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Alternative Histories in the Mythos...


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#41 Max Schreck

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Posted 07 March 2009 - 10:28 PM

Not the same thing, and you know it. You're just winding me up. :D

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#42 rylehNC

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Posted 08 March 2009 - 02:41 AM

So you meant that HPL's shared universe does not differ from ours regarding major historical events, such as WWII or the American Civil War, and therefore was not "an alternate reality"? In that case, you're right.


Even minor things. Alternate histories show the differences resulting from the creator's change point; Lovecraft seemed to stress that our universe could already include the Mythos and we wouldn't notice.
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#43 beelzebob

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Posted 08 March 2009 - 12:51 PM

In fact, any game using a basically historical setting will be 'alternative' as the events won't have happened exactly as they do in the game. It's just a matter of degree.

One of the great advantages of using a slightly alternative history setting is that the players will be able to visualise the background, but won't be able to predict events.

My players are currently in 1938, and often come up against Nazis. However they don't know when WW2 will start, or even who will be on which side. They might even be able to delay it, prevent it altogether, or (more likely} start it early...
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#44 cjearkham

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Posted 08 March 2009 - 01:09 PM

Not the same thing, and you know it. You're just winding me up. :D

The Mountains of Madness were visible above the ice.


Not after Brian Lumley got through with them. In "In the Vaults Beneath", he gave the Elder Things limited teleportation technology and suggested (if I remember correctly) that the resurrected ones which killed Prof. Lake activated it, causing the mountain range to drop (because stuff underneath it was no longer there) so that the Starkweather-Moore Expedition found no new mountain range.

When I first heard of these "4 miles under the ice" mountains, that's what I thought of.
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#45 cjearkham

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Posted 08 March 2009 - 01:17 PM

I would consider it an alternate reality, just one that is very close to our own, on the surface at least.


I agree. For example, Mythos prehistory states the Moon was formed by being thrown off from what is now the Pacific Basin -- a valid theory of HPL's time but one we now know to be false. There is no evidence of a "Great Cataclysm" which reshaped the outline of Europe from the Hyborian Age's to today's, and geological upthrust of portions of the seabed, in the way HPL uses it, is pretty impossible. "Alternate reality" is a nice, hand-waving way of covering such things.
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#46 Eryx_UK

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Posted 08 March 2009 - 01:28 PM

I have thought about a post-Apocalypse setting after the Great Old Ones arise in the near future. Never put any ideas to paper but thought it might make for an interesting short one off campaign.

#47 Doctor_TOC

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Posted 06 July 2009 - 04:49 PM

In the much-referenced (deservedly so) A Colder War, there's a lovely bit about people existing in "simulation spaces" in the mind of Yog-Sothoth, exploring all the possible ways they might die. Perhaps the reason the Blind idiot God is the way He is is that His mind is running simulations of the universe, over and over, each slightly different to the last, until He has mapped out every possible iteration of the way events can play out across the entirety of history.

You could build a "Sliders meets Cthulhu" campaign out of a group of people who realise that they are dead, souls eaten by Yog-Sothoth and now existing as shadows in the virtual universes of His mind, struggling to maintain their sense of self as they travel from simulation to simulation in the vain hope that they may find either a way out or a way to finally die...

#48 liebkraft

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Posted 25 December 2011 - 03:46 PM

Not after Brian Lumley got through with them. In "In the Vaults Beneath", he gave the Elder Things limited teleportation technology and suggested (if I remember correctly) that the resurrected ones which killed Prof. Lake activated it, causing the mountain range to drop (because stuff underneath it was no longer there) so that the Starkweather-Moore Expedition found no new mountain range.

When I first heard of these "4 miles under the ice" mountains, that's what I thought of.



Where can I find this Story from B.L.? Sounds really cool
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#49 Graham

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Posted 26 December 2011 - 08:32 AM

I've recently come across something that might be perfect for use in an AH context. The final report on the XIIth (Summer) & Vth (Winter) Olympics which would have been held in Japan in 1940 had events turned out otherwise.

Everything to make use of it is included, most importantly details on events and buildings:

http://www.la84found...1940/OR1940.pdf
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#50 cjearkham

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Posted 26 December 2011 - 11:05 PM

Where can I find this Story["In the Vaults Beneath"] from B.L.? Sounds really cool

The only place it seems to have been published is in one of his early Arkham House collections, The Caller of the Black. I don't see it in any recent Lumley re-collections.
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#51 KMatthias

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Posted 29 December 2011 - 10:24 PM

Neil Gaiman's A Study in Emerald is a good start for a very alternate Gaslight game.


Agreed. Since I read A Study in Emerald a couple of years ago, I've wanted to run (or play) a Cthulhu game in that universe. However, I'm too lazy to start such a project, and anyway I'm more comfortable with historical settings (or established fictional settings à la DnD) because there's more background material available than one (excellent) short story.

#52 Graham

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Posted 26 April 2014 - 08:53 AM

Thought I'd throw something in here, not so much an Alt-Hist, but a Future of the past.

In 1763 an Anon author released The Reign of George VI 1900-1925.

The book is a case of Rule Britannia.

Under the rulership of George VI the UK defeats France (Charles X), Russia (Tsar Peter IV) & Spain (Charles V) and makes the world a better place. (BTW they also save Frederick IX (descendant of Frederick the Great) of the HRE from losing his (Viennese) throne along the way).

In this world there was neither an American, French or Industrial revolution, three deckers still ply the oceans & the East India Company rules India & the former property of the Dutch East India Company.

Could be used as an alternate dimension, reached by a portal from somewhere in 1927, there may even be an alternate H.P.L findable in this universes version of Arkham, living a peaceful life under the Duke of Massachusetts...

 

Sorry for the bump, but I have just found that a map of the world based on this setting was created on the deviantart website.

 

http://quantumbranch.../23509827&qo=49

 

The setting itself would be rather interesting as technology froze at the early 1700's level (The only steam power might be Newcomen engines (Wikipedia)), the British (HEIC?) protectorate over Japan, the creator of the map added to what was described in the book might make for an 'interesting' adventure location


Edited by Graham, 26 April 2014 - 08:53 AM.

"If you do good, you'll live forever, if you do bad you'll die hearing a single note for I am the one true sound...", Fragment found in a cult hideout.

#53 Graham

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Posted 14 July 2014 - 02:41 AM

Back again with another interesting website. Alternatewars.com is a site covering military history with a goal towards providing resources that can be used by Alternate historians. The link to the front page is below.

 

http://www.alternatewars.com/

 

Highlights from my quick inspection are scans of various US 'Colour' war plans including the 1919 and 1927 plans for invading Mexico and the 1947-78 'Aggressor Force' used by the US army for training purposes, the early iteration 1947-51 (Documents covering the period between 1951-59) are missing is based on a 'Save your German Dollars for the Reich shall rise again' backstory, the 1959 and after iterations are more Soviet styled and drop the backstory.

 

That early '47-'51 version could make for an alternate Delta Green setting. The page covering it is linked below:

 

http://www.alternate...ons/Trigons.htm


Edited by Graham, 14 July 2014 - 03:24 AM.

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#54 Graham

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Posted 27 May 2016 - 03:39 PM

Thought I'd throw something in here, not so much an Alt-Hist, but a Future of the past.

In 1763 an Anon author released The Reign of George VI 1900-1925.

The book is a case of Rule Britannia.

Under the rulership of George VI the UK defeats France (Charles X), Russia (Tsar Peter IV) & Spain (Charles V) and makes the world a better place. (BTW they also save Frederick IX (descendant of Frederick the Great) of the HRE from losing his (Viennese) throne along the way).

In this world there was neither an American, French or Industrial revolution, three deckers still ply the oceans & the East India Company rules India & the former property of the Dutch East India Company.

Could be used as an alternate dimension, reached by a portal from somewhere in 1927, there may even be an alternate H.P.L findable in this universes version of Arkham, living a peaceful life under the Duke of Massachusetts...

 

Necropost: Something I created for this world, a description of the 3rd battalion of the 15th Massachusetts Regiment of Foot:

 

 

All smoothly went on in the front of our line, but the rear, O ye Gods! who on earth could define?

Not a single pot-alehouse escaped an assault, and they drained to the dregs, every barrel of malt.

Supported between two battalion men, here, hissing hot from the bung, reeled a tall grenadier.

Two damsels attending, his armour to bear, as drunk as the staggering hero, were there...

 

...

 

Our Governor, God bless him! Beloved and revered,benevolency smiling, amongst us appeard.

 

Around him those patterns of excellence shone, those jewels that luster reflect on his throne.

 

A grenadier drunk from the center rank reeled, and hiccuping up to his excellance wheeled.

"Never mind all these rebels, sir, but be quiet, we'll quell them, as quick as we'd quell you a riot."

The Govenor was delighted, and laughed out aloud; And the fellow received three huzzas from the crowd.

 

Based on this real world example...;

 

https://books.google...epage&q&f=false


"If you do good, you'll live forever, if you do bad you'll die hearing a single note for I am the one true sound...", Fragment found in a cult hideout.

#55 DAR

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Posted 28 May 2016 - 03:37 AM

(ahem)
My upcoming...eventually... monograph from Chaosium.
http://cthulhuadventus.blogspot.com

 

That looks really, really interesting...

 

D.



#56 deuce

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Posted 28 May 2016 - 04:42 AM

I agree. For example, Mythos prehistory states the Moon was formed by being thrown off from what is now the Pacific Basin -- a valid theory of HPL's time but one we now know to be false. There is no evidence of a "Great Cataclysm" which reshaped the outline of Europe from the Hyborian Age's to today's, and geological upthrust of portions of the seabed, in the way HPL uses it, is pretty impossible. "Alternate reality" is a nice, hand-waving way of covering such things.

 

Is this what the OP was originally talking about?

 

HPL always tried to keep up with the "current science" of the time, but he obviously cherry-picked. It seems to me that modern hubris is as much a theme in his Mythos as anything. His protagonists "knew" what was up. They were wrong and ancient/medieval scholars had a more accurate picture.

 

I'm a scientific pragmatist myself. However, how much of what we "know" is directly experienced or, at the least, fully understood in the scientific reports by laymen? That in itself is a sort of religious faith.

 

Anyone who has followed the thin (but most likely) trail of scientific enquiry knows how tenous or wrong-headed theorems can prove to be. Wegener's tectonic theory was considered implausible in living memory. Who's to say that HPL, Robert E. Howard, etc... weren't right? For "Mythos" purposes, IMO, saying that current theories might be wrong and the "Mythos" being right makes just as much sense. 

 

We're not talking just the "tectonics of R'lyeh" but also that the Crinoids created earhly life, including the primates. Paleogenomics doesn't show that. In fact, genetic science seems to be more proveably solid than tectonics. Everything about tectonics is mostly inference.

 

For the purposes of the game/Mythos, I say we give HPL/et al the benefit of a doubt.  :)

 

When it comes to actual "alternative histories" (as per mr mitts), I would suggest the world of Stirling's Draka:

 

https://en.wikipedia.../The_Domination

 

Another obvious alt-history setting would be that of Adrian Becker, which appears to be set in Wagner's "Kane-verse":

 

https://books.google... wagner&f=false

 

The Kane-verse, which appears to mirror HPL's Mythos but plays its own eldritch reindeer games, has always (IMO) been a logical setting for a (not really) "Mythos" adventure.



#57 Graham

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Posted 19 June 2016 - 09:31 AM

Found another attempt by someone to predict the future, in the form of the Franco-United Kingdom War of 189-, the work is written from the perspective of someone in the 1930 that results. Could be used as the basis of an alternate Gaslight campaign, or to 'mix things up' in the 20s

 

 

The last great naval war: An historical retrospect by A. Nelson Seaforth (pseud), 1891

 

https://archive.org/details/cu31924030752285


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#58 Graham

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Posted 02 October 2016 - 03:27 PM

A little something I created while playing Europa Universalis III.

 

Kingdom of Shan

The Kingdom of Shan is located roughly where Burma is in the main timeline, but does not have a sea-coast in 1562.

In 1399 it was a fairly typical quasi-tribal state. In the 1420s, however the Chinese decided to bring what they termed a rebellious vassal (Dai-Viet) to heel and in the resulting war Shan backed the Vietnamese and found itself overrun with Chinese armies and forced to accept the status of vassal to the Chinese.

This did however bring about a much needed improvement in administration as Chinese 'advisers' took over much of the running of the country.

In the 1460s the Kingdom was forced to accept absorption into China as a province and the then king (Binya-Nwe II) was set up as a provincial Grandee while the Chinese launched an intensive program of Sinification, eventually (Though with much internal upset) managing to pursuade the populace to accept the teachings of Confucius rather than Buddha.

This status changed when the Emperor Xuande decided that a vassal state in the West would be more cost effective than direct rule over the area and elected to reconstitue an expanded Kingdom of Shan, incorporating not only the original regions ruled by the Kingdom prior to its absorption into the Empire, but imperial regions to the west the Emperor considered would be useful in helping to establish a strong vassal to guard the south-western flank.

The new Kingdom of Shan under the son of the last King (Binya-Nwe III) came into being in June of 1516 and after some initial difficulties (In the form of a revolt of Burmese peasants put down with the aid of Chinese troops.) has settled down into it's new role as guard of the Empires south-west flank.

The kingdom has sent troops in support of Ming offensives in south-east Asia, but has become increasingly worried about it's western flank, where the explusion of Muslim rulers has resulted in internal chaos with several Hindu successor states battling for domination, chaos that the current King of Shan, Shengtsaubu I views with concern, especially with the reports of foreigners from the distant West becoming involved in these conflicts.

The attached pictures show the kingdom as it exists on the 13th of November 1562 and the countries rather interesting demographics resulting from the Kingdoms dissolution and reconstitution, with a three way split existing between the original Shan inhabitants, Han Colonists and Burmese (The Han and the Shan tend to stick together against the Burmese...). In terms of internal organisation, the country is run as a scaled down version of the Ming Empire, most trade goes either east to China or west to the markets of India.

Negotiations are afoot with the Ming to secure support for an offensive designed to secure access to the sea rather than relying on the stability of the nations to the west and south for trade. (I am thinking of restarting from an earlier save though.)

The kings of Shan up to the point I stopped playing (1562) are:

Binya-Nwe I 1385 - 1418
Binya Keng 1418-1421
Binya Dhamma 1421-1426
Binya Ran I 1426-1456
Binya-Nwe II 1456 - c.1460

Chinese Interregnum c. 1460 - 1516

Binya-Nwe III 1516 - 1547 (Son of Binya-Nwe II)
Binya Ran II 1547 - 1555
Shengtsaubu I 1555 -

th_Kingdom%20of%20Shan_zpsjucazebh.jpg

th_Kingdom%20of%20Shan%20-%20Demographic

How to use it, have the players pass through a gate (or crash a plane in Burma...) and find themselves confronted by soldiers  wearing uniforms similar to but not quite the same as those used by Chinese soldiers in the 1500s...


"If you do good, you'll live forever, if you do bad you'll die hearing a single note for I am the one true sound...", Fragment found in a cult hideout.

#59 Graham

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Posted 28 November 2016 - 02:10 PM

Here is another 'alternate Far East' generated using Europa Universalis III. The first maps are from 1647 and show the two Chinese Dynasties (Wu & Later Qin) that succeeded the Ming following the collapse of that dynasty and a large scale Japanese invasion in the 1550s. At this point in the games history the last Japanese province had been retaken by the Wu (Which somewhat ironically is a Shinto, Sino-Japanese dynasty....)

 

Later Qin Dynasty China (1617 - 1701)

 

th_Qin_Dynasty_China_zpsgjtvfb3a.jpg

 

The Emperors of the Later Qin Dynasty were:

Qin Congwei 1617 - 1636
Qin Yongwang 1636 - 1646
Qin Anwang 1646 - 1656
Qin Wangwei 1656 - 1662
Qin Dewang 1662 - 1671 (Died of sorrow following the loss of the western provinces following the 1st Wu-Qin War (1670 -1671))
Qin Deyu 1671 - 1690
Qin Yelu 1690 - 1701 (The last Later Qin 'Emperor', died at sea when his ships were intercepted by the Wu Navy during an attempt to flee to the Kingdom of Korea, when news of his death was announced, the last Qin Armies surrendered.)

 

Wu Dynasty China (1586 - )

 

1647

 

th_Wu_Dynasty_China_zpsvsdc17nz.jpg

 

1716 (Fifteen years after Heavens Mandate at last resided firmly in the hands of the True Emperor.)

 

th_Wu_Dynasty_China_1717_zpsdopl0ori.jpg

 

The Emperors of the Wu Dynasty are:

 

Wu Wangwei 1586 - 1601
Wu Singwong I 1601 - 1607 (*)
Wu Congzhi 1607 - 1616 (*)
Wu Singwong II 1616 - 1641
Wu Kaiwang 1641 - 1673
Wu Calwang 1673 - 1701
Wu Dakwong 1701 -

*. Killed in battle

 

This post will be followed with a further one showing the nations surrounding the Chinese Empire, as well as the consequences of the Japanese 'running riot' during the late 1500s.


"If you do good, you'll live forever, if you do bad you'll die hearing a single note for I am the one true sound...", Fragment found in a cult hideout.

#60 WinstonP

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Posted 28 November 2016 - 05:32 PM

There was an especially popular trope in the West, between 1870 and 1914 of the "Invssion narrative"; pseudo military histories of coming future wars, usually jingoistic blather or doom and gloom warnings urging greater armamentation. While some proved corrected in the broad strokes - Germany did invade France, eventually, most sound absurd to modern readers.

Consider how ubiquitous the notion of a German-Americsn war featuring an invasion of New Jersey is; it shows up in Chambers' "Repairer of Reputatuons" and Jack London's "The Iron Heel", two very different takes.

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