Cthulhu: Dark Providence Dev Diary #3: Parallel Dimensions

Join Cthulhu: Dark Providence lead designer, Travis Chance, as he takes a dive into the roots of the Cthulhu: Dark Providence universe!

Martin`s masterpiece game A Study in Emerald was based upon a short story of the same name from Neil Gaiman. The tale was a pastiche of Sherlock Holmes and Lovecraftian horror, wherein the Great Old Ones had long ago subjugated humankind. Martin built upon this mix of fiction, adding historical references and characters from the time to create a unique setting that expanded the story further.
Flash forward a decade. CMON signs the game for publication, but already has a very strong Lovecraftian brand of its own. Though Death May Die is a quite different game mechanically, it is still set in The Mythos. As such, we decided to incorporate our own take on cosmic horror into the reworking of the game.
Martin`s blend of fiction and history was a precedent we wanted to follow. Thankfully, the game’s developer and solo mode designer Chris Hamm is a walking repository of historical information. He suggested we set the game in Depression-era America, east of the Mississippi. The game is populated with legends from the time, as well as characters and creatures from Lovecraft’s work.

My personal favorite of all the historical figures in the game is 80+ year old Wyatt Earp, the Wild West icon who lived well into the 20th century who takes the card slot of Sherlock Holmes from Study. Moriarty’s analog is none other than Arnold Rothstein, a powerful crime boss of the time. These two are joined by a cast of other iconic figures: Nikola Tesla, Eliot Ness, Stephanie St. Claire, Carl Jung, J. Edgar Hoover, and Lilian Lafrance. We also nod to things like The Explorer’s Club, the FBI, Wall Street, Hart Island, and Danver’s State Hospital.
But there’smore than just thematic shifts at play in making this game. It required some pivots in terms of player identity as well. Loyalists from Study would become Cultists, who have infiltrated the US government and other places of influence to covertly usher forth their otherworldly masters through a ritual. Restorationists would become Investigators, navigating the shadows to stop this impending doom. And, of course, we created Dissidents which we discussed in a prior diary.
The Elder One royalty that agents formerly sought to hide/kill are all gates now in Dark Providence, soft spots between our world and another that can be opened or closed depending on your alignment. Rather than a globe-spanning map, the game takes place in cities of import in the US during that time—and of course Arkham.

Cthulhu and Yog Sothoth are joined by more Elder Ones from Death May Die in the form of brand-new Mythos cards, doubling up the card count from 12 to 24. The Mi-Go, nightgaunt, shoggoths, Deep Ones, the Necronomicon, the Shining Trapezohedron, the Silver Key, Der Vermis Mysteriis, the lost city of R’lyeh, Miskatonic University, Henry Armitage, and even HP’s alter ego Randolph Carter make appearances in the game. Fans of Lovecraft and the like should get a kick out of seeing the interweaving of fact and fiction!

I wanted to thank everyone for taking the time to read this and the prior diaries! I look forward to the game finding its way into your hands to create the same kind of memorable gaming experiences Study did for me all those years ago!

Pre-orders for Cthulhu: Dark Providence end today! – Check it out at https://cmon.co/dark-providence

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