Pyramid Review

The Primal State (for Call of Cthulhu)

Published by Chaosium, Inc.

Written by Jeff Moeller

138-Page Perfectbound Black & White Book; $22

The Primal State is a mini-campaign for Call of Cthulhu available as part of Chaosium's Miskatonic University Library Association series of monographs. Subtitled A Campaign for Classic-Era Call of Cthulhu, Ideally Set in Vermont 1925-1930, this is a campaign with a specific setting in mind and an associated and overarching theme that makes it very difficult to transfer to other times and places. Yet three of its four scenarios could be extracted from the campaign's framework and be run with relative ease in the 1890s of Cthulhu by Gaslight or in the here and now of Cthulhu Now. Doing so though would mean losing both the aforementioned theme and the strong sense of place that together form the underlying strength of The Primal State.

The campaign's theme is drawn directly from H.P. Lovecraft's own observations of the effects of mechanization and modernization upon the New England state of Vermont. In "Vermont -- A First Impression," Lovecraft described these effects as ugly, tawdry, and commonplace, bemoaning the loss of the region's "pristine and ancestral beauty." Conversely, it is this very modernization and mechanization also has the effect of enabling greater and easier access to the primarily rural and forested Green Mountain State, but its more insidious effects will become apparent over the course of the campaign.


This article originally appeared in the second volume of Pyramid. See the current Pyramid website for more information.

Article publication date: October 31, 2008

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