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Old 06-13-2019, 03:58 PM   #221
a humble lich
 
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Default Re: [MH] Caribbean by Night

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
In my campaign, from December the 27th to the 29th, 2018, something like twenty homicides have been committed in Galveston and another six or so are in critical condition after a shooting. Half of those homicides were suspects killed in the commission of a crime, but that still leaves ten people, mostly locals, one EMT ambulance driver and three of them cops, who were murdered in the last few days. And another officer and paramedic might still die.

Galveston proper is something over 50,000 people and Galveston County is almost exactly the population of Iceland, 335,000. When fourteen people died in an avalanche here twenty four years ago, it was a national tragedy that brought more or less everything to a standstill for weeks. I've seen annual balls and celebrations cancelled for much less weighty reasons and while the two avalanches of 1995 in Iceland were in January and October, I imagine that if one of them had occured two days before New Year's Eve, a lot of parties, especially those connected to public servants, would have been cancelled.

And if we consider just the city of Galveston and those of its citizens who were killed in the obscene murders of the 27th December and then the brutal attack on the night of the 29th December, the proportion is very similar to the number of victims on 9/11 in proportion to the population of New York City. Then again, the 17th of May, 2018 Santa Fe shooting occured earlier that year, within Galveston County, and was of equal magnitude.

On the other hand, Dallas 2016 was an even worse attack (though obviously in a much larger population and larger police department). I wonder if New Year's celebrations in Dallas had proceeded as scheduled if the attack had taken place in late December?

In short, what is New Year's Eve going to look like in Galveston after a tragedy like that?

It should definitely be a tragedy. Looking at crime statistics, the average murder rate in Galveston over the past few years is about 3 per 100,000. For comparison, the rate in nearby Houston is 11 and in Iceland it is 0.3. So this event is about 6 times more murders than the city usually sees in a year. As a guess, I would say that New Years Festivities would go on, but they would be muted. The turnout to events would be lower than usual, and some events might be cancelled, especially any that were run by the city or businesses near by the murders. But many would still go on because most people in the city would not have any personal connection to those effected.
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Old 06-13-2019, 06:00 PM   #222
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Default Re: [MH] Caribbean by Night

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It should definitely be a tragedy. Looking at crime statistics, the average murder rate in Galveston over the past few years is about 3 per 100,000. For comparison, the rate in nearby Houston is 11 and in Iceland it is 0.3. So this event is about 6 times more murders than the city usually sees in a year. As a guess, I would say that New Years Festivities would go on, but they would be muted. The turnout to events would be lower than usual, and some events might be cancelled, especially any that were run by the city or businesses near by the murders. But many would still go on because most people in the city would not have any personal connection to those effected.
Combining real world tragedies with events in my campaign means that Galveston County saw over fifty homicides in 2018, making the rate per 100,000 higher than real-life Houston.

Of course, one of the ways my campaign differs from the real world are much higher rates of violent crimes. So, I suppose that my Galveston County also saw another dozen unsolved murders before the start of play and Houston has a murder rate of at least 30-40 per 100,000.

There is a reason why those who see past the Facade disproportionately belong to professions like first responders, ER personnel, forensic scientists, MEs, clergy and social workers. While many reject even the evidence of their own eyes, those with open minds, high Will or both have many chances to realize that the world is no longer the same, as supernaturally-inspired acts of violence outnumer 'regular' crimes.
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Old 06-15-2019, 09:41 AM   #223
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Default Penemue Security Personnel

The superyacht Penemue serves as the permanent home of the owner, eccentric billionaire and centenarian J.R. Kessler of Galveston, Texas. As a result, his household and followers also live there year round.

Kessler has a somewhat feudal attitude to long-term employees. He pays well and can be genuinely kind toward his people, up to and including scholarship funds for their children and sometimes other family. But he also expects and demands the kind of loyalty that household retainers would grant their lords. Many of Kessler's most trusted employees are the children or grandchildren of people he knew when he was younger.

And, as a feudal lord, Kessler's household also includes his household guard of men-at-arms. These people have security duties aboard the Penemue, either full-time or part-time. This list excludes the twelve men of the Monster Hunting team aboard, who are, of course, fully capable of providing security and available for onboard security duties at times.

Head of Security: Guillaume Armant (b. 1965, Paris, France). Former Gendarmerie officer who was in the GSPR between 1995-2007 and worked as a security consultant between 2007-2012.

Full-time Security
There are four full-time security personnel aboard the Penemue. I still haven't written them up, but plan to do so very soon.

Auxiliary Security
These men formerly have other duties on board the Penemue, but given their background and skills, as well as the level of trust Kessler bears them, the full-time security personnel regard them as lieutenants to the Head of Security.

Armourer: George 'Baz' Bannerman (b. September 12, 1962, Durban, South Africa). Former 22 SAS (1982-1992), son of Edward 'Ned' Bannerman, former head of Kessler's personal security. Only recently retired from being on the Penemue team of Monster Hunters.

Crew chef: Dale Johnson (b. 1975; Houston, TX). Former US Navy SEAL who lost both legs in Afghanistan. Not a haute cuisine chef, but a good fry cook and excellent barbecue man. Main duties are perimeter security, allowed in the kitchen only on sufferance by Aunty Genie. Mostly cooks for the night shift or when an away team needs a meal at odd hours.

Deck Crew
The deck crew of the Penemue all have military or security backgrounds. I still have not written up three of them, but will do so soon. Suggestions are welcome, though they need to be expert sailors, small boat operators and also able to serve as boarding crew and security.

Bosun: Clifford 'Cliff' Payne (b. 1965, San Antonio). USCG (1985-2005), retired as MCPO (E-9). Equally capable as a sailor and as a boarding team commander, a veteran of LEDET/TACLET who was the senior Chief of MSST 91104 in Houston/Galveston on retirement. Is fully capable of serving as a back-up Monster Hunter in a pinch.

Bosun's Mate: Cord 'Boats' McCall (b. March 18, 1978; Port Aransa, TX). US Navy from 2002-2011, retired as E-7, Chief Boatswain's Mate (BMC). McCall grew up the son of a charter captain for saltwater fishing and worked on his boat since he was old enough to splice a line. He's capable, stoic and unflappable. If he has hobbies or interests, other than the sea, weather, naval yarns and ensuring that Penemue is run absolutely flawlessly, he has managed to conceal such weaknesses adroitly from everyone.

Stewards:
The stewards aboard Penemue have all attended several training courses on security, close protection and emergency response. When deemed appropriate, they will wear low-profile body armor and carry concealed handguns.

First Steward: Ramon Alejo Reyes Jr. (b. October 12, 1979 in Manila, Philippines); retired Chief Culinary Specialist (CS7/E-7) from the US Navy who served two Presidents in the White House, between 2004-2012. US citizenship through his father, a former USN steward as well. Eagerly snapped up by a recruiter for Kessler when he retired from his Navy career in 2012.

Unflappable, efficient, professional and unobtrusive at all times, Reyes is almost inhumanly good at his job and is reputed to be pulling in a salary only marginally lower than the Captain, which nearly all the crew agree he is well worth, as his organisational ability and uncanny attention to detail make keeping up billionaire standards of living aboard the Penemue that much easier. Reyes is a devout Roman Catholic and a genuinely kind man.

Understeward: Trevor Stewart (b. 1968; Montego Bay, Jamaica). Has worked as yacht crew all his life, beginning as deck crew, but eventually being trained as a steward and hospitality professional. Has worked for J.R. Kessler on the Penemue since 1998. Highly competent and professional, but if he gets the sense that guests are not opposed to speaking with staff, is cheerful, friendly and somewhat more familiar than would be tolerated on many yachts.

Does not object to carrying a concealed pistol and being expected to take a longarm from the armoury in the event of an emergency, but has no military or security experience beyond seminars he has attended while working for Kessler. Actually enjoys tactical exercises, target shooting and carrying a firearm and is a decent shot. Despite being in good shape for his age, however, Trevor is not very good at hand-to-hand drills, as he doesn't want to injure anyone.

Understeward: Jefferson Spencer (b. 1976; Norfolk, VA). US Navy veteran, retired as CS1 (E-6), or a Culinary Specialist, Petty Officer First Class, in 2006. Has been employed by Kessler on the Penemue since then. Ideal, unobtrusive servant despite somewhat imposing, muscular frame (6'1" and 190 lbs.), but not management material and no cooking skills. Has a history of back problems, for which he has tried many alternative medicine treatments.

Spencer is fully qualified as a close protection specialist and before his back problems, was a highly ranked amateur judoka. He still trains every day and usually goes through the shooting exercises with the full time guards as well.

Understeward; Bianca Secada (b. 1986; Sugar Land, TX). Bianca is a very beautiful woman of Cuban-American origin and has worked for Kessler since 2012. She was in the US Navy as a Culinary Specialist between 2004-2008 and earned as Bachelor of Science in Hotel & Restaurant Management from Hilton College, University of Houston in 2012.
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Old 06-15-2019, 10:24 AM   #224
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Default Re: [MH] Caribbean by Night

Does Penemue have any (concealed) weapons apart from small arms? Given the steady rise of the supernatural and the willingness of supernatural organisations to use large numbers of gunmen, I could see the yacht getting attacked by flying or swimming monsters, or boats or helicopters full of gunmen, when at sea.
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Old 06-15-2019, 12:35 PM   #225
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Default Machine Guns Available to Kessler's People

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Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
Does Penemue have any (concealed) weapons apart from small arms? Given the steady rise of the supernatural and the willingness of supernatural organisations to use large numbers of gunmen, I could see the yacht getting attacked by flying or swimming monsters, or boats or helicopters full of gunmen, when at sea.
It's a good question.

I imagine that Kessler owns .30 and .50 cal machine guns* on one of his Caribbean retreats, where the local authorities are extremely understanding.

Edit: At the suggestion of Kessler, the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force bought twelve Ultimax 100 Mark 3 5.56x45mm SAWs in 2006, four of which are more or less permanently at the disposal of Kessler's people. In 2012, they bought four Mark 5 models for 'testing', two of which made their way to Kessler's people. In 2016, they obtained four more, Mark 8 models this time, with two of them available to Kessler's people.

The St. Lucian Police have also bought eight ST Kinetics made FN MAG 7.62x51mm GPMGs and four STK 50 MG .50 BMG machine guns, two of each are at the disposal of Kessler's people. These purchases were made in 2005-2016.

Until 2013, the RSLPF maintained a close partnership with US Armed Forces and was mostly armed with US-made weapons, some of which Kessler might obtain from a friendly Police Superintendant if the situation called for it.

On St. Lucia and Domincia, there are also some remnants of mercenary equipment from the 60s, 70s and the 80s available to Kessler, as well as some completely illegal Russian-made weapons acquired through arms dealer contacts, in fraudulent contracts with African end-user certificates.

However, I think that so far, Kessler hasn't moored in US waters with illegal hardware.

After all, what Raul and his sicarios did is not remotely how occult conspiracies generally behave. Drawing the attention of every law enforcement agency in the US like this seems extrmely counterproductive and only really makes sense if the people or entities who employ Raul no longer care about productive and profitable servants, carefully built networks of influence or any of the mundane financial and criminal assets their organization can call on.

No one could expect something so brazen and no one knows what it means. It's probably not good news, however.

*Acquired either through subverted local law enforcement or even less legal means, which would mean grey or black market purchases through Porcher, Boucher and Leclercq, most likely either used African materiel or, if newly manufactured, from Russian, Chinese or other less-than-careful-about-end-user-certificates companies.
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Old 06-18-2019, 08:19 AM   #226
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Default Dark and Nasty Places of Power in Texas or the Gulf Coast

Aside from the Texas Killing Fields, what other places within a twelve hours or so drive from Galveston might be Places of Power or Bad Places with magical energies flavored strongly with tragedy, loss, desolation, hopelessness or other dark things?
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Old 06-18-2019, 11:07 AM   #227
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Default Re: [MH] Caribbean by Night

a 12 hour drive from galveston will get you most of texas, so you've got lots of options. There's probably some horrible plantation somewhere in that area.

Texas didn't have big civil war battles, but it did have a POW camp. Which, being an 1860s POW camp, is probably pretty miserable.
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Old 06-18-2019, 02:21 PM   #228
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Default Re: [MH] Caribbean by Night

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a 12 hour drive from galveston will get you most of texas, so you've got lots of options. There's probably some horrible plantation somewhere in that area.
Assume that cultists planning a huge ceremony devoted to opening the way for a manifestation of endings, loss, futility, hopelessness and general nihilism need to quickly change over to an alternate site, where the local mana will be suitable, but which isn't too far for everyone to make it in time.

Powerful magicians and supernatural entities generally don't play nice with modern technology, so most cult higher-ups aren't that fond of flying. Automobile engine computer chips, GPS navigation systems or fuel gauges might be unreliable around sorcerers and warlocks, but at least failures while in a car or aboard a ship don't all mean crashing into the ground at terminal veplocity or faster.

So, diverting a bunch of cultists, sorceresses, warlocks and wicked things somewhere else with less than two days to go requires that the back-up location be reasonably convenient to access. Either something within a short sailing distance from Galveston-Houston or something they can drive to fairly easily.

Of course, it may be that nothing sufficiently nasty and simultaneously magical exists close enough. Likely the most powerful magical sites within 24-36 hours travel (without flight) are somewhere within the 'Bermuda Triangle' Vile Vortex, but this cult doesn't have much influence there and there are likely local power groups claiming all the really cool Places of Power in the Caribbean.

Though, of course, most occultists, even ones that may be criminal and deal with dangerous entities, would probably not be eager to perform rituals in Places of Power aspected toward the death of hope, potentiality and the future. The Keepers of the Last Hearth might have cornered the market on crippling depression-aspected Mana.

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Originally Posted by Sciencezam View Post
Texas didn't have big civil war battles, but it did have a POW camp. Which, being an 1860s POW camp, is probably pretty miserable.
Thanks, that's interesting. Even if I don't use it for this adventure, the panicked masssacre over incendiary matches sounds inspiring.
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Old 06-18-2019, 08:03 PM   #229
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Default Re: [MH] Caribbean by Night

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Assume that cultists planning a huge ceremony devoted to opening the way for a manifestation of endings, loss, futility, hopelessness and general nihilism need to quickly change over to an alternate site, where the local mana will be suitable, but which isn't too far for everyone to make it in time.
It's a shame the Jerry Maguire Pyramid isn't built yet (and is probably going to be in California rather than Texas), or I'd recommend that.
EDIT: Also, Alamogordo, New Mexico is just outside the 12 hour window, and that's where all the Atari consoles, peripherals, and games were buried in the video game crash of 1983. Plenty of endings, loss, futility, etc in all that, and I assume all the non-functional electronics wouldn't cause a problem.

More seriously, if it weren't so famous, the Alamo wouldn't be too bad of a location. Looking up haunted sites and the like in Texas, Indianola seems like a great candidate. It's a ghost town (incidentally, Texas apparently has a massive quantity of such, which may be useful for your purposes), not terribly far from Galveston (a land driving route says 3 hours, but you could go by sea if desired, hugging the southern coast). It used to be a booming port town - second largest in Texas - until it got hit by a massive hurricane in 1875. While nearly destroyed, it managed to rebuild from that... but then got hit by another massive hurricane in 1886, shortly followed by a fire, which put the final nail in the town's coffin. If I'm not mistaken, this roughly coincides with around the time magic stopped working in your setting's past, meaning the destruction may have been supernaturally significant in some way.
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Old 06-18-2019, 08:29 PM   #230
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Default Re: [MH] Caribbean by Night

The German settlers in Texas had a pro-union segment and a group tried to flee to New Orleans via Mexico. Thirty or so were killed. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nueces_massacre
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