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Old 12-17-2018, 11:34 AM   #21
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Default Re: Study of Folklore and Magic in Texas and the Gulf Coast

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Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl View Post
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   #22
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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   #23
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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, 04:15 PM   #24
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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, 08:34 PM   #25
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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   #26
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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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Last edited by LokRobster; 12-19-2018 at 09:43 PM. Reason: Not A&M - Commerce :)
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Old 12-20-2018, 04:09 AM   #27
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Default Re: Study of Folklore and Magic in Texas and the Gulf Coast

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Originally Posted by LokRobster View Post
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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Old 12-20-2018, 04:13 AM   #28
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Default Bad Places in Galveston

Are there any places in Galveston that would naturally have lower Threshold (Pyramid #3/58 'Safe as Houses') and Facade (Pyramid #3/97 'Mask of Humanity') than others, even to the point of being Places of Power (GURPS Thaumatology) with nasty-bad flavour and/or Bad Places (GURPS Horror)?

Sites of massacres, notable suicides, serial killer residences, etc.?

Haunted houses?
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Old 12-20-2018, 08:36 PM   #29
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Default Re: Study of Folklore and Magic in Texas and the Gulf Coast

Not on the coast, but there are the well known Marfa Lights. Usually seen along US 67 (on Mitchell Flat) east of the town of Marfa. You might be able to make some use of them.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marfa_lights
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Old 12-20-2018, 09:22 PM   #30
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Default Re: Gulf Coast Folklore about Faeries, Little People or Nature Spirits

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
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?
Some 20th century-based stories are sure to have come from some dark prehistoric time that we are just now discovering: Skunk Ape (aka Louisiana Big Foot), the Houston Bat-Man (the clickbait-ad-laden Texas Hill Country.com has a cool story about it), and the Chupacabra from Mexico may often wander up the coast.

The Wampus Cat of Cherokee folklore has been spotted in a East Texas as well....
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Last edited by LokRobster; 12-20-2018 at 09:33 PM. Reason: Typos
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