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.
Go to Comment
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.
Go to Comment
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.
Go to Comment
Now all but lost among larger vessels, the ships enhanced radar suite and IFF transponder are unexpected prizes for the lucky (or curious) salvager.
I like it, although I would have kept the real-world presence of NISMF Philadelphia; having a bunch of inactive and stricken warships (including the Kennedy, the Tico and the Yorktown) around would have their own useful plot threads. Plenty of plot possibilities all around.
Go to Comment
AG Edit: The replies to this particular comment got out of hand and was removed from the submission itself at Silveressa's request.
This has a strong World of Darkness feel to it. Or at least like it is part of a much larger setting. I like how there are worse things out there than mafioso thugs and how the horror aspect is understated but full of possibilities. The plot hooks are great and further give a sense of the overall setting.
Again, masterful use of the quest freetext.
Go to Comment
They seem so inviting, these seemingly intact houses with their doors gaping open invitingly, but they are deadly traps and demonic beings in their own right, although their intelligence is more at the plant level. First, their cupboards and fridges are stacked full of food;this is genuine, but eat or drink here and you will need food and water to survive, and these things are not all that common.The baths and beds are deadly-the first will turn acidic once you are fully covered in *water*, the second turns into a toothy mouth as soon as you sleep and crunches you up. The thing can read your mind and makes the bed look the same as your own in the human world down to any toy anmals. Die here, and you wake up in a nastier level of hell. Stay here too long without being digested, and the curtains and carpets turn into tentacles with sharp poison claws and swipe at you.
Go to Comment
How the zombie children formed is unknown but they start as ones who do not look dead at all.In this stage, they are no more evil then most children. However, they must eat human flesh every 24 hours or they start to rot. First just looking pale, then their veins and arteries go green and purple and then the whole body rots. The more the body rots the hungrier it becomes, both like a wild animal hungry for meat and because it knows if it does not feed for a month it's body will fall apart and the soul will end in a deeper, fouler, level of hell.Once it eats it's body resets to the level of freshness of the human flesh it has just started eating...only to start rotting all over again.
Thomas and Sarah
Back on Earth Thomas and Sarah were deeply in love and others envied the couple. Sadly they were attacked by zombies within a matter of days and although Thomas was able to chop them down with the sword he had with him when he died back on Earth Sarah was not so lucky and died slowly of her infected wounds. So much in love with her was Thomas that he has insisted to himself that she is still alive and he drags her dead body with him everywhere he goes. Even though the once-pretty brown eyes are now full of maggots, the once fair skin is purple with decay and the body stinks,Thomas insists that she has got a bit lazy and sleeps a lot and will wake given time.
Go to Comment
He kisses her, talks to her often and asks her what she thinks about new people,and should anyone or anything try to take her from him, either to bury,, burn or eat her, he will fight to the death to protect his *princess.*