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
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”