• The Infractions Forum is available for public view. Please note that if you have been suspended you will need to open a private/incognito browser window to view it.

Beyond the Mountains of Madness Hellboy/DG crossover (!) advice needed

JonSolo

Member
RPGnet Member
I posted this one over at Yog-sothoth.com as well...

So I'm in the middle of re-reading BtMoM with the idea to adapting it for a rather unusual setting that I and one of my fellow GMs have come up with.

The premise is thus:

I am kicking the game off with a Delta Green scenario, Night Floors, set in the Hellboy/BPRD universe in the modern day. Characters will likely be Cthulhuesque in nature: scholars, academics, scientists, etc., the usual investigator types. But there may also be psychics, mediums, or even slightly more unusual beings, like an amphibious man, or a homonculus. Of course this dials down the effect of horror, but I think Hellboy manages to trod that edge of grittiness and darkness that still will put even these extraordinary individuals in peril.

At the conclusion of Night Floors, they end up in Carcosa, and eventually emerge (after a brief reference to the "tears" in Bioshock Infinite)... in 1933. The scenario is set in London so I'm still trying to work out if the Starkweather-Moore expedition would be departing from there or if I should get them to New York somehow to experience some of the action there. I plan on planting the idea during the Night Floors scenario that they will somehow be on the SME and that somewhere in Antarctica in the universe of Cthulhu 1933, there's a portal that will lead them back to the Night Floors (and therefore back to their own time and place). Of course that's a roundabout way of involving them in the plot to go south, but when traveling between worlds, it could conceivably be necessary!

Anyway, even after having read the scenario before, I'm having trouble sifting out the most important elements and how I should incorporate them with this particular milieu effectively. Not to mention, depending on the character composition, they may have some advantages (which I hope to let them exploit, within reason) over your "typical" Cthulhu investigators.

Because of the cinematic nature of the game I want to run, I'd like to make it less like a simulation, but I still want to carry the events realistically. Any advice as to what to keep or what to throw out? I think the deck fire before the Gabrielle sets sail should stay in, as well as the various acts of sabotage from Danforth/Williams as well as his agent Henning. They will also obviously have some issues/fun challenges simply fitting into the world of 1930s, as well as outfitting and disguising any of the less than human-looking characters.

The problem with departing from London, particularly in a race against Lexington, will be the route south-- the obvious route is around Africa and straight to the Weddell Sea, but by many accounts this is a far more treacherous path than taking a detour around south America, or going via the canal to the Bay of Whales and the Ross Shelf. Also, the SME then will likely be on the same time zone as BFE.

The rivalry with the Lexington Party will still be extant, as well as the eventual appearance of the BFE on the ice.

Oh and also, I want to drop the hints that Abigail Wright (the missing painter from Night Floors and ostensibly the whole reason they got mixed up in things in the first place), was somehow actually part of the original Miskatonic U. Expedition as their official artist, presumably after making her way through a similar process, only turning up much earlier, in time for the first expedition.

Abigail eventually made her way via another portal into the world of Hollow Earth expeditions, similar to what's described by the Poe novel referenced in BtMoM (the narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym from Nantucket), but to the rest of the world her fate is unknown.

Also, I found these cool notes over at rpg.net about some other interesting things that happen while in Antarctica: (from an RPG.net thread):

I'd suggest fleshing it out a bit with more Antarctic ambience. If you haven't read any of the great tales of Arctic and Antarctic exploration, this would be a good excuse. Shackleton's "Endurance" is probably the best of the bunch. I also enjoyed Fridtjof Nansen's "Farthest North," though it details exploration at the other pole. "The Last Place on Earth" is a modern analysis of the different approaches taken by the Norwegian and English teams in their early-century race to the south pole.

Here are some tidbits you might toss in, drawn from the various real-life accounts I've read:

Bad pemmican. This can cause constant digestive problems and malnourishment, and was probably responsible for the deaths of many on the ill-fated Karluk arctic expedition.

Leopard seal attack: These are real mean seals, the wolverines of marine mammals. I recall one incident where an explorer walking over some sea ice was nailed by a leopard seal waiting under the ice. It blasted up from below and locked onto his boot, only releasing him after his comrades beat it on the head with sharp pick-axes. These things are tough and big.

Orca attack: Shackleton's men lived in constant dread of getting killed by Orca. Whether or not the Orca would ever have decided to eat a person (doubtful--too much skin and bone and not enough fat), they had a nasty habit of tipping over massive pieces of sea ice in order to slide any seals off! Prolonged emersion in that water would certainly be fatal.

Weird ice effects: That much ice can do some pretty strange things. I recall reading descriptions of an ocean full of floating ice crystals that looked like white flowers. There are also many reports of crystal-clear mirages, magnifying and IIRC inverting distant mountains. I've read period accounts of sailors seeing what appeared to be distant cities with crazy upside-down buildings and people moving about. I suspect Lovecraft may have read some of these accounts himself.

Fogged glasses: In deep cold, even a bit of hot breath hitting glasses will turn to a thin layer of ice. It's really annoying, and would be doubly annoying if it happened when chased by a shoggoth!
Frozen rifles: It gets cold enough in Antarctica to freeze most rifle actions. IIRC, in MTMOM the expedition is equipped with .30'06 rifles, probably WWI surplus Springfield 1903's and Eddystone Enfields. Add some moisture to them and less-than-perfect care, and it's going to be a real pain to open the action. I've had this happen to me at the range up here, and it's nowhere near as cold in Alaska as it is in Antarctica. Extreme cold also decreases the effectiveness of cartridges. This won't matter for close range fighting, but for long range shots beyond 200 yards, it could mean the difference between a bullet hitting and a bullet smacking the ground several feet in front of the target.

Frostbite: If the characters are out on the ice for more than a week and don't have top-quality Saami or Innuit footwear, they will loose toes. Wool and leather does not cut the mustard.

Aurora Australius. Like the northern lights, only southern. If they're like the Northern Lights, when they get going that far south, these don't look like some distant beautiful light, they look like some alien ship is attacking the Earth with radiation beams.

Eating sled dogs. The Norwegians did it, the English didn't, or tried not to. I suspect Americans would if pressed. Nansen kept his dog team going by feeding the slow ones to the fast ones, then when the reached open water he ate the lead dog himself. Possible SAN loss for those with delicate sensibilities.

Eating Norwegians. Nuff said. But, and I want to make this perfectly clear, there is NO CANNIBALISM IN THE ROYAL NAVY! And when I say "none," I mean of course that there is a certain amount.


Part of me feels like I should just skip all of the preamble and from Carcosa have them appear directly on the Gabrielle as it steams south, perhaps being discovered as "stowaways" by the small squad of US Marines (or British SAS) that are also inexplicably aboard ship. But then, they'll miss a lot of the flavor of the 1930s and might just be consumed with "getting off the boat" so they can figure out what the heck is going on.

My group are all fans of the John Carpenter version of The Thing, so I'm tempted to subtly use some of the later appearances of the Shoggoths in that light, and for the finale, rather than play it as written (with them escaping via ship), have them discover yet another portal that leads to another universe altogether (either the Hollow Earth or elsewhere).

Thoughts, suggestions, comments are welcome.
 

CADmonkey

Registered User
Validated User
I just have a couple of little technical points to add:

Extreme cold also decreases the effectiveness of cartridges.
I've read that most ammo used in the 30's wouldn't fire at -40 degrees, this could make some fights very interesting.

Re the SAS, they didn't exist prior to WWII.
 

JonSolo

Member
RPGnet Member
I just have a couple of little technical points to add:
I've read that most ammo used in the 30's wouldn't fire at -40 degrees, this could make some fights very interesting.
Re the SAS, they didn't exist prior to WWII.
Thanks, CADmonkey for both those points. Yes, any firearms native to the time will be unreliable at best. But depending on the characters chosen, some might have brought their presumably more robust modern firearms and ammunition with them, but of course ammo will be scarce, and unless system points are put into them, they may slowly transmute to period weaponry.
Duly noted about the SAS-- I suppose they could be squaddies from a regiment or something suitably appropriate. Still not sure if I'm going to go that route, though, I may stick closer to the original adventure as written.
 

JonSolo

Member
RPGnet Member
If any of you were to run it, what would you ditch and what would you keep? Basically which are the most important scenes for the story?
 
Top Bottom