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Old 05-08-2020, 03:43 PM   #1
L.J.Steele
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Default Details about Berlin spring/summer 2018 for Fate of Cthulhu game?

I'm running the FoC adventure that 3/4 takes place in Berlin and on Brocken Peak. Any German pyramidians or pyramidians who've visited Berlin who could pass on any useful minor details to give a good sense of place?
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Old 05-09-2020, 10:58 AM   #2
Pomphis
 
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Default Re: Details about Berlin spring/summer 2018 for Fate of Cthulhu game?

I live there. What kind of details?

This page has various major events of 2018:

https://www.berlin.de/kultur-und-tickets/tipps/2018/
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Old 05-09-2020, 11:07 AM   #3
Pomphis
 
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Default Re: Details about Berlin spring/summer 2018 for Fate of Cthulhu game?

Berlin is unusual in that it is historically several cities. It is a single city only since 1920. So it does not have one center, but several. Spandau for example is basically a major city of it´s own. My firm once employed a paralegal who was the first member of her family to work outside spandau for (IIRC) three generations.

Later west berlin had a center around the Kurfürstendamm/Tauentzienstraße, east berlin around Unter den Linden / Friedrichstraße. Those two areas still compete about having the highest office and shop rents.

No skyscrapers. Lots of green and water. Great clubs, especially the best of all (Kit Kat).
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Old 05-09-2020, 01:13 PM   #4
Celjabba
 
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Default Re: Details about Berlin spring/summer 2018 for Fate of Cthulhu game?

I am not german and don't live there but I have visited quite a few time.
It is a great and very welcoming city for a weekend vacation (baring the fact that it is off-center and far away in a corner of the country ...)

From an outsider view, a few details that I hope will help flesh out your game :

-you can have your players confused by the house numbering systems (2 concurrent system) and that you have several streets sharing the same name (about a dozen Linden Str. , I believe, and who know how many Berliner Straße, probably one per old cities ... ) due to Berlin being, as Pomphis said, several cities.

-the city is incredibly alive, and stay alive during the night - this is different from many european cities.
While most of the public transport shut down in the early morning hours, many place will stay open.

-travel and transportation (I don't drive) : it appear confusing at first, but it is actually quite intuitive and very efficient.
Did you know there is a ferry system with several lines, along with the metro, autobus and trains ? Berlin have an extensive network of canals and lakes, more than Venise I think.
Sadly, the rowing boat ferry closed a few years ago, before 2018 unless you don't mind a little anachronism.

-I live near the German border, but on the other side of the country. In my opinion, very little "typically old German town" subsist in Berlin.
There is little (drink, food, houses, Kultur) that is typically "berliner".
If I remenber correctly, in 2018, the novelty was a new place with weird flavour ice-cream (I had a spicy one, Koriander I think - it was very good). Can't remember the shop name, it was near Frankfurter Tor.

-Berlin is one of the paradise for alternative lifestyle, and is remarkably liberal and lax about it.
Music, clothing, hairdo, street arts, housing,... shaped by many creative minds: artists, geeks, kinky peoples ... so your players can have lots of interesting encounters.

-Bureaucracy ... Kafka wrote a lot during his stay in Berlin, just saying ;)

Last edited by Celjabba; 05-09-2020 at 01:52 PM.
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Old 05-09-2020, 01:45 PM   #5
Pomphis
 
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Default Re: Details about Berlin spring/summer 2018 for Fate of Cthulhu game?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Celjabba View Post
-you can have your players confused by the house numbering systems (2 concurrent system)
Yes. One is from one end to the other end, on one side even numbers and on the other side odd numbers, The other is numbers progressing on one side continously till the end, making a U-turn, and continuing on the other side of the street back to the start. It helps that signs with street names often have the numbers from that crossing to the next under the name.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Celjabba View Post
-I live near the German border, but on the other side of the country. In my opinion, very little "typically old German town" subsist in Berlin.
There is little (drink, food, houses, Kultur) that is typically "berliner".
True. The Currywurst. But places from pretty much everywhere on the world. Australian, afghan, egyptian, brazilean ….

Quote:
Originally Posted by Celjabba View Post
-Berlin is one of the paradise for alternative lifestyle, and is remarkably liberal and lax about it.
Music, clothing, hairdo, street arts, housing,... shaped by many creative minds: artists, geeks, kinky peoples ... so your players can have lots of interesting encounter.
It helps that in some areas rents are still cheap. And compared to other cities almost all of berlin is cheap.

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Originally Posted by Celjabba View Post
-Bureaucracy ... Kafka wrote a lot during his stay in Berlin, just saying ;)
True. The public administration is not very good.

People might talk about the BER, the new airport that was already a few years late in 2018 (and a few billions over budget too).

Last edited by Pomphis; 05-09-2020 at 01:51 PM.
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Old 05-10-2020, 06:07 AM   #6
Dr. Beckenstein
 
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Default Re: Details about Berlin spring/summer 2018 for Fate of Cthulhu game?

Oh yes, people will make a lot of jokes about the BER. They still do.

Also, the public transport in Berlin is not really a prime example of "German Efficiency". Esp. the S-Bahn. Expect that your train does not show up on time. Or at all. A lot of Berliner will curse loud about it.

And in 2008, German TV made a fascinating documentary about Berlin. Camera teams followed inhabitants of the city for a day, and out of 750 hours of material they made a 24 hour documentary. It can be found on Youtube, but AFAIK without English Subtitles.
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Old 05-10-2020, 07:27 AM   #7
L.J.Steele
 
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Default Re: Details about Berlin spring/summer 2018 for Fate of Cthulhu game?

Good stuff...

The sort of thing I'm pondering. I've been to Paris several times and read any number of American moves to Paris and learns to love those wacky French books. So I could riff for a Parisian adventure on:

The cafes. The French who dress up to take their garbage to the building disposal. The homeless refugees that were ubiquitous around 2016 or so. The booksellers along the Seine. The way the entire city seems to empty in August. The bureaucracy. Etc. For CoC weirdness, start with the vast Parisan underground and move on from there.

Are there quintessential Berlin archetypes? I gather it does have an odd combination of lots of abandoned tunnels, bunkers, and so forth, with a high water table that is being continuously pumped into the canals.

And, PCs being PCs -- Police and policing? I gather there are both the city police and the federal police. How are they likely to respond to PC shenanigans? CCTV common? rare? London-level ubiquitous? Organized crime issues? I infer there are tensions given the large number of refugees that have been coming to the city.

Last edited by L.J.Steele; 05-10-2020 at 07:36 AM.
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Old 05-10-2020, 08:19 AM   #8
Pomphis
 
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Default Re: Details about Berlin spring/summer 2018 for Fate of Cthulhu game?

Quote:
Originally Posted by L.J.Steele View Post
The cafes. The French who dress up to take their garbage to the building disposal. The homeless refugees that were ubiquitous around 2016 or so. The booksellers along the Seine. The way the entire city seems to empty in August. The bureaucracy. Etc. For CoC weirdness, start with the vast Parisan underground and move on from there.
No dressing up in berlin. Homeless yes, but not many. Do you have homeless selling Obdachlosenzeitungen (homeless papers) in public transport to earn some cash? Quite common. Quite a few fleamarkets. Some underground stuff, the U-Bahn has several tunnels that are no longer used or were never completed. And in a few places the U-Bahn is actually above ground as an elevated railway. A vampire taking the U-Bahn to get out of the sun may get a nasty surprise.

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Originally Posted by L.J.Steele View Post
Are there quintessential Berlin archetypes? I gather it does have an odd combination of lots of abandoned tunnels, bunkers, and so forth, with a high water table that is being continuously pumped into the canals.
I don´t think there is an archetyp. Too few old berliners left. During partition west berlin was a magnet for young men who wanted to avoid the draft in west germany. The communists moved lots of bureaucrats to east berlin. After the wall fell berlin was for a long time really cheap. Many people moved to berlin. One stereotype is the yuppie swabian who moved to Prenzleuer Berg (prenzlberg).

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Originally Posted by L.J.Steele View Post
And, PCs being PCs -- Police and policing? I gather there are both the city police and the federal police. How are they likely to respond to PC shenanigans? CCTV common? rare? London-level ubiquitous? Organized crime issues? I infer there are tensions given the large number of refugees that have been coming to the city.
Federal Police is basically for railways, federal government and airports. The state police (berlin is a state (Bundesland)) for everything else. They cooperate closely, no chance of exploiting jurisdiction disputes. They work reasonably well. All are armed (like in the US), but they will almost never draw a gun (more like the UK). CCTV exists, but much much less than in london. Mainly in the U-Bahn and S-Bahn. Some organized crime, but not much. Mainly drug trade, very rarely violent. Remember, prostitution and gambling are legal. Koks Taxis: what is says, call and somebody will drive to you and deliver the cocaine you ordered (illegal, but well known). Refugees/migrants are a political issue, but not much tensions in the streets. There may be an increased risk of antisemitic or homophobic attacks. There are areas where you really shouldn´t wear a star of david or a kippa or hold hands with a same sex partner.

Germany splits law enforcement and the legal system differently. Criminal law is almost exclusively federal law, but almost complety enforced by the states, state police and state DAs. The legal system is unified, the states provide all lower courts and the federal government the top appeal courts. So if you are arrested you always and up with a state judge (Amtsrichter). There is a Bundesanwaltschaft (federal DA), but that deals only with major espionage and terrorism cases and the like directly, mainly it represents the prosecution if a case is appealed to the Bundesgerichtshof (the highest and federal appeal court). It´s also in karlsruhe, not in berlin, together with the BGH.
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Old 05-10-2020, 11:27 AM   #9
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Default Re: Details about Berlin spring/summer 2018 for Fate of Cthulhu game?

Quote:
Originally Posted by L.J.Steele View Post
Good stuff...

The sort of thing I'm pondering. I've been to Paris several times and read any number of American moves to Paris and learns to love those wacky French books. So I could riff for a Parisian adventure on:

The cafes. The French who dress up to take their garbage to the building disposal. The homeless refugees that were ubiquitous around 2016 or so. The booksellers along the Seine. The way the entire city seems to empty in August. The bureaucracy. Etc. For CoC weirdness, start with the vast Parisan underground and move on from there..
Well, cafes also exist, but Berlin is more known for its Kneipen (pubs - not bars). Another Berlin institution is the Spaeti, a very small convenience store, open around the clock (rather unusual in Germany), often run by immigrants.
Yes, homeless exist. They can be of all ages, backgrounds and gender. Most refugees try to stay under the radar (when they are not recognized as refugees), or are in a battle with the bureaucracy.

For the CoC weirdness - remember that most of Berlin was destroyed in WW II and rebuild, the last great "building gap" was filled after the reunification. Maybe your investigators discover some strange architecture in modern glass palaces of the Potsdamer Platz?

Quote:
Originally Posted by L.J.Steele View Post
Are there quintessential Berlin archetypes? I gather it does have an odd combination of lots of abandoned tunnels, bunkers, and so forth, with a high water table that is being continuously pumped into the canals.
Berlin is "known" for its hipsters. Expect bearded young men with horn-rimmed glasses in strange fashion.
Another stereotype is the Prenzlauer Berg Mutter, an attractive middle-class helicopter mother who pushes her baby around in a stroller, drinking latte macchiato al day and demanding the right of way because "I am a mother, dammit".
Yes, that's exaggerated, but last year the owner of a cafe erected poles in the entrance to prevent strollers the entry.

Oh - another thing: Berlin is notorious for the dog p**p. Watch your step.

Quote:
Originally Posted by L.J.Steele View Post
And, PCs being PCs -- Police and policing? I gather there are both the city police and the federal police. How are they likely to respond to PC shenanigans? CCTV common? rare? London-level ubiquitous? Organized crime issues? I infer there are tensions given the large number of refugees that have been coming to the city.
As Pomphis stated, the Bundespolizei is the uniformed federal police force. The Bundeskriminalamt is the equivalent of the FBI. The Berlin Police are the cops who show up when you dial 110, the police emergency call for whole Germany.
Fun fact: Until now, the Berlin Police use Opel Zafira as patrol cars. Can reach 180+ kph if you push them hard enough, but the officers complained that they were to small, so now they are getting VW Buses.

Not many people know that there is also a small independent police force in our parliament. If your pc do their shenanigans in the Bundestag, they have to face them.

As for organized crime: Yes, it exits. While the other groups (Italians, Russians, Albanians) are here, the great bogeymen nowadays are the clans, families from Turkey or the Lebanon, who came into Germany in the 80s and chewed their way up. Mainly, they make their money the usual way - drugs, gambling, human trafficking etc. To make themselves a name, sometimes members of a clan stage a spectacular heist - remember the stolen giant coin? Clan members are also the suspects for a 2018 hold-up on a cash-in-transit in middle of Berlin, where the culprits fired on a patrol car with an AK47.

Have fun in Germany.
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Old 05-10-2020, 02:43 PM   #10
YankeeGamer
 
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Default Re: Details about Berlin spring/summer 2018 for Fate of Cthulhu game?

Unexploded ordnance is always a plot complication you can throw in. The PC's need to disrupt a ceremony, find the relic, whatever, NOW--but there's a whopping big BOMB sitting five feet away. Or, if you want to avoid a possible TPK, the bomb is smaller, or further away--PC's might not get dead if it blows, but might.

Do they try to defuse the bomb? Call authorities? do their work and hope that 70 year old explosives don't decide that now is the time to go boom?

A bomb could also work in the PC's favor. If they can't call the cops due to connections, lack of credibility, or whatever, a leftover bomb is a credible and all too common threat.

Just a sometimes forgotten aspect of living in parts of Europe--though this can happen elsewhere.
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