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January 16, 2012 / Wythe

Carcosa and “historically oppressed” humanity in the post-future

From Carcosa:

Man has not populated the world of Carcosa with the monsters of his imagination. Instead, the monsters of Carcosa infect the nightmares of men. Nor has man imagined mythological spirits and projected them upon his surroundings, later refining his mythologies with philosophy and theology. The world of Carcosa is fraught with the likes of the Old Ones and their spawn, the legacy of the extinct Snake-Men, and sorcery. The terrors of empirical reality render utterly unnecessary the pretense of imagined horrors. 

…Mankind does not permit it the luxury of theoretical speculation.

Mankind is acutely aware of the fact that man does not stand at the apex of anything… …The knowledge that other intelligences… have already created technologies far in advance of man’s has stunted scientific progress. Stealing such technologies is easier than inventing them.

Yes, exactly! This is the sentiment and meaning I am after when I write about the post-future. In my DnD/pseudo-DnD games, there are no “gods,” and the people of the far, far “future” do not share our positivist, teleological ideas about futurity. They exist and want to keep existing, like any of us. They play power games and corrupt their environments and must face the consequences of rampant (re-)technologization. But they are not under any

I am so grateful to Geoffrey McKinney for succinctly voicing my own feelings about what makes the Lovecraftian or weird RPG setting wonderful: It is post-science and post-religion. Science is a real artifact that can be mined. Religion is a desperate pose toward any agent of power (power much greater than humanity’s). Neither science nor religion, in the various Lovecraftian settings (CoC, Athanor, and of course Carcosa), offer consolation to a humanity on the brink.

Which makes killing human/quasi-human PCs with dinosaurs, gibbering extradimensional shamblers, time traveling thought vampires, and space lasers all the sweeter.


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