Post-Masquerade Lovecraftian Setting

I’ve recently been running a “Delta Green” campaign that takes place in a Post-Masquerade setting - people became aware of the supernatural in the 1990s and now seek to exploit it in the present day. I created the setting because I felt the “Masquerade” (governments’ attempts to keep humanity ignorant about the supernatural) is incredibly unrealistic after the 1990’s and it requires a lot of hand-wavey assumptions. Instead, I wanted to create a plausible modern-day setting for Lovecraftian horror. The horror here seems to downplay the monsters themselves, instead focusing on humans’ attempts to use these monsters, heedless of the consequences.

I relied on feedback from N@TO (an unofficial discord for Delta Green fans) and my fellow players (in the Houston Gauntlet gaming group) to help flesh this setting out. I would appreciate any feedback you may have on this setting.

I also have a campaign site as well, which include game session logs. So you could probably follow along and see how well the “Post-Masquerade setting” works in gameplay (hint: it’s going great). The campaign itself also includes The Network - a US/Soviet military alliance that was founded in a DitV campaign that ended in a non-nuclear World War Three, though it is possible to run “Post-Masquerade” campaigns that follow OTL, more or less.

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Honestly reading through this, I feel like there’s parallels to how often we see sympathetic demons and other-worldly creatures in fiction these days. One could even joke that the entire paranormal romance genre is a subtle influence from the other side to get mortals to accept forbidden knowledge

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This was a fun read, thanks! I am immediately drawn to a campaign or adventure battling conspiracy theorists who insist the unnatural is actually perfectly fine and safe and that it’s only the woke deep state trying to take away our freedoms by preventing us reading the King In Yellow or whatever.

I am curious if you make any changes to the Sanity rules - if everyone knows about the unnatural, is encountering it still as hazardous to agents’ minds and relationships?

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Technically, I am running a homebrew version of Cthulhu Dark and refer to “Insight” rather than “Insanity”. So I don’t model relationships, though any encounters with the unnatural does trigger a check to see if players gain Insight/Insanity (Max Insight = 0 SAN). Also, you can only gain Insight/Insanity via encounters with the unnatural - mundane stresses has no effect.

However, I did not modify my homebrew rules to account for the “Post-Masquerade” setting - the unnatural still remains just as hazardous as it was before the Masquerade fell. The point about the unnatural is that its comprehension is only possible when SAN hits 0, and it is this lack of comprehension that is hazardous to humanity. That still stays constant, even if one recognizes this fact.

In addition, there’s a difference between theory and practice, and it is this practice that is somewhat hazardous. Even if a human can intellectually recite facts about shoggoths (“theory”), they will still be ill-prepared for interactions with an actual shoggoth (“practice”) and thus SAN loss is still possible.

IMHO, if knowledge/interactions stops being hazardous, then there’s no real difference between this setting and just a cynical take on “urban fantasy”. So I’m kinda stuck with it being hazardous.

That being said, my application of SAN rules might be more lenient than it would be if I was GMing in a “pre-Masquerade” setting. For example, I might decide not to roll as often if I rule that something is “general Mythos knowledge”. There’s also medication that helps people deal with the unnatural (so human society doesn’t suffer from a death spiral once the Masquerade collapsed) - so exposure would not be as damaging to NPCs as it would be in a “pre-Masquerade” setting.

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