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Eldritch Mike

Thoughts on Nyarlathotep

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Let's assume that Nyarlathotep will feature as an AO in the game, and that hopefully he's the last AO released so that he can in some way connect and use aspects of every other AO.

Looking ahead then (and maybe as a nudge-nudge wink-wink to FFG) what ways could they make Nyarlathotep truly unique and epic, to the point where he uses a near completely different system to the usual mechanics if nessesary. Unlikely I guess, but you never know.

To start more simply, I'd like to see at least a dozen different mysteries for him, each representing a different guise.

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If I did Nyarlathotep, I'd actually not do mysteries for him, as such. Instead, I'd have different Ancient One sheets, each with different cultist stats and reckoning effects and the mystery printed on it. Seems more interesting to me.

He could also be the Miskatonic Ancient one, to refer that expansion of Arkham. An Ancient One that can tie into all other expansions. So, there could be a Mask for each sideboard, a Mask that uses Mystic Ruins, a Mask that Devastates, plus three or four generic ones that work with the base game only, so you'd build a stack of Masks to draw from based on what expansions you have.

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18 hours ago, Eldan985 said:

If I did Nyarlathotep, I'd actually not do mysteries for him, as such. Instead, I'd have different Ancient One sheets, each with different cultist stats and reckoning effects and the mystery printed on it. Seems more interesting to me.

He could also be the Miskatonic Ancient one, to refer that expansion of Arkham. An Ancient One that can tie into all other expansions. So, there could be a Mask for each sideboard, a Mask that uses Mystic Ruins, a Mask that Devastates, plus three or four generic ones that work with the base game only, so you'd build a stack of Masks to draw from based on what expansions you have.

Okay that sounds awesome. I have thought about those "dark gods" born and released respectively with Azathoth and the Elder Things. Both could represent him.

There should also, finally, be a special function for the unused black token that came with the base game. It'd be another way of saying "we've had plans for Nyarlathotep since the beginning". Even if they strictly didn't.

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For the Antarctica sideboard, yeah, I'd use the dark god trapped in Leng. I vaguely remember reading about one Mask of Nyarlathotep that was high priest of Leng? That entity Carter met with the Tcho-tcho could have been Narly anyway.

Anyway, what black token? I don't think I remember one.

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It's for the Dreams in the Witch House expansion: Nyarlathotep's Black Man token.

Hah...

 

Maybe it's time to start speculating what the 4th (and last?) big box expansion will be? 

Here's my wish:

4 Ancient Ones
 -mystery cards: 24 
 -research cards: 96
 -special cards: 32
Disaster cards: 6
Devastation cards: 8
Other World: 6
Sideboard: 3x Innsmouth, 3x Dunwich, 3x Kingsport 
Location cards: 16 + 16 + 16 = 48 
monsters: 3 + 6
1 cultist, 2 deep ones
epic monsters: (mystery) 6?
no investigators
16 asset
8 spell
4 artifact
24 unique asset
20 condition

total card count: large: 220 small: 72

 

 

 

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I have a no-doubt-misguided theory that Shudde' Mell represents the end of a second generation of AO's. The first generation consisted of the base 4 and 3 from the first small and big boxes, ending with Ithaqua. The second generation began with the Syzygy, which ties back nicely into Azathoth. If I'm *cough* right, and there's been no word to say the next expansion will be the last, then there's a whole third, maybe even fourth?, generation of AO's coming, with the disaster deck representing a shift in new additions that could seriously alter the influence of other factors already in play.

That may be as far off the mark as it can be, but I can't see any reason why Eldritch couldn't keep on growing until it's taken over the world (because FFG is clearly just a front for a cultist temple, where they've cunningly disguised the rituals for summoning the Old Ones as a board game. Get enough people playing and the world ends. But that's another theory...). 

I may be contributing to the end of humanity, but I say grow Eldritch grow. And I'd like to see New England just because it has to happen, as sure as Nyarlathotep.

 

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I honestly never liked the idea of an Arkham sideboard that much. Pretty much all of Lovecraft country is recould presented by Arkham, just as Shanghai fills in for all of China or London for all of Britain. And it's covered by Arkham Horror. I mean, the Dunwich Horror spawns in Arkham. Plus it feels a bit small scale. I'd rather have something big.

One idea I had before they announced Signs of Carcosa was a big box Hastur expansion with a sideboard that featured more world cities. Paris and New York are both quite big in Lovecraft and for the King in Yellow, so maybe one more for each continent. Rio de Janeiro, maybe. Something in India (Goa, Calcultta, Madras?). Uh, Lagos, maybe. Or Casablanca or Timbuktu, for Africa. Something with Pulp associations.

Or maybe an African Jungle sideboard. Or the Incas. Or the Australian outback. This is a pulp adventure game, embrace it. Go wild. Do something new.

Edited by Eldan985

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On 8/4/2017 at 1:35 PM, Eldan985 said:

I honestly never liked the idea of an Arkham sideboard that much. Pretty much all of Lovecraft country is recould presented by Arkham, just as Shanghai fills in for all of China or London for all of Britain. And it's covered by Arkham Horror. I mean, the Dunwich Horror spawns in Arkham. Plus it feels a bit small scale. I'd rather have something big.

 

Sort of like how Pyramids represent Egypt and Antarctica represents Antarctica? oh wait..

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Granted, yes. I'd still like something that covers a bit more ground.

I'd just like to believe that in a game of global mysteries, a handful of small towns in New England aren't actually as important as Shanghai or Rome.

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If this were not a Lovecraft game I would agree. In Lovecraft fiction NE is quite a bit more important than anywhere else and not to mention pretty damned iconic to the mythos, which is the whole flavor of this game. I am not a fan of sideboards at all though and would like that extra money put into more encounter cards or mysteries.

Edited by Meretrix

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It is a lovecraft game but... okay, how do I explain this. It shouldn't be too constrained by what Lovecraft and the other authors have already written. Lovecraft wrote New England because that's what he knew.  But the cults are everywhere in the world, as are the gods. I don't think New England should be any more important than other places just because there's more stories set there.

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I never felt like I was constrained at all. You can travel the whole world and beyond, even the Moon. FFG have included some non Lovecraft locations in their other games but not before visiting Lovecraft country. I would be very surprised to see that happen now. In this type of game anyway having a board of Italy or something would feel out of place to me, god I hope they don't start doing that.

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Why not? Even Lovecraft had stories set on the gulf coast, England, Sydney, Antarctica, Paris and dozens of other places all over the world. We have a location representing New England, Arkham. But we don't have anything really representing, say, Paris, or Greece, or Arabia, which are all locations Lovecraft used.

Edited by Eldan985

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Antarctica yes of course, it's iconic as **** to the Lovecraftian theme, Paris no.  Once they start veering that far from the source material is when I lose interest. If this is indeed a Nyarlathotep expansion we are talking about, since he wasn't included in Egypt it it's likely to be NE. Putting him in Greece would be blasphemy.

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I would hardly call The Court of the Dragon Iconic, at all. Aside from The Repairer of Reputations and The Yellow Sign, Chamber's contribution to weird fiction was pretty forgettable. The Music of Erich Zann never gives the name of the city but is hardly about the setting anyway. One or two forgettable lines of dialog mentioning a city's name does not make those locations evocative of Lovecrftian tropes. What makes certain settings iconic such as Antarctica and NE is the way Lovecraft brings them to life, making them characters of their own. Of course we can reference those other locations in encounter cards but giving them their own side board is another matter.

Edited by Meretrix

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Fair enough. Court of the Dragon is a horrible example, I'll admit.

I still think, however, that the game doesn't have to be restrained to what Lovecraft wrote. I'm just finding it difficult to put it into words.

 

I feel that already, the game is not very Lovecraftian in tone at all, in how it often plays out. While there's a few cases where Lovecraft's characters bring guns, or scientific equipment, or in one case even  flamethrower I seem to remember, it's a rare case indeed where one of them actually shoots one of the weird things he encounters. While in Eldritch Horror, it's perfectly valid to gun down Shub-Niggurath with a fishing net and a carbine while the Japanese navy shows up to shell her brood.

The game works very well as a globetrotting pulp adventure that features Lovecraftian ideas, but I never felt portrayed horror all that much. This is a strength, I think, that the game can profit from by focusing on large, exotic locations. Explorations of deep caverns, hidden temples, harsh mountains and deserts and jungles at the ends of the world. It's what the game does well and what the mechanics seem to mostly show. So I just think we could use more of that and leave Lovecraft Country to smaller scaled games.

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On 8/6/2017 at 6:59 PM, Meretrix said:

Antarctica yes of course, it's iconic as **** to the Lovecraftian theme, Paris no.  Once they start veering that far from the source material is when I lose interest. If this is indeed a Nyarlathotep expansion we are talking about, since he wasn't included in Egypt it it's likely to be NE. Putting him in Greece would be blasphemy.

I'd prefer to see Nyarlathotep utilize existing elements of the game through Masks as posted by Eldan, rather than be tied specifically to a side-board. The idea of Masks using all those elements would be brilliantly thematic and variable. I don't know that FFG would be willing to forego Mystery cards, but maybe the Mystery cards themselves could be more complicated. 

They could also try something different in terms of the Gate, Omen, Doom mechanic (or GOD mechanic :D). It's too much at the heart of the game's balance so it would be unwise to mess about with it I feel, but maybe they could try an extremely low starting Doom position (say 5) and the flipside of the AO sheet allows for much more time and freedom of play than other post-awakening scenarios. Or maybe you can still retreat Doom and flip the sheet back over...

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Or how about he starts in a wakened state? His doom could start in the negative (and maybe closing gates retreats doom toward the positive) and the goal is to banish, imprison, or put him to sleep. The messenger of the Elder Gods is already awake, already crawling among us... 

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Well, obviously he is. That said, I think having negative doom would just turn out weird. You'd have to include a second doom counter or something.

 

However, I like the idea of doom starting low. Then, you have the various masks of Nyarlathotep and every aspect defeated increases doom by a bit. If Doom is at X, players win. Problem is, doom can't be too low, or even just a bad first turn could end it. Say, you draw some card that lowers doom, then you have two portals you couldn't seal (with a lot of players), even doom 3 or 4 could end very suddenly.

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5 hours ago, Eldritch Mike said:

I'd prefer to see Nyarlathotep utilize existing elements of the game through Masks as posted by Eldan, rather than be tied specifically to a side-board. The idea of Masks using all those elements would be brilliantly thematic and variable. I don't know that FFG would be willing to forego Mystery cards, but maybe the Mystery cards themselves could be more complicated. 

They could also try something different in terms of the Gate, Omen, Doom mechanic (or GOD mechanic :D). It's too much at the heart of the game's balance so it would be unwise to mess about with it I feel, but maybe they could try an extremely low starting Doom position (say 5) and the flipside of the AO sheet allows for much more time and freedom of play than other post-awakening scenarios. Or maybe you can still retreat Doom and flip the sheet back over...

I am just a fan of Lovecraft's writings and don't know anything about The Call of Cthulhu roleplaying game or what these "masks" are (there is nothing like that in Lovecraft's writings) but I like the idea of using Nyarlathotep to bridge all expansions. Like maybe have one mystery deck for just the base game and another mystery deck for Egypt and so on.

Edited by Meretrix

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Masks are what they were called in the RPG, which i have never played either, I must admit. It's just a term that has slid into the fandom.

The Masks are the different disguises Nyarlathotep assumes. He appears and is sometimes worships in many different forms.

In stories by Lovecraft, he mostly seems to appear as a variety of dark humanoids (the dark man, the black demon, the black pharaoh, etc.), but he has a few more shapes there.
 

Other authors took it up and really ran with it. He probably has close to a hundred forms by now. Forms of Nyarlathotep come up everywhere even in fiction only tangentially related to Lovecraft. Stephen King, Alan Moore, Derleth, Bloch, Lumley, Campbell...

Edited by Eldan985

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