“The Cats of Ulthar” is a short story written by American fantasy author H. P. Lovecraft in June 1920. In the tale, an unnamed narrator relates the story of how a law forbidding the killing of cats came to be in a town called Ulthar. As the narrative goes, the city is home to an old couple who enjoy capturing and killing the townspeople’s cats. When a caravan of wanderers passes through the city, the kitten of an orphan (Menes) traveling with the band disappears. Upon hearing of the couple’s violent acts towards cats, Menes invokes a prayer before leaving town that causes the local felines to swarm the cat-killers’ house and devour them. Upon witnessing the result, the local politicians pass a law forbidding the killing of cats.
It is said that in Ulthar, which lies beyond the river Skai, no man may kill a cat; and this I can verily believe as I gaze upon him who sitteth purring before the fire. For the cat is cryptic, and close to strange things which men cannot see. He is the soul of antique Aegyptus, and bearer of tales from forgotten cities in Meroe and Ophir. He is the kin of the jungle’s lords, and heir to the secrets of hoary and sinister Africa. The Sphinx is his cousin, and he speaks her language; but he is more ancient than the Sphinx, and remembers that which she hath forgotten.
I have recently been preparing a campaign for the Call of Cthulhu Role-Playing Game. We are using the D20 book (which I am proud to say that was signed by all the folks who worked on the book, including Monte Cook) Part of the preparation was to create a blog to chronicle some of my thoughts and allow the players to get a feel for the setting of the campaign. I placed the game setting in the City of DuBois, and entitled it DUBOIS: CITY OF THE DAMNED. Apparently a few folks found this through either Facebook, or Google or bot…h and started sharing the link this weekend. I got over 8,000 unique visitors to my blog page today, and several irritated people who thought the page was “real” left amusing comments on my blog which I replied to using mostly quotes from H.P. Lovecraft in some form. Even GoDuBois.Com managed to stumble across the blog page and opened a thread about it. So yesterday, I was Orsen Welles, and my War of the Worlds infected Facebook. I am amused, and I think H.P. Lovecraft and Gary Gygax both would be proud of the nonsense. Remember, folks, the STARS ARE RIGHT.
You can read the blog page in question and the comments here.
Them folks in Illmarsh just ain’t right, and the trail of Whispering Way cultists the PCs are following leads right to this fetid Ustalavic swamp. Desperate townsfolk are caught between creatures from the deeps of Lake Encarthan and others from the starry realms of the Dark Tapestry. Ancient secrets, histories of sacrifice, and mind-warping creatures from beyond the stars are uncovered in this Carrion Crown Adventure Path volume written by longtime author Greg A. Vaughan. This is a place in sore need of heroes to banish the dark things lurking at the edge of sanity and madness, but they risk being consumed by the darkness themselves. Will your party shoulder the risks, knowing that there’s a chance that they might become the very things they fight against?
Battles against Lovecraftian creatures aren’t the only thing contained in this volume. Details on the cults of the Old Ones, including such familiar faces as Azathoth, Hastur, Shub-Niggurath, and Yog-Sothoh are revealed, and new Old Ones such Mhar get their own Golarion spin. Roles of various character classes are covered in this article as well, and we’ve included two new subdomains—Dark Tapestry and Stars!
Laurel Cyphra’s tales continue in this month’s Pathfinder Journal, and she finds out the dead are not the only thing to fear in Ustalav. Be sure to check her story out, and make sure your Sanity is topped off with this month’s Pathfinder Adventure Path, available right here!