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Old 01-21-2019, 10:55 AM   #131
Icelander
 
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Default Re: Dream-Quest at the Mountains of Madness

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Originally Posted by Polydamas View Post
Penguins usually come up in Antarctic adventures as sympathetic helpers and sources of comic relief, since they have all the sympathetic virtues and vices. Of course, this Dreamlands' penguins and the things which prey upon them may be a bit unusual.
As the ritual that the PCs performed delivered them to a sort of metaphysical antechamber where they could arm themselves and prepare supplies before entering Ms. Delvona's Dreamlands proper, I decided they needed a representation of the Lord of the Crossroads, Papa Legba, to be the Gatekeeper in and out of the antechamber.

Initially, I wondered whether 'Nonc' Morel's pragmatic backwoods hoodoo should have a down-to-earth Lord of the Crossroads, in the form of a black rooster. Then, of course, I realised that Papa Legba could, in this situation, take no other form than penguin.

So He did. And He did greet them with a resounding "Tekeli-li!"

It's really too bad that Lucien Lacoste Impulsively decided to quote Fight Club at Him. Turns out, when you yell "Slide!" at the unimaginably powerful Lord of the Crossroads, you are apt to find the ice under you shift as you slide into unknown depths.
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Old 01-22-2019, 09:43 AM   #132
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Default Re: Equipment for PC Dreamland Avatars

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I'd have thought wood ought to be a major part of the structural setup, which has lots of possibilities.
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Originally Posted by Apollonian View Post
Maybe petrified wood. I also like the idea of using jade and coral.
In the Land of the Nommo, where PC Edward Alvin Smith sojourned for years and the conditions were in many ways analogous to these Dreamlands-cum-Faerie*, the items he brought back were made of bone, teeth, (unidentified) stone and jade. In addition to advanced alchemy, Smith had learned to shape coral, stone and wood with magic.

One might well expect similar materials in Dreamlands, whether Ms. Delvona's or someone else's, but as it happens, the PCs arrived in a very inhospitable area. Whether because of some pre-occupation of Ms. Delvona's, the influence of whatever icy horror that possessed her during her botched ritual or the stated intent of the PCs to find and destroy that horror, the ritual that took them inside the Dreamlands in Ms. Delvona's mind deposited them near the ultimate end.

The terrain they saw was a dark mirror of Antartica, all frozen waste and ice, with crystal spires, lost cities and dark fortresses out of Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith and Tolkien. Well, the White Riders on ice spiders may have owed something to G.R.R. Martin, while the white-furred yeti-like humanoids the spider-riders hunt for amusement might come from any number of sources, or perhaps Ms. Delvona's own imagination. The wild ones look very like Star Wars wampas, though.

As for the herd of yak-sized, savage, amphibious, cannibalistic tardigrades that the PCs encountered, your guess is as good as mine. The incorporeal spirit Shoggoth that Lucien Lacoste found might have been contributed by his imagination, for all anyone knows, as he set out to locate a terrible spirit to subdue and bind into his double-headed axe, Justice.

In any event, there doesn't seem any rational way for anything to grow in this frozen land. Of course, dreams are not notably rational, but still, mere lip-service to consistent set dressing ought to acknowledge the environs and have equipment be made from the kind of stuff people living in arctic areas might use.

Of course, the Men of Leng are said to build galleys that sail the airways, so perhaps they import wood, but perhaps their galleys are made of whalebone and similar exotic materials, as ordinary wooden ones tend not to be able to reach the Moon.

*Eternal twilight, some inhabitants violently averse to iron and a constant looming threat to all existence from Beings from Outside
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Old 01-26-2019, 12:11 PM   #133
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Default South American Speculative Fiction Encounters in the Dreamlands

As every dreamer has their own Dreamlands, the PCs have been viewing a version of Lovecraft's Dreamlands filtered through the expectations, perceptions and imagination of not only Ms. Delvona, but also the casters and designers of the ritual they are using.

As a result, wampa-esque yeti and White Walker like Winter Court Fair Folk cavort next to Lovecraft canon creatures and such strange fauna as SM 0 to SM +2 tardigrades and copepods. And the shantaks appear very much like the reptilian mounts of the Ringwaiths in LotR. I still haven't gotten to feature ghouls, nightgaunts or the Men of Leng (who have appeared in dialogue, however), but rest assured I stand ready. For all the PCs know, there may even be Antarctic Space Nazis.

Now, ice spiders, wampas, LotR movie aesthetic and Antarctic Space Nazis are all plausible for the Dreamlands of a speculative fiction geek born in the 80s (I should know, I am one), but none of what I have currently featured really takes into account specific culture. Ms. Delvona was raised in South America, Chile to be specific. I'm sure she was exposed to a wide variety of Anglocentric fantasy, as I was, but what kind of speculative fiction might have been most popular in Chile (or South America more broadly) in the 1990s?

Whether local or foreign imports, what were the top movies and books on the South American market that featured fantastical beasts in the 90s?

If Ms. Delvona was a gamer, what systems did she come into contact with? Just D&D or maybe CoC, Vampire or others? Something I wouldn't have thought of?

What kind of fantastic creatures ought I add as an homage to something more popular in Latin America than elsewhere?
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Old 01-27-2019, 12:58 PM   #134
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Default Re: [MH] Caribbean by Night

Okay, I've kept up with this thread, but haven't had time to post any information about the sources that might help you, until today. A lot of the research I did for Facets might come in handy.

Ute Tales. By Smith, Anne M.; University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City.
ISBN 0-87480-442-6.
-This is a collection of Ute Indian folklore and fairy tales.
-I pulled the Tsiants (the Ute version of ogres) directly from this book.

Island in the Rockies: The Pioneer Era of Grand County, Colorado, to 1930. By Black III, Robert C.; Grand County Pioneer Society; Country Printer; Granby, Colorado.
Library of Congress Cat. No. 70-80767.
-Mostly useful as an authoritative text of the conflict between the Utes and the settlers.
-Probably limited utility for your needs.

Web sites:
Native American Legends and Folklore
http://www.native-languages.org/legends.htm
-Probably the single most useful
-A great central repository with scads of links

Indigenous People dot net
http://www.indigenouspeople.net/
-Lots of stories from indigenous people from throughout the world
-Not just limited to American Indians, although the selection of those stories is pretty impressive, too.

American Folklore dot net
http://www.americanfolklore.net/index.html
-The selection of indigenous stories isn't nearly as good, but it has a fair smattering of 19th Century American tall tales
-Limited utility for me, but you might get more out of it

If you're looking for some more fictional and dramatic examples of stories based on American Folklore, I can't recommend Manly Wade Wellman highly enough:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silver_John

For horror with a Caribbean flavor check out
http://www.miaminewtimes.com/1997-06...hs-over-miami/
If you can't find inspiration in those children's stories, turn in your GM's hat. The provenance of those stories might be a bit questionable, but as sources of inspiration they're tough to beat.

At one point, you mentioned voodoo and asked if there was anything else like that. I haven't seen you mention Santeria, yet, so I don't know if that interests you.

This is a good overview:
http://www.aboutsanteria.com/what-is-santeria.html

In Facets, the practitioners of Voudou and Santeria seek assistance from the spirits, which usually demand sacrifice of some sort. Generally, for a spirit to work its will in Assiah, it needs intermediaries which, in some cases, act as "chevals" or "horses," for the loa ("lawgivers") to possess.

This is dangerous, as the spirit tends to like to "rearrange the furniture" in the mind of the cheval, to make it more amenable. The more a cheval gets ridden, the more his or her personality begins to resemble that of the spirit (in GURPS terms, the psychological disads and advantages get acquired or swapped around).

Eventually, if a cheval gets ridden too much, the original personality disappears completely, and the body just becomes a "glove" through which the spirit works its will upon the world.

The whole notion of losing one's mind is seen as wholly unacceptable (or even horrific) by the Cabal lodges. As such, they focus on manipulation of the decans, directly, and tend to react to the presence of Voudou and/or Santeria practitioners with suspicion -- or outright hostility.

The Columbine Lodge in Denver is a bit of an exception, because the loss of the occult library, early on, severely limited the power available to them. As such, they had to reach accommodations with the priests and priestesses of Voudou and Santeria, as a way to resist as a common enemy those who used the KKK as proxies.
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Old 01-28-2019, 09:17 AM   #135
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Default Re: [MH] Caribbean by Night

Quote:
Originally Posted by tshiggins View Post
Okay, I've kept up with this thread, but haven't had time to post any information about the sources that might help you, until today. A lot of the research I did for Facets might come in handy.

Ute Tales. By Smith, Anne M.; University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City.
ISBN 0-87480-442-6.
-This is a collection of Ute Indian folklore and fairy tales.
-I pulled the Tsiants (the Ute version of ogres) directly from this book.

Island in the Rockies: The Pioneer Era of Grand County, Colorado, to 1930. By Black III, Robert C.; Grand County Pioneer Society; Country Printer; Granby, Colorado.
Library of Congress Cat. No. 70-80767.
-Mostly useful as an authoritative text of the conflict between the Utes and the settlers.
-Probably limited utility for your needs.

Web sites:
Native American Legends and Folklore
http://www.native-languages.org/legends.htm
-Probably the single most useful
-A great central repository with scads of links

Indigenous People dot net
http://www.indigenouspeople.net/
-Lots of stories from indigenous people from throughout the world
-Not just limited to American Indians, although the selection of those stories is pretty impressive, too.

American Folklore dot net
http://www.americanfolklore.net/index.html
-The selection of indigenous stories isn't nearly as good, but it has a fair smattering of 19th Century American tall tales
-Limited utility for me, but you might get more out of it

If you're looking for some more fictional and dramatic examples of stories based on American Folklore, I can't recommend Manly Wade Wellman highly enough:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silver_John

For horror with a Caribbean flavor check out
http://www.miaminewtimes.com/1997-06...hs-over-miami/
If you can't find inspiration in those children's stories, turn in your GM's hat. The provenance of those stories might be a bit questionable, but as sources of inspiration they're tough to beat.
Thanks a lot.

It is certainly true that the stories of homeless children in Miami was especially inspiring. I wonder if Alice Talbot, the PC anthropologist who is supposed to be working on her PhD on the evolution of Jamaican folklore among immigrant communities, might actually be getting sidetracked into investigating folklore among homeless children in Houston.

She's not Charitable (which would pretty much clinch it), but she is Curious and if she notes that children from other ethnic backgrounds are telling stories similar to ones that at-risk Jamaican children are, she might want to investigate more closely. Especially if she recognizes anything that sounds like it might be true, in a world with magic.

Then again, with Shyness and no real social skills to speak of, Alice isn't the best field interviewer. I guess Pitiable would help her gain the trust of children, though. For best results, though, she should be paired with someone with impressive social skills, who can handle getting people to open up, while Alice memorizes everything they say and collates it with her reference-file mind.

Mental note, make sure to detail an outgoing NPC who is partnered with Alice on her research. For best results, make her every bit as Curious as Alice, but pushy and disturbingly good at getting people to talk about things they weren't planning on disclosing, which will no doubt play very nice with Alice's extreme reluctance to disclose anything of her own past.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tshiggins View Post
At one point, you mentioned voodoo and asked if there was anything else like that. I haven't seen you mention Santeria, yet, so I don't know if that interests you.

This is a good overview:
http://www.aboutsanteria.com/what-is-santeria.html

In Facets, the practitioners of Voudou and Santeria seek assistance from the spirits, which usually demand sacrifice of some sort. Generally, for a spirit to work its will in Assiah, it needs intermediaries which, in some cases, act as "chevals" or "horses," for the loa ("lawgivers") to possess.

This is dangerous, as the spirit tends to like to "rearrange the furniture" in the mind of the cheval, to make it more amenable. The more a cheval gets ridden, the more his or her personality begins to resemble that of the spirit (in GURPS terms, the psychological disads and advantages get acquired or swapped around).

Eventually, if a cheval gets ridden too much, the original personality disappears completely, and the body just becomes a "glove" through which the spirit works its will upon the world.

The whole notion of losing one's mind is seen as wholly unacceptable (or even horrific) by the Cabal lodges. As such, they focus on manipulation of the decans, directly, and tend to react to the presence of Voudou and/or Santeria practitioners with suspicion -- or outright hostility.

The Columbine Lodge in Denver is a bit of an exception, because the loss of the occult library, early on, severely limited the power available to them. As such, they had to reach accommodations with the priests and priestesses of Voudou and Santeria, as a way to resist as a common enemy those who used the KKK as proxies.
I tried to get the players interested in creating active practitioners of Afro-Caribbean religions, but none did.

There is one obeah woman aboard the yacht they live and one PC, 'Nonc' Morel, is a rootworker with a background in Southern 'hoodoo', which is not a religion, but simply a magical tradition. He's actually a 'druid', now, but before developing his own magical style of druidism, his magical study was in the field of hoodoo/rootwork.

Lucien Lacoste has the talents to be a truly impressive shaman, being a natural medium and very good at any magic having to do with spirits, but he's simply a devoted Catholic and not interested in voodoo, vodoun or any other Afro-Caribbean religion. Well, 'not interested' might be understating things, as Lacoste came across a lot of criminals who used voodoo rituals for nasty things in his work as a detective and Lacoste feels that the idea of allowing spirits, who might as well be demons, to possess one is not only dangerous, but actively against God's word.

Lacoste does suspect that his grandmother, Nana Lacoste, might be less orthodox in her Catholic religion than he is, given that she has a reputation among the occult underground in New Orleans.

I intend for practitioners of various Afro-Caribbean religions to be potential allies, rivals, foes and villains in the campaign, so any detail is useful. From Kessler's history, an allegiance with elderly Cuban santeros (or even more likely, santeras) is quite probable, whereas my setting background makes it almost inevitable that many Dominican Drug-Trade Organisations (DTOs) will be strongly influenced or even dominated by people (or beings) with supernatural powers.
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Old 01-28-2019, 10:51 AM   #136
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Default Re: [MH] Caribbean by Night

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Chief Engineer: Needed.
Teryn Gilbert, born 1970, is from a Bermuda family of boat-builders and watermen. After serving in the Royal Fleet Auxiliary as a diesel mechanic, he took an engineering degree at the University of the West Indies in St Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago, and set up as a diesel engineering consultant in T&T in the mid-1990s.

By that time, Penemue's 1960s-vintage diesels really needed replacement, and he was hired for the job. Kessler found that an engineer who could understand what he wanted without having to spell things out was really worthwhile, and made him an attractive offer.

He has a much sunnier disposition than most chief engineers, having regarded his employment with Kessler as a very extended and well-paid adventure holiday. It's occasionally dangerous, but that's OK with him. He has known Penemue's current engines since they arrived for installation, and can get the best out of them.
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Old 01-28-2019, 11:12 AM   #137
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Default Re: [MH] Caribbean by Night

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Teryn Gilbert, born 1970, is from a Bermuda family of boat-builders and watermen. After serving in the Royal Fleet Auxiliary as a diesel mechanic, he took an engineering degree at the University of the West Indies in St Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago, and set up as a diesel engineering consultant in T&T in the mid-1990s.

By that time, Penemue's 1960s-vintage diesels really needed replacement, and he was hired for the job. Kessler found that an engineer who could understand what he wanted without having to spell things out was really worthwhile, and made him an attractive offer.

He has a much sunnier disposition than most chief engineers, having regarded his employment with Kessler as a very extended and well-paid adventure holiday. It's occasionally dangerous, but that's OK with him. He has known Penemue's current engines since they arrived for installation, and can get the best out of them.
Excellent.

If one is born in 1970, can one really become successful engineer and consultant by age 25, even with naval service before the education?

In Iceland, you can start college at age 20* and graduate as an engineer at age 25, but that wouldn't leave any time for a stint in the military or to gain experience working somewhere after getting the degree.

What kind of history, year by year, are you assuming since the end of compulsory education?

I confess that I have no idea how British or Commonwealth engineers are made or how long the education is, nor, really, what kind of time investment a stint in the Royal Fleet Auxiliary entails.

Of course, Gilbert might be a genius.** Or he might have been born a few years earlier. Which would be more in line with how you see him?

Oh, also, presumably he has hobbies. Did he maybe play cricket in college? Or some other sport?

And, obviously, it's generally considered deeply weird for someone to be happy to live aboard a yacht for two decades instead of marrying and having a family. Has Gilbert found a wife happy to see her husband only very occasionally, did he perhaps marry someone who is also part of the crew*** or is there some reason he is not the marrying kind?

Does he have girlfriends in every port (that actually sounds pretty interesting) or is he not concerned at all with romance?

*Our gymnasiums handle more of the general education that in the US is stuffed into the first couple of years in universities. College education includes no courses not directly related to the degree being pursued.
**In order to have received an offer to be the Chief Engineer aboard Penemue, he'd have to be perceived by Kessler as more suitable than the kind of retired US Navy or Coast Guard warrant officer who could be hired at a salary of $250,000+. Granted, in the mid-1990s, Gilbert might have been hired as a junior engineer aboard and only recently have risen to the Chief Engineer position.
***Given how much Kessler seems to want an old-school household around him, with children of retainers continuing to work for him, a solution that would be very appropriate.
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Old 01-28-2019, 11:55 AM   #138
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Default Re: [MH] Caribbean by Night

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If one is born in 1970, can one really become successful engineer and consultant by age 25, even with naval service before the education?
If one is willing to be an upstart, yes. Finish compulsory education at age 18. Three years in the RFA, which is a civilian job with military connections, age 21. Four-year engineering degree, age 25. Set up as a jobbing engineer with your only practical experience the RFA, age 25.

British-influenced systems start compulsory education at age 5, and you're ready for university at age 18. They also don't control the plain title "engineer," but experienced engineers are expected to have professional body memberships that he lacked when he set up. The Caribbean is pretty relaxed about that kind of thing.

He is pretty smart, and I did him this way because I wanted him to be fairly young when taken on.
Quote:
Oh, also, presumably he has hobbies. Did he maybe play cricket in college? Or some other sport?
Casual cricketer, loves sailing, amateur radio.
Quote:
Does he have girlfriends in every port (that actually sounds pretty interesting) or is he not concerned at all with romance?
Girlfriends in every port, two of them with children.
Quote:
**In order to have received an offer to be the Chief Engineer aboard Penemue, he'd have to be perceived by Kessler as more suitable than the kind of retired US Navy or Coast Guard warrant officer who could be hired at a salary of $250,000+.
My thought was that their personalities just fitted together well. The junior engineer role is an alternative.
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Old 01-28-2019, 12:18 PM   #139
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Default Re: [MH] Caribbean by Night

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Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
If one is willing to be an upstart, yes. Finish compulsory education at age 18. Three years in the RFA, which is a civilian job with military connections, age 21. Four-year engineering degree, age 25. Set up as a jobbing engineer with your only practical experience the RFA, age 25.

British-influenced systems start compulsory education at age 5, and you're ready for university at age 18. They also don't control the plain title "engineer," but experienced engineers are expected to have professional body memberships that he lacked when he set up. The Caribbean is pretty relaxed about that kind of thing.

He is pretty smart, and I did him this way because I wanted him to be fairly young when taken on.
That all sounds fine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
Casual cricketer, loves sailing, amateur radio.

Girlfriends in every port, two of them with children.
Excellent.

Quote:
Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
My thought was that their personalities just fitted together well. The junior engineer role is an alternative.
The Penemue requires three 'engineers', i.e. people who can man the engine rooms, as part of the crew.

In play, I've only established one of these people*, the Second Engineer, Carlos Camacho, who has been part of the Penemue's crew since 2011 and who was a Machinery Technician in the USCG between 2003-2011. Camacho's father also worked for Kessler, as part of his deck crew on the Penemue in the 1970s and 1980s, but took a job in one of Kessler's land-based companies when he had a family.

As a college-educated engineer, Gilbert can clearly be a plausible boss for Camacho by now. In 1995, of course, Kessler had recently suffered the loss of sixteen men working for him, who disappeared inside the Vile Vortex, and was hiring people for Penemue not merely as a pleasure yacht, but with the fact that it served as a base against unnatural threats very firmly in mind.

Liking Gilbert would have been a very big help, but discovering that he had an agile mind and was able to take the supernatural in stride might have been something that made Kessler decide to give him a job that some would say should have gone to a top ex-military expert in his forties or fifties.

After all, Kessler can always hire more shooters or experts with appropriate skills, but someone who'll accept the fact that the Penemue's engines break down at roughly ten times the rate of a ship without all those magical energies around and still manage to keep them sweet, well, that's a pearl beyond price. Especially if he'll accept help from those with magical gifts in keeping the engines in running order.

Do you have any preference on how Gilbert should look? A casting photo (a picture of someone you imagine as him) or the name of someone I can Google to find such a thing?

From the description, I imagine a sunny smile with twinkling eyes, someone who looks like he's bursting to tell you an off-colour joke or amusing anecdotes, at which he'll laugh the loudest.

*As the first adventure was set in port over the Christmas vacation, there was only a skeleton crew aboard.
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Old 01-28-2019, 12:56 PM   #140
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Default Re: [MH] Caribbean by Night

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From the description, I imagine a sunny smile with twinkling eyes, someone who looks like he's bursting to tell you an off-colour joke or amusing anecdotes, at which he'll laugh the loudest.
This picture of Gary Sobers is about right. Sobers is much older now.
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