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Morgan Davie
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Morgan Davie

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Lovecraft, the C'thulhu Mythos, & Non-White Peoples
Seems that right now there are lots of people thinking smart stuff about HPL and his work. The following is a crashing and stumbling attempt to catch something I've been thinking about.

How deeply is racism embedded into his fiction and his invented mythology? The gloss on Lovecraft's horror is that it derives from the revelation of humanity's essential irrelevance to the great scheme of existence. On its face, this doesn't seem to require any racism - in fact, it suggests to me an existential/humanist morality that emphasises shared humanity over racial division.
Now, I'm not exactly a scholar of his work, but I've read through lots of his stuff over the last couple years, and it seems to me that he regularly depicts "primitive" cults engaging in horrific worship of his dark gods. Now I'm starting to wonder if this is more intimately tied into his grand themes than I originally thought. The typical Lovecraft protagonist is a learned man whose worldview is unseated by a glimpse of the immense and unknowable truth of reality. Meanwhile, the "savage" brown-skinned natives acting in a horrific manner are revealed to understand the truth about reality - they worship and fear C'thulhu, and it turns out C'thulhu is real and to be feared.

Those uneducated brown people in a swamp know more than all the white people clutching university degrees. Primitive understanding trumps learning; the achievements of civilization are undermined.

So - if the above is a fair characterisation of Lovecraft (and I am not especially confident that it is) - then doesn't it follow that HPL's horror in fact derives its punch from saying civilization is fraudulent, and a more appropriate expression of humanity would be the savage rituals Lovecraft protagonists glimpse from time to time? In other words, isn't it saying that those "savages" aren't just disturbing and horrific, they are also  _right about everything_? 

To be clear - is the natural consequence of Lovecraft's dark revelation about humanity that we should adopt (or fall back into) a life of brutal and savage ritual? Such a vision is a caricature of human development and a cruel stereotype of non-industrialised cultures. 

Does the thesis "humanity is irrelevant" make the above necessary? I'm not sure. My instinct is, no, it isn't necessary, but it's also the path of least resistance. 

Hmm. Discussion most welcome.
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+EPOCH RPG - I hadn't read that exchange, thanks! A rare case where I mostly agree with Joshi, although as usual I find his defence of Lovecraftian racism too undercooked to be compelling.

And while it really gets Joshi's hackles up, I think Baxter characterising Lovecraft's horror as fundamentally contructed of adolescent concerns is an interesting claim and not at all a dismissive one. 
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Watching Buffy: season 3 gets rolling with the triple-threat of Faith, Hope & Trick! http://morgue.isprettyawesome.com/?p=7156
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Sorry wannabe Jack Bauers, turns out you suck at saving the day.
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Eesh, I hope not. I'm not inclined to go back & check either :-(
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Watching Buffy: She's back, and zombies something something, in Dead Man's Party! http://morgue.isprettyawesome.com/?p=7146 
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Xmas in July sale is the perfect time to grab these games you might recognise from ENnies past: horror movie and country-house murder, respectively.
 
EPOCH and Wicked Lies & Alibis on sale!
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Watching Buffy: we're back, but Buffy isn't - she's miserable and alone in LA, and she's calling herself "Anne" http://morgue.isprettyawesome.com/?p=7128
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Morgan Davie

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Watching Buffy: season 3 gets rolling with the triple-threat of Faith, Hope & Trick! http://morgue.isprettyawesome.com/?p=7156
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Friday linky! Teachers, Gen X, Gamergate, Sky Captain, web design, Star Wars, West Wing, national cuisine, & moar! http://ow.ly/QiXf4 
Two instances of 90s youth culture and its immediate co-optation by the mainstream media machinery: First, Dangerous Minds has found the complete '96 doco “HYPE” about the grunge scene – I watched this doco back on cinema release and I remember it being pretty good. The “guide to grunge slang” ...
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And because you don't / haven't watched The West Wing, allow me to share it with you:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXJbJ7vir8I
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Morgan Davie

General BTVS Discussion  - 
 
Watching Buffy: She's back, and zombies something something, in Dead Man's Party! http://morgue.isprettyawesome.com/?p=7146 
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DriveThruRPG has started showing me prices in UKP. I want USD back! Cannot for the life of me see where the setting is. Anyone have advice?
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found it! right-hand side of the footer.
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While my mind is turned to 5e: idly thinking that after many editions, D&D's flavour of abstraction still hasn't figured out a way to manage a holding-someone-at-swordpoint threat, despite it being a useful bit of tech for the kinds of conflicts the game favours. I'd be interested in hearing about any workarounds people have used.

- My simplest idea is to just use an alternate interpretation of 0hp - use the rules to work out if you hit & what damage you do, then offer to forgo that damage to put someone at knifepoint with the option of inflicting those points of damage whenever you want later on. Given D&D assumptions, it's a dumb offer most the time, but if that damage would put you into death save territory, suddenly you get something that makes sense. (So this solves some of the issues, but it certainly doesn't solve all of them.)

(Actually my very simplest idea is just never to let the situation come up. It's worked for most of the past 30 years...)
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& Grant - yep, Held actions are definitely part of the DNA of this idea :-)
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Had a chat with folk in my D&D 5E game about using another game to create the world around their immediate situation. Lots of games/tools do collaborative world-creation in interesting ways - what's out there? Microscope/Kingdom, obviously - Aria, if we're mad enough - what else? The Quiet Year? Downfall (backed)? Dog Eat Dog?  
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Blame and credit accepted.
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Have him in circles
493 people
Elaine Galvin's profile photo
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