So, while sorting through more Judges Guild stuff I came across an issue of THE DUNGEONEER (issue #17, May/June 1980) that contained an interview with Greg Stafford (founder of Chaosium, author of one of the greatest of rpgs, PENDRAGON). The most interesting part, for me, was Stafford's offhand comment on the game, then in the works, that became CALL OF CTHULHU (another of the best rpgs ever):
"We're . . . working on a new introductory role-playing system
based on the works of H. P. Lovecraft. It is going to be very simple
and is not intended for the very sophisticated player.
It's called Dark Shadows.
It's being authored by Kurt Lortz and
we'll have the usual amount of Chaosium
support material to add local color so that
the game will be easier for the Judge and
the players to get into. By local color I mean
that it will include items such as timetables
for getting around the world in the late 19th
century (which is where much of the
Lovecraft material takes place). Like most
Chaosium books, we want to make it
entertaining to read or browse.
I'm not familiar with Lortz's work (in fact, I'd never heard of him before), though a quick search on the internet provides an outline of how DARK SHADOWS by Lortz morphed into CALL OF CTHULU by Peterson.
What's perhaps more surprising is that nobody seems to have thought about copyright over using the DARK SHADOWS name. Given the hugely popular gothic soap opera of the same name, starring anti-hero vampire Barnabas Collins, one suspects licensing (or the lack of it) may have played a role as well in the project's floundering.
Still, it'd be interesting to know more about this project's earlier stages.
--current reading: THE GAUDY by J. I. M. Stewart
--today's song: "Twenty-five or -six to Four" by Chicago (remixed version)