Lines & veils

  • The obvious
  • Family member death
  • Isopods (woodlice, etc)
  • Unexpected PvP

Player characters

  • Rachel Summers: librarian (scholar). A recent high school graduate, who was inspired to a love of books by her school’s librarian. Rachel is a bit of a bookworm, particularly focussing on nonfiction, with a good working knowledge of Latin and biology.

    Has a cat allergy.

    1921 update: Rachel has suppressed the memory of freeing Gla’aki and causing the destruction of Scotland, and is a bit unstable because of it.

    Known spells:

    • Contact Deity Nyarlathotep
    • Contact Deity Tsathoggua
    • Contact Yithian
    • Create Mist of R’lyeh
    • Elder Sign
    • Shrivelling
  • Cassie Black: private investigator (femme fatale). An ex-policewoman who left the force to become a private investigator. Cassie is a long-time friend of Jackson’s; as students they once stole a flamingo from the zoo.

  • Kintsugi Ikehara: laborer (outsider). A mixed-race Japanese/Peruvian daughter of an immigrant eking out a living with her mother, her only relative. Kints wants an out from her poor life.

    1925 update: Kints has been living in the US with Dill and his wife for some years, and now speaks fluent English. She’s kept in touch with Penelope and Rachel, and met Cassie when they responded to Jackson’s summons.

    Known spells:

    • Contact Deity Nodens

Retired

  • Alton “Dill” Dillinger: Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks - U.S. Department of the Interior. Formerly a senator for the state of Pennsylvania, he fell from public favour by opposing U.S. entry into the First World War. He did not win re-election. Perhaps out of pity, perhaps just trying to get him out of the way, political friends of his arranged for him to have a rather unimportant and out-of-the-way position.

  • Penelope Temple: librarian / parapsychologist (cult leader). A co-worker of Rachel’s, though she didn’t always work in the library. Penelope and her now-deceased husband were once burglars, until one fateful job which ended in the foiled robbery of a secret society’s headquarters and the death (or, at least, disappearance) of her husband Percival.

    1921 update: Penelope has risen through the ranks of the Silver Twilight Lodge and caused a schism, leaving her librarian job to head a new cult centred around Gla’aki.

Rulings

  • Dominate can be cast on a PC through a Contact Deity link.

Resources

MoN Lore

Score

Total: 6 points—The Horror Averted.

America

Total: 4 points.

  • Mukunga M’Dari remains alive and able to support the performance of the Great Rite at the Ju Ju House: 4 points.

Australia

Total: 1 point.

  • Robert Huston is eliminated from play. One of Huston’s lesser acolytes performs the Great Rite: 2 points.
  • The marine chronometer is destroyed or tampered with: deduct 1 point.

England

Total: 1 points.

  • Edward Gavigan, Zahra Shafik, and the London Brotherhood of the Black Pharaoh are eliminated: 1 point.

Character motivations

Gods

  • Nyarlathotep: to create a permanent gateway between the stars, allowing travel between Earth and more distant realms.

  • Nodens: to maintain the celestial balance.

Major cult leaders

These three leaders are utterly devoted to the aspect of Nyarlathotep they worship; believe they will be one of the chosen rulers of the Earth after most of humanity perish; and desire power. They are sociopaths, only seeing other people as tools.

  • M’Weru
  • Omar Al’Shakti
  • Ho Fang

Expedition principals

  • Roger Carlyle: an insane devotion to M’Weru and the belief that he will become part of something greater than himself.

  • Jack Brady: loyalty to Roger.

  • Robert Huston: initially, fear that Roger would expose that he made his lover secretly abort their child before word of the pregnancy got out; later, power and a desire to get one over on all those who made fun of the “fashionable, Freudian, psychoanalyst”.

  • Hypatia Masters: love of Roger.

  • Aubrey Penhew: power, immortality, and the return of his youth; like the cult leaders he is a sociopath who sees others only as tools ever since discovering the Black Pharaoh and his promises in Egypt decades ago.

Minor cult leaders

  • Mukunga M’Dari: fear of M’Weru.

  • Silas N’Kwane: loyalty to M’Weru.

  • Edward Gavigan: loyalty to Aubrey, and the desire to wrest control of the main cult from Omar.

  • Zahra Shafik: loyalty to Omar, and the desire to wrest control of the branch cult from Edward.

Other

  • Penelope Temple: to get the Seven Cryptical Books of Hsan.

Travel times (days) & costs ($)

USA England Egypt Kenya Australia China
USA 4: 120/60/36 8: 240/120/72 12: 360/180/108 24: 720/360/216 25: 750/375/225
England 4: 120/60/36 4: 120/60/36 10: 300/150/90 30: 900/450/270 22: 660/330/198
Egypt 8: 240/120/72 4: 120/60/36 4: 120/60/36 14: 420/210/126 18: 540/270/162
Kenya 12: 360/180/108 10: 300/150/90 4: 120/60/36 10: 300/150/90 14: 420/210/126
Australia 24: 720/360/216 30: 900/450/270 14: 420/210/126 10: 300/150/90 13: 390/195/117
China 25: 750/375/225 22: 660/330/198 18: 540/270/162 14: 420/210/126 13: 390/195/117

First-class travel on an ocean liner, or working your way on a freighter, lets you learn a new skill or improve an existing one, in addition to the usual hero development phase00Make a POW roll. On a success, when improving a skill, gain +1d6, when learning a new skill set to 1d10+5. Any skill may be chosen so long as there is a plausible explanation for how you could learn it (eg, fencing lessons on an ocean liner, or mech repair from engine maintenance on a steamer).

.

Ports:

  • USA: New York
  • England: Southampton
  • Egypt: Port Said
  • Kenya: Mombasa
  • Australia: Melbourne
  • China: Shanghai

Peru lore

Kharisiri have Strigoi-like (i.e. from The Strain) flesh-tentacles to drain fat. They only use their mouth to “kiss” and transfer a larva.

Gla’aki Arc Lore

Notable NPCs

  • William and Robert Brophy: Servants of Gla’aki, on the loose somewhere in New England with an Avatar of Gla’aki.

  • Howard Carter: contact from Penelope’s criminal days, who poses as an author. Was investigating the spines for Penelope, later found dead. Seems he knows more about this sort of thing than Penelope initially suspected.

  • Dr. Clayton Armitage: contact of Howard’s, he knows something about the spines and their power. Leads the “UK branch” of the Silver Twilight Lodge, though it’s just a country house with a handful of other members.

  • Carl Stanford: leader of the Silver Twilight Lodge. “Carl” and “the Lodge” were mentioned in Howard and Dr. Armitage’s telegrams.

Gla’aki and its cult

Gla’aki is Loch Morar, which was created by the impact of the crystal prison. The cult is widespread throughout Scotland, extending as far south as the Yorkshire Dales.

The cult consists solely of undead Servants of Gla’aki, which are little more than mind-controlled puppets.

The cult has difficulty spreading around the world because Gla’aki cannot leave the loch, and its fluid and spines drastically lose potency as soon as they are removed from its body, so creating new Servants elsewhere is difficult. Gla’aki can create Avatars even from this weak fluid, but it takes years for an Avatar to become capable of creating Servants.

There is an Avatar in Derwentwater in the Lake District and in Lough Leane in Ireland. The spines that the gang retrieved from the Squatter’s Lake Motel are inferior spines from a still-growing Avatar.

Furthermore, in the centuries during which Gla’aki slumbers, it cannot create new Servants, so the cult inevitably shrinks as Servants pass away due to accidents. All of the current Avatars and Servants were created during Gla’aki’s current period of wakefulness, which has lasted for 90 years.

There are two remaining shards of the crystal prison. If these are taken to Gla’aki (or an Avatar) he can free himself. They’re in Pingualuit crater in Quebec and in a university in Costa Rica.

The Silver Twilight Lodge

Founded and lead by Carl Stanford, the STL is a fraternal organisation based in Boston, Massachusettes, which purports to investigate the occult and unexplained. It’s not a secret society, though it is a “society with secrets” and is relatively small and unknown.

Members vary in how much they know and how much they believe. Most members have at least some belief in the reality of the occult, though they know very little. Carl Stanford and those close to him more than just believe: they know this stuff to be the truth, and they have a great deal of knowledge. Any artefacts and tomes which the STL gains possession of are only available for extended study by this core group.

While the STL appears to be a purely investigative organisation, Carl Stanford and a few of his closest associates are using it to further the aims of alien gods.

Dr. Armitage is the leader of the UK branch of the Lodge. He considers himself a good friend of Carl Stanford, though Carl is concealing the true purpose of the Lodge from him. Carl has long ago realised that having honest people in positions of authority is very good for maintaining cover, as then if any rumours leak out, they react with genuine bafflement.

Questions: Dr. Armitage and Howard Carter

  • Why was Howard killed by a Servant by Dr. Armitage, who has more potent spines and has been examining them for longer, has not been?

    Dr. Armitage’s country house, where he does his experiments, is warded (a simple Elder Sign on every entrance and a more complex one in the lab). This means Gla’aki cannot mentally communicate with reanimated creatures inside the house. It also means Servants cannot easily enter, as Gla’aki has destroyed their minds and controls them like puppets.

  • Why did Dr. Armitage tell Howard things that would get him killed, without also telling him about the wards?

    Dr. Armitage doesn’t know that Gla’aki can track down reanimated creatures: he’s only ever done it inside his warded house. The Revelations of Gla’aki merely state that “once one has been turned to the Great Master, they serve as His eyes and ears”, which can easily be taken in a metaphorical sense, and that Servants just report back.

  • Why did Dr. Armitage send Howard volume 1 of the Revelations of Gla’aki?

    Dr. Armitage knew Howard wouldn’t have access to similar texts in the US branch of the STL due to his low status.

Questions: Dealing with Gla’aki

  • How can they seal away Gla’aki?

    Surround him with Elder Signs so he can’t control his Servants (they’ll become wild and animalistic without his will directing them).

    Or, surround him with a single Eye of Light and Darkness.

  • How can the Elder Sign solution be signalled?

    Have Penelope’s Gla’aki sense get cut off by Elder Signs.

  • Why didn’t Penelope notice this when she visited Danvers or the UK STL before?

    The sense is only gone in the immediate area around the Elder Sign. A mile away it begins to fade and half a mile away it is completely gone. The sense is in the background, so she doesn’t notice it fading if her mind is on other things. This is not a great answer, because I didn’t think of it before getting Elder Signs involved; we’ll just have to accept this small retcon.

  • How many Elder Signs would it take to surround Loch Morar?

  • That’s 250 POW to cut off Gla’aki! How can they get that much?

    Unknown! Figure this out later!

  • How can they get the Eye of Light and Darkness ritual?

    They can’t. They have to leave the Gla’aki problem unsolved and come back to it after learning the ritual during Masks of Nyarlathotep.

  • How can they free Gla’aki?

    Deliver crystals to him (or an Avatar), or seal the crystals away behind Elder Signs.

Gla’aki session 1, 2020-05-03

We played Servants of the Lake (in Doors to Darkness) as a one-shot. Then the players wanted to continue the investigation, so I had to turn this into a campaign.

I didn’t take any notes in the session, but the gist of it is that they found some zombies, ran away, and returned the next day to find the motel burned down, everyone and everything gone, and a large trail leading from the lake (as if something the size of a boat had been dragged out and into the forest).

The only hard evidence they found were some large metal spines.

Gla’aki session 2, 2020-05-17

Prep

Penelope sent some of the weird metal spines you found to a discrete acquaintance, Howard Carter, to have them examined. Howard sent frequent, excited, letters: the spines are biological, but don’t correspond to any earthly biology he knows of; when submerged in water they slowly convert it into a cloudy yellowish fluid; and this fluid, when injected into lab rats, kills them promptly but, after they are definitely dead, they undergo violent muscle spasms, sometimes even jumping and running for minutes.

Then the letters stopped.

Two weeks later, Penelope saw an obituary in the newspaper:

Handout: Obituary

Mr. Howard Carter—of Providence, Rhode Island—was discovered dead in his home by the local mailman. Mr Carter was an author known for his fantastical short stories sold to the literary magazines. The coroner has ruled this as a death by natural causes. Mr. Carter has no known living relatives so, in accordance with state law, if no heir comes forward in the next three months, by July 21st, his home and possessions will be auctioned off to the highest bidder.

The situation

  • HC had been corresponding with a Dr. Armitage in England via telegram about the spines:
    • Dr. Armitage and HC are both members of the Silver Twilight Lodge: a secret international society dedicated to the investigation of strange occurrences (Penelope did not know this)
    • These telegrams are in a hidden safe, along with the codebook to translate the telegrams, the remaining spines, and a Silver Twilight Lodge ring (silver signet ring with a house and full moon design).
    • In a rolodex on his desk is a business card for Carl Stanford, Purveyor of Antiquities and Rare Books
  • Gla’aki spotted what was going on, and where, because of the briefly-magically-reanimated rats.
  • HC was killed by servants of Gla’aki magically (he drowned while sat in his office)
  • The coroner just reported natural causes, because what else could he say? Nobody would accept “he drowned, despite being nowhere near a body of water, no evidence of water outside the body, and no signs of a struggle”
  • The house is currently empty. There are a few reanimated rats roaming around inside.

Handout: Signet Ring

A silver signet ring with the design showing a country house and a full moon.

Dr. Armitage and the telegrams

  • Dr. A. had encountered one of these spines before, found in Northumberland. It had the same property of stimulating corpses, but far more potent.
  • No idea where it came from originally, someone found it in an abandoned motel near a lake.
  • It’s got properties of both organic and inorganic materials, and neither seem of this world.
  • Since it kills and briefly reanimates anything it’s stabbed into, best guess is some sort of defence mechanism… but what sort of creature would grow spines like this he can’t even fathom a guess.

Handout: Telegrams to Dr. Armitage (summarised, translated)

It’s a conversation between the two men about the spines. Dr. Armitage has seen such things before: he has in his possession one found “somewhere in Northumberland, near a lake with an abandoned motel”.

Dr. Armitage has been investigating the spine for years but without much luck: he is the one who suggested Howard look into its chemical composition, try putting it in water, and try injecting the fluid into small animals. Your spines and Dr. Armitage’s spine seems to be the same sort of thing, but his is more potent: the injected mice seem to “live” for weeks after their deaths. He’s also successfully performed the procedure on cats, dogs, chickens, and one badger.

So far, Dr. Armitagehas been unable to fully analyse the fluid and determine what exactly it is doing. But he suspects that it doesn’t just cause muscle spasms which imitate life, he believes that it is actually reanimating the dead animals. This is apparently fairly clear to see when you have weeks to study a single specimen.

Occasionally they mention a “Carl” and “the Lodge”, it seems that they’re referring to sharing information with this Carl.

Carl Stanford and the Silver Twilight Lodge

  • Carl will acknowledge HC as an occasional customer (holding something back)
  • If shown the ring, he will tell about the Silver Twilight Lodge, describing it as an international society of ghost hunters and occultists - he’ll make it sound like kind of a game, rather than an ominous secret society
  • He knows everything that’s happened but won’t let on (he has a magic mirror with which he can spy on any room that contains a STL ring)
  • He can point the investigators to Dr. A
  • He’ll also offer membership. Joining is normally invitation-only but, since they knew HC and are evidently interested in this sort of thing… Membership is $1/mo, the conditions are to keep the society secret and to share any information they encounter, in retun Carl will pass on gossip to them.
  • Secretly, the STL has some of the spines and are trying to figure out how to control the zombies they create. But the investigators have no way to discover that.

Investigating the murder

The mailman:

  1. Neighbours can give his name and address: Mr. James Feist lives in a small house a few streets away with his wife and daughter.
  2. He’ll tell the investigators his story if they inform him they’re friends of Mr. Carter.

Mr. Feist’s Tale

I liked Mr. ‘oward, ’e’d often stop and chat wi’ me when I came ’round. ’E always ’ad parcels and letters coming from ’round the world: research for ’is stories ’e said.

Well one day I shows up with a parcel, and ’e ’adn’t collected the last lot from ’is doorstep yet. There were bottles of milk untouched too. “Well that’s a mite queer” I thought, “Mr ’oward ain’t the sort of man to forget to cancel ’is deliveries when ’e goes away.” So I got a bit worried like.

I pounded on that door of ‘is, but ’e didn’t answer. I went ’round the ’ouse lookin’ in the windows, and there ’e was! All laid out on the floor. I shouted ’is name and knocked some more, but ’e didn’t move. I ran to Mrs. Maple’s ’ouse and told ’er to ring for a doctor, and I went back to Mr ’oward, smashed the window, and ’opped inside. ’E was cold, I’m no medical man, but I could tell it was too late. So I just sits there until the police and the doctor show up, and take ’im away.

’E was a good man, I’ll be sad to see ’im gone.

The coroner:

  1. Police / hospital / newspaper can give the name of the coroner who determined the cause of death (Mr. James Sutton)
  2. The coroner hasn’t gone to work for a few days
  3. The coroner’s address can be found in the office records - but the staff won’t just give it away to a random member of the public
  4. The coroner is at home, very drunk, and has been drunk for days: he’s been trying to forget what he saw.

Mr. Sutton’s Tale

Mr. Carter… he’s why I’m in this state. Trying to forget, you see. In my profession, you see a lot of horrible things. Not everyone dies peacefully in their sleep. Injury, murder, even disease can leave horrifying marks on the body which we coroners must soon become comfortable with. It is not a trade for squeamish men.

Nevertheless, here I am. Trying to forget.

I left my report suitably vague, merely saying that the cause of death is not suspicious, and that is the truth, in a sense. The manner of Mr. Carter’s death is perfectly common, and could happen to me or to you, if we are so unfortunate. You see, he drowned. And it appears he drowned in freshwater: for when I cut into his bloated lungs, out poured the water, some small fragments of freshwater plants, even a tadpole.

But answer me this: how could a man drown, on dry land, miles away from a large body of water, with no other signs of being submerged? No exterior marks, no traces of the same water in his stomach or mouth, not even a wrinkling of the fingertips! No signs that the body had been moved after death, and no signs of a break-in to his house. It is utterly impossible that he could have filled his lungs with water, returned home, locked his door, and only then succumbed… I cannot explain it, and it scares me.

Notes

The players did almost nothing in my prep, and spent almost the whole session in the house, before deciding to immediately travel to England and talk to Dr. Armitage in person.

Well, plot never survives contact with players… they enjoyed it, at least.

  • Players go to the house:
    • They check the front door: it’s locked
    • They walk around the building, and find the smashed window (covered in a tarp):
      • See it was broken from the outside
      • Look around for neighbours (neighbour house looks occupied, but nobody visible currently)
    • Rachel clambers into the study
    • She goes to find the back door (in the kitchen): it’s locked
      • Finds key rack
      • Unlocks back door and lets the others in
    • All proceed to study to examine it:
      • Dill tries to figure out if the tarp was there before or after the murder (did someone break in and kill him?), but there’s not enough information to tell
      • Desk is covered in books about biology and folklore:
        • One book about germ theory looks particularly well-used
        • The folklore books are all about the living dead: vampires, zombies, kharisiri, etc
        • Inside one book is a slip of paper with 7 numbers written on it
      • Behind a painting on the wall is a safe:
        • The code is the 7 numbers
        • Inside the safe is the signet ring, the code book, and the encoded telegrams
    • Dill and Penelope head upstairs
      • Rachel stays in the study to work on decoding the telegrams
      • Penelope has been here before, so she knows the layout
      • Nothing particularly exciting, but there is a big bundle of cash (enough to survive on for a few weeks at least) beneath the mattress of the master bedroom
      • There are rats in the walls, everywhere
    • Dill heads into the attic with a candle and a lighter
      • Rat shadows dart out of sight
      • Lots of boxes of dusty books, mostly nonfiction
    • The sun is starting to set
    • Rachel translated enough to know the telegrams are talking about the spines
    • Everyone goes to check out the basement:
      • Dill goes down first, ends in a wooden door and a light switch
      • Opens door, flips on light
      • Lots of rats in cages, aggressive, squeaking
      • One cage empty, has been gnawed through
      • Wooden workbench with the spines and a jar of yellow fluid
      • Rachel examines the rats: they’ve all got big tab wounds—the size of the spines—and should barely be moving, let alone aggressively jumping around
    • Everyone decides the house is infested with zombie rats, and has to be burned down
      • Spend the next few hours searching
      • Find Revelations of Gla’aki beneath study floor
      • Fill basement with dusty books from attic
      • Douse basement, stairs, and ground floor in lamp oil
      • Carry everything off to the car (including some nice silverware to fence)
      • Dill drops a match on the lamp oil, drives off as the house starts to burn
      • The house doesn’t explode, thankfully; the neighbours will notice, but not immediately
  • Everyone wonders if Howard got infected with a zombie virus by the escaped rats
  • A few days later:
    • Penelope rings the newspaper, asking for details about Howard, posing (truthfully!) as a friend of his:
      • Get funeral details (a few days time)
      • Get contact details for the Providence coroner
    • Rachel shares the translated telegrams
  • At the funeral:
    • Arrive early
    • Penelope thoroughly distracts the priest and one other attendee with a discussion about the nature of religion and the religion of nature
    • Dill lifts up coffin lid
    • Rachel examines body: Howard seems pretty dead, no obvious wounds
  • Afterwards:
    • Telegram Dr. Armitage about meeting
    • Hop into a boat
    • Penelope spends the crossing studying the book

Next session

In England meeting Dr. Armitage.

Gla’aki session 3, 2020-05-31

Prep

It’s a beautiful summer day in London, it’s early June, and you arrived several days ago. The city is huge, with over 7 million people, it’s the largest in the world currently. And it is in this vast metropolis that Dr. Armitage has proposed you meet.

In his reply to your telegram, he said that he would be conducting some business with colleagues at the University of London, the British Library, and the British Museum. Something about Egyptian mummies, he wasn’t too specific. And he has proposed a meeting at the Penhew Foundation, an archeological institute, for 3 o’clock Thursday afternoon, which is today!

Penelope, you’ve had a few more days rest, you can try a Hard INT roll to learn the ritual to contact Gla’aki again if you want.

Right, what do you do?

The Penhew Foundation

  • Info:
    • Impressive Victorian-style building in Central London, much grander than the buildings on either side.
    • Established in 1890 by Sir Aubrey Penhew, a renowned Egyptologist.
    • Sir Aubrey disappeared last year on an expedition, but he and the rest of the expedition members were recently confirmed to have been attacked and killed by hostile tribesmen in the African jungle.
    • Edward Gavigan is now the director
    • “Surely you heard of the Carlyle Massacre, it was all over the news!”
  • Meeting Dr. Armitage:
    • Asking at the front desk leads the investigators to the small office he is temporarily using.
    • It’s empty.
    • After a moment, hear two voices through a different door, door opens, Dr. Armitage emerges, saying “thank you, as always, for your support Edward; it is a pleasure working with the Foundation.”
    • He starts, and realises that he’s a little late, and who they are, and greets them, ushering them into his office.
  • Talking to Dr. Armitage:
    • He’s interested in how they got the spines (you were light on details with Howard).
    • And in Howard’s death.
    • And in Howard’s experiments.
    • And definitely in getting his book back!
    • He’ll also mistake the group for a married couple and their daughter!
    • Ask for a Cthulhu Mythos roll to impress him.
    • If he’s impressed, he’ll be more open about the STL, otherwise he’ll deflect it as “a fraternal organisation for those of us who are interested in knowledge”.
    • In any case, he’ll propose they go to his country estate to look at the other books in the set and his investigation materials.

Lathom House

  • A large country house in Lancashire, bought by Dr. Armitage just before the war, when the Earl of Lathom was ruined by his gambling debts.
  • It’s a place with a lot of history: there was a wooden castle on the site in the 1300s, it was rebuilt as a stone castle some time in the 1500s, but now almost all trace of that is gone, only a few bits of ruined wall and tower in the grounds remain, it’s just a very large country house.
  • Probably haunted.
  • Dry stone wall around the buildings, with metal gates; carved into the walls at the gates are Elder Signs (Spot Hidden to notice).
  • Situated a 2-hour drive from Wigan, which is a 4-hour train journey from London.
  • Two servants: an elderly housekeeper (Mrs. Covenant) and a gardener / handyman (Mr. Donaldson).
  • One STL member is staying: Ned Thistlewaite

Contacting Gla’aki

  • Dr. Armitage thinks contacting Gla’aki is crazy talk but will teach Penelope the Elder Sign if she insists on trying it.
  • If Penelope learns the ritual, she can perform it
  • Nothing seems to happen
  • That night she enters a sunken crystal city in her dreams, feels drawn towards the centre, there’s a deep pit, a feeling of dread…
  • Surrounding the pit are thousands of destroyed crystal shards of various sizes (some the size of a building).
  • If she looks in the pit, Gla’aki rises: SAN roll, she knows what Gla’aki wants (freedom) and why it can’t just leave (crystal fragments)
  • Before looking in the pit, can escape with the Elder Sign.

The Dark Young

  • Ned is examining an artefact he had sent from Alaska: a black stone with cuneiform scratched into it, with a black,twisted, and thorny wooden branch sticking out of the top. He’ll unwittingly release a Dark Young in the middle of the night.
  • The DY won’t be able to cross the border because of the Elder Signs.
  • Dr. Armitage will realise that the Elder Signs protected him from Gla’aki, and that’s why Howard died: he’ll blame himself.
  • Penelope won’t wake up while she’s in the dream.

Clues pointing onwards

  1. What does Gla’aki want?

    To be free.

    Clues:

    • The vision after contacting Gla’aki
    • The Revelations of Gla’aki
  2. How can Gla’aki be freed?

    By destroying the crystal shards. This is revealed by any of the sources which reveal Clue 1.

  3. Where is Gla’aki?

    Loch Morar.

    Clues:

    • Contacting Gla’aki gives a strong directional sense pointing to the lake.
    • If any of Dr. Armitage’s reanimated animals are taken outside the Elder Sign wards, Gla’aki will know where they are and send Servants after them
    • The Revelations of Gla’aki discuss the locations of the crystal shards, and say that two of them will be difficult to reach because they are in the New World, and the Servants find ocean crossings difficult.
  4. Where are the crystal shards?

    Pingualuit crater in Quebec and in a university in Costa Rica.

    Clues:

    • Contacting Gla’aki gives a vague directional sense pointing to them.
    • The Revelations of Gla’aki says that two of the shards are in the New World.

If any of the clues are missed, the STL can supply this information if the players can gain Carl Stanford’s confidence. Dr. Armitage will suggest becoming acquainted with Carl regardless, as Carl is very knowledgeable.

Notes

  • Players go to the Penhew Foundation:
    • They check in at the reception, and get sent to the office Dr. Armitage is using
    • Knocking on the door yields no response
    • Rachel goes to check out the exhibits:
      • As she looks around, she hears:
        • “Do you happen to know the time, Edward?”
        • “Why yes, it is ten past three”
        • “Oh dear! I am late for a meeting! I’m afraid I must go. Thank you, as always, for your support Edward; it is a pleasure working with the Foundation.”
      • Rachel guesses this oldish man with white hair must be Dr. Armitage, meets him, and accompanies him to the office
    • Head into the office:
      • It’s pretty bare, no personal items.
      • Dr. Armitage refers to them as “Mr and Mrs Temple” and Rachel as “your daughter” at some point, Penelope doesn’t correct him
      • They talk about their experiences so far: Howard, the spikes, the zombies
      • Rachel rolling her eyes a lot, she thinks this is just some sort of bacteria causing muscle spasms in dead tissue
      • Penelope impresses Dr. Armitage with her knowledge, and he invites them all to come with him to his country house the next day to examine the other volumes of the Revelations of Gla’aki
  • That night:
    • Penelope learns the ritual to contact Gla’aki
    • She decides to do it without telling the others:
      • She performs the ritual, and instantly collapses back in the bed asleep
      • She finds herself in a great city of crystal buildings, drawn towards the centre
      • She goes to the centre, sees a deep pit ringed with crystal: unlike the crystal buildings, these are clearly broken fragments, and all but two are grey and dull
      • She peers into the pit: Gla’aki rises, imparts knowledge, she wakes up
    • Only a few minutes have passed
    • She knows Gla’aki is trapped and the crystals are the cause somehow
    • She also has three directional senses: two west, very distant; one north, much closer
  • On the train:
    • Penelope tells the others about contacting Gla’aki:
      • Rachel just thinks she’s been looking at the illustrations in RoG too much
      • Dr. Armitage’s response is “you did what!?
    • Penelope spots Dr. Armitage’s signet ring, matching the one Howard had:
      • She asks him about it, he starts to give a dismissive response, then says that with her experience and knowledge he thinks she should know the truth
      • It’s a symbol of the Silver Twilight Lodge, a paranormal investigation society
      • Based in the US, there are a few UK members
      • Penelope wants to join, he can write a letter of recommendation
  • At the house:
    • Penelope spots the elder signs carved into the gates
    • All go to the library, Dr. Armitage goes to relax:
      • All look for a book with an elder sign in, Dill finds a Latin translation of the Al Azif with a figure
      • Penelope starts examining volumes 2 to 6 of RoG
      • Rachel starts examining the Al Azif
      • Dill goes to get himself some refreshments, and have a look around
    • Dill wanders the grounds:
      • He meets Ned Thistlewaite, who Dr. Armitage mentioned in their trip over:
        • Ned is examining a black stone hexagon with what looks like a carved twisted tree branch with thorns, also black stone, emerging from it
        • It’s got some strange runes scratched into it he is transcribing
        • It came from Alaska
        • Ned travels a lot—his next trip will be to India—but he gets artefacts sent here, so he occasionally visits for a few weeks to examine new findings
      • He finds Dr. Armitage:
        • They talk about the situation which brought them together some more
        • Dr. Armitage gives his story about how he got into this sort of thing: investigating a pharaoh’s curse which seemed to be more than just superstition
        • They head to the library to see if the others have found anything interesting
    • In the library:
      • Rachel has transcribed and translated notes about the elder sign:
        • The printed text says it’s a symbol of protection, and how to make one
        • The scribbled margin notes tell the story of someone who made an elder sign pendant, went to challenge a god, and all that was left of them was the pendant and the cylinder of flesh which had been directly behind it
        • She knows that it’ll take two or three weeks to study the book properly
      • Penelope learned about Gla’aki:
        • How he came to Earth
        • That he creates Servants and Avatars through the spines
        • That the cult’s goal is to bring the crystal shards to Gla’aki or his Avatars to destroy them
      • Rachel proposes they stay for a few weeks:
        • Dr. Armitage asks what she’s studying
        • She manages to fast talk him into thinking it’s a different book than the Al Azif, one much less dangerous
        • Penelope is keen to stay
        • Dill begrudgingly accepts, but says he wished they would consult with him before making such decisions
        • Dr. Armitage is delighted to have the company
  • Three week time skip:
    • Rachel finishes her study of the Al Azif:
      • She learns Contact Nyarlathotep and Shrivelling
      • She has notes on how to make an Elder Sign
    • Penelope finishes her study of the Revelations of Gla’aki:
      • She learns that most of the crystals are in Europe and Africa, some are in the New World
      • She infers that the pulls she feels to the west are crystal shards, and the one to the north is Gla’aki
  • At night:
    • All are woken by a roar, and a scream which is cut short
    • It came from the opposite side of the building, where Ned has a lab
    • Rachel sneaks over and peers into the lab:
      • She sees a Dark Young smashing through the exterior wall and wandering outside
      • She falls back, psychosomatically blinded by the horror
      • She becomes a believer
    • Penelope looks around the corner, sees Rachel, and drags her back
    • Dr. Armitage says he’s going to have a look:
      • Dill follows cautiously
      • They get to a window on the right side of the building, and peer out
      • Dr. Armitage identifies it as a Dark Young
      • Says it must be the artefact Ned was studying, as the elder signs would prevent it from coming in from the outside
      • Says he can banish it if they get the artefact from the lab
    • Penelope sneaks into the lab:
      • She gets the artefact
      • Slips and lands in liquid
      • Looks down, and sees the shredded remains of Ned
      • She lets out an involuntary scream, and the Dark Young charges back to the house
    • All run:
      • Rachel, still blind, carried by Dill
      • The Dark Young smashing through the house after them
      • The house starting to collapse with all the damage
      • Dill gets pinned beneath a falling beam
      • Rachel, in her panic, calls out to Nyarlathotep for help:
        • The house explodes
        • The stars show a very different layout
        • A colour, unlike any colour they had seen before, comes streaking down and engulfs everything
        • The Dark Young dissolves
        • The colour dissipates, and the stars return to normal
        • Rachel is left with the feeling that a steep price will be demanded of her

Gla’aki session 4, 2020-06-14

This session takes place after a time-skip of a few months (to be determined at the start of the session, but at least two months), with Rachel attending the private care clinic of Danvers State Hospital. The scenario is set in the early days of Genius Loci,11From Doors to Darkness.

with the Elder Sign ward being destroyed early during the last month of Rachel’s stay.

Prep

What has Rachel been up to?

Read:

Rachel has been staying in the private care facility of the Danvers State Hospital. A respected psychiatric hospital, out in the beautiful countryside in Massachusetts near Danvers, from which it gets its name. A little further afield are Arkham and Salem, and 18 miles to the south is Boston.

The director is called Dr. Berger, a friendly man who gets on well with all of his patients.

Figure out how long Rachel has been staying there: the underlying insanity must be cured, but she can stay any number of months she wants receiving additional treatment. There will then be an additional month in which there is no treatment (described in the hook below).

Rules for private care are:

What has Dill been up to?

Read:

Dill, you mostly go back to your normal life, and all your coworkers think you just had a vacation for a couple of weeks. Your wife is kind of upset that you didn’t take her along to England with you on your trip, and you can tell that your attempts to explain it away haven’t really convinced her… but maybe it’s better she doubt you than think you crazy.

Whenever you’re out in the field though, you find yourself wondering if something’s hiding behind the trees or beneath the waters. You can convince those around you that everything is normal, but you can’t convince yourself.

Dill can spend time with a backstory element to recover some sanity. Rules for sanity recovery are:

What has Penelope been up to?

Read:

Penelope, after returning from a holiday with your daughter, you waste no time in presenting yourself at the buildings of the Silver Twilight Lodge, holding onto the letter of introduction Dr. Armitage wrote for you.

By the way, Dr. Armitage was able to explain away the complete destruction of his country house and the death of Ned to the police as the result of an undetected a gas leak.

You meet Carl Stanford, the founder of the Lodge, and he welcomes you into the fold as a new member. He explains a bit about the society to you: he says that it is more of a “society with secrets” than a “secret society”, if you see his meaning; a lot of the members of the society don’t truly believe in the occult, they treat the society as a kind of gentlemen’s club where they can meet to discuss science, philosophy, and such matters. Most people don’t progress beyond this outer circle but, those who show true belief, and aptitude, are invited into the inner circle, where they gain access to secret knowledge and to information about the society’s activities: archaeological expeditions, restoration of mouldering old tomes, looking into ghost stories, that sort of thing. With your letter of recommendation, you are immediately admitted into this inner circle.

One day you are browsing the parts of the society’s library which are open to the outer circle. There’s nothing really about the mythos here, and as you’re flicking through a book about headhunter cults in the Amazon basin, a middle-aged black man approaches you, offers you his hand to shake, and greets you. He introduces himself as Jackson Elias, a member of the society currently in town.

Roll intelligence.

On a pass, read:

You recognise his name: it’s the name printed on the book you are reading! You spend a little time talking about the book, and some others he’s written. He says he likes to infiltrate cults if he can, to expose their secrets to the world. Through your conversation you get the impression that he doesn’t really believe in the occult at all, he thinks of these cults as mostly being tools of political and personal power.

As he heads off, he tells you to keep an eye out for his next book, which will be about Asian and African death cults.

On a fail, read:

With a slight smirk, he asks how you’re enjoying the book. You spend a little time talking about it, he recommends a few other books on cults, and says that he’s heard the author is planning to write a book on Asian and African death cults next.

As he walks away, you close the book, reach towards the shelf to put it away, and spot the name of the author on the cover. Jackson Elias. You look up, and see him peeking back at you from the end of the shelves, and as your eyes meet, he nods, turns around, and walks off while chuckling quietly.

Penelope can also spend time with a backstory element to recover some sanity.

Development phase

Rules for investigator development:

The hook

Read:

Rachel, during your last month at the hospital, things got a bit weird. It all began on the day they started building the ampitheatre.

The ampitheatre was one of Dr. Berger’s ideas: a little stage and some tiered seats, built on the side of the hill, facing a reservoir and the beautiful countryside, where there would be poetry readings, speeches, and plays. The newspapers had complained about the expense to the taxpayer, but Dr. Berger had fought back by saying that just because the patients of the hospital couldn’t integrate with society, they shouldn’t be deprived of culture. And if anything, this would help people to heal.

This whole debate was before you arrived, plans were drawn up during your stay, and then one day, early in the last month of your stay, a team of patients who had volunteered to assist with the construction had gone out to start clearing the ground. After they’d been out there for a few hours, something weird happens.

Roll POW

On a pass, read:

You suddenly feel a chill down your spine.

On a fail, read:

You suddenly feel a strange mental pressure, not unlike when you made contact with the Lord of Many Faces.

Take 1 SAN damage.

Then read:

You hear the distinctive sound of a teacup smashing, and look over to see that one of the nurses has stumbled and lost her grip on a tray she was carrying, and one of the other patients looks like he’s seen a ghost. It seems you weren’t the only one who felt something.

Over the next several nights, you have a strange dream…

Every night, the same dream, getting a little further each time, and on the final night, you experience the full thing.

You’re outdoors, it’s chilly, and there’s thick mist, you can’t see more than a couple of meters. You seem to be on hard dry soil, surrounded by sparse stalks of tall grass. You hear a distant voice calling your name, and you feel drawn towards it. The mist clings to you, you almost have to fight through at times.

Eventually, tired from your struggle, you emerge from the tall grasses and see a man: tall, gaunt, and dark. An inverted ankh blazes on his forehead. He holds out his hands. In his left palm is your face. In his right palm is a strange, twisted, hourglass.

The man then brings his hands together, and you feel yourself float off the ground, up into the sky, and up into space. You stop before a collection of monstrous figures: some like twisted humans, some like animals, others of no particular shape at all. All of them, and you, orbit a pulsating ball of yellow energy, which you somehow recognise as being the man who was calling you. The ball draws you in, you become part of it and it becomes part of you, and you see through different eyes the void of space. A great triangle appears in the void, twisted, in a way which reminds you of the hourglass. You hear the voice say “The price must be paid. A moment of your time. When the time is right.” and you wake up.

Despite the strangeness of the dream, it doesn’t feel like a nightmare.

Things have been getting strange in the hospital too: a lot of people have been discharged, and a lot moved to higher-security wards, used for violent inmates. One of those moved is a gentle old man you’ve grown to know during your stay, a Mr. Henry Akeley. He’s suffering from dementia, and forgets things a lot, but is otherwise completely harmless. One day he just didn’t show up in the common room. And all the staff have said is that he is “too excitable” at the moment. He didn’t have any family left, so your daily chats were one of the few things keeping him going.

Roll intelligence.

On a pass, read:

You realise that everyone who has had a recent visitor has been discharged.

Then read:

Dr. Berger has been acting irritable, and the staff have seemed almost afraid of him. One day, one of the nurses told you that Dr. Berger wanted to see you in his office. This is unusual, as previously he visited the people he needed to talk to, and then invited them to his office if it was a private matter.

So you went to his office, and he quite bluntly asked you to leave the hospital. He said you had been treated, and were just taking up space which could be used for new patients. This is a stark change to his previous attitude, which was to let you stay as long as you felt you were benefiting from it.

He had you write a letter with him, right there and then, asking Penelope and Dill to come and take you back to your home as soon as possible.

In the several days it took for the letters to be delivered, Penelope and Dill to talk, and to then come to pick you up, the strangeness continued.

Now we’re going to start the session with Penelope and Dill arriving to collect Rachel.

The situation

  • Dr. Berger has unwittingly freed a lloigor with the construction of the ampitheatre:
    • On the site chosen for the ampitheatre was a granite disk bearing an Elder Sign, which was keeping it at bay.
    • Dr. Berger saw no value in the disk, and had the patients clearing the ground smash it up and carry the pieces away.
  • The lloigor is weak from its long imprisonment:
    • It then expended almost all of its power to enslave Dr. Berger and to make the staff more obedient to him
    • It plans to turn the residents into its cult:
      • A ritual will be held on the New Moon following Rachel’s release to feed it with magic points.
      • Henry Akeley has been chosen as the sacrifice. The following day, Dr. Berger will announce that he died of a heart attack in his sleep. He is old, so it won’t be suspicious.

Handouts

  • Danvers Asylum Superintendent Builds Ampitheatre For Patients

    Article in the Salem News, found by Library Use at the newspaper office, town hall, library, etc.

  • Shine Retires From Danvers Asylum

    Article in the Salem News, found by Library Use at the newspaper office, town hall, library, etc.

  • Dr. Shine’s Diary

    Examination of Dr. Shine’s papers in the archives of the Salem Hospital, with access gained by Law, Persuade, Charm, Fast Talk, etc.

  • Death At Danvers Lunatic Asylum

    Newspaper article on the afternoon following the attack on the investigators.

Notes

  • Penelope and Dill arrive at the asylum to collect Rachel:
    • Penelope senses a malevolent presence.
    • Get ushered to Dr. Berger’s office by a receptionist:
      • He sends a nurse to fetch Rachel.
      • Penelope notices Dr. Berger looks stressed and tired.
      • He says he’s just been a bit overworked lately.
      • Rachel arrives, he turns the conversation to her release papers.
      • Penelope and Dill sign the papers, and leave with Rachel.
  • Rachel tells them about the weirdness.
  • They go to check out the construction site:
    • The water is silvery, but otherwise seems normal.
  • They go to look around and talk to people:
    • Encounter Chalkman: he’s unresponsive and just stares blankly at them.
    • See two old people talking, Rachel approaches:
      • Old man knew Henry, he was screaming murder one day and had to be restrained for his safety.
  • Go to do some research:
    • Dill -> Danvers Town Hall:
      • Handout: floorplan.
      • Learns: bureaucratic details.
    • Rachel -> Danvers Library:
      • Handout: Dr. Shine leaving.
      • Learns: about Judge Hathorne.
    • Penelope -> Silver Twilight Lodge:
      • Learns: more about Judge Hathorne.
  • Go to Salem:
    • Penelope remembers some details about Dr. Shine (and that he is dead).
    • Get into the hospital archives:
      • Handout: Dr. Shine’s notes.
  • Go back to the asylum:
    • Examine the construction site and find where the disk was.
    • Go to the reception to ask where they might have put it: Dr. Berger is there, avoid!
    • Go to the records office:
      • Dill blags his way in.
      • Examines their permits to learn what’s done with the construction waste (dump off the hill).
    • Go to the dump:
      • Dill shoved by an unseen force, almost falls down the hill.
      • Find a fragment of the disk, dig it out, it’s part of an Elder Sign.
      • Go to the construction site to get some shovels:
        • See Chalkman.
        • He tries to grab Rachel, but stops following when she gets too far away.
        • His blank expression is now anger.
        • Every time Rachel gets close he tries to grab her, but eventually stops.
      • Encounter two orderlies at the dump:
        • Dill fails at fast talking them.
        • They tell him to leave, and to not wander around the grounds without permission from Dr. Berger.
  • Return that night:
    • One person watches for patrols, the other two dig.
    • Get all the pieces out around dawn.
    • Drive back to the hotel in Danvers.
  • Penelope confronted by Andrew MacBride:
    • Tells his story.
    • Disappears into the dawn.
    • Two nights from now Dr. Berger will use Henry for something!

Gla’aki session 5, 2020-06-28

Recap

Last time Penelope and Dill arrived at Danvers Asylum to collect Rachel, who was being discharged under unusual circumstances. Something seemed up with Dr. Berger and the rest of the staff, and you found that recently construction work had destroyed an Elder Sign on the asylum grounds. You found that the ward had been placed by Dr. Shine, the previous superintendent, and who had felt unable to tell Dr. Berger of its true purpose.

You learned, from an inmate who had been sent to deal with you, that some sort of ritual is planned for the night of the New Moon: which is tomorrow! The ritual somehow involves a gentle old man Rachel had befriended during her stay, and who is now being in one of the high security wards for violent patients.

Prep

Plans to deal with the situation

  1. Create a large distraction (eg, fire or evacuation)

    This isn’t a solution, it’s a means to a solution.

  2. Disrupt the ritual

    • Sneak to the site on the ritual night
    • Find where the ritual is being held

    Unlikely to solve the lloigor problem, even if the kill Berger.

  3. Call upon a god

    • Nyarlathotep: can do whatever the investigators want if they pay the price (eg, becoming his servant)
    • Gla’aki: likely to send Servants to negotiate with the lloigor for aid escaping

    This seems like a bad idea to me.

  4. Spontaneous use of Cthulhu Mythos

    Can achieve any effect, but can also be very fatal. This also seems like a bad idea to me.

  5. Create an Elder Sign

    Someone needs to learn the spell! Can try Hard INT daily.

    This would solve the problem and restore everyone. But can they convince Berger to leave it in place?

    Clue: Elder Sign cuts off Penelope’s Gla’aki sense.

  6. Incapacitate Berger

    This will delay the start of the ritual, while the lloigor whips them into a frenzy unaided, but won’t really solve anything.

  7. Break out Rachel’s friend Henry and hope for the best

    Someone else will be used. But maybe that’s good enough?

  8. Ask the Silver Twilight Lodge for help

    They can probably get an Elder Sign or some other ward.

Sneaking into Danvers Asylum

Random encounters:

  1. Encounter with orderlies
  2. Encounter with nurses
  3. Encounter with patients
  4. Lloigor attack (shove, trip, etc)
  5. Lloigor help (door unlocks, orderlies distracted before seeing investigators, etc)
  6. Lloigor sighting (lizard crawling into a pool, chalk drawing, etc)
  7. Oppressive atmosphere: lose 0/1 SAN
  8. Physical barrier (door, ditch, etc)
  9. Nothing happens!
  10. Reroll!

Creepy descriptions:

  • Dark, long, corridors
  • Echoes
  • Stout, locked, doors with barred windows
  • The sound of quiet crying / laughing in the distance
  • A scream
  • No artificial lights, windows above the doors
  • Seating area to catch the sunlight
  • Nurse room: office, medical supplies
  • Patient room: plain, undecorated, nothing sharp, small cot, restraints
  • Kitchen / serving room: sterile, metal, utensils
  • Bathroom: small bathtub, sponges

Notes

  • Planning what to do:
    • Penelope, 8: ask the STL for help
    • Rachel, 5: create an Elder Sign
    • Dill: submit a false report of money mismanagement, to get the asylum investigated.
  • That evening:
    • Penelope returned with Russell Gibson, knows some simple healing / warding magic, doesn’t like the idea of people being in danger.
    • Rachel figured out the ritual.
    • Rachel embroiders an Elder Sign into her jacket and magics it:
      • She sees it glow (nobody else does)
      • Feels weak and drained
      • Penelope’s Gla’aki sense cut off:
        • Total cut-off in a half-mile radius, then gradual fade for a half-mile beyond that
  • Next day:
    • Confirm the Elder Sign cuts off all magic in the vicinity by having Russell try making the Powder of Ibn-Ghazi, which fails.
    • Decide to sneak into the asylum at night, hide the Elder Sign jacket somewhere, then go to the ampitheatre and see what happens; only intervene if necessary.
  • That night:
    • Sneak into the grounds and to the main building.
    • Penelope spotted by a creepy patient in a flash of lightning.
    • Penelope sneaks into the ward building to look for a hiding spot:
      • Dark, no artificial light.
      • Quiet, some distant laughter.
      • Nobody around.
      • Listen at one door: hear orderlies chatting.
      • Open another door: discover a sleeping nurse.
      • Open another door: creaks, and the orderlies come to investigate.
      • Sneak up to the attic before the orderlies arrive.
      • Hide the jacket on one of the beams.
      • Sneak back down to ground floor, avoiding the orderlies checking on all the patients.
      • Patients are awake: gibbering, talking, crying, laughing, reaching through the bars…
      • Swiftly exit and lock the door behind her.
    • Meanwhile, Rachel sneaks to the ampitheatre:
      • Sees Dr. Berger, other staff and patients, Henry on a gurney, walking towards it.
      • All look confused, as if they’re trying to remember something, or as if they’re not really sure what’s going on.
      • Carrying blue flamed-torches.
    • All reunite at the ampitheatre; and watch:
      • Dr. Berger tries to address the crowd a few times, but looks like he doesn’t know what he wants to say.
      • Eventually he talks about how something strange has been happening for the last month, almost like a waking dream, he and other staff have memory gaps… and no idea why they’re out here tonight. Maybe the food? Or water? Or a gas leak? Let’s all go back inside.
      • Henry taken in by a nurse.
    • Return to the hotel, the immediate problem solved.
  • Next day:
    • Penelope sends Russell tot he STL to talk about donating a statue or something, providing a new permanent Elder Sign.
    • Go to visit the asylum:
      • Dr. Berger apologises for his treatment of Rachel towards the end of her stay.
      • Chat with Henry in the common room. Dill asks some questions about what he remembers:
        • He had a dream22This is a confused memory of the time before Dr. Shine—when the lloigor was last loose—and recent events. The “trip to the seaside” was about being taken to the reservoir.

          that Dr. Shine had never come to the asylum.
        • It’s ok now, the bad dream went away.
        • In the dream he was going to go on a trip “to the seaside, I think”
    • Dill cancels his fraud report.
  • Gla’aki brainstorming:
    • Maybe Elder Signing a crystal will prevent it from holding Gla’aki and freeing him?33This is the exact opposite of what I planned originally, but it’s cool if they want to free Gla’aki.

    • The RoG only talked about his loyal servants, not zombies!
    • What do these servants do? They fetch crystals and spread the influence of Gla’aki to distant lands.44Spread influence by creating Avatars.

    • We should free Gla’aki so he’ll go away and stop zombifying people.

Next time

Visiting Pingualuit crater.

Gla’aki session 6, 2020-07-10

Recap

Last session Rachel mastered the magic of the Elder Sign, and you discovered that an Elder Sign suppressed all magic in a large area around it. Penelope’s Gla’aki sense is completely cut off up to half a mile away, and only regains full strength a full mile away.

And so, you decided to use this new-found magic to deal with Gla’aki’s crystals, hoping to disable the remaining two for long enough for Gla’aki to escape the Earth and return to the stars.

Penelope has spent the last two weeks travelling around the states with a map and a stash of pencils, trying to get a more precise fix on the locations of the crystals. And now she’s got it. One lies to the north, in Quebec; the other to the south, in Central America. Where do you want to go?

Prep (Quebec)

Handout: Penelope’s best guess for the crystal’s location

There and back again

There are two ways to reach the crater, both starting from Quebec City.

In both cases, the more honest locals will refuse to have anything to do with this fools errand, unless the investigators can convince them that they are fit and knowledgeable enough to handle a long trek into the wilderness and back (to an unspecified destination, for unspecified purpose!), so only the dishonest ones will assist them.

David Spencer, a Servant of Gla’aki, is available in both locations to supply what they need.

Catch a boat to Fort Chimo then travel over land:

  • 300 miles (at best a 5-day journey with dogs)
  • David Spencer will sell them a dog sled and supplies. He’ll set a high price but can be haggled down. The dogs don’t like him.

Travel over land from Quebec City:

  • 1000 miles (at best a 20 day journey with a truck)
  • David Spencer will sell them a truck and supplies. He’ll set a high price but can be haggled down.

Gossip in Quebec City or Fort Chimo:

  • “You don’t look much like hunters or fur traders.”
  • “It’s empty out there, just barren land.”
  • “…there’s some sort of Esquimaux holy site, it’s creepy, best to stay away.”
  • “If the bears don’t get you those Esquimaux will.”
  • David Spencer might sell you his truck/dogs/supplies."

The journey itself:

  • Cold
  • Constant wind
  • Barren, sporadic clumps of trees, but mostly rocks, hills, rivers, and small lakes.
  • There are three big rivers, running W/E, between Port Chimo and Pingualuit Crater.
  • To the west: lots of little lakes, no rivers.
  • To the east: lots of little lakes, many small rivers running N/S+E.
  • On the return journey (without Gla’aki-sense) call for Navigation checks to avoid getting lost.

Encounters:

  • Recently deserted Esquimaux camp
  • Polar bears
  • Sounds of nearby gunshots or fighting at night
  • Bad weather
  • Dark Young
  • A river or lake to move around
  • An injured dog or damaged truck
  • A misplaced treasured possession

Campfire conversation starters:

  • Have you been on a journey like this before?
  • What are you taking / how are you preparing?
  • What habits of the others are annoying you?
  • Everyone share a story.
  • What exactly do you plan to do when you get there?
  • What if the crystal is buried or underwater?
  • Why are you doing this?

Pingualuit Crater

The crater is a big change from the surrounding environs. Full of life, and at the centre a deep lake housing the brilliant blue/green crystal which pulses with an inner light.

  • Green, fertile, lush, warm
  • Heavily forested
  • Oddly quiet (with a Listen check)
  • Crystal at bottom of central lake
  • Signs of a very ancient, and recently abandoned, settlement
  • Stone pillar with a representation of Gla’aki
  • Dark Young

Encounters:

  • At night:
    • A Dark Young is heard (cough/bark which turns into a shriek)
  • After the Elder Sign is placed:
    • Dark Young sound, loud thumping, trees swaying
    • “Trees” relocate outside the crater
    • David Spencer, with a gun and a line of sight to where they were working, found dead (Medicine confirms he’s been dead for months)
  • If they refuse to place the Elder Sign:
    • David Spencer confronts them

Prep (Central America)

Handout: Penelope’s best guess for the crystal’s location
Handout: The San José Herald, an English daily newspaper

The Jade Museum

It’s a large modern building in the centre of San José, built in 1890, which houses several hundred pieces of pre-Columbian jade artefacts. The blue/green crystal, which pulses with an inner light, is inside one of the broken spheres.

  • The basement:
    • Dark, long corridors
    • Some labs
    • Storage room with the spheres
    • Crystal in a broken sphere
  • Guards patrol at night
  • One of the guards is a Servant:
    • He’ll watch the investigators without getting in their way (unless he thinks they’re going to do something detrimental)
  • Basement access through building, or through coal chute at the back
  • Exhibits:
    • Threshold: A look at the ecological and historical contexts that lead to the rise of jade societies.
    • Jade: The craft, economics, and trade of jade stone and artifacts in ancient Mesoamerica.
    • The Day: Daily life of Pre-Columbian societies in Costa Rica.
    • The Night: The uses of jade in religion, war, and burial rites.
    • Memory: A celebration of the cultural music, history, and technology.
    • The Collection: Jade art from three regions: Greater Nicoya, Central Region, Greater Chiriqui.
    • 7000+ artefacts, from 500–300BC

Encounters:

  • If they refuse to place the Elder Sign:
    • The Guard-Servant confront them
  • After they place the Elder Sign:
    • The Guard-Servant found dead snooping outside the storage room (Medicine confirms he’s been dead for months)

Prep (The Aftermath)

Handout: Scotland Destroyed! Earthquake Shatters Nation!

After disabling the crystals, Gla’aki will rise from his earthly prison and return to the stars, taking the minds of his believers with him, leaving their bodies acting as rabid beasts.

Notes

I expected the players to get through one location and maybe make travel arrangements for the other, and then to have a shorter next session and spend the time afterwards talking about where we want the campaign to go to next. But we got through both locations in a slightly longer session, as they bypassed almost all of the Quebec events by deciding to charter a flight.

  • Players head to Panama:
    • Dill and Penelope learn how to make an Elder Sign during the journey.
    • Penelope senses the crystal moving, somewhere in Costa Rica.
    • Rachel fails to smuggle her gun through customs, it gets confiscated, they head to Panama City to find a guitar case to hide it in so they can smuggle it into Costa Rica.
    • Penelope finds the newspaper and learns about the stone spheres.
    • MoN Egypt hotel scenario:
      • They spot the hidden entrances to their rooms, move into one room, keep watch, and surprise the thief.
  • Players head to Costa Rica:
    • Pick up Rachel’s gun as they leave Panama, and smuggle it into Costa Rica.
    • Head to San Jose, and find a reputable hotel.
    • Scope out the Jade Museum:
      • Crystal is in the basement somewhere.
      • Rachel causes a distraction, Penelope and Dill sneak down.
      • Penelope finds the room, but it’s occupied.
      • Caught and made to leave.
    • That night:
      • Just one guard.
      • Scope out the surroundings, make a plan to break in.
    • The following night:
      • Just the one, same, guard.
      • Break in.
      • Sneak through basement to crystal room, avoiding guard patrol.
      • Steal crystal, and escape
  • Players return to the US:
    • Crystal baked into a loaf of bread and smuggled out through customs.
    • Take the crystal to Danvers as an experiment: it cools and stops glowing when in range of the Elder Sign.
    • Go chat with the STL about chartering a flight to the Quebec crystal:
      • Failed a Psychology roll on Carl Stanford.
      • Sure, they can have a plane.
  • Players head to Quebec, with their crystal:
    • Silent, forested, oddly warm and green (etc)
    • Find the deserted camp:
      • Been inhabited for a long time, centuries at least
      • Looks recently abandoned, but can’t track the footprints through the grass and trees
      • Stone obelisk at the centre with Gla’aki carvings
    • Hear a Dark Young at night
    • Make an Elder Sign and drop it onto the crystal in the lake:
      • Keeping their other crystal out of range.
      • Dark Young call and swaying trees when they activate their Elder Sign.
      • Air cools as the rock sinks to the crystal.
    • No way to get the crystal out of the lake:
      • Plan to carve an Elder Sign into a rock and drop it onto the crystal.
      • Penelope makes an Elder Sign, Dill makes a raft.
      • Lake water is warm but otherwise seems normal.
      • Dark Young call and swaying trees when the Elder Sign activates.
  • Players return to the US:
    • See trees have moved from the air.
    • Penelope casts Contact Gla’aki alone at night:
      • He uses Dominate to make her want to immediately Elder Sign the remaining crystal.
      • She does, senses Gla’aki disappear after a little while.
    • Next morning:
      • People on the street engrossed by the newspaper, some look distraught.
      • Scotland Destroyed!

Feedback: they mentioned some bits about the arc they particularly liked:

  • “Suspense in the museum basement was nice” “Hell yeah.”
  • “I also really enjoyed sneaking around in the asylum and the museum.”
  • “Personally I still can’t stop grinning when remembering the time I invoked Nyarly in the house, what a moment.”
  • “I did enjoy the sneaky bits a good deal.”
  • “I appreciated our little Panama detour”

Next time

Under discussion, but the likely option seems to be playing through the Peru chapter of MoN with Pulp Cthulhu rules, and Nyarlathotep calling in his deal with Rachel.

MoN Peru session 1, 2020-07-26

Prep

  • Quick run through of Pulp rules
  • Do character creation (preserving Cthulhu Mythos points)
  • Overturn Elder Sign ruling

Notes

  • Penelope agreed to play along with Jackson Elias’s deception, he spilled the beans with Rachel and Kints too.
  • Kints spots Pedro de Valesco watching them from an alley.
  • Find Rizo’s body, + her notes, + the golden band in the store room:
    • But don’t see the burned skin fragments.
  • Rachel / Elias find Mendoza’s stabbing victim then save Sanchez and knock out Mendoza:
    • But after Sanchez had been infected.
    • Rachel noticed the moving lump inside Sanchez.

Next time

Penelope and Kints are in the store room with Rizo’s body. Rachel and Jackson are with the injured Prof. Sanchez and the unconscious Mendoza. Rachel fired her shotgun indoors, so the police will be on their way.

MoN Peru session 2, 2020-08-09

Recap

Last time you all met up in the Bar Cordano, in Lima, Peru, to go on an expedition to find a previously undiscovered pyramid somewhere in the Andean highlands.

There you met Augustus Larkin—your patron—a sickly looking man who sweats a lot and, as Rachel noticed, seemed to be suffering from opioid withdrawal. Also there were Luis de Mendoza, Larkin’s gaunt and untalkative assistant; and Jackson Elias—going by the alias Jesse Hughes—professional investigator of cults and known to Penelope from the Silver Twilight Lodge.

Larkin showed you some golden artefacts he claimed were from the pyramid, and wasn’t very subtle in hinting that finding it and bringing back its treasures would be of great financial benefit to you all.

After Larkin and Mendoza left, Jackson revealed his identity and confided that he thinks there’s more to this expedition that meets the eye. Larkin had repeatedly turned down interested parties from the local museum, and Mendoza has a reputation as a kharisiri: a kind of local vampire which sucks the fat from its victim’s bodies. Legends of the kharisiri date back to the conquistadors, and they are always gaunt white men, so Jackson thinks there might be a centuries-old cult to investigate here.

The following day, you went to meet Professor Sanchez and his assistant Trinidad Rizo at the local museum, who have been trying to find this pyramid to send a team before Larkin—they don’t believe in this cult stuff, but they do think Larkin is basically a grave-robber. Then disaster struck! Rizo went to fetch her notes and an artefact believed to be from the pyramid, she didn’t return, and you found her buried beneath a pile of broken boxes in the basement, her body thin and withered as if all the fat had been removed. Rachel went to inform Jackson and the professor, but was distracted by a scream from outside: a woman had been stabbed, and by the time she got back to the professor’s office, he had been attacked by Mendoza. Rachel and Jackson managed to knock out Mendoza, despite him vomiting forth a long tentacle with pincers on the end which tried to latch onto Rachel, and then found that he had “kissed” the professor, and there was something moving around inside the professor’s abdomen…

Kints and Penelope, you’re in the basement storeroom with Rizo’s body, her notes on the Final Confessions of Gaspar Figueroa, and a golden artefact which seems to be the one described in the notes. Rachel, you’re with Jackson, Professor Sanchez, and the unconscious Luis de Mendoza in the professor’s office. The professor is in a great deal of pain, and has something crawling around inside him.

Let’s go to Kints and Penelope in the basement first. You’ve heard some gunshots, what do you do?

Prep

  • Jackson can arrange a boat to the coast near Puno if the heroes want to leave before Monday (or disable Larkin and can’t persuade the trucks to drive them). The crossing takes a few days and then the train journey is another day.

  • If the heroes leave it too long after killing Mendoza, Larkin will come to find them. He will try to get one of them alone, and Nyarlathotep will then take over to cast Cloud Memory and make them forget.

  • Rachel would be unsettled to hear Nyarlathotep’s voice.

  • Mendoza isn’t dead. They can only truly kill a kharisiri by utterly destroying its body (acid, fire, etc).

  • People in Puno will stare at and be wary of the white heroes.

  • Pedro de Valesco (white) and a few of the new local kharisiri will be in Puno.

  • Spells that may be useful for Nyarlathotep:

    • Cloud Memory (KR#250): block a specific memory in the mind of the target.
    • Dominate (KR#254): briefly bend the will of the target to the caster.
    • Fist of Yog-Sothoth (KR#259): strike a target with an invisible force and propel them backwards, with a chance to knock them unconscious.
    • Summon Hunting Horror (KR#263): physically brings a Hunting Horror (KR#299, about as massive as a cape buffalo).

    Note that Nyarlathotep needs to use the heroes to destroy the golden ward, he doesn’t want to kill them unless they’re about to destroy his vessel Larkin.

  • Don’t forget about bonus dice for distracted or outnumbered foes!

Notes

  • Rachel blows up Mendoza’s head
  • Penelope clairvoyances the location of the pyramid
  • Visit Prof Sanchez in the hospital:
    • Kints spots Pedro de Valesco watching the room
    • He describes the maggot
  • Penelope sneaks into Larkin’s room, taking the mask and all his money.
  • Larkin feigns ignorance over what happened with Mendoza, saying the expedition must continue.
  • Penelope detects rotting meat smell.
  • Set off to Puno the night before Larkin, taking a faster route (arriving a full day before he will).
  • Find Nayra in the floating island:
    • Folklore:
      • Knows about the tentacles (kharisiri scoop out the fat with their long tongue), doesn’t know about the maggot or kiss.
      • Kharisiri attacks have been getting worse, people have been attacked in the city.
      • Thinks Mendoza is after her, people have been watching her house.
      • Identifies the mask as of Tiwanaku origin (which is roughly this area).
      • Tells the legend of the god.
    • Rachel spots kharisiri outside!
    • Kints attacks one, severing its tentacle (5HP damage), sees other two emerge from the shadows.

Next time

Start with a luck refresh and the kharisiri fight on the reed island. Nayra should point out that these kharisiri look like locals, not white people. They might also discover the pot bellies full of liquid fat.

MoN Peru session 3, 2020-08-23

Recap

First we’ll do a luck refresh. So make a luck check, gain 1d10+5 if you pass and 2d10+10 if you fail. You can’t go above 99.

Right…

Last time you decided to leave Lima ahead of schedule, and without Larkin and Mendoza, after Rachel blew up Mendoza’s head with a shotgun on the floor of Prof. Sanchez’s office.

Before skipping town on a fishing boat Jackson managed to hire, Penelope snuck around Larkin’s hotel room while he was out, finding a large amount of heroin, a polished golden mirror which felt magical and the lingering smell of rotting meat.

You made it to Puno, and managed to track down Nayra, a local wise-woman. She told you a local folktale, about a hungry god which fell from the sky and ate everything it could reach, but was finally trapped underground, beneath a pyramid with “spells worked in gold”, by a legendary hero. As the story went on, you realised it was oddly quiet outside…

Kints stepped out of the hut, and saw a hunched over figure in the darkness. A kharisiri, a woman you hadn’t seen before, leaning over an unmoving victim, her red tentacle pulsing as she sucked his fat out… Kints swung her sword, severing the tentacle. The kharisiri jumped up, hissing and spraying blood, and two more figures stood up in the darkness.

Kints, and anyone else seeing this, roll sanity.

If anyone is inside, have them make a Spot Hidden roll, then for those who pass:

[characters], you look over at Nayra, who is still holding the mirror, silent after telling you it looked like it was of Tiwanaku origin. She’s staring into it, an expression of terror on her face.

Prep

  • Back at Prof. Armitage’s country house, Nyarlathotep saved Rachel in exchange for “a moment of your time,” this session he will come to collect:
    • At the pyramid, he will possess Rachel (no roll), slip back, and open a gate for Larkin and Mendoza (1/1d6+1 SAN) to pass through.
    • If Penelope / Kints notice and come to find Rachel, she is chanting “words which don’t sound like anything a human mouth should be making,” her eyes completely black (1d3 SAN).
    • The gate will emit a blinding purple light, noise of a thunderclap, and really strong wind. So it’s not subtle.
    • Nyarlathotep will leave Rachel (hard CON to avoid fainting) and take Larkin: he will straighten, suddenly looking stronger and more confident, his eyes black, and he will speak in a deep voice:
      • “Enough of this chase. You two will enter the pyramid and remove the golden seal, or this one will a sacrifice to my glory.” (Penelope & Rachel hear this in English, Kints in Spanish)
      • Rachel recognises this voice as the voice of Nyarlathotep.
      • If she failed the hard CON, she now faints. Mendoza stands over her, hand on sword.
      • If she passed the hard CON, Mendoza grapples her with a bonus for her weakened state.
    • Then switch viewpoints to Penelope / Kints and describe how Rachel looked to them through this.

Notes

  • Kharisiri fight on Nayra’s island:
    • Rachel spots them healing
    • Rachel remembers the maggot and figures out that’s how they spread
    • They decide to burn the corpses
  • Feral kharisiri encounter - they burn the corpse
  • Farmer encounter - he points confirms the kharisiri went to the pyramid (backed up by clairvoyance)
  • The pyramid:
    • Watch the kharisiri through binoculars (gross)
    • Nyarly happens, sends Penelope and Kints into the tunnels.
    • P & K set the fat on fire
    • Rachel withers Larkin to death
    • P & K repair the seal with the Gla’aki crystal
    • Kharisiri crumble to dust
    • Steal some of the loose gold
    • Rachel looks into the mirror:
      • Contacts Nyarlathotep, he gloats that his plans will inevitably succeed
      • She goes slightly mad, attacks the seal
      • Kints restrains her

Next time

America!

Break 1: Traveller

I ran a Traveller one-shot based on the classic Annic Nova scenario.

MoN America session 1, 2020-09-20

Time skip / Hero Development Phase

  1. Set HP and MP to full
  2. Luck recovery:
    • Roll, +2d10+10 on failure, +1d10+5 on success.
  3. Gain skills:
    • Roll, +1d10 on failure.
  4. Recover sanity:
    • Spend time with backstory, roll SAN, +1d10 on success, -1 and revise backstory on failure.
    • With a key connection use a bonus die and cure indefinite insanity.
  5. Review credit ratings:
    • They had pack animals, so assume everyone was bumped to CR49 (with an extra $2k in assets) at the end of Peru.
    • Talk about what everyone was up to in the intervening 5 years and revise up or down.
  6. Learn languages:
    • If anyone lived in another country they gain Language (Other) at 30 for 2+ years or 50 for 3+ years.

Prep

  • Overview of Carlyle Expedition + go through newspaper clippings
  • Where would they go to await Jackson’s message? They don’t know where he is, so it’s got to be somewhere he knows and where they can hang out all day.
    • Do any of them live in New York?
    • Or a favoured hotel?
    • A speakeasy?
    • Something else?
    • Ask and improv the phonecall scene:
      • Jackson’s audibly nervous
      • Sets a meeting place and time (8PM, room 410 at the Hotel Chelsea)
      • He doesn’t answer any questions, hangs up if pressed, and doesn’t answer if called back.
      • If visited early he’s not in (reception can confirm an African American man went out around the time the call ended).

Notes

  • Room 410:
    • They killed one cultist, the other escaped.
    • Lt. Poole now has the car’s description and their contact details.
    • Rachel identified the Bloody Tongue symbol on Jackson’s forehead.
  • Research:
    • Talked to Arthur Emerson, he told them about Ju-Ju House and to be careful.
    • Rachel got Bloody Tongue background from the library.
    • And found that Roger Carlyle had checked out “Life as a God” but never returned it.
    • Cassie leaves a message for Prof. Cowles: an “urgent matter” relating to his lecture.
  • Ju-Ju House:
    • Asked Silas about Jackson and the Bloody Tongue.
    • He said he didn’t know Jackson and that the Bloody Tongue was a story to scare children.

Next time

The funeral.

MoN America session 2, 2020-10-18

Recap

Who wants to give it?

Prep

Leads they think they have

The Carlyle Expedition / Erica Calyle
  • They can find out more about Roger and Bunay from Erica Calyle (p132)
  • They can find gossip about the expedition members from newspaper articles, peers, or Erica Carlyle (p139)
Bloody Tongue headbands
  • Police haven’t seen these before, don’t know what they are (not on the guy they have locked up, for instance)
  • Investigators can make an educated guess that these are cult symbols
The cultist’s car
  • Lt. Poole looking into it, no luck yet
  • The car is no longer a lead, but if they visit Erica Carlyle it’ll try to run them off the road into the snow
The Cult of the Bloody Tongue
  • Nothing they can learn directly, though going around Harlem asking about the cult will result in a lot of people watching them
M. Warren Besart / Faraz Najjar
  • Nothing further to learn outside of Egypt
  • If Erica is questioned she says Roger used to exchange letters with people all over the world; most of them trying to get his money
The Penhew Foundation
  • Nothing specific to learn other than its reputation
Arthur Emerson / Emerson Imports
  • He has nothing further to contribute
Silas N’Kwane / Ju-Ju House
  • Questioning Silas won’t reveal anything new
  • There will always be cultists in or near the shop when the investigators are there, unless they shake off the tail
  • Questioning the locals will reveal that sometimes at night a great many people go into the shop, usually once a month, sometimes more (p154)
  • Watching the shop at day will reveal the bribery, Silas’s routine, and Mukunga M’Dari (the last not notable unless they watch for long enough to see his repeated visits, or if they’ve heard Hilton Adams’s description) (p155)
  • Watching the shop at night will reveal people arriving for the rituals (p155)
Miriam Atwright / Harvard University Library
  • She can reveal the book Jackson wanted (p136)
Prof Cowles / Arkham University / The Cult of Darkness
  • He never met Jackson, but read some of his books, and doesn’t know if he came to his lecture
  • If suitably flattered he’ll invite the investigators to Arkham (2.5 hours on train) to see his slides and get a lecture summary
  • He can post copies if the investigators absolutely can’t travel
Lt. Martin Poole
  • He has nothing further to contribute (other than pointing them to Dr. Lemming).
Previous murders
  • Lt. Poole or Rebecca Shosenburg can point them to Dr. Mordecai Lemming (p135)
  • Rebecca Shosenburg will approach the investigators about this at the funeral (p145)
Life as a God
  • This is hidden in the Carlyle mansion’s library (p134)

Mukunga M’Dari’s tail

  • There are 4 different cultists watching the investigators in shifts, 3 black and 1 white
  • They will flee if spotted, leading to a chase
  • Currently they are just watching: M’Dari wants to know how much the investigators know and if Jackson has told anyone else what he knew
  • After (at least) 3 days he’ll be satisfied it’s just the investigators and will make a move

The funeral

  • (p127)
  • A few reporters keeping a distance, Jonah Kensington, Carlton Ramsey, and Willa Sligh in attendance.
  • At the end reporters come to ask questions, Rebecca Shosenburg pushes to the front and asks if they know anything about the connection between Jackson’s murder and the previous murders for which Hilton Adams was convicted and placed on death row? If they talk to her, she’ll invite them to meet at the newspaper’s offices.
  • Both Carlton Ramsey (p127) and Jonah Kensington (p128) make appointments to see the investigators over the next 48 hours.
  • At the reading of the will, Carlton Ramsey says that the bulk of Jackson’s funds come from “investments made with the proceeds of some sort of expedition down in Peru several years back”.

Notes

  • Agreed to keep Rebecca Shosenburg in the loop in exchange for an introduction to Millie Adams.
  • Learned that Erica Carlyle can be contacted through Bradley Grey.
  • Sent a telegram to the Penhew Foundation asking if they knew anything about Jackson Elias.
  • Met Prof Cowles: got a lecture summary and contact details for Robert MacKenzie and Prof. David Dodge.
  • Got all the notes from Jonah Kensington.

Things to bring up next session

  • Rebecca Shosenburg’s call & the Hilton Adams story
  • The Penhew Foundation’s response
  • Mukunga’s tail

MoN America session 3, 2020-11-01

Recap

Who wants to give it?

Prep

Leads they think they have

The Expedition / The Carlyles
  • They can find out more about the expedition, including the existence of Bunay, from Erica Calyle (p132)
  • They can find gossip about the expedition members from newspaper articles, peers, or Erica Carlyle (p139)
  • The way to get in touch with Erica is through Bradley Grey (p132)
  • If Erica is questioned about people’s motives, she says a lot of people tried to use Roger to get to his money
Silas N’Kwane / Ju-Ju House
  • Questioning the locals will reveal that sometimes at night a great many people go into the shop, usually once a month, sometimes more (p154)
  • Watching the shop at day will reveal the bribery, Silas’s routine, and Mukunga M’Dari (the last not notable unless they watch for long enough to see his repeated visits, or if they’ve heard Hilton Adams’s description) (p155)
  • Watching the shop at night will reveal people arriving for the rituals (p155)
Miriam Atwright / Harvard University Library
  • She can reveal the book Jackson wanted (p136)
Prof Cowles / Arkham University / The Cult of Darkness
  • Nothing more to learn without going to or getting in touch with Australia
Previous murders
  • Lt. Poole or Rebecca Shosenburg can point them to Dr. Mordecai Lemming (p135)
Life as a God
  • This is hidden in the Carlyle mansion’s library (p134)
Jackson Elias
  • The party have clues pointing to:
    • England (Carlyle Expedition)
    • Egypt (Carlyle Expedition; Cult of the Bloody Tongue)
    • Kenya (Carlyle Expedition; Nairobi Notes; Cult of the Bloody Tongue)
    • Australia (Cult of the Sand Bat)
    • China (Nairobi Notes)
  • Nothing further to learn from Carlton or Jonah, they’ve shared all they have

Mukunga M’Dari’s tail

Who
  • There are 4 different cultists watching the investigators in shifts, 3 black and 1 white
  • None will talk: they fear M’Dari’s vengeance more than death
Motives
  • M’Dari wants to know how much the investigators know and if Jackson has told anyone else what he knew
Tactics
  • They will flee if spotted, leading to a chase
  • They are more likely to instigate a riot which the investigators get caught up in than directly confront them, unless the investigators are alone or vulnerable in which case they will attack!
  • If they attack directly, they will try to capture, but will kill if necessary
Captain Robson
  • If a riot starts, Captain Robson’s men will take the investigators away and encourage them to leave Harlem for good
  • If the investigators start loitering outside the Ju-Ju House and haven’t shaken off the tail, Captain Robson’s men will come take the investigators away for mopery

The Penhew Foundation’s response

ELIAS VISITED 14TH NOV ABOUT CARLYLE EXP. DISCUSSED FUNDING SHORT MEETING NO FURTHER INFO

An Innocent Man (p145)

  • Rebecca Shosenburg will contact the investigators first thing saying she has arranged a meeting with Millie Adams at the Lafayette Theatre at 11am
  • There is a cult spy listening in at the theatre
  • If Millie Adams isn’t protected she will be turned into a ciimba in time for when the investigators visit the Ju-Ju House basement
  • Otherwise follow the scenario as written

Notes

  • They spotted the cultist hiding in the theatre, but didn’t apprehend him
  • Got Millie Adams’ story
    • Next New Moon is on Sunday the 25th
    • Meeting arranged with Hilton Adams for following morning
  • Met Erica Carlyle at a charity gala and got invited to her estate
  • Visited Hilton Adams, got his story
    • Watch out for Mukunga M’Dari!
  • Visited Erica Carlyle:
    • Got her story
    • Learn about Bunay
    • See the books:
      • Initial readings of all but Selections
      • Note down poetry-looking bits (spells) and inverted ankh from Selections

Things to bring up next session

  • Attack on the way back from the Carlyle Estate
  • The Penhew Foundation’s response

MoN America session 4, 2020-11-15

Start: evening of Thursday the 22nd of January. Next ritual is Sunday the 25th.

Recap

Who wants to give it?

Prep

Leads they think they have

The Hilton Adams Case
  • Millie can point them to his army buddies (p149)
Mordecai Lemming
  • Rebecca Shosenburg, Lt. Poole, or researching old newspapers can lead to his hotel (p135)
The Expedition / The Carlyles
  • They can find gossip about the expedition members from newspaper articles, peers, or Erica Carlyle (p139)
  • The “egyptian dreams” are detailed in Dr. Huston’s notes (p141)
Silas N’Kwane / Mukunga M’Dari / Ju-Ju House
  • Watching the shop at day will reveal the bribery, Silas’s routine, and Mukunga M’Dari (who they’ll recognise from Hilton’s description) (p155)
  • Watching the shop at night will reveal people arriving for the rituals (p155)
Miriam Atwright / Harvard University Library
  • She can reveal the book Jackson wanted (p136)
Jackson Elias
  • The party have clues pointing to:
    • England (Carlyle Expedition)
    • Egypt (Carlyle Expedition; Cult of the Bloody Tongue)
    • Kenya (Carlyle Expedition; Nairobi Notes; Cult of the Bloody Tongue)
    • Australia (Cult of the Sand Bat)
    • China (Nairobi Notes)
  • Nothing further to learn from Carlton or Jonah, they’ve shared all they have

Contact spells

The Winged Ones - Contact Elder Thing

Won’t work unless in southern Australia (and even then only with a hard Luck roll). It will be obvious to the caster that it didn’t work.

The Observers - Contact Yithian

The caster will get a sense that it worked. A few nights later a man will arrive and ask to speak to whoever cast it, saying he has been contacted. He will answer (some of) the gang’s questions, if they agree to go to Australia and free his trapped companion. His motive is to get Kakakatak freed and will lie or withold information to avoid scaring off the investigators.

Selections de Livre D’Ivon spells

The Yithian can translate these spells.

  • Contact Deity (Nodens) - he is an enemy of Nyarlathotep, and so may aid the gang. He avoids direct confrontation, but can impart authority over the Nightgaunts.

  • Contact Deity (Tsathoggua) - hew as once worshipped by a great cult in prehistoric times, and taught many human wizards. But he spends all his time sleeping or eating, if summoned he can be tempted with magically potent food (like, say, another wizard) and onyl after eating will he impart any knowledge.

  • Create Mist of R’lyeh

If asked about the inverted ankh, “it is one of the symbols of Nyarlathotep, the enemy of Nodens.”

Mukunga M’Dari’s tail

Attack!
  • Snowy and dark drive back through the countryside to New York
  • A red 1915 Hudson will appear behind the gang and rapidly close on them, trying to ram them off the road
  • Four men in the car, one being who Kints chased from Jackson’s hotel room
  • The men have Bloody Tongue headbands and have guns and knives
  • All will die (or bite off their own tongue) rather than spill the beans
Captain Robson (Harlem only)
  • If a riot starts, Captain Robson’s men will take the investigators away and encourage them to leave Harlem for good
  • If the investigators start loitering outside the Ju-Ju House and haven’t shaken off the tail, Captain Robson’s men will come take the investigators away for mopery

The Penhew Foundation’s response

ELIAS VISITED 14TH NOV ABOUT CARLYLE EXP. DISCUSSED FUNDING SHORT MEETING NO FURTHER INFO

Notes

  • Knocked off the road and escaped from the cultists
  • Kints talks to Dr. Lemming and learns he’s a fanboy of Silas N’Kwane
  • Cassie gets Dr. Huston’s notes
  • Rachel gets the spells translated
  • The gang learn a bunch of their spells
  • Cassie bluffs her way into the cult ritual:
    • Participates
    • Goes indefinitely insane
    • Sees the chakota and the ciimba
    • Hears Mukunga M’Dari say “Nyarlathotep” and that the “great plan” will be enacted with “our brothers around the world” “in a year’s time” “on the day of the eclipse”

Things to bring up next session

  • Mukunga M’Dari will find out Cassie was there and send some police goons to accuse them of trespass
  • They might go to Australia

MoN America session 5, [cancelled]

I decided to skip this session and go straight to Australia.

Start: morning of Monday the 26th of January. The ritual was last night.

Recap

Who wants to give it?

Prep

Nodens

  • He will only respond to a call in a remote place next to the ocean

The Yithian

  • Calling will make one appear in a few days time, who asks to speak to Rachel Summers (by name).

  • He will agree to answer some of the gang’s questions if they agree to go to Australia and free his trapped companion.

  • If questioned he says there are rules preventing his direct interference in historic events, but since humanity is going to go extinct soon anyway he’s inclined to bend that rule.

  • He will give the skill Knowledge of the Future of the Universe at 10%. Cannot be pushed, cannot have Luck spent on it, cannot be improved. The wielder of the skill will recognise the expedition principals on sight.

Hallucinations for Cassie

  • “Hearing” screams or drumming
  • “Recognising” people on the street as having attended the ritual, or having had their face on the chakota
  • “Seeing” the ciimba out of the corner of her eye, or in reflections, or shadows

The abduction of Millie Adams

If the gang try to contact Millie Adams (directly or through Rebecca Shosenburg), they can’t reach her.

When the gang return from arranging transport to Australia, they’ll find a letter stuffed under their door saying to come to a certain warehouse that night, enclosed is a photograph of Millie Adams tied to a chair and looking terrified.

The warehouse confrontation

Name DEX MOV Initiative
Kints 85 9 1
Cultist #1 85 8 2
Cassie 80 8 3
Cultist #5 75 8 4
Rachel 70 8 5
Cultist #2 65 9 6
Mukunga M’Dari 65 8 7
Zombie #1 65 6 8
Millie Adams 60 8 9
Cultist #6 55 9 10
Cultist #3 50 9 11
Zombie #2 50 6 12
Cultist #4 45 7 13
Chakota 15 4 14
  • On the way to the warehouse the gang will find a recently-killed security guard
  • The warehouse is dimly lit, the big doors open, Millie Adams visible inside tied to a chair
  • Upon entering the lights come on, the doors slam shut (revealing 6 cultists—one is the doorman Cassie met before), and Mukunga M’Dari comes out onto the balcony, with two ciimba, to say that Cassie has seen what was not for her, and that you all now have a choice to join or die.
    • Choosing to join is game over.
    • Refusing to join causes Mukunga to cast Clutch of Nyogtha on Cassie and the cultists to attack
    • Millie can be freed by reaching her and spending an action
    • If the fight is going badly for the cultists, Mukunga sends in the ciimba
    • If the fight is going badly for the ciimba, Mukunga summons the chakota which bursts through the floor (Dodge (hard if in melee) to avoid being hit by flying rubble)
    • Sealed exterior doors or windows can be forced open with STR
    • Doors on the upper landing lead to rooms with exterior windows

Break 2: Magister Lor

Yuyu ran a game of Magister Lor.

Break 3: Lord Scurlock

Pets ran a game of Lord Scurlock.

MoN Australia session 1, 2020-12-30

Notes

  • Melbourne:
    • Journey takes 24 days
    • Hero development phase
  • Sydney:
    • Journey takes 1 day
    • They meet David Dodge and agree to take him with them
    • Further research takes 4 days
      • They get some rumours about a city of the gods and a bat cult
    • Rachel casts Contact Yithian:
      • Gains Knowledge of the Future of the Universe (10%)
      • Sees a shadowy vision of Kakakatak in the buried city
      • Has a bout of madness and trashes Prof. Cowles’ place, to the chagrin of Prof. Dodge
  • Port Hedland:
    • Journey takes 7 days
    • Meet Robert Mackenzie, he tells them what he knows and telegrams ahead for supplies
  • Cuncudgerie:
    • Journey takes 1 day
    • Hear the rumour of the ghost and of some about “a crazy American bloke called John Carver”

Next Time

  • Wednesday the 3rd of March.

  • The journey from Cuncudgerie to the City of the Great Race, via the Canning Stock Route

MoN Australia session 2, 2021-01-10

Recap

Who wants to give it?

Prep

Description prompts

Sight, sound, smell, temperature, touch, emotion.

Hallucinations for Cassie

  • Flying polyps
  • Mistaking a linewalker for a ciimba

Visions for Rachel

At the appropriate location, call for a Knowledge of the Future of the Universe roll and grant a vision on success.

  • On a road leading to the main entrance: bullets whizzing, a truck exploding.
  • Within sight of Huston’s headquarters: Robert Huston calmly rising from his desk to greet them.
  • At each intersection of the City: which path to take to get to Kakakatak.

The City of the Great Race

GM Map: Relative distances & cultist encounter likelihood (purple = high, blue = low) in the City

Lining the paths, none of which are less than 10m (30 feet) wide, are ancient stone buildings with heavy metal doors. Everything is huge. Inside the buildings, arches are preferred over doors.

Huge furniture & artefacts abound, for example: tables; pedestals; shelves; metal jars containing a hard black substance & metal rods (ink & pen); globes of faintly glowing crystal; ruined contraptions of tubes, rods, and wires; large clasped metal cases (book cases, now empty).

Many of the buildings and paths are damaged, with caved in walls or ceilings and rubble. There are signs of crumbled ramps leading to a now-vanished upper level.

The walls are covered in curvilinear mathematical designs, along with inscriptions in no familiar alphabet. The floors are of a tessellating regular octagonal pattern.

At some point, everyone will have a Sanity roll (0/1d3) when they come to grips over just how alien this city is:

  • Examining the stone and discovering how truly ancient the city is.
  • Realising that regular octagons normally don’t tessellate.
  • Just being overcome by how huge it is.
Danger clock

If the gang sneak in through the second entrance, use an 8 segment clock to track the cultists’ suspicion:

  • Tick 1 segment for doing something noisy (eg, firing a gun) away from anyone else.
  • Tick 2 or 3 segments for leaving an obvious trace discovered by a cultist.
  • Tick all segments for breaking cover.

If the gang can deal with any cultists who discover them, the clock only goes up by 1. If the bodies are discovered, unless care was taken to make it look like a polyp attack, tick all segments.

Notes

Discovery clock: 2

  • Travel took 6 days:
    1. Nothing
    2. Prospector (he didn’t talk about the polyps)
    3. Snake
    4. Nothing
    5. Vehicle damage & Grogan’s camp
    6. Arrival in the City via the second entrance
  • There’s been a flying polyp attack
  • Hatch is open, with the gang on the wrong side
  • Rachel has had her City sanity roll (realising the age from the sandstone)
  • Rachel saw Huston through a window

Next time

  • David will suggest that maybe they can get some planks of wood or something to cover the pit and let them escape.

MoN Australia session 3, 2021-01-24

Recap

Who wants to give it?

Then clarify:

  • This place is vast.

    You’ve crossed miles of artificial tunnels so far and only seen a few signs of human habitation: two generators, a string of lightbulbs, and a small building.

  • This place is built on a different scale.

    The narrowest tunnels are still 10 or more meters wide. The strings of light bulbs produce only small pools of light, the majority of the tunnels are in darkness. The ceilings tower above you. The doors, tables, and shelves you’ve seen all dwarf human standards.

  • This place is old.

    There are natural sandstone formations here, which form over hundreds of millions of years.

  • This place is dangerous.

    You were warned that the surface is guarded by men with guns, and down here translucent creatures made of eyeballs and tentacles, which control the wind and make a strange piping sound, stalk the tunnels.

  • This place is alien.

    The walls are covered with strange curvilinear engravings, and depictions of unusual cone-shaped beings. The one mechanism you’ve seen so far, the latch for a gigantic trapdoor, was clearly designed for something other than human hands.

Prep

Hallucinations for Cassie

  • Flying polyps
  • Mistaking a linewalker for a ciimba

Visions for Rachel

  • Which path to take to get to Kakakatak.

Remember to mention

  • Line walkers (everywhere)
  • Repair workers (at least once per week)
  • Zombified work party (going between Huston’s house and the current excavations)
  • Petrol smell

Madness prompt

For Kints or Cassie (Rachel has had her SAN check):

  • The great plazas have floors made of regular octagonal slabs. Regular octagons don’t tessellate.

Notes

Duration: 9 days

Discovery clock: 4

  • Leave Huston for now & find Kakakatak instead
    • Rachel: mania (helping Kakakatak feels so natural)
    • Cassie: phobia (Kakakatak is a horrible monster trying to hurt them)
    • David: phobia (got to get out of these tunnels)
    • Kints: a giant cone beast, cool
  • Convince Kakakatak that limbs are helpful for removing rubble and the gang should accompany her:
    • Everyone gets lightning guns:
      • Rachel: 18
      • Cassie: 6
      • Kints: 13
      • David: 4
      • Kakakatak: 21
    • 8 days pass reaching the library
    • Kakakatak:
      • Drives off a polyp
      • Gives Rachel & Kints a vision of the end of the world
        • They forget it all, other than that Egypt, China, and another member of the Carlyle Expedition are involved somehow
      • Gives Rachel:
        • A Yithian to English dictionary
        • A page from a book of advanced warding spells about Eye of Light and Darkness
          • Will take a week to translate
      • Explains that
        • Warding the ritual sites could disrupt the end of the world
        • Jackson Elias was on the right track of figuring out where they were

Next time

  • Morning of Thursday the 19th of March, 1925

MoN Australia session 4, 2021-02-07

Recap

Who wants to give it?

Prep

Rachel’s notes on the Eye of Light and Darkness

To be given after a suitable period of time (eg, a week to dedicate to translation).

Rachel’s notes on the Eye of Light and Darkness.

Changes to the city in response to Kakakatak’s disappearance

  • Lights run up to the bottomless pit
  • lights run down the unexplored lower levels up to the fork
  • Linewalkers patrol every 3 hours
  • Huston will ask if they had anything to do with the escape

Other things

  • The generator and lights near the bottomless pit are switched off for maintenance, which is actively being done when the gang enter.
  • The great plazas have floors made of regular octagonal slabs. Regular octagons don’t tessellate.

Notes

  • Spend a day trying to find a third entrance (and fail)
  • Discover the brainwashed workers
  • Encounter Huston
    • He assumes they’ve come to join, and that the guards just let them in
    • They kill him and:
      • Get the manuscript
      • Get the letter
      • Get the cage keys
      • Discover the mind-transmitter
  • Free the captives
  • Discover one of the brainwashed workers has gone
  • Attacked by Huston Reborn and 5 cultists
  • Rachel summons Tsathoggua
    • He smashes the bad guys
  • The ground begins to tremble…

Next time

  • Night of Thursday the 19th of March, 1925
  • The Sand Bat will get mad if the quarterly ritual is not performed
  • The earthquake
  • Huston is dead for good now (but they don’t know that) - the mind transfer was the equivalent of the “look out, master!” mechanic
  • They can get the manuscript handout after spending a day to read it

MoN Australia session 5, 2021-02-25

Recap

Who wants to give it?

Prep

  • The ground has stopped rumbling, but their bridge has fallen into the bottomless pit
  • The floor around the titan horror has huge, new, cracks
  • The main entrance is dripping with bat shit and reeks of ammonia, CON check to avoid a penalty die to other rolls
  • The purple dome temple takes a few minutes to run through, and has three guardians present who will try to carry characters up into the air and drop them a fatal distance
  • Bats are going nuts and swarming
  • The gang can make it back to Cuncudgerie in 72 hours (night of the 22nd / morning of the 23rd) if they drive constantly and have no mishaps
  • The Father of All Bats will attack on the night of the 20th, unless all the cultists are dead and so cannot perform the summoning ritual, but can be driven off with light

The escapees

The gang has:

  • 9 zombified miners (p514)
  • 13 malnourished & beaten kidnappees (treat as Australian Rowdies (p508) with half health and a penalty die to combat rolls)
  • 2 very unwell kidnappees (unable to do more than slowly shuffle along; on death have them “give birth” (p498))

The cult

  • Cultist Squad A is in the bunkhouse
  • Cultist Squad B has been wiped out by Tsathoggua
  • Cultist Squad C is in the bunkhouse
  • Cultist Squad D is split between guard duty outside and repairing the generator at Kakakatak’s chamber

Notes

  • Tried and failed to use the machine in Kakakatak’s room to debrainwash the miners
  • Decided to blow it up instead, used too much dynamite, and started to collapse the ceilings
  • Managed to cross the bottomless pit with clever use of rope and fearless brainwashed miners
  • Visit Grogan, get him to explain his magic stone circles. A dingo just stands in front of whoever tries to enter. They’re convinced.
  • That night: an attack by Bat Guardians. They manage to drive them off with only one casualty
  • The next day: they find the escapee
  • That night: Sand Bat visits, knocks over a truck
  • Make it back to Cuncudgerie just before the axel snaps
  • Leave Australia

Next time

  • 22nd of April
  • England
  • All the cults are aware of the gang and what they did in America

Break 4: Troika

I ran a Troika one-shot using the Gardens of Ynn and a heist.

MoN England session 1, 2021-03-21

Recap

You’ve arrived in England, 30 days after escaping a nightmare situation in the Australian desert. It’s now the 22nd of April, 97 days after you were supposed to meet your good friend Jackson Elias in his hotel room, and instead discovered his warm body and his murderers.

Before his death, Jackson had been retracing the steps of the ill-fated Carlyle Expedition, and had a theory that they had all survived the “massacre”, and were now involved in some vast, dark, conspiracy.

Charged by Jackson’s will to continue his investigation, and to avenge him if possible, so far you’ve learned that Jackson was killed by the Cult of the Bloody Tongue, an African cult with a small following in Harlem, New York. Cassie infiltrated a meeting, and learned that the cult is anticipating a big event in January 1926. You then went to Australia, and learned that not only was Robert Huston alive and well, though insane, he was raiding an ancient alien city for technology! And somehow this is also connected to January 1926. From a letter you found in Huston’s house, you learned that Sir Aubrey Penhew is also alive, and that Edward Gavigan of the Penhew Foundation is involved with the conspiracy too.

It seems that Jackson was right, that dark schemes herald the end of the world.

Prep

The PCs are all visibly tanned for the next week. Remind them of this if it becomes relevant.

What Carlton Ramsey tells them

  • Some police came to him to ask questions about you, but he was able to scare them off.
  • A few times he’s felt like he was being watched, but hasn’t been able to catch anyone.
  • Jackson had a friend in London, Mickey Mahoney, editor of The Scoop newspaper. He may have useful information.
  • Stay safe.

What the other cults know

Mukunga M’Dari has sent the other cults short descriptions of the gang and said that they are looking into Jackson Elias. If all three show up to meet a senior cultist (like Gavigan) he will recognise them, but if only one or two go, he will be less certain (and even if he is certain will want the third).

Details of Australia has not yet reached England, but Aubrey Penhew has noted the lack of communication from Huston, and a lack of reply to a telegram sent on the 8th of April, and so has telegraphed Gavigan to say that “those Americans may have visited Huston”. He sent some of his men to visit Huston on the 12th, they will arrive on the 30th and discover the aftermath.

When news of the destruction of the Australian mining camp spreads, capture and interrogation of “those Americans” will become a top priority for the cults.

Notes

  • 22 April
    • Get a hotel in Marylebone
    • Send a message to Carlton Ramsey
      • He replies morning of the 24th
    • Find the Egyptian Murders scoop article + do research
      • Method of killing
      • Mentions of Inspector Barrington
      • “Hotep!” (peace / rest)
  • 23 April
    • Do research on the Penhew Foundation
    • Visit the Penhew Foundation:
      • Rachel goes to the exhibits and finds mention of the Black Pharaoh
      • Cassie & Kints scope out the building and spy the coal chute
  • 24 April
    • Get reply from Carlton Ramsey
    • Visit The Scoop:
      • Find the other two articles
      • Mickey doesn’t know anything about Gavigan, but will get his people looking into him
    • Visit Miles Shipley:
      • End up fighting & killing Bertha
      • Take the drug, but not the painting
      • Police confiscate Cassie’s gun

Next time

The 25th of April.

MoN England session 2, 2021-04-04

Recap

Who wants to give it?

And then list the leads:

You’ve got the following leads in England:

  • There’s Edward Gavigan and the Penhew Foundation. Mickey Mahoney is looking into Gavigan for you and said to come back in a week.
  • There’s the Egyptian Murders, which Inspector James Barrington is investigating.
  • And there’s something about a monster up in Derwent Valley which Jackson was interested in.

Prep

  • 25th of April:
    • Today
  • 30th of April:
    • Aubrey Penhew will learn of the disruption in Australia
  • 1st of May:
    • Mickey Mahoney has some info about Edward Gavigan:
      • He has a squeaky clean reputation, nobody has dirt on the guy. If he’s involved in anything nefarious it happens behind closed doors.
      • His daily routine is to walk from his flat in Mayfair to the Penhew Foundation, work there all day, and go to a club for dinner on the way home.
      • His usual haunts are the Diamondback Club, a fashionable and expensive restaurant; and the Blue Pyramid Club, a private Egyptian-themed club popular amongst artistic and intellectual types, with membership available for a fee to people of good character.
      • He has a country house out in Essex called Misr House, which he drives out to a few times a month.
      • Remember the story!
  • 4th of May:
    • A telegraph from Aubrey Penhew about Australia will reach all the other cults.

Notes

  • 25th of April
    • Cassie manages to charm her way to a firearm loicense, and gets her gun back
    • Gang decide to head to Lesser Edale
    • Spot silver crucifixes on the graves:
      • “It’s a local matter” - don’t get any more
    • Gossip with Maddy Albright, an old woman, in the pub:
      • Howls at the full moon (which is the night after tomorrow)
      • Lawrence Vane involved?
      • Constable Tumwell shot a wild dog
      • Who the victims were
    • Meet Reverend Stratton
      • Spot the things on his desk
      • Get his account
    • Meet Hubert Tumwell
      • “it limped off into the hills to die”
  • 26th of April
    • Check out the stone circles
    • Find a magical soothing powder / lamp / incense burner at Mam Tor
      • This can be used to de-ghoul Eloise
    • Meet Lawrence Vane and get an invitation to dinner

Next time

  • 27th of April
  • The first night of the Full Moon
  • An earlier dinner at Plum Castle

MoN England session 3, 2021-04-17

Recap

Who wants to give it?

Prep

Dinner at Plum Castle

  • Arrive at 2PM, food at 3PM
  • A storm is brewing all morning
  • The storm arrives just before they set off to the castle: dramatic thunder and lightning, torrential rain, etc
  • See Eloise Vane reading and humming cheerfully in the library, with a grim-looking maid standing behind her
  • Meet Lord Vane in the study
    • As he turns to greet them, big flash of lightning silhouettes him against the window
  • Eloise does not join the gang for dinner
    • If asked, Lord Vane says that his daughter is feeling unwell

Lawrence Vane

  • Is a desperate young man who thinks that if the story has spread far enough to draw the gang, then the situation is rapidly becoming untenable
  • Charmed by Cassie, he thinks they could be potential allies
  • The gang may notice he looks like he wants to say something, but then glances at his father and remains silent, a few times during the meal
  • If he walks them back to the village he looks troubled

The Curse of the Vanes

  • Ghoul-form Eloise is a rabid beast
    • Emphasise things like “furious snarl”, “ferocious beast”, “aggressive”, etc—want them to think of the calming smoke
    • Can be calmed with the magic smoke
    • Somewhat intelligent when calm
    • Will signal she wants raw meat
  • If the gang think to use the magic smoke and Lord Vane or Lawrence see the effects, they want it
  • If they give the magic smoke over Lord Vane tells them that the family is in their debt

Notes

  • 27th of April
    • Morning before dinner:
      • Cassie chills out
      • Rachel takes both drugs at once and has a vision of the Carlyle Expedition entering the Bent Pyramid and going through a secret passage to the throne room
      • Kints visits John Parkins and gets a lecture about classism and that Lawrence Vane is involved with this whole beast thing
    • Go to dinner:
      • Cassie spots some meaningful looks between Lawrence and Arthur
    • Lawrence walks them back to the village:
      • Cassie gets him to open up
    • Enact the plan to de-ghoul Eloise with an Elder Sign pendant:
      • Other than Rachel shooting Eloise in a bout of madness, goes well
      • Arthur says the family is in their debt
  • 28th of April
    • Rachel finds Edgar Vane’s diary in the library
    • The gang ask Arthur for SAN treatment, exchange contact details, and ask him to look into the Penhew Foundation

Next time

  • A timeskip of a few days to rest at Plum Castle
  • 3rd of May
  • London
  • Offer of SAN treatment (a few weeks of high quality private care)
  • SAN rewards for sidetrack scenario

MoN England session 4, 2021-04-29

We changed to playing on Thursdays so a new player could join.

Recap

The story so far, in brief, is that you are all the good friends of Jackson Elias, an author who made his living infiltrating cults and publishing their secrets. His last job was looking into the Carlyle Expedition, an archaeological expedition where all the members were gruesomely killed in Kenya. Jackson thought it was a conspiracy, and that they were all still alive and involved in some sort of global plot.

But unfortunately, someone got wind of Jackson’s attentions, and on the day you were supposed to meet him in his New York hotel room, you instead found his freshly butchered body.

Charged by Jackson’s will to continue his investigation and to avenge him, you’ve spied on the cult in New York, disrupted a mining operation in an alien city in Australia, and are now in England looking into the Penhew Foundation, which supported the Carlyle Expedition.

You’ve just returned from Lesser Edale, a village in the north of England, where you looked into reports of a werewolf, but instead found that a curse lay upon the bloodline of the noble Vane family, and their daughter was transforming into something beastly. You managed to deal with the situation, at the cost of Rachel’s sanity, who is spending some time in a mental institution. Lawrence Vane, son and heir of Lord Vane, is accompanying you in Rachel’s place.

But Lawrence isn’t the only new friend. Arriving back at your hotel you met our new Player Character, another good friend of Jackson Elias, who has been sent in response to your request for aid, which I’ve just retconned into existence.

It’s now the 3rd of May 1925, and it’s another damp and foggy London afternoon.

Rachel, Kints, and Cassie can all gain 1d4 sanity points for resolving the Lesser Edale situation, and Rachel can make three POW improvement checks, as we’ve been missing those and you’ve probably withered the flesh of three people. And let’s make a new character.

Prep

The other cults

A.P.’s telegram about Australia.
  • Edward Gavigan knows their names (they sent the Penhew Foundation a telegram asking about Jackson)
  • Aubrey Penhew knows about Australia.
  • A telegram (above) will reach all the other cults tomorrow.

Mickey Mahoney

  • “You call that a scoop?” he yells after a flustered journalist fleeing the office, crumpled papers in hand.
    • If asked, he says the story was about fog that smells of burning hair, a sure sign of dangerous chemicals!
    • “Well of course there are dangerous chemicals in the fog! You think fog is naturally brown? Some people…”
  • He offers the party whiskey again, and asks what they learned in Lesser Edale.
    • Remind Rakka that Lawrence Vane probably doesn’t want his family called our as werewolves by the tabloids.
  • He shares his information about Gavigan:
    • He has a squeaky clean reputation, nobody has dirt on the guy. If he’s involved in anything nefarious it happens behind closed doors.
    • His daily routine is to walk from his flat in Mayfair to the Penhew Foundation, work there all day, and go to a club for dinner on the way home.
    • His usual haunts are the Diamondback Club, a fashionable and expensive restaurant; and the Blue Pyramid Club, a private Egyptian-themed club popular amongst artistic and intellectual types, with membership available for a fee to people of good character.
    • He has a country house out in Essex called Misr House (“Misr” is Arabic for “Egypt”) which he drives out to a few times a month.
    • He bought the house dirt cheap from an occultist called Neville Lloyd-Price, who squandered his fortune, and disappeared from London society after the sale.
    • He seems to have business interests in Derby, getting a train up there once a month.
    • Remember the story!

Egyptian Murders

  • Lawrence Vane can easily secure an interview with Inspector Barrington.

Notes

  • 3rd of May
    • Visit Mickey Mahoney and get his info on Gavigan
    • Check out the Blue Pyramid Club:
      • Use disguises and fake names
      • Spot a cultist telling Abdul that they’ll have need of the basement again, and Abdul bending over backwards to please the guy
      • Check out the basement (by tampering with the lift controls):
        • Find Inspector Gregory Munden’s old dented badge
      • Try questioning Abdul
        • He deflects questions and persuades Cassie to back down, but is clearly distressed
        • Doesn’t recognise the Inspector’s name
      • Get note and meet Yalesha:
        • Get her info
        • Descriptions of Zahra Shafik and Edward Gavigan
        • Escape the cultists
        • Spirit her away out of London
  • 4th of May
    • Aubrey Penhew’s telegram arrives: the cults know about Australia
    • Learn that Inspector Munden was succeeded by Inspector Barrington
    • Learn that Zahra Shafik has acted as a consultant for the Penhew Foundation
    • Arrange to get aerial photos of Misr House (will be available on the 6th)
    • Tail Gavigan to the exhibition and listen in on the meeting with Zahra Shafik:
      • He shares the telegram from Aubrey Penhew (signed “AP” and “Shanghai”)
      • Says it’s probably those people who inquired about “that awful journalist” a while ago
      • Knows Rachel’s name
      • Zahra Shafik says there was some commotion at The Blue Pyramid Club the previous night, and that “unfortunately, the dancer got away”
      • Both agree something needs to be done.
      • Rosalind causes a distraction, Kints pickpockets the telegram
    • That night: the moon blinks.

Next time

  • 5th of May
  • An attack by The Thing in the Fog

MoN England session 5, 2021-05-09

The new player dropped out, so we changed back to Sundays and Rosalind became an NPC.

Recap

Before the recap, I’ll just say that Rosalind is still around, but now she’s an NPC who won’t accompany you beyond England. Unless someone dies and decides to use her as their new character. Also, small retcon, the Brotherhood’s monthly trip out of London isn’t on the night of the full moon, it’s the night of the new moon. Which is in 19 days.

Who wants to give it?

Prep

General points

  • Make sure they find references to Port Darwin, Australia—to reinforce the importance of their victory in Australia.

The Schemes of Zahra Shafik

  • Gavigan will send the Thing in the Fog after the gang next nightfall, and a few goons.
  • Zahra Shafik’s cultists will swoop in to rescue the gang, “come with me if you want to live” style, and take them to Empire Spices.
  • Zahra Shafik will spin a tale of how Gavigan is a violent dictator using the Brotherhood for his own gains and they just want to be free of him:
    • He rules through fear.
    • He uses magic to track Zahra, she can’t just escape.
    • He’ll kill her when her usefulness runs out.
    • He drains people for their magic power.
    • The law can’t touch him due to his social standing and well-paid lawyers.
    • Even if incontrovertible evidence were brought up, he could take Zahra down with him, by revealing the crimes he’s made her commit.
    • Throw in a genuine-sounding religious reference too: “I think Allah has brought you to me to escape him.”
  • The plan to strike:
    • The best time to strike is at the Brotherhood’s monthly gathering at Misr House.
    • Zahra has a recruited a small number of members loyal to her over Gavigan, but they’re very outnumbered so there’s been no opportunity to make a move yet.
    • Zahra will place her trusted members as guards, so the gang can get in without being seen.
    • Cause a commotion and make Gavigan feel threatened, he’ll expect the Brotherhood to unite against outsiders, so he’ll be more susceptible to treachery.
  • But she fully intends to rule the Brotherhood, rather than disband it, once Gavigan is dead; and to immediately kill off the gang too.

Misr House

  • Lawrence can tell that Gavigan doesn’t spend much time at the house: it lacks the comfort that you’d expect of a man in his position.
  • Inspector Barrington will be reluctant to raid it without hard evidence, but Lawrence Vane could use his social standing to force the inspector’s hand.

Notes

  • 5th of May
    • They prepare police disguises and a fake warrant to break into Gavigan’s flat.
  • 6th of May
    • Break into Gavigan’s flat:
      • Get Dr. Clive’s telegram.
      • Leave a “Rachel is watching you” card.
      • Confirm with a neighbour that Gavigan’s schedule matches what Mickey Mahoney said.
    • Kints sneaks into Empire Spices (Cassie distracting Edjo):
      • Find the hidden room in the cellar (no club).
      • Find the robes, mirror, powders, and scroll.
    • Visit Inspector Barrington:
      • Lawrence “do you know who I am?”s his way to an immediate meeting.
      • Share evidence, but claim Inspector Gregory Munden’s badge was found in Zahra Shafik’s cellar.
      • Get Zahra Shafik taken into custody.
      • Get support for a raid on the Brotherhood’s monthly event, when they know where that is.
    • Examine Zahra’s scepters:
      • An alien alloy.
      • Grants temporary magic points & glow when crossed.
  • 7th of May
    • Aerial photos of Misr House arrive, including the obelisk.
  • Some time before the 23rd
    • Continue watching / tailing Gavigan:
      • Nothing obvious has changed in his routine.
    • Get a translation of the scroll:
    • Rosalind goes back to smash the mirror.
      • Fights Edjo, escapes mildly wounded.

Next time

  • 18th of May, New Moon is on the 23rd of May.
  • Gavigan visits Henson Manufacturing:
    • Which has additional security since he knows the gang are looking into things.
  • There are now three Things in the Fog acting as Misr House guards.

MoN England session 6, 2021-05-19

Moved to the 19th due to scheduling conflicts.

Recap

Who wants to give it?

Prep

Combat tactics for Fogspawn

Inspired by The Monsters Know What They’re Doing55If this works out well, start a series of posts on the RPG blog about CoC monster tactics.

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The Fogspawn is from another dimension, so to understand its tactics in our dimension we have to figure out something of its tactics in its home dimension:

  • It has very low intelligence, but it does have an intelligence stat, so it’s more than just a beast of pure instinct.
  • It doesn’t need to feed (at least, by Earthly timescales), so it’s probably not an active hunter.
  • It’s invisible, so it’s probably an ambush hunter.
  • It has six tentacles, and can attack with all of them independently, so when prey are present it probably tries to take them all out at once.
  • It’s pretty fast, so it can chase after any victims which escape.
  • It has a high POW, but doesn’t know any spells, meaning it can resist spells easily.

So, the Fogspawn comes from a world of dark suns (or lives underground), waiting silently and invisibly in an out-of-the-way place for victims to approach, whereupon it grabs and starts choking the whole group (if no more than 6); if less than 6 approach it uses the left-over tentacles to restrain, starting with the biggest victim and working its way down. After killing the victims it’s currently holding, it can chase after any which escaped (or which it couldn’t first grab), choking and killing them too. But it won’t chase very far if it’s already made a kill, and it won’t chase before killing the victims it’s currently holding as that would risk losing them too. It then eats its fill, and sits around waiting for a few more centuries.

This strategy would work in our dimension too, especially as we’re not used to invisible tentacle monsters. But there are two extra things it’s got to contend with:

  • Its tentacles are very weak compared to human strength.

    A tentacle has 25 STR, and the average investigator has 52.5. So even when grappled by two tentacles, an investigator is still slightly more likely to escape.

    Prey in the Fogspawn’s home dimension must be pretty weak if a single tentacle is a viable threat, so it’s used to being able to just add a tentacle or two to restrain larger victims. So as investigators start breaking free, it’ll concentrate its tentacles on the largest one. Only when that investigator is fully restrained will it start grabbing the smallest one, recognising that these victims are unusually strong.

    It’s possible that the Fogspawn normally only eats small animals and suchlike, but in that case they wouldn’t be a useful summoned monster, as they’d have a natural aversion to bigger creatures (like people). No, it must be used to human-sized prey, and normally be able to overpower them with one or two tentacles.

  • Bright light sends it back to its home dimension.

    This could be a purely magical effect, relating to the means of summoning it into our dimension, but in that case if a spellcaster could overcome this one issue the Fogspawn would be totally invulnerable!

    No, I think it’s more likely that bright light hurts the Fogspawn. Enough bright light would kill it but, since it doesn’t need to feed, it has very little tolerance for pain and will retreat as soon as it takes even a little damage.

    Since the Fogspawn has a high POW, and cannot come back from its native dimension unaided, it seems likely that this tactic is a combination of an instinctive tactic (quickly fleeing from pain) and magical effect (the Fogspawn is able to resist the summoning / binding spell when desperate to retreat).

The Fogspawn’s INT is interesting: it’s really low, so this is almost a beast of pure instinct, but it’s smarter than, say, a dog. It has a miniscule chance of solving a puzzle, or doing some other reasoning-based task.

I think that its intelligence isn’t enough for it to significantly adjust its combat tactics—it’s got one trick, and it works well in its home dimension—but it is enough to somewhat train it, and give it simple commands like to hunt down and attack a particular investigator. Though I think it would have to do that hunting based on clearly apparent information, like colour or smell, and the Fogspawn would be easily confused by even changing your coat. But this means that a Fogspawn is a viable guard, if you don’t have any instructions more complex than “kill anyone not wearing robes.”

Combat tactics for Shantaks

The Shantak is a large scaly bird bigger than an elephant with big claws at the end of its wings and a long tail. They’re commonly used as mounts, and can fly through interstellar space.

Looking at its stats:

  • It’s got 15 intelligence, which in human terms is a “slow learner, able to undertake only the most basic math, or read beginner-level books” - but that does mean it can evaluate its situation and adjust if the tide turns against it, though it may not be able to see through clever tactics.
  • It can soak up a lot of damage with its 31 HP and 9 armour - revolvers and melee weapons are unlikely to harm it at all.
  • It’s slow on the ground and fast flying, and has average dexterity; so it’s kind of lumbering when on the ground.
  • It’s got a whopping 170 strength and +4d6 damage bonus, it hits hard.
  • It can hit with its claws and tail, but can’t grab with them, so it’s likely not got very fine motor control.
  • They don’t know any spells and, unlike the Fogspawn, they only have average POW.

And some of the flavour:

  • They live in cavernous holes.
  • They’re loud.
  • They fear and retreat from Nightgaunts.

So, I think the Shantaks naturally roost in vast caves, hanging from the ceiling like huge bats. When coming out to hunt, they swoop down on their prey, relying on speed over surprise; and then pummel them into submission with their claws, tail, and jaws. They’ll then fly off with their victim held in their jaws. If they realise they’re in a poor position, they can quickly fly up and retreat, or just relocate to a different part of the battlefield.

As they’re accustomed to carrying riders, when summoned they’ll defer to their summoner, but not to the point of seriously risking their life. If reduced to 10HP or fewer they’ll flee.

One change I’m going to make is to its wing and tail bash attacks: since the Shantak is so large, I’ll let these attacks hit two characters if they’re close together, rather than just one. A “bigger than an elephant” creature feels very small if it can only hit one thing at a time with its huge wings.

Combat tactics for Edward Gavigan

First and foremost, Gavigan values his own skin above all else. But he also knows that, if in custody, strong evidence could lead to him spending life in jail. So when he is weakened he will try to escape rather than surrender.

When significantly wounded (7HP or fewer left):

  • If there is no Shantak or vehicle, he’ll try to slip away unfollowed.

When majorly wounded (5HP or fewer left):

  • If there is a Shantak, he’ll fly off on it.
  • Otherwise if there’s a vehicle, he’ll use it.
  • Otherwise he’ll flee.

His combat-useful spells are:

  • Mindblast (10MP; KR260): target loses 5 SAN and has a bout of madness on failing an opposed POW roll.
  • Pharaoh’s Breath (3MP; MoN#636): 1d8 damage (choking) to a target and any stood next to them within 30m unless they dodge.
  • Pharaoh’s Wrath (4MP; MoN#636): 1d6 damage (lightning) to a target within 100m.
  • Shrivelling (vMP; KR262): target loses 1HP per MP spent on failing an opposed POW roll.

(Flesh Ward is not a combat-useful spell because it’s way too slow).

His combat-useful Pulp Talents are:

  • Tough Guy: spend 10 luck to shrug off 5 points of damage.
  • Fleet Footed: spend 10 luck to avoid being outnumbered for one combat encounter.
  • Look Out, Master!: spend all luck (at least 30) to have a mook take an otherwise fatal blow instead.

Gavigan will tend to keep his distance and Pharaoh’s Breath as his main offensive weapon, so long as he won’t hit any of his allies, as it has the best expected damage-per-MP. If the investigators are engaged with melee with Gavigan’s goons, or are dodging the breath, he will switch to Shrivelling. If he needs to hit someone far away he’ll use Pharaoh’s Wrath. If he needs to hit someone up close he’ll use a knife or saber (or even his magical sceptres as an improvised club).

If things are turning against him and he needs to escape, he’ll Mindblast as many of the investigators as he can before retreating, so the rest are too busy dealing with the bouts of madness to pursue.

At a Grand Rite he will have his two sceptres, which, when held crossed in front of the body:

  • Once per day, grant 20 temporary MP.
  • Absorb 1d10 points of magical damage.

Before a Grant Rite he will have cast Voice of Ra (6MP; MoN#638) enhancing his appearance to an almost otherworldly beauty and giving a bonus die to social skill rolls.

At a Grand Rite he will throw his cultists and summoned monsters at the investigators, preferring to keep a greater distance. He will ride a Shantak, if present, and use its melee attacks against any investigators who come too close. If the Shantak would flee, instead Gavigan will make it travel further away: out of danger, but close enough to watch the battle. If the Shantak, or Gavigan, seems in severe danger, he’ll fly away.

Henson Manufacturing

  • Gavigan suspects he will be followed, and hopes he is; this is bait.
  • At night there are two watchmen and one Fogspawn as guards. The Fogspawn knows the cultists and won’t attack them.
  • The guards will attempt to capture the investigators, tie them up, and bundle them into a van to be taken to Misr House for interrogation and the upcoming ritual.
    • They want all the investigators ideally, but will settle for only some of them if need be.
    • As soon as they’re alerted to a break-in at night one guard will run to the boarding house to fetch two more and Frank Marshall.
    • If tied up in the van the investigators can roll to undo their ropes: success means they did so stealthily, failure means they did so but a guard noticed: begin combat!
    • If in combat with some tied up investigators, let a random investigator roll to escape their ties once a round.
  • By day the Fogspawn lives in the sewer, and won’t come out for any reason.

Misr House

  • At night there are two Fogspawn acting as guards. They know the staff and the cult robes, so an investigator wearing robes is safe.
  • Inspector Barrington can bring 12 officers (mooks) for the raid.
  • The ritual will have 40 cultists (mooks), 10 high ranking cultists, and summon 4 Shantaks.
    • Depending on when in the ritual the investigators make themselves known, many of the cultists might be too overcome by adoration to immediately respond.
  • Barrington will be unwilling to intervene until something clearly illegal is about to happen: there’s no law against wearing weird robes and chanting.
    • Finding the captives or the torture room are also enough.

Notes

  • 18th of May
    • Follow Gavigan to Henson Manufacturing.
    • Hear the War Office rumour, and that workers are tight-lipped + well paid.
    • Sneak in at night:
      • Fight the Fogspawn, and drive it off with light.
      • Kill one guard, subdue & tie up the other.
      • Steal:
        • The blueprints
        • The originals
        • The replicas
      • Set the building on fire

Next time

  • 23rd of May, the night of the New Moon.
  • Police raid on Misr House.

MoN England session 7, 2021-06-06

Recap

Who wants to give it?

Prep

Gaining access to the estate

  • Begin with the investigators and police concealed in the trees and swamp, looking at the stone wall with the 4 cult guards. The gate is open, but the guards are talking to anyone who comes through. There’s a small guardhouse with a telephone to the manor.
  • From the aerial photographs, the gang know that beyond the gate is a river and a bridge. The surrounding terrain is dense forest, swamp, and small rivers.
  • When the ritual is due to begin (at midnight), the gate will be locked and the guards leave.
  • There’s an old rowboat on the mainland side of the river, if they search for another entry point.

Rooms of interest

Ensure they search! Have Inspector Barrington suggest searching the house while everyone is distracted outside.

  • Great Hall: two fireplaces, each hiding a secret entrance: one to an Elizabethian priest hole, one to Gavigan’s workroom.
    • The first hidden door they find is to the workroom.
    • Hint there’s a secret by saying the room is very dusty, but there’s a trail through the dust to the fireplace.
    • If the gang arrive late (eg, they waited for the guards to leave the gate) they may see captives being removed.
  • Servant’s Quarters: one has lots of spare robes.
  • Master Bedroom: various neat items and another marine chronometer.
    • If the gang arrive early Gavigan will be here getting ready.
  • Gavigan’s Workroom: lots of strange items.
  • Dungeon: three captives from London.
    • If the gang arrive late, the captives might be gone (or be being taken!)

The ritual

  • See notes for previous section

Notes

  • 23rd of May
    • Find the boat and sneak onto the island
    • Drive off the fogspawn
    • Find a cult bat (Inspector Barrington very interested)
    • Spot the gathering at the obelisk, go back to the house
    • Find the hidden workroom
    • Find the captives in the dungeon
      • Send them with Inspector Barrington and some officers to Walton-on-the-Naze, who will call for backup
    • Find the spare cult robes
    • Spot Gavigan
    • Kints goes to Naze Tower ready to contact Nodens if shit gets real
    • Cassie, Lawrence, Rosalind, and remaining officers participate in the ritual
      • Manage to be sufficiently disguised and stealthy to not be noticed
      • Backup police zeppelin arrives: shantaks take it down, it blows up
      • Kints spots the fire, contacts Nodens
        • He says he’s no friend of Nyarlathotep and will help this one time without a price
        • Shantaks get struck by lightning
      • Gavigan escapes somewhere
      • The gang escape, Cassie dragging the newly-mad
  • 24th of May
    • Thoroughly search the rest of the manor

Next time

  • Handle tracking down Gavigan as an asynchronous chase over chat
  • Godbound!
  • Shanghai!

Break 5: Godbound

I ran a Godbound one-shot with the players assaulting the stronghold of an evil wizard.

MoN Interlude 1

Between England session 7 and China session 1, done asynchronously over chat. The players could set off immediately on the 22-day voyage to Shanghai, and roll as Detective Inspector John Craig (as in the book, but also with Intimidate 45) or Lawrence Vane (if he’s staying behind); or stay behind and participate in the investigation.

Staying behind to participate delays the Shanghai departure by 3 days for each skill check.

If the gang stay in England for the maximum amount of time (i.e., attempt all the rolls), Rachel gets 1d3 bonus Sanity points for being able to spend more time in the hospital.

Having Lord Vane in their debt gives a bonus die to one check.

The checks:

  1. At least one of:

    1. Find out about Gavigan’s plans, for example, by:
      • Interrogating a captured cultist
      • Questioning his associates
      • Searching his properties for clues
    2. Look for unusual activity by the Penhew Foundation, for example, by:
      • Combing through records and accounts
      • Watching the building

    On double success: as on success, but the gang get a bonus die to use in a later check.

    On success: the gang learn about the Limehouse Docks connection.

    On double failure: the trail is cold, he’s lost in the confusion of that night.

  2. Optional: Find out what’s going on at the docks, for example, by:

    • Questioning the locals
    • Questioning the owner
    • Spying on the building
    • Breaking in and searching

    On success: the gang learn about the Ivory Wind and its illicit cargo supplied by the Penhew Foundation, check #3 is normal.

    On failure: the gang raise suspicious, which make it back to Gavigan, and get a penalty die on a later check.

    On skip: check #3 is hard difficulty because of Gavigan’s social standing.

  3. Convince a judge that Gavigan is a menace to society and needs locking up, for example, by:

    • Showing clear evidence of wrongdoing by Gavigan
    • Showing clear evidence of wrongdoing by the Penhew Foundation
    • Arguing that, even without clear evidence of wrongdoing, Gavigan is very suspicious

    On success: the gang get a warrant.

    On failure: the gang don’t get a warrant; they can bring Gavigan in for questioning, but can’t arrest him.

  4. Capture Gavigan at the Limehouse Docks, for example, by:

    • Seeing through the disguise he travels in
    • Subduing the staff beforehand
    • Intimidating Captain Torvak into helping you

    On success: Gavigan is taken into custody! If a warrant wasn’t granted, Gavigan’s very well paid lawyers prevent you from questioning him, and he gets out a few days later.

    On failure: Gavigan makes his getaway!

Result

Successfully caught Gavigan, having made all the rolls (spending 15 days), so the gang will arrive in Shanghai on the 30th of June.

MoN China session 1, 2021-07-21

Recap

You’ve arrived in Shanghai, after an eventful couple of months in England. You followed the trail from New York and the Australian desert to Edward Gavigan, the protege of Aubrey Penhew and now director of the Penhew Foundation. You found that he was mixed up in some culty business with the Brotherhood of the Black Pharaoh, and was receiving ancient alien technology from Robert Huston in Australia, reverse engineering it in a factory in Derby, and sending replicas to Ho Fang Import/Export in Shanghai.

Your actions in Australia and England have massively delayed the cults’ plans. Can they even complete their work in time for the solar eclipse they intend to use? It’s starting to look unlikely. But what’s to stop them trying again in the future? You haven’t put a permanent solution in place yet.

You know that Aubrey Penhew is alive, and in Shanghai. So is Jack Brady, though Brady seems to be opposing the cults. Huston’s crazed manuscript talked about both the Mountain of the Black Wind and Gray Dragon Island. The Mountain is in Kenya, but where’s the Island?

It’s now the 30th of June. Good luck!

England Rewards

  • For eliminating Edward Gavigan: 1d6 SAN
  • For eliminating Zahra Shafik: 1d4 SAN
  • For breaking up the Brotherhood: 1d4 SAN
  • For defeating some Mythos monsters: 2d6 SAN
  • Rachel’s stay in care: 3d3 SAN and makes a SAN roll to try to cure her indefinite insanity
  • 10 Luck

Prep

Nodens

Nodens is like a Discworld auditor. What does he want? Rocks moving in circles around larger rocks. What’s his opinion regarding Nyarlathotep? Disapproval, because Nyarlathotep is an agent of chaos.

Does Nodens care about humanity and Earth?

Not one bit. Useful tools to further his aims only.

While he still has bigger fish to fry, Nodens is content to use lesser beings (like humans), rather than obliterate them. But the day of reckoning will come, and he won’t shed a tear if someone else gets to them first.

  • In humanoid form, Nodens is an imposing (10 foot tall) Greek God looking guy.
  • He could also manifest as a swirling vortex of cold, cloud, and energy, with a deep booming voice, so loud it can deafen.
  • Known as the “God of Balance” and the “Lord of the Great Abyss”.
  • Has temples in the cities of the Dreamlands:
    • Can be reached by casting Contact Nodens and going to sleep.
    • The temples are Greek-looking, but with celestial imagery and giant scales.
    • The priesthood are all old, grey-haired, men, who will reassure Kints that she is fortunate she didn’t truly meet Nodens in the flesh that night, only a projection
    • Nyarlathotep is strong in the Dreamlands:
      • Speaking his name makes a shadow pass over the sun.
      • Children in masks, representing Nyarlathotep’s avatars, chase the speaker.
      • If they catch her, they grab on to her arm and say “found you!”, and start to remove the mask: Kints wakes up with a handprint branded into her arm (2/1d6 SAN) and is a magic beacon to the cults (unless suppressed by an Elder Sign).
  • Kints has been marked by Nodens:
    • She now bleeds seawater instead of blood (2/1d6 SAN first time)
    • Future assistance will require paying a price (eg, dedicating herself to Nodens’ cult).

Honourable Ho Fang

Ho Fang (also Omar al-Shakti and M’Weru) knows that there are “three Americans, friends of that journalist” interfering. He has ordered the deaths of the investigators: he’d like to interrogate them, but not so much that he’s willing to risk escape. Any unknown Americans seeming to poke their nose into cult business will be assumed to be the gang.

He has told his non-cultist secretary that if some Americans come to the warehouse, they must be given an appointment ASAP and tailed.

The Pale Viper, Aubrey Penhew

Aubrey Penhew is your standard mad scientist. He wears a robotic exoskeleton (with a clear face-shield):

  • Armour 8
  • Move 4 (slow and clanking)
  • Jet pack allowing 4 100 metre jumps per day; explodes on critical hit with a bullet, if there are any rocket jumps remaining:
    • 3d10 damage to the wearer
    • 2d10 damage to all engaged in melee
    • 1d10 damage to all nearby

Penelope Temple

Penelope, erstwhile player character, is in Shanghai in place of Carl Stanford. She’s come to retrieve the Seven Cryptical Books for the Silver Twilight Lodge, and is very disappointed with Ho Fang for not knowing where Jack Brady is.

Penelope will be friendly towards Rachel and Kints.

She will not be the one torturing Choi Mei-ling, Ho Fang is doing that, though she’s not going to stop him.

Making It Pulpy!

  • Rooftop chases!
    • Cultists: CON 55, DEX 65, MOX 8, Climb 45%, Jump 55%, Listen 65%, Spot Hidden 35%, Stealth 60%
    • Lin Yenyu’s agents: CON 65, DEX 60, MOX 9, Climb 60%, Jump 70%, Listen 65%, Spot Hidden 50%, Stealth 75%, Track 50%
  • Lin Yenyu’s giant apes!
  • Aubrey Penhew’s mecha!

Sections

  • The Stumbling Tiger Bar (p537)
    • Link: Recommended as a place where information can be bought and sold
    • Isoge Taro present
    • Fergus McChum present
    • Lin Yenyu’s agents present (will follow westerners)
  • The Shanghai Courier (p540)
    • Link: The offices of an available daily newspaper
    • Anthony Chang present
    • Has relevant stories in its archives:
      • Seamen’s Club (p542)
      • Chin-Ling Road (p542)
      • Lantern Street (p543)
  • The Demon Cabinet of Mr. Lung (sidetrack) (p545)
    • Link: Advertised in the Shanghai Courier
    • Mr. Lung present
  • Ho Fang Import/Export (p553)
    • Link: Where Gavigan ships the alien machine part replicas to
    • Ho Fang present
    • Lin Yenyu’s agents present (will follow westerners)
    • The Luxuriant Goddess (p555) is moored nearby
  • Ho Fang’s Mansion (p558)
    • Link: Ho Fang is connected
    • Ho Fang present
    • Penelope Temple present
  • The Dark Mistress (p565)
    • Link: Jack Brady’s statement, also seen loading at Ho Fang Import/Export
    • Jules Savoyard present
    • Deep One Hybrids present
  • The Shanghai Museum (p567)
    • Link: Recommended as a source of information; Choi Mei-link can introduce the gang to Mu Hsien
  • Madam Swallow (p568)
    • Link: agents may bring the gang; the Shanghai Museum can recommend Lin Yenyu as a scholar
    • Lin Yenyu present
  • Mr. Mu (p573)
    • Link: the Shanghai Museum can recommend Mu Hsien as a scholar; Choi Mei-ling can introduce the gang
    • Mu Hsien present
    • Jack Brady present (maybe)
  • New China / Firm Action (p576)
    • Link: Isoge Taro, Mu Hsien, Jack Brady, Choi Mei-ling
    • Jack Brady present
    • Chu Min present
  • Gray Dragon Island (p585)
    • Link: Huston, Lin Yenyu, Ho Fang, the yachts, Firm Action, Jack Brady
    • The climax!

Notes

  • 30th of June:
    • Get a comprador and a hotel room
    • Check out the Seamen’s Club:
      • Not seepage
      • Fish creatures
      • Jack Brady was there
    • Check out the temple:
      • The European was Jack Brady, asking about translating / updating old (2nd century) texts
    • Check out 88 Lantern Street:
      • Learn about Choi-Mei Ling and the American
      • And the girl who saw the bat
    • Check out 120 Lantern Street:
      • Learn Choi-Mei Ling disappeared
      • And possibly in a hurry: money and clothes left, discarded slipper in the alley
  • 1st of July:
    • Visit Mr. Lung:
      • Break out of the demon cabinet and save him from Wu
      • Get free horoscopes in return

Next time

  • Mr. Lung’s horoscopes