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The Lovecraft Factor: Bridging the Gap Between Miskatonic and Midgard

A sketch of the fictional character Cthulhu, drawn by his creator, H. P. Lovecraft, May 11, 1934“Memories and possibilities are ever more hideous than realities.” —H.P. Lovecraft, “Herbert West–Reanimator”

Howard Phillips Lovecraft is considered by many to be the godfather of modern horror—and appropriately so, for his macabre influence can be seen far and wide while navigating the 21st century pop culture landscape. For me, Lovecraft was something of a gatekeeper to the widening world of weird literature at a time of my life when discovery was critical to my development as both a young storyteller and a fledgling game master.

Lovecraft is one of the preeminent writers of the classic “Weird Tales” era of pulp storytelling (and likely the most celebrated). And though his contemporary (and ofttime pen pal) Robert E. Howard would inevitably leave more of an impression on emerging game designers Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson, Lovecraft’s grim legacy—much like the incessant Call of Cthulhu itself—is inescapable.

The Midgard Campaign Setting from Kobold Press features its own nebulous corner of Lovecraft country: Ginnungagap, the Yawning Void. And though little can be definitively said of it, let’s explore those “tenuous paths” in an effort to discover something of the creatures from that “distant and primordial realm” so elusively referenced by the Midgard scholars.

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Goblins of Midgard: The Firebrand, the Raider, and the Mercenary

Midgard With EagleWhen they aren’t picking lice out of each other’s scalp or roasting rats over an open fire, these three goblins of Midgard are carrying out acts of destruction and mayhem.

While few are accounted masterminds among their number, each has a reputation that extends outside their little tribe. Feel free to add them to your game as NPC adversaries.

Roasty Toasty, Female Goblin Rogue

Roasty is an arsonist in the employ of Radovar Streck, alchemist and member of the Zobeck City Council.

Whenever Streck has need of a little urban renewal work, either to keep the volunteer firefighters’ union busily happy or to frustrate the territorial ambitions of the Greymarks, he calls on Roasty.

For especially big jobs, Streck might provide Roasty with a powerful accelerant. But usually, the means of lighting a spark is left to Roasty’s imagination and her small squad.

She frequents the Wheatsheaf Tavern and the Ragpicker’s Guild in Lower Zobeck when she isn’t making deliveries for Streck’s peat and coal wagon. (Her nickname comes from this job, when she hollers from the wagon perch, “Get yer coal. Get yer peat. Get yer roasty toasty!”)

She’s easily recognizable as being the only goblin wearing a frilled cotton mobcap adorned with a rosette of red and gold, the Free City’s colors. She thinks of herself as a patriot, always speaking loudly of her devotion to the city. Of her arson projects, she is very discreet.

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Lost Magic: Revive Lost Tome

Lost Magic Logo

Revive Lost Tome

School Necromancy (language dependent); Level cleric/oracle 4, wizard/sorcerer 4, inquisitor 4, bard 4

Casting Time 10 minutes

Components V, S, F (scrap of parchment with name of tome)

Range Personal

Effect Summons a ghostly tome or parchment

Duration 1 hour/level or special see text

Saving Throw *See text Spell Resistance no

You call forth an ethereal tome or parchment that has no living copy and that you either know the proper name of or an adequate description of (may require Knowledge check.) This can be used to summon a lost or damaged spell book, but if the summoned tome is used to memorize a spell, the duration of the spell ends and discharges a negative energy burst equal to 1d6/level of the spell memorized (DC is same as if channeled by caster, Fort save for 1/2 damage.) Illustrations, maps, schematics, and architectural plans may be summoned provided they have text. Any text summoned will be as written the day it was completed, thus the caster must be able to read the language in which the text is written. If a copy of the text exists on the Prime Material Plane, the caster will be aware of it as though they had cast a locate object spell in place of the normal effect.

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Collection of Curiosities: Inside the Ice Sculpture

"Jiro the Kobold" by Pat LoboykoFor those adventurers attending swanky feasts amid peerage or others who can afford to have ice sculptures, it might be more what’s INSIDE the sculpture that draws their eyes. You can roll randomly for a result below, or use the handy number provided with each entry to figure out your result on a d12. You can also pick the one that works for the area in which your characters currently linger.

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