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.