Monthly Archives: April 2011

Can You Fight the Mythos? Part III

Once again, I take a look at Lovecraft tales, and whether or not, in the text itself, mortals have a chance or not in face of otherworldly terrors. How are your chances? Better than you might think!

This time I’m looking at tales from The Best of HP Lovecraft: Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre.

The Rats in the Walls
Short Spoilery Synopsis: A man renovates an old house, and there’s old temples under the site, and spectral rats that only he and the cats can hear. The rats drive him murderously crazy. Also, the main character’s cat is named after a racial slur.
Textual Effectiveness of Weaponry: Mousetraps are set, and sprung, but to no effect.
Can You Fight the Rats in the Walls: No. You can burn down the house to prevent people from living there, but the influence of the rats themselves seems impossible to physically combat.

The Picture in the House:
Short Spoilery Synopsis: A traveller seeks refuge from a storm in a house, and finds a book with disturbing pictures of cannibalism. Surprise! The resident is a cannibal.
Textual Effectiveness of Weaponry: None is used, although at the end, a lightning bolt strikes the house, and apparently destroys it.
Can You Fight the Guy With the Picture in the House: Yes. It’s just a crazy guy, there’s nothing in the text to suggest that he’s anything else.

Pickman’s Model:
Short Spoilery Synopsis: Pickman, (the anti-Lovecraft; Lovecraft generally leaves the horror to the reader’s imagination, going to extremes of non-description; Pickman paints the impossible with such specific detail and precision that they leave nothing to the imagination, and are thus terrible to behold) paints ghouls. He’s got one locked in his basement.
Textual Effectiveness of Weaponry: When one of his ghouls gets too rowdy, he shoots it.
Can You Fight Pickman’s Model: Yes. Pickman used a revolver.

in the Vault:
Short Spoilery Synopsis: An undertaker gets locked in the vault, and stacks coffins to get out, and is the victim of revenge from beyond the grave.
Textual Effectiveness of Weaponry: None. Birch doesn’t fight back.
Can You Fight what’s In the Vault: Inconclusive- there’s not enough evidence to know if its a ghoul (like Pickman’s Model) or an incorporeal spirit, simply the result of a particularly wronged, and particularly vindictive corpse.

The Silver Key:
Short Spoilery Synopsis: Randolf Carter regrets his ability to have vast dreams, and searches for the ability to do so again. He unknowingly transports himself backward in time, becoming his younger self.
This story is interesting, because it can be interpreted as one of two ways: an eternal cycle of loss, or as a sublime victory by Carter over time, space, and dreams. The ending suggests Carter has gained some influence over the dreamlands.
There’s not anything to fight in this story, giving this story a rating of Irrelevant, but this is a possible instance of human transcendence in the Mythos.

The Music of Erich Zahn:
Short Spoilery Synopsis: Erich Zahn lives in a pocket dimensional neighborhood of complete darkness, and plays otherworldly music.
Can You Fight the Music of Erich Zahn: Irrelevant; there’s no Threat in the context of the story, except the strange space itself, which does not appear to create peril (or if it does, can be fended off by music).

The Call of Cthulhu
See my more in depth post on this tale.

The Dunwhich Horror
Short Spoilery Synopsis: When Wilbur Whately, a precocious fast growing child is born, so is his brother, a constantly growing mass of flesh. (Their father is possibly Yog-Sothoth). After Wilbur’s death, big brother goes on a giant monster rampage throughout Dunwhich.
Textual Effectiveness of Weaponry: Wilbur is mortally wounded by guarddogs when trying to break into the Arkham University; his flesh is mostly otherworldly, only slightly human. The brother is assumed to be much tougher; three academians use a ritual to summon a lightning bolt to destroy the beast.
Can You Fight the Dunwhich Horror? Yes. You might need specialized tools, but in this tale, humanity wins the day. It might even be possible with physical weaponry to find a weakness in the half-god’s human aspect that can be exploited.

The Whisperer in Darkness:
Short Spoilery Synopsis: Mi-Go, travelers from Pluto are taking over in rural Vermont, and only a crazy recluse and his pen pal can stop them. And then the pen pal falls for the most transparent trap ever, snaps out of it, and makes his escape before they steal his brain.
Textual Effectiveness of Weaponry: Henry Akeley keeps a vast stable of watch dogs, which the Mi-Go evidently fear. The story itself starts with reports of strange corpses, which suggests that the Mi-Go are vulnerable to death.
Can You fight the Mi-Go?: Yes. They are presented as having a vast technological and numerical advantage, but on Earth at least, they exist as physical beings, which are threatened by dog maulings. In event of Mi-Go invasion, load up on dogs and dig in for prolonged guerrilla warfare.

The Colour Out of Space:
Short Spoilery Synopsis: A meteorrite lands on the Gardner place, and poisons the water and the land, spreading a strange color, and leeching the life out of the plants and the Gardner family.
Textual Effectiveness of Weaponry: The narrator kills one of the corrupted Gardners, but no physical action seems possible against the color or the meteorite
Can You Fight the Colour Out of Space: No, and the meteorite fragment dissolves over time- there’s not even the option to destroy that. Perhaps quick retrieval and quarantine of such a fragment would be able to contain the corruption, but once its active, there’s little recourse except to abandon the land. The story also features an ambiguous threat of a city aquifer spreading into the corrupted territory.

The Haunter of the Dark:
Short Spoilery Synopsis: Robert Blake finds a ruined church and explores it, possibly letting loose and calling attention to an ancient evil that is held at bay by light. During an electrical outage, it escapes and kills him.
Textual Effectiveness of Weaponry: The beast flees from light when it is shined into cracks in the church, and it is suggested that light might be able to harm it.
Can You fight the Haunter of the Dark: Inconclusive, but leaning Yes. One might be able to go all Alan Wake on its ass.

The Thing on the Doorstop:
Short Spoilery Synopsis: This may be Lovecraft’s most sexist tale, stating at women’s brains are physically less capable then men’s brains. Or that might just be the mad sorcerer talking, who stole his daughter’s body to gain immortality, and now continues to body hop.
Textual Effectiveness of Weaponry: The host’s body can be killed, but if the corpse is not destroyed, it can still switch bodies, leaving the other host possessing a rotting corpse.
Can You fight the Thing on the Doorstep: (Technically the thing on the doorstep is the rotting corpse of the woman’s form, inhabited by the narrator’s friend) Yes. The host is human; all you need is a handy candlestick or gun, and the ability to burn the body.

The Dreams in the Witch-House
Short Spoilery Synopsis: A mathematician is on the cusp of puzzling out the secrets of space and time, and attracts a witch and her ratlike familiar, who have been kidnapping and killing children for centuries.
Textual Effectiveness of Weaponry: When the mathematician is spirited away by the witch, he steals her ritual knife and stabs her with it. The familiar survives to kill him, but then disappears.
Can You fight the Witch in the Witch House: Yes.

The Shadow Out of Time:
Short Spoilery Synopsis: A man has several years of his life taken from him, when time traveling aliens swtich bodies with him to study humanity. Later he goes and finds ruins of their city, where he discovers it was real all along.
Textual Effectiveness of Weaponry: None is used. There’s not any physical conflict in the story.
Can You fight the Shadow out of Time: Irrelevant. The Great Race seem to be long lived but mortal, although there is a greater threat they seem to fear. The horror of the tale is that all his dreams are true, which seems pretty weaksauce, since as the reader, we should really be assuming that all along.

This round of stories featured a number of stark victories and ineffible foes; lots of Yes and No answers, fewer Inconclusive ones, and a number of simply weird tales without any real conflict or threat. The tally so far, including all stories:

Yes: 13
Inconclusive, Leaning Yes: 5
Inconclusive: 3
Inconclusive, Leaning No: 5
No: 6
Irrelevant: 6

If it bleeds (or dissolves, or melts), you can kill it.

Can You Fight the Mythos? Special Cthulhu Edition

Right now I’m reading The Best of H.P. Lovecraft, which is a comparatively weighty tome to the first two volumes. But it contains a certain tale some of you may be familiar with, and the story which is the reason behind this series entire. That story goes by the title of Call of Cthulhu.

It’s a complex and winding tale. A young man comes into possession of a distant relative’s manuscripts, and a strange idol. The narrator travels about, piecing together clues and anecdotes to reconstruct what had previously happened. This primarily concerns two different occurrences: a federal raid on a Cthulhu-cult in the Louisiana bayou many years previous, and a shipwreck and survivor of an encounter with dread Cthulhu himself.

For our purposes, the rest of the tale can be set aside for now. Let us look at the facts concerning the encounter with Cthulhu:

*A storm, caused by Cthulhu’s awakening forces a ship, the Emma off its course. It cannot be directly concluded which event caused the other- if the Emma’s simple presence caused Cthulhu to psychically reach out, or if the Emma was simply a victim of being in the wrong place at the same time.
*Almost a month later, the lost Emma encounters a ship (the Alert) crewed by (presumable) Cthulhu cultists, and bests them in battle, what with the Emma crewed by hearty Norwegians and the cultists racial degenerates.
*Soon after, they land on Cthulhu-island (aka R’yleh). There’s similarities to the island in Dagon, but it can’t be said for sure if it’s the same place- there is vastly more architecture in R’yleh.
*Captain Johansen arrives with eight men, who explore the strange city.
*They find an “immense carved door,” “like a great barn door,” at a generally strange angle to the ground and land. “Men wondered how any door in the universe could be so vast.” The man who opens the door from the far side rather quickly rejoins the group, before any other action occurs.
*Cthulhu comes out of the door.
*Two perish in fright immediately, and three more are “swept up by flabby claws” before any further action can be taken. Another falls on the strange terrain while attempting to escape. The remaining two explorers reach the boat.
*The other survivor looks back and goes mad, seeing Cthulhu pursuing, and eventually dies of exposure.
*Johansen brings the boat around and rams Cthulhu, doing significant, but non-lasting damage. Cthulhu sinks beneath the waves, and Johansen escapes.

How Big is Cthulhu? Big, but not that big. Cthulhu is described as “A mountain walked or stumbled.” The door it arrives through is massive. Yet it’s also small enough for a man to slide down safely and quickly. A scope of miles does not make sense. A scale similar to Godzilla or King Kong does Cthulhu justice: massive.

How Deadly is Cthulhu? Deadly, but not that deadly. Cthulhu is famously stated as “Damage: 1d6 Investigators per round,” but I think he just had a good first round. After the first round, Cthulhu’s damage output significantly decreases: 1 Investigator during the entire chase sequence on the island (and it must have taken them more than one round to get back to the boat), and then nothing.

(Interestingly, in my research I found that Cthulhu’s original statblock had him doing 22d6 damage with a claw, or 16d6 with his tentacles, with 100% accuracy- certainly enough to take out a hero each action. The later editions added a special attack: “if the investigators are unlucky enough to meet Cthulhu, each round 1d3 investigators are scooped up in Cthulhu’s flabby claws to die horribly.”

Clearly, if you can get away from the man himself, you have a fair chance of launching a counter-attack.

How Tough is Cthulhu? One would have to imagine with all that bulk, shotguns and dynamite just won’t do the trick. (Call of Cthulhu places is armor above the damage output with most weapons, and allows him to regenerate. Editions of the game that give stats for mortars and field guns, as well as investigators patient enough to whittle down Cthulhu’s hit points are victorious, but then he reforms in 1d10 + 10 minutes.)

But enough blunt force trauma may be, surprisingly all you need. Johansen turns his boat around and rams it into Cthulhu, doing rather more damage to Cthulhu than to the boat:
“[Johansen] drove his vessel head on against the pursing jelly… there was a bursting as of an exploding bladder, a slushy nastiness as of a cloven sunfish, a stench as of a thousand opened graves, and a sound that the chronicler would not put on paper.”
However, it’s clearly not a killing blow: “the scattered plasticity of that nameless sky-spawn was nebulously recombining in its hateful original form.” But it gives Johansen enough time to get away.

But Maybe Cthulhu Destroyed the World Later: No, he didn’t. The narrator, by this point, is writing months and months after the events.

But Maybe the Stars Were Wrong: Was Cthulhu woken up on accident, and thus Johansen only defeated a groggy version of the Elder God? Possibly. The narrator assumes so. However:
The Call of Cthulhu (which gives strange dreams, and causes some further insanity, but presumably only in the already mentally unbalanced), is accompanied by earthquakes- likely from R’yleh rising to the surface, weeks before the Emma arrives at R’yleh.
During this time, artists around the world have strange dreams. It stops on the day that Johansen escapes Cthulhu.

A more likely interpretation of the events suggests that the Stars Were Right, and the Call of Cthulhu was unleashed, but Johansen’s timely intervention stopped the entrance of Cthulhu on earth. If he and his crew were responsible, the Call would have happened when the vault was opened.

One can’t reasonably conclude the Emma’s presence was solely responsible for awakening great Cthulhu; the text mentions specific latitude and longitude: boats know where that spot is, and can find it, and have been there before.

Can You Fight Cthulhu? Yes. All you need is enough blunt force trauma. But that won’t kill him.

However, one wonders what one might be able to do with more advanced technology.

Lovecraft never lived to the nuclear age, (which is a shame, because the fears of the time would have resonated with him) but one of his colleagues did, a man who collaborated with him strongly on the Cthulhu Mythos. You might have heard of him: August Derleth.
And according to Derleth, the answer to the age old question of “what happens if I nuke Cthulhu” is not “he reforms next round, but now he’s radioactive.”

Can You Fight the Mythos? Part II

In Can You Fight the Mythos? Part I, I looked at Lovecraft’s Lurking Fear and Other Tales. Now, we continue, shotgun and dynamite in hand, plumbing the depths of the Mythos, seeing how reliable the techniques of, shall we say, “action oriented” investigators might fare, looking at The Tomb, and Other Tales.

My rating is based on the actual presence of weaponry and brute force overcoming the supernatural or otherwise unusual elements of Lovecraft’s tales. If weapons are specifically mentioned as effective against the Mythos Threat (such as in Lurking Fear), the tale gets a Yes rating. If the weapons are specifically mentioned as ineffective against the Mythos Threat, the tale gets a No rating. Some tales don’t really have a threat, per se, these get an Irrelevant. Anything else gets an Inconclusive rating, with a leaning yes or no based on my own perception and judgement.

The Tomb
Short Spoilery Synopsis: A young man astrally projects into his family tomb, thinking he’s exploring it nightly, and has weird visions within.
Textual Effectiveness of Weaponry: None is used. There’s not really anything to fight. The strangeness of the tale comes from the reveals that he was dreaming the whole time, but knew things he couldn’t otherwise.
Can You Fight the Tomb? Irrelevant.

The Festival
Short Spoilery Synopsis: A man joins his family to take part in a strange festival, involving a deep cavern under the city, cultists, and strange flying beasts. However, he was perhaps looking into the past, seeing the city as it was.
Textual Effectiveness of Weaponry: None is used. This one is hard to judge- there’s certainly a menace here, but so little information is given, that it’s hard to come up with any conclusion.
Can You Fight the Festival? Inconclusive

Imprisoned with the Pharaohs
Short Spoilery Synopsis: Harry Houdini (ghostwritten by Lovecraft) is kidnapped on an Egyptian vacation, and thrown into the depths of ruins, where lurk hybrid animal-human mummies, (maybe) an ancient sorcerer, and some truly giant monstrosity.
Textual Effectiveness of Weaponry: There’s a fight scene with some (presumably) human cultists, but that doesn’t seem to terribly count. Houdini spends the rest of his time running away from things, with his imagination to fill in the blanks.
Can You Fight the Stuff that’s Imprisoned With the Pharaohs? Tough to say, since there’s multiple possible antagonists- the hybrid mummies (which I would strongly lean yes), the guide, who might be an Immortal Pharaoh, or could just be a normal guy, and the gigantic monstrosity, which could be just about anything. Inconclusive, leaning no.

Short Spoilery Synopsis: A strange man can travel through time, and after he shows off his power, a very strange entity kills him.
Textual Effectiveness of Weaponry: None is used against the entity, which simply causes Him to decay, and then envelops him in a cloud of darkness, but also wields a metal implement to get through the door.
Can You Fight the Dark Thing that Comes for Him? There doesn’t seem to be any effective way to fight back against a cloud of darkness that emanates a selective aura of decay, so No.

The Horror At Red Hook
Short Spoilery Synopsis: A massive cult operates out of Red Hook, a police officer investigates, and stumbles into a strange sight of lots of unusual creatures.
Textual Effectiveness of Weaponry: None is used.
Can You Fight the Horror at Red Hook? There’s lots of horrors here- a reanimated cultist, and a “nightmare horde” containing such gems as a “dog-faced howler” and a “silent strutter in darkness.” There’s a horde of baleful creatures, but we don’t know much about them. Inconclusive, leaning no, given the apocalyptic degree of Lovecraft’s description.

The Strange High House in the Mist
Short Spoilery Synopsis: A traveller makes his way to an isolated house, and returns somewhat lessened, but the house suggests a jovial air. The threat here is that the house will lure more as a siren song, and consume parts of their essence.
Textual Effectiveness of Weaponry: None is used- how do you fight something like that.
Can You Fight the Strange High House in the Mist: This is a solid No- the house is something you can’t fight with physical means. (Okay, maybe with dynamite), but the threat is spiritual, not physical.

In the Walls of Eryx:
Short Spoilery Synopsis: It’s scifi! A venusian explorer, looking for strange crystals, stumbles into an invisible labyrinth he cannot escape from.
Textual Effectiveness of Weaponry: The character’s flame pistol itself is presented as a credible threat to the native venusians, that even outnumbered such weaponry makes the character a formidable threat. At the end, technology prevails, and diamond-drills are able to destroy the otherwise impervious (and possibly shifting, or otherwise impossibly complex) labyrinth.
Can You Fight the Walls of Eryx? Yes.

The Evil Clergyman:
Short Spoilery Synopsis: In Lovecraft’s last published tale, a curious investigator encounters a strange projection, and finds his body changed to that of a sinister looking clergyman.
Textual Effectiveness of Weaponry: None- this is more of weird tale than any sort of conflict.
Can You Fight the Evil Clergyman? Irrelevant.

Early Tales:
These are some of Lovecraft’s earlier work, and not part of his official chronology of works.

The Beast in the Cave:
Short Spoilery Synopsis: An overdaring spelunker, driven by fear, bludgeons a strange beast to death. But it was a degenerate ape-man, once of human stock!
Textual Effectiveness of Weaponry: A thrown rock is enough to kill the beast.
Can You Fight the Beast in the Cave? Yes.

The Alchemist
Short Spoilery Synopsis: A noble family is cursed- each male heir is killed shortly after turning 32 years old. The culprit, an ancient alchemist wronged by the family centuries ago, exacting his revenge personally and stealthily upon each heir.
Textual Effectiveness of Weaponry: The narrator defeats the Alchemist by throwing a torch at him.
Can You Fight the Alchemist? Yes.
(Also, I really liked this story. The pacing is extremely good, although the ending is absurdly anticlimactic.)

Poetry and the Gods:
Short Spoilery Synopsis: This one, it’s hard to count as a Mythos tale. It’s about poetry, and homages to poets of ages past, and the Greek Gods coming back into the world and stuff. It’s also boring.
Can You Fight Poetry and the Gods? N/A

The Street:
Short Spoilery Synopsis: A street, empowered with the spirits of the past, self-destructs, possibly to stop a revolutionary plot by people of races that Lovecraft doesn’t like.
Textual Effectiveness of Weaponry: None is used.
Can You Fight the Street? No.

The Transition of Juan Romero:
Short Spoilery Synopsis: A giant abyss opens up in a mine, a Mexican disappears into it, and then the abyss mysteriously closes up.
Textual Effectiveness of Weaponry: None. Juan Romero disappears off-screen; it’s never made clear what happens to him or why the narrator refers to it as a ‘transition.’
Can You Fight the Transition of Juan Romero? Inconclusive, of the most inconclusive kind.

This batch of tales was much more of a mix- more truly strange happenings that cannot be effectively strove against, but still a mix of straightforward, but terrible, antagonists. With the exception of the Walls of Eryx and the early works, the tales in this volume are entirely on the No side of the spectrum.

The total thus far:

Yes: 6
Inconclusive, Leaning Yes: 4
Inconclusive: 2
Inconclusive, Leaning No: 5
No: 4
Irrelevant: 3

Can You Fight the Mythos? Part I

One of the sacred cows of Cthulhu Mythos gaming is that you cannot fight back; you are eventually doomed to be devoured by unnameable entities; guns are useful only against human cultists.

But how much of this is an artifact of creature stat blocks, and how much is based in Lovecraft’s actual works. Out of a desire to read more Lovecraft, and this curiosity, I start this expedition into madness: Can You Fight the Mythos?

I’m going to take a look at every Lovecraft story ever written, and look at what’s actually in the text: are the tools of the destructive player-character, such as guns and copious quantities of dynamite, actually effective in dealing with the mythos threat?

Oh, Spoilers Ahoy.

I started with The Lurking Fear and Other Stories, because it contains Dagon, which is the first Lovecraft tale. Tim suggested I try to follow a chronological order, but I’ll be reading at work and don’t want to lug too many books around.

The Lurking Fear
Short Spoilery Synopsis: Degenerated ex-human subteranean murders lurk in tunnels connected to their abandoned ancestral house, and when there’s lightning storms, they come out and kill people.
Textual Effectiveness of Weaponry: Extremely effective, the protagonist not only kills one with his pistol but in doing so causes them to go berserk and chase each other around. Then he dynamites the whole place. In general, the protagonist acts exactly as a Mythos Power-Gamer should, confronting the mystery with meticulous research followed by overwhelming force.
Can You Fight the Lurking Fear? Yes.

Short Spoilery Synopsis: A castaway ends up on a newly risen volcanic island with a strange creature and strange idols.
Textual Effectiveness of Weaponry: None is used. The Dagon itself is depicted as using spears to hunt whales. One can only assume that as a creature of flesh and blood, enough bullets, harpoons, or dynamite should do the trick.
Can You Fight the Dagon? Inconclusive, but leaning Yes.

Beyond the Wall of Sleep
Short Spoilery Synopsis: A racial degenerate (are we sensing a theme?) with vivid dreams is admitted to an asylum; a researcher explores shared dreaming technology and contacts a strange intelligence.
Textual Effectiveness of Weaponry: None is used. The strange intelligence strives against a celestial star and is apparently shortly lived in that attempt.
Can You Fight whatever is Beyond the Wall of Sleep? No, although it’s not entirely certain if there’s any compelling reason to do so.

The White Ship
Short Spoilery Synopsis: A lighthouse attendant hails a strange ship and sails to strange impossible places, but forsakes paradise to chase a fantasy and returns home.
Textual Effectiveness of Weaponry: None. The story is mostly about not chasing legends and being happy with what you have, lest you lose it.
Can You Fight While Sailing on the White Ship? Irrelevant.

Arthur Jermyn
Short Spoilery Synopsis: The Jermyn family are racial degenerates descended from an African explorer and some sort of ape. Arthur loses it and kills himself and burns down his house.
Textual Effectiveness of Weaponry: Fire certainly seems to do the trick against degenerate ape-men.
Can You Fight Arthur Jermyn? Yes, quite easily. (Although it seems to be another trend that many of Lovecraft’s protagonists are descended from the very evil they investigate and choose to end their own lives- unfortunately sometimes Fighting the Mythos means fighting yourself.)

From Beyond
Short Spoilery Synopsis: An inventor creates a device that allows people to perceive alternate dimensions, but also the creatures in those dimensions to see (and eat) said people. He goes crazy and invites his friend over to be killed.
Textual Effectiveness of Weaponry: Our protagonist draws his pistol, but wisely chooses to shoot the device, rather than the creatures.
Can You Fight the things From Beyond: Inconclusive, but leaning strongly No. But a pistol can still be handy in a pinch.

The Temple
Short Spoilery Synopsis: A bunch of Nazis in a U-Boat find a strange icon and are led to a strange underwater temple (much like that depicted in Dagon) and go crazy.
Textual Effectiveness of Weaponry: The Nazi officers use it on their crew, but they actually don’t even see any mythos creatures (except possibly at the very beginning of the tale)
Can You Fight the Temple? Inconclusive, leaning yes, but a couple of submarine torpedoes would do some damage if you can keep your damn head straight.

The Moon-Bog
Short Spoilery Synopsis: A rich man decides to drain a bog to make his lands nicer, but uncovers a strange ruins and a curse that turns himself and his workers into strange frog-people.
Textual Effectiveness of Weaponry: None is used.
Can You Fight the Moon-Bog? Inconclusive, leaning yes. Don’t drain the cursed bog, but frog people should die pretty darn easy under concentrated machine gun fire.

The Hound
Short Spoilery Synopsis: A duo of corrupt occultists dig up a corpse for an amulet, and are pursued its ghost, which can take the form of a shadowy dog.
Textual Effectiveness of Weaponry: None used. One of the occultists is shredded to ribbons by the ghost dog.
Can You Fight the Hound? Inconclusive, but leaning no. It might be possible with forewarning and preparation, but our characters don’t make the attempt.

The Unnameable
Short Spoilery Synopsis: Almost as a direct retort to his critics, two characters have a discussion over whether or not things can be accurately described as “unnameable,” or whether that’s just a cheap cop-out. Then an unnameable abomination attacks them.
Textual Effectiveness of Weaponry: None is used.
Can You Fight the Unnameable? Inconclusive, but leaning no- the partial description given is consistent with the most otherworldy of Lovecraft monsters, but since no one actually tried dynamite, there’s no way to be sure. However, the Unnameable isn’t all that nasty- it leaves both characters alive to continue their discussion.

The Outsider
Short Spoilery Synopsis: A mythos tale from the perspective of the monster, a lurking terror that does not, at the beginning of the tale, realise it is a terror.
Textual Effectiveness of Weaponry: None is used.
Can you Fight the Outsider? Inconclusive, but leaning yes. It’s a big ugly humanoid beast. Probably one of those racial degenerates Lovecraft seems so fond of.

The Shadow over Innsmouth
Short Spoilery Synopsis: The longest tale in the book, a curious antiquarian goes to the town of Innsmouth, where the majority of the population are racial degenerates from human and fish-men (possibly Dagons). The townsfolk come for the protagonist in the night, and he makes a harrowing escape from the town. Then in the last portion, he does some research into his family tree and finds out he’s one of them. Oh Snap!
Textual Effectiveness of Weaponry: In the prologue, it’s mentioned that the government wiped out the town and blew up an evil reef, though it’s established that there’s more fish-men, and more fish-half-breeds elsewhere in the world.
Can You Fight the Shadow over Innsmouth? Yes, judicious use of overwhelming force wins the day. And the government is even helpful.

The score so far:
Yes: 3
Inconclusive, leaning Yes: 4
Inconclusive, leaning No: 3
No: 1
Irrelevant: 1

So far, it’s looking good for the good guys! Stock up on bullets and dynamite.