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Using the Goblin Roads and the Weird

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  • Using the Goblin Roads and the Weird

    Hello,

    I'm about to start a game set in Chicago. I'm also interested in involving the Milwaukee connection and the Weird/the Goblin Roads in-between in that game. (or at least give my players the option if they want to)

    The only issue I have is, WHY would anyone use the Goblin Roads???

    I mean they exist because supposedly the area between the two cities is very dangerous for Kindred to travel through, because of Lupine attacks. And there is something about parts of the area too that Lupines stay away from, which is what the Goblin roads exploit. But those parts are also weird to Vampires and sometimes the “Psychopomps” who lead others along those ways go bananas and/or vanish.

    So why would you chose to use them? Let's stretch our suspension of disbelief an say that Lupines would track down and attack Kindred directly on the highway that connects both cities.
    Alternatives besides the goblin roads?
    Bus or even better Train, would Lupines openly attack public transport full of mortals?
    Or how about just fly?
    Yes crowded public transport holds it's own danger for kindred, but still seeing as to what the alternative is, again WHY go by goblin roads?

    Also just grab a boat and ship across lake Michigan?

    Edit: Funny side note, seeing as it is kind of ridicules to fly from Chicago to Milwaukee IRL (flight takes about 50min, plus you have to drive to and from the airport. While both cities are just 1.30 h apart by car) maybe Kindred are responsible for the flight route even existing^^.
    Last edited by nobby; 04-23-2020, 05:36 AM.

  • #2
    If you wanted to use take the players out on the Goblin Roads as a one time thing, it would be easy enough to contrive a situation where they can't afford to be spotted at a bus depot, train station, or highway exit. Someone bad owns or claims those spaces. Easy peasy.

    If you wanted the Goblin Roads to feature more often in your stories, see if maybe one of your players wants to be a professional messenger, courier, or driver who uses the road for security.

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    • #3
      The thing about the Goblin Roads is Lupines can actually use magic so that the highways, trains, planes, and automobiles going to as well as from Milwaukee can actively work against you. Your car will break down, you'll get lost on a straight road, and a thirty minute trap will end up taking several hours. Oh and yes, the Lupines will know EXACTLY when ANY vampire tries to go.

      Hence a Goblin driver.

      I wrote a short story about it: https://www.storytellersvault.com/pr...5868_0_0_0_0_0

      I think you'd enjoy it.


      Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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      • #4
        It's always seemed strange to me that Lupines are so utterly dedicated to preventing vampires from traveling, when I've never played a Garou game where we made the slightest effort in that direction.

        I know, I know, lupines aren't garou, but this is one of the places where the difference between werewolf player-characters and werewolf npcs is most stark.

        In the garou games I've played, we do things like go into New Orleans and investigate some mystery related to the garou, and it's not uncommon for us to avoid the vampires or even bargain with an individual one for information. Hell, the last game I was in, we even had an in-character argument about the ethics of dealing with leeches, and the conclusion was that the world is complex and some things you have to let slide for the greater good. The idea of standing outside the city and zapping every single passing car with sense wyrm never even occurs to even people playing the more fanatical garou.

        Meanwhile the npc lupines are perpetually circling the city and near flawlessly blocking any attempt by vamps to go in or out.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by CajunKhan View Post
          It's always seemed strange to me that Lupines are so utterly dedicated to preventing vampires from traveling, when I've never played a Garou game where we made the slightest effort in that direction.

          I know, I know, lupines aren't garou, but this is one of the places where the difference between werewolf player-characters and werewolf npcs is most stark.

          In the garou games I've played, we do things like go into New Orleans and investigate some mystery related to the garou, and it's not uncommon for us to avoid the vampires or even bargain with an individual one for information. Hell, the last game I was in, we even had an in-character argument about the ethics of dealing with leeches, and the conclusion was that the world is complex and some things you have to let slide for the greater good. The idea of standing outside the city and zapping every single passing car with sense wyrm never even occurs to even people playing the more fanatical garou.

          Meanwhile the npc lupines are perpetually circling the city and near flawlessly blocking any attempt by vamps to go in or out.
          Now you made me imagine two bored Garou sitting on the side of the road like traffic cops a sense wyrm fetish in hand waiting for leeches or corrupted Pentex employees to pass by

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          • #6
            Originally posted by CajunKhan View Post
            It's always seemed strange to me that Lupines are so utterly dedicated to preventing vampires from traveling, when I've never played a Garou game where we made the slightest effort in that direction.

            I know, I know, lupines aren't garou, but this is one of the places where the difference between werewolf player-characters and werewolf npcs is most stark.
            Most vampires wouldn't know or care what a caern is, and would therefore not have the context to understand what brought on the werewolf attacks they've heard about. Travel is therefore scary.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by CajunKhan View Post
              It's always seemed strange to me that Lupines are so utterly dedicated to preventing vampires from traveling, when I've never played a Garou game where we made the slightest effort in that direction.
              The saying that Lupines aren't Garou reminds me of the old saw that "The Iliad was not written by Homer, but by somebody else with the same name" except that it's "the Lupines aren't Garou except that they are with a different name." Lupines are very clearly based on Garou, and in the first and second edition of the games, they were clearly the Garou. It wasn't until Revised that the developer wars took off in earnest, and said each game line was hermetically sealed from the other. In any case regardless of how much Werewolf lore and mechanics you want to include, most likely your Lupines should be heavily inspired by it.

              Anyway, when it comes to how dangerous travelling between cities are for vampires, I think people need to establish guidelines in their own games. Clearly it isn't instant death for anyone who travels (except Gangrel) as almost every city book has vampire characters not native to any city. However, it is clearly more hazardous that Vampires notice it can be dangerous. So how hazardous should it be?

              I think there are various factors that influence how dangerous Lupines should be. It basically comes down to opportunity and motive.

              1) How long does it take a vampire to travel? Obviously the longer the vampire is between major cities, the longer time it is he may run into a dangerous situation.
              2) What kind of route does a vampire take to travel? A direct route along the interstate system is (usually) a lot safer (from a Lupine perspective) than a longwinding route that goes through small towns and backroads.
              3) Does the route a vampire take run into areas the Lupines would protect or patrol more than usual. These would be things utterly unknown to vampires, but would include things like nearby caerns, villages filled with nothing but kinfolk, or even something like a bar that a local pack happens to hang out at a lot. In a situation like this, even a nomadic Sabbat pack, a fleeing group of anarchs, or Archons out on patrol could be wiped out. From a vampire perspective, it's just unknown why this happens. And such a massacre (even if only known by the fact that this group was never heard from again) would stick out in people's minds and lend to the idea that leaving the city is extremely dangerous.
              4) Is there a particular reason the Lupines are patrolling this specific area? Again this would be completely unknown and inexplicable to a vampire. It would just seem random. But to a Lupine, perhaps that road is patrolled because there is some dangerous Bane or fomori that is slaying hitchhikers there. Or they have some sort of formal pack quest or commitment to look for and hunt vampires. Or there is an old PENTEX factory there and there's often a pack of Lupines observing it, and they notice any Wyrm minions nearby like vampires. Is there a nearby caern whose totem or sept leader is particularly offended by vampires and would prompt raids? This could make that area incredibly dangerous for a long time.

              Under normal circumstances, travel between Chicago and Milwaukee should not be dangerous. It is like a two hour drive along a stable and quick infrastructure of using I-94 or Amtrak. (and of course, air travel between the cities should always be safe.) Under normal circumstances, a vampire should not need to fear Lupines in this situation.

              Of course, we know that in the game, this is a dangerous route because there are story justifications for it. Lupines and vampires both are very interested in the "dead magic area" at Marquette University introduced in Milwaukee By Night. And in the same are are buried two important "totems" of the "Eagle" and "Coyote" tribes (although these seem to be actually long standing packs) of Lupines that the Lupines seek to recover. And if a vampire botched using Auspex, they are marked in such a way that Lupines can easily identify them. And because of that the two have come into conflict a lot with a group of vampires, the Anubi coterie, actively killing Lupines as a result. Therefore, to the Lupine eyes this is an active war zone with lots of targets of opportunities. So lots of Lupine packs probably patrol the area looking to kill vampires. We also know from Under a Blood Red Moon that there is a Garou sept, the Ring of Raccoon, just south of Milwaukee between that city and Racine, WI. So not only do Lupines are in active war against the vampires of Milwaukee (which has been ongoing for more than a hundred years), there's an entire stronghold of them nearby and along the main transportation arteries into the city. Plus that almost 30 years ago, this same sept was the staging area for the attack on the vampires of Chicago. So the Lupines here have LOTS of experience fighting vampires, and the area would be well known enough to attract visiting packs of Lupines who come just to get some notches on their belt killing vampires. So there is a stream of constant reinforcements who show up, strike, and then move on. So to vampire eyes, there's probably a lot of randomness to the attacks due to new packs showing up and trying new things.

              In this case, it is very easy to understand why Lupines are on the constant outlook here. We just need to remember that this situation is abnormal.

              In other areas, there won't be this, and travel between nearby cities should be almost always safe.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by nobby View Post
                Now you made me imagine two bored Garou sitting on the side of the road like traffic cops a sense wyrm fetish in hand waiting for leeches or corrupted Pentex employees to pass by
                I do wonder if the guys who came up with the idea that lupines block traffic successfully have ever actually been on I-10 or an equivalent? People are zipping past on that thing at 70 miles an hour. In the time it takes you to cast Sense Wyrm, and then follow it up with something offensive, the car is already gone. And that assumes what you picked up was even a vampire. It could have been some mundane human sociopath, or someone who ate a twinkie tainted by pentex chemicals. Even assuming you successfully identified a leechmobile, you've now got to risk a massive veil breech by attacking a car on a road full of people zipping by at 70 miles an hour.

                If that sort of thing is even possible, it's a massive undertaking requiring a dedicated garou force sitting there on I-10. Said garou are now not available to do any other garou things, like their mundane human jobs, communing with spirits at their cairn, performing detective work related to garou general issues, raiding pentex factories, trying to find mates so that their species doesn't die out from plain old old age. All of that goes poof so your large, tightly organized force can sit on I-10 zapping cars with Sense Wyrm as they zip by at 70 miles an hour.

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                • #9
                  Part of the issue here is they are of the mind this is a general strategy for Garou/Lupines versus cities versus something that is specific to Chicago and Milwaukee. Milwaukee is a place where the Vampire vs. Lupine Vietnam has been happening for decades. Any vampires who come to Milwaukee are reinforceemnts for the warriors there and are people the Garou should take out before they join in.

                  So, yes, it's not Lupines vs. all vampires.

                  It's Lupines versus isolating Milwaukee.


                  Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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                  • #10
                    nobby

                    This is probably the most boring answer you'll get, but...

                    When I first read about Goblin Roads, I assumed the developers had set aside a portion of the map they want to use for some other line. Kind of calling dibs before some licensed product puts something there. Lupines (and therefore the werewolf game) are the most mentioned, but the name "Goblin" Roads sounds kind of Changeling-ish. Why changelings would be centered somewhere between Waukegan and Kenosha is beyond me, but it's my theory.

                    In any case, if you have your pcs interact with the Goblin Roads, be careful. If you have chosen to set your game in Chicago, but introduce an eerie, interesting, and bizarre mystery an hour north of the city you may spend the next ten sessions with the troupe driving around strip malls and suburban cul de sacs trying to figure it out. Now, there's nothing wrong with a troupe traipsing around Middle America in the middle of the night, when everything is closed.

                    If they do, though, you're going to need a big pay-off when they finally demand some sort of resolution.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by nobby View Post
                      Hello,

                      I'm about to start a game set in Chicago. I'm also interested in involving the Milwaukee connection and the Weird/the Goblin Roads in-between in that game. (or at least give my players the option if they want to)

                      The only issue I have is, WHY would anyone use the Goblin Roads???

                      I mean they exist because supposedly the area between the two cities is very dangerous for Kindred to travel through, because of Lupine attacks. And there is something about parts of the area too that Lupines stay away from, which is what the Goblin roads exploit. But those parts are also weird to Vampires and sometimes the “Psychopomps” who lead others along those ways go bananas and/or vanish.

                      So why would you chose to use them? Let's stretch our suspension of disbelief an say that Lupines would track down and attack Kindred directly on the highway that connects both cities.
                      Alternatives besides the goblin roads?
                      Bus or even better Train, would Lupines openly attack public transport full of mortals?
                      Or how about just fly?
                      Yes crowded public transport holds it's own danger for kindred, but still seeing as to what the alternative is, again WHY go by goblin roads?

                      Also just grab a boat and ship across lake Michigan?

                      Edit: Funny side note, seeing as it is kind of ridicules to fly from Chicago to Milwaukee IRL (flight takes about 50min, plus you have to drive to and from the airport. While both cities are just 1.30 h apart by car) maybe Kindred are responsible for the flight route even existing^^.
                      It's not like every vampire moving from Chicago to Milwaukee gets ambushed by Lupines. Enough of those who do disappear or are hunted by lupines that those who need to make that jurney don't want to take their chances with the normal route.
                      So yes, Lupines periodically monitor bus and trains (especially those running during night hours) and thanks to the delirium it would be possible for them to attack even in the presence of witnesses. Flight is a more secure option, sure... but as you pointed out a vampire could get ambushed while travelling from the airport to the city proper.

                      Ultimately the fact is this: the setting assumes Lupines are infesting the rouads between Chicago and Milwaukee and are extremely belligerent towards kindred. Vampires are risk averse by nature (the older they get the more this holds true) and enough of them died trying to move from one city to the other that they feel like the goblin roads provide a safer route for them to travel. That's why, in game things work the way they do.

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                      • #12
                        In under a blood red moon the area between Chicago and Milwaukee is a Wrymhole which is possibly part of the reason for the weird going on on the goblin roads.The werewolves of Milwaukee are fighting in this area a lot which may explain why this area has a possible higher amount of actively hunting Werewolves than most. In book of the city they talk about how sense Wyrm in an area that is of the Wyrm is harder to distinguish one thing from another. Maybe the Garou in an area that sense Wyrm doesn't work will use sent of the true for instead which can find Vampires reliably but you can't tell if that specific vampire is of the Wyrm or not. Vampires are much more cautious than others in the world of darkness so maybe they don't take the bus because when traveling in a dangerous place why would you travel in a less secure manor just in cause a tire blows or one of the numerous weird things that could go wrong, that you have heard go wrong, won't go wrong.

                        Or maybe we don't know why this area is the way it is and the answer is not obvious cause it was never really written down and the story is just the story.

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                        • #13
                          I had my players come into a small town where they experienced a "Groundhog day" episode. They loved that.


                          This space for rent.

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