C is for Cthulhu
While HP Lovecraft created Cthulhu as one character of many, he has become a real focus. It seems that you can’t go to any geek event without finding something emblazoned with the green watery horror. Every game seems to have a Cthulhu variation. Every t-shirt, soft toy, and bobble-headed plastic figure range has, at least, one version with his Green Scariness emerging from R’lyeh. If you want to guarantee a small upturn in sales, put out something Cthulhu.
For many he has lost his horror and become something more about merchandising than the Unknown.
However, I do sometimes find myself wondering whether I can inject a little Cthulhu – or, at least, some lingering facet of the Mythos – into my own creations.
A good example from my own experience is that about a dozen All Rolled Ups have some obvious connection though sometimes just association by design title. The less obvious are things like Dagon and Hydra, which just happens to fit the watery look of the fabric. The very obvious are the likes of R’yleh Dreaming and the three Miskatonic University game rolls.
They sell. People like that association. I can’t claim it doesn’t catch me either.
I have several editions of the tabletop roleplaying game Call of Cthulhu, which defies explanation given the minuscule changes in the core mechanic over the last 30 years. I also have other roleplaying games with the same central gathering of character cast in a different light or seen within a different timeline Trail of Cthulhu, Cthulhu Dark, The Laundry, World War Cthulhu, Achtung Cthulhu… the list goes on.
What’s the interest? How has this figure – and his monstrous associates – written by an early 20th Century writer – a relatively obscure one really – found such a foothold in geek culture?
I’m not sure I have an answer – but to see plushies on the shelves and breakfast cereals on the table (well, I might be kidding on that one) certainly plays with your sanity.
What’s worse, each time I play a new tabletop game – by hobby of choice – I do look for the possibility of a new Mythos angle. Does this game need more rugous and squamous adversaries?