Secrets of Los Angeles

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Front Cover

Publisher: Chaosium

Product Code: 23111

Publishing Year: 2007

Pages: 192

Cover Price: $24.95

Author(s): Peter Aperlo

Artist(s): Paul Carrick (cover & interior), Mislet Michel, Peter Aperlo

Setting(s): 1920s

Format(s): Softcover and PDF

ISBN: 1-56882-213-8


A 1920’s Sourcebook for the City of the Angels

LOS ANGELES IN THE 1920s was a fast-growing, fast-moving city that encompassed all that was great and all that was rotten in America. Racial, ethnic, and religious melting pots presaged what the whole country would become by the end of the century. L.A. nonetheless clung to a veneer of White Protestantism more in line with farm-belt states in the Midwest. The newly-rich built pleasure palaces in her hills and on her beaches, while recent immigrants and the descendants of the first humans who walked the land huddled together in filthy shantytowns. These resembled the most squalid parts of the undeveloped world. Philanthropists endowed the city with impressive monuments and dreams of a utopian society, while greedy businessmen and industrialists crushed the labor movement and embroiled themselves in scandals that rocked the nation. Celebrated movie stars worked and played before the eyes of the world, while rum-runners and racketeers plied their trade behind the scenes in the land of noir, hand-in-hand with crooked cops and two-faced politicians.

Eastern sophisticates dismissed the city as an abode of the frivolous and the nouveau riche, yet underneath it all coursed an energy at once vibrant and unwholesome. Los Angeles was a place where anyone could reinvent himself, and multitudes did — at a price. It was also a place where dark and blasphemous secrets infested every level of society, belying the carefree and enviable lifestyle broadcast to the world. For behind the glitz and glamour of Tinseltown, primordial, inhuman forces and their twisted minions worked to undermine the very foundations of sanity.

The sourcebook is organised into an introduction, a gazeteer of Los Angeles locations (split into central L.A., suburbs, the coast and more outlying regions), and two scenarios.

The book's sections are:

  • Introduction
    • Map of the Los Angeles Basin
  • Chapter One: The Real History of Los Angeles
    • Timeline
    • Guide to Pronunciation
    • Transport
    • Lines of Pacific Electric Railway
    • Climate and Geography
    • William Mulholland
    • Political and Social Life
    • Cops and Robbers
    • 1920's Los Angeles Occupations
    • Los Angeles Street Names
    • Los Angeles in Different Eras
  • Chapter Two: Downtown
    • Map: Downtown Los Angeles
    • The Great Oil Stock Swindle
    • Aimee Semple McPherson
    • Sonoratown
    • Ah Tom
    • Chinatown
    • James E. Davis
    • Opium Use and Addiction
    • Little Tokyo
  • Chapter Three: The Suburbs
    • Boyle Heights & East Los Angeles
    • Central Avenue
    • West Adams
    • Edward L. Doheny
    • Westlake
    • Mid-Wilshire & Hancock Park
    • Hollywood
    • Charlie Chaplin
    • The Curse on Griffith Park
    • Beverly Hills & Sawtelle
    • Culver City
    • Louis B. Mayer
    • Cecil B. DeMille
  • Chapter Four: The Coast
    • Malibu and Pacific Palisades
    • Will Rogers
    • Santa Monica
    • Venice
    • Tony Cornero
    • The South Bay
    • L.A. Harbor & Long Beach
    • Raymond Chandler
  • Chapter Five: Outlying Areas
    • The San Fernando Valley
    • Edgar Rice Burroughs
    • The San Gabriel Valley
    • Upton Sinclair
    • Santa Catalina Island
    • Tijuana
  • Chapter Six: The Dream Factory
    • The Business of Film Production
    • A Film Glossary
    • Tinseltown Sins & Scandals
  • Chapter Seven: An Angeleno Grimoire
    • Native Californian Magic and Myths
    • A.L. Kroeber and J.P. Harrington
    • Mexican Brujería
    • Chinese Mysticism
    • Other Occult Traditions
  • Scenarios
  • Bibliography
  • Index
  • Handouts

Scenarios: The Shadow Over Hollywood, The Blackness Beneath

Front Cover Text


A 1920s Sourcebook to the City of Angels

Back Cover Text

Secrets of Los Angeles

The City of Angels ... No burg this side of the Pearly Gates could live up to such a moniker, and L.A. isn't even trying. No, you won't see many inhabitants of that sprawling boomtown sprouting downy wings of signing up for the Celestial Choir. Sure, L.A. has more that its share of evangelists, faith healers, and political do-gooders, but when your economy is built on black gold, land speculation, the Hollywood dream factory, and the sweat of migrant workers, it attracts a lot more than just the saintly. The fresh-faced, scrubbed-clean, Midwest wholesomeness they plaster over all the real estate ads don't tell the story. You can't have sunshine without casting shadows, and one thing L.A. has in spades is sunshine....

LOS ANGELES IN THE 1920s is a fast-growing, fast-moving city encompassing all that is great and all that is rotten in America. This racial, ethnic, and religious melting pot presages what the country will become by the end of the century. Celebrated movie stars work and play before the eyes of the world. Rum-runners and racketeers ply their trade, hand-in-hand with crooked cops and two-faced politicians.

Secrets of Los Angeles is an informative resource for keepers should the trail of a mystery lead their investigators to the Southland, or to base a Call of Cthulhu campaign there. Contained herein are facts, legends, and rumors of the people, places, and events that made 1920's Los Angeles the exciting place it was. The information presented varies from trivia that the investigators would know when first stepping off the train to secrets known only to the highest echelons of alien cults. The keeper decides which is which and what lies between.

<also contains an advertisement for Chaosium's lines of Call of Cthulhu roleplaying supplements and fiction>

Comments / Trivia

Cover Credit: "Local Los Angeles street artist P. Carrick captures the moment a suspected shoggoth engulfs Grauman's Chinese Theater."


Spoilers - Keepers Eyes Only

Players should not read any further.

Source Material References

References to Mythos creatures, tomes, artifacts, and Lovecraftian locations that appear within this book's scenarios are described in the pages detailing these scenarios. There are, however, numerous such references made in the source sections (and thus not associated with a specific scenario). These references are detailed below.




Tomes and Artifacts:

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New Creatures: Comment here to Keepers about this book. Comments on specific Scenarios and Campaigns go on their respective pages. Keep DISCUSSION on the talk page.