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  • #76
    I forgot to mention that the Austronesian settlement of Madagascar was also the beginning of a horrendous ecological disaster for the island. So, lots of opportunities for Corax and Mokole to be upset with the damn apes. (I'm almost sad that werehippos don't have a basis in real legends - they'd be terrifying.) Also at some point the Laibon showed up to Embrace these new herds.

    Edit: If someone really wanted more shapeshifters on Madagascar, they'd probably need to have a Bastet tribe somehow based on fossas, even though they aren't true cats. It would make more sense than an entire new Changing-Breed for hippos, let alone lemurs, although I know of no shapeshifting or half-human fossa legends. In my headcanon there are (or used to be) were-eagles, hawks, and falcons around the world, including Madagascar.
    Last edited by Erinys; 04-17-2021, 12:30 PM.


    She/Her. I am literal-minded and write literally. If I don't say something explicitly, please never assume I implied it. The only exception is if I try to make a joke.
    My point of view may be different from yours but is equally valid.
    Exalted-cWoD-ArM url mega-library. Exalted name-generators, Exalted and WTA stuff from me and others.

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    • #77
      Originally posted by No One of Consequence View Post
      The Edge of the World (Vinland, 1000 - 1100AD)
      Something of a companion piece to the above (and I'm likely to do another about Kiev sooner or later), this is the failed colonization effort by explorers from Iceland and Greenland to establish a new colony in North America, likely what is now Newfoundland and New Brunswick. Actual details about the colony, including what happened to it, are sparse, but for game purposes, it just means more of a blank slate to play around with. This is very much a frontier wilderness setting, way beyond the reach of anything even the Norse would consider "civilization". On the flip side, this is the land of the Mi'kmaq in what they call Mi'kma'ki, and to the north in Labrador are the Innu (who refer to their territory as Nitassinan). Both are primarily hunter-gatherer cultures, and part of the over all Algonquin language/culture.
      Newfoundland also included the homeland of the Beothuk. Virtually nothing is known about them, not even the family their language belonged to, because they were genocided before hardly anything about them was written down.


      She/Her. I am literal-minded and write literally. If I don't say something explicitly, please never assume I implied it. The only exception is if I try to make a joke.
      My point of view may be different from yours but is equally valid.
      Exalted-cWoD-ArM url mega-library. Exalted name-generators, Exalted and WTA stuff from me and others.

      Comment


      • #78
        Dark Satanic Mills (England, 1770 - 1820)
        As the American Revolution was first bubbling to the surface in North America, England was seeing the start of its own upheavals with the first stages of the Industrial Revolution. This grew out of various changes to commercial trade and transportation, particularly the development of canals, increased trade with Asia, and the import of raw materials from the Americas. Two goods were major drivers of this initial industrial wave: textiles and coal. For most of human history, yarn and thread had to be spun by hand, and then woven by hand powered looms, typically in the home. But the invention of the Spinning Jenny and the power loom changed that. These machines were initially powered by water wheels, but when James Watt introduced his improved steam engine in 1776, it was possible to move these new textile factories away from the rivers. These new more efficient steam engines also made it possible to more easily pump water out of coal mines, giving access to more coal. This coal not only fed the steam engines, but also helped drive further improvements in metalworking and other burgeoning industries, including the invention of the steam locomotive.
        Industrialization was a double edged sword. While it did provide cheaper cloth and heating coal for the masses, it also lead to a sudden spurt of urban population growth, often with new factory workers crowded in to what we came to know as slums. The coal powered steam engines and furnaces caused a lot of air pollution, while a lack of urban sanitation led to streets full of human and animal waste. The development of new chemicals for industrial processes (including bleaching cloth with something other than stale urine) only added to this. Work conditions were often deplorable. Women often worked in the textile mills as they had traditionally been the backbone of the pre-industrial textile business. And they could be paid less. For the same reason, children were used, often starting as young as six or seven. They were smaller and could fit in tight spaces, such as in or behind weaving machines or in coal mines. Even better, you could get them from local orphanages for free and only have to pay a fee to the orphanage or church instead of actually paying them a wage. It was fairly common for early workers - especially children - to lose fingers, limbs or even their lives in machine accidents.
        In the World of Darkness, the Industrial Revolution comes with a massive amount of baggage, mostly owing to the themes and cosmologies of the various games. The sudden shift in population density and these new industries and their runoff impacts the various spirit worlds, and the movement of rural populations to the cities as well as the loss of certain classical trade arts impacts several of the supernatural subcultures which have ties to them. Overall, there is a certain level of anxiety and misery which only serves to feed various malevolent powers.

        Primary Games:
        • Werewolf - This upheaval is, obviously, a huge deal for the Garou. This sudden upsurge of the Weaver - and its rapid corruption by the Wyrm - should alarm most of England's werewolf population. (Even the Warders who are initially excited by such developments.) The Fianna and Get of Fenris have sizable kinfolk populations whose traditional lifestyles are being disrupted and, worse, are moving away from their homes and to the towns and cities. Likewise, Bonegnawers are likely put out by the exploitation of orphans and other poor, while Black Furies are likely concerned about women working in these masculine-made abominations. The sudden increase in pollution will stir up various banes, especially those Wyrm elementals tied to smog/smoke and sludge. Plus the increase in underground coal mining, especially the use of water pumps to open up new tunnels, is a boon to the Black Spiral Dancers and their efforts to construct underground Hives. In many ways, this is the opening days of the Apocalypse from the modern day. (The growth of urban slums also offers an angle for period Ratkin games.)
        • Demon - While Demon's official timeline tends to sideline the Earthbound by the Renaissance Era, I feel the idea of Demon cults and their Thralls works very well here. It's very easy to come up with an Earthbound who desires to overthrow and upend the traditional aspects of Nature, turn humans into cogs for some sort of Rex Mundi machine, and feed on the misery of the working class and the greed of the factory owners. This could work with Thralls who are having second thoughts, or with demon hunters who find themselves battling the forces of progress in order to save people's souls. One could even go as far as to hand wave the Demon ties to the Reckoning and its meta-plot, simply having newly released Fallen finding themselves in a world totally alien from anything they remember and having to figure out their place in it.
        Secondary Games:
        • Mage: While this era predates the reorganization of the Order of Reason into the Technocratic Union, it is an important period in the development of the International Brotherhood of Mechanicians and the Invisible Exchequer. This era is also an upheaval to the more traditional Verbena and Dreamspeakers (and certain Hermetics) in England, as the traditional handcrafts they focus on are being replaces with cheap manufactured goods. Guide to the Traditions mentions the Luddites and the Traditions' ties to them, and this period is when that happens.
        (And just as a potential plot seed: Stephen King's short story, The Mangler, is about an industrial laundry press which inadvertently becomes the host for a demon following an industrial accident. While the story involves a Victorian era machine still in use in the 70s or 80s, the idea can very easily be shifted to this time period with some of the early weaving machines and other industrial behemoths.)


        What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
        Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

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        • #79
          Sleepy Hollows (New York's Hudson River Valley, 1790 - 1820)
          The Hudson River Valley after the American Revolution was a curious place. Originally the home of the Wappinger and Mahican branches of the Algonquins, it was primarily settled by the Dutch as part of the New Amsterdam colony and continued to maintain its unique Dutch character even at the start of the 19th century. This is part of the reason writer Washington Irving decided to set his short story "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" there. The main character, Ichabod Crane, is of English decent and from Connecticut, which makes him an outsider in two ways among the mostly Dutch descended people of Tarry Town. This is a classic trope in the genre of Folk Horror, in which outsides find themselves out of place (and perhaps threatened) by the insular and "different" locals, especially when it comes to their superstitions and unspoken customs. (Though Crane is able to ingratiate himself fairly well with the town's women.) The town is considered "bewitched" in some vague way, either by something from the early Dutch days or for the time of the Natives. The residents frequently encounter strange sights, music, voices and other phenomenon, as well as trance-like visions. And then there are the ghosts. Lots and lots of local ghost (and goblin) stories, some inspired by the Revolutionary War battles in the region. The most famous of these being the Headless Horseman. Irving's stories gave the region a bit of a Gothic reputation among the popular imagination, especially among the landscape painters of the mid-19th century Hudson Valley School.
          And that's the motif I'm going for with this setting: Gothic Folk Horror and Ghost Stories. This is a mostly rural, pre-Industrial region that's along a river that connects a major port city and the state capital, which means a fair number of outsiders travel back and forth through the area (including by some of the early steam boats). You're even starting to see the first signs of what we think of todays as tourism. Most of them come through mostly unaware of the local strangeness and oddities, save as a curiosity mentioned in passing. Most of them. Not all. Some of them, be they travelers or new settlers, stumble headfirst down the rabbit hole into a world of increasingly creepy events, culminating in encounters with ghosts, goblins and other creatures of the night.

          Primary Games:
          • Hunters Hunted - The basic set up here is the idea of average ordinary mortals gradually (or suddenly) confronting the supernatural truths of the World of Darkness and having to survive it (and maybe even defeat it). And if they live here, this may become a recurring theme in their lives, in something akin to various tv shows if they were set around the early 19th century (probably more along the lines of Friday the 13th The Series than Supernatural, but either approach works). The next step up from that is the idea of professional investigators exploring the Valley. This is the take Tim Burton used in his 1999 film Sleepy Hollow (which I highly recommend if you've never seen it, as it's both Burton and Johnny Depp before they turned into parodies of themselves), and you could probably even adapt the forthcoming World of Darkness: Ghosthunters to this period.
          • World of Darkness: Sorcerer - A slight variation on the above is playing those who are part and parcel with the regional strangeness, be they Dutch locals or travelers who are under their own paranormal influences. These are primarily what were called Cunning Folk by the English and Brauche by the Germans (especially in Pennsylvania), but I'm unfortunately unable to find the equivalent term in Dutch. You can easily expand this to some of the other "Twilight Folk" powers, such as psychic abilities, shamanism, and the like. Such characters are a bit more forewarned and forearmed when dealing with various ghosts, curses, and creatures, which makes for an interesting style of historical "urban" fantasy chronicle.
          Seconday Games:
          • Changeling - Irving's second most famous story, Rip Van Winkle, is also set in this region, and involves fairy folk in the Catskills. These are the section of the northern Appalachian Mountain range which butts up against the Hudson River Valley. For those of you who are familiar with Changeling, you know that part of the setting's history is that after the Shattering, many European fey attempted to make new homes in North America, especially in the Appalachian Mountains. This presents an interesting set up with full Changeling Way changelings, both Dutch and English (and even French and others) having settled into small communities in the Valley and finding these forgotten True Fey hideouts in their backyards. To say nothing of hidden Native hold outs and other oddities. Many of the strange phenomenon mentioned in Tarry Town also play perfectly well with the idea of the Fair Folk and chimera.
          • Werewolf - New York was the game's signature setting, and this setting works well with it on two levels. The first is for Kinfolk, with their small, rural and insular communities, complete with spiritual strangeness, having to deal with nosy outsiders and urban exploiters. The other is the full on Garou world. This is very likely an area that the Get of Fenris took from the Wendigo by force at some point, only to now have various other tribes - especially those annoying Silver Fangs - poking about and trying to throw their weight around. The Catskills especially are still rural enough for Red Talons or even Gurahl to be lurking about.


          What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
          Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

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          • #80
            Originally posted by No One of Consequence View Post
            Sleepy Hollows (New York's Hudson River Valley, 1790 - 1820)[*]Hunters Hunted - The next step up from that is the idea of professional investigators exploring the Valley. This is the take Tim Burton used in his 1999 film Sleepy Hollow (which I highly recommend if you've never seen it, as it's both Burton and Johnny Depp before they turned into parodies of themselves), and you could probably even adapt the forthcoming World of Darkness: Ghosthunters to this period.
            I love this idea (and that movie) so very much!

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            • #81
              Originally posted by ThomasM View Post

              I love this idea (and that movie) so very much!
              I keep thinking it would've been cool to have a sequel where Crane and Katrina team up with Rip Van Winkle, Johnny Appleseed, and Johnny Tremaine to battle Frankenstein's monster. But I'm very weird.

              Currently debating between the 5th century Kingdom of Burgundy or the Empire of the Huns from the same period. Also trying to hammer out my long simmering New Orleans idea.


              What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
              Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

              Comment


              • #82
                The Chicago Way (Chicago, 1920 - 1931)

                In 1920, the US introduced national Prohibition laws outlawing the sale of alcoholic beverages, and naturally organized crime exploded as bootleggers raced to fill the demand and then started shooting each other over control of the business. One of the most infamous cities during this period was Chicago, especially due to the actions of what was known as the Chicago Outfit or the Capone Gang. The Outfit started around the turn of the century under the leadership of Italian immigrant Vincenzo Colosimo (aka Big Jim or Diamond Jim), a Democratic Party precinct captain and bagman who parlayed his political connections into a criminal empire built around prostitution, gambling and racketeering. In 1910, Big Jim brought in some muscle from New York City, mainly one John Torrio, to help him finally get rid of the old school "Mustache Petes" of the Black Hand (the Sicilians, not the vampires). By the end of the decade, Torrio invited one of his NY associates, Al Capone, to Chicago. A year later, they'd murdered Colosimo and taken over the Outfit. This was mainly motivated by the fact that Torrio wanted to get into the bootlegging business, but Big Jim refused.
                Under the two men, the Outfit expanded into the dominant criminal organization in Chicago and the surrounding area. Part of this involved Capone becoming a legitimate businessman who owned and operated the various fronts for the Outfit's criminal enterprises. The other major factor was how violent they were. Establishments that didn't buy their liquor from the Outfit were often bombed, with at least 100 people killed. The so-called "Beer Wars" of 1925 saw over 130 gangsters murdered. Then there was the 1929 St. Valentine's Day Massacre, which only saw seven people killed, but because the killers were dressed as Chicago police officers and used the pretense of an arrest to line the men up to be shot, it took on a certain level of lurid notoriety. The Massacre was a strike against the Outfit's long time rivals, the predominantly Irish North Side Gang.
                Weirdly, in spite of being a violent murderer and crime lord, Capone was a popular public figure during the 20s, frequently treated as some sort of Robin Hood like figure because of the money he gave to charities. He also had a tight relationship with the city's mayor, William Thompson, as well as the city's police, who effectively gave him carte blanche to run his criminal empire with little interference.
                In the background of all of this, you have the Great Migration of black Americans from the South into Chicago. This led to increasing tensions between the newcomers and the preexisting immigrant communities, which came to an explosive head with the 1919 Chicago Race Riot. This lasted for a week (July 27 - Aug 3), and saw 38 people killed (23 black, 15 white). Further aggravating the situation was Mayor Thompson's refusal to ask the Governor, Frank Lowden, to send in the National Guard to restore order, even though Lowden had already called up the Guard and had them deployed at the city's NG Armories. One of the sad after effects of the riot was a rise in racial segregation in the city during the 1920s. In the less tragic aspects of Chicago's black history, this is also the early days of The Chicago Defender newspaper, founded by Robert Sengstacke Abbott. (Interestingly, Abbott is one of the early followers of the Baha'i Faith in the US, and as such would make an interesting ally for a Mage of the Celestial Chorus or Ahl I Batin, if not a member of one of those Traditions himself if you wanted to go that route.) The Chicago Black Renaissance that started in this period is considered to rival that of the one in Harlem. This is also the Jazz Age, as well as when what became known as the Urban Blues got their start.
                Chicago in the 1920s is also home to a notable population of Assyrians/Chaldeans Christians from Iran and Iraq, Roma from both Romania and Serbia (two distinctive groups), Mexicans, and Bosnian Muslims.

                As a setting, Chicago in the 1920s is much as it always has been, even in the modern Chicago by Night books. That is to say a city full of promise and economic opportunity that is tragically stricken with very serious problems of political corruption, urban violence, and organized criminal activity, as well as various racial and class tensions. Think of it as a sort of Jazz Age Noir, full of intrigue, moral ambiguity (often sharply contrasted with flashes of clear moral certitude), and danger, which can easily transition into the realm of Political Thriller, Crime Drama, or the Weird Horror of the early pulps.

                Primary Games:
                • Vampire - Naturally, as this is the game's signature city, and everything that applies to it, be it in the early 90s or the latest edition, is largely still relevant even a century ago. Lodin is very firmly the Prince, and in some ways one could see his rule as paralleling that of Capone's over the city's underworld (or Thompson's over the city's Democrat political machine), with Gary's Prince Modius acting as the North Side Gang or other rivals. (And if at any time you want to have Lodin beat one of his subordinates into torpor with a baseball bat, ala The Untouchables, it would probably be fitting.) Officially, Lodin supposedly considered Capone and his Outfit unimportant at this time, save to ensure that no other vampires gained influence over him. Just personally, I find this a little hard to buy, given just how influential and connected Capone was. But then Lodin was supposedly just a pawn of the city's ancients, so who knows. My own interpretation would be that because of his power and influence, as well as the amount of muscle he can employ, Capone at this time is a potential danger to Chicago's Kindred, especially if he were to see them as rivals to his own empire. PCs involved in the Chicago underworld are going to have to tread carefully and make sure they don't risk the Masquerade when they are trying to carve out their own domains or involve criminal gangs in any of their plots.
                • Werewolf - The level of violence from the Chicago Outfit's wars against competitors and threats is the sort of thing that plays well into Werewolf and its ideas of Savage Horror, especially when contrasted against things like high society, the Black Renaissance, or Chicago baseball. The Glass Walkers especially shine here, particularly the Wise Guy's camp, as this is a big part of where they get their start. Bone Gnawers, of course, also fit in here, especially among the city's various immigrant and migrant communities. The city's well established old money families can make an interesting background for Silver Fangs (probably from House Unbreakable Hearth). And the region's large Irish and German populations almost certainly mean members of the Fianna and Get of Fenris drifting in. Chicago is one of the centers of the US meat packing industry, which makes an excellent PENTEX company (this is roughly around the time PENTEX is first forming, and I'm of the opinion that a meat packing company makes an excellent choice for one of the founding five). The flood of bootleg liquor also makes an excellent source for potential Bane corruption and the creation of Fomori.
                Seconday Games:
                • Wraith: The Great War - Really, any place in the 1920s serves as a setting for this game, but Chicago is probably not one people would immediately jump to. This is the time of the Great Maelstrom, and more than likely the criminal violence from the Outfit is only aggravating things in the Underworld. You've got various Great War soldiers with ties to fetters in Chicago, as well as those who died from the Influenza outbreak, the race riot, and various mob violence all being thrown into both the Stygian civil war and the battle against the Great Maelstrom.
                • World of Darkness: Mafia - Probably the most blindingly obvious option. As I mention above, it's very easy for a chronicle which starts as a normal 1920s Jazz Age Noir game about people involved in bootlegging and organized crime slowly finding themselves not only dealing with the impact of their actions on their own Humanity, but also drifting deeper and deeper into this hidden subculture of supernatural corruption and weirdness that includes ghosts, vampires, and demons, as well as magic and other things. At which point, things could go the full Hunters Hunted route. The flip side of this is the Tales of the 13th Precinct treatment, with the players as cops getting sucked into the city's mundane moral corruption before finding the supernatural rot beneath that.
                (And finally, a bit of city weirdness. 1925 saw the completion of The Tribune Tower. This Neo-Gothic skyscraper was home to the Chicago Tribune newspaper as well as Tribune Media and Tribune Publishing. It also served as the broadcast home of WGN radio. What makes it curious, from a mystical standpoint, is that the lower levels of the building incorporate stones taken from famous buildings and sites around the world, including the Alamo, the Parthenon, the Taj Mahal, Notre Dame Cathedral, the Great Wall of China, Abraham Lincoln's tomb, Angkor Wat, Westminster Palace, and the Great Pyramid of Giza, as well as petrified redwood from California's Redwood National Park. This makes it a fascinating hook for all sorts of conspiratorial or sympathetic magic shenanigans.)
                Last edited by No One of Consequence; 06-07-2021, 09:39 AM.


                What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
                Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

                Comment


                • #83
                  Originally posted by No One of Consequence View Post
                  Cocaine Cowboys (Miami, 1979 - 1989)
                  By the late 70s, Miami had become one of the main points of entry for illegal drugs traveling from South America into the US. There was a lot of money to be made and the biggest money maker was in cocaine, with at least 70% of US cocaine entering through the city. (Also about 70% of marijuana and 90% of counterfeit Quaaludes.) And with all this illegal money came a lot of violence from turf wars between various cartels, gangs, and other parties. The phrase "cocaine cowboys" comes from a police officer's comments after a pair of Columbian cartel members gunned down two other men in broad daylight at the Dadeland Mall in 1979. Things only got worse from there, as the city had 573 murders in 1980 and 621 in 1981. The city morgue had to rend a refrigerated truck to handle the overflow of bodies, and was only able to get rid of it in 1988. Crime was so bad that some journalists said the city should be considered a failed state.
                  An aspect that funded the drug wars was the Mariel Boatlift of 1980. In the few years leading up to this, a number of Cubans had been attempting to seek asylum with various foreign embassies in Havana (including somewhere around 2000 at one time at the Peruvian one). This lead to Castro's regime saying anyone who wanted to leave Cuba was free to do so. However, it was arranged that anyone trying to do so would also be beaten by government organized mobs and endure other harassment while trying to do so. Castro also had the jails and mental institutions emptied out in order to unload Cuba's hardcore criminals and mentally ill on to other countries. This included the United States, especially Miami, as a lot of the previous Cuban refugees who'd established themselves in the city made a concerted effort to help Cubans now trying to escape the regime. So Miami was suddenly flooded with both a large number of impoverished refugees, but also a lot of violent criminals and a not insignificant number of people with severe psychological problems.
                  One of the main centers for the drug business was the Mutiny hotel in the Coconut Grove area. In order to launder their money, a lot of dealers and traffickers would funnel their cash into fronts such as luxury car dealerships, five star hotels, condo developments, and fancy night clubs. This gave the city a reputation for glamour and hedonism when such things were at a high point in the 80s. (The fact that the very popular show Miami Vice tended to sanitize some of the more impoverished and dangerous areas of the city only added to this.) By the end of the decade, the violence levels had ebbed, largely owing to the weakening of several of the Columbian cartels and the massive ramp up of the US's "War on Drugs".
                  In addition to the period Miami Vice tv show, this is also the setting for the film Scarface. The video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City very clearly drew the bulk of its inspiration from the city and its drug wars.

                  Primary Games:
                  • Vampire - The level of open violence - combined with the Liberty City riots of 1980 - are the sort of back drop that implies that a violent struggle is going on between rival Vampire sects. While it's very possible that there is some Anarch involvement early on, especially with the above mentioned riots, this is the sort of the sort of thing that tends to be considered the Sabbat's wheelhouse. I can't at the moment find any history of Miami for the WoD, but this would probably be a good time for an attempted Sabbat takeover of the city (or possibly retaking it after the Camarilla establish themselves during or after WW2). An added wrinkle to all of this is the Setites. While the whole Setites + drugs stereotype was done to death back in the day, it is there and does make a certain degree of sense for some corners of the clan. The clan's involvement in Haiti also comes into play here, with a lot of Haitian immigrants coming to Miami in the 70s and 80s. And with that comes the clash between the mainstream Setites and the Serpents of Light. This might cause the Setites to ally with the Miami Camarilla against their common enemy.
                  And finally, as a plot hook, if you wanted to set a Wraith game in Miami, all of this violence is likely to climax with the 1992 Hurricane Andrew coinciding with a powerful maelstrom hitting the city.
                  Great setting and it really brings the nostalgia to mind, as the first vampire setting i ever played & STed (me and a friend took turns in the ST chair) back in the early 90' was based on exactly those same materials and era (with some weirdness from reskinned versions of the Gary NPCs mixed in).

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                  • #84
                    Originally posted by Baaldam View Post

                    Great setting and it really brings the nostalgia to mind, as the first vampire setting i ever played & STed (me and a friend took turns in the ST chair) back in the early 90' was based on exactly those same materials and era (with some weirdness from reskinned versions of the Gary NPCs mixed in).
                    Miami, and really southern Florida as a whole, is a really great potential game setting, especially for something like the World of Darkness (or any other modern horror, urban fantasy or neo-noir game). I really recommend Carl Hiaasen's work, both his collected columns for the Miami Post and his series of weird crime novels, as inspiration.

                    Hoping to have the Meiji Restoration up by Monday. Then something about Cuba.


                    What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
                    Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

                    Comment


                    • #85
                      The Rising Sun (Meiji Japan, 1868 - 1912)

                      "Knowledge shall be sought all over the world, and thereby the foundations of imperial rule shall be strengthened."
                      - point five of the Five Charter Oath (1868)

                      Japan's two and a half centuries of isolation (save for minor trading with the Dutch) came to an end in 1853 when American steam ships opened the nations to western trade at literal gun point. The upheavals in the wake of these very uneven trade treaties with the US (and soon Britain) would quickly see the downfall of the Shogunate system and the restoration of the Emperor and his court under the new young Meiji Emperor. (His actual birth name was Mutsuhito, and he was only ever referred to as "The Emperor"; The era name, Meiji, means "enlightened rule", referring to combining modern advances with traditional values.) Faced with the very obvious threat of foreign domination, various forces within the government decided to try to adapt and incorporate as much new Western technology and knowledge as quickly as possible. And they were wildly successful at it, becoming one of the few Asian realms to avoid becoming a colony or a sphere of influence.
                      The imperial court was moved from Kyoto to Edo (which was renamed Tokyo), and the government was now centralized instead of being left in the hands of local daimyos. A new national conscripted army replaced the traditional samurai caste, who were mostly bought off with pensions. Universal military conscription combined with basic public schooling (four years for both genders) helped create a sense of national identity. Another part of this identity creation was the development of what came to be known as State Shinto, including emphasizing the divinity of the Emperor.
                      Technologically, Japan's industrialization started with the creation of railways and telecom lines, as well as textile factories. About 3000 Western experts were hired to come to Japan and teach modern science, math, engineering and Western languages, while thousands of Japanese were sent to be educated at schools in the US and Europe. This is when the zaibatsu, vertically integrated industrial conglomerate (think Victorian megacorps), were established, as was a national bank and a national currency. The upper classes were quick to adapt Victorian fashions, architecture, and music. (At the same time, Japanese art became very in vogue in parts of Europe and the US.)
                      From a World of Darkness perspective, there's a lot to work with here. The established old order has very clearly been upended and there's a lot of opportunity for young up and comers to advance. For those attuned to the spiritual side of things, the rapid industrialization and the government influence over certain religious rites is going to impact the status quo of the spirit world. Even the development of the concept of Japanese national identity means that those characters who've come of age during this time are going to have a somewhat different self image than those who predate the period.

                      Primary Games:
                      • Werewolf/The Beast Courts - Technically, this is part of the Werewolf: The Wild West period, but so far outside that game's focus that the two don't really meet. The only real exception is the Iron Riders, some of whom may come to Japan as one of those Western experts. The sudden development of railways and factories is very likely to throw the Japanese Beast Courts into a bit of an upheaval as certain spiritual sites may be disrupted and new spirits start appearing (including pollution elementals and the like). The political situation strikes me as the sort of thing that will bother the Hakken, where the previous system of the various regional daimyo running their own affairs without much interference benefitted their way of caerns and kinfolk clans. Even worse is that they may find themselves having to rely more on native Japanese Glasswalkers/Riders (previously being looked down on for their ties to the merchant caste) to navigate the modernizing cities. Kitsune, interestingly, may see this as a time for them to shine and prove their worth to the rest of the Courts.
                      • Mage - I'm sure that the Victorian Mage book will have something to say about this period. My own head cannon is that after the violent upheaval of the Sengoku period, the local Traditions (mainly Akashics and Dreamspeakers, but some others) and the Order of Reason (in the form of the Court of the Chrysanthemum and the Court of the Plum Blossom) have had an uneasy quasi-cease fire during the Tokugawa Shogunate. Unfortunately, this comes to an end when both Courts adapt the tools and methodologies of the new Technocratic Union. The Shi-Ren undoubtably try to guide the Imperial Court and new Japanese government to their own ends, but probably with limited success. Meanwhile, you'll have foreign Mages coming to Japan for various reasons, and even some native Japanese joining foreign Traditions (the Order of Hermes and Celestial Chorus are probably the two main ones). But regardless of how you do it, this is a setting rife with clashes between different cultures and between modernity and tradition, both of which are key aspects of Mage.
                      Secondary Games:
                      • World of Darkness: Demon Hunter X - If you're at all familiar with the anime Demon Slayer, then you know that a secret society of monster hunting swordsmen in turn of the century Japan has a lot of potential for a game. You'll probably want to focus more on the areas of swordsmanship and Japanese martial styles as they might adapt to the Shih's unique martial arts abilities. But similar to Mage, this is a period where you have a new world of science and technology contrasted with this ancient group of monster hunting specialists. (Alternately, certain aspects of Hunters Hunted also work here, including the idea of the newly formed Police Bureau coming across vampires or demons as a sort of prototype Strike Force Zero.)
                      • Wraith - One of the interesting aspects of this period is how the rising sense of Japanese national identity will impact the Japanese shadowlands and its domination by the Yellow Springs. Wraiths who die during this period are very likely to end up as rebels and revolutionaries against the occupying Chinese. (I'll also note the Prince Alexsei ghost ship from Dark Kingdom of Jade Adventures, a relic warship whose history is tied to the Russo-Japanese War of 1904.)
                      • Changeling - One of the interesting aspects of the Meiji era is the art, including new styles of uniquely Japanese art born out of incorporating Western techniques. This creativity born from cultural contact can make an interesting source of glamour and inspiration for Changelings, including reasons to come in contact with the Hsien. (Or alternately, various ideas have been floated for unique Japanese kiths, who can be harvesting glamour from the era's art, fashion, and even socio-political ideology.)
                      Last edited by No One of Consequence; 07-24-2021, 10:24 PM.


                      What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
                      Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

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                      • #86
                        I'm still working on a thing about Cuba in the 1950s, but reading TJ English's Havana Nocturne, about the mafia in Cuba, before I finish.

                        Also working on a bit about Vegas in the 60s and 70s, and about the Aksum empire in Ethiopia.


                        What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
                        Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

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                        • #87
                          Oooh, Aksumites, which games do you see with that?


                          What doesn't kill you, makes you... stranger.

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                          • #88
                            Originally posted by Asmodai View Post
                            Oooh, Aksumites, which games do you see with that?
                            Werewolf certainly. There are probably several other angles that also work.


                            What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
                            Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

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