Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Train Repair

I got this picture from Shorpy.  While its not the Orient Express, or even in Europe.... I cant help but think that train service centres are probably pretty similar worldwide (form follows function and all).

So, while this is really from November 1942, and is a photo of the "Illinois Central rail yard, Chicago. Locomotives in for repair at the roundhouse", I'm planning on using this photo if players decide to investigate around the rail yard at a stop.  Not everything in the campaign has to be epic horror....
...infact, the more mundane things are, the more horrific the strange parts become because the players are expecting mundane.

Monday, April 29, 2013


Svilengrad (Bulgarian: Свиленград) is a town in South-central Bulgaria, situated at the border of Turkey and Greece.  During Ottoman times, the town's name was Cisr-i Mustafapasha, which was meaning "Bridge of Mustapha Pasha". In 1529, the Old Bridge (Bulgarian: Старият мост) over the Maritsa, one of the symbols of the town, was erected. The town was ceded to Bulgaria in 1912 after the First Balkan War.

Svilengrad is close to the road borders of Greece and Turkey (one of the largest road customs checkpoints in Europe). Svilengrad is located ESE of Sofia, South of Varna and Burgas, West of Edirne and North of the nearest Greek community Ormenio and Alexandroupoli in Greece. There is a higher level of employment than in surrounding villages because most people work for customs and border related industry.   The Maritsa river flows west of Svilengrad. The area to the southwest is famous for its fruit trees.

A train near Svilengrad

The King of Bulgaria enters Svilengrad soon after the Ottoman Turks ceded it to Bulgaria in 1912

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Exchange Rates

As the investigators travel across Europe, its likely that they'll have to exchange moneys.  Today, we're used to the idea of Europe using a unified currency - the Euro.  In the past, it wasnt so easy.  The British have the Pound Sterling, the French use Francs, Italians are all about their Lira, the Germans are struggling with massive inflation and the Reichsmark.

Well..... heres a copy of Guttags Foreign Currency and Exchange Guide.  It has far more information about monetary exchange rates than any investigator or keeper are likely to ever need.  So it might prove to be a handy resource.

Guttags Foreign Currency and Exchange Guide

Something for Investigators and Keepers to keep in mind, the book is just a guide.  Local exchange rates may vary wildly, and public perception about government stability may lead to people using entirely different rates because of a preference for a more stable currency (Example: In Italy, the 'official' exchange rate between a dollar and a lira might be about $0.20 for 1 lira, or 5 lira for a dollar, but the unofficial exchange rate might be 10 lira for a dollar, because the Dollar is perceived to be a more stable currency).

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Gauloise Cigarettes

Since yesterday, we got some matches, today..... cigarettes.

In the past, particularly in Europe, smoking was a socially acceptable activity, and quite normal.  In France, Gauloises were one of the most popular brands and were considered patriotic, and that they supported French "heartland values".  It was associated with the cigarette-smoking "poliu" (a slang term for French soldiers in the trenches), and later with resistance fighters during the Vichy Regime.

Print it out, cut it out, and fold on the lines.  Glue the tabs to make it into a box-ish shape.  You might want to fill it with rolled paper tubes mocked up to look like cigarettes, or with cigarettes if you're into that sort of thing (if you chose to do this, its my understanding that filtered Gauloises didn't come out into the 1950s).

Might be something found in someones pocket (and give a clue to where they're from....), or might be just an offering from a employee on the Orient Express to a stressed character.

The possibilities are endless.  Just dont get Cancer.  We know smoking causes cancer - however as Call of Cthulhu players, the question is..... Cancer or Insanity.....

Friday, April 26, 2013


Sorry for the long delay in updating.  For the past few months, I've been working 75+ hour work weeks, and spending 2-4 days a week out of town.... so I became remiss in my duties.....

....after being made aware that this is proving a great resource for a few people..... I'm making sure to update more often (right now, Im in a coffee shop posting this update, for example).

In the past, smoking was 'a thing', and with that come matches.  This should be a relatively simple thing to make.  Take the PDF file provided, head down to your local Kinkos or whoever your favoured printer is, and print some off on a decent cardstock.

Then go to your local grocery store and pick up a box of books of matches.  I picked up a box for a couple bucks.  Cut out the match book covers you printed, then disassemble the match books, and reassemble it inside the ones you've just printed out.  You'll need a stapler to staple in the sheets of matches.  You'll also need some glue to glue the striker-strip in.

Now matches for your players.  Or a clue that they find somewhere.....

Venice Simplon Orient Express Matches