Friday, 25 September 2009

Links of Leng Episode 1


With my newly resumed interest in Trail of Cthulhu causing me to wander off all over the net looking for interesting research snippets, I thought I'd start an occasional series of links for mining for Cthulhu scenarios. The idea is to to post with five links, each a potential gem for inspiration for Keepers. This means various matters Fortean, occult and generally just social background of the interwar period.

Magdalene Asylums

Let's start with a subject that has received some press in recent years, the Republic of Ireland's close links between Church and State and how that has devastated the lives of orphans and victims of society. This wikipedia article talks about the Magdalene Asylums, horrid "fallen women's homes" designed basically to hide away and punish women who were guilty of various misdemeanours such as prostitution, pre-marital pregnancy and the heinous sin of actually being a victim of sexual crime (rape, child sexual abuse etc.). The unfortunates committed to such were essentially forced to work as slave labour, most often in laundry work, and suffered all the regular abuses to be found at a place of confinement where little or no accountability exists. Many modern commentators hold that the existence of such places is directly tied into a strong misogynistic streak within Roman Catholicism. While the article, and subject, is most commonly associated with Ireland such Magdalene Asylums were also to be found in Great Britain and Australia.

For Keepers such a horrible place offers an excellent location for the investigators. Males may have to sneak in or pretend to be handymen. Literally anything could be going on in such a place where the nuns and priests often seem to be hand-picked so that their particular perversions and cruelties could carry on without the general public being alerted. Investigators will no doubt be shocked to discover de facto slave labour carrying on with the apparent connivance of the authorities in the British Isles in the 1920s.

Syldavia

Fictional countries are an excellent idea for Keepers. They avoid all the nasty problems of avoiding anachronism and player knowledge external to that of their characters. Syldavia is a favourite of mine, being from Herge's Tintin books, most notably King Ottokar's Spectre. This 1939 book shows Syldavia under threat from external Fascism and therefore nicely topical for users of Trail of Cthulhu's 1930s setting. Eih bennek, eih blavek!


Kadaververwertungsanstalt


British Great War black propaganda of the blackest kind. So hideous you have to admire the sheer gall of it's invention.

Based upon a chance juxtaposition of two photographs, one of German human remains being removed from the front in railway carriages and another of dead horses being taken by railway carriage to be rendered down, the Kadaververwertungsanstalt tale was concocted in order to convince a horrified world that the Bosche was now rendering his own war dead down in order to extract their fat for candles, industrial lubricants and bootblack.

Complete bullshit, but released into a world already half-believing tales of German atrocities across Europe.

Obviously this never happened. Except in the worlds of Cthulhu. Where maybe the facility has been demolished, but underground rooms remain untouched. Or the paperwork was lost during 1918 and the facility still stands because the Weimer republic's bureaucracy still hasn't decided what to do with it. Maybe it just closed down mid-shift and the Investigators will discover just what the place looks like when the "input" is left on the conveyors belts and left to decay for ten years...

British-Israelism

OK, here goes. The Anglo-Saxons are the descendants of the tribes of Israel and the Bible not only states this but predicts the rise of the British Empire and it's creation of the other Anglophone nations. This means that the British are God's Chosen People and the Bible says they can rule the World. Oh, and the Windsors are also the descendants of King David's lineage just for good measure (which would presumably make the Queen related to Jesus Christ as well).

Modern DNA evidence has knocked this one on the head but it enjoyed a lot of support in the past. Perhaps so much support that people would be prepared to kill in the interests of maintaining or believing in this myth? What if it were true? What horrid piece of atavism could be hanging around in the Anglo-Saxon bloodline that had laid dormant since Moses was a lad? Read the wikipedia article here.

Temple of Karni Mata

In Desnok, Rajasthan. Dedicated to rats, where shoes are forbidden so that the rats can pass on their good luck by running over your bare feet. It's also lucky to eat food or drink water that the rats have already sampled.

Have these people never played Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay? There must be Skaven hiding away in the sewers beneath this place. Contains somewhere between 6,000 and 20,000+ rats, each a sacred animal worshipped as a God. Musophobic Investigator? Send him here...

3 comments:

  1. I won't be convinced of the virtues of Trail, seeing as it as a big con, but this is a great idea. I think my next CoC campaign is going to be set during Oliver Cromwell's reign, but I'll be bookmarking these for a later return to modernity!

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  2. Cromwell's commonwealth of England? Witchfinder-General and the exploits of Matthew Hopkins perchance?

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  3. Hopkins will be in there, certainly, but we've also got lots of other stuff going on. It strikes me as a fun period for some adventure of the Mythos kind!

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