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Aldaron

Just how big is Massachusetts, anyway?

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I'm prepping to run Servants of the Lake (from Doors to Darkness) on the weekend, and I'm finding something hard to reconcile. 

Without spoiling anything, there is a reference to a person driving from Arkham to Kingsport and staying overnight in a motel on the way. Looking at any map of Lovecraft country I can find, it looks that Kingsport is a whopping, oh, roughly 5 miles from Arkham. Now, I realise cars in 1925 were a lot slower than today, and the road weren't nearly as good, but if I could walk it in an hour or two, I hardly think anyone needs to stay overnight en-route!! 

I suspect this might come up a few times in different scenarios...am I missing something here? Or is this a long-running inconsistency? 

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Massachusetts is 183 miles long and 113 miles wide. While it is possible that a car in 1925 might require a stop en route, especially in bad weather or the winter, it's highly unlikely for a 5 mile trip. Not unless they left late in the middle of a blizzard or something. Looking at a real map Salem to Ipswich is about 15 miles, so Arkham to KIngsport might be 7-8 miles, but still not long enough to require a stop over.  Maybe they left too late for the shops to be open and decided to stop at a motel that they knew and liked rather than risk staying at one they they didn't know, especially if they expect Mythos activity at the destination.

I can assure you that  in 2018 we regularly make 5 mile trips (and back) in Massachusetts without the need to stop at a motel. 

 

 

 

 

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8 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

I can assure you that  in 2018 we regularly make 5 mile trips (and back) in Massachusetts without the need to stop at a motel. 

 

 

 

 

I suspected this might be the case! :)

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i think I'll have him having left from somewhere further afield; maybe he was a student at NYU rather than Miskatonic or something.

I'd never realised just how tiny "Lovecraft Country" actually is! 

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You could just have him get a flat tire or have it rain and wash the road out (flooding), or something. Even if he got to town later in the day, or on a weekend, whatever the character was headed to might be closed down. There are possibilities. Weather being chief among them, especially in 1925. Back then, before satellites and all that, it would be easy to get caught in a storm by surprise, and the area in question is near the coast. Does it say what time of year the adventure it? 

 

Edited by Atgxtg
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Yep, in hindsight, I think I might do that. I might pull the weather one with the players, as well, as I don't want them just ducking in and out of town whenever they like.

Doing a bit of reading about driving conditions in 1925 and what with dirt (read: muddy) roads, not-too-crash-hot-engineering, and dubious tyre quality, it seems that bogging, flat tyres, and broken axles were a real concern for a lot of drivers.

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The scenario does state that he is tired before setting out. Sometimes, tired people just need some time and space alone in a motel room.

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13 hours ago, Aldaron said:

Yep, in hindsight, I think I might do that. I might pull the weather one with the players, as well, as I don't want them just ducking in and out of town whenever they like.

Doing a bit of reading about driving conditions in 1925 and what with dirt (read: muddy) roads, not-too-crash-hot-engineering, and dubious tyre quality, it seems that bogging, flat tyres, and broken axles were a real concern for a lot of drivers.

Yeah, plus diving wasn't necessarily a year round activity. 

 

7 hours ago, Mike M said:

The scenario does state that he is tired before setting out. Sometimes, tired people just need some time and space alone in a motel room.

Yeah, although stopping in the middle of a 7 mile trip is odd. But then, so is Lovecraftian fiction. 

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It *is* feasible that they ended up stranded in some elbow of nowhere between cities.  We've got a lot of those in MA.  But yeah, not a large area.  However it's also wicked easy to adapt games to modern settings b/c "there's no cell signal" here or "there's no internet" are legit issues in many smaller communities.

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3 hours ago, joggiwagga said:

It *is* feasible that they ended up stranded in some elbow of nowhere between cities.  We've got a lot of those in MA.  But yeah, not a large area. 

Yup, especially if they don't know the route. You can often end up going in circles around the place you want to get to. 

3 hours ago, joggiwagga said:

 

However it's also wicked easy to adapt games to modern settings b/c "there's no cell signal" here or "there's no internet" are legit issues in many smaller communities.

Yeah, it's still a legit issue in the larger communities, too. I live in Worcester (the second largest city in the state) and there are some dead zones around town, depending on your carrier. 

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On ‎7‎/‎4‎/‎2018 at 5:29 PM, Aldaron said:

i think I'll have him having left from somewhere further afield; maybe he was a student at NYU rather than Miskatonic or something.

I'd never realised just how tiny "Lovecraft Country" actually is!  

I live in Groveland, MA just on the edge of the Lovecraft Country map.  It's roughly a 10 minute drive at 30-35 mph (~4 miles) to either West Newbury or Georgetown - a similar distance from Arkham to Kingsport.  Walking distance would be 75-90 minutes - it's somewhat hilly.  But I would not expect anyone to need to stay overnight between two places at that distance.

A drive from home through Georgetown and Ipswich to Crane Beach (which is basically where Innsmouth is situated) is 40 minutes at similar speed (~18 miles), and even that distance I would not expect a need to stay overnight.  Walking that would be around 6 hours.  

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15 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

Yup, especially if they don't know the route. You can often end up going in circles around the place you want to get to. 

Yeah, it's still a legit issue in the larger communities, too. I live in Worcester (the second largest city in the state) and there are some dead zones around town, depending on your carrier. 

I live out in Western MA, the town I grew up in still has the options of Dial Up or Satellite... but have fun with reception when you live in the woods.  So... yeah.

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It's always possible that there's a picturesque B&B that comes highly recommended if 'your ever out  that way', maybe even owned by a friend or a character. 

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Interestingly, the handout makes reference to the Abanaki and the Connecticut River Valley. If we were talking about heading out to that area, it would make much more sense. Perhaps this was rewritten to put it into the Arkham area without really thinking about the implications?

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6 hours ago, Numtini said:

Interestingly, the handout makes reference to the Abanaki and the Connecticut River Valley. If we were talking about heading out to that area, it would make much more sense. Perhaps this was rewritten to put it into the Arkham area without really thinking about the implications?

That does make a lot more sense. Coming in from Springfield, for instance, could be around 100 miles, and could easily require stopping for the night in the 1920s. 

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Abanaki would be more to the north. Route 2 used to be Highway 7. In Lovecraft terms, it would lead out of Arkham west, Dunwich would be north in about the middle of the state. Out west, the Turners/Greenfield area and later the Pittsfield area are relatively prosperous manufacturing centers. 

My understanding of driving at the time was the average speed was around 20mph and that it was extremely fatiguing compared to today's cars, so a night over on a trip to the western half of the state wouldn't be out of bounds. But not so much going a couple of miles between towns along the coast.

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13 hours ago, Numtini said:

Interestingly, the handout makes reference to the Abanaki and the Connecticut River Valley. If we were talking about heading out to that area, it would make much more sense. Perhaps this was rewritten to put it into the Arkham area without really thinking about the implications?

Excellent pick, Numtini. Hailing from the opposite end of the planet, I completely missed this! :)

I think in light of this I might rejig the scenario and have the guy travelling from Arkham to somewhere else to see his girlfriend. I have a bit more time, since I'm actually running "The Darkness Beneath the Hill" tomorrow instead. :) 

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36 minutes ago, Aldaron said:

Excellent pick, Numtini. Hailing from the opposite end of the planet, I completely missed this! :)

I think in light of this I might rejig the scenario and have the guy travelling from Arkham to somewhere else to see his girlfriend. I have a bit more time, since I'm actually running "The Darkness Beneath the Hill" tomorrow instead. :) 

I noticed it because I was working on a FoDG scenario set in Turner's Falls (where I lived for a year or two in the early 90s) regarding the rock and roll cult that used to be there and the ancient Native curse supposedly on the town because of the massacre during King Phillip's War. I wanted to know what the dominant tribal group was in the area so I could pick a monster from their lore.

Edited by Numtini

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Overnight for 5 miles can happen, but it's less obvious nowadays since most of the warp nexus points are occupied by Dunkin' Donuts.

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Back in '01-'03, there was a Dunkies just off of Dong-A University's Hadan Campus in Busan (South Korea). Those were the good day. Not sure if it's still there though as I'm back in Canada.

Now of I can be so bold as to piggyback on this topic with my own Massachusetts question. What kind of quarry could (potentially) be found between Dunwich & Arkham? And would/could it be close to the Miskatonic River or would it be further North, near New Hampshire? 

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On 7/9/2018 at 4:49 PM, Numtini said:

Five miles between Dunkies? Times really were hard back in the 20s.

I can't swing an elder sign without hitting a Dunkin' Donuts now. I think there are at least a dozen in Worcester.

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2 hours ago, André Roy said:

Now of I can be so bold as to piggyback on this topic with my own Massachusetts question. What kind of quarry could (potentially) be found between Dunwich & Arkham? And would/could it be close to the Miskatonic River or would it be further North, near New Hampshire? 

There are a couple in the area. Fletcher Granite would be one of the closest. It's in Westford, which is near the Merrimack, and thus reasonably close to where the Miskatonic would be. The company has a website and there is at least one video of it on Youtube. I used to work near there some time back. I think they might have shut down a few years ago, but they might be open, since their website is still up. They've been around for over a century too, so you could use them in the 1920s. They provided granted for some famous buildings in Boston and Washington D.C. so something happening there could really make you campaign interesting if you want to go in an Secret Society/Illuminati direction. 

Massachusetts Broken Stone is another place that's been around awhile and it also has a website, but it would be a bit out of the way. 

 

There are a few other places with 20-30 miles of the area, and there probably were more in the past. Considering where Dunwich is supposed o be, I'd be surprised if there wasn't some sort of quarry around. Western Mass, especially on the New Hampshire border is very hilly. There's probably not one mile of straight road or perfectly level land within 30 miles of the area. 

 

Oh, and it's not a quarry, but if you wanted to go a bit further south, to Sutton, there is Purgatory Chasm, which has a legend that you could use as the basis for a Mythos adventure. 

Edited by Atgxtg

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36 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

Tons of goodies 

Sweet thank you, that's pretty handy. 

It's an idea for a small forgotten community about midway  between Dunwich and Arkham, between a small river and forested escarpment with a quarry where most of them work since the early 1800s.

Old Megalith and cave system under the quarry are part of it too.

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