The Klarkash-Ton Cycle

The Klarkash-Ton Cycle I usually don’t talk about non-RPG books here on Stargazer’s World, but I don’t think it will hurt when I do from time to time. “The Klarkash-Ton Cycle” is part of a collection of Cthulhu Mythos books published by Chaosium.

The 220-paged book contains 11 horror short stories written by Clark Ashton Smith, who was one of major contributor’s to the so-called Cthulhu Mythos. The stories included in this book are:

  • “The Ghoul”
  • “A Rendering from the Arabic”
  • “The Hunters from Beyond”
  • “The Vaults of Abomi”
  • “The Nameless Offspring”
  • “Ubbo-Sathla”
  • “The Werewolf of Averoigne”
  • “The Eidolon of the Blind”
  • “Vulthoom”
  • “The Treader of the Dust”
  • “The Infernal Star”

The book concludes with detailed notes on each tale, which give the reader some interesting background information.

Especially when you are already a fan of H.P. Lovecraft’s work you definitely should read Clark Ashton Smith, too. In my opinion this book is the perfect introduction to his work. Stories like “A Rendering from the Arabic” or “The Infernal Star” are classic Mythos stories, that feature everything you would expect from one of Lovecraft’s work. What actually surprised me that Clark Ashton Smith also set several of his tales on Mars. “The Vaults of Abomi”, “Ubbo-Sathla” and “The Eidolon of the Blind” are all set on the red planet and would work perfectly as inspiration for a Space 1889 game with some Lovecraftian twist.

I can wholeheartedly recommend this book to any Mythos fan. And since Smith’s stories are not as well known as the ones written by Lovecraft himself you have a good chance your players don’t know them. That makes using them as inspiration for your games much, much easier.

I got my copy of the book from, but I am sure you can easily get it through your local bookstore or any online book seller. The regular price is $14.95. Or you can order it directly from Chaosium.

Michael Wolf is a German games designer and enthusiast best known for his English language role-playing games blog, Stargazer's World, and for creating the free rules-light medieval fantasy adventure game Warrior, Rogue & Mage. He has also worked as an English translator on the German-language Dungeonslayers role-playing game and was part of its editorial team. In addition to his work on Warrior, Rogue & Mage and Dungeonslayers, he has created several self-published games and also performed layout services and published other independent role-playing games such as A Wanderer's Romance, Badass, and the Wyrm System derivative Resolute, Adventurer & Genius, all released through his imprint Stargazer Games. Professionally, he works as a video technician and information technologies specialist. Stargazer's World was started by Michael in August 2008.

2 thoughts on “The Klarkash-Ton Cycle”

  1. CAS is a very interesting and lamentably unknown author – so thanks for honoring with an article. If you have any interest in "Lovecraftian fiction" at all, this is one of the three authors you simply MUST read – apart from HPL (obviously) and Robert E. Howard.
    BTW, Night Shade Books are publishing CAS' collected works in five volumes in nicely bound hardcover. Highly recommended!
    OTOH, I am not too fond of Chaosiums anthologies. I got the "Antarktos Cycle" a few years back, and while it contained very good and rarely printed stories, the proofreading and printing-quality was severly sub-standard.

    1. I think I have to check out this hardcover collection. It sound like something I just need to have on my bookshelf. And I agree that the Chaosium books have some proofreading issues, but at least my copy of the book was of good print quality – for a book of that price at least.

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