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Old 12-16-2018, 08:26 AM   #21
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Default Re: Study of Folklore and Magic in Texas and the Gulf Coast

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Nice sounding campaign.

I'm from south Louisiana so I may be able to help you out with stuff you need to know from this part of The Gulf, though I'm not sure regarding your university questions. I'm a bit out of touch with that these days.
Well, thanks. I'll be sure to make use of that kind offer.

Lucien Lacoste, the one PC already fully made was born in New Orleans, attended Jesuit High School and Loyola University and then worked in the NOPD for some fourteen years, the majority of that time as a homicide detective.

Lacoste has a spirit Ally whose form is that of his deceased partner* in the homicide department, LaDarius Fournette, who was born in rural Louisiana somewhere, where the accent is closer to other Southern accents than Cajun, Creole or the Yat dialect.

Where would the closest area to New Orleans where the accent sounds more 'normal' Southern be located?

*Due to the propensity for spirits to take on appearances and habits from the beliefs and expectations of people around them, it's unclear whether this is the genuine ghost of his partner or merely an opportunistic spirit.

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Regarding Galveston, check out a book by Joe R. Lansdale named 'The Big Blow' - it might help kickstart your east Texas mojo. I've never been to Galveston, but the book is set there, in the past though, and I liked that book. In fact, many of his short stories would make great source material for this sort of campaign.
I love Joe R. Lansdale!

His novels and short stories, as well as Nic Pizzolatto's* Galveston novel (now the movie Galveston) were major influences on my decision to set the campaign partially around Galveston, near the Big Thicket of East Texas, instead of having the home base be in the Caribbean itself.

It's very likely that New Orleans and southern Louisiana will also feature as a common adventure location, with inspiration drawn from True Detective, True Blood, James Lee Burke's Dave Robicheaux novels, Angel Heart (movie and book), The Originals and the old point-and-click adventure game Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers.

*Creator, writer and show-runner of HBO's True Detective.

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Back to south La., you'll almost certainly want to run adventures in the Atchafalaya Basin. Some Loup Garou, or Rougarou, sightings in the area would seem a good thing to investigate for such a crew. There are lots of oil & gas pipelines crisscrossing the swamp, but folks live, fish, and catch crawfish there, plus gators, of course.
Sounds good. Rougarou are a good idea.

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I wanted to add that I *think* Tulane University has a good Anthropology program on Native Americans, but I'd have to web search it to verify - same thing you could do. Also that you may want to Web search The Old Spanish Trail which stretches over much of the Gulf Coast - there's probably some history & locations along it's length you could use as adventure sites. The Shadows on the Teche is one such in my home town.
I imagine that Lucien Lacoste will have an old Jesuit professor friend at Loyola, someone who knows about the supernatural from a Catholic perspective and provides a back-channel contact with the inevitable Catholic Church conspiracy (which hopefully has no more sinister goal than to protect humanity in secret from the supernatural).
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Old 12-17-2018, 11:34 AM   #22
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Default Re: Study of Folklore and Magic in Texas and the Gulf Coast

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Tempe, Arizona is better if you are going into the southwest. Anyway, when you are talking about the humanities, the further you go from the Gulf Coast the better generally. Austin is #16 in history, Rice is #34, and the rest are below #50 if they rank at all. As for the more detailed programs, start emailing your local professors because they would know.
I expect that the PCs area of operations will of necessity be limited. In setting terms, the PCs will patrol ley lines and hot spots of supernatural activity connected to the most famous of the twelve 'Vile Vortices'. Their Patron believes that it is at these locations and along the ley lines connecting them that other worlds are most likely to seep into ours and bring with them higher mana, supernatural beings and paranormal happenings.

At some of the other Vile Vortices, other powers or organisations stand guard. I haven't defined them exactly, but I expect that the Japanese have a secret government operation and/or a secret society dedicated to combating the supernatural activity connected to the 'Dragon's Triangle'. The Vatican has a well organised and professional secret arm devoted to combating the supernatural and they do good work in Brazil, among many other places, including, with considerable circumspection, Easter Island.

No doubt, clued-in individuals in the Pakistani government and UNESCO do their best in the Indus Valley, assisted by advice and support from the Shadow Court of Elizabeth II, the long-standing (dating back to the 1980s) conspiracy of British people who've become aware of the recent incursions of the supernatural, whereas the megaliths near Timbuktu are, as far as can be determined, rather frighteningly without protectors due to the political instability and violence around them. More remote locations, without much in the way of local inhabitants, may or may not have protectors.

There are many more supernatural hot spots than these twelve Vile Vortices, speculated to exist along ley lines or near ancient Places of Power, which are often places of historical and religious significance. Certainly, some areas in the United Kingdom, Middle East, Central Asia, Indochina and the Indian subcontinent seem to experience much more activity than their size and population would seem to warrant.

The United States government officially denies the existence of the supernatural, but unofficially, most likely has several competing desks concerned with monitoring it buried inside its vast intelligence and security network.

From what J.R. Kessler, the PCs' Patron, can determine, the Department of Homeland Security seems to be most active in containing outbreaks of violent paranormal activity in the continental USA, as well as in covering up such activity. Of necessity, NSA must also have some idea of what has been happening the last few years, regardless of official cover-ups in various countries, and the military must surely be aware that darker forces than merely terrorism are at play in Iraq after the coalition forces left.

Kessler has sympathetic relationships with some individuals working for the federal government, with useful information sometimes flowing in both directions, but he deeply distrusts the official response of DHS and wonders whether some malign supernatural influences might have infiltrated the inner workings of one or more government agencies.

Kessler spends at least $10 million annually on funding academic research of the supernatural, largely to ensure that he get good information to help plan actions that prevent any massive incursions. Recognizing that even with his personal wealth, he can only affect a limited area, he'll focus on universities that yield good data on the area around the Bermuda Triangle and ley lines that concentrate around Louisiana and East Texas.
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Old 12-17-2018, 02:26 PM   #23
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Default Re: Study of Folklore and Magic in Texas and the Gulf Coast

I have to admit I'm kind of lacking in knowledge of the universities of the gulf coast, despite living in Texas. It's a big state!

Some quirks of geography/history you may find notable are the texas barrier islands, a long chain of narrow islands that help shield the coast from the full force of any hurricanes - Galveston is one, and Padre Island is a popular tourist location.

There's also the Great Galveston Hurricane of 1900, when the sea reclaimed the island in what remains the deadliest hurricane in US history; the Gulf of Mexico has a general habit of taking storms and amping their strength up, to the extent that pacific storms can cross mexico, reach the gulf, and regenerate into atlantic storms (Tropical Storm Trudy, 2014). Sure, the bermuda triangle is spooky, but the Gulf throws a city-leveling disaster at us every century or so.
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Old 12-18-2018, 02:29 AM   #24
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Default Re: Study of Folklore and Magic in Texas and the Gulf Coast

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I have to admit I'm kind of lacking in knowledge of the universities of the gulf coast, despite living in Texas. It's a big state!

Some quirks of geography/history you may find notable are the texas barrier islands, a long chain of narrow islands that help shield the coast from the full force of any hurricanes - Galveston is one, and Padre Island is a popular tourist location.

There's also the Great Galveston Hurricane of 1900, when the sea reclaimed the island in what remains the deadliest hurricane in US history; the Gulf of Mexico has a general habit of taking storms and amping their strength up, to the extent that pacific storms can cross mexico, reach the gulf, and regenerate into atlantic storms (Tropical Storm Trudy, 2014). Sure, the bermuda triangle is spooky, but the Gulf throws a city-leveling disaster at us every century or so.
In a way, the intended task of the PCs is to function as supernatural storm breakers, shielding the inhabitants of the Gulf Coast (as well as the Caribbean and in a general sense, the Americas) from the projected ill effects of other worlds intruding on this one.

J.R. Kessler, their Patron, has a theory that supernatural beings can only sustain themselves in this world within close proximity to dimensional vortices to their home realities. As a result, nearly all of them, whether instinctively or with malice aforethought, attempt to keep open such connections, widen them and anchor so that they will remain open and release whatever preternatural energies required by ultra-terrestial entities. Left unchecked, therefore, any intrusion of unearthly forces could result in a crack between realities becoming a wide-open gateway that grew with every being that came through.

For different, but apparently fathomable worlds, like the ones humans have dubbed the Spirit World*, Guinee, Sheol, Faerie, Alfheim, Tír na nÓg, Isles of the Blessed or Hy Brasil, this would be bad enough. For truly outlandish realms of madness and vast, cool, unsympathetic intelligences, it would mean the end of human existence as we know it.

J.R. Kessler funds the PCs and others like them to prevent the Bermuda Triangle (and the other Vile Vortices) from giving rise to not only city-leveling disasters, but world-altering ones. At least, that is what he proclaims to believe.

*In many ways, the Spirit World seems to have been the first of the other worlds to impinge upon our mundane world, with confirmed evidence of interaction with it dating back to the early 1980s (knowledgeable occultists like Kessler can find no evidence of true paranormal activity earlier in the 20th century and sources from the 19th century and earlier mostly cannot be authenticated). Whether spirits are the souls of the dead or simply incorporeal beings who, like many supernatural creatures, take forms dictated by local belief and expectation, remains controversial. As does the connection of the Spirit World to other, similar worlds, like Sheol or Guinee.
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Old 12-18-2018, 09:25 AM   #25
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Default Re: Study of Folklore and Magic in Texas and the Gulf Coast

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Well, thanks. I'll be sure to make use of that kind offer.
You're welcome.
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Where would the closest area to New Orleans where the accent sounds more 'normal' Southern be located?
Well, first I'd have to ask, which Southern accent? ;)

Most Americans, even, lump all Southern accents together, but there are two distinct types: The Drawl & The Antebellum. The Drawl spans Texas, North Louisiana (above the flat horizontal line of the "boot"), Arkansas, Tennessee, Virginia, and (for some reason I can't figure) Florida. The Antebellum spans Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and both North and South Carolina. That's been my general experience anyhow.

In south Louisiana, we've got two main accents Cajun (from the eastern edge of the Atchafalaya Basin, westward) & Creole (East of the Atchafalaya Basin). Baton Rouge and the surrounding area have a good mix both those and The Drawl from relocated individuals from the north of the state. Then, surrounding the cities of Lafayette, Baton Rouge, and New Orleans, you can also find a large portion of the population (maybe 50%), has what most Americans would say is "no accent." The closer you get to the borders of other states (and northern Louisiana), the more likely you are to encounter those other accents.
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I love Joe R. Lansdale!
Sweet. Me too!
It's always nice to encounter a fellow Landsdale Lover...
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His novels and short stories, as well as Nic Pizzolatto's* Galveston novel (now the movie Galveston) were major influences on my decision to set the campaign partially around Galveston, near the Big Thicket of East Texas, instead of having the home base be in the Caribbean itself.
Landsdale mostly centers his stories around his hometown of Nacogdoches, which is in Northeast Texas - home of the Thicket (you can see the area is surrounded by national forests on Google Maps).
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Old 12-18-2018, 04:15 PM   #26
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Default Gulf Coast Folklore about Faeries, Little People or Nature Spirits

On the subject of folklore studies in East Texas, Louisiana and the Gulf Coast, are there any local myths that might relate to creatures that could come from an alternate world of Faerie, Álfheim or the equivalent?

Any stories about local sprites, fairies, gnomes, little people, elves, fey, changelings, Fair Folk, goblins, gremlings, bugaboos, hobs, ogres or other ultraterrestial fauna?
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Old 12-19-2018, 08:14 PM   #27
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Default Re: Study of Folklore and Magic in Texas and the Gulf Coast

Feu Follet: Basically the same as Will O' the Wisp. I've actually only heard mention of this once in my entire life (that I recall), so I wouldn't call it common.

These two are commonly known:

Cauchemar: Sleep paralysis is believed to be behind this, but it's generally described as an attack by an evil spirit or a witch. You could have it be an invisible creature from another realm instead.

Rougarou: Technically, this is more or less your classic "cursed" man that turns into a wolf (though variations do exist), but there's no reason in your setting it couldn't be from another realm instead.

Interesting article & comments here...

Also, note that Louisiana is the only state in the US that still uses "Parish" as a governmental division, rather than "County." This is because the state has a long history of being Catholic, so all the usual superstitions and beliefs found in any Catholic area are also here. Folk Healers are a part of life here, and incorporate Catholic & Voodoo traditions. My grandmother actually took me to one when I was a child, and I still recall my grandmother lining all her doors and windows with salt to keep the evil spirits away...

If you can get your hands on a copy of Louisiana: A Guide to the State, published back in the 40's, I've read it's got a good section on La. Folklore. Of course, it's old, and a huge book, so much of it is going to be out of date, but the folklore section probably has more info than any modern Cajun or Creole person knows about, IDK for sure. Most of what gets bandied about nowadays is talk of ghosts and hauntings. Every old house or building is rumored to be haunted around here. Old, abandoned cemeteries too, always found out in the middle of nowhere, and wouldn't you know it, they're said to be haunted.

Speaking of cemeteries, a note on geography - almost all of South La., if you dig down 3', you'll hit the watertable. This is why burials are mostly above ground in mausoleums here. An airtight coffin will float back to the surface if you bury it. When Hurricane Rita hit and flooded areas with cemeteries that were long thought "high & dry," a lot of coffins came floating to the surface. This happened at the cemetery across the street from my dad's house. There were 6' deep concrete boxes lowered into the ground, with the coffin inside, then a concrete lid placed on top. That worked fine until the box filled with water, the coffin floated the lids off (cracked many), and they just popped up like corks...

You'll find no cellars, or storm shelters, built underground in south Louisiana, and most homes are built on piers or, near waterways where it's known to flood regularly, taller stilts.

Last edited by namada; 12-19-2018 at 08:16 PM. Reason: fixed typo
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Old 12-19-2018, 08:34 PM   #28
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Default Re: Study of Folklore and Magic in Texas and the Gulf Coast

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...Also, note that Louisiana is the only state in the US that still uses "Parish" as a governmental division, rather than "County." This is because the state has a long history of being Catholic, ...
Actually, Louisiana uses Parishes because their legal system is based on the Napoleonic Code, instead of the English Common Law system the rest of the U.S.A law is based on.
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Old 12-19-2018, 09:38 PM   #29
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Default Re: Study of Folklore and Magic in Texas and the Gulf Coast

I ran an IW campaign that was based on Nacogdoches as the center of a trans-dimensional highway ring linking 9 different parallel worlds.

There is evidence of 10,000 years of human habitation there they say... Oldest city in Texas. Seems likely to have some Magic there.

My campaign featured a gate room hidden underneath the “Old Stone Fort” house built in 1790ish by an early Spanish merchant/Lt Governor... the structure fell into ruin in the early 20th century and got moved to local college in the 1920s where it is a museum now, so in some timelines the PCs had to get into the bank that is now on the site where the house used to be.

There’s an RPG i was eyeing a while back about a fictional college of Weirdness, East Texas University. (Savage Worlds, set in ‘Pinebox, TX’) Might have some mineable ideas since it was all kinds of Supernatural, tied as much as possible into the Big Thicket motif.
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Old 12-20-2018, 04:09 AM   #30
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Default Re: Study of Folklore and Magic in Texas and the Gulf Coast

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I ran an IW campaign that was based on Nacogdoches as the center of a trans-dimensional highway ring linking 9 different parallel worlds.

There is evidence of 10,000 years of human habitation there they say... Oldest city in Texas. Seems likely to have some Magic there.

My campaign featured a gate room hidden underneath the “Old Stone Fort” house built in 1790ish by an early Spanish merchant/Lt Governor... the structure fell into ruin in the early 20th century and got moved to local college in the 1920s where it is a museum now, so in some timelines the PCs had to get into the bank that is now on the site where the house used to be.

There’s an RPG i was eyeing a while back about a fictional college of Weirdness, East Texas University. (Savage Worlds, set in ‘Pinebox, TX’) Might have some mineable ideas since it was all kinds of Supernatural, tied as much as possible into the Big Thicket motif.
Nice!

Thanks for these suggestions, I'll be sure to work the ancient habitation of Nagadoches, at least, into the campaign somehow.
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