Hypergraphia Issue #2 – Gateways, Doorways, and Thresholds, Oh My!

Hypergraphia Issue #2

Editor: Matt Puccio
Page Count: 58
Available Formats: PDF and print
PDF (DTRPG) – $2.99
Print (if available) – $6

In mid-September, I saw that Matt Puccio, editor, and publisher of Hypergraphia, was selling a limited number of remaining physical copies of issue #2 via Facebook. To be honest, I had never heard of Hypergraphia. I decided to take a chance and ordered it. Once it arrived I was pleasantly surprised by the old school ‘zine vibe.

So, what is Hypergraphia? According to Wikipedia, Hypergraphia is a behavioral condition characterized by the intense desire to write or draw. Not a bad title for a ‘zine-style magazine. With Hypergraphia, Issue 2, you get 58 pages filled with numerous articles, pieces of fiction, scenario hooks, and a complete scenario. The theme of issue 2 is “gateways and thresholds”. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at this issue from cover to cover and then I will give you my thoughts.

Noah Lloyd’s Il Varco and Casey Kirkpatrick’s The Blooded Mirror introduce obscure ancient artifacts with scenario hooks to bring them into your game. Il Varco’s artifact is from the lost continent of Mu, while The Blooded Mirror’s artifact, a mirror, when touched in just the right way becomes a portal for Shadow Thing.

In The Other Side by Matt Puccio, we get to see how the stress of working an active archaeological dig affects the mind when an ancient archway is uncovered. Despite it being short, it is quite engaging. Jumping over to Cooter Wainwright by Ed Possing, we find a combination of short fiction and NPC development. The story of Cooter Wainwright, the NPC, is presented as short fiction and followed by recommendations for use as an NPC and several interesting story hooks. The last and by far the biggest piece of fiction in this issue is Hello from Japan by Randy Jestice. Randy weaves a short mysterious J-Horror story of an Onryo who uses a umikuji machine as its gateway into our world. The story concludes with a brief scenario outline for Keepers interested in using this specific Onryo in a future story.

Do you like to incorporate sigils in your game as a way to mystify your players or as a way for something to happen? If so, you’re going to like Jon Hook’s 13 Cursed Sigils. Jon outlines thirteen uniques and their very specific properties. Written so that each can be easily incorporated in your game. Keepers should note that these are compatible with Call of Cthulhu.

The remaining articles are geared toward Keepers and give them some new tools and ammunition for their Keeper’s Toolbox. The first is Doors in the Earth by Stephen E. Wall. This is a short history of root cellars and how to use this once common utilitarian construction for Mytho purposes. The second is Entamaphobia by Sean Murphy. By definition, Entamaphobia is the fear of doorways and openings. The article is concisely written and gives Keepers some great ideas on how to manifest this phobia in easy to understand game terms. The third article is Mythos Tomes in Literature: The Club Dumas by Adam Alexander. Adam Alexander takes explores adapting the book The Nine Doors of the Kingdom of Shadows (the central plot device in The Club Dumas) to incorporate it into horror games. He also skillfully presents a new Mythos tome that is inspired by The Nine Doors of the Kingdom of Shadows. The fourth and final article is Doorways to Adventure by Edwin Nagy. This is a collection of 20 concise story seeds, each of which follows the theme of Issue 2. Keepers can always use more story seed for inspiration.

The centerpiece of Issue 2, is Goodcliffe: A Cthulhu Dark Mystery in Cornwall, 1853 by Anthony Lee-Dudley. A fully developed scenario that is centered around a pervasive and encroaching darkness that affects the company mining town of Goodcliffe. Goodcliffe is an area where the veil between this world and that of the Dreamlands is thinnest. A portal has been opened and things are turning dark in the town of Goodcliffe. Can the investigators solve the mystery?

Overall, Hypergraphia, Issue 2 doesn’t disappoint. It’s an enjoyable read with each contributing authors’ unique voice, and it comes through in the totality of this issue. The variety of material is refreshing and engaging. I had no idea the topic of doorways could be so interesting. There are lots of scenario hooks for creative Keepers to work with. That being said, this is really a ‘zine for Keepers and not for players.

Let’s talk about the art for a moment. You can see the front cover in our “title” image; it has a nice and clean presentation that hints at what awaits readers. Throughout the issue, there are a variety of black and white photographs that are evocative and good artistic fits for their respective articles. There are two hand-drawn pieces included in two of the articles. While they fit thematically, neither is visually appealing in my humble opinion. The rear endpapers and back cover have some really cool thematic, hand-drawn artwork. These I find more visually appealing and have a very old school ‘vibe feel to them.

The highlight for me is the Goodcliffe scenario is really interesting and different. While it is not statted for any specific game system, it could be easily adapted to Call of Cthulhu with little trouble. It really does have a sense of crawling darkness and impending doom which I really liked. My only issue with this scenario is the layout of the scenario’s information and narrative parts. They felt oddly laid out and slightly disconnected. Despite the dislike for the layout itself, this scenario is well written and should be fun to play. For me, Goodcliffe was the highlight of issue 2.

As this was my first time exploring Hypergraphia, I am very happy with the overall quality of the writing and the presentation of the physical and digital ‘zine. The editing and proofing are well done and gives it a very polished and professional feel without losing it’s old school ‘zine vibe. I was not disappointed! Now I need to get the previous issues, 0 and 1.

If you like ‘zines and game aids, I suspect you’ll like Hypergraphia.

~ Modoc

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