Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

Dunwich "Now"

Modern

  • Please log in to reply
35 replies to this topic

#21 Mysterioso

Mysterioso

    Knight of the Outer Void

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 441 posts

Posted 04 October 2017 - 03:03 PM

It is tempting to look on it as a village, probably actually of Aylesbury, but given it does have its own town government, with selectmen, a justice of the peace and a constable, I think we must assume it is probably meant to be a town in its own right. Just a forgotten and decaying one.

 

I think these sorts of places (Innsmouth too) always cause problems in the modern (and even the early 20th century) world. Do such isolated, decaying places still exist in civilised areas? The Severn Valley is even sillier, in fact. It's just not really possible for such places to exist in modern England. Too much infrastructure (e.g. policing, which is on a county basis in Britain, not a local basis).

 

Bolding of your quote is mine. 

 

This is why I suggested upthread a migration further west in the United States if the keeper wants to maintain the isolation. Central and Western Massachusetts might be rural suburbia as opposed to urban suburbia of eastern Massachusetts but it is still much more suburban than rural. For something like Dunwich in the story in today's US, the location needs to be moved further west. Kentucky (as seen above) or Tennessee might work but for really small towns even further west is probably better. For instance, when in Wyoming and Montana, I saw towns of 200 people and the distance between them was so significant there were signs on the highways reminding people that there were not gas stations for say, the next 100 miles.


Edited by Mysterioso, 04 October 2017 - 03:04 PM.



Log in to remove this video.

#22 numtini

numtini

    Knight of the Outer Void

  • Patron
  • PipPipPip
  • 134 posts
  • LocationCape Schrod, Massachusetts

Posted 04 October 2017 - 04:30 PM

It is tempting to look on it as a village, probably actually of Aylesbury, but given it does have its own town government, with selectmen, a justice of the peace and a constable, I think we must assume it is probably meant to be a town in its own right. Just a forgotten and decaying one.

 

I think these sorts of places (Innsmouth too) always cause problems in the modern (and even the early 20th century) world. Do such isolated, decaying places still exist in civilised areas? The Severn Valley is even sillier, in fact. It's just not really possible for such places to exist in modern England. Too much infrastructure (e.g. policing, which is on a county basis in Britain, not a local basis).

 

There's a town government in the Chaosium publication, but there's nothing about selectmen, a JP, or a Constable in the original text.

 

I always figured Aylesbury was Greenfield as its the only truly large town along Route 2, which was previously a state turnpike. The old road goes past to Shelburne, but Greenfield is far larger and the county seat for Franklin county. Even today, if you're local in that area, "Route 2" is what you call Route 2 east from Greenfield and the part of Route 2 that heads further west is "The Mohawk Trail." And Greenfield is definitely too far west for Dunwich to be a village of it.

 

It depends what you mean about isolated decaying places. If you mean somewhere you need to drive hours to get to, then no. If you mean a place where they're sacrificing people in the town square. No. But if you mean a place where very few outsiders ever go because it's geographically isolated and where people are squirrely as heck and hostile to outsiders and everything's falling apart. Where the town center is a town hall, congo church, and a convenience store and those Whately's live out at the end of whatever road? Oh absolutely yes. 



#23 ReydeAmarillo

ReydeAmarillo

    Knight of the Outer Void

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 393 posts
  • LocationScotland, UK

Posted 04 October 2017 - 04:40 PM

I too have often wondered how places like Innsmouth amd Goatswood can logically exist in the 20th century, with all the surrounding law enforcement, government and media. And here the UK being so small and crowded is worse than the USA. Even if Goatswoods PTB are cultists, there is still the nearby village/town just a few miles away with police, squires, vicars etc who are going to wonder and maybe investigate?? Yes a small investigating party might never be seen again but that just prompts an even larger and better armed party, the Army even? Eventually the awful truth will out and the cultist-town will be taken down, like Innsmouth was. I guess I prefer my Mythos as small outbreaks widely scattered and somewhere that can be hidden. The buried rivers and 40ft deep ruins under the modern City of London, large cave complexes like Cheddar, large forests like the New Forest. But even here, small cults, singular entities and subtlety are the watchword for me.

Edited by ReydeAmarillo, 04 October 2017 - 04:43 PM.


#24 WinstonP

WinstonP

    Breakfast Clubber

  • Super Moderator
  • 3,577 posts
  • LocationFleeing westward

Posted 04 October 2017 - 04:52 PM

I've driven the roads of north-central Massachusetts, MA-119 from Groton to the New Hampshire boarder is a pretty empty stretch of road.  There are several state forests and damn little else besides the occasional couple of houses.  While Dunwich isn't real, the isolation it has isn't impossible, even in Massachusetts.  It's an exaggeration, surely, but not a wholesale fantasy.

 

I have an unfinished one-shot set in the early 1980s in and around a semi-revivified Dunwich.  The  town rebounded after WW2, due to the low property prices and availability of historical homes (and the creation of Bishop State Forest, taking up much of the northern half of what was Dunwich, which is a nature reserve, with limited hiking access, hunting restrictions, and curiously little development by the state; all this keeps places like the Devil's Hopyard isolated and mostly avoided). 

 

(I also wrote this piece, which doesn't specify what Dunwich is like in the present - http://theunspeakabl...unwich-horror/)

 

Conversely I wrote something for another publication wherein Dunwich was dissolved in the 1940s, the land split between several neighboring towns, and mostly converted to state parkland.  I think either is possible.  With any Lovecraftian place, I think that a general consensus to how it would appear in the present day is impossibly contentious - not that you can't do what you want with Innsmouth or Arkham in your own game - but I think you should be prepared to butt up against everyone else's imagined future for these places.


My blogs - Tomes in Progress (personal); Sentinel Hill Press (The Arkham Gazette and more)
Sentinel Hill Press on G+; Facebook; Twitter; Patreon

#25 ElijahWhateley

ElijahWhateley

    Greater Servitor

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,217 posts

Posted 05 October 2017 - 01:26 AM

I too have often wondered how places like Innsmouth amd Goatswood can logically exist in the 20th century, with all the surrounding law enforcement, government and media. And here the UK being so small and crowded is worse than the USA. Even if Goatswoods PTB are cultists, there is still the nearby village/town just a few miles away with police, squires, vicars etc who are going to wonder and maybe investigate?? Yes a small investigating party might never be seen again but that just prompts an even larger and better armed party, the Army even? Eventually the awful truth will out and the cultist-town will be taken down, like Innsmouth was. I guess I prefer my Mythos as small outbreaks widely scattered and somewhere that can be hidden. The buried rivers and 40ft deep ruins under the modern City of London, large cave complexes like Cheddar, large forests like the New Forest. But even here, small cults, singular entities and subtlety are the watchword for me.

 

At least in the USA, it still seems perfectly plausible. Local law enforcement, government, and media are staffed by locals. Without a Mythos way to cover it up, a modern small-town cult might refrain from murdering an entire investigator party out of fear of an investigation, but if they do have access to sorcery, all bets are off.


In the Mythos, there is no such thing as cannon.

#26 JeffErwin

JeffErwin

    Son of Yog-Sothoth

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 634 posts
  • LocationMonterey, California

Posted 05 October 2017 - 02:50 AM

Regarding Goatswood, I take it to be somewhat similar to the Forest of Dean - an ancient, perhaps protected, wood - and perhaps there is some sort of "clouding minds" effect created by the local cult. But also Ramsey Campbell was from Liverpool, and his idea of the Severn Valley reminds me more of the North than southern England - there's a bit more isolation up there, with moors and endless hills and settlements farther apart.



#27 ReydeAmarillo

ReydeAmarillo

    Knight of the Outer Void

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 393 posts
  • LocationScotland, UK

Posted 05 October 2017 - 06:20 AM

Regarding Goatswood, I take it to be somewhat similar to the Forest of Dean - an ancient, perhaps protected, wood - and perhaps there is some sort of "clouding minds" effect created by the local cult. But also Ramsey Campbell was from Liverpool, and his idea of the Severn Valley reminds me more of the North than southern England - there's a bit more isolation up there, with moors and endless hills and settlements farther apart.


Yes totally, the larger and so more isolating trans Pennine moors and forests are very Northern England, as is the grime and decrepit streets of most of his towns - very "dark satanic mills".

Southern England is more rolling downs and valleys and farmland. And villages and towns are only a few miles apart, with larger towns and cities every ten -fifteen miles or so. Civillisation is always very near.

Yes the occasional singular Mythos outbreak can be imagined here but not an entire village cult plus innumerable beasties wandering about! To be honest it has always amazed me that Ramsey Campbell didn't set his stories in the Peak District from the very beginning. Which is why (back on topic) I always thought that the States was a better place for major Mythos activity. Wider open, more rugged and so isolating terrain. I have never been to the States but can imagine some cut off valley holding a decrepit, redneck cultist township.

#28 JeffErwin

JeffErwin

    Son of Yog-Sothoth

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 634 posts
  • LocationMonterey, California

Posted 05 October 2017 - 01:25 PM

Yes totally, the larger and so more isolating trans Pennine moors and forests are very Northern England, as is the grime and decrepit streets of most of his towns - very "dark satanic mills".

Southern England is more rolling downs and valleys and farmland. And villages and towns are only a few miles apart, with larger towns and cities every ten -fifteen miles or so. Civillisation is always very near.

Yes the occasional singular Mythos outbreak can be imagined here but not an entire village cult plus innumerable beasties wandering about! To be honest it has always amazed me that Ramsey Campbell didn't set his stories in the Peak District from the very beginning. Which is why (back on topic) I always thought that the States was a better place for major Mythos activity. Wider open, more rugged and so isolating terrain. I have never been to the States but can imagine some cut off valley holding a decrepit, redneck cultist township.


Indeed, that is sometimes the case... more or less. I used to live near "Holy City": https://en.wikipedia...ity,_California.

#29 ElijahWhateley

ElijahWhateley

    Greater Servitor

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,217 posts

Posted 05 October 2017 - 04:39 PM

Which is why (back on topic) I always thought that the States was a better place for major Mythos activity. Wider open, more rugged and so isolating terrain. I have never been to the States but can imagine some cut off valley holding a decrepit, redneck cultist township.

 

And yet here in the States I can only wonder at what long-standing cults have deep roots in London and Rome.


In the Mythos, there is no such thing as cannon.

#30 ReydeAmarillo

ReydeAmarillo

    Knight of the Outer Void

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 393 posts
  • LocationScotland, UK

Posted 05 October 2017 - 06:30 PM

And yet here in the States I can only wonder at what long-standing cults have deep roots in London and Rome.


Totally, the options are limitless. My personal take (as a native Londoner who had travelled quite a bit of England) is that after hundreds of years they will be subtle and well hidden, and maybe even linked to the PTB. Under the City of London there are hidden rivers, a complex 19th C sewer system, an undergroumd railway, Plague (mass burial) pits and 20-40 feet of built over ruins going down to old Roman Londinium. I can easily imagine a fair few hidden ancient cults just there alone.

Edited by ReydeAmarillo, 05 October 2017 - 10:17 PM.


#31 Blackmyron

Blackmyron

    Knight of the Outer Void

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 200 posts

Posted 10 October 2017 - 03:01 PM

I think it also depends on how similar you want the game world to mirror the real world.

 

I've always felt that the Miskatonic River valley winds almost like a scar across northern Massachusetts, with a much lower population along its path than in our world.  It may be that many failed attempts over the years for development above Arkham along the river eventually just leads to it being generally left alone.

 

Also, the Believers may feel that Dunwich being isolated from the rest of the world is in their best interests, and make work subtle influence to keep it both from falling into complete ruin or being developed.

 

I've noticed that many of Campbell's Severn Valley stories, especially the later ones, are about the horrors found within cities; and even places like Goatswood seem to be visited by outsiders semi-regularly - Made In Goatswood, for instance.



#32 Necrothesp

Necrothesp

    Son of Yog-Sothoth

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 590 posts
  • LocationEngland

Posted 13 October 2017 - 10:08 AM

Regarding Goatswood, I take it to be somewhat similar to the Forest of Dean - an ancient, perhaps protected, wood - and perhaps there is some sort of "clouding minds" effect created by the local cult. But also Ramsey Campbell was from Liverpool, and his idea of the Severn Valley reminds me more of the North than southern England - there's a bit more isolation up there, with moors and endless hills and settlements farther apart.

 

Goatswood appears to be a medium-sized town with a town square, department store, hotel and railway station! It's not some isolated little village in the midst of an ancient forest.


See my blog on all things legal in CoC: The Law of Cthulhu


#33 Necrothesp

Necrothesp

    Son of Yog-Sothoth

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 590 posts
  • LocationEngland

Posted 13 October 2017 - 10:13 AM

There's a town government in the Chaosium publication, but there's nothing about selectmen, a JP, or a Constable in the original text.

 

Dunwich did, however, have its own WWI draft board in the original story. Did Massachusetts villages have their own draft boards? Merely a question. I don't know if they did or not.


Edited by Necrothesp, 13 October 2017 - 10:14 AM.

See my blog on all things legal in CoC: The Law of Cthulhu


#34 Necrothesp

Necrothesp

    Son of Yog-Sothoth

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 590 posts
  • LocationEngland

Posted 13 October 2017 - 10:36 AM

I always figured Aylesbury was Greenfield as its the only truly large town along Route 2, which was previously a state turnpike. The old road goes past to Shelburne, but Greenfield is far larger and the county seat for Franklin county. Even today, if you're local in that area, "Route 2" is what you call Route 2 east from Greenfield and the part of Route 2 that heads further west is "The Mohawk Trail." And Greenfield is definitely too far west for Dunwich to be a village of it.

 

I think we can assume that Lovecraft intended Aylesbury to be the nearest town of any size, given that's where the doctor came from when Old Man Whateley was dying. I think Winchendon is the most likely candidate for Aylesbury and that the Aylesbury Turnpike is entirely fictitious.


See my blog on all things legal in CoC: The Law of Cthulhu


#35 Gaffer

Gaffer

    Lesser Independent

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,424 posts
  • LocationOrlando FL USA

Posted 13 October 2017 - 05:12 PM

Dunwich did, however, have its own WWI draft board in the original story. Did Massachusetts villages have their own draft boards? Merely a question. I don't know if they did or not.


Currently, a Selective Service local board is a group of five citizen volunteers whose mission, upon a draft, will be to decide who among the registrants in their community will receive deferments, postponements, or exemption from military service based on the individual registrant's circumstances and beliefs.
 
There was probably a local draft board for Dunwich, but it probably met once during WWI and maybe semi-annually during WWII, because there just weren't that many eligibles to consider.


"Two in the head, you know he's dead." <heh-heh>

#36 numtini

numtini

    Knight of the Outer Void

  • Patron
  • PipPipPip
  • 134 posts
  • LocationCape Schrod, Massachusetts

Posted 13 October 2017 - 08:52 PM

Oh! Great find. I'm switching my vote from village to town.





Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Modern