Sunday, October 17, 2010

McKinney and Raggi Join Forces

As announced today, James Raggi of Lamentations of the Flame Princess has come to an agreement with Geoffrey McKinney to release not only his upcoming Isle of the Unknown project, but also Carcosa in "an expanded, deluxe edition." McKinney and Raggi both have very strong visions for their respective old school projects, so the idea of the two of them joining forces in this fashion is certainly one of the most intriguing bits of news I've heard coming out of old school gaming in some time. I have decidedly mixed feelings about Carcosa, as is well known, and, from what I have gathered, the "expanded, deluxe" version will use the unexpurgated text of the book, so I suspect we may be in for another round of discussion when this new edition is released next spring.

Regardless, it's already looking as if 2011 will be every bit as interesting as 2010 -- which is saying a lot.


  1. Excellent news - but much as I like this 'old school = exploration' malarky, I hope there's someone brewing something that shows another side to D&D (besides 4e's combat focus).

  2. By Zeus! It's a superpowered OSR team!

  3. The positive side of this is that (at least according to Geoffrey McKinney's statements at dragonsfoot) this new version will be revised for compatibility with the LotFP rpg and will thus (at least hopefully) cease claiming to represent some sort of kinship or spiritual descent from actual D&D (as the format and "Supplement V" moniker of the original were clearly meant to evoke). The sooner the Carcosa/LotFP-vese establishes itself as its own distinct non-D&D thing and stops being treated as a de facto part of the "D&D family" the better. I don't really have any problem with McKinney and Raggi doing their own thing (and I'll admit that there does appear to be a pretty big audience for it) I just resented the hell out of them calling it D&D. And thankfully it looks like those days are finally coming to an end.

  4. T. Foster...and you are? The defender of the D&D legacy? A legal representative of Gary Gygax or Dave Arneson?
    EVERY old-school product out there claims in some form or another a sort of "kinship" to D&D. That's their "raison d'etre." So, acting indignant on the use of the words "Supplement V" sounds childish at best, and reeks of envy at worst.

  5. My problem with Carcosa was that it seemed to draw it's Lovecraftian inspiration directly from AD&D's Deities and Demigods rather than going back to the original source material. Though the mood of the piece was right on, a number of odd interpretations of the "mythos" crept in which I considered infelicitous, and seemed to indicate that McKinney hadn't read Lovecraft very carefully. Presumably the collaborative effort will bring some "authentic" Yog-Sothothery from the LotFP side of the equation. I might actually buy this one.

  6. @ Antonio - I think T. Foster's objection is simply that Carcosa wasn't Supplement V, and calling it that was presumptious.

  7. Yes, I get what he means. So what? It seems presumptuous what he says; using sentences like "The sooner the Carcosa/LotFP-vese establishes itself as its own distinct non-D&D thing and stops being treated as a de facto part of the "D&D family" the better".
    No one can be mistaken for Carcosa to be a part of D&D. Surely not the intended audience of the product.
    There never was a Supplement V. For what we know, Gary might have published McKinney's work had he been in the publishing industry now. Constructive criticism is helpful; pissing on the choice of a name, not much. But perhaps T. Foster can show what HE can do with the D&D legacy.

  8. Take Carcosa as an exercise in escapism. A "what if." Could it have possibly been the fifth D&D Supplement?

  9. dhowarth333:

    I have indeed real Lovecraft closely. In the years leading up to CARCOSA's original publication, I explored several possibilities for it. One was a rigorously Lovecraftian supplement based on the Mythos elements in the following stories:

    Call of Cthulhu
    The Whisperer in Darkness
    At the Mountains of Madness
    The Shadow over Innsmouth
    The Shadow out of Time

    While it felt very Lovecraftian, it didn't feel very much like D&D. Thus I ultimately went with my original conception of a D&D supplement that presented a form of D&D based upon the Cthulhu Mythos section in the AD&D Deities & Demigods. That section fascinated me ever since I was 10 years old in 1980. (I didn't read any Lovecraft until my mid-20s.)

    (Another possibility I briefly explored was basing the supplement on "The Mound".)

    Thus the Mythos presented in CARCOSA is less Lovecraft and more Derleth, less Derleth and more Lin Carter, less Lin Carter and more DDG. When playing D&D, I want my Mythos beings to have AC, hp, etc. and be realistically killable. Thanks to the Space Alien tech in the book, they are indeed killable by enterprising adventurers.

    I recognize, of course, that not everybody likes all of that.

  10. Oops. It should be "I have indeed read Lovecraft closely" instead of "I have indeed real Lovecraft closely."

  11. @ Antonio,

    I know T. Foser can come of a bit critical to people who don't know him, but he has more then shown his capabilities in regards to the Hobby. He's been playing as since the late 70's, gamed with no less then Gygax himself and is not only one of the founding members of the OSR but he help co-write both the OSRIC and Monster and Myth Books.

    As far as Carcosa goes: I alway though it was a kinda funny that McKenny would dare call it Supplement V but I'm glade to see he's abandoning it too as Carcosa doesn't really fit into Gygax and co OD&D deologies back in the 70's.

  12. @ Geoffrey - Fair enough. To be clear, my objections to your treatment of the mythos have less to do with "statting up" the various creatures/gods (which is inevitable in a D&D-like RPG, and fine with me), and more with the way you ported some of the rather odd bits of the DDG directly over into Carcosa. I no longer own a copy, but off the top of my head the way you handled the Great Race of Yith comes to mind. They are time/space traveling mind swappers from a planet called Yith, so I find it odd that you (and to be fair, Kuntz/Ward) treat them as encounterable on other planets (D&D-land/Greyhawk and Carcosa) in their "Earthly" forms (big rugose cones). It would have been truer to the original IMO to make them mind-possessing entities, perhaps inhabiting the bodies of some (or more than one) Carcosa-native species. We don't know what their "original" Yithian form was. I know, it's nitpicky.

    Funny, I don't detect much Derleth in your handling of the mythos, which I think is a great thing. I feel Derleth butchered the mythos when he tried to use it.

    The space aliens are the supercoolest bitchin'est thing ever. Keep those :).

    Aside from that, I dislike the Barsoomian touches. Others probably think that's keen, so this is not really a criticism.

  13. Carcosa is not meant to be "Call of Cthulhu". I don't have any problem with Geoffrey going with a more Sword & Sorcery version of the Cthulhu Mythos.

  14. I think T. Foster's objection is simply that Carcosa wasn't Supplement V, and calling it that was presumptious.
    Then why the attack on Raggi? I can understand the criticisms of Carcosa, but I find the attack on LotFP to be baffling.

  15. As far as I'm concerned, expanding the DDG version of the mythos into Carcosa was the single most brilliant thing to hit gaming in at least 15 years. Maybe more. I guess that means that in my book he can call it what he wants.