Last week, my buddy Stephen posted an entry in his blog about his love of Cthulhu/Lovecraftian horror. He talked about how it was the personal level of the horror that he enjoyed, much moreso than the whole pantheon of Old Ones "Extended Universe" stuff that became super-popular towards the end of Lovecraft's life.
Though I totally see where Stephen is coming from, and for the most part I agree, I have a different take on it. What I love about Lovecraftian horror is that Cthulhu and his cronies are the ultimate arch-nemesis of today's society. In this day and age of tweets and re-shares and social media, the very idea that there is knowledge that we shouldn't know...that there's just information out there that should absolutely not be shared...is an alien, almost blasphemous concept in today's world.
This, to me, is why it's such a shame that in all of its years in print, the Call of Cthulhu RPG hasn't made any "modern day" sourcebooks. I know the current edition is coming out soon, but that book's page count will probably be too full of rules and "how to play" to address how today's society is achingly vulnerable to cosmic horror. What happens when a sanity-rending spell is shared across the Internet? What happens when hundreds, thousands...millions of people watch a YouTube video of a byakhee ripping someone apart?
I've been slowly pecking away at an epic adventure in the style of Masks of Nyarlathotep where these ideas are the central point. The adventure, called The Right to Know, spans seven chapters. The first chapter, "The Digital Tome," is available on my Google Drive (if you're one of my players, DON'T look! If not, send me a comment and I'll give you the link). I have finished, but not yet played, the second chapter, "The Sudden Knife."
For a modern campaign, I wanted a modern system. Though I love Call of Cthulhu, I wanted something fresh, without the baggage of 30 years worth of supplements from the 1890s and 1920s. And so I wrote a quick, simple Cthulhu hack for Fate Core. That, too, is available online in my Google Drive.
I've had a lot of fun, exploring these concepts of cosmic horror and putting together this pet project of mine. Perhaps someday soon, I'll even get to play it!