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Blue

Cthulhu-esque suggestions?

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Hi,

 

After gauging the interest level of my group of players, I'm considering running something in a Call-of-Cthulhu vein. My initial concept is that the player characters are residents, vollunteers, emergency workers, coast guard, and national guard in New Orleans, less than a month following Hurricane Katrina.

 

I liked the idea of an area of disorder with "stuff" going on in the midst of it, plus it gives a wide range of character types.

 

I anticipate fights with deep ones, cultists, run of the mill looters, and a daring underwater fight as the team dives to retrieve something form a building that is forty feet underwater.

 

The things I'd like suggestions on are: The cause of the hurricane (I have "side effect of a summoning", "a summoned creature was at its core", and possibly that it was "an attempt to destroy a hidden evil" by some good guys). If anyone has a good suggestion for the creature at the center of a hurricane or another good reason why Katrina happened, I'd appreciate it. Also, some good swamp-based cthulhu mythos creatures would be great.

 

I don't have every cthulhu book, but I can refer to stories and some of the Chaosium stuff for reference.

 

Thanks.

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Re: Cthulhu-esque suggestions?

 

Hi,

 

After gauging the interest level of my group of players, I'm considering running something in a Call-of-Cthulhu vein. My initial concept is that the player characters are residents, vollunteers, emergency workers, coast guard, and national guard in New Orleans, less than a month following Hurricane Katrina.

 

I liked the idea of an area of disorder with "stuff" going on in the midst of it, plus it gives a wide range of character types.

 

I anticipate fights with deep ones, cultists, run of the mill looters, and a daring underwater fight as the team dives to retrieve something form a building that is forty feet underwater.

 

The things I'd like suggestions on are: The cause of the hurricane (I have "side effect of a summoning", "a summoned creature was at its core", and possibly that it was "an attempt to destroy a hidden evil" by some good guys). If anyone has a good suggestion for the creature at the center of a hurricane or another good reason why Katrina happened, I'd appreciate it. Also, some good swamp-based cthulhu mythos creatures would be great.

 

I don't have every cthulhu book, but I can refer to stories and some of the Chaosium stuff for reference.

 

Thanks.

How about using an angry Loa that a cult accidentally awakened? Perhaps use some swamp zombies as servitors of the cult and have them seeking an artifact of power that is connected to the Loa?

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Re: Cthulhu-esque suggestions?

 

Oh there will certainly be Deep Ones, as mentioned.

 

Ithaqua is a good suggestion but I'm not sure he's powerful enough for a cat 5 hurricane. Heck, I think Ithaqua would make a nice side-plot diversion, with the players thinking he's what this is all about when it was just some opportunist using the Hurricane to summon him.

 

Thinking out loud now, try these on...

  • A group of good-guy zealots attempt to expose the evil that is within New Orleans by summoning Nodens, the Elder God. But they were mislead. The tomes they used did cause the hurricane, but Nodens did not show.
  • Instead, the Deep Ones now have greater ability to move inland and explore.
  • Disease conditions allow for certain disease spirits and perhaps even fungi (from yuggoth?) to flourish.
  • The hurricane itself acted as a perfect focus for summoning Ithaqua, the Wind Walker.
  • One of the cultists is a Tattooed man covered in Runes who is thougth to be a looter. When he is either captured or killed, he escapes from the morgue/police station to go for further evil.
  • A home with a large rune burned into the roof seems to be safe, if wet and dilapidated, but the guy inside shoots at anyone who comes to check on him. He is the last of the Nodens cultists. Before he dies he'll explain that they were ill-advised, that this was about cleansing evil from (names a few locations).
  • Attempts to dive and retrieve helpful items will be met with Deep One resistance, with a nice underwater battle.
  • If tomes are retrieved, they must go to the point of the summoning, which I will have to make particularly interesting. I mean, mansions and cliffsides seem to generic.
  • The Tattooed man I think will be the key to dispatching the evil, his skin actually having been scrawled with wards and spells for summoning/dispatching

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Re: Cthulhu-esque suggestions?

 

What a great idea. The thought of running a post-apoc New Orleans is rife with Mythos goodness. If it were me, I would divorce the city from reality in some measurable way to avoid offending anyone. (Maybe the city suddenly goes dark - nothing in or out from other locations. No radio, T.V., Cell, or internet traffic at all, although the ones in NO can contact each other.)

 

The idea makes me want to think up a campaign of my own. :drink:

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Re: Cthulhu-esque suggestions?

 

The absolute best thing about the collective "Cthulhu mythos" is that every author involved in the Lovecraft Circle made up their own gods. So, make one of your own up. Heck, steal the name Tsothagua from the D&D module and create your own Old One.

 

If not, Dagon would be a reasonable choice. He was driven from Innsmouth nearly a century before and set up shop near New Orleans. Nyarlathotep is almost a shape to fit Old One. Since he wears so many different identities, it is not unreasonable to plug him in there.

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Re: Cthulhu-esque suggestions?

 

Another good choice (Dagon).

 

The problem with making my own god is that it would have to be at least as horrific as the stuff my usual GM comes up with. And you don't EVEN want to know about those.

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Re: Cthulhu-esque suggestions?

 

Another good choice (Dagon).

 

The problem with making my own god is that it would have to be at least as horrific as the stuff my usual GM comes up with. And you don't EVEN want to know about those.

Actually I would like to know. He sounds like the same kind of sick bastiche that I am. :thumbup:

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Re: Cthulhu-esque suggestions?

 

Another good choice (Dagon).

 

The problem with making my own god is that it would have to be at least as horrific as the stuff my usual GM comes up with. And you don't EVEN want to know about those.

 

Ever read the rpg Kult? The book gave me nightmares. Tons of nastiness in there.

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Re: Cthulhu-esque suggestions?

 

On a hunch I looked up my Arcane Adversaries sourcebook for Champions, and found one of the Kings of Edom (the Hero Universe's analog to Lovecraft's Great Old Ones), Deizzhorath the Dissolver. This King is a virtually infinite creature of multi-dimensional energy and mathematics rather than matter. Its power and pleasure is to completely annihilate matter through contact with itself, or to send material objects elsewhere in the Multiverse.

 

Some sorcerors can summon relatively tiny self-aware fragments of Deizzhorath from its prison dimension to perform specific tasks. In addition, "Unwary mortals sometimes create miniscule beacons for the Dissolver in particle accelerators, through malfunctioning warp drives, or even through the thoughts of brilliant mathematicians who ponder infinitely-dimensional fractal spaces." (AA p. 47)

 

I'm imagining Hurricane Katrina as being caused by a small portal opened to Deizzhorath's prison, causing the atmosphere to be annihilated or drawn off into other dimensions. Of course while the portal was open things from the other side could have slipped through...

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Re: Cthulhu-esque suggestions?

 

...and what horrific fate was *really* planned for all those poor refugees trapped in the Superdome...?

 

One word: Buffet.

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Re: Cthulhu-esque suggestions?

 

And, with the way magic often works in cthulu-land, perhaps the hurricane is inadvertantly unleashed by the heroes in their attempt to save the city...

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Re: Cthulhu-esque suggestions?

 

I'd be wary of any "cultists summoned Katrina" plot angles. The real-life horror of the disaster far outweighs any fiction I've ever read. To say, "The Mythos did it" might actually undermine its impact. However, occultist bad guys using the hurricane to further their own aims is definitely a good plot hook, not to mention a decent metaphor for some of the callous and exploitive human behavior the world witnessed in the wake of the disaster.

 

Also, if you set the story during and right after the disaster you can really play up the despair of the survivors, cut off from a seemingly uncaring nation while forces from within prey on them in the chaos...but instead of petty criminals the enemy is much more powerful and insidious. You can create a wonderfully bleak atmosphere where the PC's literally have no one to rely on, no outside aid to call on.

 

As for critters, Flying Polyps are a natural during the storm. If the cult had particular targets it wanted destroyed, you couldn't ask for better cover for Polyps than a hurricane. The sort of damage Polyps cause would be virtually indistinguishable from hurricane damage. In the aftermath you could certainly throw in some undead. I've always thought the undead gain an extra creep factor when they come bubbling up from murky water. Also, if the PC's find themselves out in the bayou for any reason, perhaps tracking down a cultist lair, Dark Young are a natural choice.

 

Be wary, of course. As written, Dark Young and (especially) Flying Polyps are close to undefeatable by even the best prepared and equipped party of adventurers. Escaping them or observing them undetected is a superior response. Even "basic" zombies and skeletons are formidible foes in Cthulhu and can ice the PC's quickly. Newbies to the genre often bear reminding that this isn't D&D and blind heroics will earn them a quick trip to the morgue.

 

Mike

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Re: Cthulhu-esque suggestions?

 

bdh' date=' you are ingeniously, delightfully vile. :eg:[/quote']

Flattery will get you everywhere. ;)

 

I'd be wary of any "cultists summoned Katrina" plot angles. The real-life horror of the disaster far outweighs any fiction I've ever read. To say' date=' "The Mythos did it" might actually undermine its impact. [/quote']

Good point. I tend to be leary of fictionalizing real-life disasters myself; too close to home for some people. But if the GM and players are all okay with the idea, I think you could make it work. The trick would be to present the "real" disaster as the best case scenario. "The truth is things would've been far worse if not for the efforts of a brave few..."

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Re: Cthulhu-esque suggestions?

 

I don't want to seem unsympathetic to the victims of natural disasters and terrorists attacks and the like, but there should come a point where we realize that these types of incidents are both dramatic in their own right and inspiring to a potential author/game designer. Nothing in this concept seems to undermine the very concepts of survival and heroics, looters and incompetence, that were attached to the very real drama that surrounded hurricane Katrina. Nothing sounds like it is automatically degrading anybody. it is using real life drama as the backdrop to a fictional story (in this case a role-playing adventure).

 

Maybe my skin has become so thick it is calloused, but I say use real drama for every little ounce it is worth.

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Re: Cthulhu-esque suggestions?

 

Elaborating on the concept that Ithaqua was a bi-product, I think instead he, like Von Dman suggests, may have been the target of the hurricane. My new thought is that our heroes find and dispatch Ithaqua back to his location only to find on the premesis afterward newspaper clippings that show the usual Ithaqua hyjinx (dropping people from on high) taking place before the Hurricane. Further investigation will yield that the "Eater of winds" was summoned by heroes to stop the problems, only to cause more.

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Re: Cthulhu-esque suggestions?

 

I don't want to seem unsympathetic to the victims of natural disasters and terrorists attacks and the like' date=' but there should come a point where we realize that these types of incidents are both dramatic in their own right and inspiring to a potential author/game designer.[/quote']

 

I also seem to recall a movie or two being made around those events.

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Re: Cthulhu-esque suggestions?

 

...but there should come a point where we realize that these types of incidents are both dramatic in their own right and inspiring to a potential author/game designer.

 

Of course. We'd have precious little media if we didn't use real world events as a touchstone. I'm thinking more along the lines of maintaining the dramatic tension of the game. Katrina was a powerful event, and we are still feeling its aftermath; blaming it on Cthulhu may undercut the mood of the session. Or not. Depends on the players. Some players would eat it up, others would eat the GM alive. (My players would scoff and ask me if all hurricanes are caused by monsters or just this one.)

 

For Blue, I would strongly suggest scaring up a copy of Chaosium's New Orleans Guidebook if you don't already have it; it's just chock full o' good info. Sadly, it is out of print, but maybe you could find a copy on Ebay.

 

Mike

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Re: Cthulhu-esque suggestions?

 

....Depends on the players. Some players would eat it up' date=' others would eat the GM alive. (My players would scoff and ask me if all hurricanes are caused by monsters or just this one.)[/quote']And that is another issue that I don't get. If the players are there to undercut the GM, then why bother? I used to have a player like that. He is a long-time friend that I tried to incorporate into my games. Problem is that he was always so snarky and malicious. I don't game with him anymore. I'll be damned if I'm going to put all the effort required into GM'ing so one or more punks that are too lazy to take on the mantle themselves can tear me down.

 

Oh gee, sorry I think I just spun off into rant mode. Back to our regularly scheduled Cthulhu story hour chat. :o

 

For Blue, I would strongly suggest scaring up a copy of Chaosium's New Orleans Guidebook if you don't already have it; it's just chock full o' good info. Sadly, it is out of print, but maybe you could find a copy on Ebay.
Does Chaosium still exist? I haven't checked lately and with all these other game companies going belly up, it would be no great surprise if another one did. I would be sad to hear it if they did.

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Re: Cthulhu-esque suggestions?

 

Some random thoughts...

 

#1 Another good Mythos ugly often conneced with New Orleans is The King in Yellow (An avatar of Hastur) and his Yellow Sign.

 

#2 In classic Call of Cthulhu mode, if you choose to make the cause of Katrina to have supernatural elements, you could steal a page from On Stranger Tides, in the process giving you a "research branch" of clues based on a historical event for the PC's to persue...

 

To whit...

According to OST, at the least, certain kinds of really BIG mojo Voudoun magic CANNOT be performed on land. The attempt usually destroys the foolish magician who attempt such a thing... However, if there is enough power behind the ritual, either from raw natural talent, or because of external influences, it is possible to force such a ritual to complete anyway. The result? The sea comes in and claims the land where the ritual was performed. According to the "truth" in OST, this is what happened to Port Royal back in the heydey of the Carribbean.

 

This could tie in to the above suggestions in a number of ways....

Perhaps the Yellow Sign was beginning to appear around New Orleans, thus creating "converts" who were creating a new Krewe that actually was a front for the return of the King in Yellow, and some scholastic type discovered such and proceeded to look for some way to stop what was coming, found out about a Voudoun rite to summon a great LOA that could accomplish his goal, and missed the all important "don't do this on land" saftey warning.

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