Leaving the (largely overstated) squickery aside, the core aesthetics of Carcosa owe nearly as much to Jack Kirby as they owe Howard or Lovecraft. If I heard you pitch a game that involved mighty-thewed barbarians killing Evil Sorcerers on a distant world filled with robots and mummies and dinosaurs and Space Alien technology, my first reaction would be to kiss you and my second reaction would be to start practicing my Thundarr impression as I rolled up a character named Grodd Wizard-Slayer.
It's the B-movie aspect, the pulp Sci-Fi disguised as Heroic Fantasy that I love about Carcosa. I know it's ostensibly written as a horror game, with difficult moral choices built right in, and there is plenty in there to support that kind of game. But that’s not what I’m usually looking for in a game. I mean, I effin’ ADORE Call of Cthulhu, but there’s still a pizza and a six-pack on the table when I run it. And while it’s fun to watch players fall into the occasional philosophical tight spot, wall to wall nihilism just ain’t my go-to style of game.
On the other hand, riding a triceratops hell-for-leather into a field of soon-to-be-dead robots is totally my style of game. I’ll go one better: using robot blood to warpaint your Triceratops like the side of a mid-70’s conversion van is probably some form of apotheosis moment for me, gamewise.
Is that still Carcosa? Probably. I’ll ask myself that question again once I’ve gone a little further with this dumb idea.
Note: the above text refers to the original, art-free paperback version of Carcosa. I have yet to invest in the newfangled LotFP version.