Sunday, September 20, 2009

[Cthulhu Berlin]: Appendix N

Taking a page from Ken Hite, my first step in working up a Cthulhu Berlin campaign setting is historical research. Fortunately, that's something I'm very, very good at.

I've availed myself of a few online sources, but most of my reading will be the old-fashioned variety. I've got a fair pile of books on their way to me via various library channels. Whenever I can, I like to supplement my reading with immersion in period films (either, if possible, contemporary or of the "historical drama" variety) and music. Here, then, is my own Appendix N of Cthulhoid Berlin.

Pandora's Box
ETA: The Blue Angel (1930)
M (1931)
Shadow of the Vampire (2000)
ETA: Invincible (2001)
Vampyr (1932)
Cabaret (1972)
The Threepenny Opera (1928) by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill
The Berlin Stories by Christopher Isherwood
Voluptuous Panic by Mel Gordon
The Seven Addictions and Five Professions of Anita Berber by Mel Gordon
Hanussen: Hitler's Jewish Clairvoyant by Mel Gordon
Berlin: The Twenties by Rainer Metzger
Bertolt Brecht's Berlin: A Scrapbook of the Twenties by Wolf Von Eckardt and Sander L. Gilman
The Hot Girls of Weimar Berlin by Barbara Ulrich
What I Saw: Reports From Berlin 1920-1933 by Joseph Roth
The Secret King: The Myth and Reality of Nazi Occultism by Michael Moynihan and Stephen E. Flowers
Cabaret Berlin: Revue, Kabarett And Film Music Between The Wars (this one's a book AND four musical CDs!)
"Oh! You Pretty Things" by David Bowie
"Venus in Furs" by The Velvet Underground

Yes, those last two are not period pieces at all, but they nicely capture the tone and themes I want to go for. "Venus in Furs" is, I think, a great bit of musical shorthand for the sexually depraved, morally bankrupt atmosphere of the setting, and Bowie's song, with its Lovecraftian undertones and cabaret-style piano, seems an apt thematic intersection. Plus you just can't beat this lyric with a tentacle:

Wake up you sleepy head
Put on some clothes, shake up your bed
Put another log on the fire for me
I've made some breakfast and coffee
I look out my window what do I see
A crack in the sky and a hand reaching down to me
All the nightmares came today
And it looks as though they're here to stay

I might add to this list in the future; I haven't really begun to delve into books specifically on the German occult community at this time, which I know was absolutely huge. Voluptuous Panic has a great chapter on the subject, and a couple books on the list deal with the Nazi side of things, but I'm curious about other angles as well.

I'm quite excited about the possibilities already. I wrote in the comments to my last post on the subject that "already I'm getting a sense of a 'Big Three' of Elder Gods/Old Ones with an especial presence in Berlin: Nyarlathotep Hastur, Shub-Niggurath, and Y'Golonac."
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