'The Street' (H.P. Lovecraft d20)

Michael O. Varhola

One H.P. Lovecraft story that I did not stumble across until beginning my recent read/re-read of all the author's works is "The Street," which is pretty much an openly racist rant against immigrants. This piece is, in short, the history of a good ol' American street that thrives under the heartening presence of its Anglo-Saxon residents but is so revolted by the repellent and unwashed foreigners with their " swarthy, sinister faces with furtive eyes and odd features, whose owners spoke unfamiliar words"  that settle in its houses that it collapses and kills them all. Ah. One thing that is actually interesting about this piece is the narrator's fear that the immigrants in question are "terrorists," an interesting reminder of how little some things have changed over the past century! In any event, it was not immediately clear what might be converted into game terms from this hateful trifle and then I had an epiphany and adapted the following from one of the character Defects that appears in Skirmisher Publishing's  Nuisances sourcebook. 


Defect: Xenophobia [General]

As as result of innate fear, trauma, or some other source, the unfortunate character with this Defect suffers from a revulsion of foreigners, immigrants, and the like. 

Detriment: A Xenophobic character is shaken and suffers a –2 penalty on all attack, saving throw, ability, and skill check rolls, as well as damage rolls, when within 30 feet of foreigners and must make a Will saving throw (DC 12) each round in order to willingly move into or stay within this distance. 

Special: The effects of this Defect do not apply when faced with humanoids like Orcs or Goblinoids in combat or a dungeon setting, but would if such creatures were attempting to settle in areas where the Xenophobic character thinks they  do not belong.