|Call of Cthulhu LCG | Published 02 June 2011|
I tell you, I have struck depths that your little brain can't picture. I have seen beyond the bounds of infinity and drawn down daemons from the stars... I have harnessed the shadows that stride from world to world to sow death and madness... Space belongs to me, do you hear?
– H.P. Lovecraft, From Beyond
Knowledge is Power
I recently read an article on fiction tropes, the opening paragraphs of which are quoted below. A little word of warning: hunting down and reading the full article is likely to result in experiencing missing time or trapping your soul forever.
Humanity isn't always on the low end of the cosmic totem pole. If a story takes the point of view of animals or relatively weak or primitive non-humans, there'll be a Perspective Flip where modern humans — excuse us; MAN — shall be spoken of as other, an alien stigmata whose mere existence is uncanniness to natural conventions. They'll speak of Man as if a sufficiently advanced Eldritch Abominations who hailed from beyond places Beyond, perhaps characterized by terrifying cyclopean dimensions of unknown sinister geometries, composed of nature yet which shapes still spit in the very face of all natural order.
Who, or what, can really describe Them? They are so disgustingly ugly yet divinely powerful; They tame the elements and warp reality so that Everything Is Trying To Kill You. When they effortlessly descend upon a habitat they bring with them unimaginable horrors, heralding insanity, destruction and apocalypse with Their mere presence. The terrifying part is that They can do so without even noticing, let alone caring, about the environment and surroundings at all. In short, Man is unstoppable and a force upon which resistance will be merely futile. The non-human creatures who are curious to know them should not proceed further, lest one be slaughtered in the most merciless manner...
– Humans Are Cthulhu, Television Tropes and Idioms
It all runs in circles: Fragile as they are, humans are still a dominant force on Earth thanks to our curiosity. We know how to do things, remember things and imagine things. But that which is our greatest strength will ultimately be our undoing; curiosity becomes obsession, obsession becomes an all consuming madness. Sooner or later someone is going to bite off more than he or she can chew, open Pandora’s Box and let the Genie out of the Bottle. Chances are you found it out yourself if your curiosity compelled you to search for the rest of the article quoted above. Unless you already were a little dead inside, which can happen to the best of us.
The two factions that are on the most direct path to disturbing things that were not meant to be known are Miskatonic University and Yog-Sothoth. When science peels away the layers of reality, at some point only arcane lore is left to discover. That’s why these factions lie in extension of each other, and why they tend to work so well together. Different sides, same coin, both embracing the Cthulhu Mythos’ central theme of discovery and the unforeseen consequences of learning the horrific truth.
As the Rituals of the Order cycle of Asylum Packs is coming to a close with That Which Consumes, the theme of corrupting knowledge is brought to the foreground with two cards, both of which have “Knowledge” in the title. Just so there is absolutely no confusion on what the theme is, you know?
First off, there’s a new Tome for Miskatonic University: Forbidden Knowledge (That Which Consumes, F108). Trading that (Insane?) investigator and a tome for four new cards can be a good deal. Especially as Peaslee (Core Set, F24) can bring everyone back safe and sound. Things get even better when you draw cards while disposing of any opposition. There is a reason why the Necronomicon (Secrets of Arkham, F9) is so much sought after.
Absolute Knowledge Corrupts Absolutely
On the other side, you’ll find A Gift of Knowledge (That Which Consumes, F119.) You might mistake the part where it says “Wound a character you control” for the downside. Sure, the extra success token can save you an entire turn running a story in a monster faction deck, but where it all really starts to look like a win/win situation is when Gugs like Laboring Gug (In the Dread of Night, F51) are involved. Or when you can trigger Living Mummy (Core Set, F104) whenever you like. Or when you set up the Mummy to wound all your Gugs. For the measly “cost” of gaining a successs token.
Knowledge is a dangerous, but valuable commodity. How far are you willing to go to get it?
Based on the fiction of H.P. Lovecraft and his literary circle, Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game takes two players deep into the Cthulhu Mythos where investigators clash with the Ancient Ones and Elder Gods for the fate of the world. The Living Card Game format allows players to customize their gaming experience with monthly Asylum Pack expansions to the core game.
Ah! Thanks for the clarification...I didn't think about playing the attachment after the character went insane.
@Danigral: The actual rule is that attachments are removed as a character goes insane. When a character is insane, however, you can give it attachments.
Good article! One thing though: insane characters cannot have attachments, so you couldn't sacrifice an insane character with forbidden knowledge attached to it.