July 14, 2018 by Bret Kramer (aka WinstonP)
One of my goals for the Sentinel Hill Press blog has been to keep our readers abreast of all the developments in Call of Cthulhu’s Lovecraft Country. While I’ve definitely missed some projects of late (including Stygian Fox’s updating of Miskatonic River Press’ New Tales of the Miskatonic Valley and several Miskatonic Repository releases… sorry!) I didn’t want to let another Lovecraft Country adjacent project get overlooked.
Last week Golden Goblin Press announced a joint Kickstarter for two books, Tales of Valor and Tails of Horror. The former is a scenario book for Sixtystone Press’ Cathulhu roleplaying game, a kind of sideways take on Call of Cthulhu wherein you play H.P. Lovecraft’s preferred species, cats; the latter is a book of cat-related Mythos horror fiction. As a part of the scenario collection, which consists of 3 scenarios set in ancient Egypt, Imperial Rome, and Medieval France, is an article on the “Cat Council of Kingsport”, a feline ennead that serves the greater cat community of that misty port town. Also potentially in the works is a Kingsport-set scenario by chief Goblin Oscar Rios, presuming an as-to-yet-be-announced stretch goal is reached.
(You had me at Kingsport, guys.)
Seven days into the campaign, the project is almost reached its initial funding goal, sitting at 93% as a write this. Hoping to help push our friends at GGP over that threshold, I thought I’d pass along some questions about the project to Oscar himself to see if pique the interest at some of Sentinel Hill Press’ readers. My questions to Oscar are in bold, his answers are boxed quotes.
1 – Currently you plan into include one Lovecraft Country element – the Cat Council of Kingsport: Why Kingsport? How are the cats there special?
How could it be anywhere else than Kingsport? The City in the Mists is known for being a magical, wondrous place, deep with history and with as much mystery as horror. It is an easy crossing point into the Dreamlands, for which cats have a special affinity. It also has a thriving artists’ colony, and as everyone knows artists and cats do share a special bond. When you look at Kingsport, it just screams Feline Investigators.
2 – You offered backers a chance to immortalize their own cats as part of the Cat Council of Kingsport. How long did that pledge level take to sell out?
These nine slots were all claimed in less than 4 hours. It sold out shortly before we made our “End of Day One” Kickstarter update. [For those that missed out] we are offering a second cat council, which protects the Great Library of Alexandria, during the time of the Roman Empire. So far six of those slots are still available
3 – Can you share any details about the Council?
The Council of Kingsport is made up of nine special cats, which are living their ninth and final life. This status brings them much respect among their kind, but also comes with a duty to organize the cats in their community in times of crisis. They are the guardians and protectors of cats in their particular area. Specifically for Kingsport our council has a fair number of cats who are talented dreamers, three of the nine are black cats, and they are responsible for dealing with Mythos threats to Kingsport coming from both the Waking World and the Dreamlands.
4 – There is the possibility of more Lovecraft Country material in the book – “Grey in the Dark”, a scenario also set in Kingsport. Any hint at the stretch goal it is pinned to?
It’s one of our further stretch goals, probably somewhere around stretch goal six or seven. As I am writing this we are just under 95% funded with 15 days to go, so there is a good possibility this, and possibly a 5th scenario, makes it into the book. Jeffrey Moeller has a wonderfully dark idea for a modern day Cathulhu scenario, which he is eager to add to this collection as well.
5 – Can you tell us anything else about the scenario?
Grey in the Dark is going to be about people suddenly vanishing in Kingsport, but more than that they seem to be erased from reality. All evidence they ever existed is just gone and no one remembers them. However, cats seem to be unaffected by this and they are the ONLY ones who even realize this is happening. Therefore it falls to them to investigator the how and why, and then find a way to stop it and possibly even restore the missing people to their proper place in reality.
6 – Looking beyond Kingsport, how do you think cats fare in Arkham? Dunwich? Innsmouth?
Funny you ask, the idea for Cat Councils comes from Brown Jenkin’s Reckoning by Edward M. Erdelac, this first story in our Tails of Terror fiction companion to Tails of Valor. It depicts the cat council of Arkham trying to deal with Brown Jenkin, once and for all. So Arkham is covered. The Cats Council of Dunwich would be fun to write, as they’d be made up mostly of tough farm cats, but also some with strange powers, and maybe more than one who is a familiar to one of the Believers. As for the Cat Council of Innsmouth, I don’t think they’d have an easy time of it. Maybe they would act as an underground resistance group, definitely be operating “behind enemy lines”.
7 – Are there any extant LC scenarios that might be easily adapted for Cathulhu?
That’s a tough one… Most cat scenarios would need to be written from the point of view of cats, as they can’t question humans, most cats can’t read, and they are very fragile when it comes to the sort of combat and peril human investigators face. If I had to pick one that might be worth a try, I’d go with “The Haunting”, but even then it might need a lot of tweaking.
8 – Do you have a favorite cat from a Call of Cthulhu scenario?
Wow, other than a Cathulhu scenario I can’t think of any cats appearing in an adventure. I think I had a talking cat in the dreamlands, in my scenario Christmas in Kingsport, but for the life of me I can’t remember his name. In Tales of Valor I have quite a few favorites, but I don’t want to list any spoilers.
[Ed. Note… the listophile in me suddenly wants to draw up a list. My personal favorite is “Scraps” from “Dust to Dust”…]
9 – Is there anything else Arkham Gazette readers should know about this Kickstarter project?
Yes, they shouldn’t forget that this isn’t just one book, but two. If they aren’t interested in playing Call of Cthulhu as a cat investigator, there is always the fiction companion Tails of Terror. This is a wonderful collection of cat themed stories written by some amazing and well respected authors in our industry, put together by Brian Sammons. While most backer levels get digital copies of both books, backers can opt to get physical copies of just one of the two books to make things a bit more affordable.
But really, I think both books are going to be a lot of fun. Cathulhu is a really interesting setting, and should be a very enjoyable change of pace for even the most seasoned players. Our take on it, exploring the role of cats in three very different historical periods, also makes it even more unique.
Thanks for taking the time to answer all our questions, Oscar. Best of luck herding those cats!