Saturday, August 27, 2011

American Gothic

Reader Ronald Copley pointed me toward an old post over at Yog-Sothoth, where you can download a PDF copy of the original manuscript pages of the RPG, American Gothic, typed up by Steve Marsh. American Gothic is of interest, because it is, in the words of Sandy Petersen, "the alpha version" of Call of Cthulhu, one of the classics of our hobby.

According to Sandy Petersen:
Steve is an old friend of mine, and he did in fact help germinate the American Gothic idea (the name was his idea, for instance). Another pal of mine, Marc Hutchison, was involved from the start. Steve wrote up a treatment basing it largely on D&D...
The PDF document, which you can download here, is short but fascinating, particularly since it was written in May 1977 and uses OD&D/Chainmail terminology in places (such as the fighting capability of the "Mycenean Thought Crafters" class). Reading through it, you can see a number of things that call to mind the lost version of psionics that Steve Marsh created that was later reworked for inclusion into Eldritch Wizardry. It's well worth taking a look at this if you have any interest in the development of the games and ideas of the hobby.

10 comments:

  1. Only the first paragraph of that document relates to "American Gothic". The other material (characters classes) is unrelated. The whole document is pages from Marsh's Cupric Text zine (similar to an Alarums & Excursions submission) that contains the usual jumble of material. This has been causing confusion for years. See harami's long explanation here at the Acaeum:

    Acaeum post

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for that clarification. I think the confusion probably arises because of the accompanying "certificate of authenticity" claims that the document is associated with American Gothic.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Right on. Thanks, James. I've been delving into Chainmail myself lately and have found a lot of very cool things. Looking forward to a glimpse at primordial CoC!
    : )

    ReplyDelete
  4. Just reading that one paragraph I can tell somebody was smoking the wacky baccy when they were typing that up.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Here's the later (2009) Acaeum post where the Collector's Trove backpedals on the "Certificate of Authenticity" for this item:

    Acaeum post

    ReplyDelete
  6. FYI, the owner of these Marsh papers has destroyed the "Certificate of Authenticity" to make sure this never gets sold again by someone who perhaps wants to misrepresent it.

    ReplyDelete
  7. *loads-up file*

    ...

    *presses nose to screen and sniffs*

    hummm...? (is it odd that I can smell the musty old paper and typewriter ink through the computer screen?)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Ah ha. I've puzzled over it for a few years and, now, a few astute posts later, I am edified. Thanks for the links!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Waaaaaay off topic, but how is Two Towers going? It was always my favorite.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Waaaaaay off topic, but how is Two Towers going?

    Just fine. My daughter is still enjoying the nightly readings, so I'm continuing ahead with the second volume.

    ReplyDelete

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.