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moonbeast

Severn Valley sourcebook for 1920s?

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Mr_Lin

Goatswood as portrayed by Campbell is far too big for this scenario.

 

As I've said above I don't actually dispute that, but I do think you have to make allowances for Campbell's relative youth when he wrote his first batch of Severn Valley stories. For me, Goatswood does work as an isolated, broken down village located somewhere between the Severn plain and the arse end of the Cotswolds.

 

I remain of the view that officialdom wouldn't get very far investigating places like Goatswood for the reasons already outlined. I think we're going to have to agree to differ on that point.

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Necrothesp

Goatswood as portrayed by Campbell is far too big for this scenario.

 

As I've said above I don't actually dispute that, but I do think you have to make allowances for Campbell's relative youth when he wrote his first batch of Severn Valley stories. For me, Goatswood does work as an isolated, broken down village located somewhere between the Severn plain and the arse end of the Cotswolds.

 

I remain of the view that officialdom wouldn't get very far investigating places like Goatswood for the reasons already outlined. I think we're going to have to agree to differ on that point.

And as I've said, I entirely agree that it works as an isolated village, just not as a medium-sized town. The point is that some CoC authors have tried to use Goatswood as Campbell created it (e.g. in the Goatswood sourcebook).

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Mr_Lin

And as I've said, I entirely agree that it works as an isolated village, just not as a medium-sized town.

 

Fair enough. We agree!?

 

The point is that some CoC authors have tried to use Goatswood as Campbell created it (e.g. in the Goatswood sourcebook).

 

Not seen any of that material, and given your description, no great desire to. I'm happy enough running a modern Severn Valley campaign based on Cold Print and my own impressions of the region from having lived there. It works for me and my players.

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Tigger_MK4

 

Having SEEN Rose West, I find that difficult to beleive

Unlike Pretty Woman prostitutes in real life are rarely glamourous. There's the suggestion that number 25 at one time during the West's ownership functioned as a brothel in all but name. It might not actually have been Rose West the coppers were having carnal relations with but some of the numerous transients passing through the house.

 

Ah..I see.

Brothel I can believe.

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GFS
At least Lovecraft made Innsmouth only accessible by a rickety bus operated by a local, not by a railway station operated by a national railway system (with all the maintenance and outside visits that entails).

 

Even the presumption that Innsmouth is a forgotten backwater breaks down under close scrutiny. Innsmouth would have been subject to a federal census every ten years (1930, 1920, 1910, etc); likewise, the county would have conducted a routine tax assessment, and if vital statistics (births, marriages, deaths) weren't being recorded properly (or at all), the Commonwealth would have investigated. Even Innsmouth couldn't have escaped notice from the authorities.

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doccthulhu

Even the presumption that Innsmouth is a forgotten backwater breaks down under close scrutiny. Innsmouth would have been subject to a federal census every ten years (1930, 1920, 1910, etc); likewise, the county would have conducted a routine tax assessment, and if vital statistics (births, marriages, deaths) weren't being recorded properly (or at all), the Commonwealth would have investigated. Even Innsmouth couldn't have escaped notice from the authorities.

 

I'd have to agree that Innsmouth would have trouble keeping its secrets secret, but of course the story was about Innsmouth's secrets finally being discovered and exposed.

 

Census would show nothing. I think most of the census in those days was taken door-to-door. If no one answers the door, the census taker would make a guess. Alternatively, a person could answer the door and say "no one lives here but me." Typically, a census taker would be a local, hired by a local agency, to take a census for the U.S. Government. If so, he probably is helping keep the secret. If from outside Innsmouth, how much effort would any underpaid poll taker make wandering around a creepy decaying town like Innsmouth? Census takers were pretty unpopular in those days, and I'm sure even less popular in a place like Innsmouth (or Dunwich).

 

The military draft would be another way of measuring the population except, of course, the local draft board would be made up of Innsmouth residents who would, presumably, lie. As for tax assessment, you would have much the same thing. Although the tax assessment is technically conducted by Essex County, the actual Innsmouth assessor would likely be an Innsmouth resident. In any event, no one goes around every year looking at every house. A house is initially assessed, put on record, and taxed accordingly, year to year. Only property improvements, or taxpayer request, would result in a piece of property being reassessed. Abandoned or derelict houses would of course pay no tax.

 

As for birth and death records, that would be totally in the hands of Innsmouth, and subject to their "interpretation". Doctors who delived babies were the ones to fill out and file a birth certificate. The local coroner--an Innsmouther elected to that position--would be repsonsible for death cetificates.

 

Edit: And the police force would be local, as well. County sheriff deputies and Massachusetts State Police would have no business inside the Innsmouth town limits, it would be out of their jurisdiction.

 

Doc

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GFS

Regarding the census, I think it would require a grand conspiracy to keep Innsmouth's secret from the authorities. Enumerators were appointed by the Director of the Census, or his designated supervisors. Although it wasn't a requirement under law, every applicant was required to fill out a test schedule. These test schedules were graded in the Office of the Census Bureau in Washington. Each supervisor was given a list of those applicants in his district(s) who successfully passed the test, and from this list he made his appointments. Except for emergency appointments, no one was eligible who did not pass the test. Preference was given to honorably discharged members of the Armed Forces (and/or their wives and widows).

 

Doc's correct that many of the people involved in registering vital statistics and undertaking tax assessments would have been locals. Occasionally not all records of vital statistics were forwarded to the state; rarely, not all recorded information was reported to the state. We're talking about isolated incidents here; in the case of Innsmouth it would be systematic and wholesale. This kind of thing would surely come to the attention of the authorities. So too would tax assessments that were consistently suspect.

 

It would have been extremely difficult - if not impossible - to conceal Innsmouth's secret from the authorities (and/or society in general) without an inordinate amount of help from outside. So too with Goatswood - or any other decayed backwater. My point is that all of this - Lovecraft, Campbell, Delta Green - requires a suspension of belief, to some extent.

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doccthulhu
Regarding the census, I think it would require a grand conspiracy to keep Innsmouth's secret from the authorities.

 

According to the story, it was a grand conspiracy. And, of course, the story is about the conspiracy unveiled, and the government stepping in and doing something about it. So. we more or less agree that it couldn't be kept a secret forever, and the story is about exactly that.

 

Goatswood, however, exists in a modern England with, apparently, a strong central authority. It seems hard to believe that all these things could be going on in this one location without someone exposing it.

 

Pre-war America had much less central authority than it does today. There was no social security, no federal income tax, no FBI, etc. The census and the draft (and the "damned revenooers") was about the only time the feds intruded on people's lives--and even then it was usually resented. Despite how the census was operated at the time, the fact was that if someone with some local influence and connections wanted their nephew to get a particular job, the nephew probably got the job.

 

Americans used to be more independent. I recently read about the government trying to establish the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration). They had to send out agents to inspect air facilities and aircraft for licensing. On more than one occasion, the owners simply grabbed the agent, dragged him off the property, threw him on the ground, and threatened to shoot him if he came back. (Ah, those must have been good times...)

 

Doc

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GFS
According to the story, it was a grand conspiracy. And, of course, the story is about the conspiracy unveiled, and the government stepping in and doing something about it. So. we more or less agree that it couldn't be kept a secret forever, and the story is about exactly that.

 

Not to mention the fact that it would have made for a pretty dull story if some pencil-pusher in Washington had discovered the secret. ;)

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justadame

What has impressed me the most about this thread is the confidence posters have expressed in public services....

 

In Britain at least public services, local and national government are not infallible, indeed they make mistakes and oversights all the time !

 

And funnily enough a lot of police station's are only manned at certain times of day !!! I know of two.

 

Locals do close ranks...............

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justadame

I like the sound of the forest of Dean, there's parts of Luton where folks don't stop their cars after dark......... Strange shapes prowl the alleyways as well........

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RdphCarter
I like the sound of the forest of Dean, there's parts of Luton where folks don't stop their cars after dark......... Strange shapes prowl the alleyways as well........
And the Forest of Dean still has a working iron and ocher mine that has been in operation since Roman times. What else lies within the depths of the earth?

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justadame

I'm definitely going to have to go there now !

 

Sounds like I'd fit right in. The Malvern hills are nice as well......

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Mr_Lin

The Malvern hills are nice as well......

 

I live in Malvern, it's very scenic and rather more genteel than the Forest of Dean. It has got Qinetiq (formerly DERA) though and there's some odd buggers working there. The sort of people who might have pigeon sized insects living in their heads, if you catch my drift.

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Robin

The Malvern hills are nice as well......

 

I live in Malvern, it's very scenic and rather more genteel than the Forest of Dean. It has got Qinetiq (formerly DERA) though and there's some odd buggers working there. The sort of people who might have pigeon sized insects living in their heads, if you catch my drift.

 

LOL Some of those people are friends of mine! And they're roleplayers.

 

Regards

 

Robin

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Tigger_MK4
... there's parts of Luton where folks don't stop their cars after dark......... Strange shapes prowl the alleyways as well........

 

Speaking as a person who originally hails from Dunwich...err.. Dunstable... I dont find that too surprising...

 

There's definitely parts of Luton that have the decaying innsmouth feel.... until they built the new houses, you could have argued the same about the old Delco plot in Dunstable too.

 

I was considering at one point doing a Luton/Dunstable mythos thingamumbob for YS... if I get time I must ressurrect that ( and anyone even THINKs about mutterring the word "Zhro" gets fed to my shantak...) ....especially as the group I RPG with are based there...

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RdphCarter
I'm definitely going to have to go there now !

 

Sounds like I'd fit right in. The Malvern hills are nice as well......

http://www.clearwellcaves.com/

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Mr_Lin

 

LOL Some of those people are friends of mine! And they're roleplayers.

 

Now, why doesn't that surprise me? :wink:

 

Do they know the chap who used to cycle to and from work with a basket on his head? He used to be quite well known around Malvern.

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justadame

Zthro ? Wasn't he that cornish Great Old one, given to not appearing at Cambourne on a Wednesday ?

 

Sorry, failed a SAN roll considering Dunstable.

 

You couldn't really write a Secrets of Luton & Dunstable supplement.

 

The Mythos elements are just to obvious !!!! (Ie what secret ?)

 

I've never written a local scenario, it'd just be too unfair - I mean the PC's would have enough to contend with without adding our locals into the mix.

 

Are you local then ?

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Tigger_MK4

Are you local then ?

 

Used to be, have moved around a bit... Brighton, Isle of Wight, etc.....live in the city of concrete cows these days.

 

Actually (and surprisingly !) L&D and surrounds have some interesting bits of historical lore that can be used for Coc...

 

for example the bones of a saint were once supposedly kept at Dunstable priory, the Whipsnade Chalk Lion ( Shub Niggurath or Nyarly-the-beast sacrifice site ? ) , and then there's the whole Henry VIII stuff... not to mention the suspiciously named Marsh Farm lot ...

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Necrothesp
And funnily enough a lot of police station's are only manned at certain times of day !!! I know of two.

You're confusing not being open to the public with no officers using them. There's a big difference. My local station (in a country town) is only open to the public 9-5, but there are officers going in and out of it at all times, day and night. Stations are used as bases for mobile patrols even when they're not technically open. You need somewhere to do your paperwork, check jobs on the computer system, have a cup of tea, eat your sandwiches and go to the loo! No police station is completely abandoned when it's not open to the public, although there may not always be someone there. It's a common misconception fuelled by the tabloids. A police station not being open certainly does not equal no officers being in the area.

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Tigger_MK4
And funnily enough a lot of police station's are only manned at certain times of day !!! I know of two.

A police station not being open certainly does not equal no officers being in the area.

 

Cool. More food to feed to the Dark Young...

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Necrothesp
And funnily enough a lot of police station's are only manned at certain times of day !!! I know of two.

A police station not being open certainly does not equal no officers being in the area.

 

Cool. More food to feed to the Dark Young...

They'd choke on the body armour!

 

I wonder whether they like CS? Probably love it!

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GHill
And funnily enough a lot of police station's are only manned at certain times of day !!! I know of two.

It's a common misconception fuelled by the tabloids. A police station not being open certainly does not equal no officers being in the area.

 

Agreed, but consider the statistical drive behind policing. If Goatswood is a low crime area - and lets be honest it will be, simply because no one is going to report a crime, well not to the police anyway - then the police simply wont be present outside of the station opening times, because they will be driving around the more 'critical'[1] areas

 

This state of affairs is particulalry true when a police force has both a large urban centre and considerable rural component to its patch, Buckinghamshire is a reasonably typical example of this and it isn't even a large county.

 

Statistical policing by the way is nothing new as early as the 70's the move to close small rural police stations and replace local bobbies with fewer more mobile officers in police cars was statistically driven - how much ground can a officer in a car cover compared to an officer on foot or on a bike.

 

[1] By which I mean areas where keeping the crime statistics down makes them look better

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GHill

Just another thought but in the 1920's there is a good chance the local bobby would be a local boy, obviously this is less likely in the modern era.

 

A bigger problem might be the business community, major chains move their upper management around.

 

large supermarkets/stores/chain resteraunts have regular deliveries normally during the middle of the night - rather inconvenient for those dancing naked by the light of the moon in honour of nameless gods!

 

Again during the 1920's this probably isn't a problem, but in the modern day it becomes more pertinent.

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