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CoC Soviet Union


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#41 vincentVV

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Posted 23 December 2016 - 05:30 PM

Full of cranberries? yeah, kind of russian idiom that means "full of stupid cliches that summon The Great Old Facepalm'' =)

 

By the way I re-viewed GURPS Russia and take some of my words back - it is not ideal, but it has a more or less logical and realistic historical part including Kiev Russia and religious conflicts. So, it.. can be used as a base.. mostly. =)

 

In fact, due to a large post WW II literature legacy, a period of 1940-1945 is covered very well both in post-war russian literature and in modern books (earlier books are more patriotic yet focus on person's own tragedies while modern ones are fond of "revealing the truth" about all the dirty sides of that war - including comissars, penal platoons and so on.

 

Nevertheless WW II is closer to present days and I think it would be much-much easier for a Keeper to model that reality than a 1920-1930s one. IMHO, of course.

 

Oh, and there are much more very good movies about that period too - like The Dawns Here Are Quiet, Only Old Men Are Going to Battle (probably the best of all soviet movies about war), The Cranes Are Flying, They Fought for Their Country and the greates espionage thrillere ever - Seventeen Moments of Spring.

 

And talking about Ravenloft - it is primarily a Romanian-Transilvanian setting yet some domains are too feeling to close a "russian" to be discarded. =)

Anyway, I think Romanians had as many facepalms looking through Ravenloft (if they ever did) as Russians do.

 

Oh, and anyway it in no way negates the fact that Ravenloft is a great setting which ideas can be taken to Cthulhu universe.




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#42 Dante7

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Posted 24 December 2016 - 05:32 AM

There's another one that was published I think in a French magazine or website but I'll have to drag it out to get the title but involved the discovery of a shoggoth under the Kremlin and the Russian experiments on it. I think it dates back to the '90s when it was written and IIRC takes place between the wars during the time of Comrade Stalin. (The text is in english but the map names and titles are in french).

 

Secrets of the Kremlin in Glozel est Authentique, published by TOME.  

 

Achtung Cthulhu's Guide to the Eastern Front

 

Age of Cthulhu's Shadows Over Leningrad

 

and don't forget that a chapter of Spawn of Azathoth deals with Tunguska

 

Not gaming or CoC, but Machika Nash from Tim Powers's "Declare" would make for a nice CoC villainess (and possible borderline Great Old One), and a force to rally the Russian ghouls mentioned in the GRU SV8 writeup

 

For non-Lovecraftian Russian supernatural stuff that may prove inspirational there's the book Roadside Picnic and its video game spinoff, Stalker, the Night Watch novel series and also this:  http://tvtropes.org/...e/AgeOfAquarius


Edited by Dante7, 25 December 2016 - 05:39 AM.


#43 The_Tatterdemalion_King

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Posted 24 December 2016 - 06:42 PM

Roadside Picnic is probably one of the best examples of how to do "cosmic horror" for the post-nuclear age.


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#44 notsogreatoldone

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Posted 24 December 2016 - 06:49 PM

"Roadside Picnic" fascinated me as it  seemed to take some of Lovecraft's ideas to their ultimate conclusion: aliens who are completely  indifferent and inexplicable to humanity. It could make  for an interesting scenario, with  an emphasis on psychological coping rather than just physical survival.

 

Got 'Stalker' on DVD: will probably watch it over  New Year's Day weekend.

 

 

There's a couple of horror films with Soviet perspectives that can be streamed. Both are in the 'real footage (Blair Witch)' genre.

 

'Devil's Pass':  is based on a real story  of  Russian skiers  who died somewhat mysteriously in the Ural Mountains in 1959. Contemporary era journalists who  travel to the site of their death  and soon finds themselves in  mortal peril.  Haven't seen it.

 

I did see a movie about  a Soviet recon team, that was advancing through either Austria or Hungary, in the final months of WWII; who run into a descendant of  Victor Frankenstein, who is  creating all kinds of  'construct-revenant' super-soldiers for the Nazis. The title unfortunately escapes me.  It was pretty over the top, but it could be used as the frame-work for a  a very lurid pulp scenario.

 

Edit: Found the title for the Frankenstein film. It's 'Frankenstein's Army'.


Edited by notsogreatoldone, 24 December 2016 - 06:53 PM.


#45 Nightbreed24

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Posted 25 December 2016 - 08:48 PM

I ran a very short wartime scenario 7-8 years ago. It's set in the USSR, but not in the 1930s. The investigators were British soldiers stationed in Northern Russia. I don't remember much, so I think it would be better as a short story, not much room for investigation. But maybe someone could do something with it. Their company was assigned to guarding a fictional village named Yakovlevka, which they fortified against the Bolsheviks. There was a very odd geezer in the village, Old Man Vsevolod, who was not affected by the bitter cold at all (no wonder, he was a worshipper of Ithaqua). Father Fyodor, the friendly Orthodox priest has told the players his story over some strong tea. As a small boy he became lost in the vast forest surrounding the village in the middle of winter and was away for three weeks before coming home buck naked. The cold could not harm him after that. An Ojibwe Private named John Parker told them, that sometimes he heard the howls of the dreaded Wendigo at night. A large force of Reds appeared a few days later. They even had two armoured cars: a heavily armed Garford-Putilov (the Svoboda) and a Mgebrov-Renault (the Aurora). The battle was quite horrific since my group was in the trenches dug in front of the village cemetery and the cannon fire from the Svoboda unearthed many coffins and human remains. They managed to drive the Bolsheviks back, even knock out the Aurora, but suffered heavy casualties. Nobody slept that night. They heard strange chanting after 21:00, followed by a bloodcurdling, otherworldly howl in the distance. The animals in the village, even the fauna of the surrounding woods fled to safety, many through the trenches and the village streets. Think of that scene in the Dreamcatcher movie. Private Parker was cowering in fear of the approaching Wendigo. The Bolsheviks were camped nearby and loud, incoherent screaming and wild shooting could be heard from their direction a few hours later, followed by those terrifying howls. Some of the soldiers went mad and had to be restrained. The next morning was eerily silent. Their Captain sent out a scouting party, which the players were a part of. First they found Old Vsevolod naked and laying on a mound of snow. Then they found the Red camp, at least what was left of it. Some of the bodies were ripped apart, some where frozen as they stood, gigantic trees were torn out of the frozen ground and the armoured car was flattened as if something titanic had stepped on it.

 

My players were British, but the American Polar Bear Expedition fought in Northern Russia as well.


Edited by Nightbreed24, 25 December 2016 - 09:01 PM.


#46 Cearlan

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Posted 26 December 2016 - 12:17 PM

Really surprised that no-one has so far mentioned the excellent Cold Dead Hand by Adam Scott Glancy, published in TUO 23. If I recall there was also a recording done of a radio transmission from within the scenario - very good !!!


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#47 rylehNC

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Posted 29 December 2016 - 01:57 PM

Kenneth Hite has dropped hints that he has a setting idea for 1930s Moscow, involving secret police and occult groups. Were I to set something in the 20s, I know it would involve the Solovyetsky islands.
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#48 BenJoss

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Posted 06 January 2017 - 01:41 PM

I'm very late for the party but there's the newer Cold Harvest (for 7th Ed, I believe) that takes place in Soviet Russia.


It's a great scenario, incredibly atmospheric. I ran it last year and plan to do so again next month.

Highly recommended.

#49 vincentVV

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Posted 08 January 2017 - 10:26 AM

Kenneth Hite has dropped hints that he has a setting idea for 1930s Moscow, involving secret police and occult groups. Were I to set something in the 20s, I know it would involve the Solovyetsky islands.

 

I really do hope Kenneth will consult some people from post-Soviet countries before starting this project. For example someone from 101 Studio (the guys who took part in Russian localisation of ToC).



#50 Travern

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Posted 08 January 2017 - 02:02 PM

Hite outlined an alternate history in which Stalin signed his name in the Book of Azathoth in exchange for earthly power and extended life for a chapter in GURPS Infinite Worlds: Worlds of Horror.  This timeline, extending from the 20s to the 60s, can easily be repurposed for a regular pre-1947 CoC campaign, but the alternate history aspect kicks in with Harry Truman's death that year and the election of the isolationist Robert A. Taft to the presidency the year after.  It culminates in a Soviet-dominated world in which the Mythos lies just under the surface: "A hundred doors slowly crack open, all across the Soviet sphere. Surgeons captured in Treblinka probe the brains of political prisoners and Red Army volunteers, seeking the gateways in pineal space. Armies of slaves work gulag mines to supply the fungoid, alien Yughotiy with rare Siberian minerals. Thousands die in screaming agonies to placate Nyarlathotep. Antarctic explorers dig up Elder technologies; physicists in isolated Siberian laboratories go mad trying to utilize them. Certain inquisitive strangers with unlikely knowledge of the past and future answer insistent questions in their turn in the Lubyanka basement. Over them all, Stalin’s will drives forward. The New Soviet Man will be the next Great Race on Earth. It will be the only Great Race."



#51 vincentVV

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Posted 14 January 2017 - 01:51 PM

My dog.. looks like total ravings =)



#52 tammywilding

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Posted 14 January 2017 - 02:10 PM

Ah, I want GURPS Infinite Worlds: Worlds of Horror now.

I am a penniless vagabond however so no buyee roleplaying bookee's.


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#53 yronimoswhateley

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Posted 15 January 2017 - 06:37 PM

...Sadly, in 1930s Russian literature turned to social realism - so most works were about industrialisation like "And quiet flows the Don"  by Sholokhov, they are idealistic and describe simple lifes of simple people....

 

I don't know - that socialist realism angle sounds like something that can lend a lot of strength to a Weird horror setting.

 

It's  probably worth noting that the default Call of Cthulhu RPG setting is sort of a "Theme Park" version of "Lovecraft Country", which in turn was Lovecraft's "Theme Park" version of New England, which in turn is only a narrow sliver of U.S. culture and history.  That's not necessarily a bad thing:  a comfortable, adventure-friendly setting full of stock characters and stock plot-hooks that will be familiar enough to the audience to give them some direction can make the difference between a setting that Keepers and players will find easily accessible, and one that will require days or weeks of homework and an instruction manual to even begin getting a group of busy players into on the same page, or perhaps one that reveals that the setting is not so different from the group's own home town that it makes more sense to just skip the "exotic" setting and just work with their home town instead (in which chase there's always at lest one guy who can't suspend disbelief because he/she can't really imagine extraordinary things happening in an ordinary town....)

 

In any case, for anyone familiar with Gothic horror traditions, "idealistic... describes simple lives of simple people" should surely suggest some great possibilities:  in Gothic literature, idealistic descriptions of simple people with simple lives are usually followed closely behind by more lurid descriptions of people who only appear to be simple, but actually conceal some very complicated and horrific secrets.  There, behind those vast rural corn-fields, worked by a seemingly upright and decent and hard-working people, lurk warped ideas, hidden cults, strange conspiracies, generations of maddened and deformed evidence of foul crimes boarded up behind the walls of attics and basements, and outlandish horrors all distilled in isolation.  Many of the elements of Socialist Realism would actually be quite familiar to American horror fans:  working-class heroes, everyday settings (like farms, factories, mines, etc.), elements of folklore, a vague idealism (which, in horror, tends to temporarily mask hidden anxieties)....

 

And, it's all just as true in the former Soviet Union and post-Soviet states as it is in the American Gothic United States, or in Folk-Horror and Gaslight British Isles.... (In other words, only a little bit true, but exaggerated to an outlandish degree and peppered with the cliches of their respective genres....)

 

So, at this point, it might be worth investigating whether a "Russian Gothic" genre already exists, and, if so, identify what the unique cliches and "tropes" of that genre are (and a traditional Russian Gothic genre does seem to exist!)  If a "Russian Gothic" genre doesn't already exist, this is, perhaps, a unique opportunity to invent it, the way that Lovecraft helped to invent the "American Gothic" genre....  Either way, the idealistic and practical aesthetics of Socialist Realism seem to me like a strong skeleton to begin hanging the ragged, shadowy trappings of Gothic Horror from....


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#54 skaye

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Posted 15 January 2017 - 07:40 PM

I'd love a recommendation for books or articles (English language) that expand on and update the last chapter, but I treasure Cornell University Press' The Occult in Russian and Soviet Culture.

 

Also recommended, Pennsylvania State University Press' The Bathhouse at Midnight: An Historical Survey of Magic and Divination in Russia.



#55 tammywilding

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Posted 16 January 2017 - 02:08 PM

What about Russian Fairy Tales, Pantheon Books 1973.

Russian Folklore Nordland Publishing 1975

The Icon and the Axe, Billington, Alfred A Knopf 1966

Medieval Russia, Holt, Rinehart and Winston 1973.

 

So many books out there!


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#56 vincentVV

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Posted 16 January 2017 - 05:32 PM

I don't know - that socialist realism angle sounds like something that can lend a lot of strength to a Weird horror setting...

 

A really great post, but still the idea of brutal Russian peasants, delving into occult, amuses me a lot.

 

But hey, why not? There even was a witch hunt in Russia, so there easily can be degenerative families, crazed priests (ah, sorry, no priests - after 1917 there were not much of them left, but priests of Elder Gods? Why not?), and apart from Mythos - lots of simple human-born Evil.

 

And the hoplessness which pierced the life of people back there - isn't it a fertile ground for new religions and beliefs in Mythos dieties?

 

Oh, one more idea. If you start watching Rusiian movies - start with Soviet-period ones. Try to avoid the present-day trash like Mikhalkov's and Bondarchuk's. They may seem well-made, but they are horrific in there pseudo-patriotic stupidity and lack of actor's work. =)



#57 tammywilding

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Posted 17 January 2017 - 02:33 PM

You could have Cthulhu worshipping Teutonic Knights still conducting their quests to extinguish Paganism, with bloody sword and fire.


Now written six horrible dark style fantasies! The World Unseeing, (now known as Dragon), A King In Graeffenland, Princess of Bones, Metacosmoclypse, Once A Knight, and Hand & Eye. Sixty pages in on Jaeson Smiths own novel, might be ready by Christmas. Maybe. 


#58 wombat1

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Posted 18 January 2017 - 12:30 AM

A really great post, but still the idea of brutal Russian peasants, delving into occult, amuses me a lot.

 

But hey, why not? There even was a witch hunt in Russia, so there easily can be degenerative families, crazed priests (ah, sorry, no priests - after 1917 there were not much of them left, but priests of Elder Gods? Why not?), and apart from Mythos - lots of simple human-born Evil.

 

And the hoplessness which pierced the life of people back there - isn't it a fertile ground for new religions and beliefs in Mythos dieties?

 

Oh, one more idea. If you start watching Rusiian movies - start with Soviet-period ones. Try to avoid the present-day trash like Mikhalkov's and Bondarchuk's. They may seem well-made, but they are horrific in there pseudo-patriotic stupidity and lack of actor's work. =)

Remember you don't need a large number of Russian peasants delving into the occult, or bent priests--you only need the one and he can do a great deal of damage messing about in places and with things that are best left un-bothered.



#59 carpocratian

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Posted 20 January 2017 - 05:31 AM

I spent a pretty horrific 6 weeks in Bucharest, Romania right after they killed Ceaucescu.  Nobody knew what laws were still valid, the old communist system was falling apart but there wasn't a lot of evidence of a new one forming to take it's place (that came later), etc.  The apartment building I lived in was like something out of a nuclear holocaust movie, with the requisite dirt field with a single rust-covered swing in it.  The one working elevator in the building was, quite literally, maybe half again as large as a coffin, had no working lights (so you were in total darkness), had doors that sometimes didn't open, and didn't always get you quite to the right level to step off it without having to climb or jump out.  I'm going to need to build that into a CoC scenario of some sort.


Edited by carpocratian, 20 January 2017 - 05:34 AM.


#60 DuskRaven

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Posted 24 January 2017 - 07:30 AM

Reading carpocratian's post, I had just been wondering what a post-Soviet setting would be like. I'm told you can sometimes see a bit of melancholy in post-Soviet Russia. Unfortunately I don't entirely know where I read that, but I imagine it'd not be unlike a Great Depression era American setting, perhaps.

Also, I actually recall reading about a Cthulhu Mythos story set during the Cold War, with both sides doing their best to research and use aspects of the mythos. It doesn't go well.