On November 9th, 1918, a disheveled Norwegian man appeared on Manhattan beach. His hair was tangled with ash, his face was blackened by mud, and his clothes, once crisp military fatigues, were torn to tatters. He screamed in French while throwing stacks of fresh German newspapers dated for the 11th.
It didn’t take long before the police apprehended the man, he went willingly. Even less time passed before he was transferred into the custody of Federal authorities, but they could not collect all the newspapers before the press got to them. Upon sight of the headline, three were driven to hysteria. The same photo and headline was published in the New York Times the next day.
“Behold!” It says. “Our Kaiser’s new might turns the tides of war!”
The image is taken from above the trenches. Three soldiers in muddy fatigues hang floating from the air by their feet as if they were strung up on meat hooks. Each man’s mouth is held open in silent agony as they claw at their faces with filthy hands. Their hair dangles towards the ground, clotted with blood. The man on the right clings to a ripped French flag as if it were a blanket fresh from the dryer. On the right, the man tears at his face with a shattered crucifix. The face in the middle is already dead, a black tendril of flesh spurts from his side. In the distance is the giant, floating figure of a gas mask obscured by clouds of mustard. Tendrils splay around the air in place of the filter.
Mass hysteria ensued. The government tried to talk down the public, assuring them it was all a joke in bad taste, but there was power behind the image. Enough to drive those of a more feeble mind into panic. Many cried that the end times were coming, and those were affirmed when news came from over the sea that the war had entered a period of white peace after the Germans took Paris. Refugees soon followed, mostly those fleeing German rule mixed with soldiers desperately returning home, all with tales of the horror they had endured. The government tried to write it off as ‘Shell Shock’, ‘Postwar Hysteria’, or any number of pseudoscientific terms to churn out disbelief, but the damage had already been done. Within a month, news outlets beyond the confines of NYC had started to pick up on the stories of The Things Beyond and the Eldritch forces conjured by the Kaiser and, later, his enemies. That the war had only entered peace because each side had the favor of a being with enough power to erase the European continent from existence.
Someone did something drastic in a desperate bid to protect the public, or at least buy more time. They tried to erase the past two months from New York. Scrub the public clean. It went further than that. In a matter of hours, a hurricane of unimaginable proportions hit NYC and lifted it into the sky while a new one grew beneath it, but it was different somehow, far more like New Orleans than New York ever had been. People didn’t believe it at first, but the physical evidence said otherwise and the people talked as if their city had always been more French than English. The climate changed, too. Central Park had become a swamp, hot dogs became dirty rice, and Cajun infected their English.
This is where our Roleplay begins; In a city called New Marsay
To put it simply, this takes place in the year 1920 in an alternate-history period where the European powers summoned the great old ones in an effort to end the war. Those beings vie against each other for greater power to not only defeat their rivals, but eventually take the world and shape it in their image. Their cold war is tangential to our story, however.
We will tell the stories of cultists, private eyes, police, secret agents, and common folks caught up in powers beyond their imaginations in an alternate version of New York City which has been supernaturally fused with New Orleans. Alongside the prohibition and the roaring twenties is an underworld filled with forbidden knowledge the sort to drive a man insane, and powers to make them greater than any human. Likewise, the government fears these new powers and has begun work on building their own Eldritch god to protect the states from the inevitable.
I know it’s a bit disorganized now, but here’s a list of some inspirations and genres.
- Genres: Noir, Eldritch Horror, Period Piece
- Literature: A Study in Emerald by Neil Gaiman, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, most things H.P. Lovecraft, the more existential things from the Secure Contain Protect wiki, and
- Film: Stranger Things, Twin Peaks, X-Files, really any psychological/eldritch horror movie you can think of. (I need recommendations.)
- Games: Sunless Seas, Cultist Simulator, Tales from the Loop, Call of Cthulu, Delta Green
And some core conceits about the setting:
- Eldritch beings were summoned to end WWI, this is a period of peace
- On a national scale, there is an occult arms race
- On the street scale, people are confused. There is misinformation left and right, but most people don’t believe the crazy stories about ancient evils and living mustard gas. Those people are immigrants seeking pity or soldiers trying to cope with the traumas of war.
I’m not married to any single one, but here are some of the things that are happening in our NOLA/NYC setting.
- Special agents investigating and shutting down cults.
- A secret society taking their chance to enter the limelight
- Mildly unhinged scientists as they try to cobble together enough occult knowledge to protect the nation and protect themselves from true insanity.
- A detective with a will strong enough to resist the occult, seeking.
Honestly not the best plot hooks, but it's a start. I’m personally very unfamiliar with this genre so I do not want to be the sole authoritative figure for the setting. I’m just here to set up some weird plots and talk occult. If anything, I’ll make sure everything is tied together in the most convoluted way possible.
Either @ or DM me via discord if you’re interested Dekkys#9984. The more cultists we have, the better!