Before I left on holiday, I was reading through Geoffrey McKinney’s Carcosa and wondering what in the world I would do with it if I were running the game with my own group. It’s a dark, bizarre, fascinating mashup of odd subgenres. Carcosa squashes together:
- Sword & Planet adventure (think Barsoom, say)
- The Lovecraftian Cthulhu Mythos
- a dash of gonzo neo-Lost World (in the form of mutant dinosaurs)
- the classic grey alien and alien tech
… and those are just the mos prominent components. There’s also funky dice mechanics, a boiled-down-to-usability version of psionics, an alternate (and very creepy) magic system, and more.
Which is to say, there’s a lot to dig in the book and the setting. But there definitely are also things I’m pretty sure my own group would not dig—that alternate magic system is probably a couple of football fields too deep into true horror for some of my players—and meanwhile, I can’t help but feel that there are elements McKinney included but didn’t flesh out as much as I’d like in my own little Carcosa.
In an earlier draft of this post, I waded into a homily here about how mashups are derivative, and derivative works are great for RPGs… for the Referee, the player, and the developer alike. But, eh, I’ll save that for another post, and just focus on some further mashups and tweaks I’ve been considering for Carcosa. I’ll present those in the form of mashups, just for fun.