Monday 31 October 2011

De Profundis - an overview {Cthulhu}

Right, it's no secret that I love H.P Lovecraft and the Cthulhu mythos, so when I came across Cubicle 7's De Profundis at my local game store I knew I had to buy it. Not only do I like collecting Lovecraftiana, I was also incredibly intrigued by the premise of the game.

In essence, this is a game of letter writing. Yes, that thing we used to do before email. It forces you to actually become a character in a Lovecraftian story, writing to other players in order to uncover some sort of mystery. While the rules are badly laid out and written in needlessly convoluted prose, when you get to the nuts and bolts it's a hugely immersive experience.

You have the option of setting the story in the 20s or present day. You're also encouraged to send parcels, photos and journals as props in order to create an authentic atmosphere. Another aspect that attracted me to the game was that it's possible to play it solo. You can create a journal and use dice and tables as well as logical questions in order to progress the story.

A really interesting part of the game is that it's part LARP. The author encourages you to go out and experience things instead of just sitting and writing whatever comes to your head. If you want to go and explore a dark ruin, actually go and do it - experience it. This will allow for a much better account in your writing - or so it's claimed.

I really want to get a game of De Profundis going. I've signed up to the official Yahoo Group, but it doesn't look like there's a whole lot of activity on there. I have posted a scenario idea to see if there are any takers, but I figure I'll open it up to you guys too, so let me know if you fancy playing and we can sort something out. Here it is:

The Horror in the Trenches

Convention: Weird Fiction/ Historical

Time and Place: Europe 1918 and 1920-1921

Plot: The Great War seems like a horrific nightmare for a group of ex-soldiers who fought in it, but the horror is only just rising to the surface. One member of the group receives a letter and a journal from the wife of his friend Jonathan Cook, a friend who served in the same platoon and has suddenly died. While the wife does not know the significance of Jonathan's journal, he had always told her that if something happened to it, he was to send it on to his friend. 

The journal contains odd entries regarding the war, especially in 1918 during the battle of Amiens. Jonathan makes suggestions that high ranking officers were up to something and he had recorded evidence of it in his journal - particularly of the strange markings he found around the trenches and the blasphemous artefacts he came across after much prying. 

The game will seek to uncover what exactly Jonathan found in the trenches and how he came to die so suddenly at the age of 28. His journal from 1918 will be referenced in letters by his friend, who will seek help from the men he served with in the war. Preferably the ex-soldiers will consist of a journalist and academic researchers - but occupations can be fairly loose. 

I wouldn't mind taking on the mantle of the friend who receives the journal from Jonathan. Just let me know if you're interested because I'm looking to get this kicked off soon. 


  1. That actually sounds pretty awesome! could you go through it in a bit more detail on Thursday? if you get a few more people who want to be I'm definitely interested.

  2. @Steve B I will do. It does seem really cool - especially seeing as how at the end of it, you've got a pile a pretty convincing letters and artefacts as keepsakes (and to stash away for future descendants to find and go insane over).

  3. I have loved the idea of De Profundis since I first read it, but I haven't really grokked the idea. Maybe it is the style it's written in.

    It feels like it is hinting at something really cool. Can you say something more on how you'd run this?

  4. @Andreas It's a pretty hard book to digest because it's so strangely worded, I agree.

    Well, I now have 3 people who will be playing it. Basically I would send the first letter to one of the players with regards to a strange journal I've received from our dead friend. He would reply and possibly consult another player on the contents of the journal and it would carry on from there.

    If you're interested in taking part just drop me an email scott.malthouse87 AT It'll likely be a letter every 2 weeks.