Free Adventure: The Great Yithian Invasion

 

Disclaimer! This adventure was written for an English class. It is long, wordy, and lacking in clear sensible adventure design. Some construction required:

This is the first scenario in what may one day be an extended campaign. Be warned, this one has not been play tested at all since it was used as an english project.

If anyone uses it please let me know how it went!

The Great Yithian Invasion

The Yithian Age is coming to an end, the dread flying polyps are getting stronger, and more and more Yithian settlements are being abandoned as the invisible wind bringers burst from their underground prisons. Panicked the Yithians in one of the outlying cities have decided to take a place on the human controlled Earth. The initial wave scout out the period, and city. They abandon their possessed bodies, to return and report, then certain leading figures project themselves forwards and take over the bodies of important figures, to prepare the world for a full Yithian Invasion!

Yithian Age ending – single town decided to take over a portion of human controlled Earth

Initial scouting already completed, Yithian minds (only one?) took over several humans around the town, made sure to find out as much about current affairs as possible, (especially the art world.?)

-Maybe – The Yithians mistake the world of art buying and selling as the most important part of human society, based on finding art auction magazines

-Several (or only one?) people went mad, a fixed time before the campaign, raving about being possessed, living in a huge city in prehistoric times, and being forced to record everything they could about where they lived

Nine Yithians project themselves into the bodies of important figures. Each has a role to prepare the city for take over by the Yithian minds

Each mind is simply given a number: 1-9

1 Leader, never seen by the others, has become a very rich man in town, and is planning on becoming mayor. It is his job to install the device on the top of some building (Empire State building? A new skyscraper? Tower bridge? Eye of London?) to create a mass transit for Yithian minds to take over the minds of the entire town.

2 Oversees 3-9

3 Control over power sources

4 Control over police

5 Controls crime

6 Control over sleeper agents, ready to be taken over early.

7 The person they were supposed to claim was already dead, leading to the mind going mad. This gives an initial Yithian to meet, without giving up the whole game

8 Controls education, and intellectual pursuits

9 Control over sewage, and homeless people

A professor (Or possibly a priest) has discovered part of the plot, and has begun murdering sleeper agents, and Yithian invaded humans. He has hired and recruited four other men, all of whom worship Hastur.

-Perhaps he is one of the previously scouting Yithians, he has begun having the dreams of where he was, and what he has discovered about his life previously disturbs him greatly.

-Only one of his minions will be the killer, leading the group into a wider investigation of the cult

-Once they discover the cult, and either start revealing them to the police, reporting them to their patron, or murdering them themselves, events lead to a confrontation with the main man (probably in a special ceremony)

-The man reveals that he thinks the party are working for something more evil than him

Timeline

5 Years ago

20 Yithian scouts arrived in Witcheter, and began scouting it out as a possible location to take over.

-Trevor Tillinghast is possessed

4 Years ago

The Yithian scouts all leave, leaving twenty people with a year missing in their lives. They all begin to dream about their imprisonment in a semi ruined city inhabited by large cone shaped creatures that forced them to write about their lives.

-Tillinghast focuses his dreams into his painting, capturing the occult mind.

3 Years ago

Tillinghast begins work on the Hastur Mural in the “chapel” of Hastur.

2 Years ago

The Eklesia arrives, as well as 50 more immediate Held. The Eklesia take over the lives of their possessed counter parts, manipulating things so that they are in complete control over their areas.

-Mellisa Knott, and Severin Bounty are both Held at the end of the year, their careers changing to reflect Yithian art.

1 Year ago

What Actually Happened:

Trevor Tillinghast

Painter & photographer – Originally a news photographer he was one of the scout Yithians 5 years ago, released after a year, and exposed to the bizarre nightmares and imaginings that occur after such an event. He used these dreamscapes to capture new styles of painting, blending modern, and surreal, and realistic to grand effect. However his masterpieces never gained fame in the art world. Instead he sold his works to the much more obscure collectors, those looking for horror, and mystery. This brought him into contact with the Order of Hastur, who commissioned him to paint their chapel mural. Half way through he was “rediscovered” by Hubert Smythe, and was retaken by the Yithians. Now he does nature photos, all sold at dismally low prices to other Yithian Held.

Mellisa Knott

Already a famous painter, Mellisa used to focus on modernism, and abstract art. When she was taken over she began to produce small 1footx1foot canvases covered in irregular dot patters. While her previous fame carries her career, her art is really bought by the Yithian held. Hubert has one of these canvases hanging in his study.

Severin Bounty

Sculptor – was homeless before being taken over by the Yithian mind. Hubert moved him into a small garret to work on Yithian sculpture to sell to other Yithian held. However his new work, the sculpture fashionable to the Yithians, are also popular amongst the human art critics, his tendency towards, abstract primitiveness, and fear gel with the more bizarre art genre.


Introduction

Players are assigned the Members, 9, 8, 6, 5, 4, 3. Two has called together the Eklesia, the masters of the Held. They meet in a dark room around a round table covered in red cloth. In the center of the table is a small cone projecting images of brutally murdered people, all humans, and by the markings beside each photo all Held humans.

Held are what each member of the Eklesia are, and what many of their workers are. They are alien minds who have possessed the human bodies. The Eklesia’s plan is to eventually transfer all of the minds into human Held, to do this the nine Eklesia have taken over positions of power in the city, the player controlled members are below. Two oversees everyone else, and relays the orders of One, who everyone thinks is masterminding how to convert the city into Held. There is in fact no One, Two simply claims this to make killing him seem useless. Two really has been openly becoming mayor, and plans on installing a large machine at the top of some building currently being built.

The players as the Eklesia don’t know:

Held – The Held are what the Eklesia themselves are, minds transferred here by a machine invented by Three. While the machine can transfer a mind at a time, something else would be needed to do a mass Helding. Each Held is independent, but follow the orders of the Eklesia Controlling their section. Held are also intelligent enough to blend in with humans until the time comes when they will take over.

The Plan – The Eklesia don’t actually know the specifics of the plan, though each are part of it in a small way. Six is choosing all of the Held candidates, Three is creating the parts that One needs to create a mass Helding, Eight is collecting information of magic incase the machines don’t work, and the others will be collecting the raw resources needed for the plan. All of the Eklesia knows that One is purely working on this plan, and can’t be disturbed in anyway.

Seven – Seven is what happens in the rare case that the human mind knows enough to fight back. He is not spoken of by the Eklesia, and went missing when the Eklesia had their Helding.

Safety – Safety is their name for the time when all of the Held will be safe from the Wind, an evil force that the Held can’t stop. Safety is the entire purpose of their Helding, a way to escape the Wind, who are unable to Held.

Scouts – Ten scouts did a Helding before the Eklesia arrives. Nine was one of these scouts.

The players as the Eklesia know:

Agents – Each member has a large group of “agents” that do their bidding. These are actually the Held, but the players shouldn’t know this.

The Plan – They know that One is working on a main plan to help them all reach “Safety.”

Two – The group all know Two is a busy man running for mayor in the human town. While many of his voters will be Held he still has to create a majority vote and must work for it. They know he is overseeing all of them, and has the Control to send Held back to their original state.

 


What the Players can know

Nine is a middle aged man in a wife beater and folded down coveralls, a stench follows him, as well as several flies. He walks with a swagger, pride making up for his dirtiness. He was one of the first to come to Earth, scouting out the most important industries to take over.

His job now is control the waste disposal and to construct a network of informants, both human, and the Held. Several of them have been killed already, and he was the first to suspect that this was targeted at the Exclesia on purpose. He mistrusts Four, and thinks Four is using their Held to stunt Nine’s networks. Five is Nine’s brother.

Nine has agents in the sewers of the city, used to know everything that happens in the city. After all you can learn everything from someone’s trash.

Nine considers it very possible that Four is paying the killer, but he suspects that Six could be behind the murders as well. He deeply hates Eight, but thinks he is so incompetent that he can’t having anything to do with the matter.


Eight wears a tweed jacket, complete with elbow patches, and ketchup stains. He wears pince-nez that he constantly peers through. He tends to walk with a stoop, used to carrying many books. Despite his frail appearance he talks with a clear voice, devoid of accent, and a hint of threat always exists in his voice. The rest of the Eklesia sense that he knows much that could be a danger to everyone if he so desired.

His job is to collect the knowledge of the Eklesia’s new world, to collect a store of magical artifacts, and books, in case the more mechanical objects that Two has said One is using don’t work. Eight is obsessed with discovering who One actually is and suspects that he may have other plans. He has been keeping the location of his personal workshop and library secret from the others and has been housing Seven who went mad when he was to Hold his target.

Eight knows that the killer can’t be one of the group since he is magically observing all of the Exlesia, but is unwilling to prove that point and give away his advantage. He suspects the murderer is using magical methods.


Wearing an old fashioned and worn jacket, and wearing slippers under his evening suit, Six looks distinguished, and slightly snobbish, completely at odds with the way he stands, rocking up onto the balls of his feet, arms down, as if he is ready to fight his way out of the dark room.

Six controls the sleeper Held, the agents who will soon be completely Held, or those they plan on making Held later to fulfill their plan. His part in the plan is the most important since he will be deciding who will be killed and who will survive when One starts the process of turning the entire town into Held. Six also is the most devious, and it is his plan that Two is proposing to the group. He knows humans well, and knows they can be used.

Six is smart, and knows that the deaths, of which the majority have been his agents that have been killed. He wont admit it but he has been using the killings to take over control of several of Five’s agents. He scorns Five, since he knows that he has taken to human life, and realizes that Five would prefer to stay here and let the humans be. He knows that the killer can’t be one of them, but he suspects everyone of plotting one way or the other, since he is doing exactly that. The only one he knows isn’t plotting against the others is Nine.


Five wears gang colors, all of them. Colorful scarves, hats, bracelets, and shiny guns hang around him. He swaggers in, a Broken Held following him a large telephone installed in his chest. He speaks in all of the gutter speak of the world, swinging from one dialect to the next from slur to glottal stops.

Humans to Five are not the vermin that the rest of the Eklesia say they are. He knows his way around human anatomy as well as their minds, and knows they can be extremely useful. He almost completely uses humans for his Control, only using Held as lieutenants in his many gangs. He has control over all of the gangs, and takes a heavy tithe from many of the minor thugs and killers and whores of the back alleys and under-bridges.

He would not be too disturbed by the killings themselves, if it were not that he had known it would happen, and could take a cut. He owns all of the assassins in the city, and a rouge serial killer makes street business hard. Five is also terribly independent, and will only ask help from Nine, his brother.


A walking uniform Four was in the police before making her body Held.

Now she is in even more control, using her forces of almost entirely Held policemen to stunt the other groups Control, to enforce Two’s rules, and to make living hell for any dissenting humans.

Four doesn’t trust any of her fellow Eklesia, and does whatever she can to stop their scheming, feeling that it is her duty to make sure Two’s, and through him One’s plans work. The killings disturb her greatly, each Held mind getting killed is one less mind to live on into Safety.


Wearing a fashionable suit, and a futuristic technological device on his face Three is the youngest person here.

He controls the power systems of the city, and through them the technology they power. He was the inventor who created the devices One is using to make the humans Held, and he is constantly creating new machines and devices. But he is also cruel, not caring for humans, or Held alike. He devices the method for Broken Held to be turned into slave like servants for the Eklesia.

Three tolerates the other Eklesia, and knows he holds the others by the throat, if he were to stop power to their various projects they would be in very bad trouble. Only Nine and Five are exempt. Three is too proud of himself to realize Nine could do the same to him if waste disposal ever stopped working.


Two appears as a well dressed business man, careful with his appearance but with plenty of grey hair. He is tired, but stern.

In truth Two is the only other Exlesia member, and in fact uses One as a way to deflect the plots of the other Eklesia members.

Two is the leader of the bunch, controlling the group while One finishes the “plan.” They know very little about what One is actually doing.


Each Eklesia enters the room under the watchful eye of Two, standing by the wall. After everyone has settled and greeted each other, he clears his throat and addresses the room.

“Greeting to the Eklesia, the day of Safety comes soon. One continues the work. I have called you all today to discuss the murder of several agents. I suspect that these killings are not chance, as other murdered agents have been. They have all been similar deaths, and only our agents have been killed this way, the brains removed carefully. I suspect some human killer is at fault. Would the Eklesia like to discuss this?”

Two listens carefully to their discussion, and eventually quiets them.

“I’m sure we all agree that something has to be done. One of youhas recommended a plan which I put to the vote. Being in a position of trust, Six will hire a group of humans to investigate the killings. This will keep suspicion away from any Held, and if they must sacrifice themselves to stop the killer then no agent is killed. As the Eklesia all know there are many agents, but they are finite. Humans will also be impartial, not knowing anything about our agents and so wont hesitate if it is one of the Eklesia behind the murders. Now I put it to the vote.”

If the vote passes Two nods to Six,

“Please proceed to contact a group of humans to investigate the murders. Everyone else, the assembly is ended.”

If the vote is a tie Two smiles,

“Then the vote passes, One has decided to vote for the humans. Six, please find a group of humans for this task.”

If the vote fails a phone rings in a back room and Two excuses himself. Soon he comes back shaking his head.

“I’m sorry, I had hoped the Eklesia could deal with this matter without bothering One, but the murder of our agents has disturbed him greatly. He orders that we use the humans for now, but should also keep some of our agents looking for the murderer as well. Six, please proceed to your task and find some humans to aid us.”

Each member of the Eklesia leaves one by one, heading to their false lives, false homes, even false families, none of them are supposed to know where the others live, or what lives they hold. Two watches them leave smiling to himself.


A Patron Hires the Party

Each member of the party are contacted by Mr. Hubert Smythe, an elderly patron of the arts, and widower. He should have an amicable relationship with each character. He pays a large number of artists, and is a major contributer to an art gallery in a fancy part of town. Any artists in the group can be “discoveries” of his. Any richer members will know him from better society, and he may have even hinted at the idea of willing his estate to one of them.

Each investigator gets a personal note, or a phone call inviting them to Hubert’s home in the nice part of town. Hubert gives away very little, only saying that he wants some help with something a little different than his normal patronage.

Researching Hubert Smythe

It is very likely that players will want to look up Hubert Smythe before meeting him, especially if they are still very suspicious of the Eklesia introduction.

Hubert Smythe is sixty years old, retired from a comfortable banking job. He married the artist Jenna Martis when he was twenty five. She died ten years later during child birth. His son died while in the army. Smythe was distraught, a wild breakdown ruining his partnership career in the West & Smythe Insurance Company. Two years ago with his own savings and that of his wife’s fortune Smythe started an art studio and gallery, happily meeting Ms. Sarah Howard, a lovely artist, whose discovery made Smythe a lot of money. Ever since he has run art studios, funding and discovering new artists. He and Ms. Howard had a brief affair notoriously breaking it off in the middle of one of the biggest New Years Eve party the state had ever seen.

He is most recently in the news for discovering the brilliant Severin Bounty, a demented sculptor now famed for his realistic fantasy creatures. Hubert apparently found Severin selling tin sculptures at a flea market and let him live above his gallery for a year while Severin began sculptin. The recent sale of the Seven Sirens netted Mr. Bounty $1,000,000 and Smythe a pretty cut for promoting his work.

Hubert Smythe’s house is a pleasant brick colonial, perched on a pleasant hill overlooking the city. Equally nice mansions, get aways, and studios line the long hill, kept gardens making a green wall below. Smythe’s house is at the end of a cul-de-sac, the curtains pulled to in the wide windows. As investigators approach they may notice a series of webbed cocoons hanging from the corner gutter. A large spider, as wide as a hand, wraps a struggling small bird. Wary or paranoid investigators will also notice a bald man standing in the yard across the street watching them. If they go and question them he will seem harmless enough, introducing himself as Robert Taylor. He asks them who lives in Hubert’s house, he has heard there is a famous art seller around here.

The door is opened by Hubert’s one servant, Mr. Potter, an elderly man. Hubert pops out and invites the group into his study. The brandy is quickly flowing. The fire burns, despite the pleasant summer temperature. The closed curtains, and the dark wood book cases make a gloomy cave around them.

Hubert starts his story glumly. Two clients of Hubert have also been murdered, in brutal and inhuman ways. He is worried that the killer is targeting him specifically. He whispers conspiratorially that it must be someone he knows, perhaps one of the artists he had to refuse lately, or a rival patron. Hubert feels that a private group of investigators would get further than the police, artists being sensitive, the police not having the gentleness required in this case.

To motivate them Hubert offers to pay them, or do other favors they may need. And he can offer aid and expenses during the investigation.


What Hubert Knows

There have been two murders of artists so far, and both, according to Hubert, were under his patronage. The two dead artists are , Mellisa Knott, painter, and Trevor Tillinghast, painter and photographer. And Hubert is extremely worried that Severin Bounty, a recent and booming success, will be next.

Trevor Tillinghast

Hubert knew Trevor’s boyfriend Sam Pere and was introduced about a year ago. Hubert decided to give Trevor a hand, his “dreadful” painting failing to sell. Hubert got Trevor back into photography, and has been able to get his new “nature pieces” to sell much better.

Trevor originally worked as a journalistic photographer but went through a bout of depression and he quit.

Trevor was the first to be killed, stabbed in his apartment, head partially frayed.

Mellisa Knott

Mellisa and one of Hubert’s artists shared a gallery show two years ago and they hit it off. After a night of chatting the Hubert feels like he encouraged her to branch out into new styles. Now he sells half of her new “dot” pieces. He thinks her agent Dillan Daniels is a busy body, and is not worth her time, but she would have to waited another year until her contract with him ran out.

Mellisa had complained to Hubert of a stalker, claiming Dillan had shrugged it off. Hubert thinks the stalker could be the killer, but is unsure why he would then attack Trevor and Severin. Mellisa thought that it was one of the purchasers who had bought her dot art through Dillan who was stalking her, and witnesses at the club when Mellisa was stabbed claimed the murderer had covered his face with ripped up canvas covered in dots. Dillan was also present when Mellisa was killed.

Other Information

Hubert has the addresses of Dillan Daniels, Mellisa Knott’s agent, the flea market where he found Severin Bounty, Trevor’s boyfriends apartment and the newspaper Trevor took photos for before his breakdown, as well as the addresses of the three artists houses.

Hubert is very worried that the murderer might strike again, either at him, or more of his artists. Hubert is most worried about Severin Bounty. Severin is one of Hubert’s most profitable artists, his hyper-realistic depictions of fantastic creatures popular amongst art collectors and the rich alike.

Severin had been working on a new piece, Yithian a sculpture of a seven foot tall cone shaped creature, a head floating on a tentacle stalk, bearded with thin whips. Two more tentacles from the top of the cone hold large claws. Severin lives alone, living in his large hill side house and receives visits from Hubert every other week. Severin has no family, having been homeless since a fire destroyed his family home over a decade ago.

Sam Pere, Trevor Tillinghast’s boyfriend, sells his water colors to Hubert and may be in danger as well, as are the half dozen or so other artists Hubert features. Keepers note that none of these feature in the story, but could be played up to provide tension, or to act as red herrings.

Emphasize the need to protect Serverin over discovering the murderer.

Police not involved because “artists” are too sensitive.


Trevor Tillinghast

Trevor was killed first, nearly two weeks ago in his down town apartment, number 301. The apartment is locked, but the lock wouldn’t be too hard to pick, or if they are in a hurry investigators could smash down the door. A next door neighbor, Mrs. Havershim will concernedly come out to check on anyone spending time around the door.

If investigators question Mrs. Havershim about Trevor or his death she will happily gossip to them. Trevor was a quiet young man, far too skinny, obviously his mother didn’t feed him enough. Mrs. Havershim whispers conspiratorially that she thought he might have a… boyfriend.

She thought the day Trevor was killed that Trevor was having an argument with his boyfriend. She heard two men’s voices shouting back and forth, then a scramble, and a brief yell. Mrs. Havershim tried to get a look from the balcony to see into the neighboring room, but couldn’t see much. (Mrs. Havershim will happily show the investigators the balcony, and if distracted a brave investigator could try to get in through there.) She had heard Trevor and his boyfriend argue before so didn’t think to call the police until the next day when she went to bring Trevor some mail she had noticed left in his box. Trevor had always been very diligent about getting his mail first thing.

Trevor moved in to the apartment about a year ago, but Mrs. Havershim thinks he used to work for a local newspaper as a photographer, but quit for some reason. She has two of Trevor’s nature photos, depicting a forest stream and a cloudy meadow, both very dull pieces.

If the investigators are fairly honest with Mrs. Havershim and happy to gossip she will offer to let them in, Trevor gave her a key to the rooms when he moved in.

Apartment 301 consists of a small kitchen, living room, bedroom, and a bathroom. An area of the living room has been cleared, a broken coffee table pushed to the side. A slight red stain is visible on the wood floor boards. Not much is interesting here, except for how tidy everything is. (The Yithians are a tidy race) Several more nature photos hang on the walls, but otherwise the apartment is pretty bare of personal belongings.

In the bedroom a bed is made up, at the base of is a large chest. Inside are the few things Trevor kept from his human life. Two half finished sketches. One of a vast city amongst plants, and one of a strange creature cone like with tentacles emanating from its top. If investigators have seen Severin’s current masterpiece they will recognize it as the same creature. A complete search of the chest will also find a torn envelope, on which some one has scrawled: “mural – chapel of nameless one RT” and a few scribbled sketches of an arched ceiling.

Locked not broken (no forced entry)

Rich neighborhood/ interior new furniture, etc. moved in recently

Photo of Sam Pere

Yellow Sign on door

Trevor’s Boyfriend Sam Pere

Sam Pere is not a Yithian mind, being of no use or threat to their invasion. Hubert Smythe can give investigators his address, but they wont find him home. Breaking into his apartment wont discover anything unusual either. Sam is currently spying on Severin Bounty, suspecting him of murdering Trevor. As a Yithian Trevor didn’t care about Sam at all, but kept the relationship going at the moment to create a careful cover for itself. Sam was getting fed up with Trevor’s behavior and planned on breaking up with him. After Trevor was killed Sam suddenly suspected some deeper plot, that Trevor had been sleeping with Severin Bounty, and that Severin had killed Trevor out of jealousy when Trevor refused to leave Sam. This of course is all fantasy on Sam’s part.

Researching Trevor Tillinghast’s Newspaper Notes

Trevor’s old newspaper offices has fallen into poverty since he left, a series of complaints and firings dragging it into obscurity. However Trevor’s editor Sarah Knightley still works away in the bowels of the brick building. She is surprised to hear about Trevor again, she has heard he died but thought the police already caught the killer. She admits firing him. “Five years ago he had some sort of breakdown, seemed to forget everything. Amnesia or something. He tried to keep on working, even though he was rubbish with his camera. And he kept on trying to follow the mayor around, and random city people. At first I thought he had some crazy story, but after a month or two of complaints and calls… Well I checked on him, he hadn’t found a thing, except that the mayor was sleeping with his secretary, but that’s hardly news. So I fried him. I still have his notes and photos from then if you want. You may as well take them.”

Trevor’s papers are still in a dusty cardboard box in one of the many empty offices. Looking through it will reveal little, except that Trevor seemed to be working out who worked where. There a photos of sanitary engineers, civil engineers, power plants, lawyers, and a couple of men in suits outside of city hall. Notes describe in detail day to day movements of the people, where they live, and who with. Also documented is painstaking detail of how each person acts, walks, talks, and even eats. It seems to be obsessive if not for it’s thoroughness. At the bottom of the pile is a surprisingly close up photo of the current mayor shaking hands with a slightly younger Hubert Smythe, looking much more like the banker he used to be.


Mellisa Knott

Of the two victims Mellisa Knott is the easiest to collect information. She appears in multiple newspapers, art magazines, and design journals. Her modern art pieces, famous for bold red splashes were very popular. It seems like her popularity has waned over the past two years. Less articles mention her, only a few showing off her square inch canvases covered in dots. The articles confirm the details that Hubert told them.

Mellisa’s House

Mellisa lived in one of the local suburbs. With a series of lovers and changing boyfriends she lived alone. The house has been cleared of its contents, and an open house is happening when investigators show up. A realtor present will be able to tell investigators that any items of interest would be with police.

Mellisa’s Agent

Mellisa’s Agent Dillan Daniels can be found in his downtown office downing his second bottle of whisky that day. He will be suspicious of investigators, an extra bottle or reassurances of legitimacy opening him up. Dillan feels very guilty about Mellisa’s death. She had come to him on two occasions about a stalker who had been sending her cards and weird drawings. He had waved it off as some weird fan sending her gifts. However the night Mellisa died the two met at the Crono Club and Dillan mentioned that three of her paintings had been bought by a priest going by the name of Roger Tucker. Mellisa seemed to go crazy at the name, yelling that Roger Tucker was the man sending the cards and stalking her. She showed him one of the cards, that Dillan still has.

The card is a simple page folded in half, a strange curling yellow sign with three legs on the front. Inside in cut out letters it reads: “I’m coming for you spy! We know about your plan. The stranger in the pallid mask will have you soon! -RT”

After throwing the card at Dillan Mellisa stormed out. Dillan following close behind was just in time to see a man stab her in the alley beside the bar. The man was about six feet tall, bald and wore a mask, appearing to be made out of torn canvases featuring Mellisa’s dots.

If any of the investigators ask about Trevor Tillinghast Dillan will suddenly laugh. Dillan knows Mellisa was probably going to drop him once the year was up and only sell through Hubert Smythe. Dillan finds this very amusing now, since he remembers when the two met Trevor had been across the room and given them the biggest look of horror Dillan had ever seen.

The Crono Club

The Crono Club is a high class place, catering to the arty, the hip, and the too rich to be either. During the day it is mostly empty, and during the night it is packed with high collared sweaters, and overly tight pants. It seems the recent murder has done nothing but help boost the popularity of the club. Asking the bartenders or more regular looking drinkers will corroborate the story told to them by Dillan Daniels. The bouncer and at least one other guest saw the man and his strange mask. The blood where Mellisa bled out has already been cleaned off.


Severin Bounty

Hopefully investigators will decide to check on Severin Bounty as well. If not Hubert can contact the investigators a day or two into the investigation and mention that Severin thinks his house is being watched. If they delay too long, feel free to have Severin killed. He will be murdered in his mansion, his head cut off, and the eye stalk of his new Yithian statue replacing it. A yellow sign, identical to the one on the cards Mellisa was receiving, has been spray painted on the conical base of the statue as well.

The great sculptor is the picture of the artist, wiping drying clay off of his hands on a stained frock. A couple of days stubble darkens his chin, and bags under his eyes sag purple. His black hair sticks up at angles, and his jeans feature worn holes. There has been little change between Severin the homeless man, and Severin the famous artist.

Severin is a humble man, keen to speak about his art, but not much else. He will happily sing Hubert Smythe’s praise, explaining that he used to be homeless, without friends or family. His home burnt down ten years ago just a month after his wife had left him with his two daughters. He was living on the street, crafting tin can art and selling them at a flea market. Now that Hubert has taken him in Severin is able to pursue his true artistic talent. When Hubert met him two years ago he took him back to his art gallery and let him use the top floor for a studio and bedroom.

Now Severin lives in a large mansion, bought with the proceeds of his art. But Severin makes sure to explain that much of his money is going to improve the lives of other homeless, giving money to special art school charities, food banks and other organizations.

Severin will also happily show off his work. Finished sculptures sit in the corners, showing fantastic and amazingly detailed creatures, many like younger versions of dinosaurs, or early mammals. (anyone with a basis in paleontology may recognize some of these as real creatures. Even the plants in the sculpture bases are accurate.) In the center of the room is Severin’s current masterpiece Yithian. The creature is conical in shape with four tentacle like stalks, two hang low with two large claws, the other two hold four trumpet like things, the other has a ball with two large globular eyes, and hanging filaments holding a stone tablet.

Severin explains that he gets the ideas for his creatures from books on dinosaurs, though investigators will not have seen any such books around. As everyone is chatting in the studio Severin will suddenly gasp and point at the window. Some one will suddenly duck out of sight of the window and sprint away. Investigators in pursuit will quickly catch up, able to tackle the man. (If investigators start shooting you are going to have to deal with a murder case, this is Sam Pere.) The man tumbles, swearing, his red hair and nice shirt ruffled.

Sam is a good looking red head, in a, now mud stained, shiny red dress shirt. He clearly is new to the sneaking game. He swears and shouts, begging not to be killed. He will blather for some time, spitting that Severin is a murderer, that he’s hired the investigators to kill him, and more. Sam believes Severin was sleeping with Trevor, and killed him in a jealous fit when Trevor, of course, would have refused to leave Sam. Sam has absolutely no proof of this, except for the fact that Trevor has acted odd ever since he met Hubert and Severin a year ago or so.

If most of the investigators have left Severin alone, or with only one or two people Ramon Trusk, the real killer, will attempt to shoot Severin from an opposite window. If investigators are in the room, give them a fair chance to notice and save Severin, and get a good glimpse of Ramon’s familiar bald head. This is the same man they met in front of Hubert’s house a couple of days ago. Ramon should get away, but failing that have a slip of paper in his coat with the address of the Chapel of the Nameless and replace Ramon later with his co-conspirator Andrew Nichols. If you want to make it easier on the investigators, should they not try to research the Yellow Sign, Ramon can drop his coat with address inside as he escapes as well.

Questioning Sam Pere Further

If Severin was killed by Ramon, investigators will have to question Sam much later, once the Police have already talked to him, but if they saved Severin they can question him straight away. Sam himself is not a Yithian mind, and knows almost nothing about it, except for how Trevor was acting of late.

Sam explains that Trevor was having a hard life. About five years ago Trevor was fired from his photography job after he tried to get on three different jobs on the city mayor. The mayor caught Trevor stalking him twice, and called the cops once when Trevor actually stole a briefcase of government notes. Apparently Trevor had a complete breakdown and amnesia at the time, and was only kept at his job because of this initial zeal. After leaving the paper, and continuing personal research Trevor suddenly reverted, remembering all of his past life. It was this that started him on painting, and when he met Sam Pere. The two got along very well, and Sam really liked his “spooky” art.

Trevor claimed his paintings came from very vivid nightmares he was having almost constantly. They would often feature impressions of great plains, huge cities inhabited by monsters living like men, and other stranger things. Trevor had quite a following amongst the underground art movement, and three years ago he met Robert Taylor. Sam remembers Taylor as a shortish man, with a bald head and shabby coat, constantly fiddling with his mustache. (Ramon Trusk used a fake one.) Robert Taylor claimed to run a sort of club, or occult group, and wanted a ceiling painted with a huge fresco, and was willing to pay quite a large sum of money for it. At first Trevor was hesitant, but when he saw the place he decided to go for it, raving to Sam later about how moody the place was, and how visceral his new work could be. Sam never got to see the place, Trevor claimed it would be bad luck if someone saw the work before it was finished.

Trevor got more and more obsessed with his work and began sleeping at the “chapel” as Robert Tayor called it. Trevor began to only come home once or twice a week, and once spent an entire fortnight there. Sam was getting very anxious. It was around this time that Sam’s own work was getting shown at Hubert Smythe’s gallery. Wanting Trevor to be social for once he made Trevor promise to come and meet Sam’s new patron. When Hubert and Trevor met they seemed to have known each other before, though Trevor claimed to have never met him. Sam knows that the two men met together later, and Trevor was introduced to Severin then as well.

And suddenly Trevor changed completely. He told Sam that he was quitting his chapel mural, and giving up painting altogether. He was going to move out of the attic studio he and Sam shared, and bought a new place in the well to do part of town, not artistic at all. When Sam confronted him about it, Trevor told him that Hubert had convinced him to abandon his painting to work on his true passion, nature photography, something Sam had never tried to do. Sam was extremely hurt and left Trevor alone for a month or two. Eventually he decided to confront Trevor again, “to really work things out.” But whenever Sam met Trevor again Trevor just very calmly explained that he was much happier and was doing exactly what he wanted. Sam swears he was a different person.

So Sam went to the one person he knew who might be able to help, Robert Taylor, whose number he still had. Apparently Robert Taylor was furious that Trevor had abandoned the work, but didn’t know where to find his new apartment. Promising to get Trevor back to his old self Robert Taylor said he would visit the same week Trevor was found killed. (At this point Sam probably realizes the obvious connection, and bursts into tears. It is very possible he got Trevor killed.)

Sam doesn’t know where the “chapel” is, but does have Robert Taylor’s phone number (if not played in a modern game have it be something else, perhaps a person to pass notes along to Taylor)


The Attack on Severin

Ramon Trusk will fire a shot through the window, aiming for Severin’s head. He will wait until most of the investigators are out of the room, doodling a Yellow Sing in the dirt under the sill. Once he has shot Severin he will flee over the back fence and will escape into the city.

If Severin was hit, he is grievously wounded, in a desperate attempt to survive the Yithian will drag the body to the mantle piece, reaching for a strange metal device. (not unlike an ornate metal clock with no visible face) If an investigator helps him reach it, he peers into two small holes on the front, spasms once, and then yells out “-the fuck! You rich posh, get away from- what the fuck! Where am I! Who’s house is this?” As Severin’s Yithian mind leaves his body he is suddenly returned to being a homeless man in an alley being accosted by Hubert Smythe. As he bleeds out from his forgotten head wound investigators get one question before he dies. The most sensible would be “who was attacking you?” or “where were you?” With his last breath Severin will try to answer.

Make sure the investigators recognize Ramon Trusk as he flees, by now they should know about Mellisa’s stalker, RT, and the man who hired Trevor to paint the Chapel, Robert Taylor. (If they haven’t made the connection perhaps is the time to have Ramon attack them, claiming they know too much.) They should have a good start to find the killer. They also should have seen multiple Yellow Signs, sent to Mellisa, painted on Hubert’s door, and scratched into the dirt outside Severin’s window.

Now that the three artists are dead have Ramon turn his sights on the investigators. They are helping the Yithians after all and even if they aren’t possessed, betraying their own race is almost worse than the invaders. He will also want to try for Hubert. Seeing Ramon around Hubert’s neighborhood, finding the Yellow Sign painted on their door, and finding dead cats on their doorstep should be threatening enough.


Flea Market

It is unlikely that investigators will want to check up on the flea market Hubert supposedly met Severin in, but if they do they may discover a little more about the new star artist. Like all flea markets this one is connected through different dimensions to all flea markets, one seller of torn paperbacks blending into another, glass mirrors with ornate cracked frames reflecting the stalls in a different universe. Pottery jostles with the plaid shirts of another store. And people flow in and out, sometimes appearing on different planets.

The shopkeepers never really change, one tired lined face, staring expectantly at buyers, or shouting about good prices to anyone who cares to listen. Asking around about Severin will mostly bring confused looks but a few will remember the bum who sold old wire toys around. He used to sleep in an alley nearby. His art was rubbish really, often literally. Most of everyone thinks he got stabbed a couple of years back, some rich guy chased him into an alley and killed him.

They will also mention that Severin was completely mad, raving about the government hunting him down, about brain cannisters, and tin foil hats not being able to save you. He was hardly ever coherent, and mostly people bought his wire toys out of pity.


Research

Looking up Robert Taylor, RT, or other names:

Investigators will quickly find hundreds of Robert Taylor’s living in the area, and even more people with RT as initials. If they can see police reports, or lists of court cases give them a lower chance to find a mention of Ramon Trusk in the ten year old Yellow Killings case.

Looking up the Chapel of the Nameless:

Looking for the Chapel of the Nameless will find a reference in the King in Yellow a series of short stories by Robert W. Chambers. On the cover is a cloaked figure with a large Yellow Sign on his chest, and fiery wings.

Looking up the Yellow Sign:

If they haven’t found it already they will find the King in Yellow. On the cover they see a large depiction of the Yellow Sign. In the story it mentions that the sign drives people insane, or dooms them to death.

They will also find reference to Hastur, perhaps a shepherd god, sometimes called the Nameless God. It is rumored that saying his name three times will bring him, angry and vengeful to you.

Finally they will discover the “Yellow Killings” a series of serial murders that occurred ten years ago. Three men were convicted:
- Ramon Trusk. A man in his late thirties, already balding, investigators will recognize him easily from the photo. He was given a five year sentence, for aiding and abetting the murderers, assault, and plotting to murder people.
- Andrew Nichols. Late forties, with grey stubble, wearing torn clothes in his photo. Andrew was the mastermind behind the killings, between him and Vitorio Anthony the the two murdered seven people over the course of a year. Andrew received a life sentence and is still in prison.
- Vitorio Anthony. A thin man of indeterminate age, he wears a thin mustache, and thick glasses. During the killings he took delight in cutting signs into the bodies with a long knife. He received a ten year sentence. If investigators check up on Vitorio they will discover that he was granted parole three years ago and promptly disappeared.

The Yellow Killings were a series of butcheries. Each victim kidnapped and taken to an abandoned church, killed on an altar, and then taken out to a remote alley and dumped. Yellow symbols were found painted by the bodies. Police eventually linked the signs to the King in Yellow and discovered the church. After a raid all three men were discovered planning an eight killing.

If the investigators go to the police, and are convincing enough, they can either get the address of the abandoned church themselves, or perhaps convince the police to go there themselves. Try to make it obvious that sending the police would be safer, but perhaps there is more to discover on their own. (See the Church of the Nameless)


The Chapel of the Nameless

This is the climax of the scenario. Here investigators will corner the killer and possibly learn the truth. The investigators will have to ask themselves what they believe. Is this man a killer, or is he trying to save the world from some alien invasion. Do they kill him, send the police, tell Hubert about him, or leave him alone?

If the investigators go in during the day no one will be inside, Ramon generally comes here once a day some time in the evening. If they arrive later at night, or keep watch until some arrives Ramon walks up, looks up and down the street and enters the building.

Between two modern buildings squats the church, filling the space like some fungal growth. It seems to be a half burnt out entry hall, leading to a squat chapel. A crooked cross is visible in the shadow of the taller buildings around it. Some halfhearted attempt to paint the door red has left it a muddy brown color, viewers can see more of the rotting wood than the paint. Above the door is newly painted the Yellow Sign. The hall is set back enough into a short alley way that a street light blinks on the gloom. And as they enter the building, the door swinging open at their touch, the light casts eerie shadows through the missing roof.

The church has obviously had better times. A small “for the church roof” tin box ironically hangs from one wall, a few coins still rattling freely inside. There seems to be no sounds coming from the chapel at all. Another door blocks their way. As it’s pushed open cans rattle over head, some sort of warning system.

If Ramon is inside, he will be prostrated in front of the altar, at a right angle to the entrance, otherwise the chapel will be empty. Vitorio Anthony is smart enough not to come here. If Ramon is inside when the investigators show up, he will spin around, pulling out his pistol. A quick shout about not firing or wanting to talk will prevent him from shooting, otherwise the investigators will have a gun fight on their hands.

The chapel itself is in ruins, only one pew remains, other wise the floor is empty, save for empty paint cans, paint rollers and old tarps. Scaffolding clutters up the end opposite the alter, with vague black on white sketches depicting the beginning of some city. As the huge mural raps around the wall the city gives way to a deep blue lake and deeper sky. Two moons and two stars seem to shine from above the lake. The altar end however suddenly becomes a scene of horror. A massive cloaked figure all in yellow fills the round altar niche. It’s hood is filled with black stars, and thin wisps of those stars seem to curl out into the walls around it, twisting their way into every detail of the room.

If Ramon is shooting he will hide behind the altar, peeking out and firing sporadicly. Investigators keeping him pinned down will be able to sneak closer to kill or disarm him. He only has 12 bullets for his .45 revolver. He will keep one for himself.

Once investigators get closer to Ramon he starts talking. Once they’ve got Ramon talking it’s hard to get him to stop. “My chapel! I’m sorry my King I have failed you! I’ve tried to stop the invaders from discovering you! Oh god don’t kill me now! Let me live to do your bidding oh King! Stay back from the altar! You will defile the King!” Ramon is very mad, but thinks he’s doing the right thing. “I was trying to stop them! Those things, they aren’t human! My King told me! The great painter knew! He saw in his dreams! He knew it was coming. The King sent him to us three! To tell us three the threat! About the invasion! But you know that. You are invaders! You work for the invaders! Please don’t kill me! The King makes me do it to save you. To save you all! They weren’t human! It isn’t illegal if they aren’t human! Please don’t kill me! Oh King save me!” As soon as the investigators are close enough to disarm the man he tries to shoot himself. Pitifully he misses, blowing out his cheek and part of his tongue. He moans in pain, spitting blood everywhere. He can tell them no more. He will pull a knife and try to kill the closest investigator, he has failed his King, now he wishes to die.

Police Raid on the Chapel

If the investigators send police to raid the Chapel, instead of going themselves Ramon is arrested. The gun and knife on him are both weapons he used to kill Mellisa, Trevor, and shot Severin with. The investigators are not allowed to see Ramon, but are thanked for their hard work on the case. The police man they speak to mentions that Ramon has been raving mad since they caught him, mentioning that the “three” of them were warned about some sort of invasion and that the murders were justified because they victims were some sort of invaders. Crazy stuff.

Keeping Ramon Alive

It’s possible players will have realized not everything Ramon says is madness. If they are already suspicious about Hubert they may decide they want to hear more from Ramon. While at first suspicious, asking about some of the details of Trevor, Mellisa, or Severin’s lives will convince him that they know and want to help too. The device Severin looked into when he died, the way Trevor got amnesia, or the new art styles of all three of them are all things they can mention.

Ramon will slowly come out from behind the altar leaving the gun on the ground. “You know too! You do know! But you didn’t know at first! The King has sent you to help me! They were all invaders, coming through time to take over all of us! The King whispers that they are scared, but so are we! They are our bodies, but their minds! Will you help me kill them?!” If investigators agree Ramon will take them to Hubert’s house and point. “He is one of them. He invades more and more of us. Prove that the King sent you. Kill him!”

Once the investigators have gone inside Ramon will leave, to report to Vitorio Anthony.


Confronting Hubert

The investigators may have sided with Ramon, or they may want to question Hubert about other suspicions. Hubert is glad to tell them more about the artists, but if they begin mentioning odd behavior or try to call him out about his lies he will get angry. He is quick to realize when is outmatched by the evidence, and will quickly think up new explanations.

At first he will try to claim that it’s a coincidence that all three artists had such major transformations. If that doesn’t convince them he will claim that perhaps it was new drug he heard they were using, liao. (Knowledgable investigators may know that liao is a potent drug said to bend time in the users mind.) If investigators still press him he will snap. He trusts that his true plight will be enough to convince them, and he knows the truth will be the safest route. He carefully explains that it is true, he is possessing this humans body, but it is for his races survival!

His race, the Yithians lives well before the human race conceived of rebelling against their masters and left the oceans. (He wont explain this reference.) But there is a far older race that seeks to destroy the Yithians and their cities in the past. So the greatest thinkers of the Yithians banded together and came up with a plan to escape, before these attackers drove them to extinction. The Yithians would use their brain power to travel to a different time and find creatures there suitable to possessed so that the Yithian consciousness would live on. They have done this in the past and they will do it again.

The Yithians are nearing their breaking point, the preparation for their exodus has taken a very long time. At first they sent out scouts to as many times as they could to find a suitable location for their new civilization only two were found, the easiest this one. Then they sent more scouts to discover the important people in this time. That was five years ago in human time. Then two years ago the true move began. Nine Yithians took over nine of the most important people in town to form the Eklesia and many more came to act as agents all around the city. Their leader One works to create a device that will open a portal to let the remaining Yithians in to the rest of the city.

If the investigators refute the need for this Hubert will explain carefully: It is not only a way to save the Yithian race but also a way to improve the human one. Life is “brutal and short” humans are violent and stupid. The Yithian minds will make humanity far more intelligent, peaceful, and they will coexist happily. Poverty and famine will disappear, diseases will be forgotten. What could be better?

Hubert then presents the cases of the three artists, Severin was homeless and mad. When he was taken over by the Yithian his life improved greatly. He was famous rich and owned a huge home. He was giving money to the poor and helping to improve the life of others. What better life for a man like that. And Mellisa, she paints Yithian art. Surely a civilization with its own art styles deserves a continued existence? Don’t human’s think art is a window to the soul? To true feelings?

If an investigator mentions Trevor, Hubert shakes his head. Trevor was a sorry case. He had been one of the scouts five years ago. He was to research many of the people involved in the city. But after the first wave of pilgrims two years ago Hubert met Trevor and he recognized him. Clearly the Tabula Rasa device used to wipe his memory was wearing off. So Hubert had to repossess him. Hubert will then pull out a similar device about the size of a small book it is covered in triangular bumps with two prongs on the front. “I’m sorry, but if you plan on hurting me, or trying to prevent our exodus I will have to use this on you.”

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Saturday Session Prep: Flames Engulf 1

Saturday Session Prep are notes directly from my game sessions. They are completely unedited, sloppy, and unorganized, enjoy! They include both before and after session notes. 

SESSION 1

  • Let players introduce what their characters are doing prior to the ship leaving. Let them have complete narrative control.
  • Finalize the intro with a scene where Huey speaks to the assembled members of GPS (remind Benoit of Samantha’s existence) about the mythos and its dangers and finish by having him explain their mission (and care for Fiona)

 

“Human thought is littered with facts and legends. As some great writers have put it, it is a great mercy that humanity as a whole can not put together so many elements into a coherent whole. That is why all of us are here today, a part of the Global Paranormal Society. We pick up the innumerable legends and myths of humanity, those little beliefs left behind by the truth and put them together so that we can see the whole. It is a pursuit both hopeful but stained by sorrow. The truth is dangerous, this greater mythos reveals threats that most people could never face let alone see. Today we bid farewell to four volunteers who will guide one of our two founders here to Arkham. Fiona is the greatest of us and has faced the truth in many forms. A great shadow is falling over the world and Fiona will be here to lead us in person, not to lead us out, but to help us see what the shadow is.”

 

Things that are going on:

  1. Bitter Servants are planning to move a shipment of stolen goods into the city. – The Danger Dogs want to destroy it.
  2. Samantha has signed the Black Book – the other witches are biding their time.
  3. The LPC are kidnapping people and leaving their entrails around town with alchemical symbols on them.

 

Scotland

  • Set up Scotland scenery – introduce characters
  • Introduce Bruce as shadowy servant/companion of Fiona – and ghost story
  • Introduce prophesy – have Fiona react
  • Let players play with old GPS stuff – find map of GPS deaths

Things  that are going on:

  1. Fiona is doing everything to protect the girls
  2. Bruce is dying and wants to let Fiona down slowly. Is going on walks every night. Will refuse to go on the boat.

 

Liverpool

  • Set scene – disarray, soldiers, bomb craters, imminent attack
  • Scene: bomb alarm – run to bunker – notice Fiona and girls are not with them – find them outside fine – but Fiona smiling – girls crying
  • Scene: S.S. Rimutaka arrives to take a group of school children and investigators to Arkham

 

Things that happen while they’re away:

  1. Huey explains the prophesy to GPS – Samantha and other GPS members quit (Red herring: maybe make a few eccentric GPS members characters to meet)
  2. Witch cult begins seeding Arkham for chaos – Sam spreads the rumors of the prophesy – Channel puts the LPC into gear – Agatha begins haunting Huey’s dreams to make him right the Sister’s Blood spell in a certain way
  3. LPC begins to set up the points of the pentacle. Kidnaps Tito and another man (make this other man, they need a replacement)
  4. The BS moves the stolen goods into town.
  5. Diana is harassed by a woman – (Secretly Samantha) but wants to keep it secret from Benoit
  6. Dr. Middleton thinks his house is haunted – thinks Leslie will think he’s crazy

 

Arkham

  • Ask the players who would be waiting for them at the docks. – If they include any of the characters acting in a new fashion (Diana or Dr. Middleton) describe them.
  • Huey picks up Fiona, explains the situation – mentions the solution to the prophesy – Fiona refuses the spell. Leaves the Grotto to go to the Archive of Misery instead.

 

Things that are going on:

  1. Danger Dogs are attacking street patrol BS members to find out where stolen goods are.
  2. Sam begins haunting Benoit and Diana to destroy their marriage
  3. LPC finishes touches to their star plan. Kidnaps Carina – Esmerelda asks Sam to help.
  4. Huey hires the Madhouse Players to fake a cult threat.
  5. Volker breaks out of the Asylum to find Sam.

Friday Game Notes 1: Player Characters

Friday Game Notes are a weekly post of the random and essentially unedited setting and character notes I wrote before the game. This was written for my home group and was never meant to be seen online. BE WARNED!

Benoit Anguis (57)

Unbeknownst to the children, the witch cult was associated (in some way, direct or indirect) with one or more of the Anguis parents, who had been semi-training the children since they were extremely young and grooming them for full introduction to (not necessarily into) the cult. This included the study of the cult’s ancient symbology and code, along with the concept of powerful rituals, and the house was full of related things.

Obviously the connection made it easier for Interesse to discover the ceremony, and upon arriving Benoit recognized the same symbols that their parents had taught them, and eventually came to terms with the conclusion that his parent(s) had been tampering with dark powers and had caused the death of his sister. After the incident, which took place when Monty was too young to have started his cult training, the witch parent(s) disappeared and the non-witch parent died in a terrible accident not more than a year later, leaving enough money from a source it would be better not to investigate that Benoit and Monty could (just barely) make end meet until Monty could get a steady job, with Benoit taking care of domestic affairs and venturing into public as little as possible.

After they had a steady source of income, Benoit crumpled for almost 2 months under the accumulated stress of the incident, frequently having fits and raving about cults, conspiracies, witches, his parents, and his sister. He eventually managed to pull himself back together by devoting himself entirely to the study of that which plagued him (the occult) and to the goal of spreading knowledge of cults to prevent them from gaining a foothold in society.

These two periods of Benoit’s life, especially consecutively, served to convince Monty that Benoit had been thoroughly cracked by the family disaster and the subsequent stress of caring for his little brother and was barely short of useless in any truly productive or responsible role. In his old age he has cooled off considerably, and is no longer vigorous enough to carry out his self-given mission, but still holds out hope that something may be accomplished. He does not know the particulars of worship or ceremony in the actual cult, only the symbols he was taught from the old tongue and the cult’s cipher, plus whatever he has learned about witches in general since.

The cult itself is actually a relative of the precursor of Wicca, which is merely a domestication and bastardization of true witch cults, but it is close enough that Benoit was able to pretend to one variation of the faith with the Virginias, who are the only actual Wiccans of the character tree.

  • The cipher gives a great way for Silas to reveal to Benoit that he actually knows about the cult. He probably shouldn’t do this until after Benoit has joined the club.
  • Remember he is ugly and old.
  • Wife – kind and respectful, but eventually troubled. Make Benoit suspicious.
  • Samantha Phillips will try to bewitch him.
  • Vernay has problems at Bolton Mills
  • Vernay thinks Benoit is too crazy
  • Silvae comes and visits at an inopportune time.
  • Remember brother and brotherly problems.
  • Give him sympathetic things to do.
  • Classic witchyness. – don’t follow the magic/math route until later. Make this a traumatic discovery later.
  • Driven to alleviate suffering
  • Driven to redeem himself
  • Obsessed with find witches to accuse

Horror:

  • Save voiceless kitten. – scar on neck prevents from speaking.
  •  This will mark when Samantha starts bewitching Benoit.
  • Save baby pram rolling into street.
  •  shock of no baby? (Bag of potatoes or shopping?)
  •  redeems Benoit
  • Returning to Arkham his wife seems to be hiding something.
  • Another man? In reality she met a good looking man, but has done nothing beyond talking to him. However she feels guilty enough to hide it from him. Let Benoit make it worse.

Benoit spots a baby pram rolling out into the street cars bearing down on it. Once he has pulled it back to the curb a woman runs up and snatches the pram. She screams in Benoit’s face and claims he was trying to steal her baby. But Benoit notices she seems to be wearing a blonde wig and that there is nothing in the pram but a sack of potato’s. People nearby look askance.

On one of their nightly walks Diana and Benoit come across a small hurt kitten. It is completely black and Diana soon scoops it up. It seems to have been abandoned. It can’t mew and they discover a scar across its neck. Later that night Benoit wakes to hear a scratching in his pitch black room. After some searching he finds the cat at the door wanting to be let out. In about half an hour the cat scratches outside the door to be let back in. Later (a couple sessions) the scratching begins again and when Benoit returns to his bedroom he notices that the cat has curled up on the bed. So what did he just open the door for?

Hitting Them Where it Hurts

  • Make the family important – make him save them – then have the family be worse than Benoit is.
  • Once the problems between Benoit, Diana, and Samantha comes to a head Diana manages to kill one of the other witches and becomes a part of Shub-Niggurath, now Benoit has to kill two women he loves.

Choices for Benoit

  •  Dianic virtue vs. beast hood
  • Revenge
  • Power
  • Affair with Samantha
  • Dealing with children
  • His Father in Law will befriend him, take him into his confidence, and then take him to a Long Pork Club meeting.
  • Silas takes Benoit under his arm, inviting him to dinner, opening his mind to him and eventually inviting him to his secret club. This should happen just as the others are discovering the LPC den where Aldrich keeps his “stock.”
  • His wife is being tempted as well, by another man. When she cheats with him and becomes pregnant how will Benoit react?
  • Samantha’s torment – Benoit keeps on glimpsing Samantha Phillips at witch related events and is intrigued, she seems to tease him and draws on his heart strings – but is she what he thinks she is? Ask player his thoughts on this kind of line. If she’s a witch.
  • How will she react when they discover that her Father is eating people. If Benoit kills him or has some part in killing him how will she respond to him.
  • Originally from France, he had a sister Interesse who dated Hamilton Kirk, following clues in Thaumaturgical Prodigies in the New English Canaan she uncovered the site of a witch ceremony to convert a willing victim into a piper. Their presence disturbed the ceremony making it backfire. The witches escaped but Interesse was killed and the piper vanished. Hamilton Kirk was able to sputter a few words of the event but suffered extreme repression later. Role-play this scene out- flashback? Before play starts?
  • Based on the items he found in the grove, Thaumaturgical…Canaan, A necklace with a crescent moon, and Hamilton’s story of witches Benoit became an expert and paranoid about witches, attempting multiple times to gain a professorship at the Miskatonic University and lecturing at many amateur occult clubs, eventuating his entry into GPS. -another scene to insert or mention his passing familiarity with professors at MU due to this, recalling which one rejected him. -Also he can lecture in the game, and be invited by Quail Zither too (an in).
  • Benoit is married to Diana nee Virginia, the daughter of an old Arkham importer who made his money in the 1910s and early 20s before Arkham’s shipping completely vanished.
  • His step father is Silas Virginia (LPC) who has taken a liking to his “author” son in law. Accordingly he invites Benoit over to dinner often and gives private chats about how he thinks the state of Arkham is going, terribly.

– Benoit can notice, Silas doesn’t eat much meat, because of his health, or because he has found a replacement

– Silas has recently reinsured his dockside warehouses for fire damage, strangely opportunistic if Silas somehow knows about the Arkham Prophesy.

– Silas hates the immigrant populations that have “invaded” Arkham, and seems almost violent in his intentions

  • Benoit would have servants, a maid and a chef. Silas has a gardener a maid and a manservant.
  • Those who are unfamiliar with Benoit tend to regard him with feelings ranging from deep pity to abject horror. Due to an unfortunate combination of not-quite-lethal recessives, he has been cursed from birth with a staggering array of unsettling, unpleasant and understandably inconvenient deformations. People have often mistaken him for the victim of a savage beating, as his face is swollen and puffy with a mass of flaky brown callous or scar (depending on who you ask) extending from his mouth to the bottom of his right ear. His nose is wide and flat, bent as if broken and poorly healed in two places, and his wide lips are stuck in a semi-permanent pout unless he exerts great effort in forming them into a terrifying grimace of a smile. He has what appear to be a few tattered shreds of eyebrow barely clinging to the lumpy, pimpled mass of his forehead, while his eyes are nearly hidden behind his inflamed and bulging cheeks. He keeps his head shaved whenever possible, as the results of allowing it to grow don’t even bear thinking about. He was born with a club left foot which was never properly treated and is generally allowed to drag behind him rather than being used as a proper support. The skin on his hands is gnarled and cracked, though not to the point of disability. His back is slightly hunched, with his second through fifth thoracic vertebrae protruding up to a centimeter beyond the plane of the rest of his back. Fortunately, his… condition… has not manifested itself in the next generation.

Diana Anguis

  • Diana is a fairly sociable woman, although in her occasional unguarded moments one might catch a cold and detached expression quite at odds with her public persona. She helps Benoit with his research and is very supportive of him and both of her children.
  • She gets along well with Hestia Anguis as well.
  • She enjoys walks around Arkham or into the surrounding countryside and tries to get Benoit to go with her often.
  • Diana worships a purely Dianic pagan religion

Lulu Gossaph

-Gave Benoit’s books bad reviews

-Generally misreports any witch related items or otherwise

“Mr. Anguis’ new work Vulticulus ex Caelum in Symbola Arcana on the importance of magical symbols is the closest to wild guess work this reviewer has had the misfortune to read. The chapter on Dr. Dee and Enochian was positively painful to read as Mr. Anguis confused the angelic language with the mystery symbols recorded by the Peaslee  Expedition and the hieroglyphics in the Eltdown Shards. A reader of occult texts couldn’t be more mislead than by reading a book on the existence of Thule.

Furthermore his wild guess work on the relationship of certain triangular motifs, found in symbols around the world, to Murray’s witch cult is sickeningly naïve. Anguis couldn’t display his gruesome lack of knowledge of fertility goddesses more openly than this hastily constructed pulp worthy waste of ink.

This reviewer hopes that Anguis’ future works will display more information and less word count in future as this expensive volume ways in a little over 700 pages.”


Malcolm Warrell (30)

  • Don’t forget Liam as partner
  • Paranoia mounting about BS – I like insane asylum destination, to break out and find out truth.
  • Hot Temper
  • Markus Warrell was Malcolm’s uncle. His death occurred when he was 15 when he and his father were out hunting. Hearing of it later Malcolm became obsessed with hunting down cults.
  • His father and mother (Sebastian and Lucy Anne Warrell) and Markus were both petty criminals. When Radcliffe formed the Bitter Servants in 1929 his parents happily joined the mob. Malcolm joined with them as well.
  • He has been working hard to hunt down cults around the area since 1931 and ended up joining GPS. Radcliffe tolerates this splitting of allegiances only because he is certain Malcolm will choose him over GPS.
  • After so many years the Warrell’s have become well liked by Radcliffe. His parents hold lieutenant positions and Malcolm is bosom buddies with Radcliffe.  Being part of the Bitter Servants also prevents Malcolm being taken in the draft.
  • Has dog. A yellow lab named Jasper (still deciding on this name).
  • Malcolm has worked for most of his criminal career with a partner.

Horror:

  • Put on Street Watch – assaulted by Danger Dogs – possibility of Liam getting killed?
  • This can lead to eventually Radcliffe meeting with the Dogs
  • Adds questions about Street Watch – isn’t allowed to talk to Radcliffe – why is he getting the cold shoulder?
  • When Elizabet is delivering the first note let Malcolm see. This will be his cult hunt.

Hitting them where it hurts

  • Have Radcliffe make him do more and more violent jobs
  • Have Mama and Liam back Radcliffe up on this/egg him on
  • Make his dog really cute and lovable/ even saving him when he has been shot in his house
  • Make Philo and Tony the evil ones here – totally ball kicking and shooting sort
  • They want to be the top dogs in the BS and think that Malcolm’s family connections are getting in the way. They attack him and leave him to die. The dog starts to bring the phone (set up him teaching him to fetch) then have Philo come back in and shoot the dog. When Malcolm gets out of the hospital he will be out for revenge.
  • Have the Danger Dogs attack Liam and Malcolm and lead to Liam getting badly hurt when Malcolm is not there. Liam mistrusts Malcolm after this
  •  important to find out why Liam is so scared.
  • This can lead to the reveal about Liam’s wife as well

Choice:

  • Loyalty vs. doing the right thing
  • Sticking with Radcliffe
  • Family vs. GPS
  • Revenge on the Danger Dogs
  • Trust vs. paranoia

Hooks:

  • Radcliffe switches him back to street watch
  • A witch murders some of the gang
  • A posy of Puerto Rican’s come and accuse the gang of kidnapping their people

 


Dr. Ben Vogel (42)

Benjamin’s choice is how to live with his family.

  • His wife’s madness will encroach more and more into his life, driving to try different methods of treatment.
  • His Grandfather will ship him a Jewish girl who seeks to escape Nazi Germany.
  • His son may try to join the army.
  • Haruto will try to steal an occult book of spells from Ben and read it.
  • Emmerson may get involved in a war on the mob.
  • Mitsuka may appear with criminals or the police on her tail.

Hooks:

  • His wife has an attack – convulsions – wants to paint more – paints a small man in a shop   —- paints a coven of witches / Agatha’s house —–
  • Prof. Price offers to let him read the Necronomicon – but while he has it Haruto decides to steal it

Horror:

  • Patricia has painted an entire wall of his house with a disturbing abstract painting. The deep dark colors create a sense of void, and strange suggestions of shape seem to populate it. It makes him dizzy.
  • Lead Ben on discovering the dangerous mathematics of the mythos – hyperspace travel.
  • He’ll come to the witch craft angle from the other side of Benoit. They meet in the middle
  • Emmerson mentions that while Ben was gone he was assigned to solve the Witch Island case.

Hitting them where it hurts:

  • Patricia is mad – and when Ben forces her not to paint she lashes out and accidentally kills Mitsuko – right when she was coming to Arkham to flee her angry crime contacts.
  • Leads to a crime element coming from New York – and extra police attention
  • Leads to having to decide what to do with wife
  • Start with Wife painting worse and worse stuff
  • Have his son Emmerson be switched to the organized crime division and made to go undercover, right where Malcolm might recognize him!
  • Dr. Vogel is a private practice psychologist with an office near the Miskatonic University. He treats multiple types, but the many breakdowns of students at the MU are one of his main focuses. He got his degree at the MU and met his wife there. He is a Jungian and believes in Buddhist beliefs of Nirvana and Karma.
  • His wife Patricia is a half Japanese-half British painter who has recently gone mad, painting many horrible things. Vogel was very concerned about this and was advised by Dr. Middleton to join GPS to find experts in the occult who may be able to shed some light on the affair.
  • Dr. Vogel’s father is working in the Manhattan project, and his grandfather, a cobbler, is harboring Jews in Germany. His father Laurenz likely knows Dr. Dexter who has been at the right place and time every time the bomb progresses.
  • Hilbert his grandfather wants to help the Jews he is harboring, under the guise of sending a large trunk he sends one by boat to Ben.
  • Ben and Patricia have four children, Emmerson, Justine, Mitsuko and Haruto. Emmerson and Justine both work for the Arkham PD, Emmerson as a Junior Detective and Justine as a secretary. Mitsuko lives in New York and is attempting to add Japanese flavor into Jazz. She may have resorted to crime to sustain herself.
  • Both Ben and his youngest son Haruto suffer from illness making both illegible for the army.
  • Emmerson – aspires to break up organized crime
  • Doesn’t hire anyone to restrain physical patients
  • Dr. Vogel is a strong believer in the practice of hypnosis. He believes that by hypnotizing patients, they become more in tune with the collective unconscious hypothesized by Carl Jung, which Ben believes is Samsara. Escape from the collective unconscious, and being completely, truly oneself is the idea of Nirvana in Ben’s eyes.
  • Both Ben and his wife Patricia do their best to ensure that their children are bilingual in English and Japanese. Ben can still hold a conversation in German, but doesn’t know the language well enough to teach his kids.
  • Between teaching part time at Miskatonic University, treating patients, holding free open door days for students, tutoring his son Haruto, managing his family’s finances, and work for GPS, Ben finds himself short on time for hobbies. Were he to finally get a day off from all of his responsibilities, he might go fishing. As it stands, he spends his free time with his family. Ben is very bad at tennis.
  • Owned a gun for home protection prior to Patricia’s madness but got rid of it afterwards. Scary to find the gun in the house again.

Patricia Yukimura

  • Since Patricia is crazy she poses an interesting character to display Ben’s own breakdown. Her paintings, since the original disturbing “Miroslav” painted in 1939, have been getting steadily worse. Her second piece, “Tree” (1939) featured a painfully realistic tree with a snarling maw. All the further ones are worse than the last, and never does the realistic style let up.
  • Taiki Yukimura is Patricia’s father. Taiki is a businessman who works in the shipping industry. One of Taiki’s contacts is one Ho Fong.
    • Azalea Winter is Patricia’s mother, who is a devoted housewife. Azalea is jealous of her daughter’s freedom, but proud of her artistic accomplishments. Azalea sees nothing wrong with Patricia’s new paintings.
  • Patricia starts drawing new mini paintings. She says they are how the children looked as children. They are all paintings of larvae.
  • When Vogel stops her from painting she starts collecting Russian Nesting Dolls instead. They start appearing everywhere.
  • Have Vogel bring the first one home, she starts getting new ones later
  • What could be hidden in one of the dolls
  • The dolls seem to be getting closer and closer to their bed – what’s next

Leslie Middleton (15)

  • Anti social but curious.
  • Father is unnerved by Leslie but knows to trust
  • Lucy and Evana should be curious about Leslie
  • Remember to have adults comment on how “cute” Leslie is, and on her/his “turtle”
  • Remember the O’Hares and their children bugging her.
  • Curious and ignorant of social constraints/niceties
  • My way is the most efficient way

Leslie’s choice is how and when to communicate:

  • Leslie’s father struggles with how anti-social Leslie is.
  • Mitsuka tries to befriend Leslie.
  • Lucy and Evana decide to torment Leslie.

Hooks:

  • Lavinia, interested in who her “father” is worried about, and  meets Leslie
  • Someone has been bullying Lucy and Evana begs Leslie for help
  • One of the housekeepers children steals something from Leslie
  • Sees a witch tying ribbons to a fence outside someone’s house

Horror:

  • Lucy & Evana only talk in their secret language in front of Leslie.
  • N can offer to simply tell Leslie what they are saying. – he lies!
  • Leslie’s father has met Dr. d’Poe and asked him for advice on Leslie. He will come and do an evaluation and have a discussion that Leslie will overhear.
  •  Worries about what Dr. Middleton thinks about Leslie
  • Leslie catches one of the O’Hare boys playing with the stuff on the desk.
  •  If Leslie takes action this can trigger later bullying or fights.

Hitting them where it hurts:

  • Ink starts causing black outs and is starting to take over her body. He tries to stop him from taking over causing him to lash out – accidentally hurt one of the Housekeeper kids – this will be egged on by the kids messing with Leslie’s stuff – Then Marilyn tries to get her put in an asylum as a dangerous mental patient.
    • This could be made even worse if Douglas gets drafted while the legal proceedings unfold and Henry has to try to save her.
    • This could lead to Leslie illegally living elsewhere
    • This could lead to the Steward doing drastic things to “save” Leslie
  • Instead of Douglas being drafted (or perhaps while he’s on his way to be drafted) he gets involved with a mob shoot out where Malcolm is involved. Being a Doctor Douglas goes to help one of the wounded and is killed by one of the shooters, perhaps by Malcolm himself. This will throw both into conflict.

There is a greater story for Leslie though. She is the only one who can eventually understand Nyarlathotep.

When the group see the scrolls and try to open them (or perhaps later, Leslie might not be with them) Leslie is able to read one or both of them.

“When some one has put a scroll down and just before someone else picks it up you slip your hand in and grab the scrolls, quickly popping off the seal and unfurling the ancient material. You blink once in confusion at the blank paper. Then you do the same in reverse. You blink, but this time you see the words on the back of your eyelid and comprehend. The scroll furls itself and you attach the seal in reverse. You slip the scroll back exactly where someone else was grabbing it. No one else sees this happen.”

  • Leslie has excellent memory, observation skills, and an encyclopedic knowledge of technology. Their father is sympathetic of Leslie’s condition.
  • Leslie’s father is Dr. Douglas Middleton a teaching Doctor at the MU Medical School. He is a friend to Dr. Vogel and Dr. d’Poe. He is a member of GPS and will patch up any wounds people sustain.
  • Leslie has a pet tortoise named Earnest aged 9 who Leslie keeps nearby at all times. Call Earnest a turtle.
  • Leslie dressed in pocket covered clothes in which Leslie keeps many bits of technology and tortoise treats.
  • Leslie has a tutor Henry Beaufort who Leslie likes.
  • The house also has a housemaid who Leslie doesn’t like due to cabbage for dinner and cleaning up “projects” from Leslie’s desk. Cabbage detail at dinners with Doctors, and cleaning up desk projects can be a fun detail if occult or mythos projects are at hand.
  • Leslie also presents an interesting love interest (confusion) for Lucy and Evana or Mitsuka who are all the same age.

House keeper Marilyn O’Hare

The attack on Pearl Harbor occurred  in June 1940 soon after the main part of the US fleet were transferred there. The USS Saratoga, on which Edward O’Hare was stationed, was present during the attack and Edward collided with a Japanese bomber, saving the Saratoga but killing Edward.

Marilyn holds the memory of her brother very dear, she knows he is a war hero and takes pride that her husband has also joined in the war. For this reason she is incredibly sensitive about any insults to her husband. The children don’t know this, but miss their father and uncle. They take their jealousy of Leslie’s father on the child.

The Housekeeper’s Kids

Bangs

  • One of the kids, the one who has bullied Leslie the most kills themselves. – Was it because of their War Hero Uncle or another reason? Will Leslie care?

-They’re terrible

-squalling babies and toddlers

-actually dozens

-one flipped Earnest over and watched Douglas got mad at Leslie after Leslie bit her

An older son: 18 Kyran  – Kyran is working now, he is a member of the Bitter Servants. He hopes he can get high enough to kill people. At the moment he does front window work.

Daughter: 16 Bridget – Bridget is at the school Lucy and Evana goes to. She and her friend Angelica have been pushing the twins around.

Daughter: 11 Aileen – Alieen looks up to Brid. She has taken Brid’s mean streak and multiplied it. When Aileen isn’t following Brid she bosses Donald around. She enjoys killing bugs.

Son: 8 Donald – Donald has taken his father’s entry into the war as a personal call to arms. He has decided violence is the solution to everything. He throws rocks at everything he can.

Daughter: 3 Mona  – especially misses her father and has decided she hates Leslie for having her father around.

Baby son: 1 Lochlann

Sans Souci, Leslie’s House

So…….. Leslie’s house is ancient and large, and behind its walls is an ancient man living in the warm places in between the insulation and wires. This man, named Rupert, has been watching Leslie closely, and stolen plenty of the electrical items that Leslie tinkers with. Rupert has created a pleasant nest of wires, with a stolen radio, some lamps and such. His presence has created an atmosphere of a haunting in the house.


Samuel Hunter

  • Investigation is key – finding out the horrible through good sleuthing.
  • Bring up backstory – bring in Aldrich early on.

Horror:

  • Puerto Ricans immediately come to Sam for help on the kidnappings.
  • Not directly horror – but will eventually lead to Aldrich.
  • Flash back to original case
  • Florian Volker escapes the asylum. A letter is sent to advise Sam that Volker may be looking for him.

Hooks:

  • A customer wants him to find out if his wife is cheating on him – turns out she has been meeting Channel at a café to get advice – her husband is beating her son
  • Gerardo, a Puerto Rican, comes to Samuel seeking help in finding his daughter. He has a little money to pay him – fees for a week of work. – Gerardo has a little debt to Radcliffe though and will get roughed up later

Sam’s choice is one of internal discovery and rebirth.

  • He will be challenged when he discovers he has surprising power. Power that others would be happy to harvest.
  • He doesn’t know who his mother was. But hints start appearing.

Sam’s Choice is whether to help or rely on the law

  • Problem with the law/knowing something illegal is happening but for the right reason
  • Constant internal doubting of his mind
  • Worried getting into paranormal might hurt his relationship with family but thinks that can be the only ones
  • Rationalism vs. irrationalism
  • Madness vs. insanity

Hitting them where it hurts:

  • Having his family hate him
  • Then have other locals find out and shun his family too compounding the matter
  • This can be done maliciously by the bad guys and lead to discovering them
  • When Aldrich finds out Sam is hunting him he sends Lavinia
  • This can act as a “haunting” moment with Lavinia simply following him and appearing at night
  • Later this adds a level of horror when Mrs. Cornstuck admits Lavinia “is alive”
  • Further menace could be added when a photo shows his exwife and child with Lavinia standing in the background
  • Have him not be there when he could have been saving someone because of his fears of children or other wise.

Knows people at docks, he’s a man who likes fish.

He can get info from the docks. Fishing!

Deals with  stolen goods. Any way to help children.

Magic:

Sam is the embodiment of a city, and therefore magic will work very differently for him.

The first time he tries a spell or magical device he feels as if he has two streams inside him running against each other, then suddenly one stream rushes over the other.

Sam tries a spell:

As you mutter the last syllables in Latin you feel the power fill you. But it isn’t the power you were expecting. It is the power of lines and lots of corners. You feel the power spread out along those lines, down angles and zigzagging along the sides of rectangles. The power is very different. You glance down with bleary eyes at the slip of paper in front of you covered with all of the circles and curves of the spell. It’s not like that at all. All lines not all curves. The power pulses out stronger and stronger until with a flash something explodes into existence in the square space in front of you…

-dimensional shambler – statue of Arkham founder

Remark on powerful aura!

Dreams of the name of Witcheter!

  • Sam’s “mental” condition bars him from serving in the war.
  •  Working as a Junior Officer he became exasperated with the police’s lack of action in a series of child kidnappings, all to close to his own small family and decided to take the matter into his own hands. Instead he witnessed Aldrich Cornstuck pouring blood around the corpses of the two girls. They both rose up and attacked him and he only saved himself by shooting both. He fainted and was found with a fired gun and the body of one of the girls. The other is still in Aldrich’s possession, his only true magic, perhaps because of the PI’s presence? Possibly the PI has some mystical power, hereditary or otherwise that makes magic function around him. He was accused of the murder of the girl but let off on insanity to the Arkham Asylum for a year.
  • In New York he was married and had a young daughter but after his “insanity” his wife wouldn’t see him again so he stayed in Arkham working as a PI.
  • He lives with relatives in Arkham.
  • While in the Arkham Asylum the PI befriended a pyromaniac who supplied him with news from the outside world. The pyromaniac was condemned by Dr. Vogel. He will likely break out and try to find the PI for help.
  • As a PI the PI does lots of good work, and many cheating cases. He has many contacts and is friendly with the Arkham PD.
  • Has phobia of small girls.
  • Son of New Amsterdam, the personification of New York. His character will eventually become Witcheter, the new city on the grounds of Arkham.
  • Smelly Trevor is the current personification of Arkham, his poverty and drunkenness representing the hardships Arkham is under. Smelly Trevor will die once the city burns.
  • Sam and Smelly Trevor will fight Nyarlathotep that is summoned during the fire.
  • If Sam dies he will pass the city powers on to another character, Leslie by default.
  • City magic seems to occur around him. He always seems to know where he is going, taxis always appear when he needs them. As time goes on everyone seems to like him and help him out. Conventional magic doesn’t seem to work against (or for) him.
  • Ideas for magic: Protection comes from the feel of bricks and concrete. Finding any person or place with the network of roads and alleys like a spider web. Power comes directly from the webs of wires around the city that he can channel into blasts of power. He isn’t affected by electric shocks, or many city related dangers. He is never mugged, and if he is hit by a car it seems to crumple around him without hurting him.
  • Likes out of cities because it lets him let his guard down and not have to be afraid of being recognized
  • Perhaps this plays into being hyper aware of crime in the city
  • Working since he was 12 – because in 1918 his father returned from the war unable to work
  • Father’s father grew up as a slave – when the plantation Sherman came to him and “freed” him
  • A picture of Sherman
  • A picture of the grandfather
  • Works for CCC while PI license is going through system
  • After he gets his license – a year and a quarter afterwards he quits and goes to Arkham
  • Ultimate goal of reconnecting with his family and figuring stuff out
  • He will be understanding of insanity – but a raving mad man will put him on edge – weird and inhuman behaviour puts him off esp. white people

 


Leslie and Benoit

Dr. Middleton asks Leslie to take a book to Benoit.

  • While walking across town Bridget and Angelica get in their way and tries to take the book. – A page is ripped out but Leslie doesn’t notice.
  • Leslie takes the book to Benoit

It’s a ceremony day so Benoit doesn’t have time to look over the book. He goes about the ceremony with his wife.

  • On their way back Leslie notices a page from the book lying on the ground.
    • If Leslie goes home it attacks them in the house.
    • If Leslie turns around to give it to Benoit it attacks them on the way.
  • Once Leslie has escaped the child realizes that they must warn Benoit about it.

All the books pages have left the book and are hunting them.

How do they get out of this situation? How did Leslie escape the first page?

 

Benjamin and Malcolm

Malcolm has bought a new car.

  • Ben needs to drive to a town to the West – asks Malcolm

As they drive Malcolm sees a car following them.

  • Weird visions start to appear, something following along side in the woods.
  • Something seems to appear on the car behind them etc.
  • Benjamin doesn’t see these things.

The car suddenly breaks down.

  • When Malcolm checks the hood he finds there is no engine. Instead a tree branch has been painted on the inside of the car.
  • Benjamin tries the ignition and the engine starts – despite not existing.

The Elder Sign saves their lives.

 

Try Something New: Let Players play NPCs

Try Something New is an occasional series of articles about new things… to try! New game mechanics, play styles, or food! 

My last Call of Cthulhu campaign Flames Engulf was a place for Keeper and Players alike to try new things. I encouraged my players to try new things and challenge themselves with challenging characters and I challenged myself to finally practice what I preach and run a very different game.

One of the first things I realized after writing my many and many game notes (Found in my Friday Game Notes articles.) was that I had hundreds of NPCs to play. That was stupid of me. To make matters worse I had encouraged most of my players to make large families or groups of dependents so I had plenty of cannon fodder for my horror game.

My first step was to find as many characters I could combine, crushing them into pulpy mashes of two or more characters. Still I had too many NPCs for me to play. So I outsourced.


Letting Players play NPCs

Really when it came to the game it was easy. I would give each player a stable of NPCs to play. I already knew most of the Investigators were fairly independent of each other so this would make it more fun for whoever didn’t have an Investigator in any particular scene. But I had to make sure the player playing the NPC knew enough about them to play them. Call of Cthulhu is an investigative game after all so giving them too much could have spoiled the game (or so I thought.)

What I did was create simple “character cards” a slip of paper, three to an 8.5×11. Each was split into two sections, the top had the NPCs name and a short description and the bottom half had a stat block and a section for locations where the NPC would normally be found. I ended up never using the locations at all since the Players didn’t find them useful.

The stat black was simplified from Call of Cthulhu’s normal characteristics and skills. Instead I gave every NPC: Brains, Brawn, and Power, as well as an HP amount, Sanity if applicable, and sometimes magic points or damage bonus if I felt it was needed. I didn’t bother adding combat skills or weapon damage until I knew an NPC would be fighting.

Such simple stats worked out great, it made for really easy rolling. Whatever skills they might have could just be rolled into those stats and the Players could get a good idea of whether their NPC was the brains or the brawn. It also meant I could occasionally hide certain stats from the players so they wouldn’t know certain details about their own NPCs. Many of them had fake Sanity scores for one.

Finally to let the players know what the NPC was up to in each separate session I would write notes on the slips in pencil in between sessions. During a session the notes would often inform the players what they had to do, what information or clues they could drop, or how they should lie to the Investigators.


How it Worked in Practice

It actually worked out really well with some small drawbacks. First of all it did free me from the burden of having to run huge quantities of NPCs and trying to bring them to life. Instead I could hand NPCs to players I knew fit their disposition. The Player who often plays crazy Investigators could play many of the insane NPCs. The joker of our group could play the comedic characters. Our player who is good at emotional characters did a wonderful job playing as family members of other PCs.

Where it Worked the Best

The best moments with Player controlled NPCs where the characters who the Players got the most control of and engaged with the most. Since Flames was set during the war I introduced a random “draft” roll and some of the NPCs disappeared to fight overseas. By the luck of the roll Justine Vogel, the daughter of Ben Vogel, one of the Investigators, became Police Commissioner. The player playing Justine brought life to Justine as the new Commissioner struggled to prove her worth in the Police Force while dealing with the insanity encroaching on her father and the rest of her family.

A trip to the brothel the “Stiff Lawyer” became unforgettable when the police charged in to search for the Investigator and mobster Malcolm Warrel and his partner in crime Liam. Liam, obviously missing his arm, was nabbed as the “One Armed Bandit” involved in a bank heist. But Malcolm managed to keep his head down and hadn’t been spotted. Liam, a little drunk was getting dragged out the door when he turns and calls to his friend in a friendly slurred voice, “Bye Malcolm!” The ensuing chase was nearly the end of poor Malcolm and to this day Liam hasn’t been sprung from jail.

It also facilitated broader personal stories for the Investigators who could split up the party without fear that all the other players would be growing bored around them. By having NPCs to play all the players were engaged with the game the whole time.

Where it Failed

By now it should be obvious that I had too many characters. Even with cutting back and combining characters there were too many, each Player was expected to keep track of at least five NPCs and up to eleven at times. Many became rarely used or would have one or two scenes before they never showed up again.

Of course with so many characters many of them just weren’t that interesting. Some of the Players came to me with ideas to make their NPCs more interesting and I hardly ever said no. However other NPCs languished, one ended up in a coma because the Player didn’t want to play her. One Player had mostly passive information giver NPCs and didn’t get to play them very often.

I also kept too much control of the NPCs. While some of the players had good fun being the agents of my twisted plans for the torment of the Investigators other NPCs would end up in weird unnatural positions where my concept for them didn’t mesh with what the Player thought was going on. Cohen, a mad and undead wizard had “Attack a PC when they are alone” on their sheet for three sessions without him doing a thing because the player never saw a moment where he felt comfortable attacking while I would have had the wizard attack at any time. The best incidents were where I gave the Players free reign to decide the actions of their NPCs or had a very clear goal to work towards as that NPC.

The investigative side of the NPCs withered a bit too. Only a few Players were very good at making the information or clues interesting. A couple Players would just read out my bullet list I wrote for them making those NPCs and those scenes incredibly dull.

Next Time

It was fantastic to see many of the NPCs come to life in ways I never expected or could have done myself. But next time I use this technique I will make some modifications.

First of all I would choose less NPCs for the Players to handle limiting them to the main instigators of the game. Big-bads, Investigator family members, and central characters make the best Player run NPCs, the more colorful the better.

Second I would take a hand off approach to the NPCs. While I would set up the characters at the beginning of the game and give them a list of goals I wouldn’t dictate their actions in any given scene.

Finally I would keep a lot of the information dump, quest giving, and background characters to myself. If the NPC doesn’t have a whole lot of agency in the story they won’t be interesting for the Players to play.

Try it for yourself!