I recently saw half an episode of Foyles War the ITV series on homicide police investigations during World War 2. One of the elements that struck me was rivalry between neighbouring farmers. The murder victim had secured a place on a local land committee and was using that to force his neighbour to grow flax on unsuitable land as part of a plot to drive his rival to penury and expand his farm. This was a red herring but the local farming rivalries struck me as something with potential with a Call of Cuthulhu or GURPs horror scenario.
I like the Delta Green approach that it’s the evil in men and the use they put mythos or other supernatural elements to in their daily petty feuding thats really scary. So the scenario would be to set up a set of local rivalries, feuds etc; eccentuated by the pressures of the war. The mythos or supernatural element is fed into this and the investigators have to unravel the motive and perputator to have a chance again the creature(s) which are the tool of revenge.
And what of the investigators ?
- Police have potential may have too many resources unless (as the Wicker Man shows) we set it somewhere distant and remote
- An excellent idea employed by Matt of the Dissecting World Podcast was to use a bomber crew as investigators – the crew concerned could even be Americans or from the Commonwelath and hence have cultural issues tom deal with in investigatoing these matters. (Classic 1920s or 30s CoC investigators could even have been drafted.)
- Characters could be German spies sent under orders from the more archane elements of German Intelligence to investigate these goings on.
- The aged local squire and his Great War comrades (probably air raid wardens and Dad’s Army) and their wives (Women’s Royal Voluntary Service, Red Cross etc;) take up their waking sticks and purdy shotguns to investigate.
Let’s take the simple situation of a build up of things being ‘not quite right’ followed by a murder which is too messy to be by conventional human hands.
Amongst potential plot avenues (and borrowing freely from the plot elements of Foyles War and Inspector Jericho Strange stories recently in Judge Dredd Megazine) are:
Mundane Plot Elements (you would use some or all of these.)
- Meat or other black marketeering by land girls working on the farm (townie types could have real black market associations.)
- Sexual laision with one of other land girls working the farm producing jealousy
- Sexual or other harrassment of the land girls working the farm producing a plot for revenge,
- Infidelity prompting a response from the Farmer’s wife.
- Relations between the farmer’s wife (or wives) and say Italian POWs on day release to work on the farm.
- A local proto-Wiccan eccentric innocently minding their own business (or are they?) accused of the mischief. (Could even be patriots in the manner of Dion Fortunes alleged rituals to prevent the invasion of the UK in 1940.)
- Sharp business practice by the farmer such as using a position on a Land Committe for personal gain (as above), damming irrigation ditches or streams to harm another farmers enterprise etc;
- The farmer having an illegimate child as a serviceman during the Great War ?(perhaps French or Belgian) who now in the area has confronted him.
- Tensions between the locals (including the farmer or he could be on the side of the strangers) and US/Polish or other army unit based in the area (they could even just be Northerners, Scots or Welsh say in a southern village.)
- War Evacuees in the nasty ‘lord of the flies meets Just William mode.’
- A downed German airman in the area laying low (maybe with local pro-German help.)
- Black Marketeer/Loan shark gangsterisim (maybe from a serviceman garrissoned in the area?)
- I’m sure more will occur to people feel free to make suggestions in the comments below.
Occult Elements (you would use one or maybe two of these or it’s less a Call of Cthulhu scenario and more 1940s True Blood.)
- ‘little people’, Fairie or more (cough) priapic or horny nature spirits being invoked in the local feuds.
- Shub-Niggurath and her young being used to ensure the fertility of the land (with associated rites.)
- The curse of the Werewolf (or perhaps Were-Leopard if there is a retired big game hunter in the local Home Guard) being responsible for the murder.
- A perfectly mundane and deluded but bloodthirsty satanic cult.
- Ghosts of Witch-Finder victims from the English Civil War era (or religious persectutions.)
- An unfinished pre-war archeological dig let soemthing primevil escape (and the artifacts for controlling it fall into the wrong hands.).
- The dear old lady the evacuees are harrassing is actually a child eating witch – if only someone would listen.
- A local has come across some of Dr Jeykll’s tonic and is either using it themselves to kill/terrify rivals or administering it to unsuspcting friends or relatives of victims so enraged and encouraged they do the frightful deeds.
- It’s all a Nazi occult experiment for a terror weapon they intend to release on mass if it works.
Anyway just a few ideas. This is the only way to write one of these and have a chance of running it. I’d be interested to see what other people could add to it.