I'm working on a Call of Cthulhu game, with a difference, and I need some input. I'm crossposting this between roleplayers aand necronomiphiles because these are the two places I'm likely to get some help.
Here's the thing; I'm NOT working from Lovecraft's approach or Mythology in this one. Instead, I'm looking primarily at the works of Robert W. Chambers and Clark Ashton Smith for my inspirations. Possibly maybe some Thomas Ligotti as well.
The basic premise (not all the details are worked out yet) is this:
In 1917, a passenger ship is torpedoed off of Brittany, and one lifeboat of survivors (the characters) makes landfall in a remote part of Brittany, and are given shelter in Chateau D'Ys. However, they quickly find that they have been transported back in time somehow. It is just after the Chambers story "A Demoiselle of Ys", and poor Countess Jeanne is languishing to death from a broken heart after the loss of her lover in that story, who was also from the future, as the characters are.
The chief problem for the characters is in getting back to their own time. They find references in the papers and letters of Jeanne's late father refering to The Book of Eibon, Gaspard du Nord, and Azederac, all from Smith's Averoigne cycle, and hints that a way back could be found in the Book of Eibon. The problem that *I* face is this: The characters can choose to look any of 3 places for the BoE; The Tomb of Azederac (unlikely), among the artifacts of Gaspard du Nord (difficult), or in the possessions of an aristocrat refered to in the letters as a collector of obscure and occult documents (perhaps, too convienient?).
I had originally intended to have there be a sort of Warp effect around the Chateau, so that should they try to leave, they always end up back where they start. I'm reluctant to let this go, but I suppose I could.
So, for this first part, I need help deciding where they will find the BoE, and how they should get there.
Second part of the adventure; Once their means to return home is secured, Countess Jeanne begs them to try and find her lover (he wore similar clothes to them, and spoke of many of the same things.) and use their knowledge to send him back to her. They were happy, and she will not leave her home. Our intrepid investigators then go on a decidely historical journey throug hthe horrors of the first world war to find him and bring him back.
With luck, they will not question too much the consequences of someone permenantly travelling back in time. When they find Philip (I've not decided quite yet where or how) and send him back, THATS when things get weird.
Third part: History has been altered. Philip and Jeanne marry and produce children, and found the Castaigne family dynasty. The Castaigne family goes on to become the Imperial Line of America, and the entire history of the World is altered. This mayy seem like a good thing, especially since the Great War no longer occurs, and all of the horrors that were witnessed by the characters never happens. Indeed, everyone seems happy, prosperous, and at peace throughout the world.
Except that this whole thing was engineered by the King in Yellow to bring about his reign on Earth.
I'm vascillating between having the characters remember what transpired before and having them simply have a new set of memories that overlay what they previously experienced. I kind of like the idea of them not remembering Philip and Jeanne, and the War, but having things from the real timeline of the world pop up to haunt them. For instance, having the Phantom of Truth be a disfigured veteran of the Great War, wearing a Pallid Mask of white wax to cover the hideousness of his face. And everywhere, the poison that is the King in Yellow (both the play and the being) are seeping in. The world becomes more and more stage-like, with people becoming more and more like actors playing parts as time goes on. But while the world is becoming what the King in Yellow wants it to be, the characters are uncovering the true Timeline through encounters with the Phantom of Truth, while dodging the agents of the King.
I want them to have a moral dilemma; Plunge the world back into the horrors of World War, or let it succumb to the King in Yellow.
But I need ideas for how to emulate the imposition of Carcosa on the real world. I've read the Chambers books, and the stuff John Tynes wrote about him, but I'm looking for something different. I need things that are both beautiful and horrifying. The King in Yellow is Art, a poisonous, vile aesthetic that infects and corrupts like a disease. How can I show this?
Any other comments, suggestions, or advice? Thoughts?