Tabletop gamers have been having some interesting discussions re: which of Lovecraft’s monsters could be ‘safely’ included in a new ‘open’ RPG. Cthulhu Reborn has a hankering for an open tabletop RPG based on pure Lovecraft, and has three posts which usefully summarise this recent debate. He also does some additional useful digging.

1. Can Cthulhu Be Open?

2. The Safewords of Cthulhu

3. Can Cthulhu Be Open? Part 2.

In the post at link 2, he notes that the debate made him aware of a…

Lovecraftian [‘open game’] RPG in German called FHTAGN. [for which the maker] spent a long time researching the various named beings and gods that are mentioned in short stories to find which are truly Public Domain [in Europe]. … in the interests of making the results of his/her research more accessible to English-speaking audiences, I have extracted the list of “safe” Mythos Entities and translated the relevant names back to English.

This seems useful, re: being researched for the public domain rules in the UK and Europe, and not the USA. One could probably include some of the early Long additions to the Mythos, which are or will shortly be in the public domain by 2020/21.

For cultists and clans one might add…

* The Martense clan (“The Lurking Fear”, with a story setting on a river that ultimately flows down to empty at Red Hook).

* Cthulhu cultists, and also the “undying leaders of the cult in the mountains of China” claimed by Castro.

But assuming the German list wants monsters and ‘rites’ only, then The Haunter of the Dark could probably still appear in a game. It would just have to be unnamed as such, but with the same characteristics (lots of sinister lurking silence in darkness, then a sudden single explosive killer fear-lightning release during a storm). It would just have to be used under a more generic name, such as ‘The Dark’ or ‘The Unnamed Dark’, if there really are copyright worries in the UK and Europe.

Looking at ‘published pre-1924’ Lovecraft, I’d also suggest adding to the German list…

* Erich Zann (though not a monster he might have been deemed to have become one, in a new game).

* The Terrible Old Man (ditto).

* The Street (as a monster ‘character-entity’ in its own right).

* The Cats of Ulthar (inexplicably missing from the German list, perhaps because not considered to be monsters).

Alternatively, Zann, The Old Man, the Street and the cats could all be deemed ‘ally class’ elements of the game, helping the players in various ways.