Monthly Archives: June 2013

7th Edition Rising

Call of Cthulhu, 1st Edition

Call of Cthulhu, 1st Edition

As a personal reflection of how long we’ve been playing, here’s Mark’s copy of Call of Cthulhu first edition. We actually started with second edition in 1984. Mark threatens to photograph all his editions, including the one still wrapped in brown paper. Now that’s an exciting picture.

The 7th Edition Kickstarter campaign spearheaded by Charlie and those  talented Brits, Mike Mason and Paul Fricker, has one week left to go. It has  sped past its initial $40,000  goal and has just reached $330,000 so with no sign of stopping.  The latest stretch goal is Petersen’s Field Guide, a handy book of monsters, so you’ll  never be at loss to identify which blasphemous horror is destroying your life and sanity ever again. The rugose Dark Young picture was of particular use during the playtest for the [redacted] chapter.

Mike has a great blog, Angry Zoog, where he talks about 7th Edition, scenario writing, his upcoming trip to Gencon Indy, and more.

We’re excited that Horror on the Orient Express is a 7th Edition book. The revised rules maintain everything we love about Cthulhu but give players and Keepers a lot more flexibility at the table. Mike and Paul have been giving sage advice on the conversion of the 1991 material, and converted the statistics for the Strangers on the Train booklet.

Also just announced, the Temple Edition. You’ll recognize a similarity with the First Edition. But be warned you will need Credit Rating 99% to get one of these into your personal library.

The Temple Edition

The Temple Edition

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Train of the Dead

There was once a dedicated funeral train which traveled between London and the Brookwood Necropolis, Surrey. Brookwood was created in the 1850s. Its designers envisaged it as a garden ‘City of the Dead’ where London’s dead could rest in peace far from the overcrowded cemeteries of the city.

The train carriages were constructed and the branch line was laid out with all due consideration to Victorian notions of dignity and propriety.  The train carried mourners and coffined corpses. First, second and third class carriages were built for both the living and the dead, and nonconformists were carried in separate carriages to Anglicans. First class mourners and corpses paid a steeper price but their carriages were magnificently decorated. Conversely, one pictures poor corpses, like the recipient of this third class coffin ticket below, being laid out in something like a horse stall. 

Brookwood coffin ticket [Source: Wikipedia]

Brookwood was a cemetery built for profit, but the fares were fixed as a concession  for the poorer mourners and were never raised during the life of the train.  Sadly for the directors the Necropolis never received as many burials as the prospectus rosily prophesied. Towards the end of its life it seems that a fair percentage of its profits came from golfers, who disguised themselves as mourners in order to take advantage of the fixed fares to reach the nearby golf course.

The end of the line came, literally and figuratively, on the night of 16th November 1941, when one of the last raids of the Blitz destroyed the Necropolis station terminus at Waterloo. The station was never rebuilt, and the line closed.

The crest of the London Necropolis and National Mausoleum Company [Source: Wikipedia]

The  Latin motto translates as ‘a good life and a restful death’.

Brookwood Necropolis remains, overgrown and dismal. The rail lines and sleepers are long gone. A sad end to a good and useful train.

The Necropolis Railway does not feature in Horror on the Orient Express, but we wish it had. The idea of a train of the dead is irresistible to the thinking Keeper. Thanks to Dick, one of our fearless playtesters, for telling us about this extraordinary service.

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London in 1926, in colour

As a sequel to our footage of Venice in 1923, here is some beautiful unearthed footage of London in colour shot by Claude Friese-Greene. While the title on vimeo attributes it to 1927, the correction from the BFI in the text dates it as 1926.

As with the Venice film, it is eerie to see the place of our imagination come to life.

This was made all the more strange for me when the soundtrack changes at the 3:24 mark, and the piano music by Yann Tiersen from the Amelie soundtrack fades in (“Comptine d’Un Autre Été”). This has been a signature piece of music in our Horror on the Orient Express playtest, and to me it evokes Lausanne after dark, loss in Milan, leaving yet another European city on the train and looking back with sadness and regret.

When this tune came in, fiction and reality came together so suddenly that I got a chill down my spine. Thanks, BFI.

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A New York Family in Venice 1923

In this charming home movie, a family catch a gondola ride in Venice while the the narrator, Naomi Bloom Rothschild, at  the ripe age of 89 years, gazes in wonder at her 3-year old self. In passing she speculates on the likely damp nature of the cellars in Venice. Clearly a native born New Yorker, it would be heresy to imagine a whole city without cellars.

The fashions are wonderful, and Venice has aged gracefully in the intervening decades. San Marco Square and the Rialto bridge look the same as they do today but with fewer tourists thronging the narrow ways.

We found it moving to look at the very canals and alleys where the investigators will run in such terror in our fictional visit to Venice.

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