Mike Writes About Ken Writes About Stuff - a keyhole view
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This is a running list about monthly mini-sourcebooks written by Kenneth Hite for Pelgrane Press' GUMSHOE line of games. If you enjoyed Suppressed Transmission or any of Hite's other writing - but don't speak Swedish - this is for you!

You can purchase each pdf individually, or subscribe for a year's worth of content (which became a baker's dozen the first time around). As the first year is finished, you can pick up its individual articles or all 13 in one fell swoop. They alternate between Hideous Creatures (written primarily for the Trail of Cthulhu audience) and items of more general significance to GUMSHOE games as a whole. Each one is about 10 pages long - perhaps twice the length of a Suppressed Transmission entry.

The other articles have focused on campaign settings (Moon Dust Men); unusual objects (Die Glocke), persons (Lilith), or locations (Mumbai); and new rules modules (Martial Arts).

Would-be purchasers who play Trail of Cthulhu will benefit most from an entire subscription. Players of other GUMSHOE games set here and now should also find something useful every month. For titles that stray from these descriptions, you may want to consider each article on a case-by-case basis. Still, Hite tries to describe how to incorporate each title into every GUMSHOE game.
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Series: Ken Writes About Stuff
Michael Daumen
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The overall collection.

Ken Writes About Stuff
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Series: Hideous Creatures
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The sub-item for the Trail of Cthulhu monster features.

Hideous Creatures

These feature a specific Mythos monster in detail: how a Keeper can change it up for jaded players, both in terms of abilities and their origins; how real-world legends might actually refer to the beast in question; and clues for every Investigative Ability in the Trail of Cthulhu character sheet involving the monster (rather than just the three provided in the main rulebook).
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3. RPG Item: Ken Writes About Stuff 1-01: Hideous Creatures: Deep Ones [Average Rating:8.25 Unranked]
RPG Item: Ken Writes About Stuff 1-01: Hideous Creatures: Deep Ones
Michael Daumen
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RPGG review: Scraping Away the Barnacles of Familiarity for a Fresh Spray of Salty Horror - in Hideous Creatures: Deep Ones
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4. RPG Item: Ken Writes About Stuff 1-02: Gumshoe Zoom: Martial Arts [Average Rating:7.33 Unranked]
RPG Item: Ken Writes About Stuff 1-02: Gumshoe Zoom: Martial Arts
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A minor rules addition to increase the effectiveness of characters in combat. Might not work in games where PCs are already tough warriors, or where crunchy combat rules are already used, unless extra build points are provided for these enhancements.

Thankfully for Trail collectors, Hite got the idea for KWAS after he wrote Rough Magicks.
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RPG Item: Ken Writes About Stuff 1-03: Hideous Creatures: Hounds of Tindalos
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Technically not a Lovecraftian monster since it was invented by Frank Belknap Long, but a favorite for any game involving time travel.
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6. RPG Item: Ken Writes About Stuff 1-04: Die Glocke [Average Rating:8.00 Unranked]
RPG Item: Ken Writes About Stuff 1-04: Die Glocke
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The most similar to a Suppressed Transmission article of old: taking what is known about a legendary object and describing how it might be used in a game. In this case, a mysterious construction of Nazi origin.
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7. RPG Item: Ken Writes About Stuff 1-05: Hideous Creatures: Mi-Go [Average Rating:8.25 Unranked]
RPG Item: Ken Writes About Stuff 1-05: Hideous Creatures: Mi-Go
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Mi-Go have the sobriquet of a Himalayan legend, but little resemble the abominable snowmen in the way that Lovecraftian ghouls (q.v.) approach their Arabian counterparts.
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8. RPG Item: Ken Writes About Stuff 1-06: Moon Dust Men [Average Rating:7.33 Unranked]
RPG Item: Ken Writes About Stuff 1-06: Moon Dust Men
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Fans of Suppressed Transmission will like this entry the best: a self-contained campaign of official UFO hunters, unofficial official UFO hunter-hunters, and the EBEs they hunt for. Unlike other titles, this can be used with just the GUMSHOE SRD.

The skill list is slated towards the 1970s setting. The best rules addition is "backslash points" to apply Investigative Abilities towards weird science.

RPG review: Look to the Skies: A Review of Ken Writes About Stuff #6: Moon Dust Men for Gumshoe
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9. RPG Item: Ken Writes About Stuff 1-07: Hideous Creatures: Ghouls [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
RPG Item: Ken Writes About Stuff 1-07: Hideous Creatures: Ghouls
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Ghouls are the best way to make the Mythos rub shoulders with ordinary humanity (i.e. investigators) without immediately wrecking them.
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10. RPG Item: Ken Writes About Stuff 1-08: Looking Glass: Mumbai [Average Rating:8.00 Unranked]
RPG Item: Ken Writes About Stuff 1-08: Looking Glass: Mumbai
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The Suppressed Transmission treatment applied to an iconic Indian city. The trade dress and highlights betray a focus for Night's Black Agents, but it's a good way to present the vital gaming beats of any city. It also drops some Mythos ideas.

RPGG review: You Go Five Yards and All of Human Existence is Revealed: A Review of Looking Glass: Mumbai for the Gumshoe system
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11. RPG Item: Ken Writes About Stuff 1-09: Hideous Creatures: Shoggoth [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
RPG Item: Ken Writes About Stuff 1-09: Hideous Creatures: Shoggoth
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Shoggoths are the heavyweights of Lovecraft's fiction, and see a lot of gaming use despite their short list of starring roles in it (actually more of a co-star in At the Mountains of Madness).
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12. RPG Item: Ken Writes About Stuff 1-10: GUMSHOE Zoom: Mind Control [Average Rating:7.50 Unranked]
RPG Item: Ken Writes About Stuff 1-10: GUMSHOE Zoom: Mind Control
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This takes a vampiric power from Night's Black Agents and expands it into larger psionic concept. It includes rules for an extended combat across a mental battlefield and touches on specific interactivity with other games that already include elements of mind control.
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13. RPG Item: Ken Writes About Stuff 1-11: Hideous Creatures: Star Vampires [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
RPG Item: Ken Writes About Stuff 1-11: Hideous Creatures: Star Vampires
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Another creature not specifically created by Lovecraft.
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14. RPG Item: Ken Writes About Stuff 1-12: Lilith [Average Rating:7.50 Unranked]
RPG Item: Ken Writes About Stuff 1-12: Lilith
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This entry is perhaps the non-rules title with the broadest applicability. Lilith can be a Sumerian godness, vampire matriarch, or powerful alien entity as needed.
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RPG Item: Ken Writes About Stuff 1-Bonus: Hideous Creatures: Foul Congeries I
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A trio straight from the pen of HPL: Ultraviolet Devourers (they appear in "From Beyond"), Vampirish Vapours ("The Shunned House") and Worm Cultists ("The Festival"). Individually they get less attention than a standard pdf, but more than would have appeared in a core book entry.
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16. RPG Item: Ken Writes About Stuff 2-01: Hideous Creatures: Dark Young [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
RPG Item: Ken Writes About Stuff 2-01: Hideous Creatures: Dark Young
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Dark Young were created for the Call of Cthulhu rpg as opposed to a particular story - proof that it's not always the setting which influences the game.
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17. RPG Item: Ken Writes About Stuff 2-02: GUMSHOE Zoom: Voodoo 1 - Magic [Average Rating:8.00 Unranked]
RPG Item: Ken Writes About Stuff 2-02: GUMSHOE Zoom: Voodoo 1 - Magic
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A stab at a difficult topic, evidenced by the fact that it couldn't fit in the typical size. This covers spellcasting in various Afro-Caribbean traditions, and would make a good foundation for a magical-themed GUMSHOE game.
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RPG Item: Ken Writes About Stuff 2-03: GUMSHOE Zoom: Voodoo 2 - The Invisibles
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Continuing the look at voodoo, this is very short on mechanics and long on description, making it my least-favorite of the series. It is probably most useful for anyone integrating the material with the Mythos.
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19. RPG Item: Ken Writes About Stuff 2-04: Hideous Creatures: Serpent Folk [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
RPG Item: Ken Writes About Stuff 2-04: Hideous Creatures: Serpent Folk
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I notice a lot of creatures who can masquerade as human - even the Mi-Go did it in one Lovecraft tale, and shoggoths have been known to take human form in several scenarios.
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20. RPG Item: Ken Writes About Stuff 2-05: Xeno-archaeology! [Average Rating:7.00 Unranked]
RPG Item: Ken Writes About Stuff 2-05: Xeno-archaeology!
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Good to see Ashen Stars get some love; and as Hite adds, excavating R'lyeh is technically xenoarchaeology too.
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21. RPG Item: Ken Writes About Stuff 2-06: Hideous Creatures: Lloigor [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
RPG Item: Ken Writes About Stuff 2-06: Hideous Creatures: Lloigor
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Makes a great big bad, as it has a raft of powers and cultivates entire families for cults - but its victory won't end your campaign by destroying the world. It's immaterial and invisible unless it's a giant dragon. And if your party is composed of an American, Welshman, and Filipino, each investigator will pronounce it differently.
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22. RPG Item: Ken Writes About Stuff 2-07: The School of Night [Average Rating:7.50 Unranked]
RPG Item: Ken Writes About Stuff 2-07: The School of Night
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If Ken wasn’t born to pen this campaign framework, I will turn in my "Hite Club" membership card. (First rule of Hite Club – the password is the most apropos variation of "Tyler Durden" from Gematria: "Psilocybin is Enochian"). He has given tantalizing glimpses of the subject for fifteen years, but here we get it in all its Gloriana.

The School of Night has the Night’s Black Agent’s trade dress – both titles come from Shakespeare – and defending Elizabeth’s realm against threats supernatural or otherwise is the easiest way to run this (as if mundane life in late 16th Century England wasn’t grim enough). We get a concise list of medieval abilities and equipment for GUMSHOE, and a Dee-inspired magickal system with echoes of GURPS Cabal. Some antagonists with wide applicability include a garden-variety faery, werewolf and manticore.
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23. RPG Item: Ken Writes About Stuff 2-08: Hideous Creatures: Byakhee [Average Rating:7.50 Unranked]
RPG Item: Ken Writes About Stuff 2-08: Hideous Creatures: Byakhee
Michael Daumen
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I think you should realize these wings are really hot
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Byakhee were identified by August Derleth in his Trail of Cthulhu story cycle and retrofitted into "The Festival" as general purpose mounts and low-powered adversaries (in relation to other servitor races).

One other (fictional) Mythic Echo is the "Ai-Apa" - a Peruvian creature created for the Delta Green scenario "A Victim of the Art."
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24. RPG Item: Ken Writes About Stuff 2-09: Vendetta Run [Average Rating:6.50 Unranked]
RPG Item: Ken Writes About Stuff 2-09: Vendetta Run
Michael Daumen
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Microbadge: Magic: The Gathering playerMicrobadge: Imperial fanMicrobadge: I constantly check unlocked stretch goals!Microbadge: Eldritch Horror fanMicrobadge: Dragon Magazine fan
This is a campaign setting for Fear Itself set in the Weird West. Anyone familiar with the movie Tombstone will realize that the PCs are the bad guys from that film, running from worse guys - a posse of Earp revenants.

As a setting that GUMSHOE hasn't previously visited, there are some new skills, which include Toadying in lieu of Flattery and Carousing split off from Streetwise (my takes: Doctoring should be "Sawbones," and a Derringer is a -1 weapon).

As befitting a game of survival horror, there is a short social combat mechanic for resolving PC disagreements when things get grim. The pursuers have some supernatural powers that can easily be used in Trail of Cthulhu or Night's Black Agents as well.
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25. RPG Item: Ken Writes About Stuff 2-10: Hideous Creatures: Rat-Things [Average Rating:7.50 Unranked]
RPG Item: Ken Writes About Stuff 2-10: Hideous Creatures: Rat-Things
Michael Daumen
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I think you should realize these wings are really hot
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Microbadge: Magic: The Gathering playerMicrobadge: Imperial fanMicrobadge: I constantly check unlocked stretch goals!Microbadge: Eldritch Horror fanMicrobadge: Dragon Magazine fan
A powered-up familiar that makes a good intermediate monster to a witch/sorceror level boss. Given its potential to affect dreams, it is a timely fit with Dreamhounds of Paris as well. Even if given abilities solely from the source - "The Dreams in the Witch House" - it will be hard to kill without exacting a gruesome price.
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