If there’s two things that define the hobby for me right now it’s having far too many projects sitting around half finished and a real scarcity of time to work on any of them. Naturally I’ve done what any sensible person would do in my situation; I’ve added something else to the backlog. Well of course I have – why wouldn’t I?
I find horror to be a bit of a mixed bag as genres go, when it’s good it can be great fun to read something spine-tingling once in a while, but normally I give it a miss. I do enjoy the odd H.P. Lovecraft story though and so a while ago I talked myself into a copy of Cthulhu: Death May Die, a game in which small bands of investigators seek out the eldritch monstrosities of Lovecraft’s mythos and attempt to kill them before the world ends and we all drown in madness.
Lovecraft wrote his stories in the early decades of the last century, when jazz bands were swinging, racoon coats were in style and illegal speakeasies were the only place to get a decent drink. It was a time of social change, with many Americans leaving the farming life and choosing instead to make it big in the city. Wise move too, because in rural areas, far from the bright lights, dark cults were hard at work, raising ghastly cosmic horrors which slept uneasily in the ocean depths and the dark gulfs between the stars…
I’ve been planning to paint some of the Cthulhu: Death May Die models for a while and, for all the usual reasons, not getting around to it. Then recently the ridiculously productive Azazel, he of the always inspiring Azazel’s Bitz Box, started painting up his own set and commented that he was planning to paint at least two characters per month. To me this is a great way to chip away at projects like this. For one thing it’s usually very achievable, especially with relatively simple models like these. A few months pass, surprisingly quickly, and suddenly you discover you have a load of models painted up that would otherwise still be plain grey plastic. Think about those boxes of miniatures you’ve got stored away. Imagine if, when you bought them, you’d committed to painting just one or two each month. Why it would have taken you years to get it all done at that rate! However, as it’s been sitting there gathering dust for years instead, maybe you should have gone for it anyway, that way it would be done by now? I know I sound like I’m sitting in judgement here but I’m really not, this is a common complaint in this hobby and I’m more guilty of it than most. I do like a little challenge to give me a push though so when Azazel said he was going to try to paint two characters for this game every month I thought “damn it, so shall I!”. If you also have a copy of the game feel free to join us!
First up, Rasputin – who must be the most referenced historical figure in games of this type. Turns out the mad monk was experimented on by cultists who gave him a serum which allowed him to be killed and resurrected over and over again. Very efficient really, you never have to go out in the rain looking for someone to sacrifice. Needless to say this went badly wrong for the cultists and old Rasputin has been gunning for vengeance ever since.
Then we have Borden, a serial killer who has turned her attention to the cultists and their ilk “for the greater good” so that’s nice of her…
I knew her name was familiar but I couldn’t place who she was a reference to. Again Azazel came to the rescue, pointing me to the alleged murderess Lizzie Borden, who was accused, but never convicted, of taking an axe to her father and stepmother. Wikipedia provides more details here, although as ever all references to the activities of mysterious, murderous cults in the service of foul, eldritch gods, have been omitted. Why does Wikipedia continue to suppress information on the terrible reach and influence of the monstrous Lovecraftian deities who seek constantly to consume our sane and orderly world? I’m sure readers can work that one out themselves without too much help!
And that’s our lot for this time, but these brave souls need someone to fight so expect to see some cosmic horrors worming their way into our reality soon.