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Old 04-14-2019, 06:29 PM   #11
Icelander
 
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Default Monster Hunting Special Weapons and Tactics

The only 'Monster Hunters' that have been featured on screen* in the setting before are PCs, Swiss Guard and Knights of Malta SOF teams from the Vatican, Rangers from the British conspiracy that must always exist to counterbalance a Catholic one and then the privately funded Monster Hunters of the PCs' Patron in the newest campaign, centenarian Texan billionaire J.R. Kessler.

All of these, to some extent, are willing to fight fire with fire, i.e. learn and use supernatural powers against supernatural threats. The Catholic Church perhaps allows the least latitude of any of the above when it comes to what kind of rituals and studies are permissable, with few allowed any but basic protective and defensive rituals, but their chosen champions absolutely wield enchanted and imbued weapons.

I was thinking that the Brazilian monster hunters were distinct in their utter rejection of magic and the paranormal as viable tools. In GURPS terms, they learn Occultism to go with Intelligence Analysis and Tactics, but Hidden Lore and Thaumatology skills are absolutely forbidden.

This is not purely paranoia, in that there is a very good argument to be made that a solid majority of mortals who engage in any way with the supernatural eventually end up insane, morally compromised or otherwise irrevocably damaged by their interaction with unearthly forces.

Even the PCs have to admit that all ritual magicians of any power they know are deeply odd at best, usually psychologically traumatized and that for every one student of the esoteric who tries his best to use magic to help others, there seem to be ten using it to get ahead in some criminal syndicate, sacrificing innocents to extend their lives, acting as the cats' paws of some awful entity or something similarly undesirable.

In any case, for monster hunters who have to maintain some degree of covertness, generally by simply pretending to be anti-drug or counter-terror tactical teams from the relevant Brazilian agencies, what would be good signature tactics, gear or other identifiers?

For example, the British Rangers associated with the 'Shadow Court' tend to use various UK weaponry, historical and otherwise. The monster hunting teams financed by J.R. Kessler like to field firearms chambered in .45 caliber with custom-made Jacketed Hollow Point projectiles, where the oversized cavity is used to deliver substances that the target might be supernaturally vulnerable to. This includes .45 ACP pistols, .460 S&W revolvers, rifles in .450 Bushmaster and 45 Raptor (all can fire .452 inch bullets). Shotgun slugs with hollow cavities are obviously also useful for this.

What might the Brazilian monster hunters do to solve the same technical problem (how to deliver enough dosage of supernatural countermeasures through a ballistically useful projectiles) in some different way?

I was thinking that sintered silver and iron bullets, probably jacketed, might be fielded by the Brazilian teams when facing foes that might be vulnerable to either. That might be made in 9x19mm, 5.56x45mm and 7.62x51mm at the very least. I'm not sure how they'd deliver salt, special ash, hawthorn or more exotic payloads, however.

Of course, lacking the oracles, divination and other informational assistance that the supernatural can provide, the Brazilian teams will not as often know the exact weaknesses of their targets, so perhaps esoteric payload delivery is less of a requirement for them than the PCs, the Rangers from the UK or the Knights from the Vatican. The Brazilian teams might compensate with more firepower and ruthlessness.

*Many other individuals or groups dedicated to defending humanity or some part thereof from supernatural threats exist. PCs in prior campaigns have met individuals that might belong to other organizations, but if so, they know nothing of these mysterious organizations. Examples include an Indo-Iranian man dressed in Western clothing, whom the PCs determined (from linguistic clues and a carelessly revealed food taboo) to be Yazidi, and who asked that they call him Ishmael. Ishmael appeared to be some sort of monastic warrior, with limited experience of the wider world, but adequate English from books and TV, as well as esoteric martial arts or meditation-based mystical powers.

Other PCs have also met Iraqi Shia Muslims engaged in warfare against djinn-controlling Sufi mystics.
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Old 04-14-2019, 06:42 PM   #12
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Default Re: [MH] Brazilian Secret Monster Hunters

Royalty often has myrhic implications. The mention of Pedro II made me think. His descendent Pedro Carlos of Orléans-Braganza is alive and a claimant to the throne of Brazil. Him having a connection might be interesting.
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Old 04-14-2019, 06:48 PM   #13
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Default Re: [MH] Brazilian Secret Monster Hunters

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Royalty often has myrhic implications. The mention of Pedro II made me think. His descendent Pedro Carlos of Orléans-Braganza is alive and a claimant to the throne of Brazil. Him having a connection might be interesting.
That's a very good point and thanks for the suggestion.

The mythic role of royalty is very much a part of the setting, as the paranormal seems bounded in part by what humans believe. The Queen of England (and Scotland, as well as a lot of Commonwealth countries) was instrumental in the informal founding of the British monster hunting conspiracy.
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Old 04-15-2019, 02:41 AM   #14
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Default Re: [MH] Brazilian Secret Monster Hunters

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
So, I imagine that there would be a secret monster hunting faction of the National Public Security Force for internal matters and another in the ABIN for external matters.

Do forumites believe that there would be secret teams in other Brazilian agencies or forces?
Do those other agencies meet monsters?

Say the Polícia Civil (or indeed the Polícia Militar, since from a quick Wikipedia they both seem to have some investigative function) do Estado do Rio de Janeiro find a body with no blood in it. All right, they'll treat it as a somewhat weird murder. Then they find a few more, and at the very least they've got an odd serial killer on their hands.

There are two ways this can go. Either they have a number to ring in case of weirdness, in which case the existence of the monster-hunting department is eventually going to become generally known, because police talk; or they don't, in which case after a bit they will grow their own monster-hunting department because clearly this kind of incident needs something other than normal policing tactics.
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Old 04-15-2019, 04:02 AM   #15
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Default Re: [MH] Brazilian Secret Monster Hunters

You have all homicides reported to the Federal police for statistical purposes on form D34D. Section 2 has a checklist of method of death, if Other fill out section 2b with a description of cause. Form must be submitted within 24 hours of discovery of the homicide. That will get most of the supernatural stuff to the attention of the right people. Some locals will notice eventually what happens afterwards in a certain kind of those cases, they make possible recruits or local cooperators.
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Old 04-15-2019, 05:26 AM   #16
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Default Re: [MH] Brazilian Secret Monster Hunters

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Do those other agencies meet monsters?

Say the Polícia Civil (or indeed the Polícia Militar, since from a quick Wikipedia they both seem to have some investigative function) do Estado do Rio de Janeiro find a body with no blood in it. All right, they'll treat it as a somewhat weird murder. Then they find a few more, and at the very least they've got an odd serial killer on their hands.

There are two ways this can go. Either they have a number to ring in case of weirdness, in which case the existence of the monster-hunting department is eventually going to become generally known, because police talk; or they don't, in which case after a bit they will grow their own monster-hunting department because clearly this kind of incident needs something other than normal policing tactics.
Yes, the local police will be the most likely to come across evidence (not proof, which remains elusive for anyone) of monsters. For example, the official position of the US government is the same as in the real world, i.e. magic and monsters are not real things in our modern world. However, in the generation since weird stuff started to happen, slowly and subtly at first in the 1980s and 1990s, more often in the 2000s and 2010s, street cops and homicide detectives have come across all kinds of things they can't explain.

By now, every police department will have someone, most likely several someones, prepared to believe in supernatural explanations. They won't have evidence sufficient to convince anyone not out there with them, but given the sheer number of otherwise inexplicable things, anomalous eyewitness testimony and possibly even something they've personally experienced, most of those whose lives put them in daily contact with the underbelly of society eventually become aware that things are not as they were.

I imagine that in Brazil, the response to the supernatural started with local police. As the Vile Vortex lies in the ocean just outside Rio de Janeiro, the Policia Civil and Policia Militar of Rio and Espirito Santo would have come across the greatest numbers of inexplicabe things and would have faced supernatural threats that were influenced gy the energies around the Vile Vortex and, later, entities that arrived through rifts in reality there.

In GURPS terms, Rio and environs are about one Mana level higher than is average throughout the world, i.e. when most of the world was functionally No Mana in the 1980-1995, Rio would have been Very Low Mana (-10) and as the Mana levels have risen so that the world averages -8 to -10, Rio and environs are maybe -5 to -3, with spikes that go higher.

So, the first Monster Hunters in Brazil would probably have belonged to unauthorized Brazilian police militias in Rio and Espirito Santo. Gradually, more investigators and Policia Militar would have become aware of the threat and eventually, supernaturally-aware members would have subverted official special units like BOPE of the PMERJ and the Batalhão de Missões Especiais of the PMES, as well as both CORE and special intelligence and investigative units of the Policia Civil.

Only later would the military and Policia Federal become aware of the threat and then only through gradual subversion of the agencies by believers. In fact, until the 2018 election, the monster hunters inside the Brazilian intelligence, military and security services were not only secret from the public, they were secret from the democratically elected government.

Officially, they still are, but President Jair Bolsonaro and to a much greater extent, his Vice President, Hamilton Mourão, are aware that secret factions within the police, military and intelligence community are fighting other forces than crime, drugs and terrorism. And unlike previous Brazilian administrations, which often fought bureaucratic battles with entrenched militant factions of the intelligence and security community, the new one wholeheartedly approves of the extrajudicial Monster Hunters.

The secret and extralegal status of anti-paranormal policing has in the past created some odd situations. For example, many of the Policia Militar who served in the Força Nacional de Segurança Pública and its BEPE quick-reaction force were aware of the supernatural, but they were commanded and overseen by political appointees who not only were unaware, but also actively hostile to the kind of unacccountable policing methods that allowed monster hunting to flourish without official notice. As a result, the BEPE was seldom deployed for supernatural threats. With the current administration, it is expected that the BEPE leadership will now be selected for counter-supernatural credentials and BEPE will finally become an effective monster hunting unit.
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Old 04-15-2019, 11:07 AM   #17
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Default Re: [MH] Brazilian Secret Monster Hunters

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Originally Posted by dcarson View Post
You have all homicides reported to the Federal police for statistical purposes on form D34D. Section 2 has a checklist of method of death, if Other fill out section 2b with a description of cause. Form must be submitted within 24 hours of discovery of the homicide. That will get most of the supernatural stuff to the attention of the right people. Some locals will notice eventually what happens afterwards in a certain kind of those cases, they make possible recruits or local cooperators.
Thanks.

I note that investigators, technicians and analysts working within the Policia Federal, like in the Police Intelligence Direction (DIP), National Criminalistics Institute (INC) and the Technical-Scientific Unit (DITEC) will probably have acquired extensive familiarity with the inexplicable as early as the 1990s.

I can imagine that an informal faction of investigators and analysts within the Policia Federal put the pieces together and started to formulate theories, eventually growing into the best informed agency in Brazil on the threat. On the other hand, their knowledge would be mostly theoretical as unlike the state-level Policia Militar and Police Civil, few of the college-educated officers spend their time on the ground in Rio's favelas.

This means that the Policia Federal probably did little about the threat for the first years and even after the state-level police agencies developed their own monster hunting teams within their tactical units, the federal Comando de Operações Táticas (COT) would have been composed of men who were unaware of any supernatural threat. Instead, paranormal-aware investigators and analysts would have unofficially notified trusted and like-minded allies in the military or state police about anything they felt required direct action.

Because the Vile Vortex is located at sea, outside Rio de Janeiro, I imagine that the armed forces of Brazil came to be be populated with believers fairly early on. The Marines and Navy would have had their share of encounters in the 1990s and 2000s, probably leading the Marine Tonelero Battalion (COMANF) and the Navy Combat Divers of GRUMEC, both headquartered in Rio, to develop their own monster hunting teams.

And the Policia Federal has a maritime police, Núcleo Especial de Polícia Marítima (NEPOM), and any units that were stationed in Rio or Espirito Santo would have developed their own believers and eventually some form of response.

The 1º Batalhão de Forças Especiais (1º B F Esp) is also based near Rio and makes a plausible force for nation-wide quick-reaction force, as even while the weirdness is most common near the Vile Vortex, supernatural phenomena can occur elsewhere as well.

Of course, all these forces are hampered by the democratically elected government not believing in the supernatural and having a natural reluctance to allow the military too much autonomy. This means that in the 2000s and 2010s, all operations carried out against monster and magicians were officially against criminal networks, drug trade organisations, militants or terrorists.

Of course, the officials overseeing various police departments, agencies or military units might have some sympathy with anti-supernatural views themselves and gradually, many highly secretive tactical units, taking advantage of their low accountability, formed professional full-time monster hunting teams that might have been covered as something else officially, but with everyone who worked with them in a daily basis fully aware of what they were.

At the end of 2018, however, there is a new administration in power where there is much less tension between the military, security and intelligence professionals and the politicial leadership. This means that much of the bureaucratic restrictions that have hampered Brazilian monster hunters are about to be lifted.
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Old 04-15-2019, 03:44 PM   #18
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Default Mundane Countermeasures

As the Brazilian monster hunters do not use supernatural powers themselves, they will need every mundane advantage possible. Mental Strength and Mind Block skills will be taught and as part of their practical Occultism training, the monster hunters will learn how to disrupt RPM rituals and make themselves harder to affect.

Ash and salt are common anti-magic remedies that have been established to work in the campaign. Magic also seems to interfere with modern technology and it is harder to work any magic around high-technology. There will therefore be some slight protection in carrying all the latest gadgets, wearing ballistic polymer and using the most modern weapons possible.

What other mundane countermeasures can Brazilian monster hunters who lack any magic of their own use to protect themselves from all the horrible things adepts and unnatural entities can afflict them with?
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Old 04-15-2019, 06:55 PM   #19
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Default 'Comando do Santa Cruz' / 'Holy Cross Commando'

Most of the monster hunting activity in Brazil happens inside its borders, by more or less official military and police teams. With one of the twelve Vile Vortices in the world located in the ocean just outside Rio de Janeiro, there is plenty of paranormal activity happening within Brazil, around the Vile Vortex and along the ley lines that link it to the 'Bermuda lozenge' Vortex.

Not all supernatural threats are localized, however, and various paranormal entities or supernaturally-influenced criminal organizations can threaten Brazilian interests without necessarily penetrating its physical borders.

Probably the best source of intelligence on the supernatural world available to Brazil is the Holy See. The Catholic Church is ubiquitous and influential in Latin America and was one of the first organizations to begin collection of data on the supernatural.

Most Brazilian monster hunters are Catholic and respect the Church enormously. There is generally a spirit of friendly cooperation and sharing between Catholic priests aware of the supernatural and Brazilian monster hunters, although any joint ventures are usually between individual priests and the local hunters, not official ones.

Among the more hardline of the Brazilian hunters, there is a feeling that the Holy See is too cautious and tolerant in the face of evil, probably because the holy fathers lack the terrible real life experience that fighting evil in the trenches of Rio yields. The Vatican, in turn, sometimes feels that tactical teams like 1º B F Esp, the Tonelero Battalion, GRUMEC, CORE or BOPE are too quick to use overwhelming firepower, even against innocents who are merely involved with forces they do not understand.

There is one organization in Brazil that has a close partnership with the Vatican when it comes to collecting information on the supernatural, the ABIN, or the foreign intelligence service of Brazil. Within ABIN, covered under a variety of uninteresting line items in the budget, there is a secretive team of covert operatives that operates in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The group has gone under a variety of official monikers, but the unofficial appelation of the 'Comando do Santa Cruz' is how most of those who know about it refer to it. Teams consist of six operatives, four paramilitary operatives recruited from military or police SOF, one investigator with occultism expertise and one case officer with local cultural specialization. Teams will often operate with the support of a supernaturally-savvy priest and a paramilitary monster hunter form the Vatican.

I imagine that there would be around 10-12 teams that each had areas of operation somewhere in Latin America and the Caribbean. That means that Venezuela, the Guianas, the Caribbean and Central America will be divided into 4-6 areas.

What kind of division makes the most linguistic, cultural and operational sense?

How would one divide the Caribbean into 2-3 operational areas?

How much of the Caribbean logically goes with Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana, as one area?

Given how much activity there is in Venezuela, should there be a separate team for it or would it make sense for the team which already specializes in Caribbean Spanish to also cover all Spanish-speaking islands in the Caribbean?
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Old 04-15-2019, 11:10 PM   #20
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Default Re: Mundane Countermeasures

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What other mundane countermeasures can Brazilian monster hunters who lack any magic of their own use to protect themselves from all the horrible things adepts and unnatural entities can afflict them with?
Historically, iron was used not only against fairies, but against satanic powers, witchcraft, curses, and other forces of evil. While I have found most references to this in Europe, some of this idea seems to be found elsewhere, with some spirits in China said to be repelled by iron (notably dragons, which are not particularly evil in Chinese myth, but are more like spirits than physical beings).

Of course, commandos and the like will be carrying a good steel blade anyway. But brandishing it to ward off spells and spirits might be something they are trained to do (brandishing being a common method of driving off fae and of protecting oneself against their spells). They might also bring a horseshoe along to hang over the threshold of their dwelling, even if it is just a hotel room or a camp tent.

If you combine the influence of technology with the influence of iron, you might get the idea of an iron grounding wire. Loop it around symbolically important parts of your body and then let it dangle onto the ground. The idea being that hostile magic "grounds out" across the wire and into the earth, just like electricity (or something). I haven't heard of any actual occult practitioners using this method, but it seems like the sort of thing that a more technologically savvy group might think up. Heck, even if it doesn't work it will protect you against electrocution. You might even connect the wire to the base of your knife, so when you ward off an evil spell or spirit it can ground out the magic from the knife tip down to the ground, in analogy with a lightning rod (sharp points concentrate field lines, leading to ionization that both attracts sparks and inhibits them from forming in the first place, and then provides a harmless path to ground). Maybe they have a loop of their grounding wire around both thumbs, and a conductive steel handle on their blade so when they grasp their knife they get a good electrical (and magical) contact. It might also be that none of this electrical analogy stuff actually works, but the people in the field use it anyway because they think it does.

Luke

EDIT: I just remembered that during the Boxer rebellion, the Yihequan (rebels) believed that the telegraph wires and rail lines were interfering with the flow of spiritual essences around China. They claimed that the wind whistling past the wires was the wind screaming as it was cut, the reddish fluid dripping off from condensation or after rains was the blood of China. Needless to say, they attacked this infrastructure. Telegraph wires were copper, but railways were steel. This gives some idea of historical beliefs outside of Europe of metals interacting with magic and spiritual forces.

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