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Cthulhu Thursday: Role-playing the Laundry

March 10, 2011

I have mentioned before on this blog the author Charles Stross. He wrote what I think to be one of the finest Cthulhu themed short stories since the master himself passed over to the Dreamlands. But he did not stop there – oh no – he’s written a number of Cthulhu themed-spy novels based around the secret British intelligence agency The Laundry. They are clever, witty and have lots of things that go bump in the night within. So it was with a ‘yip’ of joy that I discovered that these books have been mashed with the Basic RPG system into this:

There are things out there, in the weirder reaches of space-time where reality is an optional extra. Horrible things, usually with tentacles. Al-Hazred glimpsed them, John Dee summoned them, H.P. Lovecraft wrote about them, and Alan Turing mapped the paths from our universe to theirs. The right calculation can call up entities from other, older universes, or invoke their powers. Invisibility? Easy! Animating the dead? Trivial! Binding lesser demons to your will? Easily doable!

Opening up the way for the Great Old Ones to come through and eat our brains? Unfortunately, much too easy.

That’s where the Laundry comes in – it’s a branch of the British secret service, tasked to prevent hideous alien gods from wiping out all life on Earth (and more particularly, the UK). You work for the Laundry. The hours are long, the pay is sub-par, the co-workers are… interesting (in the Chinese curse sense of the word), and the bureaucracy is stifling – but you do get to wave basilisk guns and bullet wards around, and to go on challenging and exciting missions to exotic locations like quaint, legend-haunted Wigan, cursed Slough and Wolverhampton where the walls are thin.

Laundry Cover

Laundry Cover

(Cthulhu Thursday is a dose of Mythos to brighten darken your week. More on the idea can be found here and a list of posts thus far, here. Also for more Cthulhu news, sign up to the cthulhuHQ twitter feed. Enjoy!)

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