Like Val said, it's good, and deserves a good rating. Alas, toxic waste, mutants and ruins have been done before; the added novelty lies in the fact that a large part of the setting are ships.
Also, them utants don't have too much space allocated to them, and seem vaguely generic.
So, it's good, and useful, though I'd elaborate on a) the native 'fauna' , think up some more original plot hooks, and spice the prose up a bit.
I like the overall feel of this. It reminds me of some of my favorite submissions: The Lost City of Akelor, The Field of 10000 Skulls, The Mountain of Boats, etc. It's got a good solid history to it, and contains enough content to be a recurring location. You can use it for any number of plots, and it provides those plots with a minimum of effort thanks to the details and history.
Very nicely done.
I like how this reads. It gives you a bit of verisimilitude and the juicy mundane, and mixes it with the shadow of "other things". I enjoy scenarios like these. It is these type of set-ups that my jaded players enjoy, because A. They don't know what will happen next and don't know what to expect and B. No matter how you slice it, when "Philadelphia" replaces "Gaglavmagrog, City of Gargoyles" it gets a bit sexier. (note, i don't play world of darkness, or cthulhu anything, or any kind of horror on the market, or any published game really---I just make my players guess)
There is just so much good to say about this one, ships are already romantic things and very personal things. I have been working on a ship scrap yard like the ones in Alang India. But after reading this I realize what I had left out. Each of these ships could be post, the plots could be a post but instead you give this whole thing all intertwined.
The Golitsyn (SECRET SUNKEN STEAM SHIP FROM CZARIST RUSSIA!) (try saying that three times)
In 1863, during the height of the American Civil War the Russian Atlantic and Pacific Fleets wintered in the Union Ports on the North America. Like all things Russian, the gesture was significant but the exact meaning was enigmatic. The Lincoln administration spun it as a sign of support for the Union cause and as counter weight to the threat of French and English intervention on the Confederate behalf. Others have suggested that Russia believed itself to be on the brink of war with England and France over the question of Polish sovereignty and wanted to prevent their fleets from becoming ice bound or blockaded. While most of the Russian Atlantic fleet laid anchor in New York, one ship, the Steam frigate Aleksandr Mikhailovich Golitsyn, arrived in Philadelphia. Whether the Golitsyn had an official mission to Philadelphia or was “separated” from the fleet during the crossing will never be known. Confederate spies had learned of the Golistyn’s approach and decided not to let Russian influence go uncontested. Considering what the Golitsyn was carrying it is also possible and likely that other parties had found a way to influence the Confederate agents towards their own end.
The day after he (According to the author's memory of Tom Clancy novels, Russian ships are always male) set anchor, Confederate saboteurs boarded and blew the boiler on the Golitsyn. The ship, most of her crew and all of her cargo sank in less than a quarter hour. The Golitsyn’s presence and its sinking was kept a secret and never officially acknowledged by either the Union government or the Russian Admiralty. The Lincoln administration did not wish to advertise the success Confederate saboteurs. The Russian Admiralty was not truly interested or capable of becoming involved in an American Civil War and did not wish to deal with the consequences of acknowledging an isolated act of aggression against their forces by the Confederacy. Today the half buried wreckage of the Golitsyn sits under the decaying remains of the Philadelphia Shipyard’s “younger” retirees. But thanks to his cargo, the Golitsyn has not entirely been forgotten.
In the 1800s pogroms against Jews in Russia and Eastern Europe had been on the rise. Immigration of Eastern European Jews to the United States had also been on the rise. The USA of the 1860s presented an interesting problem for the Jews, true there had been a rise of anti-Semitism manifested by General Order Number 11 and wide spread scapegoating of their communities all over the North. But there was also hope, Lincoln had over turned Order Number 11, they allowed Jewish Chaplains into the military and there was always the promise of the American Constitution that a man was free to have his religion. It seemed clear that even after centuries of living side by side the Russian masses were never going to accept Jews as true countrymen. It was decided that one of greatest treasure of the Eastern European Jewish Communities would be smuggled out of Europe and into the United States. The captain of the Golitsyn agreed to carry the treasure to the United States and this treasure is still with the Golitsyn’s wreckage.
The Golitsyn was carrying the Golem. After the Golem’s creation in Prague it was moved secretly around Europe, staying mostly dormant (met), only occasionally be reanimated to protect communities but he was always a power too great to be wielded by flawed mortal men (maybe if they had let women study…). If the Golem is brought up from the wreckage he can be animated by changing the inscription on his head from met to emet. After that he will serve to protect his master and his family from any perceived threats. Let us hope the calligrapher speaks Hebrew.
There was also a survivor of the Golitsyn, a Russian-Jew, who hid his identity and settled in Philadelphia. His family has quietly passed the story of the Golitsyn and the Golem down for generations. Plus there are still rumors (in circles that gossip about Jewish mysticism) that the Golem was smuggled to Philadelphia in the 1860s, but these rumors have forgotten the Golitsyn.
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There is also another connection to present time in the form of an hourglass. The Golitsyn still used watch hourglasses and when the boiler blew the mid-shipman in command of the deck watched his life and the sands of the watch hourglass drain the simultaneously. That glass survives to this day and still has air in it. If it ever comes free from the wood and rot binding it, the hourglass will float to the surface. The Mid-shipman’s spirit or psionic shadow is linked to the glass. Whoever, finds it will be haunted until at least some piece (the hour glass counts) of the Mid-shipman and his young lover (who was also a sailor on the ship) are brought up and returned to their home city of Perm (third class mail would be fine).
I think this quite a good sub - it has a lot of potential for a modern RPG.
As for my own voting method, I am also quite stingy with a full '5' rating. For me, a 5 needs to set off alarm bells in some manner - a holy crap moment :). Sometimes it is due to the magnitude and effort, sometimes due to a unique aspect that makes me think.
For the record, there are subs which have the Golden designation that have 4.5 ratings from me.
I don't know _how_ to change this sub to become a 5 - but I need to reserve that score for those subs that do connect with me at that level.
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A older destroyer dating back a couple decades, this ship was sent into permanent retirement after a new radar and missile guidance system malfunctioned, burning out the wiring on several decks and creating a repair job that simply wasn't cost effective.
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Now all but lost among larger vessels, the ships enhanced radar suite and IFF transponder are unexpected prizes for the lucky (or curious) salvager.