Saturday, April 19, 2008

Secrets of Morocco

I'm still at Penguicon, or at least the convention is still going, and I'm attending. However, I thought I'd make a quick post about a topic that has generate interest in the roleplaying community.

It seems that Morocco is traveling around the world. Okay, that's odd, but it's a metaphor, so it can be odd. Maybe. What I'm referring to is a "monograph" I published a few years ago for the Call of Cthulhu RPG, titled Mysteries of Morocco. At the time, it was a strange notion. To attept to capture a country, rather than the traditional CoC city, in a sourcebook. Obviously countries are quite a bit larger. So I schemed and came up with a format that at least allowed for an overview of a country, while focusing on particularly regions, and specific cities. It seems the experiment has some level of success.

Either way, Mysteries of Morocco was later published by Pegasus Spiele in Germany as Geheimnisvolles Marokko. They produced a great cover with some delightful interior layout. And they also included a scenario that did not appear in the English edition, written by Jakob Schmidt - whom I've never met. But, I can say from my weak reading of the German text, he did a great job at capturing the content of the book and expounding upon it.

Now it is re-appearing in a new version from Chaosium, as Secrets of Morocco. And, the announcement of this release has spurred a number of people to email about the book's contents. That is difficult to summarize, as the new content is scattered throughout the work. There are new characters, locations, and connections, as well as a additional scenario that can be linked into existing scenarios set in the region, or other Chaosium campaigns, or it can be played as a stand alone adventure.

(To the right is a draft version of the cover that Chaosium has published on their website. It is by Malcolm McClinton. Malcolm did a great job at capturing the "heat of the moment," and the feel of the region.)

For those who are curious, Secrets of Morocco covers the country's history, religion, culture, environment, and elements from the 1920s and 1930s that are important to the RPG setting. The book already had new skills for Westerners visiting Morocco - allowing for social conflicts based upon the differences between cultures. And as with the original monograph, there are some "beast" riding rules, allowing for horse and camel chases or races - those familiar with the somewhat recent films The Mummy or Hidalgo will see an immediate application (and there are myriad other films and books that deal with this topic). And of course, the Sahara desert, heat, and various secretive mythos related entities and cults are not overlooked. If you're not familiar with the monograph, there are also rules for "shots" (that's a drinking game unknown to most people). There is a scene from the film Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark that inspired these rules. (As another side note, most films set in the Middle East are actually filmed in Morocco).

That's probably enough words on the topic. If not, please feel free to email or post questions.


Anonymous said...

Hi William

Congrats on the book, having read the monograph I know this will be really good.

Does it include the maps I did, and the background I developed for Morocco appearing in Secrets of Kenya?

David Conyers

Charles Gramlich said...

Fascinating how some things take on a life of their own. If only we could predict such events.

William Jones said...

David - Thanks! Because material was added, the maps had to be updated. So the maps are done by another artist now. And the book was already in layout by the time you emailed me the Kenya information. Although I'm not sure if the page count had any extra space or not. I'll keep you updated on the progress.

Charles - You're quite right. I'm still trying to get my crystal ball to work. :)

Adam said...

I have the monograph and I thought it was great. I'd just knew the SHOTS rules came from Indiana Jones. I can't tell you how many times my snookered my players into drinking contests leaving them drunk for combat and hungover for research. With the culture information about alcohol, it always turned sour!

Looking forward to the new version!

Anonymous said...

Thanks William, it will be cool to see the two books linked in content.

All the best
David Conyers