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British pulp adventure and travelogues

Posted by Shimmin Beg , in design 10 February 2017 · 550 views

So the scenario currently known as Lincolnshire II is still sat on my hard drive, waiting for the right conflux of me being in the mood, my group being available, time, energy, and possibly some feedback from beta readers, before I subject them to it.

 

Technically I am working on Lincolnshire III, but my writing tends to have to go where my mind wanders, which means I am so far 25,000 words into a campaign instead. It's going to be pretty railroady, which seems tough to avoid with prewritten campaigns, but I think that's okay if players buy into it. I'm trying to build in bits where what the players do actually makes a difference - plot flags, essentially - so they can actually alter the antagonists' plans, reduce the resources they'll have available in future, and so on.

 

There are some slight difficulties in the shape of a pulp-ish British campaign. Pulp tends to leave a lot of room for gunning down mooks, but I don't really want that for a couple of reasons.

 

One, I genuinely think it's a lot less appropriate for British scenarios than American ones, since there's a huge difference in gun culture (even in the 1920s), in attitudes to gun violence, and so on.

 

Secondly, I feel that it's a bit of a slippery slope: once Investigators start shooting at cultists in a given scenario, it makes pulling out the gun in future increasingly easy. Given how Mythos stuff and stakes tend to ratchet up as well, there's more incentive to take drastic action. I'm concerned this will make people less inclined to try other approaches. More importantly, I think it exacerbates the rocket tag tendencies that CoC has when relatively mortal characters are involved.

 

To put it bluntly, I'm a bit worried that it could devolve into going to Next Location, identifying the probable local antagonist, and unloading shotguns into them from ambush. It makes a lot of sense, when you think about it... however, I don't think it would be very satisfying on the whole (it would certainly have its moments, of course!) and it naturally encourages antagonists to adopt similarly dramatic tactics. This, too, is non-ideal from my point of view, especially in a campaign!

 

I've got a couple of ideas for building in sections where direct combat is an option, but I'm aiming to ensure there are always other possibilities. Of course, these might just be other relatively physical challenges. I aim to create differences in atmosphere here to help flag up to players that A is a section where killing off antagonists might be fair game, while B is a section where the forces of human civilisation are at work and Consequences are likely. Otherwise I will probably put in some fairly explicit stuff at the beginning about expectations of play for the campaign, including that if they decide to murder NPCs in cold blood, especially socially-important ones, they can expect the law to descend in force.

 

It seems like there's going to be a fair number of very weird places in this campaign, so I'm having to ransack Google and my various other RPG sourcebooks in search of inspiration for what those might look like, and how to break them down into relatively specific sections so I can give guidance on letting the players interact with them, as well as work out specific challenges they might present. Which is fun and a nice change from contemplating the responses of a conservative Victorian clergyman to awkward social situations and/or monsters.

 

It's all working out rather long though! Right now it's because I'm trying to make some travel sections interesting; in context, they need to be. I need to go back over them at some point, though, and try to make sure it's doing something meaningful rather than just filler (although flavourful filler can be fun too of course).






I'm only really familiar with the "big" CoC campaigns, but it seems to me that there hasn't been much done with the British railway system (still pre-nationalisation and steam-hauled). A travel-focused should surely have some space for a desperate fight along the sides and roof of a train: <i>that</i> is pulp, in a way that simply ambushing the enemy isn't.

Hi, the 'Lincolnshire' in your post caught my eye. Probably as I live there. Not simply that, the scenarios I've written for CoC (one of which appeared in raw form in Carl Ford's Dagon) are set there. The mournful, east coast setting, wide open fens and haunted past make it an ideal alternative to the usual New England fare.

 

If you would like to see the pdf of one of these scenarios - Fenland Fog - let me know, along with a suitable inbox I can send it to, and I'll send it along. I poured a lot of effort into this and its follow-on adventure, so it'd be good to give them some exposure.

I'm only really familiar with the "big" CoC campaigns, but it seems to me that there hasn't been much done with the British railway system (still pre-nationalisation and steam-hauled). A travel-focused should surely have some space for a desperate fight along the sides and roof of a train: <i>that</i> is pulp, in a way that simply ambushing the enemy isn't.

 

An excellent plan, and one I will steal for Chapter 3.  I have already established in Chapter 1 that trains are by no means safe.

 

Hi, the 'Lincolnshire' in your post caught my eye. Probably as I live there. Not simply that, the scenarios I've written for CoC (one of which appeared in raw form in Carl Ford's Dagon) are set there. The mournful, east coast setting, wide open fens and haunted past make it an ideal alternative to the usual New England fare.

 

If you would like to see the pdf of one of these scenarios - Fenland Fog - let me know, along with a suitable inbox I can send it to, and I'll send it along. I poured a lot of effort into this and its follow-on adventure, so it'd be good to give them some exposure.

 

Oh, hi!  That's great - most of the scenarios I've written or worked on recently are also set in Lincolnshire, funnily enough (what with me being a Scouser).  I agree, it's a great setting for lonely weirdness.  I'm in touching distance up here in Yorkshire but haven't had the time to visit recently.

I'll PM you an email address, I've love to see what you've done.

I'll send you the pdf direct to your inbox. The quality isn't brilliant - in that the text for some of the handouts is a tad blurry. But I do have the original handout files as well should the pdf be a problem. This scenario is set in Gedney Drove End, overlooking the Wash. My follow-on to this is set in Crowland and steps aside from the usual mythos theme to keep players guessing.

 

Like I said at the outset, 'Fog' appeared in Dagon fanzine years back but I've since subjected it to a complete rewrite, adding to the plot-line and research phase. Let me know what you think. I wan't sure what your intention was with your scenarios. Are they simply to play, or do you intend producing copy for distribution?

 

Look forward to hearing from you.