Lovecraft Letter Designer Diary
The core of the Cthulhu Mythos is of course the stories about incomprehensible beings, and the concept of sanity. I felt that if I were to make a game for this world, it was absolutely necessary for me to include both the meeting with these creatures that went beyond human understanding, and the people being affected by them.
After considering the Mythos through that lens, it became apparent that there was a wonderful cast of actors waiting to be used.
On one hand we have the Great Old Ones, and all the items and servitors that surround them; Cthulhu itself, Nyarlathotep, the Mi-go, the Hounds of Tindalos, the dreaded Book of the Dead (Necronomicon), the Golden Mead that allows one to see the unseen etc.
On the other hand we have the heroes of the Role Playing Game, the Investigators and the allies they encounter: Professor Armitage from Miskatonic University, the Cats from Ulthar in the Dreamlands, Randolph Carter and his family heirloom etc…
First, I had to figure out which characters should be incorporated into the game. Of course, there was the option of simply replacing the eight cards in Love Letter with eight characters from the Cthulhu Mythos, but I felt I couldn’t limit myself to just eight of them. And, with a Cthulhu theme, I felt the game couldn’t do without having the players make some kind of “sanity check” – the most famous words from the roleplaying game, uttered from table to table since the release of the Call of Cthulhu Roleplaying game.
So, I divided up the characters into those who are on the human side, like the investigators or Professor Armitage, and those who are against the human side, like Cthulhu, the Deep Ones, and other items related to them.
The first set kept the same effects as the base game, and I just chose characters that would fit. The Elder Sign that would keep dangerous beings at bay was perfect for the Handmaiden effect for instance, and a card where you guessed another player’s card and could make them lose, felt to me very much like what an investigator could do.
The second set, I made into special cards that spread insanity. To use them meant to get in contact with forbidden knowledge, and get closer to madness. And I decided that they would have large advantages, and disadvantages above the regular cards (a high risk high reward type of effects) since I figured that a lot of players would walk this road to destruction.
The regular effect of the insanity cards would keep the same effect as their normal counterparts. However, if a player had at least one of them among their discard, it would mean that they had encountered these horrors, and therefore would slowly risk becoming insane, and would need to make a sanity check every turn to not get knocked out of the game.
On the other hand, the insanity cards would also have a power that fit the demerit – players who are close to madness would also be able to wield incredible power. The Hound of Tindalos can attack, Mi-go collect brains, and so on. These cards could not only make other people lose, but also let you win immediately! How could anyone resist this sweet temptation?
And this is how Lovecraft Letter was born. The Love Letter system, where anyone could be knocked out of the game at any moment, fits very well to the world of the Cthulhu Mythos, where danger is always looming.
My hope is that everyone will enjoy this new version of the game, where you can as easily capture the truth, as fuel your run to victory thanks to your command of the horrors of the Cthulhu Mythos.
Oh, I can hear the doorbell ringing. That’s a little bit odd? Who may be coming to visit me at such a late hour? I guess I need to go check for myself …