Monday, November 3, 2014

Masks of Nyralathotep3: Belly Dancers and Burglary

Missing: Ancient Vase, Diamond Necklace, Maltese Falcon and Magical Teleporting Painting.

Faithful readers will remember we left off our last session with the dangerously imbalanced woman, Colette Blue, was holding the respectable head of the Penhew foundation at gun point. When Edward Gavigan finished his work for the day, went to retrieve his coat from the closet opposite his desk and found Miss Blue lurking within the folds of the fabric barrage of winter sundries. After an initial moment of confussion, Colette was told to scram. Her response was to whip out a pistol and demand some answers! Gavigan called off the approaching guard and agreed to answer some questions. "What's with that closet? I was in there for a while and it was wigging me out!" thus setting the tone for the remainder of the interview. Colette remained convinced that the closet was some sort of whimsical vehicle to the past or future. A time closet, if you will.  Gavigan had no information on the closet, but was able to clear up a little of information regarding the numerous amounts of cults that seemed to be quickly becoming major religions throughout the world.

Minutes later, Colette exited the Penhew foundation, meeting her friend and accomplice Elly Mists.As they descended the steps into the foggy night, Colette began to smell burning hair, after which she was promptly attacked by an invisible entity that invaded her nostrils and cut off her ability to breath. In a panic, Colette fired her weapon into the very mist that was attacking her, in so doing revealing an unearthly tangle of tentacles seemingly formed from the mist towering 30 feet into the air. Elly rummaged around for a solution, finally settling on a ceremonial headband she had pillaged from the Ju-Ju house in New York. She placed it on top of Colette's head, and she looked fabulous as she slowly suffocated. Before losing all semblance of cognitive ability, Colette ran from the attacker, as she moved further away her airways were cleared and she was able to use that oxygen to propell herself further away from the looming threat. Elly followed suit. Hailing a cab Elly and Colette witnessed the ethereal beast shrivel and retreat rom the beam of the cabs headlights. The two women rushed to the hospital where they met a friend of a friend. Dr.Victor Smallhousen had been in contact with Hariet Oslow back in New York and was told to expect strange injuries with even stranger stories associated with them. Gladly dropping his post at the hospital, Smallhousen decided to accompany the women on their hunt for the truth about stuff... and maybe he just liked big women with imaginations large enough to concoct something as ludicrous as a "time closet"

After speaking to the police and giving adequate reasons for killing a local artist and his giant lizard friend, Jezebel dissapeared into the night and Horace Scarth headed back to the hotel. As he walked into the lobby a young woman approached him introducing herself as a reporter for The National Inquirer, a new Newspaper starting up in the states. Horace had little patience for chit chat. He had just assisted in killing two individuals and witnessed two others magically transport inside a painting, a fate he nearly succumbed to himself. But when the woman asked about her brother, Dick, he realized he had some very bad news for this young lady. Regina Shmee had been receiving tips and information about her brother's series of adventures. When the letters stopped coming she tracked him down to this hotel. Horace informed her that Dick was sucked into another dimension. She took the news quite well as Horace stashed the painting in the hotel safe.

Once everyone was together again, introductions were made and no one seemed to notice that Kun Li was missing. A pact was made then, a solemn and unbreakable pact that I expect to last for at least a good hour. This pact was an oath to not split the party. So, because of this agreement, they decided to go down to Scotland Yard as a group and speak to an inspector Barrington. This was the man in charge of investigating a number of murders targeting individuals of Egyptian descent.

The hotel lobby called up to the room the following morning to inform Regina and Horace that the painting they had placed in the safe was stolen in the night by two masked assailants. Also stolen was an ancient Chinese vase, a diamond necklace and a Maltese Falcon. The Falcon was owned by a Canadian by the name of Jasper Eagleton who wanted nothing more than to be thought of as an American.

Bodies had been washing up in the Thames and showed signs of ritualistic murders. The victims were covered in bruises as if they had been beat before having a single spike driven through their heart. Barrington felt a certain amount of respect for Horace, both being investigators, managed to give them an extremely crude drawing of a recovered murder weapon. While it seemed of Egyptian origin, it was not connected to any known cults. Barrington reffered to other people interviewed about the murders. Edward Gavigan, whom the investigators had already run into, and a local spice dealer by the name of Tewfik Al Sayed.

Stepping out into the fog shrouded afternoon, everyone was a little leery of tentacles and kept an open nose for the scent of burning hair. Alas, no one was to be suffocated at this time. Instead of burning hair, the exotic aroma of cumin, cinnamon and peppercorn greeted every nostril as they shuffled into the small spice shop. Tewfik stood at his counter and greeted them kindly. A round of investigations revealed that Tewfik had accomponied a number of investigations with the Penhew foundation, but was also oddly unaware of a cult whose figure head was a shadowy pharaoh. Regina, always the connoisseur of fine spices, offered to trade a crate of her brothers gin for a sizable jar of Cumin. While reluctant at first, they shook on the deal. The two began to talk about Tewfik's trips to Egypt and Regina convinced him to show off his favorite prizes from the digs he went on. While Tewfik scuttled upstairs to his apartment above the shop to retrieve said prizes, everyone got a quick look around. No time closets. Tewfik returned with two black metallic scepters, one a crook and the other an inverted ankh. He had little information on the pieces, but seemed quite proud of them. Colette took this opportunity to pull out her pillaged scepter she got while burning down half of Harlem. The spice dealer was impressed and wished to buy the item, but she wasn't selling. As they prepared to leave, Tewfik recommended an establishment by the name of The Blue Pyramid.

So, heading into the heart of Soho, where the majority of murder victims stemmed from, our heroes went in search of answers and dinner. The Blue Pyramid sported some tacky exterior decor that loosely sent out an "Egyptian vibe". The interior of the establishment was crowded and loud, cymbals crashed and flutes sang as the strong aroma of middle eastern cuisine wafted through the air. Drinks were ordered and an entire roasted goat was brought to the table. A number of belly dancers worked their way through the crowded atmosphere stopping at tables and receiving tips. A large man sat in a roped off VIP area conducting business. The waiter informed them that the man was Abdul Nawisha, the owner of the club, he was currently talking to vendors. Regina managed to get a meeting with Abdul by posing as a Cumin distributor, which oddly caught the attention of the owner. Upon conversing it was discovered that their regular distributor was mysteriously sold out of cumin, and it was necessary to keep food prep running smoothly. When pressed about the recent murders in the area, Abdul brushed the topic aside, not wanting to discuss something so disturbing and inconsequential to his business. Little was learned, other than the man needed the spice to flow. As Regina sat back down, one of the dancers shimmied on over to the table. Regina was confused. Until, that is, The dancer leaned in to whisper that she had information that might be of value. She requested to meet the group down the street at midnight.

With little else to do, the group began to separate (of course). Dr. Smallhousen and the ever faithful Elly Mists went back to the hotel to arm themselves before scouting out the meeting spot. Horace and Colette attempted to get a better look around the club before ducking into a cafe down the street to await the approaching midnight hour. Regina stuck around the club long enough to see Gavigan and Tewfik enter within minutes of each other. While they weren't sitting at the same table, interactions were exchanged, the nature of which she couldn't tell. She did, however, manage to spill the fact that Tewfik had sold his entire supply of cumin to her instead of Abdul. The owner was less than pleased and Regina left the club with the two arguing heatedly.

The midnight hour approached, and with it a thick mist and Yalesha, the dancer from the club. It was learned that her fiance was murdered by a group called "The Brotherhood of the Black Pharaoh" a very real and active cult. Once a month a truck would pull around to the back of the club, a group of people would willingly and head to some location that she believed outside of London. Her fiance entered the van one night, and washed up in the Thames the following week, bruised and stabbed through the heart. The man responsible for driving the van went by Tewfik Al Sayad. A familiar name to the investigators. Regina payed the woman for her time and the evening ended.

Evidently feeling there was more to be done at the Penhew foundation, a brainstorming session took place to figure out the best way to get in and, perhaps, get a good look at that time closet, maybe check out the basement as well. Preliminary scouting revealed some odd wiring and plumbing going underneath the building. A plan was set for Elly to go in inquiring about Colette, pretending to not have seen her since the night of "the incident", explaining that she was off her medication and imbalanced. She then would infiltrate other areas of the building to glean whatever clues she could about The Brotherhood, or other such mysteries. It was a fair plan, but it was completely scrapped in favor of entering the sewer system to find a way in from below. Donning rubber galoshes and a number of high powered flash lights, the descent into the sewer was vile. Horace Scarth, a former marine and veteran of conflicts, wretched the contents of his most recent meal due to the smell. Everyone else was fine. Until, that is, the distinct odor of burnt hair showed up. However, equipped with flashlights and Regina's camera, the menacing tentacle beast was held back, as was evidence by it's shrieks of protest. Shaken, but undeterred, they pressed on. Elly managed to blind herself with Regina's camera...twice. other than that, they made it to the basement of the Penhew foundation with no problems.

A quick scan of the basement proved to further their suspicion that there was a hidden room within the building, but finding the entrance was the problem. Waiting in the basement until after the foundation was closed, the crew marched upstairs. Quickly realising they had a night watchmen to deal with they hid in the library. When the poor unsuspecting guard passed the door to the library, Horace leaped out and pistol whipped him in the back of the head. It wasn't a very hard hit, but the following whacks from the rest of the group did more than enough to knock him unconscious. Miss Shmee noticed an inverted ankh necklace around the guards neck. She stole it. His gun didn't stand a chance either, as Elly swiped it to replace her woefully inadequate derringer.

Starting with a locked door adjacent to Edward Gavigan's office, they began their search. In the supply room were a number of crates and knick-knacks, as well as a large sarcophagus with ruby eyes on the floor. Colette walked over to the wall shared by Gavigan's office and pressed on it. To her surprise a door opened directly into the time closet! however, there was nothing actually particularly special about it. That weird vibe she got was simply from the fact that it contained a hidden door. Horribly disappointing. Their attention was turned to the sarcophagus. While Horace, colette and Victor were shouldering up to push the thing aside, Regina pushed on its eyes. The unmistakable whir of a mechanical pulley system was heard as the entire thing moved itself to reveal a staircase leading down. After a brief pause, it was decided that if they were to die it would all be together! Thankfully the trip down the stairs proved to be less than deadly. What they stumbled upon was a small room completely separate from the rest of the building, it held numerous texts and paintings, most of which were stolen by our heroes. Also there was a box containing two silver daggers that Regina pocketed. There were also two crates, one address to "The Honorable Ho Fong" at Ho Fong Imports in Shanghai. It contained a huge statue of a bloated woman with the trunk of an elephant. This left everyone feeling pretty gross. The smaller case was addressed to the Randolph Shipping Company in Australia, addressed personally to Mr. Randolph. It contained a small tentacled statue (It was Cthulhu, but THEY didn't know that.) that when Regina touched it caused a tingling in her arms and torso. After looting Mr. Gavigan's private sanctuary, they decided to high-tail it outta there. Tossing the unconscious guard into the sewer and waltzing out the front door.

To be safe, they all took up residence at a new hotel, Mr Scarth was adamant about dropping off the items at the American Consulate bright and early the next morning. It was news the next day that their previous hotel rooms had been ransacked, and all of Mr. Horace Scarth's suits had been ripped to shreds. This effected him far more than the fog-tentacle monster.

Nyarlathotep Session 2 Audio

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Masks of Nyarlathotep 2: London Bridges Burning Down

Dick Shmee goes on holiday
If this makes no sense I suggest you do what Vizzini says and go back to the beginning
Part 1 Part 2

In the aftermath of the horror at the Ju-Ju House, Hariet Oslow managed to wrangle Wilhelm up the flight of stairs and into a van, they raced off to the hospital. If you remember in our last installment, Wilhelm was nearly killed by a quartet of dastardly zombies and a maniac priest brandishing lion paws as weapons. While the good Dutchman drifted in and out of consciousness, Dick Shmee took the opportunity to  try on his new loot. A strange ceremonial mask was found, among other knick-knacks, to which Dick instantly laid claim to. Upon placing the mask on his face, Dick transcended to a new level of consciousness, understanding far more about the cosmic scale of reality than was healthy. However, being Dick Shmee, he was unimpressed. The mask fell away from his face and he was relatively unharmed. A feat that would have left a lesser man a slobbering idiot.

Back at the hospital, a large, though not unattractive nurse by the name of Jezebel met the hysterical Hariet Oslow and the Dying Wilhelm Schonewetter at the entrance. upon learning that he had been bit by a zombie, Jezebel nearly tossed Wilhelm off the top of the building. She did, however remember her responsibility to help all those that she could. In an attempt to revive the man she inadvertently put him into cardiac arrest, causing her to get a stern reprimand from the head doctor. Wilhelm was left at the hospital. Jezebel and Hariet took the absence of the dying man to become better acquainted. It was learned that the Cult that was meeting at the Ju-Ju house was responsible for the murder of Jezebel's fiance. She instantly quit her job at the hospital and joined the motley bunch to fight death cults around the world! And to be honest, she wasn't a very good nurse anyway.

After burning down the Ju-Ju house in broad daylight, Ellie, Colette and Dick decided to drop off their good friend Jefferson S. Shipp at a local insane asylum and lay low at an apartment rented by Hariet, who soon joined them with Jezebel in tow. Recent events payed a devastating toll on Hariet, and while she wasn't ACTUALLY injured she expressed to her friends that she simply needed to take a break from gallivanting around fighting heathens. She was to offer the services of an old family friend, a man by the name of Kun Li, the son of their family butler. Along with his aid, she would agree to finance the rest of the expedition. Before she had a chance to leave, however, there was a stern knock at the door.

A representative of the Pinkerton detective agency sauntered into the room. Mr. Horace Scarth had a few questions about the death of Jackson Elias. As the story went, Scarth was hired by Wells Fargo, who was to fulfill Jackson's life insurance policy, to make absolutely certain that Jackson was dead. The conversations were tense, and there was a particular moment where the man inadvertently mistook Jezebel's flirtatious advances as borderline threats. He had made up his mind to accompany this strange lot in their investigation, as it would tie directly into his own research. Somehow.

Hariet had had enough. She departed from her friends and was shortly replaced by Kun Li, a young Chinese man of average height and above average reflexes. Yes, Mr. Li was, of course, a martial arts expert. Upon his inclusion to the party, Colette began to show some of her true colors. While she was an intelligent, beautiful and large woman, she had an immediate distaste for Kun Li. Having just committed a plethora of felonies, the logical next step was to flee the country. Passage was booked on a steamer headed for London. Since they were fleeing anyway, it seemed beneficial to check out the Penhew foundation, which was responsible for funding the doomed Carlisle expedition and whose address was found at the scene of Jackson's murder.

Setting foot in London, they were greeted by the shouts of a newspaper boy claiming some catastrophe had taken place in New York in which a Harlem neighborhood had been charred. Ellie bought every copy and proceeded to destroy them. While no one had gotten a good look at her whilst Dick, Colette and herself doused the Ju-Ju house in liquor and tossed a match into it, she thought it better to be safe than sorry. This did give ol Dick the idea to go visit a local newspaper man. After getting the address for the local paper from the newsie, they migrated towards Fleet Street. On the way, Colette made an off-handed remark about Kun Li's nationality. This was the straw that broke the camels back...and almost Colette's jaw. Kun li, with no warning dropped Colette to the ground with a quick punch, doing far more damage than he intended. Once the dust was brushed off, they kept their distance from each other, tensions higher than ever.

 Mickey Mahoney ran a tabloid covering all the juicy stories that major papers wouldn't. He was saddened by the news of Jackson's death as they had been acquaintances. Whe last he saw Jackson alive, he had been interested in two articles that Mahoney had printed. The first was regarding a local painter who rose rather quickly in the art community by creating works that were absolutely horrifying and disturbing. The second article was about a series of murders targeting locals of Egyptian lineage. Taking note that the local artist lived within the general vicinity of the Penhew foundation, the party decided to split up to cover more ground. Horace, Dick, Kun Li and Jezebel went to see a man about a painting. Colette and Ellie, being the scholastic types, decided to attempt to meet the director of the Penhew foundation for a tour of the museum.

The three would-be art aficionados, walked up to the home of Miles Shipley, the man responsible for causing ripples in the art community with his depictions of horrors beyond description. That being said, he had a charmingly quaint little home. It had white walls with a brick chimney and a sun roof to let in that sunshine that London is so famous for. It wasn't Miles who opened the door to their knocking, however. An old woman with a kind face and a knitting basket in hand answered their summons and inquired to their identity. All three expressed interest in her son's art, and they had no qualms about flashing money to show just how serious they were.

The old woman led them through the house to where her son sat staring at a blank canvas surrounded by a number of his other works. Miles Shipley, it was clear to see, was absolutely insane. His eyes were huge and bloodshot, and he was borderline incoherent, wanting only to talk about his paintings, often repeating himself. His mother could not have been more proud. Jezebel, Dick, Kun Li and Horace examined the paintings and subsequently all lost a small portion of their already fickle sanity. Dick, however, did find an exact painting of his prized mask, and he was adamant about buying it. However, when they stumbled upon a painting depicting the murder scene of Jackson Elias, the questions became heated. Miles only responded by asking them if they had seen his paintings. Mrs. Shipley denied that there was any correlation to reality in the paintings, but did offer to show them Miles' masterpiece. Jezebel was the only one skeptical enough to not take up that offer. The old woman opened a locked closet door to reveal a mesmerizing painting of a swamp surrounded by strange lizard-human hybrids. In the middle of the swamp was a small island with a stone altar, it was so realistic that it looked as if it was moving. Jezebel readied her pistol, seeing the dazed look in their eyes. Suddenly, Kun Li, and Dick Shmee vanished, leaving a dazed Scarth rubbing his eyes, and an old woman smiling at this peculiar turn of events.

"Where are they?!" Jezebel shouted as she advanced on the old woman, gun drawn and pointed at eye level. "Where are who? What are you talking about?" asked the old woman, cowering away from the barrel of the gun. "The two that just disappeared!" Jezebel shouted again. "There's only been the two of you, there was no one else." They went back and forth with this while Horace pulled out his firearm as well. The old woman was shaking violently, begging for her life and that of her son. "How do we get our friends out of the paining?! I'm going to count to 3 and then I'm pulling the trigger!" Jezebel was hurling any threat that came to mind when she realized the two had not vanished, but rather were transported into the painting. She got to 2 before the old woman coughed up a suitable answer. "Downstairs, there is a key in the brook closet, you must place the key on the painting for ten seconds, but DO NOT look at the painting while doing so." She lied. Scarth ran downstairs to look for the key that did not exist, rummaging around a closet as gunfire roared above him. The gunfire had come from Jezebel's firearm. The old woman, in a desperate attempt to flee the situation ran across the room. Jezebel fired at her, but being surprised at the sudden burst of speed missed the shot. Before he had time to fire again, Miles was savagely throwing punches at her, while what was once his mother transformed into a giant humanoid lizard. Jezebel dropped Shipley, but not without taking substantial damage. And by the time Scarce gave up his futile search, the lizard-man was propping an unconscious Jezebel up to the cursed painting and holding her eyes open. The Pinkerton man put a quick stop to this. Jezebel was taken to a hospital, and both she and Horace were questioned by the police as to just what happened. Due to the nature of their being a giant monster in the living room, they chalked the violence up to self defense and told the two not to leave town.

Dick and Kun Li were having a rougher time. They were transported to the center island in the painting and fending off wave after wave of lizard-man-beasts. Eventually, Kun li was bit and succumbed to the venom, while Dick managed to kill off the remainder on the island before his mind collapsed and caused his body to follow suit. When Dick awakes, he no longer finds himself in immediate danger. That just won't do, so he dawns the mysterious mask once more his consciousness is transported to the presence of a fearful horror. what was once a sunny, warm day is now dark, and cold, but the thick humidity remains. His vision is blocked by an incredibly thick cloud of mist and vapor, an earthy scent invades your nostrils. As you look to the ground, you realize you're standing on damp grass. In the mists you hear inhuman squeels and in your peripheral vision you see shapes darting in and out of the mist, always faster than you're able to turn your head. Before you, in the mist is a shape, a mass of twisting, writhing matter that, for explainable reasons, you know to be the center of this new existence. With sudden understanding, the fog clears and you realize this isn't a mist, but is actually part of the being you now face. dripping from stalactites above your head is a strange substance oozing into numerous stone chalices. Suddenly, With a voice that sounds like infantile cries mingled with the voice of an old crone you hear "Richard. What a pleasant surprise". Dick is able to muster enough strength for one last retort before his mind is enveloped by madness and his body by the unimaginable horror. 

*****Preemptive madness here. I need to check Dick's stats, he might have survived this. If so I will make an addendum.*****

Meanwhile, a few blocks away: Colette and Ellie were having a lovely time in the Penhew foundation. They had managed to gain a private tour with the suave, albeit conceited, Edward Gaviga, the current president of the foundation that focused on finding and preserving artifacts from ancient Egypt. Ellie was forward with her inquisitions about "The Black Pharaoh". Gavigan was familiar with the name as a figure of pure shadow, the head of a cult in the third dynasty, but something of little to no consequence. While on the tour, they had passed by Gavigan's office and seen a safe that was hinged open. Colette wanted nothing more than to have a closer look. Ellie was enthralled. She could listen to Gavigan drone on all day about every piece in that museum a hundred times and never bore. Colette used this as an opportunity to sneak around. Claiming she needed to use the restroom, she first looked for windows and possible other entry points into the building before heading into his office to snoop around.

During this time, the building was preparing to close for the day, so Gavigan bid adieu to Miss Ellie Mists, and worked his way down to his office. Colette hearing the footsteps did what was only logical in her mind; hid in the closet. Inside the closet she noticed that something was not quite right. Perhaps the walls were warped funny, or the depth was off, she could not put a finger on it, despite having an hour or two to think things over. Ellie was escorted off of the property promptly at 16:00 due to the foundation closing to the public. Gavigan sat at his desk riffling through paperwork before finally standing up and walking to the closet to retrieve his coat. Imagine his surprise when he found instead a shockingly tall archaeologist standing where his coat should be. "I don't know what you think you're doing, but if you don't leave now, I'm calling the police." Gavigan said cool as ever. To which Colette responded by bulling out a pistol and stating that she was going to get some REAL answers. She believed he was not forthcoming with his information regarding the Black Pharaoh, and she had friends that were being murdered and she wanted the truth!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Masks of Nyarlathotep 1: Party Crashing and Harlem Fires

To the Library!

Boy, where to begin... Well, we had our first session that was officially set in the masks of Nyarlathotep campaign, and it was a beast. I don't know how anyone (character or PC) might have fared if we hadn't come up with the fantastic idea to have the whole session over a dinner consisting entirely of brunch foods. After everyone had a plate full of quiche and a glass of orange juice, we settled in for our nearly five hour session. And I'm going to re-cap this as loosely as possible, because a lot happened. I might not get all the details right, but the only way you'll know that is by listening to the entire session starting with part 1 right here.

So, to start things off, Dr. Epsteen was unable to attend to the unfortunate events that occurred throughout New York. All the other regulars were there (introduced in the first campaign we ran) as well as a fellow by the name of Jefferson S. Ship. A con-man and colleague of Jackson Elias. Jackson had sent a telegram to Harriet Oslow, informing her that he needed a crew of investigators to aid his search for truth in regards to the, assumed murdered, Carlisle expedition. This motley group, you'll remember, was headed by a rich, albeit naive New York socialite, who had ideas of grandeur and went to Egypt to seek only he knows what. The story goes that after spending some time in Egypt, Carlisle and his gang headed for a nice little vacation in Africa. Once they arrived, they spent a little time relaxing, taking in the scenery and getting horribly murdered by a death cult.

So, naturally the investigators interest was piqued when Elias claimed to have information about a long closed case. Dick Shmee, Jefferson Ship, Wilhelm Schonewetter, Colette Blue, Elly Mists and Harriet Oslow got together for a little planning Pow-wow in New York. In the midst of the mindless prattle, Harriett received a frantic call from Jackson Elias. The short and the long of it was that Elias wanted the crew to meet him at 8:00 pm in his hotel room. The gang obliged; only to be met by a locked door. Jefferson led the charge in attempting to pick the lock. This failed, options were weighed, even the idea of shooting the lock was considered. So, while Jackson's corpse was being mutilated on the other side of the door, Harriet Oslow attempted to convince the concierge to let them in the room. Yes, unbeknownst to the investigators, Jackson Elias was in the process of having his innards strewn about the room while his murderers ransacked his belongings. The concierge was being less than co-operative, particularly with Dick's unsavory demeanor. For this reason, Dick decided to solicit illegal alcohol to the kitchen staff. After which he was promptly kicked out into the cold by two police officers.

In the meantime, Elly led the way back up to Elias' room to knock a little louder. This meant that Elly and Colette combined their considerable girth to politely knock the door off of it's hinges. Upon entering the dark room the investigators see a man's head duck below the outside window as he descends the fire escape. Harriet, Elly and Collette wasted no time to pursue the strange man with a funny hat down the fire escape. They took absolutely no notice to the poor structural integrity of the emergency staircase. It rips away from the wall.The three investigators and the mysterious, dark skinned man fall to the ground. This all unfolds directly in front of Dick, who has been staring at a car idling in the alley. Dick threw a molotov cocktail to try to stop the car from escaping. This failed, so Collette attempted to chase it down. This also failed.

Jefferson and Wilhelm and  aka: those that had not exited the hotel, either by throwing themselves out of a fourth story window or being escorted by police officers, were treated to the far reaching horror of Elias' death. It reached from about the bed post to the dresser, which was about as far as his intestines were stretched. Those that saw this took a nice little hit to their sanity. They noticed that Jackson had a strange rune carved ever so delicately into his forehead. The police arrive and ask the usual questions. Sure some of the group had a gun, but as Elly so eloquently put it "I didn't shoot his intestines out." Among the leads gleaned from the crime scene were an address for an Emerson Imports in New York and a bar in Shanghai. After attempting to take a cab to the address in Shanghai, and not ever making it to their intended destination, the tired group called it a night.

Bright and early the next morning the gang split up. Half headed to the library to study death cults in an attempt to identify the mark left in Elias' head. The other half decided to head off to Prospero press, the publisher of their deceased friend. The library provided a little information, namely that the symbol stemmed from "The Cult of the Bloody Tongue" stemming from Africa. Meanwhile, the other half of the gang head to the publishing company to speak to Jonah Kensignton, Jackson's editor. They waltzed in and Dick promptly told him that his biggest asset and close friend had been gutted. Kensington was shocked, naturally but offered to give them any information that he could, which included more information on the Carlisle case, including hints that some of the party may still be alive and that those that were punished for the murder could be innocent. Kensington and also offered to pay the investigators should they agree to finish his work.

At some point the investigators headed over to Emerson Imports to follow up Elias' train of thought. Here they learned that Emerson Imports sends a good number of brica-brac to an establishment in Harlem called "The Ju-Ju House". The group of white investigators barged into a small curios shop in the heart of Harlem and began demanding questions of the small, old African man that ran the shop. The shopkeeper had a small key on a leather strap around his neck like a necklace. "What's they key go to?!" Colette immediately asked him, and continued to ask until he gave a satisfactory answer. "Nothing, it's a good luck charm". They left, but only after Dick Shmee bought a large amount of tribal masks and a shootout was narrowly avoided by an unusual stroke of common sense.

Other leads led them to investigate the Penhew Foundation. What they gleaned was that it was founded by one of the members of the Carlisle expedition, is based in London and is a massive curator of Egyptian historical artifacts. Those at the museum offered to write the investigators a letter of itroduction, should they ever find themselves in London.

Following a new line of investigation, Miss Oslow attempted to use her social standing to gain an interview with Roger Carlisle's sister, Erica. Erica now runs the estate. While Erica was unnavailable, the woman who answered the phone promised to have her call back as soon as she could. Harriet Oslow, however, was on the guest list of the party that the secretary was sending out invitations to that very moment. So Harriett and a plus one were invited to the Carlisle mansion. Naturally, everyone else was going to try to get in, one way or another.

So, while some members of the party decided which dresses to wear to the party at the Carlisle mansion (or how to break into it) Others spent their night breaking into The Ju-Ju House in the middle of the night.

Jefferson S. Shipp and Dick Shmee took it upon themselves to stealthily break into the tiny shop in an attempt to catch someone in the act of something! But they weren't entirely sure what.  To their surprise, they located a trap door behind the counter. Following it downwards, they reach a door with light shining through the cracks. What had started as a faint drumming sound was getting louder and louder as they approached the door. After some minor discussion about burning the place down and leaving, the decision to open the door won out. On the other side of the door is a frenzied mob of cultists, all dancing around in a frenzy to the beat of the drum. being the only ones with clothes on, Jefferson and Dick were certain to be noticed sooner rather than later. After an extremely brief attempt to fit in, the cultists notice the two strangers. Everyone screamed, including the two investigators and a chase ensued. The two investigators narrowly dodged (most of the) spears and knives being thrown at them. In the dead of winter, the two men are chased through Harlem by a mob of angry naked cultists. Shmee was able to convince the people watching from their windows to call the police by shouting "They're murdering virgins in there!". Due to the cold weather and the circumstances of being completely undressed, the mob dispersed and by the time the police arrived there was nothing to be seen.

Once things settled down, it was time to get ready for the shindig at the Carlisle estate. And while one thing was certain, everyone was going to go, regardless of if they had an invite or not. Jefferson attempted to whip up some phony invites, a truly brilliant plan. Unfortunately the results were less than desirable and they ended up looking like used napkins with illegible writing scribbled on the front. Harriet assured everyone that once they made it inside that they would be fine, but invites would certainly be checked at the door.

Harriett and Elly are let in with no complications simply because they had an invite. Dick was able to finagle his way in by impersonating a member of the press and offering the guard a role in an upcoming film. Jefferson and Colette meandered to the back door to attempt to sneak in through the kitchen. Colette considered attempting to flirt with the head butler when he questioned them, but her large size and low level of physical attractiveness couldn't even hope to be inconspicuous. They dropped that plan. Wilhelm stood back and observed the situation as it unrolled. The Dutchman walked up to the head butler informing him (in broken English) that there was a truck blocking his car. He impersonated being a chauffeur to one of the wealthy families. It was truly a brilliant plan to lure the butler away from his post, unfortunately he sent another of his staff to look into the situation. Colette sprang into action, pretending to be a horribly intoxicated guest of the party that had wandered outside and now demanded entrance to the kitchens. But the butler, ever the intelligent one, was not about to let these ruffians in. So, they walked up the fire escape.

Harriett caught up with Erica, but it was evident that they were on less than friendly terms. Their conversation was laced with underhanded insults and eye rolls. Dr Huston, another member of the doomed expedition was mentioned. He had accompanied Roger on the trip in order to continue his psychiatric care. Shmee then took a few photos and then asked to use the phone. He then proceeded to use it to establish more "business deals" directly in contrast to current prohibition laws. Dick then meandered his way up to the second floor where he found a library. To his right he noticed shapes lurking outside the window. Further inspection showed it was a con-man, a large woman and a Dutchman. He let them inside.

It didn't take long for the lot to find a hidden safe behind one of the library shelves. They found the combination and looted it. It contained a number of books and scrolls all relating to various dark cults. Quickly grabbing dust covers from other books, they disguised the contraband books as more reputable and well known ones. As security drew closer, panic struck and they each rushed out in their own time and fashion. In doing so they left one of the volumes from the safe behind.

After things cooled down a bit post party, (which took a few days after reading some sanity shattering volumes) Erica extended an invitation to Harriett to speak privately. It was a somewhat unexpected invitation, but a welcome one nonetheless. After tea and crumpets, Erica got down to brass tacks. She informed Harriett that she had been robbed the night of the party. It was clear that she just wanted to know if she had seen anything regarding the crime. Harriett gave a description to a police sketch artist. She then dug deep to find the courage to head up to the library and retrieve the last book that had been hidden in a different dust cover. She failed to find that courage, however, and retreated back to her hotel and the rest of the investigators. This was more than Dick Shmee could take.

Dick, by all counts should have been killed in his attempt to single-handedly infiltrate the Carlisle mansion alone and steal the last book. He was not. He bypassed all security, to enter the library, found the book he needed and dodged every bullet that they slung at him. The display would have made Robin Hood gape in astonishment.

Burglary not being enough for this lot, they decided to arm themselves to the teeth and extract the truth that rested in the basement of The Ju-Ju House. They chose high noon to walk into the store, lock the door and force the elderly shopkeeper to let them into the basement. Reluctantly, he led them down the staircase and into the room that once contained countless nude cultists. The room was large, it had a giant round stone that seemed to be covering a hole in the ground and was movable by a winch. The only other feature seemed to be an alcove with curtains obscuring what was held within it. As it turned out, it contained a crazy cultist priest and four zombies. The priest, who was using lion claws as weapons swiped furiously. Colette attempted to threaten the man with her single shot derringer. He was not in a reasoning mood.  As the zombies showed themselves, Jefferson literally could not handle it anymore and ran for the door screaming. Wilhelm and Colette were on the front line, firing away, but Wilhelm was getting bit left and right, and swiped at by the crazy lion-paw-wielding priest. Harriett ended up getting in a sword fight, Shmee and Elly shot from a safe distance, and Wilhelm gave it his all as he shot from the ground up at the attacking undead. Once the battle was done, everyone was still alive (technically) but Collete, with her insatiable curiosity, decided to open the pit and have a glance inside. There they found a monster that looked like a giant slug with dozens of faces. It was horrible and disgusting.

In the end, the crew survived the attack, but at a cost. Wilhelm nearly succumbed to his injuries, hanging on to life by only a shred. Jefferson, although temporarily regaining his sanity enough to join the fray, lost his mind entirely after the adrenaline died down. He will almost certainly have to spend a good amount of time in a sanitarium before he's back fighting zombies again.

Part 3

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A little information on Jackson Elias

In our last session, the players went to the aid of their old friend Jackson Elias. Elias is a best selling author who scours the world debunking "death cults" as nothing more than superstition. This is the information the players were given about their friend upon character creation, and they devised reasons why each of their PCs would know this individual.

Urgent Telegram Addressed to Harriett Oslow

Monday, March 31, 2014

Masks of Nyarlathotep: The Carlyle Expedition

With your adventure in Mexico long behind you, one story of potential adventure will have to suffice in order to satiate your thirst for adventure. A well known playboy from New York has gathered a crew and headed to Egypt for an excavation. This high-profile expedition dramatically unfolds in the form of news paper clippings over the following months.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Masks of Nyralothetope Prelude: The God of Mitnal

Last Saturday six players, and myself as acting keeper, ran an introductory campaign for the Call of Cthulhu 6th edition Gaming system. The scenario "The God of Mitnal" was used as a catalyst to introduce the system to all of us. This log will serve as an outline of the ensuing adventures. This is a care bones, very few frills account of our first session.

Jackson Ellias, the ever charismatic best selling author is at it again! In an effort to sniff out the truth surrounding a South American cult known as the "Ah Puch" cult, he reached out to a number of acquaintances for help. In a series of telegrams, he communicated the need for two very important things to further his research. 1) He needed information on one "Walter Kimble" and 2) he needed his standard vices; namely Lucky Strike cigarettes and Gin. Little more information was given other than he requested the aid of his friends in Campeche Mexico. And just who were these friends, you ask?

Harriett Oslow: a wealthy socialite with a pension for adventure. Wilhelm Schonewetter: A Dutch meteorologist from the University of Amsterdam. Colette Blue: Renowned archeologist who obtained her Geology degree from the prestigious STFU. Elly Mists: Professor of Anthropology stemming from Knoxville, Tennessee. Dick Shmee, a PE major from STFU. The oldest in the group, he remained true to his name by becoming a Private Investigator . And of course, the good Dr. Epsteen: A medical man from New York, an invaluable addition to a group this rowdy.

The group of unlikely heroes dropped whatever previous engagements they may have had lined up and agreed to meet at a local speakeasy to discuss their plan. This being in the midst of the American Prohibition, there was no actual alcohol to be found on the premises. Except for in the trunk of Dick's car, where there were three cases of Gin. The six became fast friends, pouring over the details of their telegrams. It was decided that they should research this Walter Kimble with the Texas Rangers. This was immediately set about by Dick, who hopped in his truck shouting "I'll meet you in Texas". The rest of the gang hit the books, discovering that Ah Puch was an Aztec god of death, similar to the grim reaper.

After gleaning as much as they could from the local library, the ever generous Harriet Oslow paid for the remainder of the party to travel first class to El Paso Texas. After arriving at the station, Elly and Dr. Epsteen went to the local inn to reserve rooms. It was then their intention to head to the Library in order to dredge up any more information on Walter Kimble. This information, however was most notably gleaned by Wilhelm, Colette and Harriet who went strait to the Texas Rangers. It was learned that Walter Kimble was a wanted man, suspected of gun running and desertion from the US army. Also, Wilhelm was mistaken for a German.

At the library, the others found nothing.

Armed with information on Kimble, some clues into the Ah Puch mythology and about four bottles of Gin, the expedition headed to the docks to set sail to Mexico. Attempting to charge Jackson's publishing house without first checking with them proved to eat up valuable time. But, after clearing things up with one Jonah Kensington, the arrangements were made.

Arriving in Campeche Mexico, the team immediately went to the front desk of the Hotel San Miguel. Dick walked a few paces behind them disguised as a sailor. As night fell, it was learned that few had seen Jackson Elias but that information might be found at the train station, which was unfortunately closed for the evening. The locals were particularly spooked any time the name "Ah Puch" was spoken or an owl screeched. Misty was able to learn from a local in the saloon that local children had gone missing and Ah Puch was to blame.

The evening was otherwise uneventful; except for when Dick followed a local man to the slum he lived in, then scared the man so bad he had a heart attack. After that he robbed the man of the few possessions he had. Dr. Epsteen was called for and the man revived. Dick did the right thing and paid the man a fortune for the rifle he had stolen from him. With that money came the information that a "gringo" had sold him the rifle three months back.

With morning came crowds. The train station was swarming with people. One man seemed to be running the whole show, and it was the man Elias had told them about. Guillermo was a large, brash man. He wasn't about to give them the time of day until the lovely, and equally as large, Colette dropped Jackson Elias' name. Still skeptical, he shuffled the  party into his cramped office. After Wilhelm displayed the telegram they had received, Guillermo gladly gave them the details he had.

Jackson had not been seen for three weeks. He had come back for supplies and to tell Guillermo to expect the arrival of his friends. Guillermo gave them passes to use the flatcar train to get to Jackson's location deep in the jungle. It was a rough ride, but the team was able to get bananas from a local plantation. So that was nice.

Once off the train, it was a long trek through the jungle to Elias' camp. Upon arrival it became apparent that the camp was ransacked. Shortly thereafter, a man with the head of an owl appeared and summoned two skeletal demons, he warned them to drop their supplies and flee. While this scared half the party stiff, the other half opened fire on the creatures. Upon successful capturing, it was obvious that these were mere men, who had been instructed to guard the campsite.

It became increasingly apparent that this Ah Puch cult was nothing more than Walter Kimble running a farce to protect his gun running. The men the team captured were not brave, they gave information readily in the hopes of not being harmed. They informed the group that Jackson, along with a few others was alive and being held captive. The next day they marched everyone right to the site of an ancient Mayan pyramid. Elly attempted to reason with the guards, attempting to do a prisoner exchange. This was not met favorably. Dick managed to shoot a couple of the guards, but not before Elly was taken prisoner. What Elly learned once inside the pyramid was that Jackson and a number of others were held up in the tiny interior, along with thousands of guns and a good amount of booze.

Although captured, Elias and Elly were overjoyed to see each other alive, and Elly presented him with a bottle of Gin she had managed to woo away from Mr. Shmee.

Kimble excahnged words with the group hiding in the jungle, they responded with gunfire. Kimble calmly retreated to the interior of the pyramid with his men. Elly tried to get a glance at the inner workings of the group, but instead found a rag doused in ether pressed against her face.

As night fell, Dick, Wilhelm, Collette, Harriette and Dr. Epsteen snuck up to the entrance to the pyramid. When they found the nerve to enter, they found it mostly empty. No men, few guns and even less alcohol. The prisoners were still there. Groggily they began to wake as Dick picked the lock to their cell door. Just as the lock clicked and the door swung open, Elias screamed "NO, WAIT!". It was too late. As the door swung open it lit a long fuse that attached to a cache of dynamite  attached to the ceiling. Everyone booked it, making it to safety with nothing but superficial wounds.

Kimble had escaped their clutches, but was caught by the Mexican Federal Police not long after. Elias, who was thrilled to have gotten to the bottom of this latest mystery, promised to send them all copies of his latest book. The following morning, a note was left indicating that Elias had paid their stay, and had left early that morning. Something about a new cult he wanted to investigate in Africa.

Part 2 Part 3