Mar. 12th, 2019

ecosophia: JMG in lecture mode (Default)
Herbert WestGot another favor to ask of my readers. I'm closing in on the completion of the first draft of Weird of Hali: The Roleplaying Game; I've finished the rules for character generation, combat, all three kinds of sorcery, greater and lesser tomes, moon paths and standing stones, sanity, the lack thereof, and what happens when you spend too much time hobnobbing with ghouls; the Creatures section at the back is crawling (not to mention oozing, leaping, flapping, swimming, and lurking) with a world-class collection of eldritch critters -- and yes, fans of Yag-Kotha from "The Tower of the Elephant" will find other members of his species present and accounted for; I've got a few other details to plug in, but there's one serious gap remaining...

Mad scientists. 

Lovecraft made ample use of them in his fiction, and I've examined the research programs of his fine contributions to the field -- Herbert West, Dr. Munoz, Crawford Tillinghast, Charles Dexter Ward, and the nameless orderly whose telepathy machine had such unexpected results in "Beyond the Walls of Sleep;" I've taken similar notice of Jean Averaud, whose intriguing sonic device features in Clark Ashton Smith's "The Devotee of Evil': I've pored over the journals of Dr. Raymond and Dr. Steven Black, who feature in Arthur Machen's "The Great God Pan" and "The Inmost Light" respectively; and of course studied the grand old man of them all, Dr. Victor Frankenstein. Any self-respecting game based on the weird-tale genre, even if it's turning that genre on its head, has to have ample scope for eccentric researchers in isolated country houses or concealed laboratories in urban basements, hard at work on some project that will shake the world if it doesn't blow them to smithereens first. 

to the laboratoryGetting the concept is easy enough; getting the details, a little less so. As with other items in the game, I need a good 1d100 table with plenty of options -- if at all possible, 100 of them -- to serve as a random mad scientist research projects generator, for those GMs who want to go that route, and a source of inspiration for those GMs who want to stock an adventure with a mad scientist or two and can simply glance down the chart to see what crazed scientific venture sounds like a good addition to the game. The examples cited above give the following projects:
  • reviving the recently dead
  • maintaining life in a corpse
  • perceiving the unseen realities that surround us all (via radiation)
  • reviving the long dead
  • making telepathic contact with another mind
  • tuning in to the vibrations of pure evil
  • perceiving the unseen realities that surround us all (via surgery)
  • extracting the human soul
  • manufacturing life from not quite raw materials
Commando CodyTo that I would certainly add:
  • traveling to other planets
(Space travel just hasn't been fun since it got co-opted by huge government programs, you know.) 

But there are plenty of other options, enshrined in old movies, pulp stories, and other suitable pop-culture sources. For copyright reasons, anything first published within the last couple of decades probably won't work unless it's riffing off something well established in the weird-tales genre. On the other hand, anything that dates from the days of black and white movies, pulp magazines, or the like will be particularly welcome. 

So, tentacle fans -- what do you want to see the mad scientists of WoH: the RPG busy cooking up in their laboratories to the discomfiture of player characters and the Radiance alike? Enquiring (if decidedly crazed) minds want to know...

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