DTG: The Cthulhu Mythos seems like a favorite of yours. What is it about the mythos that appeals to you? Why has such a niche fandom become one of the biggest ones in gaming? And can you tell us a little about your Feed the Shoggoth game?
Hmm. Well, I think there are several factors for me. As I mentioned before, Pulp Era games really struck a chord with me; Classic Era Call of Cthulhu takes place during the Jazz Age, so that scratches that particular itch. In addition, I’ve been a general horror fan since I was in junior high, and I’ve also loved mystery and detective novels. All of that, combined with HP Lovecraft’s writings, just make Call of Cthulhu pretty much the perfect role-playing game for me. In regards to the Cthulhu Mythos in general, I’ll have to go back to the stories of Lovecraft. His themes of cosmic horror, the supernatural, body horror, and nihilism, were something the literary world had never seen; one can easily trace his influences (like Poe, Dunsany, and Machen, just to name three), but he was the first to really put all of those themes together, along with some actual world-building on top of much of it. The whole…otherness of his fiction was such a divergent path from what was so popular in horror circles at the time.
As for why it’s become one of the biggest fandoms in gaming…man. I think a large majority of it is due to the absolutely incredible number of writers and artists that have been involved with Cthulhu gaming since Chaosium gave birth to Call of Cthulhu back in 1981. We’ve had such luminaries as Sandy Petersen, Lynn Willis, Larry DiTillio, Keith “Doc” Herber, Kevin Ross, Scott David Aniolowski, Brian Sammons, Adam Scott Glancy, Chaz and Janyce Engan, Oscar Rios, Dennis Detwiller, Penelope Love, Mark Morrison, Paul Fricker, Mike Mason, Kenneth Hite, John Tynes, Monte Cook, Stuart Boon, Gareth Hanrahan, Blair Reynolds, Lee Gibbons, Paul Carrick, Jason Eckhardt, Tom Sullivan, Francois Launet…I’m know I’m missing a ton of other people who deserve to be mentioned. But…just look at that list. What other genre of role playing game (i’m referring not just to CoC, but others such as Delta Green, Trail of Cthulhu, and so on) can boast such a roster of contributors over its many decades of existence? It’s due to their passion and talent that it’s survived and thrived after all this time.
Feed the Shoggoth is a light and fast Lovecraftian-themed card game for 3-6 players. Each player takes control of an evil cult (The Esoteric Order of Dagon, The Chapel of Contemplation, New World Inc, and so on); in order to earn points and win the game, players must sacrifice their cult minions to the angry and hungry shoggoth that slithers around the table. The other players can attempt to stop the sacrifice by deviously casting spells and other tricks. But if you can’t sacrifice a minion to the shoggoth on your turn, it eats you, and you’re out of the game!