DemonicDevice: turn your laptop into a Cthulhu altar

As many other “nerdy” young people, i’ve read the whole production of H.P.Lovecraft: it all started with the Metallica song “The call of Cthulhu” (from “Ride the lightning”), which made me wonder on the meaning of that strange name; after a few days i was deeply absorbed by the onirical and disturbing world of the american writer. It may be that the reason why a lot of people find his novels so interesting are mainly it’s ability to “see” things that are way distant from everyone’s immagination; i like to call it the “anti-avatar effect”, named after the multi-milionar movie that had the opportunity (and the money) to show the audience what an alien world may look like and ended-up with a really disappointing parody of Pochaontas and Matrix. On the other hand, Lovecraft’s novels really teach you that aliens and other entities would really have a shape and behaviour that our mind won’t be able to cope with; who else could imagine that at the center of the universe there is a “blind idiot god”? Probably it’s the contrast of such contradictory terms (like “idiot” and “god”) that contribute to the sucess of these novels.
That’s why, when a good friend of mine proposed to prepare a live role-playing game based on “The call of Cthulhu”¬†for our friends i accepted with no esitation; he came up with a brilliant idea: create a sort of “Demonic device” (his words) that could speak to them and make the game more intriguing. Since he is also interested in software development, we agreed that the best way to create such a thing would have been through a software, to be run through a laptop whose keyboard was disguised with fake tentacles, in a sort of obscene Cthulhu altar (it’s a pity that we have no photographs of the fake tentacles created by his fiancee, they were amazing!).


The basic concept was that the players (pretending to come from the ’30s) would have found the device as an horrible and incredibile thing, with noises coming out and words to be typed to stop the horrors that were around them; the funny thing was that even if the players knew that the thing was a laptop they were impressed anyway because they didn’t expected it at all.

I won’t go to much into the details of the implementation (it’s just a few lines of C++ to be used in a linux-environment), you can find the repository here and find out by yourself, but beware: don’t try this at home, it may drive your neighbourhood crazy!

true story: we have found out that they are worse than any other monster from the ’30s