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Lammomedes

1920s Adventures set in South East Asia

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Lammomedes

I hope this brief review helps everyone a bit.

 

Thanks for the review. Mine came in the mail yesterday, but I have been so busy at work I haven't gotten to look at yet. But your review does seem to jive with what I remember from when I originally owned the book.

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Lammomedes

While I don't have much on Indochina's internal garrison (but you might want to read about the Thailand/French Indochinese border war for details from a slightly later period), I do recall that the French brought a LOT of Indochinese troops to France, where they were used as labor/construction battalions and to transport supplies to the front.  I'm not sure if those units were raised as combatants or went in knowing they were going to spend a few years digging trenches and building roads, but a lot of Indochinese made it to Europe during "the Big One" thanks to France's desperate need for manpower.

 

That part I already knew (I am a WWI historian by profession) and they are part of a larger Asian pool of laborers. I am pretty sure most knew they were going to be laborers, but there were some Indochinese who did see combat.

France was pretty desperate for troops by 1916 during and after Verdun, so who knows exactly what would have occurred with the odd smaller unit suddenly called up for service.

 

On a separate but interesting historical note: I also believe Ho Chih Minh was at the Versailles Conference after the war's end, and the discussion about colonialism and self-determination is partly what turned him completely against the French.

 

From a Columbia University professor's handout:

1919: Ho worked to found the Association for Annamite Patriots, an organization composed of Vietnamese nationals living in France who opposed the French colonial occupation of Vietnam. He authored a petition demanding the end of the French colonial exploitation of Vietnam, which he attempted to present to the world powers at the Versailles Peace Conference held in the aftermath of World War I. His petition was never officially recognized, but his effort was well known in Vietnam.

 

1920: Ho joins the newly formed French Communist Party.

He would also become a member of the Comintern a few years later after traveling to the Soviet Union.

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jlynn

Thanks for the review. Mine came in the mail yesterday, but I have been so busy at work I haven't gotten to look at yet. But your review does seem to jive with what I remember from when I originally owned the book.

I forgot to mention that there is a brief section at the beginning of the book on how to design an adventure and gamesmastering tips, but frankly that's probably not the most important thing in the book to most of us here....  ;-)

 

 

 

On a separate but interesting historical note: I also believe Ho Chih Minh was at the Versailles Conference after the war's end, and the discussion about colonialism and self-determination is partly what turned him completely against the French.

 

 

Yeah, I ran across that information when I was studying the Vietnam War for my Masters (and also trying to glean lessons from it for my day-time job as a war planner).  He was there all right.

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Gaffer

This thread sparked my memory (which turned over after a couple of tries) and I found on my bookshelves Hugh McLeave's 1973 'The Damned Die Hard.' It's a popular history of the FFL. It includes a brief section on the Legion in the 1886 border wars with China in northern Indochine and a longer section on the Legion's fighting retreat to China in 1945 when the Japanese broke their treaty with Vichy France and attacked the French garrisons.

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Lammomedes

I think the interesting thing in my preliminary digging through easily available internet materials and through Google Scholar, is that there is a tremendous amount of material available for the period from the 1870s-1900 or so, tracing the initial conquest of French Indochina, and then more material that deals with the first Indochina War in the 1950s. There is also a chunk of material on Vichy and Japanese control of Indochina during WWII, but the large void remains the period from 1918-1939 or so (at least in English).

 

So back to the digging through materials readily available before I start doing interlibrary loan searches and intensive academic database searches (i.e. places like JSTOR).

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deuce

I think the interesting thing in my preliminary digging through easily available internet materials and through Google Scholar, is that there is a tremendous amount of material available for the period from the 1870s-1900 or so, tracing the initial conquest of French Indochina, and then more material that deals with the first Indochina War in the 1950s. There is also a chunk of material on Vichy and Japanese control of Indochina during WWII, but the large void remains the period from 1918-1939 or so (at least in English).

 

So back to the digging through materials readily available before I start doing interlibrary loan searches and intensive academic database searches (i.e. places like JSTOR).

 

I'm positive a French buddy of mine (he ran Mythos campaigns) could've helped out, but he died a year ago.  :(

 

I'm sure we can get you squared away.

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jlynn

In fact, there's not a ton of stuff on French colonies in general between the wars.  I remember there were a few interesting characterizations of French officers in Syria in a Poirot mystery Agatha did back then, but they were pretty peripheral to the story and didn't get a ton of play.  Sources (at least in English) are just not very common from what I've been able to find.

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Lammomedes

In fact, there's not a ton of stuff on French colonies in general between the wars.  I remember there were a few interesting characterizations of French officers in Syria in a Poirot mystery Agatha did back then, but they were pretty peripheral to the story and didn't get a ton of play.  Sources (at least in English) are just not very common from what I've been able to find.

 

I did manage to dig up a lot about French occupied Syria in the 1920s, including images of colonial currency (for props of course) and that was relatively easy to do.

I know French Algeria is also fairly well discussed, but that might be an exception to the rule largely because Algeria was considered part of Metropolitan France until independence.

We also have the source book on Morocco so it's not like things aren't touched about formally by Cthulhu authors, just not in the detail that the English speaking colonial world is.

Honestly, I don't know how much the French language sourcebooks have on the French colonial experience in the 1920s either.

I do remember at some point I came across rules for generating French characters (I still have a Word File) but since I am not the author, I am hesitant to put them up anyplace.

 

Here was the header from the saved post, so if anyone can identify "Shiloh" or secure their permission, I'd be happy to briefly repost their work here.

Subject: France in the 1920s

From: "Shiloh" <saddleshoes@netzero.net>

Date: Nov 10 2000 08:16 PM

Message-id: <8ui6rn$rjm$1@news.utelfla.com

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deuce

In fact, there's not a ton of stuff on French colonies in general between the wars.  I remember there were a few interesting characterizations of French officers in Syria in a Poirot mystery Agatha did back then, but they were pretty peripheral to the story and didn't get a ton of play.  Sources (at least in English) are just not very common from what I've been able to find.

 

Well... as I pointed out above, Douglas Porch has thoroughly covered French colonialism in North Africa, and has also done in-depth work regarding anywhere the Legion was garrisoned (Vietnam, Dahomey,etc...). He's highly respected in that particular field:

 

http://www.nps.edu/academics/sigs/nsa/faculty/porch.html

 

Check out his Amazon pages:

 

http://www.amazon.com/gp/search/ref=sr_pg_1?rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3A%22douglas+porch%22&keywords=%22douglas+porch%22&ie=UTF8&qid=1427488410

 

The first two pages comprise his own works. The next two are other prestigious books which cite him. 

 

35060.jpg

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jlynn

I AM familiar with the man.  In fact, I've sat through a few of his lectures.  He has some interesting insights, not all of which I entirely agree with.  But he's a good speaker and an expert on his subject.

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deuce

I AM familiar with the man.  In fact, I've sat through a few of his lectures.  He has some interesting insights, not all of which I entirely agree with.  But he's a good speaker and an expert on his subject.

 

 

Well, then you're a luckier man than I.  B)

 

I guess your mention of Christie threw me off.  BTW, I'm not sure I've ever agreed 100% with any scholar (or author of any kind) 100% of the time.

 

Until we find another easily accessible/expert author for Lammomedes, I would still suggest Professor Porch as a starting point. 

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jlynn

I apologize, I merely mentioned her because she's the only one who actually provided some descriptive flavor on the subject.  Porch does good work, but it's scholarly work, and fails to bring the human elements to surface as much as someone writing for the "common man" can.

 

(Edited to add:  And I completely agree with your conclusion -- until someone comes along who does a better job, Porch is probably the best English language source we have.)

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deuce

I apologize, I merely mentioned her because she's the only one who actually provided some descriptive flavor on the subject.  Porch does good work, but it's scholarly work, and fails to bring the human elements to surface as much as someone writing for the "common man" can.

 

(Edited to add:  And I completely agree with your conclusion -- until someone comes along who does a better job, Porch is probably the best English language source we have.)

 

 

Well then... Onward, to victory (and madness)!  :D

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Gurubob

Actually I have been very surprised at the lack of anything about the SE Asia or even South Pacific area, especially given that a big chunk of the original CofC book actually takes place in the South Pacific. Lots of potential stories and semi-colonial settings including Singapore, Shanghai and Hong Kong as well as oriental societies such as Siam, Sumatra, Java and Formosa.

 

In SE Asia there would also be opportunities for interactions with Dutch in present day Indonesia, French in Vietnam, Australians in Papua New Guinea, Americans in Philippines and British in Singapore/Hong Kong, Portuguese in Macau and the Imperial Japanese starting to make their presence felt across the region as well. In the South Pacific there were also the French in Tahiti, New Caledonia and New Hebrides while the Brits were in Fiji, Tonga and Americans on Wake Island and in Samoa (?).

 

That is without even starting on mainland China - warlords, nationalists, communists, mercenaries and everything in between before you throw the mythos into the mix.

 

On top of that a range of indigenous cultures, communities, history, politics and religions in each area that can be fascinating even without the Mythos connections.

 

I could see not just one sourcebook but a series. Which would make business sense as well as lots of Asian students are now getting into RPGs, here in Australia - I am sure it is the same elsewhere.

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jlynn

I totally agree with you.  It seems like a fertile field indeed for Mythos adventures.  And I would love to see a whole series of Monographs or sourcebooks on the subject. 

 

I guess we'll have to wait and see how the "new" Chaosium shakes out before any of that comes from them, though.  Though we might get lucky and see someone like Sixtystone Press or Golden Goblin Press take a cut at it....

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Explorer

Hi,

it's been a while since I read on this forum but I thought I might contibute a bit. Hope this thread is niot entirely dead.

We've been playing for several years, with the group starting out in Hong Kong, crossing into French Indochina and lastly travelling up the Mekong in Cambodia :).

I started a thread describing the campaign here: http://www.yog-sothoth.com/topic/21871-french-indochina/?do=findComment&comment=231183

 

As for me, I often took adventures from other regions and incorporated them into my campaign.

The Curse of Chaugnar Faugn is very easy to install for example.

I got a german book http://www.amazon.de/Cthulhu-Expeditionen-Abenteuerband-Cthuloide-Weltenbibliothek/dp/3937826866 of which I am not sure if that exists in english. It's got a couple of good scenarios, one notably based on Conrads Heart of darkness - well what more can you expect :).

This one: http://www.goodman-games.com/7005preview.html has one scenario set in Sumatra and one set in the Amazonas, that can be easily transferred.

 

Agreed, A Sourcebook for the region would be great. It's got tons of opportunities.

 

If anyone is interested, I'be happy to revive this thread.

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jlynn

Well, I for one would love to see more about the topic.  Indeed, not only SE Asia, but China as a whole is vastly underrepresented in the CoC and offshoots lines, IMHO.  Seems to me this would be a real growth area....

 

Hey!  Instead of "Monster of the Year" (remember when every scenario had Deep Ones in it?  And is anyone tired of the King in Yellow, yet?), how about "Region of the Year" instead?  We could have all the various indy groups out there vie with one another to produce scenarios set in SE Asia, or involving SE Asians, or requiring travel to or through SE Asia for 2016!  For 2017, we can move on to China, and then for 2018, what about Germany or Japan?  Or even Italy.  Or maybe all three!  We could call 2018 the "Year of the Axis!"

 

Okay.  I'm done with the kidding now.  But still, why aren't there more things involving French Indochina and Siam out there?  Seems like the Mekong and the jungles of Siam would be ready-made for adventures!  Has anyone else besides Explorer written scenarios for the area?  Would anyone be willing to "publish" them here?

 

We're finally getting a series of scenarios set all across the Caribbean (hat tip to Golden Goblin Press), but that does seem to be sort of a natural extension of their work on New Orleans in the past year or so, so maybe the stars were just right on that project....  The Middle East, USA (especially the coasts, and especially New England), the UK, and the poles have been done to death, and north Africa, and south and central America have received at least some coverage...but much of metropolitan Europe, Africa below the Sahara (skipping Kenya and the Congo), and the Far East have been pretty neglected thus far.  It would be nice to see some more stuff done in those regions.

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yronimoswhateley

I really agree.
 
I think it would be great to see some of those under-represented regions, and under-represented eras, given a little more attention.

  • Eastern Europe in any era
  • Dark Ages Ethiopia
  • pre-Columbian America
  • colonial Australia
  • colonial America under the French, Spanish, Portuguese, or Russians
  • desolate and unexplored frontiers in various eras from around the world (Algernon Blackwood could really make the remote forests and mountains of North America feel otherworldly... what a great setting for a weird story!  And there are several continents full of such settings which rarely, if ever, get much attention!)
  • India - colonial, pre-colonial, modern, ancient, or any other era
  • the usual two-fisted pulp settings (Africa, South America, Asia) treated to something other than an Indiana Jones-style two-fisted pulp scenario
  • near- and far-future scenarios in space, on earth, or in other dimensions (there are a few out there, but there's plenty of room for more)
  • there were a couple recent threads in these forums with plot seeds for scenarios set on oil platforms and derelict ships that suggested all sorts of ideas that I bet probably haven't been exhausted in published scenarios yet, and I'm sure there are plenty of other isolated areas that would make eerie and atmospheric settings for Call of Cthulhu scenarios...

Not that I don't mind the classic 1920s Miskatonic Region setting, and not that I don't love setting-neutral adventures - those are great, and the setting-neutral adventures give plenty of room to try something unusual with on my own. 
 
But even the occasional one-shot adventure set somewhere I might never think of setting an adventure at is always a nice change of pace.  No, not merely 'a nice change of pace', but rather opportunities to inject precious elements of The Unknown into a game that's at it's best when it celebrates the unknown (rather than playing it safe with the usual eras, locations, and monsters carefully presented by-the-book!)
 
Maybe a "region of the year" would be going too far, but certainly maybe something like one month of the year where everyone is encouraged to try something a bit weirder than 1920s Arkham or Delta-Green-Flavored Modern would be fun.  We can dream, right?
 
Anyway, I'm definitely cheering for more scenarios set in SE Asia, in places like Indochina and Siam and so on - those really do seem like wonderful, evocative places with plenty of CoC weirdness yet to be explored.

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jlynn

I agree.  Now what do we do about it.

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WinstonP

I agree.  Now what do we do about it.

 

Well, when I wanted to see more Lovecraft Country material I started working on the Arkham Gazette.  Unfortunately unless you're a publisher (or are independently wealthy and love Call of Cthulhu, in which case, drop me a line!) the only way to make sure the sorts of material you want to see for the game is made for the game is to organize and write at least some of it yourself.  YSDC is a great place to start recruiting people to help, but be ready for drop-outs, drop-offs, and drop deads as well as for great people who do great work on time or sooner.

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yronimoswhateley

The easy answer is definitely "We go out, and write our own scenarios, and show 'em how it's done!" 

 

I'm not sure anything I could produce will do anything but hurt the cause, but I'm willing to give it a couple tries some time. 

 

Writing scenarios for general public use is definitely an art with a different skill-set than running a home-brew adventure for a known audience, though, so I think it's fair to admit that the "easy answer" isn't as simple as it sounds at first.

 

If it weren't for the fact that the future of the Chaosium Monographs seems to be in question right now, I would have suggested adventure contests similar to the ones used to populate the Halloween Monographs:  in each of the Halloween Monographs I've seen so far, there have been two or maybe even three scenarios with some refreshingly unusual settings, so I know there are writers out there who are interested in thinking outside the 1920s Lovecraft Country and Delta-Green Modern boxes, and that the monograph contests offered them the opportunities to do so.

 

I think the Wiki offers some opportunities:  as I've been filling out entries in the Wiki, whenever I notice a scenario that lends itself well to being relocated to an offbeat setting, I leave a note (one or two sentences) about the opportunity in the "keeper's notes" area.  Keepers aren't necessarily going to see or use those notes, but if it helps just one person to see the possibilities....

 

I think the forums offer a LOT of potential:  if I were to ask for help with something specific, I'm pretty sure that in no time there'd be replies from people loaded with the unique experience, advice, talent and creativity of the forum members here.  If you were to produce the skeleton of an adventure and ask in the forums where and when to set it, you'd almost certainly have a half-dozen suggestions you never thought of within 24 hours.  If you have an unusual setting and a general plot, and ask in the forums what to use for a villain, monster, deity, tome, or artifact that would fit the plot and setting, you're bound to get plenty of weird and creative suggestions, as well as some more traditional suggestions adjusted in creative ways to the weird context of a unique setting.  Perhaps the folks in the forums would be interested in some monthly threads containing a set of prompts of this sort which would, effectively, result in some unique scenarios produced as a collaboration from the YSDC community... just add an editor to put the whole thing together afterwards (the really tricky part!)....

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wharfedalehome

If we're getting inventive, there is possibly some mileage to be got from:

 

Twilight:2000 - Bangkok

 

OK, Twilight:200 is a fair way from CoC but some of the background and maps could be useful.The setting is really Thailand (ie: Siam) rather than Bangkok and could be transferred to Indo-China or possibly Burma with some work. Up country, who knows how far the Siamese, French or British writ really goes? All the high tec stuff and some of the detail can be ignored, but I think it might be useful if used carefully - especially in the absence of real and substantial period background.

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jlynn

Thanks for the tip!  Your post caused me to re-read this whole thread again, and there are a couple of things I'll throw out there for general consideration:

 

First, I'll again mention (I've recently mentioned it on the MoN Companion thread) a product I just ran across on DriveThruRPG:  Old Shanghai.  It's more tuned to pulpiness than it is to horror (but now that we have Pulp Chtulhu, that's easier to deal with), but it is a FANTASTIC resource on Shanghai from 1919 to roughly 1937.  While that's outside the "official" scope of SE Asia, it would make a great entry port into the region and work as a "home base" for exploring all kinds of areas in Asia in general.  There are also a number of "supplements" in the form of characters, artifacts and even an adventure or two to help you get into the spirit of the thing, and the whole thing is written as "system neutral" so you don't waste a lot of time and space on game specific data.  Well worth a look, IMHO, and goes well beyond what Chaosium or even Sixtystone could include in MoN or the Companion.

 

Second, I can't imagine where my brains went a couple of years ago, but there is a relatively complete Order of Battle for French Indochina on the Niehorster OB pages; though the existing data is specifically for 8 December 1941.  Still, the overall organization of the French in Indochina wouldn't have changed much between, say, 1920 and 1941, though the equipment in use would have (especially aircraft), as well as some of the smaller level units (probably mostly metropolitan French battalions that might have been swapped out -- but the Legion units wouldn't have changed).  More likely, however, would be that the individual personnel would change, and not the unit designations, given the general paucity of French resources for making major Order of Battle changes in distant colonies in the wake of the Great War -- they lacked the money, the manpower, and the resources to do wholesale changes to units assigned, especially in what would have been considered somewhat of a backwater (compared to the Levant, and North Africa), while they were dealing with rebuilding damaged France, the Great Depression, building the Maginot Line and taking firm control of the Levant and reasserting control lost during the war due to lack of colonial personnel throughout their African possessions.  Anyway, the link might prove useful.

 

(Edited to add:  There's also an OB for Thailand on there -- though again it revolves around Pearl Harbor day, and doesn't address the earlier OB -- and, in the wake of the Thai-Vichy war of 1940, the Thai navy suffered some damage, so you'd need to take a look at that little conflict and adjust accordingly for earlier eras.)

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wharfedalehome

I just came across this today - The Thousand Headed Manhttp://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/175450/The-ThousandHeaded-Man

 

It sounds more or less ideal because:

  • It's set in Indo-China.
  • It's a pulp adventure - based upon a Doc Savage story, so similar to HPLs more lurid offerings.
  • It's a mystery players have to solve.
  • It involves something that really terrifies the locals.
  • It's a very modestly priced download (from DriveThruRPG).

OK, there are a couple of minor issues:

  1. It's written for OneDicePulp - but I'm sure most Keepers will have no problem adding CoC stats as needed.
  2. The plot is set in 1934 and involves an aeroplane. Now the strange thing is, they would have been quite rare even in 1934 in this region (Pretty much flying boats only I'd reckon and few of those to be honest). But there haven't been many (any?) changes in Indo-China in the intervening 4 or 5 years that separates 1934 it from the 1920s. So I don't think that an aeroplane would be any more anachronistic in, say, 1924 Saigon than 1934 Saigon. I don't want to turn this thread into a discussion on aerial exploration or development of air routes - it's just something to consider as part of the development if you have a go at this.

Anyway, there it is - The Thousand Headed Man.

 

Have fun!

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