Friday, March 18, 2011

Bullets over Arkham

It's no secret that there's a lot of overlap on the geek/gunnie venn diagram. So it shouldn't be a surprise that gun enthusiasts really like nerdy shooting sports that give them an excuse to dress up in costume and reenact the past. There's cowboy action shooting, obviously, but there are also the Zoot Shooters for noire-ey-er geeks, and even tongue in cheek proposals for pirate action shooting and steampunk action shooting. It's obvious, really: I can have a Renaissance fair where I get to shoot stuff? Awesome.

These are great games, and I wish all their devotees well. But you know what's missing.

Lovecraft action shooting.


Each competitor selects a Prohibition-era investigator persona and alias. The high-society flapper who once attended an unconventional party thrown by the Arkham Astronomical Association; the mousy student who started reseaching the wrong cuneiform tablets for her archaeology class; the dock worker who started taking too much interest in what he saw washing out of the city's stormdrains; the police detective who refused to end the missing person investigation when it got too close to that esoteric businessmen's club.

Weapons are restricted to firearms that were available in 1937 or earlier, and close reproductions of same. This was the year H.P. Lovecraft died, which seems like a handy cutoff, and it allows the Smith & Wesson model 27 and Browning Hi-Power to squeak by. Stage one requires a period-appropriate handgun of .32 caliber or greater. Stage two requires a period-appropriate shotgun of 20 gauge or larger. Stage three can use any period-appropriate firearm (excluding shotguns), but has a power requirement: the investigator must put 10,000 joules of energy into the target. This can be from both barrels of a .470 Nitro Express double rifle, four shots from a Springfield m1903, two and a half magazines from a 1911 pistol, or even a twenty-round burst from a Thompson. If an investigator feels like reloading his Colt Pocket Hammerless nine times, that's also acceptable, though it may hurt his time.

Stage One: At the signal, the investigator must draw his handgun from a holster, put one round each into the kill zones of four cultist targets, and put down his handgun.

Stage Two: The investigator must preset his shotgun on a provided surface. At the signal, he must pick up his shotgun, put two rounds each into the kill zones of two targets representing Mi-Go, and put down his shotgun.

Stage Three: The investigator must holster or preset his firearm on a provided surface. At the signal, he must draw or pick up his firearm, put 10,000 joules worth of projectiles into an old RV representing a shoggoth*, put down his firearm, and complete a 100-meter dash.

At the end of competition, the investigator with the slowest dash is eliminated regardless of prior performance.

[* - Alternately, 35,000 pounds of ballistics gel.**]
[** - The most fun part of this post was estimating the volume of a shoggoth. My geometry teacher should have used that to answer the inevitable "how does this apply to real life" questions.]


  1. I lost 20 SAN points reading this.

  2. Cthulu looks down on this and smiles. Well please, He will show you mercy, and eat you first ...

  3. There should also be an accuracy/puzzle stage where the investigator must shoot and destroy the items on an altar in the correct order (or risk letting in the One Who Lurks at the Threshold).

  4. And a stage with a box of matches, a very nice pipe, a pouch of some herbal mixture, a pile of scribbled notes with rubbings of some stone carvings, an interesting statue, and incense that can be put in front of it. The person who correctly burns the books/notes and nothing else may pass to the next stage.

  5. First stage obviously needs to be a 1911.

    Second stage, Winchester lever action 12 ga. (Trying to stick with a JMB theme here.)

    Last stage would seem to call for a Rodda. :D (Sorry, John.)

  6. Finally, a practical shooting sport that calls for the application of a 2-bore on the last stage as a winning strategy.

  7. Instead of a straight up 100 yard/meter sprint at the end, how about a 25 yard sprint to a selection of kettle bells (5#, 10#, 20#) and a horizontal line adjustable (by a judge) to head height. Lift the kettle bell(s) of your choice until you exceed your body weight and then sprint back 25 yards to your start point. Requires less area and incorporates different strength challenges in one event.

    Eliminate the slowest run/lift event time, followed by the slowest remaining shooter's time from each course in reverse order.

  8. It needs an event that involves firing six shots at midnight.

  9. Me too. I don't have anything that qualifies at the moment, but I'm in.

  10. The most fun part of this post was estimating the volume of a shoggoth.


  11. Awesome.

    Looks like I need to start running some more.

  12. Where's the first meet?

    I'm in and have 16 gauge double the .32 and a Win 94

    How many rounds of 30.30 JMB goodness would it take to ruin an RV (reminder must read so Lovecraft ASAP) looks like all 8 (7 +1)


  13. Stage 1: 1911

    Stage 2: Auto-5 in 12 gauge

    Stage 3: Winchester 1886 in .45-70

  14. Woerm: 4 rounds of 150 gr .30-30 makes the 10kJ cutoff.

    Of note: an M2 makes the year deadline...

  15. Jeez, why didn't I think of this???

    However, I'd like to make a recommendation to capture the unique mental stresses of the Chthulu mythos. As a copy of the "Necronomicon" of the mad Arab Abdool Alhazred is (probably) not available for the competitors to read and test their grip on sanity, I'd like to suggest that, prior to commencing Stage III, they read twenty pages from any of the following:

    (A) The Federal Income Tax Code, Regulations and Official Guidance;

    (B) The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare bill);

    (C) Sarah Palin's "Going Rogue"

    (D) Michael Moore's "Dude, Where's My Country"

    (shooter's choice, but there must be obvious signs of mental stress such as catatonia, uncontrollable rage, vomitting, unconsciousness, etc., or else the shooter will be disqualified)

  16. Shooflypie, Wing and a Whim, Docjim,
    I know some CAS groups like to add little sideline events for the hack of it (like derringer shootouts)--I have a feeling few LAS leagues could resist doing the kind of puzzle sidelines you guys are suggesting. Docjim, in my group's Call of Cthulhu tabletop RPG, we sometimes simulate short-term sanity damage with alcohol; I'm considering trying out your suggestion as an alternative, but it may raise the horror level beyond what my players are comfortable with. >:)

  17. Perlhaqr,
    The .50 BMG never even crossed my mind, but it's more comfortably inside the deadline than the .357 mag. There's something paradoxically satisfying about a contestant making a power requirement with a full-auto firearm that significantly exceeds the power level with its first round.

  18. Perlhaqr, Tirno, Woerm,

    "Last stage would seem to call for a Rodda. :D (Sorry, John.)" "Finally, a practical shooting sport that calls for the application of a 2-bore on the last stage as a winning strategy." "How many rounds of 30.30 JMB goodness would it take to ruin an RV..."

    It's becoming clear that, as CAS has a forward-looking Wild Bunch variant, LAS needs a backward-looking "by gaslight" variant. The last stage in particular becomes mightily interesting if you mandate only manually repeating guns or, God forbid, muzzleloaders.

  19. Count me in ...

    ... mostly for the fact that, due to real-life physical conditions, my persona would involve a cane and a limp, as well as an off-balance shooting stance. More to the point, I can't run; I'm interested in figuring work-arounds for the 100-yard dash.

    But yeah, any excuse to dress up and shoot things. >:-D

  20. Elmo: Potential rules tweak -- Last stage, you have to make the run with what you shot. :D

    DocJim: The Federal Income Tax Code, Regulations and Official Guidance;

    That's just cruel! Even the Mad Arab would say so.

  21. Joanna,
    The point is to have fun doing something nerdy, not to rules-lawyer, so I like the idea of a work-around for folks who can't run.

    How do you evade an angry shoggoth while embarrassing yourself in front of your friends without running? My first thought is "casting a spell", which would probably involve shouting a long tongue twister and gesticulating wildly with an Elder Sign.

    [This also makes me wish the NFA didn't make a cane-gun event impractical.]

  22. What if I had a sword cane? Or maybe if I tipped it with cold iron ... scratch a few sigils on the ground and say the alphabet backwards?

    Or maybe I could commandeer a conveniently abandoned bicycle.

    They also make canes with built-in brandy flasks. That could probably figure in somehow. :-P

  23. What do you know? I have nearly completed two each 2-bore muskets.

    I'm in.

  24. I'm in. Colt Police Positive for the first stage, a 12 gauge LeFever Nitro Special for the second, and a Mosin-Nagant 91/30 for the last. I'm not certain about the LeFever, but I know my other two guns were actually made prior to the cut-off date. (Ithaca made the Nitro Special from the 1920s to the early 1940s)

  25. Billll,
    Alright, I guess a muzzleloader event is called for, too. But what do you call it? Colonial Cthulhu? The Boston Byakhee Party? The Battles of Lexington and Fhtagncord?

  26. I don't see any aquatic events evolving here, and I think there needs to be some shooting involving hitting a target before it emerges from the depths.

    Colt 1903 Pocket Hammerless, Winchester 1897 riot gun, and the ever-trusty SMLE - I'm ready!

  27. I'll play. S&W M1917 in .45ACP, and a J.P Sauer Drilling in 16GA/9.3x72R. If I need another shottie, I can use the Ithaca Model 37, right? :)

  28. Glad to see the Pocket Hammerless getting some respect.

    The drilling is a great idea for the investogator on foot who can only carry one long arm.