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Old 01-31-2020, 08:16 PM   #71
Christopher R. Rice
 
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Default Re: Background for the Island

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
Good research actually sounds more plausible and suitable.

On the other hand, in the modern era of 2018, Kessler should have more information about the island than they had available in 1995. Even if he was working from a mention in a Spanish captain's journal from the 17th century or something when they found the island, after 23 years of trying to determine what happened to the lost expedition, I think they should have found some more interesting sources, perhaps by someone who actually explored the island.
I kind of like the idea of multiple visits in the past with multiple accounts. You can hide a lot of info in a couple places like that.

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Teddy Smith (PC) explicitly doesn't remember everything from the strange twilight realm, and got some points for Amnesia and Unknown Enemy. Where last session (which was far too long ago) left off, a crewman of a ship that the characters were boarding had been possessed by an aquatic horror from out of this world, one that telepathically indicated that It knew Teddy Smith quite intimately and was hoping to get reacquainted with him in a painful and ultimately fatal way.

After twisting the body of the unfortunate possession victim into a shape more adapted to haunting the nightmares of aquatic people, He Who Hungers in the Deep ended up diving from the ship, probably because the PCs had allies in the form of the Coast Guard and quite a lot of police incoming and were quite prepared to destroy his still-weak vessel with heavy firepower. They had also used a ritual to close off the surrounding area from any other planes of existence, preventing the full horror of He Who Hungers from penetrating the veil between worlds, limiting him to the single tendril of his essence possessing the crewman.

Using Know Your Enemy type of skills and good-old-fashioned deductive reasoning, the PCs reason that the tentacled, shark-like horror will seek out powerful sources of dark magic, as well as sacrifices to feast on, consuming souls as well as physical bodies, in order to be able to more fully exist in this world. If they don't stop him immediately, they estimate a death toll in the dozens or even hundreds just in the first night, with the death toll growing as He Who Hungers in the Deep is able to increase the power of the vessel. If he manages to open a way to enter this world, that would probably mean an eventual apocalypse.
Sounds like a luska was gonna chomp on him. Was Teddy changed by his time down below or did he get lucky?
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Old 02-01-2020, 04:59 AM   #72
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Default Science Behind the Thaumatological-Technological Interference

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Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
A possible piece of background: it seems worth investigating just what it is about high-tech that trips up magic. This is a fairly long-term project, but not a terribly expensive one.

For an example, consider two mechanically identical Colt SAA revolvers. One is from an early production run, and is definitely TL6. The other is a modern replica, made with TL8 materials and machine tools. Presumably the modern one works worse around magicians, although probably not as badly as a Glock.

This can be investigated further: make one out of modern steel, with hand tools. How does it behave? Make one out of pre-WWI steel, by hand, and try it; make another out of pre-WWI steel with modern machine tools.

The persin you want to run this project is an engineering physicist. They're the people who apply scientific method to engineering problems more thoroughly than ordinary engineers, and are usually formidable problem-solvers.
Those are all really good points.

To sum up what is a complex issue, what Kessler's people have discovered is more or less the following:

a) Materials that were once living appear to be most receptive to magic and while many kinds of minerals are adequate and certainly don't disrupt magical effects, there seems to be a correlation between materials that powered humanity's drive toward a more scientific, technological and secular society and magical interference; i.e. steel imposes a slight penalty to working with it magically and advanced alloys and laboratory-made materials are progressively worse.

b) In general, the further removed a device is from the personal attentions of an individual craftsman, the worse it will play with magic. Handmade artifacts made with a lot of individual care are a lot easier to enchant than something made by assembly line and the less human input there is into the actual production of an individual item, the less well it reacts to magic and vice versa.

c) Older items, especially if they have a history and emotional connections with users, tend to be easier to enchant. This can counteract some technological complexity, even to the point of items that have a personal history with someone (and/or their family) being possible to enchant even if they are quite complex and relatively advanced, such as the Penemue, a solidly TL7 superyacht.

d) From all this, theorists gather that there might exist for physical objects some rough analogue to a 'soul', unscientific as that might sound, which governs how it reacts to magical energies.

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Our favourite billionaire could well have set one up with a lab some time back. He'd also need a machine shop, or maybe a museum of such equipment, and skilled machinists of various ages. Doing this kind of work for a few years is likely to give you some useful people skilled at investigation of weird phenomena. Making friends with James Randi might also pay off.
There is a very good machine shop and toolroom aboard Penemue where Teddy Smith would fiddle with all sorts of mechanical problems, as well as the marine engineer aboard (the one who would have been there in 1987-1995 is as yet unnamed) and Ned Bannister, the team armorer for the 'Night Riders'.

In addition, Kessler is a silent partner in a custom gun shop in Galveston, Azazel Arms & Gunsmithing LLC, where J.D. Griffin and his sons (as well as daughters and at least one son-in-law) turn out custom made weaponry, load exotic ammunition and the like.

Connected to that, there is a strange man who calls himself Willy Hubertus who is an employee of that establishment, but doesn't work in the building they have in Galveston proper, but rather has a cottage outside of town where there is an old-fashioned forge. That building has no electricity and none of the tools are powered, at least not by anything other than water power or coals.

Hubertus is apparently born a member of some religious community in Pennsylvania (he's not Amish, although most people in Texas don't tend to distinguish between Amish, Mennonites or other related religious communities) and likes to make replicas of older firearms (as well as making blades and doing other blacksmithing) with TL4 and TL5 methods.

So an engineering physicist wouldn't have to build the replicas himself. He can test weapons built in modern factories against those built in a custom shop with a lot of hand-fitting against weapons more or less totally hand-built by Hubertus.

And I imagine that such testing has been done, which is why the 'Night Riders' (Monster Hunters) can get fairly effective weapons that still count as TL6 and are thus much less antithetical to magical phenomena than the most modern late TL8 gear.
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Old 02-01-2020, 02:08 PM   #73
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Default Re: Background for the Island

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I kind of like the idea of multiple visits in the past with multiple accounts. You can hide a lot of info in a couple places like that.
Indeed.

Any ideas about the sources?

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Sounds like a luska was gonna chomp on him. Was Teddy changed by his time down below or did he get lucky?
He Who Hungers in the Deep certainly isn't 'a' luska... though I suppose it's possible he might be 'the' luska.

The Nommo fearlessly fought monsters that could be described as rough ecological equivalents of ravenous megasharks, giant octopi, plesiosaurs and more, any of which might be termed 'luskas'. Unlike these threats to their physical lives and well-being, however, He Who Hungers in the Deep filled them with superstitious dread and terror.
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Old 02-01-2020, 02:47 PM   #74
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Default Re: Background for the Island

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Indeed.

Any ideas about the sources?
hmm. For this I would make up the ship and its crew wholecloth. No need to worry about pesky history and there were lots of folks searching in the area during that time. What's one more?

It also occurs to me that you could have a *pirate* connection. A freebooters hold where a handful of pirates who can find it live there to escape the various authorities. It's the perfect place to set up shop as it can't be found by others easily.

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He Who Hungers in the Deep certainly isn't 'a' luska... though I suppose it's possible he might be 'the' luska.
From which the others sprang? I like it.

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The Nommo fearlessly fought monsters that could be described as rough ecological equivalents of ravenous megasharks, giant octopi, plesiosaurs and more, any of which might be termed 'luskas'. Unlike these threats to their physical lives and well-being, however, He Who Hungers in the Deep filled them with superstitious dread and terror.
Well, with a name like that yeah. It occurs to me that those he devours might not lose just their bodies, but also their souls. A kind of Apep of the Deep if you will.
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Old 02-01-2020, 03:01 PM   #75
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Default Re: Background for the Island

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hmm. For this I would make up the ship and its crew wholecloth. No need to worry about pesky history and there were lots of folks searching in the area during that time. What's one more?

It also occurs to me that you could have a *pirate* connection. A freebooters hold where a handful of pirates who can find it live there to escape the various authorities. It's the perfect place to set up shop as it can't be found by others easily.
A pirate connection almost goes without saying. It's the Caribbean and a free-booting oilman and mining investor with rumoured Mafia, CIA and mercenary connections is as close to a buccaneer as you'll find in the 20th century.

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From which the others sprang? I like it.

Well, with a name like that yeah. It occurs to me that those he devours might not lose just their bodies, but also their souls. A kind of Apep of the Deep if you will.
Yes, I noted this earlier when I mentioned this entity. He Who Hungers is an Outsider, someone that the Nommo recognise as an intruder into their reality (and other realities), and He devours flesh, spirits, souls and everything else.
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Old 02-01-2020, 03:42 PM   #76
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Default Re: Background for the Island

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A pirate connection almost goes without saying. It's the Caribbean and a free-booting oilman and mining investor with rumoured Mafia, CIA and mercenary connections is as close to a buccaneer as you'll find in the 20th century.
I'd have them worshiping the damn thing (He Who Hungers) and holding rituals in the ruins. But that's just me.

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Yes, I noted this earlier when I mentioned this entity. He Who Hungers is an Outsider, someone that the Nommo recognise as an intruder into their reality (and other realities), and He devours flesh, spirits, souls and everything else.
I didn't see that. Sorry. Is what devoured truly gone or is it just somewhere else? You could get a Davy Jones connection there if you went with the latter.
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Old 02-01-2020, 04:43 PM   #77
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Default Re: Background for the Island

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I'd have them worshiping the damn thing (He Who Hungers) and holding rituals in the ruins. But that's just me.
The whole point of the ruins is that the Nommo had already turned to the worship of pretty dark things and eventually, their terror of He Who Hungers in the Deep drove some of them to sacrifice to the truly ancient and forbidden powers.

The divide isn't so much good or evil as it is Dark Gods vs. Outsiders.

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I didn't see that. Sorry. Is what devoured truly gone or is it just somewhere else? You could get a Davy Jones connection there if you went with the latter.
In Nommo mythology, it's gone. However, the fact that He Who Hungers seems to be able to make use of the faces and memories of those he devours suggests that they become, in some way, part of Him.
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Old 02-01-2020, 07:41 PM   #78
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Default Re: Background for the Island

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The whole point of the ruins is that the Nommo had already turned to the worship of pretty dark things and eventually, their terror of He Who Hungers in the Deep drove some of them to sacrifice to the truly ancient and forbidden powers.
Ahhh, ok.

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The divide isn't so much good or evil as it is Dark Gods vs. Outsiders.
In my urban fantasy/supernatural horror campaign the Chronicles of Ceteri their are basically the three sides: good, evil, and Nameless One (qlippoth basically). In that setting Lucifer is essentially fighting a war in the dimension next to the Outside and he uses souls in Hell as the grist for his war machine with angels providing healing, buffing, etc. to his troops.

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In Nommo mythology, it's gone. However, the fact that He Who Hungers seems to be able to make use of the faces and memories of those he devours suggests that they become, in some way, part of Him.
I'd eat this with candy as a player. As a GM I would work an NPC till the players found them awesome/useful and then have them devoured so that they can try to chase a way to bring back said NPC.
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Old 02-02-2020, 07:22 AM   #79
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Default Re: Background for the Island

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In my urban fantasy/supernatural horror campaign the Chronicles of Ceteri their are basically the three sides: good, evil, and Nameless One (qlippoth basically). In that setting Lucifer is essentially fighting a war in the dimension next to the Outside and he uses souls in Hell as the grist for his war machine with angels providing healing, buffing, etc. to his troops.
Sort of like Jim Butcher's Winter Court, fighting an eternal war to defend the Outer Gates of reality.

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I'd eat this with candy as a player. As a GM I would work an NPC till the players found them awesome/useful and then have them devoured so that they can try to chase a way to bring back said NPC.
Well, Teddy Smith's backstory already includes childhood friends who'd joined the Rhodesian Army with him (and some of whom also followed him into the French Foreign Legion when Rhodesia was no more) and who were with him as fellow members of the security team on the 1995 expedition. They didn't come back and while Teddy believes they are irrevocably gone... that doesn't mean he won't see their faces again.
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Old 02-02-2020, 07:46 AM   #80
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Default Scale of Investment Paranormal Research

Just to get some idea of the scale of Kessler's investigation into the occult, since the mid-1980s, he's been spending millions of dollars a year on funding research, hiring consultants, endowing chairs, commissioning surveys and otherwise buying influence and expertise in academic and scientific circles.

By 1995, Kessler had probably spent around $200 million (adjusted for inflation, in 2018 dollars) on research that had to do with investigating the occult. By the end of 2018, when the campaign is currently set, Kessler has spent well over a billion dollars over the last three decades. This is only for the research part of Kessler's activities, excluding security, monster hunting and other paramilitary activities.

The vast majority of this money is in tax-deductible donations to universities or institutions, either from Kessler personally, or, more likely, from one of the companies he controls. Very often, the recipients may not know why the grant is made or how their research benefits Kessler's occult investigations. Only a comparatively small part of the academics or scientists who have consulted with one of Kessler's companies or had research funded by them are even aware of the supernatural, although, obviously, in the course of their research many came to suspect or even understand all kinds of things about the occult.

Most of Kessler's money has been spent on academics/scientists that have some connection with places he lives, works or operates, so while there are connections with French academia and various African experts, the bulk of the money is spent in Texas, then the Gulf Coast and the Caribbean.
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