Gaze from the Abyss
A DARK CAMPAIGN FOR ANY CTHULHU RPG
“Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche
“The process of delving into the black abyss is to me the keenest form of fascination.”
― H. P. Lovecraft
This tome will contain a campaign, scenarios and supplemental materials that will deal with the above quotes, where investigators learn of the personal price of confronting eldritch menaces, beyond that of just death.
Although the chief goal of this book is to provide role-playing entertainment, it has a secondary goal to raise awareness of the importance of Mental Health in society, as well as highlight important issues of the human condition.
The material in the book often contains mature themes, and is intended for Players 16+.
The antagonists / prime movers of each scenario are persons who are much like the typical Investigators: but who have lost their way and have become or have created monsters as dark as the threats they once opposed. Please note that I do not use the term “villain” as the characters who are responsible for the menaces the Investigators will face are presented as complex human beings whose decisions led them into the circumstances of the scenario. In fact, many of the scenarios try to link the Player Characters’ actions to be an aspect to what led the antagonist into darkness and the consequences that follow.
Thus the quote from Nietzsche is an underpinning theme throughout each scenario, as well as the optional campaign that connects them all together. In terms of the “Gaze” from the abyss, each scenario has an “Eye” aspect, in keeping with the conceit of the Abyss’s Gaze.
Each scenario does spotlight mental health aspects, avoiding contributing to any stigmatic portrayals, i.e. based in reality, but these are meant to enhance the narratives. Those who might know have read my older work, where I have incorporated psychiatric elements into scenarios, such as Unseen Masters, hopefully have seen that I strive to make entertainment the key to engage the players, and during the play, be exposed to the aspects of mental health issues. The use of the psychiatric conditions are not to take a player of out the game, but are to be used in a key way for interacting with the scenario, and allowing reflection of their experiences.
For veteran players, metagaming traps are placed, such as red herrings.
Although the scenarios could be run “Pulped”, they are designed to evoke horror and dread. They are more atmospheric based, slowly unwinding, and integrated into an ongoing campaign, where the uncanny can brew to produce the perfect taste of terror.
Each scenario I have also tried to include what inspired the scenario, based on various myths, mythology, stories, films, comic books, and other media I have enjoyed in my lifetime, and are noted as source materials.
Finally, various resources for adding more historical and mental health depth will be contained in the appendices, for helping make the experiences more rich: a tapestry of events that will hopefully trigger reflection on the human condition.
Due to the themes that potentially may or may not cause players to have strong reactions to the encounters ahead, numerous psychological safety tools are included.
I welcome feedback from those who walk their investigators over the tightrope above the abyss: I value such for allowing me to further hone and improve these scenarios as well as future ones!
I was born in Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire, UK in 1967. I worked as a plant breeder/laboratory technician for 14 years before a change in career to follow my childhood dream of film-making. I have worked as a cinematographer, director of lighting, editor, composer, scriptwriter, special effects technician, producer and director.
Forming MoonCloud Productions in 1999, I made several short films and music videos. 2003 saw me experiment with animation and roto-scoping resulting in two films shown at the Meniscus Film Festival, A Devil’s Heaven (a collaboration with Japanese artist Ankoku Koubou Maki), and the competition entry, Atmosphere, both in 2002. I also made the United Nations music video Crazy World for singer Andrea Meadows in 2004.
Illness saw me withdraw from film production until 2009 when, working for WeKnowMe Productions and Patchwork Pictures, I made 12 music videos and short animated films; Storyboard: Robert A. Heinlein’s Starship Troopers, Black Bikini and Black Bava Sabbath are among my more notable works. My last effort for French Composer Josue Pelissier was the short film Origins.
Unfortunately the pressures of production resulted in my having to again withdraw from all film work and put my fragile health first.
In place of animation and production work, in 2010 I began to experiment with canvas and digital painting as a means to keep creatively occupied without the stresses or pressures of my chosen career. This work resulted in The Dreaming Fly series of abstract acrylic paintings – which were exhibited in Kingston Upon Hull, UK in 2011.
I am a now a full-time digital artist. Sometimes very successful most often not so! But I am an artist:
I am an aficionado of world cinema, French and Japanese being particular favourites. All time classics for me are as diverse as Alien, Betty Blue to Delicatessen and Jean de Florette. I am passionate music listener from prog-rock to techno. On any given day I may switch between Marillion and Infected Mushroom to Visage and Porcupine Tree. I also enjoy the classical music of Mozart and Vivaldi and especially enjoy the operas of Verdi, he is a musical genius!
I much enjoy photography and lazy walks alongside water! I derive much enjoyment being besides a river or the sea. I have an eclectic range of interests especially history, from museums to old castles. Astronomy, Egyptology, Paleolithic history, conspiracy theories, science fiction, horror, fantasy, art of all types, live music, good coffee or Yorkshire tea, camping, live theatre, American Football, F1, Ghosts and anything creepy and spooky, are just a few things which appeal to me.
I also have in my genetic code the world’s greatest superpower which goes by the name of Asperger’s Syndrome.
Each of my recent doodles were created digitally using Adobe Photoshop, Corel Paintshop Pro, DeepDream Generator and Filterforge.