. I’m still really, really miffed Headfirst didn’t get to do their Dark corners of the earth sequel. That there was a GAME.

    By the way, anyone not up to date on good ol’ amiably racist Harold we all like to forgive, check out http://www.hppodcraft.com – One of my favorite podcasts these days

    • The Great Wayne says:

      You mean Howard, I guess.

      Anyway, Lovecraft was more than on the verge of mental illness, and xenophobia in his case took it’s full, pathological meaning, not the usual congenital stupidity that the lambda homo sapiens carries on his back which we’re denominating by the same word these days.

      I don’t know if it’s more forgiveable, not that I care anyway, but I think it was worth the precision.

    • Sunjammer says:

      Mindblowing typo on my behalf. I have shamed my ancestors.
      You are correct. He was afraid of most things, not just immigrants.

    • Edgar the Peaceful says:

      Excellent. Thanks for the link. I’ll give these a shot.

  23. Adam T says:

    Thanks to the last line of the summary I now envision a game whose object is to continue on as long as possible without accidentally learning of forbidden knowledge. It might go like…

    > You are in the front entry way of your house. There is a front door to the north, Stairway going up, and Living Room to the East.
    Open door.
    > While opening the door you notice that you have mail. There is an envelope of what looks like very old parchment, covered by elaborately curled script. Do you want to take it?
    no
    > It looks very interesting…
    no
    > Your eyes seem drawn to the mysterious envelope
    OPEN DOOR
    > The door is now open. On the porch is Professor Barnabus. His eyes dart furtively, and he seems to have something he wants to tell you.
    go around professor
    > The Professor blocks your way. He begins speaking to you about a strange shap, made of a colour you’ve never seen…
    FLEE
    > You flee upstairs to the library. There are many books here. One that you had never noticed before lies open on a table. Your eyes flit across the open pages…
    Look out window
    >You tear your gaze from the book and look out the window. A shape moves away just as you look. There is a slimy substance on the windowframe.

    Etc. Etc.

  24. phil says:

    Sorry if I baffled you, I agree it isn’t bad provided you don’t actually think about what you are reading or the author’s intent behind his words.

    Even judging him by the standards of his own time he was a dingbat, in both his beliefs and conduct. My point is that acknowledging this wrong headed dingbattyness and how it influenced someone who is undoubtly an astonishingly adept story teller, is half the fun of Lovecraft.

  25. noah_j says:

    oh ho ho oh my that is terrific

  26. noah_j says:

    ^^^ which was of course in response to adam t’s lovecraft text adventure

  27. clive dunn says:

    Surely Lovecraft had a duvet to hide under? Pussy!

    only kidding. The guy was a class A genius

  28. Anonymousity says:

    @ Casimir’s Blake As the iron tower people are basically diametrically opposed to pointless encounters I doubt there will be any grind, just intrigue!