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Arkham in WWII?


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#1 Deodanth

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Posted 01 December 2017 - 01:18 PM

Iä!

 

I made the dubious decision to let my players vote on the setting/time period and game style they'd most like to play.  The result is a somewhat odd mix of parameters for which I confess not being prepared.  I could use some help finding a good scenario that meets the following conditions:

 

1.  It takes place in Arkham or Lovecraft Country.

 

2.  It can be set in the 1920's but is easily updated to 1939, the eve of the Second World War.

 

3.  It is adaptable to include a Nazi spy/occultist who's come to the region in search of mythos goodies for the Reich.

 

4.  Some of the PCs may be British or Commonwealth intelligence officers who've come in pursuit of #3.

 

As an example, let's suppose I wanted to use The Edge of Darkness (which I probably won't do).  The scenario would be modified thus: it's early 1939, Rupert Merriweather has been dead about 10 years, and nothing has been done about the farmhouse.  However, our Nazi spy (a member of Black Sun/Nachtwölfe/Karotechia and already a magical adept) has by nefarious means obtained Rupert's box of mementos and done some preliminary research; he knows that Ross Corners holds something connected to either Mu, Nephren-Ka, or Yog-Sothoth (or all the above).  From here he behaves like a PC investigator, going first to the library and museum at Miskatonic for further information, then heading out to the farmhouse.  There he will attempt to perform a Bind spell adapted from the spell in the notes.  Worst case outcome, the Lurker and others from its dimension will become semi-controlled Nazi weapons.  The PC investigators, meanwhile, know only that a German spy has come to town and they will be a step behind him the whole way, until (if they play well) they catch up to him just in time for the binding ceremony.

 

That's a bit unwieldy for sure, but hopefully it gives you an idea of what I'm looking for.  :)  Any comment is welcome.




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#2 nclarke

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Posted 01 December 2017 - 01:48 PM

I'd suggest using C7's WWC line for European non-NAZI intelligence officers - Darkest Hour does SOE agents and WWC - London does investigators in England during the 40's. The character generation in the WWC line produces very well rounded investigators that are more robust compared to straight CoC investigators having more skill points. You might find that Pulp Cthulhu will fit the bill as that's focussed on the 30's rather than the 20's.

 

Can't help with an actual scenario though as the restrictions make it fairly hard to squeeze a pre-written scenario into the strait jacket.



#3 Celebrim

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Posted 01 December 2017 - 03:20 PM

I'd move your timeline up to 1933, and make the major antagonists, the FONG ('Friends of New Germany'), an openly pro-Nazi front group that has a great villainous acronym.  In your timeline, a secret faction within FONG is primarily tasked with acquiring Mythos artifacts in the United States - the most notable of which are the unparalleled collection of Mythos tomes in the possession of the Arkham library.  The ideal scenario to adapt would involve Viking artifacts in the United States, which were during the late 19th century and early 20th century a repeated source of local urban legend.   (A great many individuals appear to have faked Viking steles by carving fake 'runes' on them and claiming they'd found them.  These legends go as far inland as eastern Oklahoma.   In a mythos world though, some of these might be real.)   Other possibilities would involve adapting scenarios involving mi-go (or possibly flying polyps, if you can figure out where to put a former polyp city - Idaho or Colorado perhaps), and Nazi attempts to acquire the alien technology of either species.  However, I don't own a lot of scenario booklets and I can't help you with a published scenario.   If you have an idea what you'd like to run, I'd be happy to help you flesh out any scenario you want to devise though.



#4 MonkeyPrime

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 11:04 AM

I'd suggest using C7's WWC line for European non-NAZI intelligence officers - Darkest Hour does SOE agents and WWC - London does investigators in England during the 40's. The character generation in the WWC line produces very well rounded investigators that are more robust compared to straight CoC investigators having more skill points.


Would heartedly agree with this especially as the source books and various other stuff is discounted on the Cubicle 7 webstore as they're not renewing their licence with Chaosium. I primarily play WWC and love the setting.
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#5 Gaffer

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 02:09 PM

Here's my take.

 

Arkham was probably hit hard by the Great Depression. The mills closed. Many people were out of work. The local economy crashed just like the rest of the country.  Finally, by 1936 conditions were improving and a couple of mills re-opened. Recovery was slow.

 

In 1940, the peacetime draft and supplying the materiel for English and Chinese armed forces began a new prosperity. Most of the mills re-opened, making uniforms. A couple of new plants opened, attracted by the labor pool and by plentiful transportation to harbors on the Atlantic, to make munitions and arms. By 1942, all industry was humming as the USA got into the fight. More men were drafted and women entered the workforce in larger numbers.


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#6 Travern

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 03:45 PM

I made the dubious decision to let my players vote on the setting/time period and game style they'd most like to play.  The result is a somewhat odd mix of parameters for which I confess not being prepared.  I could use some help finding a good scenario that meets the following conditions:


Good for you for giving your players this opportunity from the outset! They'll be that much more engaged in the actual gaming sessions if they feel like they've had a hand in laying the foundations.

If you don't mind playing fast and loose with both Lovecraftian/Chaosium canon and historical details, how about Innsmouth updated for the eve of WWII?
 
> 1.  It takes place in Arkham or Lovecraft Country.
 
Innsmouth Builds Subs

> 2.  It can be set in the 1920's but is easily updated to 1939, the eve of the Second World War.
 
Following the 1927–28 raids, Innsmouth was locked down by the feds during the Coolidge administration, but FDR's saw an opportunity to rebuild the town as an auxiliary station for the expanding Naval Submarine Base New London in neighboring Connecticut. With new barracks, workshops, and warehouses built over the town's condemned waterfront, the top-secret base specializes in deep-sea research. It's rumored to have sent experimental craft far below previous diving records, and there may be a contingent of special forces training for amphibious reconnaissance with unusual aquatic suits and rebreather gear (nicknamed the "Innsmouth Frogmen").

It's up to you whether US Naval Base Innsmouth, a.k.a. Devil Reef Station, is the American government's undersea early warning station/bulwark against the Deep Ones or if factions within the US Navy have struck a Faustian bargain with the Marshes in exchange for Deep One marine technology.

> 3.  It is adaptable to include a Nazi spy/occultist who's come to the region in search of mythos goodies for the Reich.

While the Kriegsmarine is naturally interested in reports of advanced oceanic technology in the US, Himmler's Ahnenerbe—particularly a clique within it that was obsessed with the idea the Aryan race originated in the sunken city of Atlantis—wants to investigate links between reports of Innsmouth archaeological items and a strange carved idol mentioned in passing in the records of the Imperial German Navy. This turns out to be the final report of the lost WWI-era Mittel-U MAN diesel Unterseeboot U-29 (from HPL's "The Temple").  Perhaps US intelligence also has a copy of this report since it was originally recovered on the coast of Yucatán Peninsula, which the investigators could uncover in their early stages.
 
The Ahnenerbe operative is, of course, secretly an agent of the Mythos and, knowing the Deep One origins of Innsmouth jewelry, believes that the deceased Capt. von Altberg-Ehrenstein's report is a delusional misinterpretation of an encounter with them and one of their undersea cities. The key (for the players to find) is that the sailor from the British merchant marine vessel Victory that the U-29 sank is not Italian or Greek, as Altberg-Ehrenstein presumed, but in fact a native of Innsmouth.  The carved ivory idol that was recovered off his body turns out to be… a Mythos MacGuffin (a Cthulhu idol? a Dagon totem? a Minoan-era statuette exhibiting nascent Deep One features?). Perhaps it turns up in Innsmouth for the players to run across. While they're investigating, maybe even the sailor from the Victory supposedly lost at sea returns home, subtly and weirdly different after his long ocean sojourn. Or might Lieut. Klenze of the U-29 unexpectedly show up, having undergone a strange sea-change instead of being drowned in the depths when, in his madness, he escaped through the sub's airlock?

> 4.  Some of the PCs may be British or Commonwealth intelligence officers who've come in pursuit of #3.
 
Perhaps one of them could hail from the Suffolk village of Dunwich, once a thriving medieval harbour but now mostly lost to the sea, supposedly due to coastal erosion but maybe a Deep One link à la Charles Stross's The Laundry-verse?

Edited by Travern, 06 December 2017 - 05:20 PM.


#7 Gaffer

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 04:47 PM

Travern, I did something similar as backstory for a recent scenario.

 

With Innsmouth heavily damaged in the secret raid and all but depopulated, on the eve of WWII, a munitions corporation buys up the property, builds factories and worker housing and operates the complex throught WWII and the Korean action, up to the early years of the Vietnam conflict. A loaded freighter blows up in the harbor, touching off detonations in the factories that levelthe facilities and much of the workers' town, and seeding the land with heavy metals and other toxic materials. The Navy recovers the human remains, buries them, and fences the place off as a toxic site.


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#8 Travern

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 04:58 PM

A loaded freighter blows up in the harbor, touching off detonations in the factories that levelthe facilities and much of the workers' town, and seeding the land with heavy metals and other toxic materials. The Navy recovers the human remains, buries them, and fences the place off as a toxic site.


Good lord, talk about adding insult to injury for Innsmouth. Was there any Mythos connection, or didn't even the Deep Ones want it after that?

#9 yronimoswhateley

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 05:08 PM

For what it's worth, the "Pulp Cthulhu" setting, I believe, assumes a setting in the 1930s and 1940s, and might perhaps suggest a few ideas about historical context and shift in tone, even if you choose not to use the handful of optional "pulp" rules.

 

I think the settings for wartime Arkham and Innsmouth suggested by Travern and Gaffer are brilliant. 

 

I especially like the idea of a post-Innsmouth-Incident occupied Innsmouth as "military base" either in fact, in cover story, or both - a place full of American armed military police and Delta Green agents demanding papers, enforcing curfews, confining Innsmouth civilians to their homes, conducting blood tests and experiments on suspected hybrids, kicking in doors and hauling people away in the middle of the night, the government "frogmen" and submersibles might be busily and secretly engaged in retrieving artifacts and strange and dangerous technology from beyond Devil Reef, etc.  In any way that counts, "liberated" Innsmouth might be just about as bad, dangerous,and paranoid a place to visit or live in as Innsmouth under the Deep Ones, and for the locals, the "liberation" was little more than a change in management, while for Innsmouth's neighbors, the only thing they know is that Innsmouth was bad based on rumors heard about the town before the raid, but now the federal government is on top of things and they don't hear any rumors at all anymore. 

 

Meanwhile, pretty much any kind of spy or subversive agent story that would be set by default in occupied or Cold War Europe could easily be transplanted to Innsmouth under U.S. Martial Law....  The investigators, working for any organization that amuses you, from shadowy anti-Mythos groups, to sketchy Conspiracy Theorist goups, to The Mob, to Anarchist groups, to foreign governments, or even the F.B.I. working against "government corruption" might for example work to retrieve or sabotage McGuffins from Innsmouth before Delta Green (here assumed to be an "Evil" organization) or even more shadowy government organizations can obtain them, or to smuggle microfilm or messages into or out of Innsmouth, or to help get Innsmouth Scientists or agents with important information across the military's "iron curtain" into Free America, or organize/arm/assist Innsmouth resistance groups who worked against the Deep Ones and now work against Delta Green, etc....

 

 

Perhaps this occupied Innsmouth becomes a sort of Area 51 for the 1930s and 1940s, a place where Delta Green and the U.S. government temporarily buries secrets and disposes of trash until it can find a better place for it, such that Innsmouth in this era might be home to just about any sort of X-Files-worthy weirdness, and Arkham might be a logical next-to-last step place for convoys escorting crashed spacecraft, alien bodies, dangerous artifacts, etc. destined for warehouses and such in Innsmouth.  (Remember that crazy warehouse from Raiders of the Lost Ark?  Maybe that's exactly the sort of thing that the Innsmouth Naval Base is home to....)


Edited by yronimoswhateley, 06 December 2017 - 05:16 PM.

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#10 Travern

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 05:23 PM

While they're investigating, maybe even the sailor from the Victory supposedly lost at sea returns home, subtly and weirdly different after his long ocean sojourn.


And now I want to come up with a Deep One version of The Return of Martin Guerre set in Innsmouth.

#11 Gaffer

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 06:03 PM

Yronimos - You could draw interesting parallels with American internment of Japanese civilians and their combat heroism in US service.

 

Was there any Mythos connection, or didn't even the Deep Ones want it after that?

 

The actual story was about a sorcerer whose house was about the only one left standing. There was a mass grave and memorial for the victims next door to the house that attracted ghouls who were the sorceror's adherents.

 

The story of Innsmouth (renamed LePage by the corporation) did not come into play. It was more of an Easter egg and fun for me.

 

The sorceror had featured in a previous scenario set in the 1920s. Both scenarios were con events separated by several years. The earlier protagonists were Irish gangsters, the modern ones were a boy band past their prime trying to regain fame with a reality show.


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#12 yronimoswhateley

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 10:46 PM

Good call on the parallels that could be drawn - I think that could be a great way way to explore that idea.

 

As an aside, I think you come up with some of my favorite ideas for pre-gen characters - that washed-up boy band in an ill-conceived reality show comeback is inspired and sounds to me like a lot of fun!  :)


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#13 Gaffer

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 01:21 AM

My daughter actually ran it four times and she said that men and women alike were very excited to play the band members. The women in particular wanted to play the Bad Boy.
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