Movies reviewed this week: Long Shot.
Month: May 2019
Pelgrane Press: $50 (print plus PDF, the PDF only version will be released in a couple of months).
Hideous Creatures feels like kind of an under the radar release, perhaps because it’s about 50% made up of previously published Ken Hite monographs. At a quick glance, the main text is exactly the same as you got if you bought the monographs, although the book does add a fun handout for each creature. So there’s some retread factor there.
I got it because, you know, Pelgrane and my wallet. And there are sixteen new creature write-ups! How could I resist?
I am super-glad I did not, because having all of this in one place is amazing. This is one of the best sourcebooks released for Cthulhu mythos gaming ever, and I mean for any system. The stat blocks are for Trail of Cthulhu but they’re the least of what Hideous Creatures offers.
What you get for each creature:
- A few paragraphs of blurb
- Game stats
- A list of abilities you might want to give your version of the creature, so nobody knows what to expect (mostly not tied to any one system)
- Variations: half a dozen to a dozen origins and attributes of the creatures, many of which contradict each other
- A list of ways in which the creature has been represented in world mythologies
- A list of clues the creatures might leave, one for each Trail of Cthulhu ability, but fully useful for any system
- A few scenario ideas
- A bibliography
- A handout
So you’ve got seven or eight pages of solid material for each and every creature, and because Hite and his collaborators focused on variations, it’s immensely flexible. Here’s a bit of the chapter on ghouls, for example.
In the interests of respecting copyright, I cropped that excerpt — get the book if you want suggestions for making ghouls look like jackals, coyotes, flies, or worms.
Are we done? Nah. There’s a chapter at the end about creating or customizing creatures. It’s short but good: Hite covers both how to make creatures horrific (did you know that Lovecraft used catachresis and cubism to evoke horror of the unfamiliar?) and how to generate Trail of Cthulhu stats.
Finally, at the very end, there’s an index. Headers for the index include: “Creatures of Fathomless Space,” “Creatures Who Serve Wizards,” “Creatures of Transformation & Corruption,” “Hideous Creatures By Country, Culture or Region,” and many more. So that’s about a perfect index.
This book is relentlessly useful and evocative, both at once. Seriously worth buying.
S. and I took an Amtrak up to Vancouver last Friday, hopped onto Skytrain, had a nice lunch in Gastown, and boarded the Ruby Princess for a one day repositioning cruise down to Seattle. This frivolity is brought to you by the opportunity to check out a cruise line’s style cheap before booking a longer Baltic cruise in a couple of years. We’re gonna stick with Holland America but the Ruby Princess was fun.
We’re not experts in any way, but the Ruby Princess struck us as skewing a bit younger and more flashy than the relatively staid Holland America aesthetic. (Same corporate parent, by the by.) We spent two hours on karaoke and it was fairly awesome.
The main dining room food wasn’t great and the upsell for booze was kind of tiring. The buffet was better — the Indian food had some real spice to it and I liked the roast beef a lot. I also think Holland America’s buffet had more variety.
The open pool spaces were abundant but kinda inward turned. I really liked the aft pool deck on our Holland America ship, because it was very open and you got a great 270 degree view of Alaska. The Ruby Princess has a super-cool terraced aft pool, but it doesn’t have the same panoramic view.
I’d guess the ship was maybe 60-70% full. Judging purely by the karaoke, a lot of locals had the same plan we did — fun night out and some pretty scenery.
Definitely worth grabbing one of these if you live in a cruise ship port that has ‘em.