Eldritch Games is a software design and development company formed by Chris Elliott and Richard Edwards to develop the Timeline computer role-playing system. They have been involved with role-playing games from their early days in the UK, and contributed games-related articles, scenarios and short fiction to magazines and publishers in the UK and USA, as well as designing board games.
Chris was born in Brighton in 1955. After leaving school, he worked in a variety of jobs before studying Communication Studies at Sheffield City Polytechnic. A hopeless junkie for the printed word, who will read cereal packets if there is nothing else around, he now lives in North-East London with his wife Sally, daughter Jenny, and dense but loveable Burmese cat Tigger.
Richard was born in Canning Town, East London, in 1956, and has lived there ever since. On leaving school he went to work at North East London Polytechnic in the Psychology Department. This gave him an allergy to bureaucracies, and a firm belief that computing is an occult art rather than a science. He is unmarried, but not opposed to it in principle. Master of the Real World Random Access Filing System, his living space makes a hamster look obsessively tidy. Achievements include his nickname, 'Fiveburgers'.
Mike Lewis, who did the lion's share of the programming, took
his Computing degree at North Staffs Polytechnic, and then became a freelance
programmer. He wrote Redhawk, Kwah, and The Mystery of Arkham Manor, as
well as a Halo Jones game which seems fated not to be published.
His ambition is to settle down, having had 21 addresses in 26 years.
Carl Cropley, who drew the graphics, was once a refrigeration
engineer, but since 1984 has worked as an illustrator and computer graphics
artist. He did the graphics for Mike's games, and also did backgrounds
and covers for REDFOX, voted Best New British Comic in the 1986 Eagle awards.
He also lectures in Computer Graphic art at a Nottingham College.
The Hound of Shadow is set in England in the 1920's, a country recovering from the ravages of the Great War, when extremes of wealth and poverty rubbed shoulders, when it was fashionable to cultivate an interest in spiritualism and magic. In the course of the game you become involved with murder, revenge, the occult, daemonic possession and other horrors that should have died a very long time ago. You will discover many of the awful things that lurk behind a seemingly humdrum existence, and learn through bitter experience that ignorance really can be bliss.
The Hound of Shadow uses the Timeline computer role-playing system to create a Cthulhu Mythos story, inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft and set in the 1920s. The following introduction explains what role-playing games are and how the Timeline system works. At the back of this manual there is a brief introduction to the strange life and works, of H.P. Lovecraft.
Role Playing Games
These evolved when the separate elements of fantasy fiction and wargaming moved together. When these two strands met, a revolutionary new type of game emerged - the role-playing game.
In a role-playing game, players take the part of a character ill all imaginary setflag, which can be anything from fantasy to sci-fi, horror to espionage. The characters have skills and abilities, which are given numerical values and dice rolls are used to determine success or failure when they are used.
Role-playing games also need a refute, who goes under a variety of names (Dungeon Master, Game Master, etc.). They create the situations in which the players' characters find themselves and decide how successful characters are in doing what they want to, and how this affects the course of events.
It is the interaction between players and referee that makes 'tabletop' role-playing fun and allows the characters created by players to become personalities. In the course of play, they acquire a history, and experience, and become easier, and much mole fun, to identify with. Computers are well suited to the numerical side of the referee's function, like dice-rolling. But even more important, they are superb at the job of helping players to build and then identify with their characters - which is where Timeline comes in.
When you create a Timeline character, you give them a detailed background, includingtheir date of birth, sex, attributes, skills and profession. The key to the system is that any Timeline game will recognise this and adapt to the character. In the real world, people know whether you're a man or a Woman and use your name if they know it. If they don't, they may still get to know you by sight if you go somewhere often enough and if you are famous they may even recognise you and know of your reputation. This game works the same way, as you'll find out - particularly if you spend some time in the British Museum Reading Room.
Your character's profession and skills, and how good they are at them, will be important in the game. Two characters may find out the same thing in different ways and what is easy for one may be more difficult for another. A scholar who is expert in Latin will be able to translate ancient manuscripts easily, but won't be as successful as the streetwise detective in bluffing their way into a Library when they've forgotten their pass. When a character completes a scenario some of their skills will have improved with use, waking the next scenario easier, but the events that they have been through may also have taken their tell in less obvious ways.
The Timeline system also means that if a character completes one scenario and goes on to others, they will automatically follow in sequence; there is no set order to the scenarios and each one becomes a part of the character's history.
This is not a conventional computer adventure, where the gameplay relies heavily on object collection, manipulation and logical puzzle solving.
The Hound of Shadow is a role-playing game - a realistic simulation
of an imaginary world. You type in commands from the keyboard and text
is displayed on the screen. In a horror game with a complex plot, where
atmosphere is important, nothing works quite as well as text. (There are
full screen graphics as well, of course.)
Please refer to your Hound of Shadow reference card for Specific
Instructions on creating a user disk.
(Sacramentum added : Format a blank disk and name it 'User Disk')
Male or Female?
The first choice you have to make is whether to be a male or female character. There are no special advantages or disadvantages to either although women could not have seen active service in the Great War and some professions are only open to men. (Sorry, but that's the way it was.) Choose your sex by moving the pointer to the appropriate character and selecting it.
Who Are You?
The next step in creating a character is to decide on your name, age
and date of birth.
You can be a Mr, Mrs, Miss (but not Ms), Dr, Professor, Sir, Lord or Lady. The name of your character is entirely up to you, but bear in mind that if you choose something ridiculous you will be stuck with it. Type in your choices and select continue to leave this screen. If you choose a British character and use the title Lord or Lady then you are limited to the Aristocrat profession.
This screen gives you a thumbnail sketch of your character and offers a number of alternatives if you are not happy with the first one generated. Use the pointer to select 'Yes' or 'No'.
Choose your Nationality
Your character can be British or American. Choose a nationality by moving the pointer to the appropriate flag and then selecting it.
The next step in creating a character is to choose a profession. If you want to be able to delve into the unknown it's no use having a 9 to 5 job. So in this game you can be an Aristocrat, Freelance Reporter, Gentleman Adventurer (men only), Novelist, Private Eye, Psychic Investigator, Scholar, Sleuth or Socialite. These all allow characters to be self-employed or independently wealthy and not to have to explain why they were late for work (again).
To help you decide which profession you want to follow, there are brief
descriptions below of the sort of character seach could include and appropriate
skills for them.
These are only guidelines; try to create a personality for your character and then choose the skills that they would have. Some skills will be more useful than others but none are essential.
ARISTOCRAT (British characters only!) The 'pure' aristocrat is
the sort of person who would have been educated at a major public
school such as Eton or Harrow, then at Oxford or Cambridge, but would not
have picked up much more than a basic proficiency in the Classics (written
Latin and Greek). Utterly assured of their social position, Aristocrats
can breeze past the lower orders with the equivalent of Bluff while years
of "huntin' shootin' and fishin'" have made them good sports-men and women.
They have enough money to be able to afford expensive hobbies like Photography,
Driving cars and Piloting planes.
FREELANCE REPORTER Always on the lookout for a big story, reporters
have to be able to do their own Research, Write
it up, and even be their own Photographer. The ability to Bluff or Persuade
people is important. You might want to give them a specialist skill to
reflect their interests or past experience.
GENTLEMAN ADVENTURER Inspired by thrillers of the period, especially
file Bulldog Drummond stories, these characters
are uniquely British.Well off members of the upper middle class were gentlemen
but not aristocrats, and would have seem action as officers in the Great
War. Keen sportsmen but no intellectuals, they were ever ready to answer
the call of a maiden in distress, but scorned logic and deduction in fayour
of direct action. Concentrate on active skills rather than academic ones.
NOVELIST For a professional writer, the most important skill
is going to be Written English, but a good Research skill is also important.
Try to think what sort of novelist your character is give them skills representing
their background and interests. Aleister Crowley, the magician, infamous
in the Twenties as The Great Beast, wrote stories about the Occult; a writer
of historical romances would have studied History and the Classics.
PRIVATE EYE The classic gumshoe of Chandler and Hammett, or their
equally hard-boiled female equivalent. Shrewd judges
of human nature, they learned their Psychology the hard way. They can't
pull rank on people, and have to rely on Bluff or Persuasion to get their
way. They are observant (high Perception) but don't underestimate their
intellect or learning.
PSYCHIC INVESTIGATOR Believer or non-believer? This was the great
question in the 1920s. On the one hand were those
like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle who believed in Spiritualism and the occult
and spent their time trying to prove the objective existence of psychic
phenomenon; on the other were people like Eric Weiss, better known as the
Great Houdini, who viewed all such manifestations as fraud and were the
scourge of mediums. A knowledge of the Occult is important for both, and
Conjuring skill allows them to recognise many of the tricks employed to
fake the paranormal.
SCHOLAR To be a scholar you need an 'ology'. Any such character
should concentrate on skills like Archaeology, Anthropology,
History, Natural History, and Research. You can choose three sorts of title
for a scholar character. Plain Mr, Mrs, or Miss would make them proficient
in two or three academic skills. The title of Dr. would make them a PhD;
they should then have specialist knowledge of one or two academic skills.
The title of Professor means that they are an expert and should have maximum
possible skill in one academic subject (if you don't mind them being hopeless
at most other things.) Academics don't have to be limited to academic skills
- just remember the oriental scholar and Victorian explorer Sir Richard
SLEUTH The British equivalent of the Private Eye, but more likely
to be a gentleman amateur or even an aristocrat rather than a
seedy professional. Sherlock Holmes, Lord Peter Wimsey, and Harriet Vane
are good fictional models. Well educated, skilled in applied Psychology,
highly observant, and often able to read and write several languages.
SOCIALITE The American equivalent of the British Aristocrat.
Harvard or Yale educated, perhaps the cultured heir to East Coast old money,
or the offspring of an oil, cattle or mining magnate, equipped with the
airs and graces that their parents never had.
WHAT DID YOU DO IN THE WAR?
Characters have to be at least 25 years old or they would be too young to have been involved in the Great War. Women don't get the choice of active service but male characters can opt to have seen action. An American character can choose to have bought War Bonds or to have seen up to two years active service.A British male character can opt for service on the Home Front (perhaps because they failed the medical) or for two, three, or four years active service.Active service brings advantages and penalties for both British and American characters.Choosing it increases the points available for allocation to specific skills later on, representing Army training and the experience of war, but it also brings the subtle effects of shell shock and despair at the meaningless slaughter. These effects are not obvious but they are there nonetheless. British women are assumed to have chosen Home Front service, and they receive extra points representing their experience in traditionally male occupations.
Skills in The Hound of Shadow have been grouped into seven areas: Physical (50lb dumbells), Social (wine bottle), Investigative (magnifying glass), Academic (morterboard and spectacles), Logical (open book and glass phial), Creative (artists palette) and Spiritual (scroll). The next few pages will show you which skills are covered by which skill area. Before choosing the skills themselves you need to decide what sort of character you are creating and what they have most aptitude for, most experience in, or have studied most. For example, is it someone who is academically gifted, and can write many languages, but has no experience of speaking them? In this case you would put more points into the academic area than the social one.
To allocate the fund to each of the seven skill areas, simply use the pointer to select the required level on each of the rheostats situated below the icons. You can alter the level and reallocate the fund if you are unhappy with your initial selection. When all of the fund is used up and you are happy with the balance between each area, select the done icon. Note: that you can't leave the screen until all of the fund has been allocated.
After allocating the fund to each of the seven areas you then step through
each of these skill areas selecting specific skills from within them. The
specific skills are listed over the following pages in their general areas,
there is a brief description where necessary. To allotate fund to a skill
simply select lit with the pointer, a bog displaying the skill and rheostat
will appear. Use the pointer to select the level on the rheostat that you
require and then select the done icon when you are finished. Again the
levels can be altered until you are finally satisfied with the balance
of skills in this area. Note: that you can't leave the screen until all
of the fund has been allocated. Select the done icon with the pointer to
continue to the next screen.
This is best defined as hand-to-hand combat with the minimum use of weapons.
It may not be pretty, but it is effective. But be careful who you use it
on; they could be better than you.
Useful for getting up rockfaces or buildings.
The ability to avoid a blow, runaway car or the like and to be able to
throw off pursuit.
This mainly applies to cars but can also extend to other vehicles with
simple controls, such as motor launches.
This covers general familiarity with all handguns, whether revolvers or
The ability to fly an aeroplane.Depending on the level of skill this will
cover more types of plane, and allow the pilot a better chance of succeeding
in what they want to do.
Normally applies to horses, but skilled riders also have a good chance
of riding more unusual mounts such as camels or water buffalo.
General familiarity with all shoulder weapons firing a solid projectile.
Familiarity with the use of shotguns, both breech loading and pump action.
Classed as a separate skill from Rifle because of the different techniques
A useful skill when there's water around, but there probably won't be much
call for it in Soho...
A knowledge of the use of foils, sabres and straight edged swords.
The skill of informal face-to-face negotiation.
The ability to convince someone by the techniques of high pressure
salesmanship.It is essentially a short-term solution and will seldom work
twice with the same person once they have had a chance to think over what
they have heard. More difficult, but more effective in the longer term,
is the use of Persuasion.(See over.)
The ability to convince someone to help you by use of reasoned argument.
A longer term solution than Bluff because the person who has been persuaded
now understands and accepts the player character's reasons for doing something.
ENGLISH All characters are given a fairly high level of basic literacy
to reflect the fact that they are educated professionals.
LANGUAGES These are indicated by a speech bubble with the name of the
language in it.
ENGINEERING This covers knowledge of the design, manufacture, operation
and repair of electrical and electromechanical equipment. The chances of
success will of course depend on the level of skill and the availability
of tools and components.
A general knowledge of world history and also of the techniques of historical
investigation and evaluation.
The skill of consulting published sources to discover relevant facts.
The ability to analyse a person's speech patterns, accent or other aspects
of their speech. This is not the same as being able to speak a language.
A linguist could listen to someone and decide what type of language they
were speaking, possibly even the language itself, without being able to
talk it themselves.
This is an indication of how keen the character's hearing is and how attentive
ENGINEERING Knowledge of the design, manufacture, operation and repair
of mechanical systems. The chances of success in using this skill will
depend on the player character's level of skill and the availability of
tools and components.
This is a knowledge of locks, knots and the physical techniques of escaping
from restraints. For player characters it would be a hobby skill but they
could still be extremely good at it.
A knowledge of the techniques of stage magic, including sleight of hand
and misdirection. Learned as a hobby by player characters.
The understanding of the workings of the human mind and the ability to
make judgements based on this.
The ability to notice things that other people might miss. You could define
it as the difference between looking at something and seeing it.
The skills of outdoor survival, including being able to track and live
off the land.
This skill will help in identifying ancient sites and buildings.
HISTORY The ability to identify flora and fauna.
LANGUAGES These are indicated by an open book with the name of the
language written on it.
Classed as a logical skill because it will generally be used by player
characters to make deductions about unfamiliar ethnic groups that they
come across, based on their knowledge of the science.
The ability to analyse unknown compounds or to work out what chemicals
would be useful in a given situation, and if they can be made from available
Not only a knowledge of the facts and relevant laws, but the ability to
analyse them and make out a logical argument.
AID The skill of assessing the type and seriousness of a person's illness
or injury and giving them on-the-spot treatment. All player characters
have a basic skill in First Aid.
More extensive than First Aid, being the ability to diagnose ant treat
illness or injury.
The ability to take and develop photographs.
Not just the ability to read and follow maps and charts but the ability
to hold a mental picture of where you are in relation to somewhere else.
Finding a good hiding place, especially in a hurry, requires a special
flair; this can't be taught although it can be improved with practice.
More than just the ability to move quietly, this is the knack of passing
unnoticed or detecting hazards before they are encountered.
Only the first two spiritual skills are available to newly created characters in this game.
Depending on the level of this skill a player character can range from
a general awareness of the theory and elements of Astrology up to a familiarity
with their use.
This does not represent the active use of occult skills but a knowledge
of occult beliefs and practices.
GATE Knowledge of this spell allows the use of a magical Gate to transfer
between two places. This does not allow the creation of new gates, since
this would involve corrupting knowledge and depraved practices.
KNOWLEDGE All knowledge is power and, as Lord Acton observed, power
tends to corrupt. In the course of a game, your character will learn about
the things that lurk behind the thin facade of everyday life, sad about
those that serve them. Such knowledge enables them to fight such horrors
more effectively, but it brings with it the taint of evil. Characters must
know what they are fighting and how to stop it, but the more the scale
of the horror is understood, the greater the likelihood that the character
wilI be unable to cope with the realisation and will succumb to despair.You
can't examine this aspect of your character directly but you will notice
the subtle effects of corruption and despair as they complete more than
A Thumbnail Sketch
Once you have finished allocating skills the next screen gives you a summary of your character, their abilities and skilIs.
Saving and Loading Characters
Once a character has been created you must save him or her to a user disk before you can begin a scenario. On-screen prompts will tell you what to do at each stage. Any character that has been saved to disk can be examined by using the 'Select Character' option on the main menu that is displayed when the game is first loaded. This will bring up a sub-menu which offers the choice of Examining the character, Beginning a scenario or Returning to the main menu. Choosing to examine a character means that you can look at their skills but not change them in any way. A character who has successfully completed a scenario cannot be used in that scenario again, but can still be examined to see how their experiences have changed them.
Playing the Scenario
As far as possible the game behaves realistically. You will not need to solve complicated puzzles in order to carry out simple tasks. As in the real world, you can't just go anywhere you want and do anything you like, and you can't act on knowledge that your character doesn't already have. There are other people in the game; to survive it you will need their help, so be polite to them. The game is designed so you can talk to other people simply by typing in what you want to say.
To avoid the frustration of not finding exactly the right word you need, the main verbs used in The Hound of Shadow are listed below in alphabetical order, together with their synonyms. Not all of them are there because that would give too much away about the game. If you' re trying to do something that won't work, check to see if the verb you're using is included; if it is not, see if there is another that would do the job.
Remember that you can use these commands: Wait until...,What is the time?, What do I know?, Where am I?, and Go to the...(e.g.kitchen, lounge, flat, etc,)
|Buy (Purchase)||Fill||Order (Request)||Sit|
|Develop (Print)||Inventory (Inv, List)||Push||Time|
|Down (D, Downstairs)||Knock||Quit||Up (U, Upstairs)|
|East (E)||Look (Examine)||Relax (Meditate)||West (W)|
|Enter (Go In, Go Into)||North (N)||Search|
Talking to People
As well as direct commands, your character can talk to other people, and they will talk to you. This aspect is crucial as you will need others' help to complete the game. Interaction with people in The Hound of Shadow is usually in the form of question and answer, but you don't need to use the form 'Say to Jasper...', and you don't need to enclose the sentence in quotes. Just use clear simple sentences in plain English, and they should work. For example, you might be looking for someone, and go to where they work. Once there, you would simply say Does John Smith work here?, or I'm looking for John Smith, is he here? Another important point is to listen to what people are saying to you.
So now you are ready to enter the strange and sinister world of H. P. Lovecraft, to unravel the secrets of arcane lore, to delve beneath the surface to discover the loathsome horrors and corruption of London in the 1920's. The Hound of Shadow is a powerful force of evil, summoned by servants no less wicked; only your courage and wit can hope to defeat the horror stalking the streets.
THE MAN BEHIND THE MYTHOS
Howard Phillips Lovecraft 1890- 1937
Lovecraft is a paradox from beginning to end. A hopelessly unprofessional writer who shunned commercial success, his entire output is in print years after his death; an author with major technical weaknesses who is still recognised as one of the greatest creators of macabre fiction; an eccentric recluse who managed to be a charming and witty penfriend to a large circle of people.
"It came as I droned aloud the ninth verse of that primal lay, and
knew amidst my shudders what it meant. For he who passes the
gateways always wins a shadow, and never again can he be alone."
Lovecraft was born in 1890 and was only eight when his father died,
having become violently insane some years earlier and been confined to
an institution. Reading at three and writing at four, Lovecraft was soon
working his way through the 2,000 volume library of his grandfather. He
developed a lifelong passion for the eighteenth century and affected the
style and language of the era.
His earliest story, 'The Beast in the Cave', was written in 1905. But he then abandoned fiction for nine years, concentrating instead on verse and essays. In 1918 he began to write his own fiction again and in 1922 his first professional work was published - 'Herbert West - Reanimator' - a six part series about a ghoulish experimenter who eventually falls victim to his own creations. The year after this, he started to write for the magazine which published many of his best stories - Weird Tales.
"To Yian-Ho, that lostand forbidden city of countless eons whose
place may not be told, I have been in the veritable flesh of this body,
as none other among the living has been. Therein have I found, and
thence have I borne away,that knowledge which I would gladly lose,
though I may not."
The Diary of Alonzo Typer
Lovecraft, along with other writers who were to contribute to what became
known as the Cthulhu Mythos, was a regular contributor to the magazine.
The Mythos evolved gradually from Lovecraft's writing and he never used
the term himself, but his readers, friends and fellow writers came to recognise
common names and recurring themes.
They saw in his stories an emerging private mythology, involving rotting towns where dreadful secrets lurked, books of forbidden lore such as the hideous Necronomicon of the mad Arab Abdul Alhazred and, finally, the idea that the worship had persisted into modern times of blasphemous deities - the Great Old Ones - who had been expelled from the cosmos unimaginable eons ago, but whose return was plotted by their followers.
"There was a formula - a sort of list of things to say and do - which
I had recognised as something black and forbidden; something which
I had read of before in furtive paragraphs of mixed abhorrence and
fascination penned by those strange ancient delvers into the
universe' s guarded secrets whose decaying texts I loved to absorb."
One of these deities was the subject of a story written in 1926 from which the Mythos took its name - The Call of Cthulhu. Bringing all these elements together, and running through Lovecraft's macabre stories, is the idea that the only thing which preserves people's sanity is the fact that they are unaware of the horrors that lurk behind the thin veneer of everyday reality.
Lovecraft died of cancer in 1937. For all his faults as a writer his work has endured. In spite of the references to ancient cults and lore, his stories are firmly based in the present and gain much of their power from this. The true horror in his stories is that the universe does not care, that we are very small, insignificant - and alone.
Original Manual Scanned And Passed Through OCR by Sacramentum