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Old 01-03-2019, 05:23 PM   #31
Icelander
 
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Default Nobody Calls You That

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Originally Posted by mr beer View Post
I can't speak for Berkeley specifically, which may well have been ahead of the curve, but the new age movement in the 80s was big on things like Tibetan gurus*, crystal healing, reincarnation, meditation, incense etc. Of course, this is still true to a large extent.

As you know, pseudosciences tend to latch onto real science and rework them into the mythos. Chaos theory was popular science in the 80s, as was A Brief History of Time. I believe that profoundly misinterpreting quantum mechanics was a later innovation in the field (pioneered into pop culture by the fraudster Deepak Chopra).

I'd go with Acquarius, Rainbow, Dolphin or Lobsang myself.

* For example, a British plumber called Cyril Hoskin published a series of bestselling books 'authored' by a Tibetan called Lobsang Rampa.

EDIT

"Bodhisattva" is a good one, that reeks of portentousness.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bodhisattva
The person that the PCs have been referring to as The Man with the Unfortunate Look (casting photo if this was a TV show) was known to his circle of acquaintances as 'Crash' in college. It wasn't for any particularly cool reason, he just got really drunk at a freshman social and broke a table, but he kept the nickname, even as his university career extended long past the usual duration. Well, 'Crash' did actually try to get people to call him any number of other things, but such brilliant ideas as 'The Dark Man', 'Neo', 'Roland', 'Mr. Croup', 'Van Wilder', 'Shadow', 'Bodhi', 'Walter O'Dim' and 'The Raven King' all ended up consigned to the dustbin of history, as no one was willing to adopt the self-bestowed appellations.

'Crash' enrolled as a philosophy student around 2003 or so, but changed his major so often that he didn't graduate until 2009, despite a decent attendance record and good grades. As it happens, when he did finally graduate, it was as a philosophy major (again or was it the third time?), but he'd also read literature, classical studies, linguistics, sociology, mathematics and physics.

In fact, a year after his B.A. in Philosophy, 'Crash' got an undergraduate physics degree to go with his philosophy one. Graduate studies were about as focused as his undergraduate days, but after brief sojourns in such solid career choices as linguistic philosophy, psychonetics and philosophy of physics, 'Crash' settled down to pursue higher education as a theoretical physicist.

In 2013, 'Crash' altered course once again, this time to a staggering degree. He changed his field to geophysics and somehow got into an arrangement where he'd go as a research assistant to Vostok Station, Antarctica, working with AARI. With one thing or another, 'Crash' never resumed his studies at UC Berkeley, and, in any case, the age of 28 is pretty late to begin a whole new PhD program, as antarctic research was hardly relevant to his previous work as a theoretical physicist.

At the end of 2016, some of the people who'd known 'Crash' at UC Berkeley were involved in a tragic and senseless act of violence, where three students brutally murdered four of their fellow students. The scene was littered with what the media dubbed occult paraphernalia and Satanic symbols and USA Today reported that the seven students who died had been playing Vampire the Masquerade. Despite the inaccuracy of that report, it stuck in the public consciousness and the resulting legal costs were one of the contributing factors to the failure of White Wolf, the company publishing that game and the other World of Darkness games.*

By this time, the man whom they had known as 'Crash' had shed that appellation. He made a determined effort to get people to call him 'Darkwalker', but no one actually calls him that. However, leaving UC Berkeley meant leaving his parents for 'Darkwalker', ne้ 'Crash', so on the 21st of March, 2013, the paperwork finally came through to change his legal name to Janus Eremus. From Aquarius Love Dandelet-Tripplehorn, the son of Joseph Karma Tripplehorn and Sunshine Dandelet.

As yet, much of this history is unknown to my players, though one PC does remember him as 'Crash', a grad student who had been at UC Berkeley for about a generation and who hung around some of her older friends. She doesn't remember, and likely never knew, his actual name or who his parents were, beyond that they lived on or close to campus and 'Crash' didn't live in student housing, but still at home, even though he must have been almost thirty by that point (at nineteen, she felt that anyone over 25 was pretty damn old).

The PCs will find much of this background information out immediately upon the start of next session, as they've used contacts and their Patron's influence to request all data obtainable through legal and less than legal ways, through old friends in the police and paid private detectives. Good rolls and intelligent direction of follow-up research will yield more information, including, possibly, something which has some bearing on what he's doing in Galveston, TX, with a sad sack nerd who looks like a younger version of him and a glamorous Hispanic woman.

In light of the fact that there are no real spoilers for my players, just a preview of the start of next session, I thought there was no harm in posting the background and checking if anyone has suggestions on whether something needs changing, questions or criticism.

*There was evidence suggesting that some of the students who were killed had been playing a LARP based on Mage: The Awakening, but no motive for the murders was officially determined.
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Old 01-04-2019, 02:44 AM   #32
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Default Advice and Suggestions on Detailing an Old, but Very Nice, Superyacht

The PCs live and work on a superyacht, the Penemue, owned by an eccentric billionaire. It was designed in the 1960s to be a toy for a macho adventurer and, at the time it was built, was not record breaking in size or decadent luxury, but was reasonably near the top-of-the-line for performance in traditional yacht designs of the time.

A major design goal was a fast cruising speed, but, curiously, with enough space for the owner to live there year round, with a fairly decent household. It's built so he'll enjoy living there and lack no essential comforts, but it is meant to vow rich enthusiasts of manly sports, powerful engines and macho aesthetic, not decadent sybarites looking to see how much conspicuous consumption can fit into a hull.

Let's imagine that the prospective owner was proud of having become rich through various cutthroat adventures and that he wanted the riverboat gamblers, gangsters, smugglers, colonial adventurers, big game hunters, mercenaries, mining engineers and mineral prospectors that he still considered as an ideal of manhood to admire his yacht. So it's a very powerful machine and a feat of engineering, always keeping in mind, however, that it is cutting-edge for the 1960s, but that modern designs can, obviously, blow it out of the water.

Exact dimensions as yet not quite nailed down, but over 150' long. Large enough to afford lots of space for the needed facilities and people, as well as having cruising speed and endurance almost comparable to powerful Coast Guard cutters, plenty of seaworthiness and the ability to sail the Caribbean in any weather.

Not so large that she can't enter many harbours on the Gulf Coast or can only berth in extremely unusual marinas, ideally not too large so that she can't sail up the Lower Mississippi in a pinch, at least until Memphis or so.

Can anyone help me narrow down the size range I want?

She must be able to carry up to forty people without double bunking or creating resentment, though that will probably not be her standard complement for much of the year. If she were a naval vessel, she'd carry about 10-12 ratings, eight personnel who rate as CPOs or the kind of civilian experts who need marginally more attention paid to their social status than the ratings and about the same number who rate as 'officers', though this includes such non-military people as a librarian and executive secretary.

Total crew 25-30, which includes an away team, though she ought to be easily handled by less than ten people under ordinary circumstances.

As for space for guests, I'd want want six large living cabins, ideally in addition to the master chamber where the owner lives. I want a library, an armoury, a machine workshop and a very odd room that's about the size of a kitchen, but is in addition to any facilities needed to feed and entertain everyone aboard.

The ability to carry a decent motorboat as a tender would be nice, support for a helicopter and sea plane would be nice, but completely unrealistic goals. In any case, she was built in the late 1960s and while there's been plenty of money for maintenance and furnishings, the owner has had no interest in putting more modern electronics in it than are absolutely necessary.

What kind of size am I looking for and how big can I go without sacrificing the ability to visit lots of Caribbean and Gulf Coast harbours and moor the yacht at numerous marinas, not just a few that are among the largest in the world?
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Old 01-04-2019, 03:42 AM   #33
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Default Re: [MH] Caribbean by Night

I'd suggest you look at the history of US Coast Guard cutters. They have much larger crews, although in much less comfortable accommodation, and always carry smaller boats. You'll want diesel engines, rather than steam.
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Old 01-04-2019, 05:20 AM   #34
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Default Re: [MH] Caribbean by Night

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Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
I'd suggest you look at the history of US Coast Guard cutters. They have much larger crews, although in much less comfortable accommodation, and always carry smaller boats.
Yes, you are right.

Wikipedia has let me down badly by not having pages for any of the cutter designs for eras I want, forcing me to possibly do real research. I shudder.

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Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
You'll want diesel engines, rather than steam.
Yes, I believe I will. That is, my intuitive sense of how things ought to be seems to demand that the engine room and the engineers who frequent it ought to smell of diesel, as my stepfather always does.

On the other hand, I was able to find some sources on the performance envelop of 1960s era yachts and the absolute fastest were using some kind of gas turbines. Possibly, of course, that has drawbacks for cruising over many hours or days.

In any case, I found yachts build in the early 1960s that use diesel engines and reach speeds I had considered optimistic for luxury yachts this size in the modern day. Now I just need to find out what's a plausible relationship between top speed and cruising speed.
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Old 01-04-2019, 11:05 AM   #35
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Default Re: [MH] Caribbean by Night

It may not fit your concept so well, but said wealthy patron strikes me as the kind of fellow who might take an old warship and convert it into a yacht. (Like Onassis did with the Christina.) Take a surplus Rudderow-class or a Castle-class, put new engines in, etc.... The Rudderow is 300 feet long, which gives you plenty of room but might be a bit big.

One note: one of the restricting factors on Mississippi navigation is the height of the ship; Huey "The Kingfish" Long had a bridge built on the north end of Baton Rouge that has a clearance of only 113'. The legend is that this was to keep ocean-going traffic in Louisiana, not headed further upstream.

Also: When I think '60s boats, I think hydrofoils.
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Old 01-04-2019, 01:06 PM   #36
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Default Re: [MH] Caribbean by Night

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It may not fit your concept so well, but said wealthy patron strikes me as the kind of fellow who might take an old warship and convert it into a yacht. (Like Onassis did with the Christina.) Take a surplus Rudderow-class or a Castle-class, put new engines in, etc.... The Rudderow is 300 feet long, which gives you plenty of room but might be a bit big.

One note: one of the restricting factors on Mississippi navigation is the height of the ship; Huey "The Kingfish" Long had a bridge built on the north end of Baton Rouge that has a clearance of only 113'. The legend is that this was to keep ocean-going traffic in Louisiana, not headed further upstream.

Also: When I think '60s boats, I think hydrofoils.
I'm concerned that going too much over 150' long might interefere with the owner's freedom of movement. He likes to visit a number of harbours and it would be a hassle if he always had to anchor way off and launch a tender to go ashore in. That will do for snort visits, but he regards Galveston, New Orleans, St. Lucia, Domincia and a small number of other destinations as 'home' and would always have wanted to be able to moor for a nice long time, being able to embark and disembark using a simple gangway, when at those places.

I mean, sure, I can declare that at St. Lucia and Domincia, he has built an enormous private dock. But it's rather more plausible to decree that when the Penemue was designed in the 1960s, Kessler went for the biggest, fastest, most powerful superyacht that still wouldn't be too big for his favorite destinations and stop-offs.

I'm just not sure at what point he'd start to have trouble (I know height matters a lot as well, but for a similar design, it will correlate with length). Nor do I really know whether 150' is long enough to fit 40 people for extended periods of time, a decent tender, infirmary, workshop, armoury, library, ritual room, alchemist's lab and everything needed to keep the crew and guests sane, healthy and happy.

My gut feeling is that I'll need to scale up in all dimensions from the 'average' fast-moving superyacht at 150' to get enough space while keeping a sleek hull shape, but I have no idea by how much and at what point I need to worry about needing special facilities and not being able to use any marinas in some of the destination places.
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Old 01-04-2019, 02:30 PM   #37
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Default Re: [MH] Caribbean by Night

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
I'm concerned that going too much over 150' long might interefere with the owner's freedom of movement. He likes to visit a number of harbours and it would be a hassle if he always had to anchor way off and launch a tender to go ashore in. That will do for snort visits, but he regards Galveston, New Orleans, St. Lucia, Domincia and a small number of other destinations as 'home' and would always have wanted to be able to moor for a nice long time, being able to embark and disembark using a simple gangway, when at those places.

I mean, sure, I can declare that at St. Lucia and Domincia, he has built an enormous private dock. But it's rather more plausible to decree that when the Penemue was designed in the 1960s, Kessler went for the biggest, fastest, most powerful superyacht that still wouldn't be too big for his favorite destinations and stop-offs.

I'm just not sure at what point he'd start to have trouble (I know height matters a lot as well, but for a similar design, it will correlate with length). Nor do I really know whether 150' is long enough to fit 40 people for extended periods of time, a decent tender, infirmary, workshop, armoury, library, ritual room, alchemist's lab and everything needed to keep the crew and guests sane, healthy and happy.

My gut feeling is that I'll need to scale up in all dimensions from the 'average' fast-moving superyacht at 150' to get enough space while keeping a sleek hull shape, but I have no idea by how much and at what point I need to worry about needing special facilities and not being able to use any marinas in some of the destination places.
If you want a smaller old warship consider the Australian Bathurst-class corvette. They were 186 ft long, and wikipedia says that after the war a large number were sold to civilian operators. They only had a speed of 15 knots, but that might be higher once you take out all of the weaponry. They had a compliment of 85 people and since they were involved in convoy escort, I assume that they were at sea for extended periods of time. However, the wiki article does say conditions for the enlisted sailors were not good, but that could probably be improved with a much smaller crew as a private yacht.

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Old 01-04-2019, 11:57 PM   #38
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Default Historical Background on Penemue and J.R. Kessler

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If you want a smaller old warship consider the Australian Bathurst-class corvette. They were 186 ft long, and wikipedia says that after the war a large number were sold to civilian operators. They only had a speed of 15 knots, but that might be higher once you take out all of the weaponry. They had a compliment of 85 people and since they were involved in convoy escort, I assume that they were at sea for extended periods of time. However, the wiki article does say conditions for the enlisted sailors were not good, but that could probably be improved with a much smaller crew as a private yacht.
Hmmm... some historical background on J.R. Kessler and the era in his life when he built the Penemue.

Kessler may be, in fact, almost certainly is, somewhat of an unreliable narrator. He spins a rousing yarn, but he probably didn't spend most of the 20th century having more exciting adventures around the world than Indiana Jones while meeting more famous historical characters than Forrest Gump.

He may have been born to poor immigrants in Galveston, Texas, as he maintains, but the truth is probably more middle class. In any case, he inherited no great wealth and is probably truthful when he says he started work young, as many people did in the Great Depression. Deck hand on a rum runner during Prohibition seems an unlikely occupation for a boy and young teen, but it's not completely outside the realm of possibility.

Kessler may or may not have fought in the Spanish Civil War, though he almost certainly didn't befriend Hemingway around that time and as for his exploits as a matador, those seem to have been lifted from Hemingway's writing and a couple of famous short stories by other writers, seasoned with alcohol-fueled anecdotes of puerile partying that Kessler may have actually experienced, whereever he was living at the time, as he was in his late teens at the time.

The evidence for his next years is a lot easier to come by. It's pretty much beyond dispute that Kessler actually did join the French Foreign Legion and fought with Free French forces throughout WWII. There are photographs, uniforms, mementoes and one PC even met, back in the 80s, a couple of retired Legionnaires who remember him well. Of course, that one PC is a retired Legionnaire, though, obviously, from a later era in the Legion's illustrious history (1979-1986, invalidated out by a wound suffered in Mali).

Kessler seems to have spent the years 1939-1954 wearing French uniform. And while he may have joined up as a more or less penniless young man, it seems that military life suited him and, through various murky means, Kessler was making a lot more money than his meager salary. Kessler might have started small, as the scrounger and fixer in his unit who ran an ongoing poker game, but over the course of the war, he moved on to a booming liquour business with customers in various Allied units and branched out into black market art in France and Italy, archeological treasures in Italy, Egypt and Northern Africa and any number of fixes, scams and smuggling operations.

Individual anecdotes of colourful criminality and mendacity as a scoundrel in uniform in this era are almost certainly embellished, but the PCs can find innnumerable mentions in the memoirs of any number of WWII veterans of the smooth-talking Free French corporal who could get you anything for the right price, complete with unmistakable description or anecdotes that ring true to those who know Kessler even in his advanced age.

Even so, success as a black market fixer in uniform doesn't yield 'build a yacht' money, at least not a yacht fit for a robber baron or oil sheikh. When Kessler got out of the Foreign Legion and returned home to Galveston in 1954, he bought a boat, not a superyacht, and seems to have been well-off, not ultra rich, as he returned to civilian life.

Kessler did, however, really start to build his fortune in those days. He actually did run a casino in Cuba in the mid-50s, as well as invest more money than he ought to have had in a Houston bank and a number of oil fields, though it's impossible to confirm whether his silent partners truly were the Maceo brothers and their heirs.

Kessler was rich from a variety of successful investments by 1960 and by the mid-60s, he owned rich mines and oil fields on three continents (Africa and the Americas). He also invested in a lot of diverse international companies, construction, import-export, commodities, etc. It was at that time that he decided to celebrate his meteoric rise from small time fixer to mover and shaker by building Penemue.

She wasn't the largest or most expensive yacht ever built, but for the four years it took from design to launch, she was Kessler's favorite project and every minute he could spare from growing his empire, he spent overseeing work on what he wanted to be the finest, most beautiful home on the waves possible. Kessler was obsessed with perfecting her lines, combining function, power and elegance in a sublime piece of naval engineering. He even worked on her himself, when he could spare the time, probably imagining himself as one of Papa's rugged men of the sea.

From the start, Kessler was building his future home, a mobile base and a refuge from the world. And while he probably didn't need the yacht to combine incredible power for her size, speed and the nimble handling of a much smaller vessel with the seaworthiness, endurance, living space, and luxury a long-term home required, Kessler is wilful and he gets what he wants.

At present evaluation of Kessler's personal fortune, the Penemue might not represent more than a mere fraction of 1% of his total assets. At the time it was built, however, Kessler basically put every penny he could spare from investments integral to growing his businesses into building Penemue, and he has not regretted a single dime. The yacht is easily his most prized possession and still, in 2018, is a dream to handle and a pure joy to race with the diesel engines at full power, reaching speeds remarkable in 1960s and still very impressive in 2018.
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Old 01-05-2019, 12:00 AM   #39
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Default Re: [MH] Caribbean by Night

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Nor do I really know whether 150' is long enough to fit 40 people for extended periods of time, a decent tender, infirmary, workshop, armoury, library, ritual room, alchemist's lab and everything needed to keep the crew and guests sane, healthy and happy.
This 1980 yacht (slightly later than yours, but probably similar design-wise) takes 12 guests and 9 crew. 40 might be manageable, but I don't see all those facilities fitting. You might need something this size, at 224 feet.
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Old 01-05-2019, 02:20 AM   #40
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Default Re: [MH] Caribbean by Night

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This 1980 yacht (slightly later than yours, but probably similar design-wise) takes 12 guests and 9 crew. 40 might be manageable, but I don't see all those facilities fitting. You might need something this size, at 224 feet.
Yeah, you are absolutely right.

Ok, new maximum size. Not to have a draft over 13', absolutely no longer than 280', probably somewhat shorter. The size of that expedition yacht might be close, though as we'll be aiming at finer lines, lower draft, higher speed and better handling, we're going to have a hull a lot longer, slimmer and somewhat closer to the water. No helipad, but it would be cool to have a nice tender bay, for a really fast chase boat.

The goal of the original design was to have a thoroughbred yacht for good handling, high cruising speed and adventure fun times, so the lines will be sleek, which sacrifices volume for the length, but given the projected need for Kessler's entire inner household to fit in there, along with a party of affluent guests, for an entire summer of cruising, I think we're going to need plenty of length.

Kessler didn't design Penemue as a Monster Hunting craft (there were no monsters at the time), but he always planned to be able to live there and he wanted his household and crew to have enough space for long-term habitation to be practical. He has always wanted happy staff who make a career of their jobs for him, which meant providing living quarters aboard where people can imagine living for much of the year.
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