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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Jeff the Green's Avatar

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    Default 1920s supernatural New Orleans plots

    I'm going to be running a game set in 1920s New Orleans using the Dresden Files RPG rules (though not the lore). I've got a fair amount of the city and its politics set out, and some of its themes, like the struggle between the main factions (the immortal Marie Laveau and her voodoo followers, the mob, and the ineffectual city government), the ghosts (both literal and figurative) of the Civil War, and the supernatural being just barely below the surface.

    I'm having trouble coming up with good plots, though. Any ideas?
    Last edited by Jeff the Green; 2016-01-03 at 07:38 PM.
    Author of The Auspician's Handbook and The Tempestarian's Handbook for Spheres of Power.
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  2. - Top - End - #2
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Lvl 2 Expert's Avatar

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    Default Re: 1920s supernatural New Orleans plots

    What kind of people are your player characters? What kind of problems do they solve? A supernatural detective story is going to play out very differently from a supernatural political story, a supernatural reporter story or a supernatural vampire hunter story. Do the PC's get supernatural powers? What kind of supernatural powers are there in this world? Do the PC's have some sort of job? Is there a specific event that introduces them to the hidden side of the city?

    I think plots will be much easier to set up if you limit your scope a little more. You can always branch out later in the story.

    It will also be easier for people here to give you tips if you give us some extra information.

    EDIT: Well, obviously I was wrong. Lots of ideas here. Keep it up folks!
    Last edited by Lvl 2 Expert; 2016-01-04 at 05:53 PM.
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    Default Re: 1920s supernatural New Orleans plots

    This thread title is sexy as hell...

    Are you looking for an overarching plot or just individual storylines?

    Overarching plot: An additional, spoiler, faction intends to manipulate the two sides into a misstep so that it can destroy or make a puppet out of one or the other.

    Overarching Plot: There is something going on that makes it obvious that magic is being -drawn- to Louisiana. Someone or Something is making it a stronger nexus point than before: To what end?

    Individual Plot: Recovering Blackmail Material and/or killing of blackmailers currently holding compromising information on one side or the other.

    Individual Plot: Amid all the political intrigue there are still other criminals and issues. A Local Gang has begun attempting to summon demons.

    Individual Plot: It turns out that one of the functionaries of one faction or the other is secretly altering documents and decrees to satisfy their own political career and/or financial gain. Find the corruption within the faction. Plot Twist: It's someone from the other faction who infiltrated for REASONS that lead to another plot.
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    Not everyone has the resources or the ability to become a wizard or a sorcerer, after all. Warlocking just requires a pact, very democratic, really. Doesn't require wealth or a magical lineage, just a promise, and all of your problems will go away.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    SolithKnightGuy

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    Default Re: 1920s supernatural New Orleans plots

    Have one character who used to be a saucier, and he will reveal this information while walking with the leader of the PCs. As soon as that happens, they get attacked by a tiger.

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    Orc in the Playground
     
    GraaEminense's Avatar

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    Default Re: 1920s supernatural New Orleans plots

    The two Call of Cthulhu books on the city could serve as inspiration? They are explicitly everything in the headline.

    The older one, Secrets of New Orleans (Chaosium), is a pretty good guide to the city itself with a few decent hooks. The newer one, Tales of the Crescent City (Golden Goblin Press) is mostly a collection of CoC scenarios. Probably less useful since they are CoC-specific, but if you're looking for ideas they are there.

    Advertisements aside: Mardi Gras Krewes are essentially Freemason Lodges with annual parades and fierce competition between them. They are obviously all cultists. As I understand it, New Orleans also had a weird fixation on family bonds, blood relationships, race and ancestry that didn't quite fit with the rest of the US in the 1920s (degrees of Creole-ness could somewhat trump the black/white divide when determining informal status, for example). Obviously that's because of some particular trait of those of French or Spanish descent...

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    Kobold

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    Default Re: 1920s supernatural New Orleans plots

    Secret societies in a war between themselves, and an Cthonic earth spirit bent on consuming the city (and you thought the mausoleums were due to flooding). To help their fight (and free resources for battling one another), the societies inspire mania and madness to generate psychic energy to fuel their efforts, harvested through a final parade. Who knew that the Krewes were badass wizards?

    About a decade ago, a serial killer (and jazz enthusiast) walked the streets. He was never found.
    Three nights ago, someone was killed in their sleep with an axe. Last night, it happened again, Has the Mysterious Axman Returned?

    Taking a page from recent supernatural series, run the plots of stories and fairy tales, with a 1920's Crescent City twist. Little Red Riding Hood makes a foundation for Werewolf tales. As do the three little pigs, peter and the wolf... and anything else with a wolf in it, really. Debutante's recently remarried father dies under mysterious circumstances. The girl flees the home, ends up sheltered by an eccentric swamp family of seven brothers. Whether you go Grimm, Disney, or Fables with your Snow White twist is up to you. You could run with a "Stories as Rituals" angle where someone is deliberately setting up fairy tales for some purpose.

    Weather and water are always factors for the city. Sometimes the mundane is a plot.

    Bootlegging and Moonshining. Prohibition is in full swing. Sometimes the spirits contain actual spirits. Bad moonshine can kill you, but a haunted still might curse you.

    You got a railroad, you got a circus. Knock yourself out.

    Selling your soul at a crossroads at midnight to play awesome music.

    Portents of the future. I was working on a similar concept (set in 1938), using actual history as keys to the future. Mine was a gathering storm of war, but for the 20's you're set for the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression.

    Quote Originally Posted by Douche View Post
    Have one character who used to be a saucier, and he will reveal this information while walking with the leader of the PCs. As soon as that happens, they get attacked by a tiger.
    You've got to hold that tiger.
    Last edited by Joe the Rat; 2016-01-04 at 10:55 AM.
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    DrowGuy

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    Default Re: 1920s supernatural New Orleans plots

    Take a look at Deadlands Noir. The base book assumes New Orleans in the 1930's and involves plenty of Voodoo, but also some other interesting magics. One of my favorites involves a particularly nasty bootlegged beverage that turns those that drink it into violent monsters. Appropriately enough, people call it Red Rum.

    Crossroads devils also make for interesting stories, everyone loves the classic blues singer who sold his soul to the devil.

    Other interesting creatures from Deadlands noir include False Faces, clown-like monsters that like to stalk around during Mardi Gras when they don't attract attention. As well as some monsters from Cajun folklore like the Letiche (basically a killer kroc kind of monster said to be the result of an orphaned child raised by alligators) and the Rougarou (kind of like a Werewolf except it can't change back and the curse passes to whomever kills it).

    Also take a look into the Tonton Macoute, a boogeyman from haitian folklore for some voodoo themed enemies that aren't all shambling zombies.

    I believe there's an interesting book called Southern Gods that mixes Southern Gothic, Noir, and Lovecraft quite effectively together. I haven't personally read it but it seems up your alley.
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    Jeff the Green's Avatar

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    Default Re: 1920s supernatural New Orleans plots

    Quote Originally Posted by Lvl 2 Expert View Post
    What kind of people are your player characters?
    Dunno; we haven't had our first session yet. One player has indicated an interest in being a Cajun chef. I'm going to try to push the other into something involving jazz or the mob.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lvl 2 Expert View Post
    Do the PC's get supernatural powers? What kind of supernatural powers are there in this world?
    Yes, if they want them. Generally subtle.
    • There's various supernatural creatures that they could be like rugarus or Riceian vampires.
    • Voodoo/Vodou is available, and is mostly ritual stuff—what you can do largely depends on whether you're a houngan (priest) or bokor (sorcerer).
    • Alternatively, hoodoo can be found. Like voodoo, it's mostly ritual, but more limited.
    • Catholic faith magic is very subtle, like making holy water, performing exorcisms, or gaining strength against unholy enemies.
    • Native (Choctaw and Chitimacha) magic is available, if very rare, and has a wider variety of uses.
    Author of The Auspician's Handbook and The Tempestarian's Handbook for Spheres of Power.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lateral View Post
    Well, of course I'm paranoid about everything. Hell, with Jeff as DM, I'd be paranoid even if we were playing a game set in The Magic Kiddie Funland of Perfectly Flat Planes and Sugar Plums.
    Greenman by Bradakhan/Spring Greenman by Comissar/Autumn Greenman by Sgt. Pepper/Winter Greenman by gurgleflep

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    GreataxeFighterGuy

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    Default Re: 1920s supernatural New Orleans plots

    I really like this concept! It looks great, and I just wanted to share a few ideas. They're just small concepts that popped into my head when I saw the premise of the game.
    • An ironclad ghost ship filled with Undead Confederate soldiers
    • Swamp-related voodoo- possessed gators, water/plant magic
    • A fortuneteller who is supernaturally accurate. When the PCs visit her, though, she says that their "future is missing"
    • A living skeleton, who acts just like a normal person, acting as an underground information broker. And wearing a snappy old-fashioned suit
    Currently worldbuilding Last Haven: a setting formed on a titan's corpse! If you have a moment, I would love your feedback!

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: 1920s supernatural New Orleans plots

    It's a port city, so all kinds of things could be trying to get into America through there.

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    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: 1920s supernatural New Orleans plots

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    There was quite an interest in Oriental* mysticism. Some of the Tintin stories might give you some ideas.
    A little mad science, mixing the occalt magic with Rational Science sounds fun, and there's always kooks trying things that are 'mundane' but immoral, like kidnapping people for unethical experiments; people most don't give a damn about, like the Negro* kid who sits around the dock and the Jap* who spends all his days on the reefer!
    *I'm using these words intentionally. I know they're rather taboo now, but they were part of the language then.
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    Flumph

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    Default Re: 1920s supernatural New Orleans plots

    Do be careful with your Cajun food, jazz, and Vodou, as any of your players who are familiar with Disney movies will point out similarities to The Princess and the Frog.

    Or alternatively, grab that plot by the ankles, shake it upside down, and take whatever falls out of its pockets! Everybody loves a twist on an old favorite!
    "So can I dual-wield quarterstaves?" - My very first RPG session

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Re: 1920s supernatural New Orleans plots

    There are some obvious things you could hit up to play on the New Orleans flavor, like Cajun cultists spawning up Chtulhu-ish crocodile monsters. Or maybe there's a subset of were-crocs that are killing the local populace because they are threatening their wetlands. You could play up some political intrigue, and have a politician cutting favors to some unshady folks. You could have class/race warfare, but be careful with that and know your players. Ghosts are a pretty obvious way to go. Smuggling, psychics and strip clubs are well within that wheelhouse as well.

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: 1920s supernatural New Orleans plots

    Quote Originally Posted by LnGrrrR View Post
    There are some obvious things you could hit up to play on the New Orleans flavor, like Cajun cultists spawning up Chtulhu-ish crocodile monsters. Or maybe there's a subset of were-crocs that are killing the local populace because they are threatening their wetlands. You could play up some political intrigue, and have a politician cutting favors to some unshady folks. You could have class/race warfare, but be careful with that and know your players. Ghosts are a pretty obvious way to go. Smuggling, psychics and strip clubs are well within that wheelhouse as well.
    Someone using magic to cheat at gambling, or . . . someone caught up in a spectral poker game, where the stakes are getting high. Oh, so very high indeed.
    Quote Originally Posted by Calanon View Post
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  15. - Top - End - #15
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Lvl 2 Expert's Avatar

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    Default Re: 1920s supernatural New Orleans plots

    You definitely need some kind of character based on one of those river boats. Probably some kind of mob boss who runs a nightclub of sorts on it and holds high stakes poker tournaments there. That guy himself is probably completely mundane, but he either has some magical evil person as a business partner (not necessarily more evil than a mob boss, but more magical) or has loaned too much money from some way too shady loan sharks. Bonus points if they are actually some sort of shark shamans with a were-shark form or a shark-like monster they can call from the darkness. (Crocodiles or ravens might fit the setting better, but I just can't resist a bad pun.) (Also: no I don't know where they got the money. It probably looks like they stole it in a series of heists, but that wasn't actually them, the money is actually false and just magic'd paper.)

    When not dealing with the mob boss, the native magic loan shark shamans also just generally terrorize the swamps. There are quite some spooky tales about them, but they're hard to find if they don't want to be. They never run into people on accident.

    One of the chefs (or head waiters, they're creepier) in the restaurant district is also a magician, does mostly ritual magic with brews, potions and foods. Is known for being helpful and a good person, and surprise surprise, actually is a helpful and good person. But he'll probably become a suspect in some case or another at some point. Whether the PC's trust him or not while finding the shadow dancer-like creepy person that actually did it is up to them.

    Depending on how familiar your players are with the setting, I'd probably use whatever I can from what they remember from The Princess and the Frog. For me personally (but I'm not an American, that helps), that movie is probably about half I know about the setting, if not more, and I've seen it ones. Whenever you use an element that was also in there (jazz, mardi gras, crocodiles, voodoo, cooking, river boats, frogs, hell maybe even dicing mushrooms) it automatically triggers their sense of "o yeah that belongs in a setting like this". Just be careful not to use any of the movies plot lines too much, and mix and match the elements where possible.
    Last edited by Lvl 2 Expert; 2016-01-13 at 06:58 AM.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Re: 1920s supernatural New Orleans plots

    Having been to New Orleans quite a bit, one thing that stands out is how the city really affects all your senses. You've got the unique fragrance of Bourbon Street, the taste of gator nuggets, the fact that there is almost ALWAYS someone on the beginning of Bourbon Street playing music, the artists hawking paintings outside the Jackson park, etc etc.

    Another thing I'd hit upon is that in downtown New Orleans, there's always something going on. Those silver-painted mimes, shows, street magicians... heck I went down a back alley and saw a married couple getting professional photos done. The mix of stores downtown aids that... you have high end art shops a few streets away from clothing stores and restaurants. Now maybe all that stuff wasn't there in 1920, but you can still create the image of a vibrant, living city, where each street may hold something new.

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    Jeff the Green's Avatar

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    Default Re: 1920s supernatural New Orleans plots

    Quote Originally Posted by LnGrrrR View Post
    Having been to New Orleans quite a bit, one thing that stands out is how the city really affects all your senses. You've got the unique fragrance of Bourbon Street, the taste of gator nuggets, the fact that there is almost ALWAYS someone on the beginning of Bourbon Street playing music, the artists hawking paintings outside the Jackson park, etc etc.
    Yeah, I plan on having zydeco or jazz playing in the background during our sessions. If we didn't have to do it over Skype (one of the players is leaving for Ireland in a couple days) I'd make red beans and rice, grillades, eggs sardou, or shrimp and grits on occasion. Maybe once she comes back...

    Thanks everybody, for the help!
    Author of The Auspician's Handbook and The Tempestarian's Handbook for Spheres of Power.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lateral View Post
    Well, of course I'm paranoid about everything. Hell, with Jeff as DM, I'd be paranoid even if we were playing a game set in The Magic Kiddie Funland of Perfectly Flat Planes and Sugar Plums.
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    Ettin in the Playground
     
    RangerGuy

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    Default Re: 1920s supernatural New Orleans plots

    Make the food anyway, and show them to the players over webcam.

    You don't even have to share the food!

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    DrowGuy

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    Default Re: 1920s supernatural New Orleans plots

    Quote Originally Posted by goto124 View Post
    Make the food anyway, and show them to the players over webcam.

    You don't even have to share the food!
    But then you won't have players anymore...

    Or at least player's that are your friends.
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