October-ganza 16: Mike Mason talks about Lovecraft Country


October 16, 2014 by Bret Kramer (aka WinstonP)

Mike Mason

For today’s installment, I thought I might provide some new information about the status of Lovecraft Country vis a vis Chaosium’s plans for future releases.  I’d heard rumors that they were planning to re-release the original Lovecraft Country sourcebooks updated for 7th Edition (something that was publicly confirmed at GenCon 2014), so I got in touch with Mike Mason, Chaosium’s line editor for Call of Cthulhu, for more information. {Note – In the case of the question regarding Forgotten Corners of Lovecraft Country, I was already aware of the project’s status (as a contributor to the book), but I asked Mike about it to see if any details beyond his announcement the project at Chaosium’s 2014 GenCon panel.

You’ve announced that the Arkham sourcebook will be released for the 7th edition.  What can you tell us about that?  Aside from updating it to the new edition, will there be any other changes?  Will you replace the art?  What scenarios will be included?

HP Lovecraft’s Arkham is a great book and something we have wanted to get back into print for a while. I don’t foresee any major changes to the title, just a slight revision to the new edition of Call of Cthulhu, which mainly means updating stat blocks and some rules terminology. Backwards compatibility with the new edition is pretty straightforward and easy, so I’m not expecting any issues to arise. The project is at an early stage and I’ve not yet received the revised manuscript back at this time, but suffice to say, Brian Sammons is undertaking the update and I’m certain he’ll do a fine job. One thing I’ve asked Brian to look at is adding a section on firearms law as I felt this information would be useful for Keepers. Keith Herber and the original writing team did a grand job, so I don’t see any need to reinvent the wheel.

I would like to see new art (or at least some new art) in the book to freshen it up a little. The three scenarios will remain, but the possibility exists to perhaps add one new scenario, its something I’m considering at the moment.

Are you planning to re-release other books from the Lovecraft Country series?  If so, which book will be next?

Yes, I’m planning on getting Kingsport, Dunwich, and Escape from Innsmouth back into print. I imagine Kingsport will be the next. All of these books are classics and I’d just like to make them available so they can continue to be enjoyed and provide inspiration for Keepers new and old.

Are there any plans to re-release any of the scenario collections from the series?

The possibility always remains, but I don’t have these books in my schedule at present. That will of course change as we progress through the original set of four Lovercraft Country books. I don’t see any reason not to re-release such titles if their is an audience for them. Whatever we do, I want to ensure a balance between re-releases and new titles – it shouldn’t just be a greatest hits kind of thing. There’s still plenty of scope in Lovecraft Country for further location supplements and for more scenarios – it should be a living and breathing setting. At some point, we will also get to revisit Miskatonic University too, I have a cunning plan for a grand campaign where everyone starts as students and by the time the campaign ends, they have graduated and become fully-fledged investigators. That’s a way’s off, but Miskatonic U will play a role in the revamped Lovecraft Country line.

You have also said that Chaosium has taken up Miskatonic River Press’s abandoned Forgotten Corners of Lovecraft Country book.  Do you have any more news on that project?  Are you looking to release any other new books covering previously unexamined Lovecrafty Country locations?

This was the MRP cover; not sure if Chaosium will use it.

Yes, I’m really excited by the first Forgotten Corners of Lovecraft Country book. Dan Harms, Oscar Rios, and of course yourself, have done a great job developing Aylesbury, Deans Corner, and their environs. The final manuscript has been delivered and it’s now sitting on my “to do” list and something I’ll be getting on with soon. I’m expecting to see it out sometime in 2015 (earlier than later). I’d like to see a series of Forgotten Corners of Lovecraft Country books (so I guess the first one should be titled “volume 1”) – like I said, I want to further develop the Lovecraft Country setting, so putting more of this series out would go a long way to realising that. In addition, I have a three-part campaign set in Arkham currently in development by Alan Bligh. It’s still being written. but I have play tested the first scenario and it was great fun. I think there’s plenty of room for another campaign, single scenarios, and supplements. So I think the future is bright for Lovecraft Country. I’d also add, that the work you have been doing with the Arkham Gazette has been splendid and I see that also helping to inspire, direct, and pin-point areas of interest that could be developed further and realised in future Chaosium titles. I’ve really enjoyed reading the Gazette and have been recommending it wherever I can as it compliments the setting wonderfully.

Do yo have a favorite location in Lovecraft Country?  A scenario set in the area?  Any other anecdotes you’d like to share about Lovecraft country?

I do not detect any family resemblance...

I do not detect any family resemblance…

I love Arkham (after all, one of my ancestors, Keziah Mason, lived there! “grin”) and I think there are plenty of unwritten tales yet to be set there. I’m also fond of Dunwich. Both are heavy with atmosphere and history, which are elements I personally like to draw upon when playing. You can’t help but feel a little closer to Lovecraft’s vision of these places when you set your games there… Witch-haunted Arkham and decaying Dunwich. My two sons have just started to get into roleplaying and so the first games I ran for them have been set in Lovecraft Country. They are playing two English friends who are on a traveling vacation in America, journeying around Lovecraft Country. Suffice to say, the journey has been quite eventful so far!

3 thoughts on “October-ganza 16: Mike Mason talks about Lovecraft Country

  1. PirateLawyer says:

    Great news about Escape from Innsmouth coming back into print. I never got my hands on the second edition . . . and I have a new Delta Green campaign going, and my players would definitely enjoy playing through the expanded Raid scenario.

  2. Graham says:

    Glad to hear Arkham is being reprinted. I hope that the CG artwork that appears in the most recent edition is being dropped, as it did not suit the book at all.

  3. john x says:

    good stuff mate

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