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Old 12-27-2018, 09:39 PM   #6
Icelander's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Iceland*
Default Re: [MH] Caribbean by Night

Originally Posted by dcarson View Post
For UC Berkley occult you might want to look at the thread on Jack Parsons.
Only black magic user to have a Lunar crater named after him.

Of course, in my setting, Parsons was born well after the last plausible recorded paranormal events (some time between 1888 and 1900) and died a few decades before the first instances of preternatural events occured again (ca 1975-1990, known only to a few people who've personally experienced them and have the Will or other traits to overcome the Facade). His ritual magic, while possibly amounting to both Thaumatology and Path skills in GURPS terms, actually produced no more useful results than in real history, due to the No Mana that existed on Earth during Parsons' entire lifetime.

Even taking the fairly controversial thaumatologic view that even during the 'dead mana' years of the 20th century, parts of Earth were Very Low Mana instead of No Mana and preternatural phenomena still occured, merely subtly enough for it to be extremely difficult to distinguish from coincidence, placebo effects, unreliable witness testimony or confirmation bias, it's pretty far outside established magical theory to suppose that Parsons was ever able to work ritual magic with enough power to accomplish actual summoning of, possession by or even contact with inhuman entities.

All the same, modern Hermetic magicians in my campaign prize the research and scholarship of Parsons and others like him, who kept alive traditions and even advanced the theory, even during a century where no rituals would work as intended. Certainly, many of those who started to study magic in secret in the years since the late 80s and early 90s have used the work of occultists like Parsons to build their magical traditions on.

In fact, I had played with the idea of the PCs' Patron, J.R. Kessler, possibly having known Jack Parsons at some point in his youth. Astute readers may have noted similar anti-authoritarian, libertarian, even anarchistic streaks in their natures, not to mention that both men flouted social conventions and taboos, were brilliant but unstable and had colourful sexual escapades at times when that was frowned upon.

What are the odds that Parsons might have visited Galveston at some point in his late teens or early twenties? That would be at some point between 1931-1939, when Galveston had a reputation similar to what Las Vegas would later gain, as the 'Free State of Galveston', haven for gambling, speakeasies (during the Prohibition, which ended in the first years of this period) and all forms of vice.
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Last edited by Icelander; 12-28-2018 at 09:19 AM.
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