Mixed up between the Reptoids and the Manichaean heresy,
It starts with lost Lemuria and filters through the chaff a bit,
But soon involves a visit from a brazen head named Baphomet;
The Prieuré de Sion and the Masons are pedestrian,
Until you add the Airships and their crews ultraterrestrian...
...In short, from El Dorado to the bottom of the Thera sea,
This is the very model of a Kenneth Hite conspiracy."
Kenneth Hite (born September 15, 1965) is an author and role-playing game designer. He has written the pulp-themed investigation RPG Trail of Cthulhu and the post-apocalyptic, just-post-WWII setting Day After Ragnarok (for the Hero System and Savage Worlds), as well as authoring such core GURPS sourcebooks as the latest editions of GURPS Horror, GURPS Infinite Worlds, and The Madness Dossier (and writing or contributing to several others). He wrote the horror/spy thriller game Night's Black Agents (Gumshoe system), and the campaign setting The Dracula Dossier. He has also written material for Mage: The Ascension, Vampire: The Masquerade, Vampire: The Requiem, Call of Cthulhu, Deadlands, and Last Unicorn Games' version of the Star Trek RPG (for which he was also line editor).
He is an expert on the writings of H. P. Lovecraft (and associated writers), and has written several books on the subject, including Cthulhu 101, an introduction to the mythos, and a trio of illustrated "children's books:" Where the Deep Ones Are, The Antarctic Express, and Cliffourd the Big Red God.
From 1998 to 2008, he wrote the column "Suppressed Transmission" for Steve Jackson Games' paid-access web magazine Pyramid. This column, though ostensibly about RPG settings and gamemastering advice, turned out to be a wild ride through High Weirdness. It focused on four genres: conspiracy, Secret History, Horror, and Alternate History. Hite generally picked a topic per column to explore through these lenses, ranging from seeming mundanities like Coca-Cola and chocolate, to mythological beasts, to historical oddities, to strange people of history, to Shakespearean meanderings, to full conspiracy theory weirdness. An early article, "Six Flags Over Roswell", showed one of his most effective frameworks: take one strange happening (here, the supposed Roswell UFO crash) and ring a half-dozen variations on it into true bizzarity. One of Hite's key concepts for writing these columns (and other writing) is a technique he calls "bisociation": intentionally holding two contradictory notions in mind simultaneously (as a creativity exercise, not a pathology). Some of the "Suppressed Transmisson" columns were collected into two volumes by Steve Jackson Games, Suppressed Transmission: The First Broadcast and Suppressed Transmission 2, and and are available both in as downloadable ebooks. Sadly, the rest of the columns were taken offline when Steve Jackson Games retired the Pyramid subscription site's archives to relaunch Pyramid as a monthly PDF magazine, and there are no current plans to re-issue them.
Tropes associated with Kenneth Hite include:
- Adventurer Archaeologist: Hite clearly has a keen interest in the wilder fringes of archaeology, and especially in its early, treasure-hunting days. His work sometimes features such characters, good or bad, sometimes wearing fedoras and/or wielding bullwhips.
- Ancient Astronauts are the kind of eccentric concept with which Hite enjoys playing.
- Ancient Conspiracy is an idea thats central to, well, much of the sort of stuff that Hite works on.
- Alternate History is a natural topic for someone with a background in academic history and a taste for the speculative.
- Alternate Universe: Hite wrote GURPS Alternate Earths and GURPS Alternate Earths 2 for that game's third edition before being core writer on GURPS Infinite Worlds. Likewise, many of the worlds created in "Suppressed Transmission" would have details for dropping it into the Infinite Worlds setting.
- April Fools' Day: The first "Suppressed Transmission" column of April would generally be a song or poem parody.
- Cosmic Horror Story... Well, Hite is an H.P. Lovecraft buff... Impressively, though, The Madness Dossier manages to be cosmic horror with very few Lovecraftean features.
- Shakespeare in Fiction: Traditionally, the closest "Suppressed Transmission" to Christmas would focus on what Hite called "Occult Shakespeare" — the secret conspiratorial and/or magical underpinnings of Shakespeare's plays.
- Space Elves: As the various races of possibly space alien, possibly fae Ultraterrestrials.
- Stupid Jetpack Hitler:
- One of Hite's go-to conspiracities is the supposed Nazi stronghold of Neuschwabenland, a region of Antarctica where the last remnants of the Third Reich went to build flying saucers and plot their comeback.
- In fact, he's written an entire book called ''The Nazi Occult'', which is about... well, like it says in the title...
- Hite was the primary editor for GURPS Weird War II, and he contributed Chapter 3 - "The Dangerous Element" - which is about incorporating magic systems in a World War II based game.
- Zeppelins from Another World: "Hite's Law" states that any historical change used to create an Alternate History will tend towards filling the skies with airships. As he points out, taking this to its logical conclusion, this suggests that The Roaring '20s and The '30s were actually those of an alternate history. As other common features of alternate histories are things like widespread totalitarian ideologies and global social upheaval, well, that would explain a lot about those decades.