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Good guy organizations/ Anti-Mythos groups


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#21 DavePerry

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Posted 04 December 2017 - 10:51 PM

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned The Laundry yet, that secret branch of Her Majesty's intelligence service responsible for keeping the country safe from intrusion by eldritch horrors and the idiots who try to summon them. If you want an anti-Mythos organisation, then think big and think of a whole government organisation run by Seriously Scary Sorcerers. Based on the series of novels by Charles Stross and the subject of a BRP based RPG in it's own right from Cubicle 7 (though I'm not sure what's going to happen with C7 not renewing their licence from Chaosium).  

 

Agents are still left on their own though, with only enough information revealed to them compatible with their security clearance and equipment available subject to departmental budget. Modern day adventures where keeping the Mythos under wraps from the blissfully unaware general public is no easy task.  




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#22 GRWelsh

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Posted 05 December 2017 - 12:12 AM

I don't like the idea of investigators belonging to a safety net organization with lots of resources and firepower, but I do like the idea of academic or amateur organizations of like-minded people who correspond and gather together at times... Maybe something like the Arcane Society of Arkham, made up of some professors, antiquarians, and writers who are sneered at by the mainstream, and viewed the way most UFOlogists, Big Foot hunters and ghost-chasers are.  It's the kind of organization you might be embarrassed to belong to, yet which occasionally can provide useful information or expertise.  It's also a nod to HPL's involvement with amateur journalism and the "Weird Tales" circle of writers and correspondents.

 

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Edited by GRWelsh, 05 December 2017 - 12:21 AM.


#23 Travern

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Posted 05 December 2017 - 01:00 AM

[...] I like Pulp scenarios too, but they're not the same.

 

Since good-guy groups are a staple of pulp adventures, Pulp Cthulhu includes several for PCs to join, such as the Vanguard Club, Department 29, and Caduceus.



#24 Taavi

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Posted 05 December 2017 - 01:03 AM

My approach to organisations is that they are very useful in a metagame sense as a source of new investigators and plot hooks; "The guy you met in the hotel bar agrees to join you on your investigation of the Carlyle expedition" and "An uncle you never heard of before has left you a mysterious house in his will" get old really quickly; but in order to prevent them becoming crutches I prefer them to have a separate real world purpose and no mythos knowledge or a completely wrong-headed take on the mythos, meaning the investigators are still on their own in solving mysteries and may have to work around their own organisations.

 

For Sixtystone's hopefully forthcoming Observer's Book of Investigator Organisations I wrote up two historic groups: As a Dark Ages organisation, The Order of St Catherine in Sinai, who specialise in authenticating visionary/possession cases as angelic or demonic, ministering to crusaders, and using their library to determine whether newly discovered texts are heretical or not; and the Classic Lovecraft Country New England Watch and Ward Society who go around suppressing vice and pornography. Both of these can be used to fight the mythos, but if you tell the higher-ups what you're really doing they will kick you out pretty quickly.


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#25 ReydeAmarillo

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Posted 05 December 2017 - 08:01 AM

Then again there are historical societies that could be used to involve the Investigators in weird (leading to the awful truth) happenings.

 

The 1802 English "Society for the Suppression of Vice" (in Wikipedia for starters) was founded by William Wilberforce and as well as enforcing laws against brothels and drunkeness was also charged with destroying any books with strange, pornographic or blasphemous messages. A few scenarios where Mythos tome leads to the Mythos should get the ball rolling. And a Y'Golonac cult would make an obvious ongoing enemy. The Society was still around in the 1870's, and given the overwhelming but suppressed vice in Victorian Society a Gaslight campaign using them as an Investigators base feels possible.



#26 Gaffer

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Posted 05 December 2017 - 04:08 PM

...also charged with destroying any books with strange, pornographic or blasphemous messages.

 

I wonder how they defined "strange?"

The New York Society for the Suppression of Vice was a similar institution dedicated to supervising the morality of the public, founded in 1873 to monitor compliance with state laws and work with the courts and district attorneys in bringing offenders to justice. It and its members also pushed for additional laws against perceived immoral conduct. In addition to banning literary works and art, it also closely monitored the news-stands, commonly found on city sidewalks and in transportation terminals, which sold the popular magazines of the day.

The NYSSV was founded by Anthony Comstock and his supporters in the Young Men's Christian Association. It was chartered by the New York state legislature, which granted its agents powers of search, seizure and arrest, and awarded the society 50% of all fines levied in resulting cases. After his death in 1915, Comstock was succeeded by John S. Sumner. In 1947, the organization's name was changed to the Society to Maintain Public Decency. After Sumner's retirement in 1950, the organization was dissolved.
from Wikipedia


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#27 Taavi

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 12:32 AM

The NYSSV (or rather their descendants the Postal Inspectors) also get a guest appearance in the latest Laundry Files novel, The Delirium Brief, as "the Comstock people", a minor anti-mythos agency that gets shut down hard by the Black Chamber.


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#28 JeffErwin

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 05:32 AM

Re: Comstock... One of the ironies of the Elizabethan game I run on and off is that the Puritans are probably more accurate in their approach to the mythos then the rowdy, intellectual group of thespians and hangers on that make up most of the PCs.



#29 vonkeitz

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Posted 11 December 2017 - 08:16 PM

I have inserted the Order of the Sword of Saint Jerome for one character who was roleplayed consistently (by my brother) for a long time as a very devout Catholic. The insertion pretty much just added another level of mystery and really did not do more than help move the campaign along from time to time. And the player/character kept it totally secret. It worked. So, not a go-to powerful benefactor, which would be trite if not lame.


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#30 Mannimark

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Posted 14 December 2017 - 08:23 AM

This may get me shunned by all the hardcore horror lovers, but I do use good guy organizations. Sparingly.

 

Not deus ex-machina, but to help advance the plot and give my players a sense of purpose and some modest power. I find it unrealistic for investigators to always be isolated, weak, and gimped. Frustration falls over the game and leads to player apathy because it gives the sense that the storyteller is out to get them no matter what they do. They just let themselves be led around by the nose with plot hooks and wait in tense boredom for the next 'boo' moment. 

 

In my experience there is only so much 'darkness' you can toss in before the game loses its charm. Good organizations provide a reprieve and allow the horror elements some contrast. People don't play investigators to be bullied by an omnipotent malevolent storyteller and then killed off or driven mad by ridiculous alien nonsense.

 

Here are some examples of what I've done in the past: 

 

Spy in the region who provides info or who has already been doing some light investigation to get the group started.

Agent shows up in town to lurk and provide help with a scoped rifle and/or by committing arson on select buildings. 

Criminal drives into town with a trunk full of small arms after the team makes a phone call reporting persecution by cultists.

Creepy dude in a manor who lets the team consult his library of esoteric books with a referral from a mutual 'friend'. 

Crazy conspiracy theorist who makes pipe bombs in his cellar, supplies explosives, and lurks about taking photos. 

Priest or psychiatrist who offers counsel and helps the team recover sanity with philosophical or theological teachings. 

Benefactors who anonymously put out a bounty or hit on a villain, forcing that person to flee or go underground. 

Invisible allies in a remote city who put in a few calls, plus threats, plus graft to get the team released from prison. 

 

These things support the investigators without doing their jobs for them. They advance the plot, while also providing NPC's who can die horribly later, or be kidnapped, or turn out to be traitors, or go nuts, or mysteriously vanish, or whatever. 

 

What I am opposed to:

 

A squad of dudes in black body armor and gasmasks armed with flamethrowers, grenades, and assault rifles. Hopped up on some crazy drug that helps them cope with sanity damaging things.

 

Hope this helps.


Edited by Mannimark, 14 December 2017 - 08:47 AM.


#31 ElijahWhateley

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Posted 14 December 2017 - 08:51 AM

What I am opposed to:

 

A squad of dudes in black body armor and gasmasks armed with flamethrowers, grenades, and assault rifles. Hopped up on some crazy drug that helps them cope with sanity damaging things.

 

Hope this helps.

 

I like these guys. As the villains. Who turn out to have worn no mask. No mask? No mask.


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#32 The_Tatterdemalion_King

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Posted 14 December 2017 - 05:19 PM

Not deus ex-machina, but to help advance the plot and give my players a sense of purpose and some modest power. I find it unrealistic for investigators to always be isolated, weak, and gimped. Frustration falls over the game and leads to player apathy because it gives the sense that the storyteller is out to get them no matter what they do. They just let themselves be led around by the nose with plot hooks and wait in tense boredom for the next 'boo' moment. 

 

In my experience there is only so much 'darkness' you can toss in before the game loses its charm. Good organizations provide a reprieve and allow the horror elements some contrast. People don't play investigators to be bullied by an omnipotent malevolent storyteller and then killed off or driven mad by ridiculous alien nonsense.

 

That sounds more like a problem with scenario construction than setting details per se. 


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#33 Gaffer

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Posted 14 December 2017 - 08:43 PM

I think you're right T_K, or unfortunate Keeper choices.


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