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Just Joe

Question about Resources

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I posted a similar question on the old boards a while back, and was pointed toward some cool websites, but did not quite find what I was looking for. So I'm trying again, hopefully phrasing my question more effectively.

 

I am planning on running a pulpish game set in Europe in the 1930's. I want to learn about the technology of the era. My main concern is not the cutting edge stuff, but more everyday technology. Is there a commercial airline that can take one from London to Prague? How many people have cars? Are public or commercial buslines common? How big are flashlights and how long do their batteries last? (Stuff like that that few people other than gamers could possibly care about)

 

So the question is, can any of you recommend a source of any kind that might help me answer such questions? Something written with gamers in mind would probably be ideal, but I'll take what I can get.

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Cthulhu?

 

Hi JustJoe,

 

You MIGHT want to look for a Cthulhu campaign or resource book that has this information. The stuff for Cthulhu is usually VERY well thought out and detailed...just an idea...

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Originally posted by John Desmarais

If you can find it, the old "Justice, Inc." from Hero Games was one of the best period resource books I've ever seen.

I borrowed a copy from a friend not so long ago. It is a good book, but though I did not pore over it in great detail, I don't think it answers many of the questions I have (except regarding weapons).

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Originally posted by JohnTaber

You MIGHT want to look for a Cthulhu campaign or resource book that has this information. The stuff for Cthulhu is usually VERY well thought out and detailed...just an idea...

 

This sounds like a good idea. Can anyone out there recommend a particular Cthulhu sourcebook that might suite my needs?

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Don't discount the obvious source (speaking from experience). The Internet. Using search phrases like "history of flashlights" or "history of european airlines" could be surprisingly productive.

 

A while back, on a whim, I searched for "world building" and "constructed language" while researching my current campaign. I wasn't expecting much; I mean, who in the world would post such stuff as that? I had no clue there were that many other geeks out there. :D

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Re: Question about Resources

 

Originally posted by Just Joe

I am planning on running a pulpish game set in Europe in the 1930's. I want to learn about the technology of the era. My main concern is not the cutting edge stuff, but more everyday technology. Is there a commercial airline that can take one from London to Prague? How many people have cars? Are public or commercial buslines common? How big are flashlights and how long do their batteries last? (Stuff like that that few people other than gamers could possibly care about)

 

So the question is, can any of you recommend a source of any kind that might help me answer such questions? Something written with gamers in mind would probably be ideal, but I'll take what I can get.

 

The Writer's Guide to Everyday Life from Prohibition through World War II by Marc McCutcheon should give you a good overview of the era. You might find it doesn't have the level of detail you want, but you can use the bibliography in the back. Especially useful is the list of magazines and newspapers; if you have access to a library with a good microfilm/microfiche collection, you've got a terrific resource.

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Re: Re: Question about Resources

 

Originally posted by BasilDrag

The Writer's Guide to Everyday Life from Prohibition through World War II by Marc McCutcheon should give you a good overview of the era.

 

This sounds great. Unfortunately, Amazon.com had just one copy (used). The list price of $18.99 was crossed out and instead it was selling for the "low price" (it actually said this) of $295.00. No luck on ebay. I'll keep my eye open at brick'n'mortar bookstores.

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Answering My Own Question

 

At the risk of engaging in a public conversation with myself . . . (and also to repeat something I wrote in another thread . . .)

 

GURPS High-Tech has been slightly useful to me, though it focused on weapons even more heavily than I had anticipated. In it, there is a reference to a 1900-1930 price list in GURPS Horror. Has anyone seen this? How extensive is the list? Does it (or anything else in GURPS Horror) give much information about the kinds of everyday technology available in this era? Are there other GURPS books I should check out?

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I know there are reprints of old Sears & Roebuck catalogues available for sale. Amazon has one for the S&R catalog for 1902 available on CD-ROM. Here's the link:

 

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0972170901/qid=1047050378/sr=1-7/ref=sr_1_7/104-2707270-3800710?v=glance&s=books

 

And there's this one (1897 version)

 

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0791046265/ref=pd_sim_books_4/104-2707270-3800710?v=glance&s=books

 

Yeah, I know these are all before what you're looking for, but it's a place to start. :)

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Thanks Fazhoul, you're way cool! Does that rhyme?

 

Unfortunately, someone already picked up the Writer's Guide. I bet it was some rogue who saw your message before I did. Come on, whoever you are, 'fess up.

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One indispensible resource is The 1920s Investigator's Companion for Call of Cthulhu. It has a great deal of carryover to the 1930s, but it can only cover a small amount of ground within its pages. It's got info on a large variety of personalities, as well as price lists, the state of forensic science in the era, and, I believe, travel times and firearms. You should be able to find a copy cheaply online.

 

For more detailed travel info, I recommend looking into period travel guides. I've been lucky enough to locate a period guide from the Automobile Legal Association, but I'm confident I'll find something covering air and ship travel as well, as long as I stick to it.

 

For vehicle data, I recommend checking out the coffee-table books at your local Barnes & Noble or Borders. There're books out with titles like Cars of the Thirties which might be good (don't own one, so I couldn't tell you). One that I do own is The Complete Illustrated Encyclopedia of American Motorcycles by Tod Rafferty. It's a great resource that covers every time period.

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Originally posted by Just Joe

Thanks Fazhoul, you're way cool! Does that rhyme?

 

Unfortunately, someone already picked up the Writer's Guide. I bet it was some rogue who saw your message before I did. Come on, whoever you are, 'fess up.

 

Yep, that rhymes! Too bad someone snagged the book. The publisher, F&W Publications, is here in Cincinnati. I wonder if they might have some in their warehouse. I think I'll call them. If they do I'll let you know. I can't believe the prices that book is going for on half.com, amazon auctions and ebay. I saw a top price of $495 on half.com. It must have been printed on gold leaf or something. :)

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Originally posted by Fazhoul

Too bad someone snagged the book. The publisher, F&W Publications, is here in Cincinnati. I wonder if they might have some in their warehouse. I think I'll call them. If they do I'll let you know.

 

Thanks again. Hey, while you're at it, why don't you ask if they plan to reprint it anytime soon?

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Re: Answering My Own Question

 

Originally posted by Just Joe

At the risk of engaging in a public conversation with myself . . . (and also to repeat something I wrote in another thread . . .)

 

GURPS High-Tech has been slightly useful to me, though it focused on weapons even more heavily than I had anticipated. In it, there is a reference to a 1900-1930 price list in GURPS Horror. Has anyone seen this? How extensive is the list? Does it (or anything else in GURPS Horror) give much information about the kinds of everyday technology available in this era? Are there other GURPS books I should check out?

 

GURPS Cliffhangers 2nd Edition is very well done. And like others have mentioned, Sears catalogs are great. In the '20's, you could order a Tommy Gun mail order. How cool is that?

 

Aroooo

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Yep: I loved the original illustration for the adverts, which showed a cowboy in chaps mowin' down a passel o' horse-thieving varmints with his his tommy gun...

 

Cowboys with tommy-guns?

 

I'm sorry, but that just feels wrong :-P

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Recent purchases

 

Thanks to all for your suggestions. I've recently picked up GURPS Cliffhangers (2nd ed) and Chaosium's COC !920's Investigator's Companion. I am finding both to be useful. I have looked around ebay a bit for old travel guides and such, but have not bid on anything yet.

 

I want to ask some questions about Pulp-era armor, but am going to ask them in a new thread in an effort to get the attention of as many potential respondents as possible.

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