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''Are we the baddies?"/ investigators and ''evil'' organizations


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#21 DeUniversumMysteriis

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Posted 02 December 2017 - 10:36 AM

Morality is always a tricky thing in roleplaying games, I guess.

 

There are people of who have no problem playing an Evil Campaign in D&D where they will be the baddies who steal, kill, pillage, destroy the world.

 

In CoC case it's a bit harder because of the serious tone of the game (Well, except if the keeper decide to run a more "lighthearted" campaign, I suppose...). Being in the shoes of mobsters, cultists, or any other kind of assholes in this game is supposed to affect the players more than, say, if a group of D&D players decide to play a bunch of goblins who are attacking a village to steal stuff.

 

In my case, I wouldn't make my players be completly evil characters (Except if they ask for it). I'd rather run a campaign with greyish morality. As someone said before, in a "normal" campaign, the investigators might do bad things and they might appear as a group of maniacs killing people and destroying building for no reason.

 

I would offer my players choices they won't be proud of. Hard decisions. Uncertainty.

 

It's kind of already the case in the campaign I'm running : During their second adventure they discovered that a cunning woman has been kidnapping babies for months, maybe years. She used them as sacrifices during rituals performed to maintain a barrier which has been preventing something from destroying the whole region. The barrier was getting weaker and weaker and the woman became desperate. (And it affects her very much)

She wasn't evil, I mean not "I will destroy the world" evil. She was actually trying to help but was forced to do horrible things for that reason.

 

So I gave my players that ambiguous situation. Will they let the woman continue her awful deeds and hope that it will work? Will they stop her?

In the end, the investigators found an alternative solution (Something the woman was aware of but couldn't pull off alone) and the woman turned herself in to the local police.

 

Besides, I have in store a little adventure who could totally end up with the investigators being forced to let go a potential serial killer (Because they can't just tell everyone he is a killer for they have no proof against him and he's too powerful) or they could simply kill the guy. (And during this adventure they will be in contact with the local irish mobsters so...)

 

So, would I let my player be part of an evil organisation or help such an group? Probably, but with a lot of ambiguity. Maybe they will be german soldiers who will be deeply affected by the horrors commited by the Nazis. Maybe they will be given the opportunity to use the ressources of the KKK to stop some cultists (Classic "The enemy of my enemy is my friend"). Maybe they will have the choice of killing or letting go an assassin that just helped them.

 

And about the fact that any hard choice becomes meaningless in the great scheme of things because the very nature of Cosmic Horror is that Man can't do **** to prevent the Apocalypse, I'd say it's a matter of perspective.

 

Normally, the investigators are not aware of that. That's when they realise that what they do is meaningless that the true horror begins to take them over. Otherwise, when they decide to take extreme measures to stop a cult or something like that, they don't know that Cthulhu, Nyarly & company will come to Earth one day anyway.

 

It's the bittersweet nature of Cosmic Horror. See Stranger Things 2.

 

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#22 eternalchampion

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Posted 02 December 2017 - 01:14 PM

I'd say the Mafia,  Reds, bomb-tossing anarchists, Crowley-type occultists, and Nazis would all count as (non Mythos) bad guys. 

Your list may differ from mine.

 

Hmm, quite a mixed bag you’ve got there. I suppose this would make the capitalists intervening in South America’s economies and politics, the police suppressing civil unrest with rifles in the States, the imperialists of western Europe in India or Africa, or even the Czarists… what, good guys? What would the Indians think of a British officer, the Congolese people of a Belgian one, or in the excellent scenario “The Burning Stars”, a local Haitian for the US military presence or even the well dresses American investigators? On the other hand, what rich possibilities for role playing this can give!

 

When playing the game in a realistic historical context it is most interesting and important to depict the actual relationships of the time and place. At least for me. I am not talking about ideologies only, but I am talking about true relationships that can be according or against certain ideals.

For example, oppression; oppression is bad, it is evil. Some would say sometimes necessary, but evil it is. An SS-man has certain power over certain people and can exert control and oppression. A british officer can exert oppression to local natives, as well an NKDV man to his fellow citizens, or a us-army officer over the Haitian people and even a serif in a southern state over black people. In my game an investigator might be on either end of this relationship and I want the players to fill it either way. Even if he/she is on the “high end” (let us say) of that relationship and does not want to exert that right to oppress (in order to get information for the investigation for example), because even if he/she represents an oppressive regime he/she can be a good person, even then, I will make sure the first reactions from the other end would be that of fear, anger, distrust.

 

But this is an element of a good role-playing game for me. Whatever the situation of the context is, however good or bad, and even if it is just the background of the scenario or an integral part of it, I want to do it justice.

 

When we played the scenario “Garden of Earthly Delights” form Strange Aeons I, the players had the role of the Spanish Inquisition. I gave the role of the most strict and ruthless monk to a player known for his far-right ideas (he is actually harmless and even a funny guy, when he does not talk about politics). He was excellent in his role. He could make deals with the local aristocrats and terrorize villagers to get information. Of course it is CoC and soon the scenario takes another turn, but he was an element of a good game night (he was not that believable playing a Confucian priest in another scenario…). So, yes, you have to know your players, as it has been stated above.

 

How far we can go? I would not be hesitant to set a game with any type of characters in any period and situation, if I consider that situation interesting and the possible scenario to be fun.

 

Now, about a campaign. I should say no. I wouldn’t find it to my liking to have a whole campaign with the same oppressive and “evil” players and the same theme. It would soon expand its interest for me.

 

In our game the players are usually freelance investigators and they do not belong to an organization, even like Delta Green. I say usually because we play many historical stand alone scenarios where the characters can be many different types and have various religious and philosophical backgrounds.



#23 Travern

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Posted 02 December 2017 - 02:12 PM

Real-world morality? 

 

I'm not quite sure I  know what you mean. 

 

As opposed to it's-just-a-game morality, like the neatly laid-out alignment chart of D&D.



#24 yronimoswhateley

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Posted 02 December 2017 - 03:30 PM

I've come around to viewing cultists (at least the rank-and-file cultists, but why not cult-leaders, too?) not necessarily as goblin cannon-fodder for investigators to machine-gun through just because we put them in the investigators' way, but as ordinary people caught up in something much bigger than they are, something they've lost control over (or never had control over) and now try to live with the best way they can.

 

And I've thought of investigators in similar terms ever since I first started playing Call of Cthulhu - in the end, there are only vaguer shades of grey between a party of experienced investigators and a cult (a party of experienced investigators are, after all, little more than an insular group of people who have developed their own, peculiar, paranoid ideas about world, and their own way of dealing with it outside of mainstream society, laws, morality, etc., up to and including murdering their enemies for bizarre reason....)

 

And then, "in real life", I think there are few people who step into the roles of thieves, con-men, gangsters, death squads, terrorists, imperialists, cultists, fanatics, dictators, mass murderers, serial killers, or anything else, who think they are evil people doing evil things.  If asked, they'll tell you, and believe completely, that they had no choices, they were only following orders that must be obeyed, they are doing the right thing for society, they are making the world a better place, they are protecting the world from dangerous outsiders and/or minorities, they are striking back at life-long antagonists in the only show of strength they know how to make, their victims made them do monstrous things, they just did someone a favor and soon found themselves in over their heads, they made one small mistake and the world turned on them unfairly and forced them into a series of bigger mistakes....

 

I think that players who show some level of understanding, even a small one, about such characterization should absolutely feel free to play - or even be encouraged to play - an 'evil character' (in contrast to those who are just in it to indulge in sociopathic fantasies for things they aren't allowed to do 'in real life'!)

 

For my part, playing those sorts of characters have been some of the most memorable role-playing experiences and characters, and I don't think they caused any trouble for the folks I've ever gamed with.  I do try to set such characters up for a cosmically awful doom, in any event - it's perhaps not particularly "Lovecraftian" that an "evil character" gets singled out by an uncaring universe for an especially awful fate, but it always seems to feel right for me that a blood-soaked Secret Policeman, Gangster, Cult Leader, or whatever who has done awful things "for the greater good" or whatever excuse he might have ultimately lets his bad choices and decisions lead him down a path to ultimate personal disaster....

 

But then, I'm perhaps an uncommon and eccentric Call of Cthulhu player:  I'm not in the game to see my investigator ultimately succeed or win or get cool stuff or do heroic things, I'm in it to see my character meet his doom in an appropriately spectacular, nasty, and memorable way that (hopefully) doesn't interfere with the other players' success or spotlight at all, and that seems to happen the most easily and most interestingly (at least to me) when the character is clearly no hero, but does have some complexity....

 

It's also part of the reason I enjoy keeping games - I like to see my NPCs have awful things happen to them, too, because their human flaws and weaknesses put them in the wrong place, at the wrong time; I suppose I'm sort of ghoulish that way.

 

Anyway, I don't remember what the original question was, but I don't have a problem with "evil characters" per-se - only when an evil character is just an exercise in playing a long, uninterrupted string of aimless, bizarre, and awful things just because the word "evil" is written on the character sheet - in my experience, that's not a common problem, but every now and then I have joined a group with That One Guy in it, and it seems like his experiments in evil characters never really seem to end well.  (To be fair, for some reason, in my experience, turning a role-playing game into a rape-torture-and-murder simulator seems to mainly be a thing with "Dungeon Morality", where apparently all the motive and characterization a player needs for such thing is "well, I'm Chaotic Evil, so my character has to torture, rape, murder, pillage, and back-stab and rob all his friends, I have no choice - I'm just following the Rules'/Game's/Character's orders!")


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#25 EihortBroodling

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Posted 02 December 2017 - 06:08 PM

Eternal Champion-

 

Sure, a different list of bad guy organizations  might suit a different setting and a different set of baseline assumptions about investigators. I think my list is very appropriate for a interwar/Jazz Era United States game (which may see  American investigators working abroad in some adventures). It's influenced by the pulps, of course. Some of the list also works for Gaslight in Great Britain.

Use whatever works for you and your game, right?

 

As for good guy organizations in the Jazz Era, my list looks different than the one you suggest. This is drifting from the topic, but it still seems relevant, so I'll offer a sample list:

 

Anti-Mythos groups like the Theron Marks Society and the Order of the Sword of Saint Jerome

 

local law enforcement (but not where it is notably corrupt)

 

investigation-relevant university departments (not so much 'good' as useful)

 

most mainstream churches (not creepy cults)

 

sometimes the Feds and the military (good guys in a certain seaport-town related adventure module)



#26 EihortBroodling

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Posted 02 December 2017 - 06:13 PM

Anyway, I don't remember what the original question was, but I don't have a problem with "evil characters" per-se - only when an evil character is just an exercise in playing a long, uninterrupted string of aimless, bizarre, and awful things just because the word "evil" is written on the character sheet - in my experience, that's not a common problem, but every now and then I have joined a group with That One Guy in it, and it seems like his experiments in evil characters never really seem to end well.  (To be fair, for some reason, in my experience, turning a role-playing game into a rape-torture-and-murder simulator seems to mainly be a thing with "Dungeon Morality", where apparently all the motive and characterization a player needs for such thing is "well, I'm Chaotic Evil, so my character has to torture, rape, murder, pillage, and back-stab and rob all his friends, I have no choice - I'm just following the Rules'/Game's/Character's orders!")

 

The original question, paraphrased:

 

Would you be interested in  keeping or playing a game in which the investigators were part of a nefarious organization?

 

Example= Cold Harvest module, Bolshevik secret police in 1930s Soviet Union.

 

Just for a one-off scenario?

 

Entire campaign?

 

My answers are:

 

Yes, I'm interested in Cold Harvest.

 

But I think I'd prefer this kind of thing as a one-shot, not a campaign. CoC is grim enough already!



#27 EihortBroodling

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Posted 02 December 2017 - 06:22 PM

As opposed to it's-just-a-game morality, like the neatly laid-out alignment chart of D&D.

 

Ah, noted.

 

I approached alignment a bit differently in my latest AD&D game. I tied the alignments to specific gods, and then talked about the gods and not abstract alignments. It worked well. 



#28 Gaffer

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Posted 02 December 2017 - 06:35 PM

Disclaimer up front: I didn't read all of every post.

In terms of Adolf Hitler, I think a lot of mileage could be gotten out of setting up a story in which cultists will sacrifice him to open a door for Azathoth and oblivion. I'd set it in 1933, just as the Nazis are really gaining control.

In context, the investigators (whether Nazis or not) only know that the man has won election to his current post and is starting to fulfill his promise to return Deutsch land to its rightful place in the world. He's an anti-Semite, yes, but a lot of people always have been. He's virulently anti-Communist, but look what Stalin is up to, and Comintern. Some of his followers are thugs, but he's promised to bring them to heel and, you know, omelets...eggs...

So, why wouldn't they try to save him and avert the Apocalypse? If any or all of the characters are Party members, few even in the NSDAP knew where things were headed.

If they succeed, you can wrap up with a description of all the Nazi atrocities that ensue. The question then is Was it better to save Hitler?

You could also discuss what happened to each of their characters in the ensuing years.

Edited by Gaffer, 02 December 2017 - 06:39 PM.

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#29 Gaffer

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Posted 02 December 2017 - 07:00 PM

As for Cold Harvest, I havent read more than a summary, but, again, the historical context is key.

The NKVD agents don't know the truth about Stalin and the Politburo. They live in a highly controlled-information society. What they know is that, when they were kids, the heroes of the Peoples' Revolution swept away the oppression and injustice of the Tsar and the nobles and capitalists. Now they live in a society where everyone is equal and the government, instead of brutally keeping the common man hungry and poor, is dedicated to the proposition "From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs."

BUT there are enemies trying to thwart the Workers' Paradise. Foreign powers want the nation to be weak. Traitors want to restore the Tsar and the bad old days. Capitalists and kulaks want to cheat the deserving workers. Lenin is dead, but Stalin labors mightily to fulfill his plan for freedom and justice.

The investigators are the equivalent of heroic G-men, rooting out spies and terrorists to protect the nation. If the rot at this collective is allowed to spread, their fellow citizens will starve. The forces of evil will win.

Again, afterward you can outline what they will be propping up, but in the context of the time, how can they do otherwise than to do their job?

Edited by Gaffer, 02 December 2017 - 07:02 PM.

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#30 EihortBroodling

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Posted 02 December 2017 - 07:01 PM

Disclaimer up front: I didn't read all of every post.

In terms of Adolf Hitler, I think a lot of mileage could be gotten out of setting up a story in which cultists will sacrifice him to open a door for Azathoth and oblivion. I'd set it in 1933, just as the Nazis are really gaining control.

In context, the investigators (whether Nazis or not) only know that the man has won election to his current post and is starting to fulfill his promise to return Deutsch land to its rightful place in the world. He's an anti-Semite, yes, but a lot of people always have been. He's virulently anti-Communist, but look what Stalin is up to, and Comintern. Some of his followers are thugs, but he's promised to bring them to heel and, you know, omelets...eggs...

So, why wouldn't they try to save him and avert the Apocalypse? If any or all of the characters are Party members, few even in the NSDAP knew where things were headed.

If they succeed, you can wrap up with a description of all the Nazi atrocities that ensue. The question then is Was it better to save Hitler?

You could also discuss what happened to each of their characters in the ensuing years.

 

Indeed!

 

It'd be hilarious if the cultists succeeded. Azathoth shows up, but its seething  chaos just destroys the cultists and whatever area they were in, then vanishes.

 

With Hitler dead, Himmler maneuvers his way to the top. Cue an even nuttier and more destructive Third Reich, and one that uses the Mythos, Delta Green style...



#31 yronimoswhateley

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Posted 02 December 2017 - 07:02 PM

The original question, paraphrased:

 

Would you be interested in  keeping or playing a game in which the investigators were part of a nefarious organization?

Example= Cold Harvest module, Bolshevik secret police in 1930s Soviet Union.

 

Just for a one-off scenario?

Entire campaign?

 

 

My answers are:

 

Yes, I'm interested in Cold Harvest.

But I think I'd prefer this kind of thing as a one-shot, not a campaign. CoC is grim enough already!

 

I thought Cold Harvest was an intriguing scenario, and I want to run that one some time.  I didn't necessarily see the investigators in that scenario as "evil" - again, just ordinary people caught up in something bigger and colder, trying to make their way through grey areas as well as they could....  There are a lot of interesting things going on in that scenario and with the characters:  the PCs don't necessarily think of themselves as villains, they've got orders from an organization that is effectively an unreliable narrator, the PCs have got reasons both for obeying and disobeying the orders, the threat/opposition the investigators are there to address has a complex motive and are anything but mustache-twirling villains, there are no real easy solutions to the problems and there are consequences for both good and bad intentions....

 

I've also seen a couple scenarios told from the point of view of cultists, but I've never played them - these haven't really interested me very much, as they use the "investigator party as cultists" idea in one of the most obvious ways possible by having the party's only obvious shared goal being to complete a ritual and summon a Cthulhu before the keeper's NPCs can stop them, while their personal goals pit them against each other free-for-all style.  I suppose there could be some fun in seeing a bunch of bickering cultists back-stab each other while trying to be the first to summon a world-eating monster, but I guess I like my "evil party" scenarios to be rather more "uncertain" or "morally/ethically complicated" than generically "evil".


Edited by yronimoswhateley, 02 December 2017 - 07:09 PM.

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#32 EihortBroodling

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Posted 02 December 2017 - 07:07 PM

As for Cold Harvest, I havent read more than a summary, but, again, the historical context is key.

The NKVD agents don't know the truth about Stalin and the Politburo. They live in a highly controlled-information society. What they know is that, when they were kids, the heroes of theGlorious Revolution swept away the oppression and injustice of the Tsar and the nobles and capitalists. Now they live in a society where everyone is equal and the government, instead of brutally keeping the common man hungry and poor, is dedicated to the proposition "From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs."

BUT there are enemies trying to thwart the Workers' Paradise. Foreign powers want the nation to be weak. Traitors want to restore the Tsar and the bad old days. Capitalists and kulaks want to cheat the deserving workers. Lenin is dead, but Stalin labors mightily to fulfill his plan for freedom and justice.

The investigators are the equivalent of heroic G-men, rooting out spies and terrorists to protect the USSR. If the rot at this collective is allowed to spread, their fellow citizens will starve. The forces of evil will win.

Again, afterward you can outline what they will be propping up, but in the context of the time, how can they do otherwise than to do their job?

 

It's pretty much impossible for me to accept the idea that the investigators won't know about the atrocities. Numbers? Sure, they won't know that. But they know the score, unless they are very naïve indeed. The nature of the regime was never a secret. Remember, this isn't just stuff being done to foreigners or occurring out of public view off in a combat zone, but things the state does to terrorize its own citizens into compliance.  Evidence was everywhere. PCs will belong to a group tasked with carrying out these actions.

 

They might be fully complicit in the crimes of the regime, of course. True Believers, as you suggest, or just corrupt bastards doing what they need to do to benefit themselves. 

 

Or world-weary cops muddling through in a very nasty system.



#33 Gaffer

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Posted 02 December 2017 - 07:14 PM

I didn't necessarily see the investigators in that scenario as "evil" - again, just ordinary people caught up in something bigger and colder, trying to make their way through grey areas as well as they could.... 

 

Isn't that most CoC scenarios? It's the way I like them.


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#34 EihortBroodling

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Posted 02 December 2017 - 07:17 PM

There seems to be some conflation and confusion of 'evil party' and 'investigators belong to a bad guy organziation.'

 

Just to be clear, I'm not suggesting a group of amoral and antisocial investigators commiting violent crimes for the lulz.

 

Rather, I'm looking at a scenario in which investigators are members of the secret police force of a totalitarian regime, or of some other bad guy outfit. They might individually be relatively humane and decent, total jerks, raging fanatics, cynical opportunists, whatever. But the larger group of which they are members is what the players themselves and the Keeper would (presumably you have no Reds or Nazis in your group) consider to be the bad guys.


Edited by EihortBroodling, 02 December 2017 - 07:19 PM.


#35 Gaffer

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Posted 02 December 2017 - 07:26 PM

It's pretty much impossible for me to accept the idea that the investigators won't know about the atrocities. The nature of the regime was never a secret. Remember, this isn't just stuff being done to foreigners or occurring out of public view off in a combat zone, but things the state does to terrorize its own citizens into compliance. Evidence was everywhere. PCs will belong to a group tasked with carrying out these actions.

They might be fully complicit in the crimes of the regime, of course. True Believers, as you suggest, or just corrupt bastards doing what they need to do to benefit themselves.
Or world-weary cops muddling through in a very nasty system.

 

I think you underestimate how clueless people living under a totalitarian regime can be when they are fed lies and disinformation every day and when a certain amount of willful blindness is necessary for comfort and even survival. Even in modern, open democracies government actions can be hidden or disguised from the populace.

These agents are sent to investigate "criminal acts" and arrest the "traitors" who committed them. When those persons are convicted in a "fair trial" and punished, that's just what the government has to do to protect us all. They may choose not to look more deeply into the truth, but that's not unusual in any society, especially among law enforcement and the military.


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#36 EihortBroodling

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Posted 02 December 2017 - 07:34 PM

I think you underestimate how clueless people living under a totalitarian regime can be when they are fed lies and disinformation every day and when a certain amount of willful blindness is necessary for comfort and even survival. Even in modern, open democracies government actions can be hidden or disguised from the populace.

These agents are sent to investigate "criminal acts" and arrest the "traitors" who committed them. When those persons are convicted in a "fair trial" and punished, that's just what the government has to do to protect us all. They may choose not to look more deeply into the truth, but that's not unusual in any society, especially among law enforcement and the military.

 

We can discuss Soviet history in some other, non-gaming forum.

 

Suffice it to say, I think your idea works well, only not in the context of 1930s Soviet society.

 

Run what works for you. If I were a player in your game, and you told me ''this is what your guy was taught/has read in the papers/hears from friends and family, whatever he may suspect'' I'd roll with it. Your table, your call.

 

Have you read Fatherland?



#37 Travern

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Posted 02 December 2017 - 07:43 PM

In terms of Adolf Hitler, I think a lot of mileage could be gotten out of setting up a story in which cultists will sacrifice him to open a door for Azathoth and oblivion. I'd set it in 1933, just as the Nazis are really gaining control.

In context, the investigators (whether Nazis or not) only know that the man has won election to his current post and is starting to fulfill his promise to return Deutsch land to its rightful place in the world. He's an anti-Semite, yes, but a lot of people always have been. He's virulently anti-Communist, but look what Stalin is up to, and Comintern. Some of his followers are thugs, but he's promised to bring them to heel and, you know, omelets...eggs...

 
1933 would be a little late for that - the 1920s might be a better time to place this, say, shortly after Hitler's release from prison, when he was rebuilding his base but only just receiving national recognition.
 
By 1933, in keeping with the historical record, almost decade had elapsed since the publication of his bestselling Mein Kampf, which made plain his eliminationist brand of anti-Semitism, genocidal ideas about exterminating Germany's enemies, and establishing his New Order.  At that point, members of the NSDAP were completely aware of his political stance and happily on board with it, and his supporters outside the party had few if any pretexts for not knowing exactly who he was.  For a scenario set just before the Reichstag Fire and the Nazi consolidation of power, players would have to adopt investigators who were either apolitical to the point of obliviousness or morally compromised from the beginning.
 
As for Cold Harvest, it has similar problems if it's set in the late 1930s.  By then, Stalin's show trials were well under way and the Great Purge was beginning, plus forced collectivization had resulted in famine killing millions.  And of course the NKVD had been suppressing counter-revolutionaries for years now.  Again, players in such a period setting would have to be either zealots or thoroughly morally compromised, even if they're comparatively isolated in the agricultural areas.
 
Honestly, reading memoirs of those who lived through those period is more distressing than the studying the Necronomicon ever could be, to say nothing of classics like The Banality of Evil.
 

I think you underestimate how clueless people living under a totalitarian regime can be when they are fed lies and disinformation every day and when a certain amount of willful blindness is necessary for comfort and even survival.

Likewise, one oughtn't underestimate the capacity of ordinary people to refuse to acknowledge what they know is the truth - to say nothing about those who "worked towards the Fuhrer".  Bad consciences under Hitler and Stalin were endemic, and historians of totalitarianism have learned that the experiences of those living under such regimes was far from absolute.

 

All this is to say that gamifying such historical settings is fraught to say the least.  The more accurate the details, the more likely they'll become obstacles for an escapist RPG like CoC.  (I'm trying to think of an RPG set in 30s Russia, but the closest I know of is the WWII-era Night Witches.)  The Great Depression in the US is a cakewalk compared to Germany and the USSR.

 

edit: Correcting the timeline of Mein Kampf, published in 1925, not 1923 as I'd misremembered.


Edited by Travern, 02 December 2017 - 08:03 PM.


#38 yronimoswhateley

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Posted 02 December 2017 - 07:44 PM

Isnt that most CoC scenarios? It's the way I like them.

 

Exactly so - it's one of the things that interests me about the general Call of Cthulhu setting.

 

There seems to be some conflation and confusion of 'evil party' and 'investigators belong to a bad guy organziation.'

 

Just to be clear, I'm not suggesting a group of amoral and antisocial investigators commiting violent crimes for the lulz....

 

I hope I don't come across as accusing you otherwise - this can be a delicate subject sometimes to tread on, with a lot of triggers for people, so I think a discussion like this will, whether we intend it to or not, eventually touch on several very different things:

  • make-believe violence for the lulz
  • playing the role of investigators in an evil organization as a way to explore complicated questions of ethics and morality
  • playing the role of investigators in an evil organization out of callousness and lack of sensitivity to that organization's real-world victims
  • actual sympathy and support for real-world evil organizations

 

I'm pretty sure you are talking about role-playing complicated investigators with difficult choices to make within bad-guy organizations, and I don't mind doing that at all - but, I do want to distinguish that from the other things as much as possible, because of the delicacy of topic, and how easy it can be to misunderstand "I wonder what I would do if I were in that position" as "it would be so cool if I could be in that position" or "I think being in that position is funny and amusing".....


Edited by yronimoswhateley, 02 December 2017 - 07:48 PM.

"I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time." - Blaise Pascal


#39 EihortBroodling

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Posted 02 December 2017 - 08:13 PM

Exactly so - it's one of the things that interests me about the setting.

 

I hope I don't come across as accusing you otherwise - this can be a delicate subject sometimes to tread on, with a lot of triggers for people, so I think a discussion like this will, whether we intend it to or not, eventually touch on several very different things:

  • make-believe violence for the lulz
  • playing the role of investigators in an evil organization as a way to explore complicated questions of ethics and morality
  • playing the role of investigators in an evil organization out of callousness and lack of sensitivity to that organization's real-world victims
  • actual sympathy and support for real-world evil organizations

 

I'm pretty sure you are talking about role-playing complicated investigators with difficult choices to make within bad-guy organizations, and I don't mind doing that at all - but, I do want to distinguish that from the other things as much as possible, because of the delicacy of topic, and how easy it can be to misunderstand "I wonder what I would do if I were in that position" as "it would be so cool if I could be in that position" or "I think being in that position is funny and amusing".....

 

You are certainly not coming off as accusatory. No worries, bro.

 

We can rule out sympathy, right off. I don't game with people with whom I would never want to socialize  outside of gaming. No Maoists, Neo-Nazis, Satanists, etc. 

 

I don't lecture other gamers about  badwrongfun if they want to play Chaotic Evil types engaged in mindless make-believe violence and casual atrocities. But it is not my thing, and the games I run don't support this playstyle.

 

Sensitivity? Do you mean a player might be offended by the idea of a scenario like Cold Harvest because playing Soviet secret police Investigators in a CoC scenario might strike that player as disrespectful of the millions of innocents murdered by the Soviet state? I can see that. Indeed, it's very much a consideration in my original post. If people feel really uncomfortable with their PCs, they probably won't have fun playing them. And isn't the game played to have fun? 



#40 yronimoswhateley

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Posted 02 December 2017 - 08:34 PM

Yes, that's exactly the sort of thing I mean about the sensitivity.  And it's not just a matter of people having fun reading the game - it's also a matter of people reading the message board and so on:  I don't mind the conversation, but I'm sure there's more than one reader who feels the subject matter is a little too dark for their tastes, bordering on bad taste, and I do sympathize with them - I don't want to spoil their fun, especially by sounding disrespectful to a very serious subject.


"I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time." - Blaise Pascal