The Stars Come Right for 4th Edition D&D

I just wanted to take a minute to share something I ran across this afternoon. Goodman Games has released a creature supplement for 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons called Critter Cache: Lovecraftian Bestiary. As you can tell from the title this supplement introduces game write-ups for various Lovecraftian horrors for the newest edition of D&D. I have not actually seen this product yet, but it seems to offer an impressive array of creatures, and I would be very interested in seeing how 4E handles the Cthulhu Mythos.

Product blurb:
DMs, are your monsters lacking that certain something that makes them more than just another rung in the ol’ XP ladder? Do you want your players to be wide-eyed with terror and whisper, “what the hell is that?”, when you introduce a new monster to the game? Then look no further! The newest offering from Blackdirge Publishing and Goodman Games allows you to harness the raving lunacy of H.P. Lovecraft’s tales of terror and the supernatural for your Fourth Edition Dungeons & Dragons game. That’s right; Critter Cache: Lovecraftian Bestiary brings the squishy, squamous goodness of Lovecraftian monsters to your game table.

So dispense with the mundane kobolds, goblins, and orcs, and populate your next dungeon with elder things and shoggoths. Or, the next time your PCs set sail, have them bump into a slime-coated island covered with ancient ruins where giant, Cyclopean vaults just wait to be opened…

Critter Cache: Lovecraftian Bestiary is 40 pages of new 4E material, and features over 30 of your favorite Lovecraftian critters, including everyone’s favorite, tentacular Great Old One:
  • Color out of Space: Color out of Space
  • Cthulhu: Cthulhu, Star Spawn of Cthulhu
  • Dagon: Dagon
  • Deep One: Deep One Hybrid, Deep One Hybrid Elder, Deep One Priest of Cthulhu, Deep One Raider, Deep One Leviathan
  • Elder Thing: Elder Thing, Elder Thing Lifecrafter, Protoshoggoth
  • Flying Polyp: Flying Polyp
  • Ghoul, Lovecraftian: Ghoul Burrow King, Ghoul Coffin Cracker, Ghoul Grubber, Ghoul Gnawer
  • Great Race of Yith: Yithian Lightning Guard, Yithian Mindshifter, Yithian Temporal Master
  • Gug: Gug Priest of the Old Ones, Gug Sentry, Gug Slayer
  • Mi-Go: Mi-Go Guard, Mi-Go Scout, Mi-Go Surgeon
  • Nightgaunt: Nightgaunt, Nightgaunt Chosen of Nodens
  • Shantak: Shantak
  • Shoggoth: Greater Shoggoth, Shoggoth


[Dark Corners of High Adventure] Viking Age Orkney and Northern Scotland (Addendum Part II)

A common theme among Orkney legend is the phenomenon of vanishing islands. Mysterious islands are said to rise unexpectedly from the sea or from a mist, and then disappear just as suddenly as they appeared. It is also clear from the legends that these islands were not stationary, and could reveal themselves in various unexpected locations.

The most famous of the vanishing islands of Orkney is Hildaland, which is said to be one of the two homes that the Finfolk would migrate between. The second of these being Finfolkheem, their ancestral home, which is located at the bottom of the sea. Hildaland, meaning “hidden land”, served as a summer retreat for the Finfolk. Using dark sorcery they would keep the island hidden from mortal men who might wander too close.

Much like Finfolkheem and Hildaland, R’lyeh is a sunken undersea city which is built upon an island that rises from the sea from time to time. R’lyeh serves as the resting place for dead Cthulhu, who “waits dreaming”. When the stars are right R’lyeh rises from the ocean floor allowing Cthulhu to also rise up, and from death-like slumber he emerges from his tomb to bring doom upon the earth. R'lyeh's location varies from one location to another (just as Hildaland), depending on the weird tale and writer. Just as the Cthulhu Mythos and Norse mythology seem to run parallel in many areas, so too does R’lyeh and the vanishing islands of Orkney.

Vanishing Islands in your Game
Using these elements is a great way to insert a Lovecraftian flavor into your game, and it can also serve as a way to make an end-run around the history books. Who’s to say that the Orkneys did not have a number of other islands located within the archipelago that vanished from the landscape as well as history? These are the hiding places of the mysterious and forbidden. Home to creatures that time forgot, and races that history never recorded. These islands are waiting to be discovered and their dark secrets uncovered.