Explore the Treasures and Madness of Africa's Largest Country
Sudan is the largest country in Africa and also one of the most inhospitable. A year when the rains are light, famine reigns. The average lifespan in Sudan during the Gaslight period was 33, which is similar to modern times. Widespread famine led to desperation, theft, murder cruelty and, in some cases, madness.
It was a time when the simple son of a boat builder, who grew up to become a charismatic Sunni Muslim scholar named Muhammed Ahmed, became a selfproclaimed Mahdi. He led Sudan into a rebellion against its Egyptian and British occupiers and plunged the country into years of fanaticism and bloodshed. In short, this is a perfect setting for a Call of Cthulhu scenario or campaign.
Contact with the outside world throughout its history has been sporadic and mainly from invaders pushing through from Egypt up the Nile valley to gather slaves and ivory. Sudan also has a long tradition of trade with many countries including merchants from China dating back to the 8th century. Records indicate that the early Chinese traders called the country of Sudan Molin-guo. In the early 1800's the area was unmapped and as unknown to Europeans as the uncharted areas of central Asia. Much of the early exploration was dedicated to finding the source of the Nile. If it could be dammed, and the flow regulated, an area greater than the size of Europe could be controlled.
During the late 19th century noted Egyptologist E.A. Wallis Budge found evidence that the Egyptians had contact with Sudan and the people of the upper reaches of the Nile as early as 4300 B.C. Tomb paintings indicate trade for elephant ivory, slaves and what may have been central African pygmies brought before the Pharaoh to dance for him. The pygmies would have been captured by slave raiding parties from Sudan into the area known today as the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The closing years of the 19th century witnessed a great deal of turmoil throughout the British Empire. One of the major events of that period that is not widely remembered today was centered in Sudan. An Englishman named Charles "Chinese" Gordon became a darling of the British public who followed every news report. He had been sent to Sudan to arrange for the evacuation of Egyptian and British citizens before a fanatical Muslim group took total control of the country. Gordon was a very devout Christian and did not want to see an extreme form of Islam take over and dominate Sudan. He also felt a strong sense of duty towards the people that he been sent to evacuate and could not bring himself to leave just to save his own life.
After his death at the siege of Khartoum at the hands of the forces of the Mahdi, Sudan was plunged into thirteen years of chaos. Gordon's death was finally avenged after a long military campaign led by Major-General Horatio Kitchener that advanced through the Nile valley all the way to Omdurman.
Within this monograph I will present historical information and will denote Cthulhu mythos information in distinctive text boxes.
The focus of this monograph will be on the gaslight era of the late 19th century. A keeper should have sufficient information to set adventures in this area during this era with a minimum of research on their part.
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