Arkham Now (2010)

The success of the Lovecraft Country series formed a model for many other sourcebooks for Call of Cthulhu, each focusing on a specific city. We’ll get to those in time (they tend to be a bit more dry, unfortunately). More recently, Chaosium returned to Lovecraft Country in the modern day, with Arkham Now. It is a fairly worthy sequel to Arkham Unveiled.

Here, the weirdness of Arkham is now very much out of sight. What we have is a portrayal of a modest university town in the middle of Massachusetts, full of take-out joints and cash machines and all the great and terrible trappings of the modern world.

There are still witches, though. One of the best aspects of the book is seeing the Arkham of the previous volume in a later state. The witch cult from the 20s, led by Keziah Mason, still exists and is now made up of members from a cross-section of society – from a bank president to a punk drifter. The potential for a decades-spanning campaign is clear.

Arkham is still a weirdness magnate in other ways, of course. But rather than reflecting Lovecraft’s sensibilities, here we have the trappings of modern horror and all its social and political connotations. Arkham Now feels less cosmic than most Call of Cthulhu books, but that’s fine by me.

You only get the cover today – I just don’t think the interior illustrations were worth reproducing. Sorry!

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