I strongly disagree. The KKK are white supremicists organization who believe in a fantasy of one human group being biologically superior to another and who use violence and intimidation to maintain (or hope to restore) a racist system of white political dominance. Mythos investigators know the truth of mankind’s utter valuelessness and impotence in the universe and who use violence to delay our extermination.
Cultists and Klansman both wear robes and deserve no quarter.
Well, there's exactly what I'm driving at...
And please, don't get me wrong: I used the phrase "and worst of all" for a reason! Lovecraft - and especially the game based on his stories - paints a picture of a fairly awful universe (and one which, mercifully, I don't think we really live in!) The Lovecraftian cosmos is one in which there is virtually nothing that is truly good, and nothing that is truly evil - it's all a relativistic universe in which morality depends only on a limited point of view, a relative and individual perspective - it's a universe in which survival of the fittest and might-makes-right and being on the right side of chance are the ultimate moral values, and the points of view of amoral, alien, man-eating, soul-stealing god-monsters are just as valid, or more valid, than those of human investigators, cultists, or even Klansmen, or ants or bacteria.... In the end, all are just animated meat that will eventually become inanimate dust in the greater scheme of the universe, and their so-called "evil", "good", or "amorality" will then all be as valid as the morality of forgotten bones and dust. In this game, the population of Innsmouth are all the same monsters, and deserve no quarter, and they would say the same thing about humans, and who is morally "right" depends only on who the designated hero is, and it is the pulp luxury of investigators to give no quarter when breaking out the shotguns, tommy-guns, and dynamite.
In the end, the sentiment "all those people are the same, and deserve no quarter" is the rallying call of your investigators, and perhaps our own "real life" gut reaction to people we know for doing some awful things, but is the sentiment "all those people are the same, and deserve no quarter" really that different from the philosophy of klansmen?
I think it's a fair question, to stop and ask ourselves such from time to time, especially before taking a drastic action.
It's a fair question as well to stop and ask ourselves, is that group of people really all the same, and do they, as a group, really deserve no quarter? Is the world (outside of the pulps) really as black-and-white as we'd like to claim through an easy slogan?
The ability to question our assumptions about those we disagree with or whom we have designated as our enemies, to ask whether any group of people truly deserve no quarter as a stereotyped, anonymous, faceless group, to see the potential for good in our enemies and the potential for evil in ourselves and our allies, might, perhaps, be the only real differences between investigators and cultists - between those people we want to look up to as a representation of the better part of humanity, and those people who have earned a reputation as symbols of evil.
The question that I find interesting is, should your investigators join the KKK in saying, for example, that "all those Innsmouth people are the same half-breed, sub-human monsters, and should be given no quarter"? Is your fictional Innsmouth really full of people who are all the same half-breed, subhuman monsters who deserve no quarter, or is it a place that contains selfish collaborators, sadists who enjoy the power the Deep Ones have granted them over the rest of the town, con-men and profiteers, as well as men and women who are just trying to protect their families in an impossible situation, elderly people who cannot fight back against the Deep Ones, mad and tormented hybrids shuddering in misery and horror in attics and basements who have never hurt anyone yet but will be dangerous without treatment and care, resistance fighters waiting for an opportunity to strike back, people who once believed in the Deep One cause but have become disillusioned and want to defect but see no way out, children who don't know any other world - human children, hybrid children who do not realize they are part "monster", alien children who might have been sympathetic to humans if they'd been raised in a different environment and might still have a chance of redemption, Deep Ones who disagree with their leadership?
As another disclaimer, I should also mention that a Role-Playing Game IS a form a fiction, and, at the end of the day, a descendant of pulp fiction in particular, and in pulp fiction, it is an expected tradition for there to be a designated "always chaotic evil" mob of faceless mooks for heroes to slaughter, and when it comes down to it, Nazis and the KKK make particularly satisfying goons to shoot up without thinking about it - nobody likes having the Baby Orc ploy being sprung on them in the middle of what should have been a basic and satisfying Exterminate The Orcs adventure. I've mentioned something similar before, but I suppose it's worth repeating here: there's a time and a place to use a complicated enemy with a real personality and a complex motivation, and there's a time and a place to use irredeemable hooded goons that exist only to be mowed down by wise-cracking heroes with machine-gun fire - we don't want to confuse those two types of cultists!
I also want to say that I agree completely with anything said above about the importance of explicitly setting the tone and genre of the game ahead of time with your audience, or at least knowing the genre or tone is something your audience expects and wants to participate in before moving ahead with a game using that tone or genre. Consider your audience, and be considerate of them. The tone, setting, genre, etc. for your game is part of a (usually implied) social contract with your group - if you expect them to buy completely into giving up a few hours or days of their lives to play a game with you and be happy about it at the end of the game, you definitely don't want to "bait-and-switch" them on the terms of that social contract! (If I buy into a horror story, I'll forgive the occasional episode of comic relief to break things up, but I'll feel ripped off if I bought a horror story and got nothing but comedy instead....)
Edited by yronimoswhateley, 02 December 2017 - 05:24 PM.