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1920s Adventures set in South East Asia

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#1 Lammomedes

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Posted 08 March 2015 - 12:11 AM

Okay, I know there are a number of Vietnam era, especially for Delta Green, adventures set in South East Asia.

However, my group is headed to Indochina, specifically Saigon, to track down a missing relative and investigate Tcho-Tcho being brought into the US by a deceased distant relative.

They have uncovered a possible connection between the Tcho-Tcho they encountered in Louisiana and Chaugnar Faugn, but also a possible link to the King in Yellow.

A voyage across the Pacific is underway, with one small ship board adventure already finished.

Now they are going to arrive in New Zealand or Australia before transferring to a ship headed to Saigon.

 

So, besides Terror Australis (for their brief stop down under), are there any other adventures or possible source material for adventuring in French Indochina during the early 1920s?

Anything for the South Pacific I could easily convert? I don't want to steal the Shanghai part of Masks because they may run through that campaign at some point.




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#2 The_Tatterdemalion_King

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Posted 08 March 2015 - 05:35 AM

Do you want an adventure on the ship, in the wilderness, rural areas, or Saigon itself?
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#3 Lammomedes

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Posted 08 March 2015 - 03:04 PM

Do you want an adventure on the ship, in the wilderness, rural areas, or Saigon itself?

 

Honestly, I don't think I need any more ship board adventures, but any land based adventures would be great.



#4 Gaffer

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Posted 08 March 2015 - 03:39 PM

Honolulu and Manila make more sense for ports of call en route to Saigon than anyplace in Australia or New Zealand.


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#5 NFVD

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Posted 08 March 2015 - 03:52 PM

"Songs of the Fantari" from Fatal Experiments takes place in a small Greek island. I think it is a "isolated locals with dark secrets" type of scenario.

 

Perhaps it could be adapted from the mediterranean to an island somewhere in the South Pacific?  



#6 Lammomedes

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Posted 08 March 2015 - 04:28 PM

Honolulu and Manila make more sense for ports of call en route to Saigon than anyplace in Australia or New Zealand.

 

Gaffer,

 

The adventure I pulled off the interwebz has the captain returning to New Zealand, so I just went with it. The voyage so far has been: New Orleans to San Francisco via the Panama Canal; San Fran to Honolulu; then transfer to a steamer that was going Honolulu to New Zealand, and then New Zealand to the Philippines, and finally, another ship from the Philippines to Saigon. Not the most direct route, but the one that made sense with the adventure that started off the voyage.

 

This is the voyage I used (a bit too railroady in hindsight, but I pushed it into play when the previous scenario ended much quicker than I thought it would): http://web.archive.o...dthestatue.html). The captain in there is headed back to New Zealand so it made sense for that to be one of the definitions.

Yeah, I know it would have made more sense to go: San Fran, Honolulu, Manila, Saigon, but where is the fun with sense in Call of Cthulhu? <lol>


"Songs of the Fantari" from Fatal Experiments takes place in a small Greek island. I think it is a "isolated locals with dark secrets" type of scenario.

 

Perhaps it could be adapted from the mediterranean to an island somewhere in the South Pacific?  

 

NFVD: I had considered something along those lines, but I'll save an adventure like that for the voyage home.
Finding information about Vietnam in the 1920s isn't that hard, but any adventures set in Asia as far as Call of Cthulhu and Trail of Cthulhu isn't all the easy...and you would think it might be easier to do than you expect.

As I said, lots of Vietnam war era stuff is out there...earlier, not so much.


Edited by Lammomedes, 08 March 2015 - 04:30 PM.


#7 The_Tatterdemalion_King

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Posted 08 March 2015 - 07:57 PM

You could set 'The Plantation' somewhere past Lo Dung up the Nung River...
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#8 jlynn

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Posted 08 March 2015 - 10:36 PM

I don't believe I've ever actually seen a scenario set in French Indochina, Thailand, Burma, Indonesia or Malaysia for the classic era.  That's not to say one might not be floating around out there, but I've got a pretty extensive collection and have been playing this game for a whole lot of years, and I sure can't call any to mind right off the top.

 

Now I HAVE seen a few adventures for other games (*sigh*  back to Thrilling Tales again  :? ) set in those areas (well, at least in Malaysia), and it seems to me that one or two set in the jungles of Central America might at least provide the right kind of atmosphere -- though you'd have to do some pretty serious re-writes on any hidden temples or anything.  The Eternal Lies campaign does have an adventure set in South East Asia somewhere -- you might want to see if you can get a gander at that one.

 

Somewhere in the back of my mind, I seem to almost faintly remember something about 1920's Indochina somewhere, but for the life of me, I can't pull it together.  It might have just been a background article I read somewhere.  Anyone else remember anything like that?



#9 Lammomedes

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Posted 09 March 2015 - 01:12 PM

I don't believe I've ever actually seen a scenario set in French Indochina, Thailand, Burma, Indonesia or Malaysia for the classic era.  That's not to say one might not be floating around out there, but I've got a pretty extensive collection and have been playing this game for a whole lot of years, and I sure can't call any to mind right off the top.

 

Now I HAVE seen a few adventures for other games (*sigh*  back to Thrilling Tales again  :? ) set in those areas (well, at least in Malaysia), and it seems to me that one or two set in the jungles of Central America might at least provide the right kind of atmosphere -- though you'd have to do some pretty serious re-writes on any hidden temples or anything.  The Eternal Lies campaign does have an adventure set in South East Asia somewhere -- you might want to see if you can get a gander at that one.

 

Somewhere in the back of my mind, I seem to almost faintly remember something about 1920's Indochina somewhere, but for the life of me, I can't pull it together.  It might have just been a background article I read somewhere.  Anyone else remember anything like that?

 

I've been playing Call of Cthulhu since 2nd ed. and I have what I think is a near complete collection of stuff and even I couldn't remember anything set in the classic era in those places either. Why I asked the collective mind here for any help...<grin>

I'll take a look in the Eternal Lies campaign to see what is in there.

If you can find or recall the 1920s Indochina info, that would be a starting point. Otherwise, I think I am going to have to think about adapting adventures as suggested above.



#10 jlynn

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Posted 09 March 2015 - 06:23 PM

I've been playing Call of Cthulhu since 2nd ed. and I have what I think is a near complete collection of stuff and even I couldn't remember anything set in the classic era in those places either. Why I asked the collective mind here for any help...<grin>

I'll take a look in the Eternal Lies campaign to see what is in there.

If you can find or recall the 1920s Indochina info, that would be a starting point. Otherwise, I think I am going to have to think about adapting adventures as suggested above.

Same here, though I started with 1st Edition when it came out.  I'm trying to remember where I saw that stuff.  I will start looking through my "library" of stuff today to see if it rings any bells.  As soon as I come up with something, I'll let you know.

 

In the meantime, if anyone else remembers anything about it -- please chime in!  ;-)

 

(Edited to add (SPOILERS):  Oh, I almost forgot!  If you are interested in the Thrilling Tales adventure set there; it's called "The Malay Coins" and is sort of a McGuffin hunt with some interesting villains.  Since the McGuffin is a potentially dangerous artifact (protected by a giant squid!) it would be very easy to put into a Mythos context.)


Edited by jlynn, 09 March 2015 - 06:26 PM.


#11 cjbowser

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Posted 09 March 2015 - 07:33 PM

Age of Cthulhu 5: The Long Reach of Evil has a scenario called "The Fires of Sumatra." I've not read it, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say it's in Sumatra. That's a little off the path of what you're looking for, though.

 

However, if you want non-gaming material to liven up your game, look no further than the August 1926 National Geographic. It has the article, 
Through the Great River Trenches of Asia by Joseph Rock.The sub-heading is "National Geographic Explorer Follows the Yangtze, Mekong, and Salwin Through Mighty Gorge, Some of More Than Two Miles Height. It's a good article with tons of pictures, including one of one of the expedition's horses zip-lining (before it was called zip-lining).

 

I picked up a copy for $3 at a book sale a couple years ago. However, NatGeo is working on putting their magazines online. This issue happens to be done. I believe you'll need a (free) account to access more than the title page. Here's the link to this issue:

http://ngm-beta.nati...ws-the-yangtze/


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#12 Lammomedes

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Posted 09 March 2015 - 08:08 PM

Age of Cthulhu 5: The Long Reach of Evil has a scenario called "The Fires of Sumatra." I've not read it, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say it's in Sumatra. That's a little off the path of what you're looking for, though.

 

However, if you want non-gaming material to liven up your game, look no further than the August 1926 National Geographic. It has the article, 
Through the Great River Trenches of Asia by Joseph Rock.The sub-heading is "National Geographic Explorer Follows the Yangtze, Mekong, and Salwin Through Mighty Gorge, Some of More Than Two Miles Height. It's a good article with tons of pictures, including one of one of the expedition's horses zip-lining (before it was called zip-lining).

 

I picked up a copy for $3 at a book sale a couple years ago. However, NatGeo is working on putting their magazines online. This issue happens to be done. I believe you'll need a (free) account to access more than the title page. Here's the link to this issue:

http://ngm-beta.nati...ws-the-yangtze/

 

Thanks for the link.

I think I have a pdf of AofC5 somewhere. (goes digging). Sumatra might be a bit off, but it is a start.
I also have Quelong by Ken Hite, but that might be a bit too much fantasy to convert to Cthulhu.



#13 jlynn

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Posted 09 March 2015 - 09:56 PM

Actually, you might want to consider posting that link to the "Online Resources" topic!  That NatGeo is putting their old magazines from that era on line is GREAT news!  And could lead to some pretty cosmic player aids in the future....

 

I have AOC5 around here somewhere, but haven't had time to look it over yet (I picked it up as collection completer when I backed the AOC8 Kickstarter a while back).



#14 banshee

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Posted 10 March 2015 - 09:51 AM

The Gaslight adventure "Menace from Sumatra" from Dark Designs has a Sumatran connection, surprisingly enough - maybe something could be wrought out of that?  :)


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#15 Lammomedes

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Posted 10 March 2015 - 10:19 AM

The Gaslight adventure "Menace from Sumatra" from Dark Designs has a Sumatran connection, surprisingly enough - maybe something could be wrought out of that? :)


I already thought about that adventure but it's only a connection not an actual adventure set there. Transferring The Plantation to 1920's Vietnam is just about doable (however Voodoo and Yig connection a bit more challenging) but the Menace is primarily set in Victorian London

#16 banshee

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Posted 10 March 2015 - 11:49 AM

I already thought about that adventure but it's only a connection not an actual adventure set there. Transferring The Plantation to 1920's Vietnam is just about doable (however Voodoo and Yig connection a bit more challenging) but the Menace is primarily set in Victorian London

I know - but you could expand on the premise, if you were so inclined.

I just mentioned it in case you weren't aware of this adventure; you never know what sparks someone else's imagination  :)

Also, I think it has some merit, in weirdness at least. I'm not sure how well it plays, however.

 

"Along the Indus" from Fearful Passages could probably be moved to Indochina fairly easily...


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#17 jlynn

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Posted 11 March 2015 - 06:02 AM

Lammomedes, I have to confess failure so far.  I've gone through every physical thing I have, and will now start looking at my soft-copy library, but thus far, no joy.

 

You know, since you've raised this issue, I must say that I'm honestly rather surprised.  You would think that the Mekong qualifies as one of the "mysterious jungle rivers" that have lots of lost temples and cities situated within marching distance, wouldn't you?  I mean, heck, there's that whole Angkor Wat thing, to say nothing of various books and movies and video-games that have broached the subject.  I'll bet there's even an Indiana Jones adventure book, or comic, or something out there about something like that.  But bupkis has been done for Call or Trail (other than DG).  Maybe that's why -- lots of things at least touch on the subject for DG, and so people consider it "overdone" or something.  But I'd have to say I strongly disagree!  It seems like Southeast Asia would be a very useful area to have more pre-WWII stuff available for.  Especially considering its proximity to places where the deadly Tcho-Tcho live....

 

Seems like it might be a good opportunity for some enterprising writer to send something off to Chaosium or someone, doesn't it?  ;-)

 

Anyway, back to searching my library.



#18 The_Tatterdemalion_King

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Posted 11 March 2015 - 07:49 AM

If you map the locations of 20s scenarios in English-language publications, I think you'll find a clear predominance of scenarios set either in English-speaking countries or in countries in which English or American colonial interests were focused. This comes both from the visibility of pop-culture impressions of the place in English media and the availability of accessible and detailed period research material on the subject in English. French Indochina therefore has two strikes against it right in the name.
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#19 Lammomedes

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Posted 11 March 2015 - 02:50 PM

Lammomedes, I have to confess failure so far.  I've gone through every physical thing I have, and will now start looking at my soft-copy library, but thus far, no joy.

 

You know, since you've raised this issue, I must say that I'm honestly rather surprised.  You would think that the Mekong qualifies as one of the "mysterious jungle rivers" that have lots of lost temples and cities situated within marching distance, wouldn't you?  I mean, heck, there's that whole Angkor Wat thing, to say nothing of various books and movies and video-games that have broached the subject.  I'll bet there's even an Indiana Jones adventure book, or comic, or something out there about something like that.  But bupkis has been done for Call or Trail (other than DG).  Maybe that's why -- lots of things at least touch on the subject for DG, and so people consider it "overdone" or something.  But I'd have to say I strongly disagree!  It seems like Southeast Asia would be a very useful area to have more pre-WWII stuff available for.  Especially considering its proximity to places where the deadly Tcho-Tcho live....

 

Seems like it might be a good opportunity for some enterprising writer to send something off to Chaosium or someone, doesn't it?  ;-)

 

Anyway, back to searching my library.

 

I was wondering the same thing since I had gone through a good chunk of my library (and it is pretty extensive) and other than DG stuff, it has largely been left off the map. I'm working on something domestic for one of the publishers for CoC, but once that is finished at the end of the month, maybe I'll have to work on a monograph for Chaosium on southeast Asia in the 1920s.

It was the connection with the Tcho-Tcho and by extension with Chaugnar Faugn (the central villains in my current campaign at the moment) that set me off on this quest. I mean if Tibet can get a monograph and then a full book, maybe SE Asia can get one for the pre Delta Green period. And you are right, with Angkor Wat not too far away, you would think it might get more attention than it has.

Now to get back to my digging in the archives and brushing up on my reading French skill....


If you map the locations of 20s scenarios in English-language publications, I think you'll find a clear predominance of scenarios set either in English-speaking countries or in countries in which English or American colonial interests were focused. This comes both from the visibility of pop-culture impressions of the place in English media and the availability of accessible and detailed period research material on the subject in English. French Indochina therefore has two strikes against it right in the name.

 

I think because most of the sources are in French might be a strike against it, but it hasn't been picked up by our French CoC brethren either as far as I can tell.



#20 jlynn

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Posted 11 March 2015 - 06:34 PM

If you map the locations of 20s scenarios in English-language publications, I think you'll find a clear predominance of scenarios set either in English-speaking countries or in countries in which English or American colonial interests were focused. This comes both from the visibility of pop-culture impressions of the place in English media and the availability of accessible and detailed period research material on the subject in English. French Indochina therefore has two strikes against it right in the name.

I'm thinking the "anglo-centric" explanation doesn't really fly, considering the number of scenarios and even a source book set in Central and South America.  While one of those scenarios was set in a British colony (British Honduras -- modern Belize), the rest have been set in places like Mexico, Peru, Paraguay and Brazil.  Which, while possibly influenced by outside societies, were more influenced by Portuguese and Spanish society (and even, to some extent by German society -- in the case of Paraguay, for example).  Egypt has received tons of attention over the years, with dozens of scenarios set there, the Cairo Guidebook, and so on, and while you could argue that it was a British colonial interest, it was also heavily influenced by the French and for much the same reason the British were interested.  In fact, the French are the ones who built the Suez Canal.  But more importantly, the whole "Egypt" thing conjures up a certain mind-set of mystery (at least partially due to The Raiders of the Lost Ark, I suspect) in a lot of people.  So no, I think it's just been an area that's been almost wholly neglected.

 

One possible explanation is that there just isn't a lot of popular writing or movie making on the SE Asia area these days (other than the occasional Vietnam War pic), so people tend not to automatically think of the jungles of Burma or Thailand or Indochina as Places of Mystery.  If you go back and dig into the stuff being written back in the 1890s-1920's there WAS some good stuff (the Dacoits, if I recall correctly, were primarily in Burma and parts of modern Bangladesh and were one of the groups used by Fu Manchu as assassins), but as World War II got closer the focus tended to shift away from there and out into the Pacific basin or China more. 

 

In a way, it's like the "monster du jour" effect that we've seen crop up from time to time.  There for a while practically every scenario featured the Deep Ones as the baddies.  Lately it seems like Hastur is the primary focus of lots and lots of stuff.  Maybe we just need to break the "SE Asia barrier" and lots of good adventures will start to pop out of the jungle.

 

Lammomedes, one thing that MIGHT be helpful to you, is the Trail of Cthulhu source book Mythos Expeditions.  While it has rules for how to conduct expeditions (which frankly seem a bit "clunky" to me; I'm kind of surprised actually since normally Ken Hite does a pretty good job of keeping the rules smooth), it also discusses quite a few out of the way places -- including Papua-New Guinea.  While that's off the beaten path you're looking for it might help somewhat with the SE Asia style of jungle (which does differ from it's African and South American counterparts).  Finally, I did find a brief discussion of the Khmer Empire, Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom and some discussion of travel in the Cambodian jungle in GURPS Classic: Places of Mystery (pp 58-9).  I'll keep looking, but it's looking unlikely right now.







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