Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Too much Mythos revelation in sci-fi games? -Eldritch Skies (Battlefield Press)

My spooky nightime reading at the moment is a perusal of the alternative history background in Eldritch Skies by Battlefield Press -


Eldritch Skies is roleplaying game in it's own right, projecting the Lovecraftian world of horrific monsters into our space travelling future.

I must say I'm finding it hard not to superficially compare this setting to the one in CthulhuTech - which I now know is about as existential as freshly baked muffins in Sunday School (see this post where I claim the opposite).  So far I'm finding Eldritch Skies easier to follow in terms of setting and game mechanics, maybe it just looks more like a more traditional role-playing game.

I'm loving the well thought out background regarding the humanity's unfortunate overlaps with the utterly uncaring cosmos of Cthulhu and other denizens, but there's something missing from the horror and wonder of the original stories or Chaosium games.  Many sci-fi game settings are quintessentially post-apocalyptic or cyperpunk where the human race have adapted to a new world, with modifications or gadgets, in an almost fatalistic but laissez-faire attitude to culture shock.

In CthulhuTech I feel that there's a sense of empowerment in fighting the Mi-Go and other beasties from the safety of mech suits, or charging up with Shadowrun-style occult energies.  It's all a bit of a Manga-meets-Lovecraft mash-up (and the authors admit this).  At least in 1920's Call of Cthulhu, a last resort shotgun firing randomly at shadows in the sewer has a sense of suspense.  Finding a lost forbidden text in a library can be a big deal in CoC, that alone could incapacitate a character with a chronic mental health condition.  Eldritch Skies, at least in the introduction, tries to instil awe and wonder at the human race's  contact with interdimensional horrors.  But I'm beginning to wonder, that apart from character fear in remote space colony settings, that too much of the Mythos has been revealed and mankind is (disappointingly) still relatively sane -if not richer for it by actually exploiting the energies from the dark.

How Eldritch Skies plays as a game, I'm not sure, but like many Cthulhu settings and scenarios, it's a lot of fun to read - but then I reckoned that the Keeper always had the most fun in Call of Cthulhu.  If I come to a useful conclusion on this from reading later chapters, I'll let you know. ;)

It's a cool read so far, though!  No doubt, the fear will come later ... with the knowledge ...


  1. Gonna have ta' agree with ya. I was a little disappointed by Cthulhu Tech, in that it seemed to "favor" the PCs a little to much even giving players a Half breed to play.


  2. For what it is worth I rather like Eldritch Skies better than Cthulhu Tech. I was just talking about it a couple weeks ago.

  3. Thanks for the comment, Eric, loving the blogs btw.

    Cool review, Tim. Thanks for the link. I can see there's a big hole in my gaming system knowledge, especially with the more recent titles - you mention at least three that I have yet to read! :)