August 13, 2012 by dracs
Ah Ireland. The Emerald Isle, the Black Rose, the land of Lovecraftian horror. Wait what?
Yes that’s right, Call of Cthulhu Mysteries of Ireland, a new supplement by Colin Dunlop available for download from Chaosium, is here to provide you with everything you need to know about setting games of Call of Cthulhu in the land which brought you Guinness, Leprechauns and not least of all Beasts of War. So let’s take a trip back to the Ireland of the 1920′s and see just what darkness is taking shape in this most magical and alcoholic of locations.
The supplement starts by providing you with an insight into the lifestyles and cultural background which has shaped life in Ireland in the 1920′s. I have to say that the writer has been incredibly thorough in his research of the time. Everything from nature of life in the cities and how it differs to the traditional rural existence found beyond the urban areas such as Dublin and Belfast to the fashion you might expect to be see among the various strata of society is discussed.
Now the 1920′s may perhaps be one of the most influential and turbulent times of Irish history, and one cannot play within the setting without taking the issues of the sectarianism and social unrest of the period into hand. The supplement provides a clear and detailed summary of the reasons behind the violence and unrest of the time, as well as detailing much of what was going on during the 1920′s. As an Englishman who has been living in Ireland for 9 years, I would say that anyone wanting to understand much of the modern Irish culture should really acquaint themselves with this period, and that in this supplement Dunlop has succeeded in providing the reader with a well balanced over view of the information needed to both understand and fully establish a back drop for playing Call of Cthulhu in Ireland.
Yet it isn’t just in such hefty pieces of historical context that Mysteries of Ireland helps to weave a detailed setting for you games. With information on such things as the illegal distillation of poitin, to the various occult societies, local festivals, and even the reported meteor strikes of the time, you are sure to find something to weave an investigation around.
Of course it wouldn’t be Call of Cthulhu without many mystical and menacing goings on and Ireland, with its rich tradition of folklore and mystical mythology, is well suited to host the twisted imaginings of H. P. Lovecraft.
There is no question about it, when it comes to mystical creatures Ireland has some of the best and most terrifying. Don’t believe me? Stick a toddler down in front of Disney’s Darby O’Gill and the Little People when the Banshee shows up, watch the mental scars form.
Mysteries of Ireland provides you with a complete bestiary of mythical beasties to include in your games of Call of Cthulhu, all suitably “Cthulified.” Everything from the world famous banshee to the not so famous Dobhar-Chu (any cryptozoologists reading this just gave a self satisfied smile). My personal favourite has to be the Leprechaun. In Mysteries of Ireland, Leprechauns are a race of beings who have infiltrated our own society and hide away their hordes of treasure, guarding them with “Little People”, a hideous genetic amalgamation between frogs and Leprechauns. Yeah, they’re sadistic. Take that Lucky Charms cereal.
I have to say I think that Mysteries of Ireland succeeds in blending Irish folklore with the Cthulhu Mythos rather well. Famous figures such as Balor of the Evil Eye and Lugh of the Long Arm become revealed as all too familiar deities of Lovecraft’s world, providing you with endless madness inducing opportunities as the truth of Ireland’s past becomes revealed in the 1920′s.
All in all I think that this is an excellent resource to any Call of Cthulhu fan, or even Irish mythology fan. The background is well detailed and presents to you everything you need to get creating your own adventures into the twisted truth of Irish folklore, while the various resources, such as maps, cost exchange rates, item lists and bestiaries, will allow you to take full advantage of the setting you have placed the investigators in. With a couple of ready made scenarios to get you started, Call of Cthulhu Mysteries of Ireland is definitely something I would recommend to anyone who loves the macabre, the fantastic and the fearful and fancies Ireland as a fun new location to bring the horror of Cthulhu to bear. Though please, don’t bring him any where near our office it’s hard enough to keep the place tidy as it is.
What do you think about setting your games of Lovecraftian horror on the island of Ireland?