Jump to content

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Agent_Donald

Is there a setting unsuitable for CoC

Recommended Posts

Langdale

Well its not actually cavemen, but I do plan on running a game set around 15,000 B.C. Originally I thought that they'd be extremely primitive. But it seems that I heard something about a body (froze solid) being found in a mountain range in europe that dated back to that time. Among his possessions was a bronze axe head or something. So I'll be going with a game where the characters are part of a group of hunter gatherers, kinda one one of the first attempts at creating an actual village. I'm going to allow them to talk, but they'll be using Speak Language skills, and have a set DC. If they fail they tell me what they wanted to say, and then I'll give what I want, of it to the other players. Hand signals will also be allowed, but without DC's, that one will be purely in the hands of the Characters (seems kinda weird calling them Investigators, when they'll be armed with stuff like wooden spears, stone knives, and dressed in furs and leathers, and probably can't count further than five if they're even that smart).

Also, I'm thinking of making Fire-Building a actual skill, to be viewed with an almost mystical quality (I'll include occupations, probably the D&D fighter, ranger, and barbarian, but I'll tweak them). The other classes will be replaced with the Chanter (oral tradition, and a little bit of fire side magics), Wiseman (kinda a thinker and minor shamanic magics) and the Touched (closest thing would be those touched by the gods, or clerics).

Bartering will be kinda hard, because there'll be other tribes, and a communal place where the tribes meet every couple of moons (years or months). Lastly, I'll probably allow certain tribes have inherent bonuses, from evolution or just their seclusion and focus on a certain deity, as each tribe will have their own deity that most others have never even heard of and stuff like that.

The game'll center around a meteorite that crashes on earth, bringing with it some unspeakable horror..... and then the fun can begin.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
GreveMagnus

This notion that late Palaeolithic people were incapable of expressing themselves through speech or counting higher than five needs to be knocked on the head straight away. Modern hunter-gatherers often have highly complex spoken languages, many of a greater grammatical complexity than modern English, for example. There's no reason to assume that Ice Age people would have been any different.

 

As somebody else has pointed out, by 15 000 BC what we are talking about are modern humans, like ourselves, with a lower level of technology. Not stupider, clumsier or less articulate.

 

But of course, this only applies if you want to go the historically accurate route. If you want to have fun playing with clichés and go the cinematic, Quest for Fire route, please ignore these comments! :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Langdale

See... I wasn't to sure about the language part. It was interesting using the speak language part, but on the other hand. Another way I was thinking of doing it was that each individual tribe would have their own language, even if they were only living about 5 to 10 miles apart. Sure they might wind up with some of the same words in their languages. That'd make just make the DC's easier when speaking to someone of another tribe that shares some of your tribes language.

I'm actually trying to go with a more serious feel, than cliche and funny.

Comedy in CoC doesn't work that well with me except at some parts, if I want comedy I play BESM (which lends itself well to that, and almost any other genre).

On a side note, anyone have an idea when the Neanderthals died out?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MarkRyan

There are a couple of theories about the demise of Neanderthals but one thing is for sure;there is hard irrefutable evidence that for at least 2000 years Cro-magon and Neanderthal man inhabited earth at the same time.

 

One theory suggests they were hunted to extinction by Cro-magnons but the other equally popular school of thought suggests they were slowly assimilated into the modern man population by inter-breeding.Personally if you look around you at the various shapes and sizes we come in I reckon there is more than a bit of Neanderthal in some people...........

 

All of this went on circa 32-36000 years ago.There are some more accurate dates proposed but as per normal one or two bits of information preclude narrowing this date range.

 

As an aside,did you know that a Neanderthals' brain was actually bigger than ours?

 

Hope this helps

 

corpse-eater

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Balbinus
See... I wasn't to sure about the language part. It was interesting using the speak language part, but on the other hand. Another way I was thinking of doing it was that each individual tribe would have their own language, even if they were only living about 5 to 10 miles apart. Sure they might wind up with some of the same words in their languages. That'd make just make the DC's easier when speaking to someone of another tribe that shares some of your tribes language.

I'm actually trying to go with a more serious feel, than cliche and funny.

Comedy in CoC doesn't work that well with me except at some parts, if I want comedy I play BESM (which lends itself well to that, and almost any other genre).

On a side note, anyone have an idea when the Neanderthals died out?

 

I think you may want two incompatible things, on the one hand you want serious but on the other cave men in the traditional sense.

 

The trouble is, the popular conceptions of neanderthals as hulking unintelligent brutes are totally wrong, a complete misunderstanding.

 

It is I think now generally thought that the neanderthals had language and sophisticated social customs, including afterlife beliefs and religion. What they may not have had, interestingly, is a concept of trade which is now being advanced as a possible ground for their extinction.

 

A realistic ice age rpg would actually be quite difficult, in a sense neanderthal are aliens, cro magnon are simply us. That said, I have considered it and would adapt some of the stuff from this site personally:

 

http://outre-ality.bravepages.com/hominid.html (contains pop-ups)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Balbinus

15,000 bc you're talking humans in the modern sense, if you think Australian aborigines or native Americans you're probably getting closer to what would have been around.

 

For your game I think you want much earlier, maybe another 50,000 years earlier. Of course, then there isn't bronze, bronze came in an awfully long time after fire and speech (hundreds of thousands of years later in fact).

 

Of course, if you're not too worried about history none of this really matters :-)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MarkRyan

Before I move on,one last thing about Neanderthals:

 

The 'lack of trade' idea is probably a consideration but a generally accepted theory is their lack of complex language contributed critically to their downfall as neanderthals did not have the range of linguistic ability to pass on complex ideas or useful information.Their material culture although fairly complex, just wasn't comparable to that of Mr. Cro-magnon either.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Gaming in the Lower Paleolithic period (ie c.20-25000 years ago) wouldn't necessarily be basic either as not only was the human population at the time anatomically in all ways identical to us but they managed to produce a huge range of highly complex stone artifacts (and so by referral we can assume wood/other organic items too,although these haven't survived in the archaeological record to confirm this) that weren't equalled at any time later.A particular ceremonial spearhead comes to mind that is of worked flint and over 45 cm long which was sharp enough to shave with when recovered.Weren't Mu,Atlantis and Hyperboria meant to be from this period?

 

cheers

 

corpse-eater

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Langdale

Well the best way to put it, is what I'm wanting, the PC's to be from a tribe that have actually settled, mostly wood and animal skin hovels. Around thirty people to the tribe. The specific tribe is somewhat advanced, as two individuals among them can work metal, but very crudely (father and his only daughter). The tribe is governed by a wisewoman and the head huntsman.

As far as technology beyond the actual ability to work with metals (which will be very time consuming and crude), they mostly are armed with stone headed spears, knives, bows while they exist are not incredibly common among them, clothing is not just crude furs but are instead worked and stitched together (still crude by some standards but advanced beyond what we think of generally when you look back that far through the misty veil of time). Though they don't have actual writing, they do use markings on stone to denote paths and have a cave that they use to chronicle the history of their people through further cave paintings.

Things like that, the reason I was thinking about neanderthals was, I was toying around with the possible idea of letting one of the PC's potentially play one, (if I remember correctly there was the finding of a actual community of Cro-magnons that possibly coexisted with Neanderthals in what is now Portugal at one time) while the other PC's would be

Cro-magnons.

 

As far as magic would be concerned, I'd only allow like 0 level spells, as long as they didn't rely on things like writing or the cantrip Open. 1st and 2nd level spells from all spell lists for D&D would also be allowed, but I'd carefully screen what I'd allow. No magic missile or stuff like that. If it hasn't been realized by now, I'd plan to use d20 for the game just like all of my other CoC games that I run.

 

Regardless, not trying to turn this into a Stone Age CoC thread. However maybe I should start one, and post some of my ideas for d20 stuff.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MarkRyan

Stick to a non-historical background Langdale as you're way waaay out from the accepted 'history'.No reason why not,and it means you don't have to attempt any realstic justifications which a well-informed player may find indigestible

 

cheers

 

corpse-eater

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
GreveMagnus

Yowsa! Raquel Welch in a fur bikini! Down boy! Grrrrrrrrr!!! etc etc :D

 

Suddenly I have lost all interest whatsoever in historical versimilitude...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
PFP1962

For an interesting take on Neanderthals, look at the novel by John Darnton. This is a summary from Amazon:

Matt Morrison and Susan Arnot, archaeologists and ex-lovers, are summoned to investigate an odd find: an apparently new Neanderthal skull. They rush to Tadjikistan and foray into some of the least hospitable terrain in Asia. Not too unexpectedly, they find their quarry only to discover a long-lost mentor who is guarding unsettling moral, political, and archaeological secrets that threaten their lives and those of the reclusive Neanderthals. Untangling the puzzle involves figuring out why one tribe is vegetarian and peaceful, the other martial and carnivorous; why their brains are larger than those of contemporary humans; and how they communicate without speech. When government agents intrude and threaten the scientific find, the two scientists must survive, rescue their old friend, deceive American and Russian intelligence gatherers, and balance a study of an astounding archaeological find with the interests of the tribes. This first novel by a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter is very Indiana Jonesish; in fact, movie rights have been sold to Steven Spielberg and Dreamworks. Recommended summer reading, if not to be taken seriously.

 

Someone already mentioned the Hominid game (based on BRP as well - although it sounds like you're looking at a d20 campaign).

 

I would also suggest GURPS Ice Age. This is from the Steve Jackson Games website:

You're in the Ice Age, where mankind battles for survival. The weather is harsh. Gigantic beasts, and your own savage cousins, surround you on every side. You have no Uzis or bulletproof vests, no automobiles, no penicillin, not even as much as a match (or a Fire spell). You have only your wits and the weapons you can make by hand.

 

There's also an article from Roleplayer #17, November 1989, adapting the Giganthropus at

http://www.sjgames.com/gurps/Roleplayer/Roleplayer17/Giganthropus.html

I'm sure you can adapt that as well.

 

Good luck.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thorulfr

As an aside,did you know that a Neanderthals' brain was actually bigger than ours?

 

My first-year physical anthropology professor loved to lob little mental handgrenades in our laps to watch what we would make of them. He pointed out one day the skeletal difference between wild bovine species and domestic cattle, and between wolves and domestic dogs...

...then the skeletal differences between the Neanderthal and modern humans.

 

Yeah...same differences. Did we 'domesticate' ourselves?

 

 

Next weird thought: Geneticists recently took a look at the number of differences in the DNA of wolves and coyotes, and compared that to the amount of time it took them to become separate species based on the fossil record.

Then they took a look at the number of differences between wolves and domestic dogs. If you use the same 'yardstick', dogs started to divide off from wolves something like 1.5 million years ago (IIRC, that is.) If this is right, dogs were with us before we were fully human.

 

Now for the big question: Who domesticated whom?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Haml337
Do you have a setting or time period where you have a hard time adding the Mythos to it?

 

Other than d20? :lol:

 

Seriously though... there are some things I don't think work with CoC. The very least of which is d20, where you can put players on the same scale with elder things. Just not as scary when you can simply level up and kill what every other CoC player runs screaming from.

 

Historically?

 

I don't like Dark Ages as a setting. There's too much mysticism and supernatural already out there. (Maybe this is a holdover from my WoD days.) But how scary and alien is something if you lock your doors against it every night, like a common thief? You're more afraid of the damage that it could do, and I don't think that's the essence of CoC, where you look at strange and unusual as supernaturally terrifying, instead of just another thing that goes bump in the dark and eats peasants.

 

Everything after the Age of Reason (mid- to late-1800s) I'm okay with. Science and rationality have explained everything away. Secrets are kept by hidden organizations and cults like the Freemasons. The unnatural is that much more terrifying because it's been locked away and forbidden. Knowledge controlled by a select few. The paradigm has shifted far enough to make those beings that you don't believe in that much more terrifying to encounter.

 

By the 1920s, we've all but forgotten these critters as just boogeymen and features in children's tales. Hollywood and the film industry coming into its own DOES bring a whole other "what if" that makes exploring as exciting as it is terrifying. The whole uncovering of egyptian secrets and the idea of "Nosferatu" actually lurking the countryside fuels our imaginations. And when we see it... it's beyond the terror and mind-shattering effect we expected.

 

I think we're losing Lovecraft's theme as we progress further into the digital age. All the information that was once hoarded or forgotten is shared and easily accessible. We can find out that these things were true and everything can be cross-checked and referenced and there is no more Unknown (outside of actually travelling to another dimension, but science is working on that) to be afraid of. Sure we disbelieve... but how hard is it to shake anything you see off as a hoax, an illusion. Hollywood's "what if" has defeated itself and become too real to believe it exists in reality. Everything's fake and our society wears that blase attitude like a badge of honor. There's no horror when you're desensitized.

 

And as you explore futuristic themes, like the cyberpunk genre... there's just way too much focus on themes that are equally terrifying, but brought home in a more important manner. Like "Bladerunner" or "Ghost in the Shell" posing the question of just what exactly is human, or a soul. When you don't know if you're you or just composed of bits and bytes, that's pretty scary. And Gibson has a whole other set of horrors that comes with living in the technoslum that the world evolves into that... the Mythos just isn't appropriate as a narrative medium anymore. At least in a literary sense.

 

"Cthulhu in Space?" I can see that working in the 60s or the early decades of the 21st century. Think Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey." There's a Mythos-based story for you. But I worry how many times you can do that before your players... would expect a rogue computer corrupted by alien intelligence to whisk you off to a different plane of existence and evolution.

 

THE SHORT - Things and the era's established are fine as they are. I can't honestly see stretching the timeline any further without losing Lovecraft's original themes and theories.

 

THE VERY SHORT - 1880s, 1920s, 1990s are the best and only way to effectively do it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thorulfr

Maybe we should pose the question a different way: What characteristics make a good setting, and what make it a bad setting?

Is it better to have extreme conflict, where humanity is rapidly devolving into something bestial (Rwanda, revolution-era Russia, the Warsaw ghetto), extreme opulence and optimism (1920s, 1980s)

...or does there need to be some rot behind the beautiful mask (Weimar Berlin).

What are the requirements? How available is information? How freely can the characters travel? What sort of resources should be available to the characters? What level of access to implements of destruction? How superstitious is the population at large? Should there be an undercurrent of paranoia and suspicion (the 1950s)?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Balbinus
THE VERY SHORT - 1880s, 1920s, 1990s are the best and only way to effectively do it.

 

I find myself wondering if Gaslight had not been released if you would be saying that 1920s and 1990s are the best and only way to do it effectively.

 

I've very successfully ran Elizabethan, my player feedback said it was one of the best CoC campaigns I ran, so I'm not sure the well has run dry quite yet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MarkRyan

I'm completely with you on that one Balbinus;the thought of only having 1890s/1920s/Modern would limit Cthulhu far too much for my liking.I sort of agree with Haml337 on Dark Ages though,as it is very difficult (in my opinion) to conjure the essence of good CoC gaming by preventing a scenario from turning into D+D with super tough monsters.

 

cheers

 

corpse-eater

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Balbinus
I'm completely with you on that one Balbinus;the thought of only having 1890s/1920s/Modern would limit Cthulhu far too much for my liking.I sort of agree with Haml337 on Dark Ages though,as it is very difficult (in my opinion) to conjure the essence of good CoC gaming by preventing a scenario from turning into D+D with super tough monsters.

 

cheers

 

corpse-eater

 

Haml337 did have a point there, you're right, the dawning of some kind of concept of reason and logic is probably necessary (which exists in the Ancient world, Greece and Rome, but not really outside the Arab world in 1000AD).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Nollvane

I haven't played in a Dark Ages game, so perhaps there are challenges I'm not aware of, but I think it's a mistake to assume that, because there was a widespread belief in the supernatural, medievals had no concept of an orderly universe. I think it would be at least as much of a shock for a medieval priest to find that his Rite of Exorcism was useless against a mythos creature as it would be for a modern person to have their faith in science shattered.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Beyond01
THE VERY SHORT - 1880s, 1920s, 1990s are the best and only way to effectively do it.

 

I find myself wondering if Gaslight had not been released if you would be saying that 1920s and 1990s are the best and only way to do it effectively.

 

I've very successfully ran Elizabethan, my player feedback said it was one of the best CoC campaigns I ran, so I'm not sure the well has run dry quite yet.

 

Ooh, yes a Rennaissance setting (John Dee, etc) would be quite cool I think!

 

I don't know if there is any historical setting that CoC can't do properly. As it states in the corebook, the basic premise of CoC is timeless. Even fantasy can represented well (if done in conjunction with Conan for example).

 

I think the problem, at one level however, is in the language and sensibilities of the game. In this context the game is very firmly rooted in the anxieties, attitudes and world-views prevailent in the early to mid 20th century.

 

To make a game effective in other settings, the first thing a good keeper should do is look at the language of the game. EDU, for example, still doesn't quite ring true in the Dark Ages game, and so on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MarkRyan

Somewhat of a delay on one of your comments Balbinus,but the era needing 'some kind of concept of reason and logic' (as you quoted) may be the key in just a short sentance as to what can or can't be used as a Cthulhu setting.I can't actually think of an exception to this statement as too much superstition and belief in the fantastic as real,I believe,makes a setting unusable for anything except perhaps a one-off scenario.

 

cheers

 

corpse-eater

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ottomancer
THE SHORT - Things and the era's established are fine as they are. I can't honestly see stretching the timeline any further without losing Lovecraft's original themes and theories.

 

THE VERY SHORT - 1880s, 1920s, 1990s are the best and only way to effectively do it.

I'd have to disagree about these being the ONLY way to effectively run CoC.

 

HPL wrote his fiction as contemporary to him, so why can't it exist in an era contemporary to us, or any other era, for that matter?

 

IMO the only real limit on the mythos is your own imagination.

:wink:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
if_i_was_a_ghoul

not to change subjects, but I have thought of a couple of good "bad setting" and scenarios....

 

It came from the urinal! set in some back water truck stop. Mythos chaos insues....

 

Khazakistan Horrors! outers gods forbid if the great old ones zap some goats! Mythos chaos insues....

 

and not to be forgoten .....

 

I was a highschool Deep one! set in some sleepy towns' high school in the great american heart land. Mythos chaos- AND hilarity- insues. Think of the stunning dialouge!

 

"Greetings female. Please follow me to the nearist beach so we may begin the creation of hybrids...." and "FTHAGN! DAMN ACNE!"

 

Its a bit of a niche market.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ThothAmon
not to change subjects, but I have thought of a couple of good "bad setting" and scenarios....

 

It came from the urinal! set in some back water truck stop. Mythos chaos insues....

 

Done that one - it worked a treat - the scenario featuring 'The Long Pig Diner' truck stop will live in player memory for quite some time :lol:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DarkAges

I'd say it's not so much that some settings are unsuited for CoC (after all, all cultures and civilizations came up with pretty good scary stories - and that's what it's all about), but incompatibility of moods.

 

For instance, any cross-over with a comic-book-like or Disney-like or D&D mood I personally would find grotesque (or strangely arousing, depending on how one looks at it). Say Snowhite and the seven cho-chos, Spider Man vs Yog-Sothoth, Alice in Dreamlands, Terminator: the Stars are Right, etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

×
×
  • Create New...