Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Cthulhu Coat of Arms

A Byhakee Rampant and a Mi-go Rampant supporting an open Necronomicon with a mantling of crossed sawed off shotguns, and a stick of dynamite above a scroll with the motto: "Don't fuck with us, or we'll kill you."

Yes my children, this is the Coat of Arms of that group of most famous of Cthulhu investigators, The Friends Against Monsters, England (aka F.A.M.E.).

This coat of arms is one of the best presents anyone has ever given me. My friend Nathan designed it to commemorate an epic Call of Cthulhu campaign we played together back in our university days. A framed print of this Coat of Arms now hangs in my living room (Thankfully Mrs. Oldhammer-in-Toronto shares my loose approach to interior design).

The Call of Cthulhu campaign in question was stupendous. One of the reasons it was so successful was that the players were not afraid to mix humour with the horror. As the Game Master, I was at first scandalized by the outrageous accents and the silly names (Louis Labante; Olaf Henke; Farmer Pounder). But I soon realized that goofy jokes made the inevitable terror more terrible. The laughter would stop, and all of a sudden, I could smell the fear.

Starting in London in the 1890's, we worked our way through many of the adventures in Cthulhu by Gaslight and Dark Designs
The characters evolved from hapless, Victorian socialites to paranoid, trigger-happy sociopaths... and became The Friends Against Monsters, England. And during almost every session, we'd joke about how are team needed a proper coat of arms. Certainly, we knew what the motto would be...

Call of Cthulhu circa 1995

As the original members of F.A.M.E. aged, died and went insane, a new generation of characters took the campaign to New England during the 1920's, becoming F.A.M.U.S. (Friends Against Monsters, United States). There we played through the Masks of Nyarlothotep and the Fungi from Yuggoth (which is, in my view, the greatest Cthulhu adventure ever written). Finally, the surviving characters were so deranged by madness and Cthulhoid lore that they were virtually villains themselves. As Nietzsche said, "Beware when fighting Shoggoths that you yourself do not become a Shoggoth." 

Well, in any case, that campaign was a long time ago... more than 20 years gone now. We're all Shoggoths now.


  1. Thanks for that post,

    It's been years since I played Call of Cthulhu game too.
    It's just madness:
    back day we didn't have cellphones, cars, own flats but that didn't stop us from gaming.
    Now we have all this useless crap and everything just dropped dead.

    1. Yes. I look back on the longevity of my old campaigns from high school and university with amazement and envy.

  2. Ia! Ia! (I'm excited about the new edition of Mansions of Madness)

    What a cool memento!

    1. I am too! Hopefully they can actually make it a little scary, and not just hectic.

  3. This post got me remembering an old dalliance I had with medieval heraldry. Here is my attempt (including half-remembered nomenclature and some half-assed googling) at a full heraldic description of your fine coat of arms:

    Upon and surmounted by two pistol-grip sawed-off shotguns saltire
    sable, an haute croix surmounted in point by an eye affronté bloodshot eradicated, issuing therefrom eight gambs of an octopus addorsed diverse ondoyant.

    Argent, a book displayed proper radiant party per vale sable, lettered
    "PH'NGLUI MGLW'NAFH CTHULHU R'LYEH WGAH'NAGL FHTAGN," a Cthulhu's head cabossed, attached a stick of dynamite erect in base surmounting the escroll.

    Dextrochere and senestrochere unbowed combattant cuffed with fists clenched armed with fuses sable.

    Dexter a Byakhee volant sable, Sinister a Mi-go volant.


    Don't Fuck With Us Or We'll Kill You