Cthulhu Gutshot fhtagn!
“Normally, I’d say that words cannot describe my excitement,” said Gutshot co-creator Mike Mitchell. “But this time, there are precisely the right words to describe it: ‘Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl Gutshot fhtagn,’ or ‘In his house at R'lyeh, dead Cthulhu waits dreaming of Gutshot!’”
Although other games have touched on the mash-up of Cthulhu and Westerns, Gut-thulhu will be the first game to focus on it exclusively.
"I am confident that we will take matters in hand and beat off the competition," Mitchell said with a grin.
Murphy quickly agreed, adding that Hawgleg brings an impressive package to the table.
“They say that the best writing is based on what you know,” said game co-creator Mike Murphy. “If that’s true, then this game should knock your cowboy boots off! Mitchell can trace his roots in the Southwest back to the 1790s, and I have a deep, personal, (and occasionally disturbing) history of associating with Goth Chicks.”
And, of course, Paul “Mad Dog” Mauer has a long history of cleaning up the messes left by the Two Mikes.
The Road to R'lyeh
Gut-thulhu was the fruit born from this year's annual Spring Fling trip, wherein our intrepid travelers traverse the globe trying to blow off steam while searching for the next big thing. Since Asia and the Mideast are unsafe, and the trio is still banned from entering Bongolesia, the three decided to spend their money at home this year, in Sin City itself… Las Vegas!
"Visiting Las Vegas was like a homecoming for us," Mitchell explained as he sipped a bottle of German Optimator Spaten beer. "Murphy was living in Vegas back in 2000 when we had our first meeting about Gutshot, and decided to embark on developing this game for publication. It's been a long, weird journey, but it's definitely borne fruit."
Murphy, who moved away years ago (after a horde of bitter feminists stormed the Gold Nugget theater and forced the closing of his infamous one-man show, "Women and Cats, Why Men Hate Both"), decided that enough time had passed and that it was probably safe for "Mr. Bastard" (his stage name) to return to The Strip.
"Plus, the statute of limitations had run out," Murphy added, sipping Bushmill's from his crystal shot glass.
Paul, of course, came along to hold the bail money. He was sipping Starbuck's Iced Vente Chai with one and a half pumps of mocha.
Needless to say, two of the trio were pretty inebriated… er, "happy" when they stepped out of the chartered party plane into the dry night air of the Las Vegas airport. Above them, a million stars seemed to twinkle in the darkness.
"Something about those stars just looks right," Murphy said looking up to the heavens. Little did he know that truer words had never before passed his lips.
"We hopped a cap and asked the Middle Eastern driver to take us to the Rio," Mitchell said.
"No, it was a Pilipino and we asked him to take us to the Hilton," Murphy corrected.
"No, I'm pretty sure he was Middle Eastern, probably from Jordan."
"I beg to differ. He was definitely from the Philippines. And it was the Hilton."
"Well, he could have been from Israel, but I'm sure it was the Rio."
"No, it was almost certainly the Philippines. Or maybe Hawaiian? But it was definitely the Hilton. I remember because we had talked about going to the 'Star Trek Experience,' which is at the Hilton."
"I thought the 'Star Trek Experience' closed years ago," Mitchell pondered. "And I'm sure the driver wasn't an islander; he was of the desert."
"No. I mean, it's possible that he was from Sri Lanka. He reminds me of that massage therapist we met on our last trip to Asia, and he was from Sri Lanka."
"No. Absolutely not, you're thinking of the Taiwanese massage therapist, and we met him at the mall the last time you were in Houston."
"So who am I thinking of?" Murphy asked.
"I have no idea."
"And are you sure the 'Star Trek Experience' has closed?"
While both the Mikes pulled out their smart phones to look up that bit of info (it closed on September 1, 2008), Paul took a long sip of his Starbucks and muttered, "The driver was a blonde woman and we were going to the Riviera… that's when we found the book."
Oh, that Mad Arab…
"We found a copy of the Necronomicon in the backset of a cab," Murphy said with about as much inflection as if he'd found a suitcase containing a leather nun's habit.
By this point, the Mikes were pretty "relaxed," and so was their judgement.
"We decided to use the book to summon Cthulhu," Mitchell said with about as much inflection as if he were used to wearing a leather nun's habit (he is). "We decided to pull over at the nearest 7-Eleven convenience store and see if we could wrangle up the candles, salt, and other items we'd need for the ritual. But, this being Las Vegas, we couldn't find a virgin anywhere."
"Darn it, why does it always call for a virgin sacrifice?" Murphy bemoaned into his bourbon.
Then Paul suggested using a squirrel…
"For the life of me, I cannot say why that made sense at the time, but it did. I bought a bag of nuts and lured it from a tree and, drawing the yellow sign in white salt, we performed the ritual in the alley behind the convenience store," Murphy said.
Alas, the ritual worked… sort of. The bumbling mystics summoned Squirrel-thulhu by mistake. He was angry at being disturbed, but it turns out a Squirrel Cthulhu only has 10 hit points, so when it made a dive for Mitchell's nuts, Murphy grabbed it by his bushy tail (a move he's quite adept at) and slammed him against the side of the 7-Eleven. Then "Mad Dog" Mauer proving his namesake once again, executed a flawless 'Capt. Kirk flying side kick' and bashed in its little, fuzzy, tentacled, head.
The trio then broke into a heated discussion on whether or not we should cook up the carcass, but couldn't settle on whether to use Murphy's Famous Squirrel Stew recipe (handed down from his great grandpappy, Jumpin' Jeremiah Murphy), or the recipe for Granny Mauer's Calamari-Mania. In a rare case of WTF lucidity, Mitchell suggested that, just perhaps, it might not be wise to dine on the flesh of an Elder God… even if he was just a tentacled squirrel.
Leaving the flesh to rot, they returned to the cab and headed off to the casino.
Finally at the casino convention center…
Arriving at the casino convention center, the boys received quite a shock. Unbeknownst to them, the Riviera was hosting the 27th Annual Lovecraftian Leather Fetish & Furry Goth Chick Convention.
"By the yellow sign," Murphy muttered. "Not these people… again!"
Entering the casino, the three were quickly surrounded by a throng of goth chicks. Once again, Murphy's reputation had preceded him. The thin-eyebrowed, heavily mascaraed gaggle of goths were out for his blood (for crimes both real and imagined), but thankfully, security shooed them away, leaving the boys face to face with Lucinda Lovecraft, great-grandniece of H.P. Lovecraft himself, and daughter of Algernon Lovecraft, the convention organizer.
"I know famous game designers when I see them," she said. "You have a Regal Bearing that is unmistakable, even in these tawdry surroundings. Please, I beseech thee, can you provide us a service that we are in desperate need of. In other words, you have what I want… nay, what I need."
Meeting Big Daddy Lovecraft
Mitchell and Murphy were quickly spirited away into the inner sanctum of Big Daddy Lovecraft himself. Paul, meanwhile, waited for them in the casino, gambling away the bail money in a high-stakes game of Texas Hold-Hold'em.
"Lovecraft was certainly true to his name," Mitchell said. "He loved his craft… and was quite skilled at it, too."
"His staff was quite impressive," Murphy added.
"I don't want anyone to think we're just giving his staff lip service, but it was definitely impressive… especially when we took it in hand to come together on the finer details of our merger."
"Merger might not be the right word," Murphy corrected, "It's more of a licensing agreement for Hawgleg Publishing to use the Cthulhu Mythos in its publications… specifically a Wild West/Steampunk/Horror fusion that serve as the basis for an upcoming line of rules, miniatures, and related products."
Hawgleg Publishing practically bent over backwards to accept what Lovecraft had to offer.
"The man knows how to drive home a hard bargain," Murhpy said. "There's no doubt about that. But, when it call came out in the end, it was definitely worth it."
The central product will, of course, be the Gut-thulhu rule book, which was released earlier this year in Las Vegas at the 27th Annual Lovecraftian Leather Fetish & Furry Goth Chick Convention.
"We're so good at our craft – and we love it – that it only took us two days to crank out a 666-page rule book, including details on summoning magick, 13 adventure scenarios, and 47 unique Character Types, including Church Deacons, Newsboys, Transgender Warriors, Munitions Manufacturer, fanboys and CSI-Style investigators (present through a temporal anomaly caused by watching Tex Ritter movies backwards.
The press run of 817,002 copies sold out at the convention and, unfortunately, Hawgleg has no plans to reprint it because, once again, this whole story is just another lame April Fool's Day joke. Once again we apologize for drinking and typing. Have a great one, folks!
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