“Presto! You’re a Mythos writer!”
So wrote Robert M. Price in his preface for Lin Carter’s “The Dweller in the Tomb,” from The Xothic Legend (Chaosium Publications, 1997). Price notes that many Mythos stories have similar grammatical constructions, “a participial noun followed by a spatial preposition, followed in turn by an ominous-sounding location.” He goes on to suggest creating several lists one could use in creating such titles. His list of nouns includes the Horror, the Lurker, the Whisperer, among others; his prepositions include on, over, under, while his list of locations includes some we’re fairly familiar with, Red Hook, Space, Innsmouth, and others. Obviously, my first thought on reading his suggestions was to create a series of random tables. Putting thought to action, I’m pleased to offer the following Random Scenario Title Generation Tables.
Table one displays 20 nouns, the first step of your scenario’s title. The first 10 are taken from actual Lovecraft titles, while the second 10 are plucked from some of the more popular Call of Cthulhu scenarios published by Chaosium. Select your favorite d20 and give it a toss.
Table Two holds our prepositions, a much shorter list.
Lastly, Table Three lists locations. Some of these are from Lovecraft’s works, others from Call of Cthulhu scenarios, and a few personally selected.
|5||the Other Gods|
|11||the Haunted House|
The last three are my additions: I work in a library; I had the unfortunate occasion of visiting a hospital morgue last year; and I went to High School in Dryden, a small village in Central New York that experienced a series of murders during the 1980s and 90s (serialized in an American documentary television series called, “Village of the Damned: Welcome to Dryden”).
So let’s give it a go. Three quick tosses of the dice result in 4, 8, and 14, and give me “The Quest through St Margaret’s.” Serviceable, if not exactly sounding like a horror scenario. Again, 15, 4, and 5 give me, “The Lurker beyond the Other Gods.” Much more Lovecraftian, perhaps even suggesting that there is something even more terrible than the Great Old Ones. Finally, 16, 8 ,18 generates “The Asylum through the Library.” Sounds like the back office here at work.
Perhaps I’ll use one of these titles for an upcoming One-Page Scenario…
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