Cthulhu Armageddon - The Weird West in a Post-Apocalypse World

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CTPhipps
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Re: Cthulhu Armageddon - The Weird West in a Post-Apocalypse World

Post by CTPhipps » Mon Nov 07, 2016 2:00 am

Ghouls

Ghouls are, in their own way, a significantly more benign race than humanity. They are a violent, ruthless, carnivorous race, but they are also erudite and cultured. Ghouls also are pragmatic in a way humans aren't with conflicts among them usually settled one-to-one or the application of the Law of Mordiggian and Wisdom of Tsathougghua. Which summarized quickly mean that the rights of individuals are always subservient to the pack and those who endanger the pack are slaughtered then eaten. It also teaches one shouldn't start a fight but always finish it.

With the exception of the fact eating the fallen is a commonly accepted practice, their causal use of magic mixed with technology, and their worship of the Great Old Ones, it is entirely possible for human beings to live with ghouls in a way which would not drive them insane. Indeed, many ghoul cities have as much as 10% of a human population.
Albeit these are often mutated and able to digest the flesh of their kin. These albino, goggles-wearing individuals tend to be known as Morlocks despite the fact H.G. Wells based his fictional creations on a chance encounter with a ghoul in the London Underground.
Ghoul society simply comes off as a society which is absolute in certain laws and very communally organized. As long as one abides by one's word and the laws absolutely, it is perhaps one of the safest places to live in the Wasteland. Not purely safe, mind you, but not so far from existing human cultures today.
For better or worse.
The ghouls have not always been as pleasant as they are in the 22nd century. Many of their past cities included feral ones where humans were raised like cattle, used as slaves, or eaten. Violence was a common display and sacrifices were a common display. Even worse, according to ghouls, they warred upon one another and allied with things like Ghasts or Gugs.

The shift in ghoul culture took place when the Great Old One Mordiggian appeared unto them and passed upon them the laws of their kind. Later, a time-travelling Randolph Carter brought his childhood friend Richard Pickman with him who taught them The Changeling Way where human children were exchanged with ghoul ones. This horrible practice taught them to appreciate humans as equals, even if they never lost their taste for them. Indeed, solely among the Mythos are humans considered such by a Servitor Race.
Mordiggan like most of the Hyperborian Great Old Ones are less powerful than the rest of their kin but curiously willing to interact with lesser beings, even if they view it more like gardening with ideas than discussion.
The existence of Changelings led to the ghouls developing a process for humans to become part of their race, to interbreed back with them, and also to share the gift. This led to the legends of lycanthropy, skin-dancing, and other stories. Not all humans reacted well to this transformation and many ghouls which were not able to make contact with their fellows and were raised exclusively by humans became dominated by their hunger.
Historical French werewolf Peter Stumbb, notably because a cult to Nyarlathotep who he identified with Satan and other Great Old Ones which passed the knowledge of the ghouls liberally onto their followers, creating many cannibal cults of humans.
Modern warfare eventually drew the ghouls back to the surface as their carnivorous race was always short of meat and their presence was noted in the Civil War, World War 1, World War 2, and in the various camps of Joseph Stalin. Stalin apparently discovered the truth of ghoul infiltration of his people for "food" but his body disappeared only to be replaced with a fake soon after.

The United States became aware of the ghoul "threat" in the 1950s and used underground military tests to attack their races. This proved to be a mistake on their part as many humans were dragged to their horrific demise as a result. Worse, the ghouls demonstrated their ability to create earthquakes and other disasters which would destroy the country outright.
Wiser individuals sought the knowledge of the ghouls for its own sake. This included knowledge of oil and other resources as well as technologies we now take for granted today. British sorcerer Alan Turing was actually friendly with two fellow ghoul-human hybrids working at his facility who enlightened him to numerous secrets of the Mythos before going to live with them--albeit that is contradictory to the idea he left for Yith.
The devastation of the Rising killed almost half of the ghoul race and collapsed countless caverns. Many ghouls have since fled to the surface where they have begun building scrap-yard cities from the junk of humankind's refuse. In general, ghouls work well with larger populations of humans which will have them but their treatment at the hands of many have also turned others to the Old Ways. Others have turned completely feral and lost their cultured nature. These ghouls live like the animals their instincts tell them to be and hunt humans like bipedal wolves.

Powers: Ghouls are generally far stronger than normal human beings as well as far more durable. They receive a +4 to Strength and +2 Constitution as well as a +1 to their Dexterity score. Humans find ghouls horrifying and they are also generally pack creatures who do not engage in double-talk or fancy words, which results in conversations being very difficult persuasion wise. This gives them a -2 to their charisma and a minus 4 if humans can't get past their horrifying visages.

Hybrids have a +2 to their Strength score and -1 to their Charisma due to the difficulty of disguising the predator within. Eventually, hybrids transform themselves into complete ghouls. Ghoul claws are excellent for both digging as well as slashing and inflict a +2 Strike Damage with the same for their teeth. Ghouls do not age after adulthood and some of their elders are as old as the Hyborean Age.

Ghouls are Dreamers equal to humanity and have far greater use of magic among them. They are also accomplished scientists, easily blending sorcery and technology.

Roleplaying Hints: Ghouls are like Serpent Men in that it is entirely possible to hold lengthy conversations about human-related subjects with them without the subjects devolving into things like how much they want to eat you (albeit that's not off the conversation list). Generally, a ghouls word is his bond in a manner that he would be quite offended to assume he does not mean exactly what he says with no exaggeration. This also means ghouls are very good bargainers and do not appreciate double talk. Strangely, they are amazing storytellers but draw a distinction between "Dream Stories" and "Ground" stories.

Ghouls have a somewhat gamer-esque view of violence with no taboo against eliminating threats and utter ruthlessness against enemies. They also do not generally hold grudges provided a subject has shown he is no longer an enemy. They are also a carnivorous people, which means that food is always a source of concern for them and an acceptable payment. They also often bargain for human entertainment (high and low) as they consider us a very artistic race and one of the few which equals them.

Feral Ghouls are none of this and can be summarized as "HISS, ATTACK."
Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, Lucifer's Star, and The Rules of Supervillainy
Blog: http://unitedfederationofcharles.blogspot.com/

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Re: Cthulhu Armageddon - The Weird West in a Post-Apocalypse World

Post by CTPhipps » Mon Nov 07, 2016 3:30 am

Magic, Dreaming, Mad Science, and Psychic Abilities

What is magic?

Magic is a process which is fundamental to the Cthulhu Armageddon-verse but it is also one which doesn't precisely fit the definitions of the word as its commonly known. Lovecraft was a strict materialist and just as the Great Old Ones are aliens as well as the Other Gods being a combination of dreams with anthropomorphized laws of reality, magic isn't really magic any more than they are gods.
It does a mean impression, though.
The short version of what magic is, is it's imposing one's imagination on reality. Dreaming (capitalized D). Thought has a physical substance thanks to the Dreamlands (which may or may not simply be Azathoth, Yog-Sothoth, or some other being's perception of reality). Thought is recorded and experienced on an entirely different plane of existence which is contemporaneous with this reality. Quantum physics, Hinduism, aboriginal traditional religion, animism, and storytelling all rolled into one would only get you about 1% of it.

In general, humans don't (or didn't--more on that later) have the mental oomph to do it. Humans are a staggeringly talented race of Dreamers but this is all passively done. A human being shapes and creates myriad worlds and wonders in the Dreamlands which they will never realize or witness beyond their own imaginations. However, it is is possible for humans to "borrow" the mental oomph necessary to make their dreams reality. This is where magic becomes a sanity-blasting source of terror for mankind because in order for humans to work magic, they generally have to summon a more powerful mind or connect to the dreams of other beings to steal some of that energy.
In D&D terms, humans were like clerics who took a little portion of Cthulhu or Yog-Sothoth's energy to shape it in their own image. That, of course, meant contacting said beings and we all know how that generally turns out.
Physics, which is as good a name for them as anything, were those human beings who possessed much stronger connections to the Dreamlands than other people. It's still the same principle so understand it's far less "cool" and more terrifying when a psychic bends a spoon because he's not exerting force to twist it, HE IS ALTERING REALITY SO THE SPOON IS TWISTED.

Even so, humanity has often attempted to accelerate humankind's ability to Dream this way. The reason so many families seem obsessed with supernatural hybridization is the attempt to increase the ability to work wonders. Deep Ones, ghouls, Serpent Men, and half-deities are all people humans have willingly mated with in order to gain greater strength. So is the transformation of humans to undead creatures or horrific mutations. They have even bound living dreams to themselves in order to gain access to the power of the "gods" and "spirits."
Some of this is actually fairly normal for many religions and occult practices--which goes to show you the Mythos was never ABSENT.
Ultimately, humanity never really did amount to much in magical studies. People who worked on it intensively either broke their minds, became so obsessed with it they became reclusive fanatics who were treated as having broken their minds, ceased to have much interest in the "normal" world, fled to the Dreamlands (or other realms), ceased to be human entirely, were killed by their experiments, became the leaders of cults which misunderstood their message, or were killed by humans who understood they were dealing with uncontrollable forces.

The Rise of the Great Old Ones has been a benefit for those poor magicians as the Dreaming of the Great Old Ones was nothing to their rising vision. The physical world has since partially merged with the Dreamlands as well. This is mostly centered around Mars to the Sun with Earth in the center but it is a rift growing larger every day.
If you wish another gameline to explain what exactly this means, it roughly means the Earth is in the center of Warhammer 40K's Eye of Terror. Just a much-much smaller and less malevolent one for the most part.

Less malevolent being relative, of course.
Any human can learn magic now and psychics are born 1 in every 100 versus one in every million. The Dreamlands can now be physically visited outside of the "Fairy Roads" created by those ancient humans who became Others. Mad Science functions in ways which should not be possible but is brought about by merging principles of science with those of the imagination. People now also create new spells for the first time in millennium.

God(s) help us all.
Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, Lucifer's Star, and The Rules of Supervillainy
Blog: http://unitedfederationofcharles.blogspot.com/

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Re: Cthulhu Armageddon - The Weird West in a Post-Apocalypse World

Post by CTPhipps » Mon Nov 07, 2016 3:34 am

Last Orleans

The Esoteric East isn't the only pocket of surviving humanity, just one of the most prominent ones. New Orleans was devastated in the Rising but not in the way many people suspected as the sea level actually pulled out and a few miles, leaving it as a location with a massive lake in the center with hundreds of microrivers leading to it as well as canals through the streets of the city's lower half. It also resulted in the swampland moving in further and being undulated with a mixture of radiation from nuclear weapons used against Dagon and Mother Hydra as well as the magical energies released from their rising.

Much of the original city is still underwater and eeriely preserved despite a century of rot and agony with plenty of horror stories about the canals. The tales of canal navigators being assaulted by the living dead and ghosts are as common as the previous tales of spiritual monsters were in the former French Colony. Last Orleans isn't, notably, the city's actual name but it's nickname by locals. The majority of tribal peoples outside of the community still refer to it by its original moniker. Still, you can identify whether a person is a local or visitor by the way the word "Last" flows off the tongue as if they've maanged to establish a bulwark against the Great Old Ones.

The city of Last Orleans is divided into multiple districts with the Canal District being built on the ruins of the old city and include a mixture of fishermen, trappers, and underwater scavengers. Last Orleans is fairly unique in that it has made a decent enough alliance with the local Serpent Men in the swampland, Deep Ones in the oceans, and mutated humans that it has formed its own unusually cosmopolitan community.

This diversity has allowed them to thrive and propser as well as build a regional economy based on trade. The Canal District folk make sure there's never a lack of food in Last Orleans and it has created an actual city where most of the world has been reduced to scattered bands of survivors. It also has created a blended culture where few of the humans, nonhumans, and otherwise identify by their parent races but by the idea they are Lasters.

Syncretic religion is very common in the area with hybrids of Voodoo, Cthulhuism, Christianity, and local saints. Pre-Rising versions of the original religions also exist with conflict among the locals over whether this sort of drift is acceptable. Even so, the people of Last Orleans and the surrounding territory known as The Blackwater is fairly fierce. It doesn't help magic is fairly commonly practiced, even more so than in other regions.

The Canal District, Creoulville, and Frenchtown are protected less by any local guard than by the Lamplighters. This is one of the oldest secret societies in the world, formed by Inspector Legrasse during the early 20th century with the aid of Miskatonic University professors who brought their research down to the University of Baton Rouge. It is surprisingly well-versed in the Cthulhu Mythos but has split many times due to the fact it was a organization formed to fight monsters and now many of them are Last Orleans citizens.

The city's dryer districts are notable in Hightown which is built inland and formed primarily by those who are either completely human or able to pass for them. Hightown is notable for the fact it was settled by a man named Harold Burke who was from Massachusetts and took a series of Southern brides as he founded the Knights of Hastur.

Harold Burke was actually a former Innsmouth sorcerer named Ephraim Waite who had a habit of body switching. Obsessed with the humanity he wanted to cling to, he turned away from his people's traditional god in Cthulhu and created a group based around the principles of human purity. He was also a sexist jackass who created his cult around other antiquated early 20th century ideals. The Knights have managed to gain power in the region, ruling over plantations where they have reintroduced slavery (albeit of a non-racial kind) and human sacrifice to the King in Yellow.

Slavery is reluctantly tolerated by the locals even as the Lasters have often clashed with the Gentlemen. The only reason they have not gone to outright war is their shared interest in keeping Last Orleans afloat (for lack of a better term) and the fact any war between them would have such sorcerous effects they'd all be wiped out. Both sides constantly probe the other for weaknesses, though.
Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, Lucifer's Star, and The Rules of Supervillainy
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Re: Cthulhu Armageddon - The Weird West in a Post-Apocalypse World

Post by CTPhipps » Mon Nov 07, 2016 3:35 am

New Arkham

New Arkham is one of the larger surviving city-states in the Esoteric East. It is also a place which other humans tend to avoid, at least if they are not part of said country. While Arkham, Massachusetts was once a famed location for being a birthplace of freedom and Ivy League schools, its successor state is a military dictatorship which pretends at civilization while the rest of the world dies.

New Arkham is, notably, not built upon the remains of Arkham itself but Arkham Air Force Base, which was one of the United States locations for attempting to evacuate civilians during the little time which existed between the rise of the Great Old Ones and the collapse of human civilization. The population which managed to survive was not much, swiftly overwhelmed in fact, with a myriad of troubles but military rule managed to eventually build a community on the base's ruins.
The city itself basically consists of a metal and concrete shanty town built on an airport runway. It is, however, a city with factories and streets as well as most of the trappings of a normal civilization. The fact the citizens all behave with general uniformity and discipline, though, tends to unsettle what few visitors are allowed to exist.
The military dictatorship swiftly gave rise to the Council of Leaders which was a hybrid government which consisted of all those individuals required to run the organization. It was the original plan of the Arkhamites to make contact with other survivors of the United States and someday retake the land from the monsters. The hubris of this statement would swiftly prove impractical even as they were repulsed by the massive "otherness" of what came to occupy the USA.

New Arkham's forces, nevertheless, conquered numerous surrounding settlements and proceeded to establish a series of tributary states which would work to feed the main city. Frequent blood-tests, scientific studies, and scouting expeditions were done in order to figure out how to avoid making sure humanity wasn't 'tainted' by outsiders. To the credit of the Arkhamites, they managed to preserve their ranks until the arrival of Alan Ward.

Appearing as a young man in his twenties, Alan Ward came from the desert with a vast number of books on the supernatural as well as amazing abilities. No one knows what sort of deal he made with the original Council of Leaders but he was given carte blance to educate the most intelligent children in the community in the ways of sorcery, Mythos lore, and general science as well as academia. He was also given leave to experiment on them and the community at large, awakening abilities as well as mutations which were physically pleasing to the eye while dispatching those who weren't.
"Ghosts" are the most common of Alan Ward's creations, being albino white-haired adults of various races which possess psychic abilities of various
kinds. They tend to have sociopathic tendencies but those that don't tend to be fiercely loyal to their families as well as the "cause" of New America due to their brainwashing.

Less common mutations are physical ones which allow individuals to heal faster, possess great strength, or even such minor abilities as hearing far. The "Freaks" who show inhuman qualities were supposedly all killed but it is believed Alan Ward actually gave these to his followers in the Wasteland. Notably, some children only displayed more unappealing mutations at puberty and were banished later in life--or taken from their families.
One of the greatest discoveries of Doctor Ward, which changed the nature of their life with the orihalcum bullets as well as "otherworld" weaponry. Manufactured by those in the Science Division or scavenged from Deep One or ghoul bands, these were capable of killing lesser creatures of the Mythos without apparent difficulty. It also gave rise to the creation of Recon and Extermination Rangers which were a division of the military designed for the purposes of surviving in the Wasteland. A group created from combining Special Forces training, basic knowledge of the Mythos, and a combination of mental as well as physical conditioning supervised by the Science Division.
Rather than superpowers, this conditioning basically destroys the area of the brain which rebels against the Mythos on a primordial level and cultivates dormant areas which treat it as almost normal. Ranger bodies are also unusually physically fit despite the conditions of the wasteland, even the women standing over six feet in height.

They are still woefully outmatched by most creatures but their ability to think rationally even in crises give them a certain mystique.
There is a class divide between those who grew up in New Arkham or one of its satellite towns. The latter are considered citizens of "The United States Remnant" and generally live lives of backbreaking toil. Prisoners and malcontents are assigned to satellite towns where they serve as serfs. Ironically, the satellite town members have a good deal more freedom than the main city as well as contact with outsiders. Some even have luxuries gained from hiding food, trade, or doing their own scavenging. Still, most hope their children will be tested and prove talented enough to be taken to the main city to live.
Difficult as the education standards in said town is much-much less than New Arkham's public education--by design.
Life in New Arkham is rigidly controlled with everything from choice of career to spouse chosen from you by birth. The corruption of the system has also gotten worse over the years with members of the Council of Leaders chosen from the founding members' families and cronies rather than those who most merit such. They have been known to "game the system" for privileges which are denied other members of the society such as beautiful spouses and a steady flow of luxuries. This has resulted in the military losing all respect for their leadership and considering replacing it with a autocrat chosen from their ranks. It would probably be an improvement.

Despite the fact it is a totaliarian dictatorship, the populace is surprisingly content except for the few individuals who object to having their lives dominated from birth. New Arkham is a surprisingly secure facility with education, entertainment, medical care, and a reasonable amount of safety against anything beneath the larger monsters. It has even been known to accept wastelanders who can bring particularly valuable skills or wealth to them. In many ways, it is a ghost of a dead nation, a jingoistic cult to the United States long dead. But the wasteland is full of ghosts.
Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, Lucifer's Star, and The Rules of Supervillainy
Blog: http://unitedfederationofcharles.blogspot.com/

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Re: Cthulhu Armageddon - The Weird West in a Post-Apocalypse World

Post by CTPhipps » Mon Nov 07, 2016 3:36 am

Kingsport

Kingsport is an anomaly in the Wasteland. Where the majority of people have very little to eat, drink, and work from sunup til sundown--Kingsport is a place for gluttons and excess. It shines with neon signs in the middle of the day and glows up the night. Thousands come from all over the Esoteric East to experience a place designed to give pleasure. Most of them return, penniless but smiling at having seen a sign of the Pre-Rising's luxuries but others leave in shackles or join the ranks of those dismembered for the Special Meat Chili served at stands along the side of its roads.

Kingsport was originally a thriving Massachusetts city in the Pre-Rising World with a somewhat less peculiar reputation than its sister city of Arkham. The Rising devastated the city but in a way which left it mostly intact. The coast drifted out a dozen miles and left the city dry-docked. With no reason to remain in the location, the survivors drifted out and left it a ghost town.

This proved to be a cruel joke by fate (or Nyarlathotep) since Kingsport actually had a massive underground river running underneath it which led right to the ocean. Furthermore, it was in a strategically placed location for most of the surviving settlements to trade in. The citizens of Kingsport who fled mostly died while those survivors who came to inhabit the city soon developed one of the largest cities in the Esoteric East. Which doesn't mean Kingsport is a SAFE place to live.

Indeed, Kingsport is a wretched hive in the Mos Eisley sense where life is cheap even by Wasteland standards. What little order is enforced by the four major crime families who rule the city and they only care about maintaining order insomuch as it preserves their bottom lines. The majority of citizens have to either be willing to protect themselves or pay for the privilege to be protected.

A group of tribals proceeded to wage a twenty-year war over the city before the four largest of them managed to sign a tentative peace-treaty. The Marshes, The Kings, The Cashes, and The Wyatts feuded with each other but kept the city's businesses divided between them as they expanded it tremendously. The Kings controlled much of the city's gambling and prostitution trade, the Marshes controlling the city's slave trade, the Cashes its alcohol, and the Wyatt managing its semi-legitimate trade caravans. The gangs were not equal in their wealth or power but each possessed enough influence that should the strongest seek to overshadow the others, the other three would team up to maintain equilibrium.

Kingsport's internal affairs, though, are small potatoes to the larger danger from the Dunwych and New Arkham. Both groups have slowly approached Kingsport with the territory they have managed to absorb via their conquests to the point it is roughly in the center of their spheres of influence. The Kingsport families, correctly, fear either would be happy to add Kingsport to their possessions. So, for the time being, they have been offering the leaders of both bribes and pleasures with the subtle threat of siding with the other in hopes of maintaining their independence.

This strategy has worked so far but neither the Dunwych or New Arkhamites are entirely pleased with the idea of letting a single city-state dictate their foreign policy. They are considering making their own separate deal with each other to divide the city state or trade it for something else. In which case, the independence of Kingsport will come to an end. Knowing this, each of the Four Families is debating whether to hang together or hang separately with one of the two main groups.
Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, Lucifer's Star, and The Rules of Supervillainy
Blog: http://unitedfederationofcharles.blogspot.com/

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Re: Cthulhu Armageddon - The Weird West in a Post-Apocalypse World

Post by CTPhipps » Mon Nov 07, 2016 3:37 am

And all caught up!

Thanks everyone who purchased copies of the book!
Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, Lucifer's Star, and The Rules of Supervillainy
Blog: http://unitedfederationofcharles.blogspot.com/

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Re: Cthulhu Armageddon - The Weird West in a Post-Apocalypse World

Post by CTPhipps » Wed Mar 08, 2017 11:31 pm

Hey folks,

I thought I'd let you know the sequel to CTHULHU ARMAGEDDON a.k.a THE TOWER OF ZHAAL is now available for purchase on Kindle and in paperback form with the audiobook version expected this April. It's basically my attempt to do a bigger and more awesome sequel as well as finally allow Cthulhu himself to appear.

Image

It has been a year since John Henry Booth's exile from New America and the fall of the Black Cathedral. Cursed with a slow transformation into a monster, he has begun a doomed relationship with fellow escapee Mercury Halsey as they seek some way to arrest his transformation.

Dubious hope arrives in the form of the University, the deranged scientists and cultists descended from the staff of Miskatonic University. Except, their offer of help comes at a price. Having sold themselves to ancient aliens called the Yith, they wish John and Mercury to join a group of rogues in hunting down a wayward member of their faculty: a man who intends to release the last of the sleeping Great Old Ones on an already ravaged planet. If they're telling the truth, John and Mercury will be heroes. If.

The Tower of Zhaal is the second novel of the Cthulhu Armageddon series, a post-apocalypse continuation of H.P. Lovecraft's popular Cthulhu Mythos.

The Kindle version

The Paperback version
Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, Lucifer's Star, and The Rules of Supervillainy
Blog: http://unitedfederationofcharles.blogspot.com/

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