The above image is an illustration of a Lovecraftian Ghoul, and my interpretation of a Lovecraftian Ghast, drawn in ballpoint in 1989. At that time I was on a Lovecraft kick, Dreamquest of Unknown Kadath with the Michael Whelan cover was my favorite book .
Now, I am fully aware of how this xenophobic racist has lost cachet as a writer, and generally as a human being, but I like some of his literary ideas. I am a big fan of the Cthulhu Mythos, and next to Stephen Brust’s The Sun, the Moon, and the Stars, Barbara Ninde Byfield”s The Glass Harmonica, and Lev Grossman’s The Magicians, it remains one of my favorites.
During the late eighties-early nineties, my gaming group played a lot of Call of Cthulhu, although we had ported it over to GURPS Horror 3e, using the lovely little section of TMWNMTK (Things Man Was Not Meant To Know) in combination with maybe seven volumes of Chaosium sourcebooks, including Dreamlands. At one point, I was using the Dreaming Skill from one of GURPS Compendiums to manage my crew of players in the dreamlands themselves.
In recent play, several of my adventuring parties, both of which included Razakeel Shadowcloak, an NPC goblin apprentice necromancer, have fought ghulae. The ghouls I am using resemble the ones from the fan bestiary “It came From the Forums.” although using Affliction:Paralysis from the 4e GURPS Horror, and a limited Jumper ability (To Dreamlands only, through piles of bones). The first batch had to deal with an Undead Slime, from DF Monsters 1, which Razakeel fought with Turn Zombie and the others eventually defeated with Alchemist’s Fire. The second round, which features all 125-135 point characters, had them defeat several ghulae and an iron hooved ghast. Beyond that, they found a bone gate to the dreamlands. Up next? Why the next thing in the food chain:
Incidentally, in addition to being the personification of Body Dysmorphia, Gugs feature in Kabuki Kaiser‘s new and weird mammoth semi-random dungeon adventure Castle Gargantua. The game has a creepy, nightmarish, fairy-tale tone and awesome maps by Dyson Logos. If you have seen my reviews of Kabuki Kaiser’s previous work here, you know how strongly I advocate for the purchase of his products. If you haven’t, now you can, and I definitely recommend getting Gargantua.
My delight with the dreamlands and their inhabitants has extended in many directions; my unfinished dieselpunk fantasy novel Greenbook had an extended sequence involving an empath fixating on a Nightgaunt, as well as a mental assault by an Interloper. There are layers upon layers of Elder Things in my games. And then there is this guy: