Monday, August 22, 2011

Misc: Why John Carpenter's The Thing (1982) is a perfect Call of Cthulhu scenario

- Your group is physically isolated, possibly on a global scale.
- Your group's location is dangerous and/or inhospitable.
- Due to location, characters or circumstances, calling in the authorities and letting them deal with the situation is either impossible or a very difficult and/or unappealing option.
- Your group are academics or intellectuals, possibly with some blue collar muscle attached.
- Feats of academic skill are 60 - 70 % of defeating the enemy, the rest is brutal violence.
- Even the most practical skills have their limits ("Any way we can fix it?" "It's gone, McCready").
- Vital clues may lie beyond a language barrier, and for want of this nail everyone's lives may be lost.
- Your group may start to die, and once the dying starts it becomes less and less likely that the dying will stop.

- There was another group of people like you out here, but something terrible happened to them.
- Thankfully the Previous Poor Bastards (PPB) were copious, some might say obsessive note-takers, diarists and photographers, although some of their evidence may be for one reason or another outside your powers of interpretation.
- PPB research is always intriguing : "Seems like they were spending a lot of time at a little place northeast of their camp about five or six miles." If you ever hear anything like this, run.

- Your enemy, although possibly out of place, is vastly more intelligent than you.
- Your enemy leaves crime scenes and horror in its wake, narrative tableaux of desperate struggle followed by savage death.
- One of your early encounters with your enemy may be in the form of a corpse like no corpse you have ever seen before.
- The bodies and attitudes of discovered murder victims may be unintelligble at first, as though the crime were committed by a madman . . but this may not be the case.
- Your enemy can spread, like a virus, and corrupt even those closest to you.
- Your enemy, if somehow allowed access to and power over a sizeable human population, could spread quickly enought to engulf the Earth in short order.
- Compared to you, your enemy is very, very old.

- Your enemy may be ultimately immune to physical harm, but in the cases of your enemy's incarnations and manifestations, things like fire and shotguns can be key to turning an unmanageable situation into a mangeable one.
- Fire is a language that everyone understands.
- When in doubt, burn the place to the ground.
- There can come a time when killing any (or every) other member of the party is the sensible, sane thing to do. ("What if we're wrong about him?" "Then we're wrong.")
- This is usually accompanied by the realization that one should probably kill oneself as well, followed by the brilliant realization that one actually needn't because "I know I'm not one of them!"
- Only knowledge of the odds allows for true heroism: "we're not getting out of here alive . . but neither is that thing."
- Dynamite is a language everyone understands.

It would be tough to keep any experienced players from wising up to the dog long before it got to spend time alone with anyone. That's the only thing that bugged me, even for 1982, wouldn't there have been enough general awareness, especially among scientists, of infectious diseases to where if you saw some Norwegians out on the ice frantically trying to shoot a dog with a sniper rifle, you might at least entertain the idea "escaped lab animal" before giving the dog the run of the place . . ultimately it doesn't matter, due to what happened in the kennel, if it couldn't have got to any humans quickly it would have gone for the other dogs, but that's assuming they captured the thing rather than going with the other option of considering the obvious frantic intentions of their fellow scientists who were burning helicopter fuel many miles from home in order to shoot the dog already.

Inspired by this video:

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