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Old 11-27-2016, 09:07 AM   #11
Christopher R. Rice
 
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Default Re: [Horror] [Low-Tech] Hearthfires going cold and other Low-Tech spookiness

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Originally Posted by malloyd View Post
Lots and lots. Pretty much anything that doesn't happen very often or usually isn't seen when it does is probably already an omen somewhere.

I've personally always liked the mirrors tarnish as an evil omen and things bloom or fruit out of season as a more neutral one - one side of a tree in summer fruit while the other goes winter bare is a fairly common one in stories about the fae.
Ah yes, "The Devi's affection/Tarnishes God's perfection/In the hand's of man's reflection." That's a favorite.
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Old 11-27-2016, 10:13 AM   #12
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Default Re: [Horror] [Low-Tech] Hearthfires going cold and other Low-Tech spookiness

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Originally Posted by Prince Charon View Post
I'm pretty sure GURPS has rules somewhere for 'carrying glowing embers with you all day so you can light a fire when you arrive at the next camp,'
Not that I'm aware of. In fact, I didn't think this was actually an option, but the method described in the video sounds at least plausible. I'd probably just simplify such a "firebox" as being roughly half the weight and cost of a covered lantern (which can be used for the same purpose, but also provides light) - that is, $20 and 1 lb. It's good for 24 hours and can be replenished with any decent fire. Base fire starting time is maybe 10 seconds, and you can use damp kindling (the ember is assumed to last long enough to dry it out and ignite it), but that takes at least a minute to get the fire going. The firebox either makes Survival unnecessary or gives a sizable bonus (+5, meaning you can use default Survival at Per). This bonus is lost if using damp kindling, however - you need some skill to properly dry it out without extinguishing the ember in the process.


As for the rest of your post, sounds like a good setup for a Horror (or LT monster hunting) campaign/scenario. I think you're overselling the difficulty of lighting a fire, however - you don't avoid doing so because it's incredibly difficult, you avoid doing so because it's annoying, and sometimes exhausting.

Any effect that is going to cause fires to suddenly die and go completely cold, despite having fuel available, is going to make lighting new fires impossible, however, so that can be the issue. It's a sure sign there's something spooky going on if you can't light a fire, then the torch you're carrying from the next village over suddenly dies out when you bring it into town. Alternatively, it could be a sort of really strange effect, where it acts on individual fires and needs time to adapt to new ones - you can't relight your hearth with traditional methods, but you can bring fire in from elsewhere to do so... shame it'll die in a week, though.

Last edited by Varyon; 11-27-2016 at 10:16 AM.
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Old 11-27-2016, 10:19 AM   #13
Christopher R. Rice
 
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Default Re: [Horror] [Low-Tech] Hearthfires going cold and other Low-Tech spookiness

Yeah, there are rules for fire bundles in Pyramid #3/90: After the End (p. 32)
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Old 11-27-2016, 11:07 AM   #14
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Default Re: [Horror] [Low-Tech] Hearthfires going cold and other Low-Tech spookiness

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Originally Posted by Ghostdancer View Post
1. I think he's saying that fires simply won't ignite or go out due to some supernatural force.
I can accept that.

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2. At most an hour? LOL. No, dude. I've seen someone spend 3 hours using a pump drill in a swamp to get a fire going in 40F weather. Firebows are even worse when dealing with damp kindle or firewood. Granted, that may not be the case because you have the materials in a shelter out of the weather, but that seemed like a blanket statement about primitive firestarting.
Sure, and I once struggled all day and failed. It happens.

I was just rather responding to the notion that it's faster to walk for half a day (or more) to the next town/manor lord's residence for fire than to try to start your own. I'd imagine that even in a medieval town/hamlet/farm area at least one residence would try to restart their own fire rather than admit to a neighbor they let their fire go out*.



* Which ranks right up there with losing your hat or not knowing where your towel is.
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Old 11-27-2016, 11:11 AM   #15
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Default Re: [Horror] [Low-Tech] Hearthfires going cold and other Low-Tech spookiness

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Sure, and I once struggled all day and failed. It happens.

I was just rather responding to the notion that it's faster to walk for half a day (or more) to the next town/manor lord's residence for fire than to try to start your own. I'd imagine that even in a medieval town/hamlet/farm area at least one residence would try to restart their own fire rather than admit to a neighbor they let their fire go out*.



* Which ranks right up there with losing your hat or not knowing where your towel is.
That's actually fair. I think you could pull this off...but you need isolation to make it work.
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Old 11-27-2016, 12:22 PM   #16
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Default Re: [Horror] [Low-Tech] Hearthfires going cold and other Low-Tech spookiness

Firestarters are Low Tech page 35. You can use any appropriate container (pp. 33-34?) to hold a few coals and avoid having to roll to start a fire ... I think a Pyramid article discussed it briefly. Anything from birch-bark to baked clay can work, with some ashes for insulation and to control the flow of air so that the coals don't go out or burn up.

Deformed births also tend to be omens, and a community with lots of stock and no scientific vets or synthetic medicines will have a lot of those.

Many cultures had hearth gods or goddesses like Vesta. If they are offended/driven away/killed by the squid-things from another dimension, problems with the fire should be an early sign.

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While the base concept, all fire in an entire town goes out at once, is interesting enough. I find the basic premise a bit flabbergasting. Starting a fire from nothing, while not the most fun thing in the world, and far more miserable in poor conditions is not hard.

The stick and bow technique is very old, and somewhat reliable. If you can wait to morning glass exists, so sun focusing spheres cab exist. With that said 'borrow a light', or 'carry the embers' were probably great time savers, but the basic premise that most people in the midevil era could not light a fire seems suspect.
Burning glasses famously show up in a joke by Aristophanes in the 5th century BCE.

On the other hand, in agrarian societies you can list everything that most people own on one side of a piece of paper, and changes to buy a broad range of goods are infrequent. So if you pawned your firesteel to pay for your wedding, and never learned to make a firebow and stocked some good tinder to dry in the rafters, you may be out of luck as far as tools go.

And remember that the FP cost of friction-based methods are calories in a world where most people don't have enough to eat and you have already lost FP to cold or hunger.
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Last edited by Polydamas; 11-27-2016 at 12:32 PM.
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Old 11-27-2016, 03:16 PM   #17
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Default Re: [Horror] [Low-Tech] Hearthfires going cold and other Low-Tech spookiness

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Originally Posted by Ghostdancer View Post
Yeah, there are rules for fire bundles in Pyramid #3/90: After the End (p. 32)
So there are. Those are just rules on using them more than making/transporting them, however (unless I missed something). Maybe we could steal the fire building rules for building a transportable fire bundle. Making the container out of sticks, mud, etc (along with kindling inside) is probably comparable to gathering kindling and building a fire, so we can just use Step 1 as-is (you can skip this if you already have an appropriate container - it can be assumed you can use the fire to readily make kindling if you need any). Optionally, a Failure at this step with MoF 1 or 2 builds a container that counts as improvised equipment. As you must already have an active fire to make the transportable fire bundle, we can skip Step 2, going straight to Step 3. Success there gives you a ~1 lb transportable fire bundle you can use within 24 hours to light a proper fire (allowing you to later skip Steps 1 and 2 - the bundle is tender and flame all in one, just waiting for easy reignition).
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Old 11-27-2016, 04:22 PM   #18
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Default Re: [Horror] [Low-Tech] Hearthfires going cold and other Low-Tech spookiness

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- the well dries up
- the cows dry up
- all the herb die (all the crops dying is much more serious and life-threatening)
- the roosters all crow in unison
- One night, the moon doesn't rise
The first four were pretty normal but #5 just maxed out my spoopometer. But then, I haven't been paying attention to the weather reports...

An even subtler change, such as dramatically different stars, or some new stars, or even simply rotating the entire star-field, could also work.
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Old 11-27-2016, 04:53 PM   #19
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Default Re: [Horror] [Low-Tech] Hearthfires going cold and other Low-Tech spookiness

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Originally Posted by Ghostdancer View Post
There is a tall tale about candle wax running in spirals when Death is coming close/to claim someone. Also, putting shoes n a table is a sign of Death - perhaps someone's boots keep ending up on a table?
...
I remember an issue with someone struck by lightning waking up to all the household's shoes being lined up from the front door. It turned out that he'd developed a sleep disorder and was doing it himself.

Unusual bouts of sleepwalking would probably be spooky especially to those not experienced with such disorders.
Classic sleep paralysis and accompanying hallucinations/delusions are the most likely real reason for night hags, alien abductions, etc. Even without the visions, it's scary enough to make one a bit phobic about going to bed at night.
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Old 11-27-2016, 05:36 PM   #20
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Default Re: [Horror] [Low-Tech] Hearthfires going cold and other Low-Tech spookiness

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The first four were pretty normal but #5 just maxed out my spoopometer.
Yeah; just depends on how weird you're willing to get. Figured I'd at least offer some variety :)
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