Sunday, 24 September 2017

Cthulhu Postcard

It's a while ago now but at one point the excellent Call of Cthulhu themed website Yog-Sothoth (of which I am now a 'patron'), ran a postcard competition.  The idea was to send them a scenario theme or kernel on the back of a suitable postcard.  Here is my (non-winning) entry.
Edinburgh, yesterday
The postcard is of a photo taken over a rather smokey Edinburgh by Alfred G. Buckham, some time in the 1920s (available from the National Galleries of Scotland).  You can see why Edinburgh used to be called "Auld Reekie" (reek being Scots for smoke).  As you can appreciate it is very atmospheric and stimulated some dark thoughts in my mind... which I then jotted down on the back of a postcard.
Now wash your hands.
I drew on various aspects of Edinburgh history and tried to meld them together into something a bit creepy.  Having typed it up on the computer you can see that I printed it out and then aged and stained the paper using thin washes of brown and yellow paint, as though blood-stained fingers had been handling it before the postie got it.
Forth Bridge
Having discovered Alfred G. Buckham, I wondered what else he had photographed.  So here are a few examples.  The first is a a flight of biplanes over the famous Forth Bridge near Edinburgh.  Taken today, there would be two road bridges in that shot as well, the latest one only opening this month.
The next is quite an interesting one showing, as it does, the British airship R100 floating about in the clouds.  This would be just the kind of travel mode the discerning 1920s or 30s Cthulhu investigator might use.
Flying Boat
Finally, there is this one of a flying boat over the sea.  This really has the look of some strange winged horror on its way somewhere, glimpsed perhaps by the crew of a Miskatonic University expeditionary ship forging through treacherous seas to explore the colossal mountain range deep within Antarctica...

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Wallpaper with Tentacles

As far as I am aware, no-one visits this blog apart from me.  Therefore, it will have come as a surprise to absolutely nobody at all that (as of June 2017) I changed the look of the blog when I decided that it should have more of a RPG slant (plus selected PC games).

As part of that redesign I considered altering the header to include the background picture of the charming investigator used for the Achtung! Cthulhu investigator's guide. However, in the end I decided to rotate various RPG related pictures I like in the header, so the investigor can rest here until it's her turn to be featured again.
In addition, I changed the blog's wallpaper from just boring black to a repeating pattern (see below, if you can).
Any colour you like, as long as it's brown
I quite like the pattern idea that actually looks like antique wallpaper, which is what my wargaming blog uses.  The intention of that, with its pale brown background and Casper David Friedrich header, was to go for more of what I regard as a sort of mid-nineteenth century 'Turgenev' effect (I'll explain it one day).

However, for Eclectic Infinities I thought that something darker and more Mythos oriented would be appropriate.  A couple of googled wallpaper tiles were therefore considered, as follows:
Too squiggly
Too 'arts and crafty'
Too beige-y
Too paisley, though encouragingly protozoan
However, in the end I plumped for the obvious one, a repeating tile of greenish cephalopods, reminiscent of you-know-who.
Too... actually, no, I may be on to something here
Nevertheless, it wasn't exactly what I wanted, so I stuck it in GIMP (which is free, open source and really good).  The first thing to do was to make the tile a bit more like something that had been badly printed, so basically I put it through the standard 'photocopy' filter setting.  This produced a black and white image like an old Xerox copy.

I then altered the colour scale so it was more of a dark brown, which is usually what happens to the pigments in Victorian wallpapers after a century or so of inexorable oxidation (at least the ones I've encountered in Edinburgh tenements); not to mention the slow mouldering away perhaps caused by unspeakable horrors lurking insidiously behind the wainscoting...  Perfect.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017


I've been interested in historical wargaming since the early 1970s (it was the Airfix Commandos that turned me) but later on at school I did become aware of role playing games and specifically Dungeons and Dragons.  I even bought the three core 1st edition AD&D books around 1982 and designed some dungeons.  I still have the books (and the dungeon designs).

My interest in RPGs all lay dormant for a while (and in some cases was actively avoided) until I (re)discovered Call of Cthulhu and Traveller (and a few other things) about 5 years ago.  And so I dusted off my RPG notebook (still plenty of blank pages in it) and it began again.
Part of this journey has been a not entirely failed attempt to get my son interested in RPGs, mainly to wean him off the X-box.  Consequently, when the MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer On-stage Role Playing Game) Show appeared at the Edinburgh Fringe last year, we had to go.

And what fun it was.  Basically the host (Paul Flannery) asked for three audience volunteers to participate in what was an hilariously half-improvised show.  Such inventions as deciding that the bunch of baddies in the tavern they had to relieve of their tickets to the ambassador's ball, were actually stoats disguised as weasels, and that when the host threw a 20 on his massive luminous die (no really) that the audience all had to get up and change seats, made it fun; and my son certainly enjoyed it.
Anyway, I was delighted to discover that the show is on at the Fringe again this year (3rd to 27th August 2017, except the 14th), at the same venue, and heck it's free.  And so, slotting in between obscure student productions of Pirandello, Ionesco and Arthur Smith, we'll definately be going, possibly twice (like we did last year).

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Bullet Bouncing

When I originally set up this blog (in 2011) it was to muse on all of the things that I was interested in that didn't fall under the remit of wargaming.  That covers a lot of ground as there all kinds of things I do, or would like to be doing, or used to do, or should be doing, or have some vague memory of doing, that I could write about.

However, what I have found over the years with blogging is that having a narrow(ish) focus for a blog usually works best (hence my separate wargaming blog), both as the blogger and for readers, who generally come to a blog with certain expectations and don't want to see random posts about electronic music, French nineteenth century poets, guitars, science fiction, travels in Central Asia, Scottish politics or non-historical wargaming (horrors!).

Consequently, I've decided to 'relaunch' this blog (like anyone would notice) but use it to report (slightly) more specifically on my desultory activities with regard to role palying games, board games and computer games.  Mainly, because, apart from historical wargaming (and Scottish politics), they are the other things that are keeping me distracted at work and home as I slide into my twilight years.

Nevertheless!  Onwards and upwards, and for no particular reason at all other than it is slightly amusing (and I like the old fashioned classic DC artwork) here's Wonder Woman to get us going.