Thursday, May 17, 2012

"I don't always run Call of Cthulhu, but when I do..."

This is what I think about.

Sure, everyone has their own iconic fantasy illo for D&D (often with the name Trampier, Otus, or Elmore attached), but so few people talk about what they picture when other RPGs come to mind. I first saw "Ward 13" in the 4th edition of CoC and I've never been able to shake it. For me, its appeal is that this is one of those pictures that begs the questions of the viewer, "What the holy hell is going on here and how did it come to BE?!" I found a few Call of Cthulhu illustrations over the years that have the same effect, but this is my first. And you never forget your first.

9 comments:

Kelvin Green said...

For me, it's the cover of the fifth edition, that wonderful painting of Cthulhu's fiery orange eye peering through a vast doorway at two tiny and oh-so-fragile humans. I'd love a print of that.

James Maliszewski said...

My iconic CoC image is the Gene Day painting from the cover of the first edition boxed set, though, like Kelvin, I really am fond of that fifth edition cover, too.

richard said...

GW's 4e had a bunch of great illos but this is my favourite too.
One of my favourite things to do as a CoC dm is the forensic reveal - the site where something big went down and now the PCs are picking through the wreckage - and I love that Trail of Cthulhu thinks about that in the monster descriptions. What I love about it is it's one of those moments you can achieve cumulative horror, which I find works best when it comes from a surprising direction. The players know going in that probably something squiggly was involved, so that's your starting point - yup, sure, probably a flying thing tore the roof off, claw prints, someone tried to run away... it all adds up. until they find all the victim's teeth in the glove compartment. Like the hundreds of little origami sculptures by the bed of the "sloth" victim in se7en - a detail that reminds you that someone has spent a great deal of time torturing this person in order to set up the scene just so.

Alexander Osias said...

A lot of the color pics from that hardcover edition really resonated with me.

I like the arm scratching the wall especially.

Another pic I liked from this edition was the bald doctor with glasses, pulling on his rubber glove.

Alexey said...

I'm a huge fan of 4th edition, despite it's rather poor organization. I got it as a young teen and it just seemed so stark and almost schizophrenically random. Most of the color plates are great and the Sanity Quiz got pulled out and taped to my wall, where it inspired me and probably bothered my parents for years.

Clovis Cithog said...

Cthulhu = tentacles ?

Andreas Davour said...

I like to add another voice, to Alexander, praising the picture called "The Chiller" with the bald guy with glasses. No tentacles, but very creepy.

The illustration that is CoC for me, though, is the GW 3rd ed cover. It has it all. The cool car, the period investigators, the gothic environs and the monster lurking beyond where the investigators look. Marvellous.

tinkezione said...

Any pointers in the internet to that picture of the mentioned bald doctor with glasses, pulling his gloves on? It's the iconic CoC picture for me and I was just now searching for it from the net while I stumbled into this blog. Great, great memories.

richard said...
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