Secrets of Sweden
Cthulhu Mythos resistance and acquiescence in Scandinavia
This article indexes a miniature sourcebook for Call of Cthulhu and Delta Green.
Games and fan fiction based on the work of H. P. Lovecraft has been set in a variety of places and periods. In fact, there is a pattern for naming those game supplements which expand the fictional setting to specific real-world locales: Secrets of New York, Secrets of Japan etc.
As a Swedish role-player, I’ve tried to picture the role of my native Sweden in this setting. This article indexes the result: The five chapters of a miniature sourcebook I first wrote in 2012. I continued to expand it until 2015. It remains sketchy and unfit for commercial publication. I show it here in the hopes that it will be useful to GMs running a TRPG like Call of Cthulhu in Scandinavia.
Fact and fiction
Secrets of Sweden interweaves concepts from the fiction of H. P. Lovecraft and those who followed him with the real history of Scandinavia in general and Sweden in particular.
Features from Delta Green are integrated to combine and extend Lovecraft’s inventions into periods after his death.
- Herskind’s memory of Greenland (1860–1900)
- The junior anthropologists (1927–1942)
- Kalhjälm and the Vertical (1945–1968)
- The intelligence trail (1951–1988)
- The Cult of Transcendence on its home turf (1989–present)
The main challenges of contributing to the Cthulhu Mythos setting are obvious: Bringing something new to the table and supporting the emotional register of dysteleological horror, without binding the hands of CoC Keepers and players who pick and choose among contributions to make a concrete story.
Another challenge is more general and more prosaic: To avoid breaking the setting by contradiction. I stopped working on Secrets of Sweden when I understood what I describe in The pulping of Delta Green: That this particular branch of the setting had become less viable roughly where Secrets of Sweden cuts off.
In the book (booklet?), I tried to solve the challenge of the right emotional register together with the challenge of internal consistency. In general, Sweden as despicted here is not a hotspot of Mythos activity, but nor is its placidity the result of heroic defence. Instead, those who have kept the fictional secrets of Sweden under wraps are unsympathetic characters, often deeply involved with the factual secrets of Sweden, especially its legacy of institutional racism.
I designed the characters and organizations in this way to explain why they remained marginal and why they faded away as their convictions became increasingly absurd and abhorrent to the modernizing society around them. In case the wording of the book leaves any doubt, I condemn racism. I expect anti-racist TRPG players to be cautious, contingent and temporary in their contacts with these flawed organizations. If they are, then that attitude helps to explain why the Mythos does not become public knowledge.