Dark Conspiracy-like novels

Any and all discussion about Dark Conspiracy, the RPG of modern conspiracy horror
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Linden
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Re: Dark Conspiracy-like novels

Post by Linden » Thu Mar 02, 2017 7:29 pm

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski. Fascinating and pretentious in equal measure. In Dark Conspiracy terms it's about the appearance of a dimensional portal in the wall of an ordinary suburban house. Beyond the portal is a protodimension comprising an infinite number of featureless rooms and corridors, kind of like a cross between Gothic and Grey from the P-Dim sourcebook. The houseowner, friends, relations and acquaintances explore the labyrinth and film their expeditions. The resulting footage is edited together into a documentary. The book is a critique of the film and features copious footnotes and quotations of real and fictional sources. The messy private life of the book's would be editor, one Johnny Truant also intrudes at various points. All very post modern, and nowhere as clever as it thinks it is. And yet... the main narrative concerning the exploration of the impossible labyrinth is well done and genuinely powerful at times.
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Re: Dark Conspiracy-like novels

Post by Linden » Sun Apr 02, 2017 8:41 pm

Sixty Three Closure by Anthony Frewin. A Kennedy assassination conspiracy thriller set in the unlikely location of Hitchin, a market town in Hertfordshire, UK. The narrator, an alcoholic freelance movie art director investigates the death of a friend. The authorities say it was an accident, but then some photographs arrive in the post, sent by the deceased before he supposedly fell onto a railway line. The pictures show Lee Harvey Oswald seemingly visiting Hitchin when he was supposed to be living in the USSR.

It's all pretty outlandish but well put together in a low key way that adds to the believability. There's a great scene towards the end where the protagonist visits a stately home used by the security services and discovers something like a disused Bond villain lair underneath. The sort of place you can imagine one of the more powerful DC minions putting to good use. There's also a short but interesting conversation with a freelance intelligence agent on the nature of conspiracies and their uses to the powers-that-be. Fits into that DC paradigm where the craziest stories, as reported by the tabloids, are true but destined never to be believed by the world at large.
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Re: Dark Conspiracy-like novels

Post by Morthrai » Sun Apr 02, 2017 10:30 pm

Despite my best efforts after all this time, this tune is what always comes to mind when the town of Hitchin is mentioned :D
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Re: Dark Conspiracy-like novels

Post by Marcus Bone » Mon Apr 03, 2017 12:12 am

Linden wrote:
Sun Apr 02, 2017 8:41 pm
...There's a great scene towards the end where the protagonist visits a stately home used by the security services and discovers something like a disused Bond villain lair underneath. The sort of place you can imagine one of the more powerful DC minions putting to good use...
This puts me in mind to write up a small adventure about this very idea...
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Re: Dark Conspiracy-like novels

Post by Linden » Fri Aug 25, 2017 8:48 pm

While on holiday read a couple of William Hope Hodgson classics:

The House on the Borderland Man, sister and dog move into remote house in Ireland. A dimensional rift opens nearby and they are assailed by a horde of pig demons. Narrator breaks out the firearms and proceeds to dispatch swine demons. So far, so DC. The second half of the novel is seemingly inspired by HG Wells' The Time Machine and consists of a lengthy trip to the heat death of our solar system. There are some strange mystical interludes which made me wonder if Hodgson had perhaps done mushrooms or some extra strength empathy boosters. Far out stuff although if you've seen 2001 perhaps you won't find it that unfamiliar.

The Boats of the Glen-Carrig Shipwreck survivors chance upon a continent composed of seaweed and do battle with giant squids, crabs and other freakish wildlife - the sort of thing that probably got HP Lovecraft all excited and singing Hodgson's praises. The ghoulish "weed men" who prove a particular bete noir for the crew seem a lot like DC's amphibious/tentacular ETs.
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Re: Dark Conspiracy-like novels

Post by Morthrai » Fri Aug 25, 2017 10:25 pm

The ghoulish "weed men"? I remember them from the Queen's Head, Golden Cross and the Valley rock nights ;)
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Re: Dark Conspiracy-like novels

Post by Linden » Sat Aug 26, 2017 9:36 am

Morthrai wrote:
Fri Aug 25, 2017 10:25 pm
The ghoulish "weed men"? I remember them from the Queen's Head, Golden Cross and the Valley rock nights ;)
Some of them are still around, although they've moved on to pastures new.

Challenge mag did a CoC adventure based on House on the Borderland although it involves lots of shooting and killing so might work better for Dark Conspiracy - the mythos elements are fairly peripheral. Just lose the references to Cthulhu and chums but keep the dimensional travel and killer pigs.
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Re: Dark Conspiracy-like novels

Post by Morthrai » Sun Aug 27, 2017 11:25 am

Linden wrote:
Sat Aug 26, 2017 9:36 am
Challenge mag did a CoC adventure based on House on the Borderland although it involves lots of shooting and killing so might work better for Dark Conspiracy - the mythos elements are fairly peripheral. Just lose the references to Cthulhu and chums but keep the dimensional travel and killer pigs.
As it happens I was looking for something to use as a convention one-shot for DC, and that sounds like a good basis. :)
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Re: Dark Conspiracy-like novels

Post by Linden » Mon Aug 28, 2017 4:00 pm

Morthrai wrote:
Sun Aug 27, 2017 11:25 am
Linden wrote:
Sat Aug 26, 2017 9:36 am
Challenge mag did a CoC adventure based on House on the Borderland although it involves lots of shooting and killing so might work better for Dark Conspiracy - the mythos elements are fairly peripheral. Just lose the references to Cthulhu and chums but keep the dimensional travel and killer pigs.
As it happens I was looking for something to use as a convention one-shot for DC, and that sounds like a good basis. :)
You might also have to find a way around the hoary old cliche of a PC-inherits-an-old-house. Surely the Cthulhoid equivalent of fantasy characters finding their motivation in the local inn?
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Re: Dark Conspiracy-like novels

Post by ReHerakhte » Tue Aug 29, 2017 4:25 pm

I am right there with you Linden on changing some of the written adventures methods of getting the group together/off on the next adventure.
It used to annoy the Hell out of me to read some adventures where it started "One of the PCs knows the victim/investigator/journalist etc. etc." I had actually done some cursory thought on a game some years ago where one of the PCs had to inherit a house to get the adventure started.

I think at the time I decided that none of the PCs was going to inherit it because 'screw the cliche'. Instead someone who knew a Contact of one of the PCs actually inherits the house and decides that they want to offload it. They would then ask the Contact if they knew anyone interested in buying a house, going real cheap because nobody else seems willing to buy it (due to the rumours of whatever "strange things" fits the bill). I think I was hoping the Players would grab onto the "strange things" and motivate themselves to investigate!
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Re: Dark Conspiracy-like novels

Post by Linden » Wed Aug 30, 2017 6:50 pm

ReHerakhte wrote:
Tue Aug 29, 2017 4:25 pm
I am right there with you Linden on changing some of the written adventures methods of getting the group together/off on the next adventure.
It used to annoy the Hell out of me to read some adventures where it started "One of the PCs knows the victim/investigator/journalist etc. etc."
I can think of a prolific 1990s CoC scenario author who used that particular method a lot, much to my irritation as well. I'm sure I don't have to name names. :wink:

Arguably that approach is a bit more acceptable in DC? The character generation process creates contacts, none of whom absolutely have to be identified right away. One or two of them could appear on the scene in need of help. Probably still not best to overuse it as a device though.

Thinking about it, I very rarely run a scenario as written and I think the scenario intro/start is probably the section that gets rewritten the most often.
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Re: Dark Conspiracy-like novels

Post by ReHerakhte » Fri Sep 01, 2017 2:13 am

I am pretty sure the prolific writer you speak of also wrote a number of DC scenarios which while good enough in themselves despite some of them seeming to be little more than rewrites of his CoC adventures and the annoying start method, also had the somewhat annoying habit of introducing a newly created bestie/minion for every single adventure.
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Re: Dark Conspiracy-like novels

Post by Morthrai » Fri Sep 01, 2017 11:35 am

ReHerakhte wrote:
Fri Sep 01, 2017 2:13 am
I am pretty sure the prolific writer you speak of also wrote a number of DC scenarios which while good enough in themselves despite some of them seeming to be little more than rewrites of his CoC adventures and the annoying start method, also had the somewhat annoying habit of introducing a newly created bestie/minion for every single adventure.
If it's the person I have in mind, I recall a conversation I had at ConTinuum a few years back where a couple of published Chaosium writers said the same thing about him creating a new monster every time in his CoC material! :D
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Re: Dark Conspiracy-like novels

Post by Linden » Fri Sep 01, 2017 11:53 am

Yes, we know who he is :wink:
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Re: Dark Conspiracy-like novels

Post by Phulish » Sun Sep 03, 2017 12:04 am

Did he also introduce weapons of strange metals and the like also?

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