The Elias Expedition

8- Forbidden Knowledge

While Handsome and Barry were investigating Fat Maybelle’s, Bonnie visited jade to check up on her. She was a little out of it from her morphine trip, but was coherent enough. Her apartment had been attacked by cultists the night before, but luckily Sgt. Sullivan, one of Poole’s men who had been at the Juju House, was around to fight them off. Assigned as protective detail, he was happy to cooperate with the party’s needs, and after seeing what had happened to Poole and Jackson in the basement of the Juju House, he didn’t care too much about breaking the law to help them (passing flasks to Bonnie, aiding in theft, etc.). Nathaniel came by later to check up on Jade and to share his findings from his research of the Juju House artifacts, most notably the strange mask that gave the wearer visions of gods. They spent the morning at Jade’s preparing for their visit that afternoon with Erica Carlyle.

Meanwhile, Barry and Handsome just committed another fantastic act of arson. As sirens begin to arrive, and Mukunga has not emerged from the building, they decide to duck into an adjacent apartment building. It seems largely evacuated from the threat of fire next door. Going to the top floor, they kick open a door to find an old cat lady who is very confused and runs out screaming. They climb out her window onto the nearby roof of fat Maybelles. Except that Barry accidently falls while lowering Handsome. Each falls about 10 feet. Handsome twists his ankle and dislocates his shoulder. Barry’s knee seems to pop out of place and he breaks a toe. On the roof, they notice a skylight. Attempting to force it open, Barry loses his balance and falls through, getting pieces of glass lodged in his back. Handsome and Barry find themselves in an attic, and find the ladder down. They realize they are on the third floor of apartments above Fat Maybelle’s .Upon finding a bathroom, they attempt to patch each other up, with some success.

Exploring the rooms, they realize that a number of items were recently removed, and that those who live there do so by meager means. They find Mukunga’s room, but it has nothing interesting, to the point of it being unusual. Noticing the burnt hole in the floor and the arson investigators below, they decide to get out before they cause more trouble for themselves, saving the basement for another day. They climb back up to the roof, find a nearby fire escape to another rooftop a block over, and work their way down. Handsome mentions their appointment with Erica Carlyle, so Barry races over to her estate with Handsome.

The split party reunites at the gates of the Carlyle estate. Their calls are answered by a large man in a suit, who Barry knows as Joe Corey. Corey was formerly a mobster, not unlike Barry, who quit the game for a cushy bodyguard gig. Joe and Barry step aside and exchange pleasantries, while lamenting over the fact that Joe doesn’t get to crack skulls like he used to. Seeing how hurt Handsome and Barry are, Joe offers use of the estate physician to them, to which they agree after having their introduction with Erica Carlyle. The party is introduced to her in her vast library, and Joe excuses himself, Handsome, and Barry to the estate physician, who patches them up.

Their interview goes well, and Carlyle reveals that she is most interested in whatever danger the cult poses to her own interests and safety, as clearly they were willing to kill for their beliefs. Sullivan peruses the stacks, and notices a book of Edgar Allan Poe is oddly out of place with the reference books. He also notices a panel behind the book (spot hidden rolls of less than 5 are certainly rewarded!). They find out what she knows, and share with her their discovered artifacts from the Juju House. Carlyle in passing mentions Roger’s old creepy-but-valuable books, and the party asks to see them. Erica asks them to step outside while she retrieves them. As they wait, they hear mechanical movement. When asked to come back inside, Erica produces 3 old creepy books, all in English, with some bound in not-so-traditional binding (human skin, etc. only Sullivan really notices this, but doesn’t say anything). Nathaniel peruses some of them, and realizes that there is potential for learning magic in them. The party tries to convince Erica to lend them the books, but she claims they are far too valuable, and that the cult possibly attacked her estate a few weeks ago just to retrieve them. Sullivan offers to take them into police protective custody, to which she agrees. Sullivan calls Martin Poole to bring an armored vehicle for pickup and prepare a place to hold them, to which he agrees.

While Erica leaves the room to prepare the books for transport, Bonnie, on a tip from Sullivan, checks out the panel behind the Poe book, and finds a button. She presses it, and the shelf moves to reveal a safe. The combo is unknown, but Jade finds it written in the Poe book. Opening the safe, they find one more book, in French, which they retrieve and hide along Nathaniel’s belongings.

Poole arrives, and Erica hands over the books to Sullivan. On the way out, Joe Corey mentions to Barry that he misses action and that if he is ever in a situation where skulls will be cracked to give him a call. Poole recommends the party return to Barry’s place to review the books and update him on the situation, away from police who wouldn’t understand the situation. They agree and return.

As they talk late into the night, there is a crash and screams. The cult is attacking.

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7- Whispers From Elsewhere

The party has a wild night.

Barry, having taken all the accounting ledgers from the Juju House, spent his night reviewing them. He could tell that these were the ‘legitimate’ books, and that there were probably ‘real’ books in someone’s possession (the numbers looked too clean). Most of the imports came from an Ahja Singh in Mombossa, Kenya He noticed a number of transactions indicating deliveries to speakeasies, one of which was Fat Maybelle’s. Jade’s speak easy was not on the list. Barry remained undisturbed that night.

Handsome went home (wherever that is) and tried to sleep through the memories of the horrors he saw that day in the Juju House basement.

Bonnie took Jade home and made sure she was settled in, as Jade was still in a state of shock from what had happened that morning. After self medicating with a shot of morphine, she passed out. Bonnie went home, drank, and slept away the terror of the day.

Jade (who was out this session) had an attack on her apartment by cultists, but luckily, Lt. Poole had sent a protective detail to her building. She slept through it and didn’t know she was in any trouble. The cultists were thwarted. Jade regains 1d6 sanity.

Nathaniel had the most interesting night. He goes home to his apartment,, and decides to spend his afternoon and night researching his finds from the zombie alcove of the Juju House. He finds the following:

1. A shimmering, feathered ceremonial robe
2. Lion claws fixed to gloves, used in rituals, like carving symbols into foreheads. Very valuable, and could be used as weapons.
3. The stolen book, Africa’s Dark Sects, that Elias was looking for. Has Harvard library’s stamp inside. Will take a week to read but may have the key to actual magic.
4.Burnished copper (probably) bowl, covered in runes.
5. Curved wooden scepter covered in runes, similar to hieroglyphics. He reads them- “Nyambe, Thy Power Mine”. Gains 10 extra magic points for next hour.
6. Grey metal headband with runes
7. A carved, African devil mask, very old, and probably excavated from the region of the Congo.
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Nathaniel decides to put on the mask, which melds to his face as he falls to the ground. His pupils dilate to fill his eye sockets, and he has a vision of a civil god, Nodens (I leave this exchange to Nathaniel to recount, but this god did not seem an enemy, and warned that using the mask could show the wearer more terrifying beings). After Nathaniel comes out of his vision, the mask falls to the floor and he decides to try to research how to summon Nodens apart from the mask and other gods.

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Nathaniel notices a man standing in the alley across from his apartment. He decides he wants to check out who it is, but as he prepares to leave, he movement in the alley. He realizes that there are now two men fighting. The first man shoots the newcomer as a machette-like weapon is swung at him. Nathaniel realizes that the first man was a plain clothes cop, sent on protective detail. More police, uniformed, arrive, and a short firefight breaks out among assailants out of Nathaniel’s view. He goes downstairs when he knows it safe, to find 4 officers with the bodies of cultists. Nathaniel thanks them for their help and asks if they need anything. They reply that they are fine, and that Nathaniel should get some rest, which he does.

Sunday

The following morning, Bonnie calls Handsome to come with her to meet Bradley Grey, Carlyle’s lawyer. They arrive a little after 8am, and meet his receptionist. Handsome flirts quite a bit and gets her number. They have their meeting with Grey, and Bonnie comes clean about why they need to speak to her (Elias is dead, he was onto something, Carlye could help). Handsome is annoying her, so she kicks him out of the meeting to flirt with the receptionist. Grey plans a meeting for later that afternoon, at 4pm, at the Carlyle Mansion. Bonnie decides to go check on Jade, and try to get some her morphine (yummy!).

Handsome decides to go check out Fat Maybelle’s, since he needs a drink and wants to see if any cultists are around. Barry has the same thought. Barry arrives around 11L30am, while Handsome arrives about noon. Barry notices that there is one table of white patrons, but the place is otherwise completely black. There is an upstairs, and likely a basement. He talks up Maybelle, and introduces himself as another client of whatever organization was supplying Maybelle’s. Maybelle, who is not the brightest, let’s loose that the group was producing and selling whiskey to her, and to other groups, and that they have a hidden presence there. When Barry proposes that he take the place as the supplier of booze, Maybelle starts to freak out (enter Handsome, who mostly listens and interjects with hilarious comments). Maybelle is admant against anyone besides “Mukunga” being the head of any rum-running or other operations. She is clearly frightened of this man. She, and most of the bar, go silent as a large black man walks in, and then upstairs. Maybelle watches him, and as Handsome asks “Who’s that,” she replies “You know who that is. That’s Mukunga.” Barry plays it cool, but Handsome presses ‘Why are people silent?" Maybelle replies "Because he has the Juju! You don’t want to mess with him. I think you need to leave." As Handsome and Barry get progressively more disrespectful and a littttllleee bit racist, they are kicked out by Maybelle, who is clearly more afraid of Mukunga than anything.
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Outside the speak easy, Handsome grabs his gallon of gasoline (Never leave home without one, kids!), and looks to Barry. The building is mostly stone, except for the door. Handsome empties his gallon on the wooden door, while Barry takes off his tie and ties it around the door handles tightly. Handsome lights the door, and it flames up, trying to smoke out Mukunga and any other potential cultists. They hang around for a minute and hear banging on the door. Finally, the large windows are smashed open as people start pouring out and running down the street. The flames start growing up to the second floor and penetrate to the center of the building. Maybelle comes out, but does not seem to know it was Handsome and Barry who lit the place up. Mukunga does not come out, and it seemed like less people came out than were inside. Handsome and Barry decide to run away, with Barry intimidating a bystander, grabbing him and saying, “YOU DIDN’T SEE ANYTHING!!!”

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6-Horror at the Juju House

Saturday 1/17/1925

While Barry, Handsome, and Nathaniel visit Cowles, Bonnie and Jade return to jade’s speakeasy to attempt to contact Erica Carlyle. They try checking the tabloids for word about Erica’s activities and find a picture of Erica with two men, a professional business-like man named as Bradley Grey, and another large Barry-esque looking man who is unnamed. They are unable to find any information about her upcoming activitis, but imagine she is involved with many charities. Remembering that Erica had help from the Kikuyu tribe in Nigeria during her investigation into Roger’s death, Bonnie posed as a church member soliciting donations to aid the Kikuyu and began calling as many Carlyle industry offices as she could, which range from munitions manufacturing to shipping. As it was a Saturday morning, she was not very successful. She eventually got a hold of one executive who told her to contact Bradley Grey, as he handles most of Caryle’s affairs and is her personal aide. Bonnie calls Grey’s office, lucky to get a receptionist, who unfortunately can’t understand her broken English. Bonnie puts Jade on the phone, who, using the same story as Bonnie, manages to get an appointment set up with Grey the following day. The group decides to meet back up with the others over at Barry’s place to see what the others learned, and if they could get anything more out of their prisoner.

Meanwhile, as Barry, Nathaniel, and Handsome are leaving Cowles, they decide to return to Barry’s to regroup after stopping at the nearest gas station so that Handsome can grab a gallon of gasoline (never leave home without one, kids!). As they walk, however, they realize they are being tailed. Nathaniel recognizes the shadow as Martin Poole, the police detective who interviewed him and Jade at Elias’s murder scene. Poole does not seem to notice that he has been detected. The men decide to split up, with one going down an alley, and the other two going around the block, meeting at the nearest gas station. Poole decides to follow Handsome, but loses him. Upon meeting at the gas station and buying a gallon, Poole manages to run into the group. They confront him, and he revels that he is out of leads on his case, that the cultist he took into custody killed himself at first chance, and that some of his own men have disappeared in researching this case. He implores them for help, promising whatever aid he can in exchange for information. They group revels their plans to investigate the Juju House later that afternoon. Poole promises that he can have himself and two of his guys off duty and nearby in case anything happens. The party agrees that this is sufficient.

After regrouping at Barry’s, the party attempts to interrogate their prisoner. He doesn’t reveal much, only that he is zealous in his worship of the God of the Bloody Tongue, and that in death he may meet his god. The group tries many interrogation techniques, like trying to get him drunk by shoving a funnel down his throat so he can’t drown himself, but they don’t get very far. As the prsioner begins chanting what Nathaniel realizes is some kind of prayer in an unknown language, Handsome finds some piano wire in Barry’s shop and decides to strangle the prisoner. Barry has one of his guys take care of the body. The group then decides to head for the Juju House for more answers.

Upon arriving at the Juju House, the group spies Poole standing on the corner. Nathaniel and Jade approach him, and he tells them that he has two of his Sgts, Jackson and Sullivan in an abandoned pawn shop across the alley courtyard from the front of the Juju House, in case there is any trouble. After Handsome leaves his gallon of gasoline outside, the party enters the Juju House, which sells a number of traditional African objects of religious and cultural significance, but nothing visibly out of the ordinary for a shop of its kind. An old African man, presumably Silas N’Kwane, stands behind the counter. Another man is shopping. N’Kwane offers the party assistance in browsing, but they decline as they investigate the shop. Handsome introduces himself to the other customer, named Richard, who checks out as just a new guy in the neighborhood looking for statues to decorate his apartment. Richard buys a giraffe statue and leaves. As Barry and Handsome talk to N’Kwane and ask about potential cult activity, they spy a key around N’Kwane’s neck. They ask him what it is for, and N’Kwane claims it is for his house. Most of the party can tell this is a lie. Upon being pressed, N’Kwane says, “Fine! Come around the counter! The keys is for down here!” He opens a trap door in the floor and stands by it. “Well, don’t you want to go down?” Handsome then pulls out his shotgun and fires right in N’Kwane’s stomach. The policemen Poole, Jackson, and Sullivan come rushing in, asking what happened. Handsome tries to claim that N’Kwane pulled a gun on him, but is not convincing. Poole orders Sullivan to tend to N’Kwane and get an ambulance called, and orders Jackson to take point down the trap door, while he takes up the rear behind the party.

Jackson finds a lantern at the bottom of the stairs and lights it, revealing a dark stone corridor with strange runes inscribed all around. At the end of the hallway is a wooden door with a large lock. Jackson mentions the door, and Handsome passes up N’Kwane’s key. The door opens into a large chamber with hand drums around the perimeter, a curtained alcove, straps on the walls for holding sacrificial victims, and a large stone slab on the floor attached to a pulley system. Concurrently, the group does the following:
1)Nathaniel examines more runes on the north wall, near some drums.
2)Jackson and Jade investigate the curtained alcove, and encounter 4 standing corpses that turn to face them and begin approaching.
3)Barry and Bonnie decide to turn the crank on the wall, which has so much resistance that both of them have to pull. The stone slab on the floor lifts to reveal a pit in the floor, 15 feet deep, and unleashing terrible human screams, wailing, laughter, crying, and curses. Those near the pit see there is only one creature in the pit, a purplish mass of muscle sprouting tentacles that have human faces, teeth and all, on the end of each tentacle. The faces have the cult symbol on their foreheads, much like Elias did, and Poole mentions that he sees the faces of some of his missing men.
4)Handsome and Poole, taking up the rear, stay near the entrance and watch the horrors unfold.

Jade and Jackson freak out from seeing the zombies, with Jackson emptying a clip in one, and then bashing it more, and Jade fleeing in terror to a corner near Nathaniel and temporarily losing her sight. The group begins attacking the zombies, but their weapons are ineffective. Jackson is nearly eaten, but he manages to dodge just in time. Jade recovers and suggests using the drums to lure the zombies to the pit. A harrowing battle ensues where each zombie is either beaten to a pulp, lured into the pit, or thrown in after losing its balance. Handsome prepares a torch, while Barry and Poole go retrieve the gasoline from outside, and tell Sullivan to come down to help (N’Kwane has gone unconscious but is alive). The party lights the creature in the pit and the zombies on fire, and hopes the fire burns the place down (hopeful thinking, since the chamber is made of stone. Jackson, still an insane frenzy, pisses on the creatures in the pit.

Poole tells the group to get whatever clues they need and leave, since he does not want them involved with the police when they arrive. He believes that the police force as a whole would only get in the way in fighting this threat. Barry gathers all the Juju House ledgers he can, while Nathaniel quickly bundles everything in the curtained alcove to review later. The party jets out as police being to arrive, regrouping at Jade’s speak easy.

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5- Following Leads

Friday Evening, 1/16/1925

Retcon: As the party leaves Kensington, he mentions that Elias’s funeral will be the following Monday at 2pm.

After meeting for dinner, the group tries to follow as many leads as they can before everything closes for the weekend. They determine they will meet at Emerson Imports the following morning at sunrise, as Handsome insists he knows how workers operate, and that these average working types will be there early.

Nathaniel tried to research the symbol carved into Elias’s forehead, but was unable to find anything in the 3ish hours he had before the New York Library closed. He did feel that if he kept working, he would find something.

Lady Jade used her credibility as a doctor to gain access to Dr. Huston’s patient records at the Medical Affairs Board. She uncovered disturbing notes about Roger Carlye’s mental state leading up to the expedition, and that Erica prompted Roger to begin seeing Huston for treatment. She also determined that Huston may have had an inappropriate relationship with a patient, Imelda Bosch, who eventually committed suicide. As Jade thinks back, she remembers that the assailants in Elias’s hotel room were definitely Kenyan (01 Anthropology role!)

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Bonnie, Handsome, and Barry went back to Barry’s place in Brooklyn. As they got near, Bonnie and Barry noticed someone tailing them. Barry and Handsome ignored him, while Bonnie turned to him, yelled something in a slavic tongue, flipped the bird, and went inside as the tail turns and walks away, making a confused face at Bonnie.

As Barry prepares to head to his back room to make phone calls to Miriam Atwright and Anthony Cowles, he hears from his guys that there has been an unusually high number of customers in his pawn shop, with some folks just browsing. As Barry is confused by this activity, a stranger walks in. An African who is just browsing, Barry sizing him up and notices a concealed knife, and that he has no money. Barry asks for his name, as Bonnie grabs a cane from the wall, and moves between him and the door. As Barry questions the man (who calls himself the obviously false name “Mombasa Nairobi”, he makes a break for the door, being stopped by Bonnie’s quick reflexes. She hits him in the head and stuns him. Barry had 5 mobster customers in the shop, and one of them intervenes, putting a gun at the guy’s head. When he attempted to run again, even at risk of a bullet to the head, the mobster pistol whips him and he is knocked out. Barry, Bonnie, and Handsome tie him up and take him to the back room. One of the mobsters, at the behest of Bonnie, checks outside and spots a car idling, that speeds off as he yells at it.

In the back room, Bonnie searches the man’s pockets and finds the concealed knife, a mathcbook for “Fat Maybelle’s” in Harlem, and a strange, unsettling tatoo on his forearm. He does not wake up.

Barry makes a call to the Harvard U library, and hands the phone to Bonnie, who interviews Miriam Atwright on Elias’s interest in Harvard’s book. She learns that the book is called Africa’s Dark Sects (insert sex joke here), and it disappeared from the collection mysteriously a few months ago (April 1924) with a “strange odor.” Her library may have some leads on the subject, but it would take serious hands-on research.
Bonnie also asks about Erica Carlyle, and Atwright surprisingly knows much. She divulges that Carlyle has an estate about 30 minutes north of NYC, and that she is very hard to reach, but that the tabloids would have more information about her current social circle. Bonnie proposes to Barry the possibility of approaching Carlyle’s contacts as someone soliciting a donation to gain insight to Erica’s current status.

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Barry then calls Anthony Cowles and sets up an appointment (as a “Mr. Green”) to meet with him and Nathaniel the following day at 10 am to discuss his lecture, before he must return to Arkham.

Saturday, 1/17/1925

Jade and Handsome have the following nightmare (and lose 1 San each):

“You are pacing back and forth in a hotel room—
it is the Chelsea Hotel! Notes and papers are
spread across your bed and desk, interspersed
with photographs and other bits of evidence
about the Carlyle Expedition. A glance at the
clock reveals it is half past 7. You are muttering
to yourself. What you are saying is important
but you can only hear snatches of it—Handsome, Jade, Barry, Nathaniel, Bonnie…Where are you???
You feel a great sense of apprehension and
dread. Suddenly there is a knock at the door. It
must be your friends! You hear yourself saying
“Finally, they’re here!” and throw the door open.
Instead of your friends you see three men, two
blacks and one white. Suddenly, one of them
strikes you, leaving you stunned. You regain
consciousness to find yourself held fast by two of
the men while the third scores your forehead
with a switchblade. You try to cry out at the
sting—but your voice is lost in a gag. The blood
weeps from the cuts, rivulets running up and
down your forehead as you swing your head
round to see what your tormentors are doing. In
a panic you realize that one man is holding a
wickedly sharp machete, muttering in some
strange language. You struggle with all your
might as you see him raise it up above you but to
no avail—there is tremendous, overwhelming
pain as he brings it down, stabbing into your
abdomen. The pain is unbearable and, begging
God to save you, your world goes dark.”

After a long night, the captive still has not woken up, so Bonnie, Barry, and Handsome leave him with one of Barry’s guys, and leave to meet Nathaniel and Jane at Emerson Imports.

At Emerson, Handsome leads them to the guy in charge (he knows him because of how he dresses: nicely!). Arthur Emerson tells them Silas N’Kwane (the name on the back of the business card) manages the Ju Ju House (1 Ransom Court in Harlem), a store for African artifacts, both decorative and ceremonial (clothes, pottery, traditional weapons, etc.). He also tells them he receives the imports for the Juju House from Ahja Singh in Mombasa, Kenya. He doesn;t have anymore information for the investigators, but tells them that maybe his dock workers know more, as some of them are from Harlem.

Bonnie and Jane decide to head on to prepare to contact Erica Carlyle.

Handsome, Barry, and Nathaniel go to meet with Cowles (and meet his unbelievably HOT daughter Ewa). He divulges the main points of his lecture (see handout). Barry asks him about Africa’s Dark Sects, and he reveals that he knows little about it (that it’s really rare because the dead author’s heirs attempted to stop it’s publication to protect his integrity, and that most of its 15 copies were destroyed). Nathaniel asks him about ‘real’ magic, to which Cowles replies that he is a believer, both in magic and unexplained events. He believes that there is an ancient underground city in the desert of Australia, and that spells could be found in dusty, old, incoherent tomes. Upon finishing, Barry tells Cowles that he may be in Australia at some point. Cowles tells him to find him there if he arrives after June, and if he is not, to look up Prof David Dodge in Sydney, who is house sitting.

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Remaining NYC leads:
Erica Carlyle
Juju House
Fat Maybelle’s
Barry’s Prisoner
Elias’s Funeral
Huston’s Notes on Carlyle (ought to be read…)

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4-Murder in Room 410

Offtime:

Nathaniel – returned home to Savanah to rest and worked on his act. Increased Throw skill.

Jane – Worked hard and published research on child psychology. Increased Credit Rating.

Bonnie- Attempted to become sober. Attempted. Failed.

Barry- Had a good season and made some money.

Handsome- Rode the rails and seduced many a lady

Tuesday, 1/13/1925

Everyone receives a telegram from Jackson Elias, telling them of his return to New York on the 15th. It tells them he’ll be in touch and that he has been researching the Carlyle Expedition.

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The party knows various things about the expedition and its principal members, and recalled a number of news stories:

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Jane- As a Psychologist, Jane knows of Dr. Huston’s reputation. He began as a regular physician, but at some point left the field (and his wife) to study under Freud and Jung. After returning to New York, he set up shop as a sensational doctor who charged outrageous fees for his services (anywhere from $50 – $100 per hour). Some of his clients included Roger Carlyle and his sister Erica, who introduced the two. Why they were seeing him is unclear. Maybe it was the fashionable thing to do? It’s possible Huston accompanied Carlyle on the expedition because he needed continued treatment, but there may be more going on there.

Handsome McTavish- Handsome didn’t remember much about Ms. Hypatia Masters, other than she was a pretty young woman who frequently appeared in the society pages of the newspaper, and who also had a decent career as a photographer. He knew she was involved with a Marxist named Raoul Pinera, so he attempted to track him down. He was unable to find him, but found a gossip who told him that Hypatia decided to flee New York with Carlyle after becoming pregnant by Raoul and aborting the child, unable to face friends or family.

Bonnie- Bonnie knows that the Carlyle fortune is huge, and is definitely something she would be interested in stealing someday. She knows that the Carlyle Estate, where Erica Carlyle still lives and runs the family empire, is heavily guarded (Erica has at least one bodyguard) and lies just outside town. She also knows of the elder Carlyle’s reputation as a party goer (know your mark).

Barry- Barry knows of Jack Brady, the bodyguard of Roger Carlyle. Brady’s exploits before joining Carlyle’s services were well publicized before his association with the young playboy, and his murder acquittal was the talk of Barry’s circle’s for months. While never having met Brady, Barry is very impressed by his style and resume of destruction.

Nathaniel- Nathaniel knows of Sir Aubrey Penhew, and his Penhew foundation. Based in London, the Penhew foundation funds and plans archeological expeditions to Egypt and nearby areas, and helped plan the Carlyle Expedition. Penhew himself was a world renowned Egyptologist, whose work founded many new branched of Egyptology. His absence from the archeological world is a blow to the field.

Thursday, 1/15/1925

About noon, Nathaniel receives a call from Elias. He detects that Elias is not his usual jovial self- something seems to be amiss, or shaken him. He asks that Nathaniel gather the group from the Mexico adventure, and meet him at his room, the Hotel Chelsea 410, that night at 8pm. He also requests that no one be told about this meeting. He hangs up without divulging anything else.

Nathaniel meets up with Jane/jade at her place of work, and asks her to track down Handsome and Barry to relay the message. Jane remembers Bonnie’s favorite alley hangout, and guides Nathaniel there. They agree to meet back up at the speak easy around 6. Nathaniel tells Bonnie about the meeting, and she comes, hoping for Elias’s hospitality.

Jane finds handsome at the train station, covered in oil and grime from handling a large train accident (his role playing, not mine). He quickly follows Jade (whose name he can’t really remember because he is terrible with names) and takes her to Barry’s place in Brooklyn, which is a door in an alley. Welcomed by the haze of cigar smoke, Barry beckons them in and hears of the meeting. He invited Handsome and Jade in the back room for a drink. Handsome and Barry trade moonshine whiskeys. Jade is just uncomfortable the whole time, but would rather be with these two guys as the men in the seedy establishment eye her. They return to the speakeasy, where they find Bonnie attempting to resist drinks with Nathaniel. Jade’s friend Ethel covers her shift for the night.

After some quick catching up and sharing information about the expedition, they proceed to the Hotel Chelsea, arriving about 7:30. They order a few drinks from the hotel restaurant (GM note- remember, it’s prohibition. There MAY have been some stuff that could be mixed in the back, but I should have been more careful about letting you drink in public. We’re not in Mexico anymore.) . Bonnie orders iced tea, while Handsome orders the finest drinks he can (under the counter, it was an artsy place), and puts it on Elias’s tab for room 410. The group proceeds upstairs to room 410.

The group arrived at Elias’s door, and Nathaniel knocked, saying something like ‘Woo hoo, Elias! We’re here!” (Funny since he seemed like he wanted discretion. After a pause, there is no answer. Nathaniel lockpicks the door and cracks it, and lsitens. He is able to hear 3 men inside, and their exact positions , as they prepare for an ambush (Listen rolls of 01 are pretty nice). Barry, right behind him, hears 3 figures and sees one going for the fire escape, clearly not Elias. He shoots the man, aiming for the kneecaps. He succeeds, and the man falls down, unable to walk, and remains there for the rest of combat.

Nathaniel tries to knock out the man by the door with the butt of his knife, but misses severely, throwing himself off balance (98 is not a good roll…). Handsome looks for an impromptu weapon and finds a pointy umbrella, and tries to return to the combat. He attempts to stab one of the men, but misses. Jade fires a shot , misses, going through the open window to the rickety looking fire escape. Bonnie hangs back, as she is unarmed. With the group in the room, they now clearly see what kind of men they are up against- 1 African on each side of the bedroom (A1 and A2), and a white guy (W) writhing in pain on the floor by the window to the fire escape, all dressed in shabby suits wearing wooden and leather head pieces that have strange horns and braches sticking out, and carrying what look like long machetes (18” blades). A2 strikes Barry across the chest with his weapon, throwing Barry into a rage. He punches A2 back in the head, leaving him a little dazed. Barry then takes a point blank shot to A2’s legs, and he falls, while Jade attempts another shot at A1 who is about to assault Nathaniel, but misses again. The man tries to hit Nathaniel, but Nathaniel dodges at the last second and manages to score a coutner attack right into A1’s stomach (another roll of 01!). A1 falls as Nathaniel jumps on top of him, placing his knife at his neck. With the men all incapacitated, Nathaniel shouts, “Where is Elias!?” . Barry also tries to interrogate/ torture his prisoner by carving into his chest. All they hear from their prisoners is maniacal laughter and curses. Looking up at the bed, they see Elias’s body, head hanging off the side, with his entrails spilling out onto the floor and a strage symbol carved into his forehead. Barry then kills and disembowels his prisoner (San loss).

Elias_dead.png

The group beings to hear approaching sirens. Bonnie begins searching the room along with Barry, and they notice an idling black Hudson roadster in the alley across the street .Barry notices the license plate, NYL7, as it speeds away. They find pieces of evidence that these men tried to remove as they searched them, as well as evidence on Elias and inside his briefcase (which they will compare notes on later back at the speakeasy). Barry decides that he will remove the corpse of the man he killed (A2), along with the now unconscious man he had shot (W), so he carefully brings them outside on the fire escape and luckily finds a dumpster right below him (Luck roll of 1! What’s up with these rolls today?!?). Barry definitely doesn’t want the police knocking on his door. Handsome and Bonnie also decide that they do not want to be involved with the police, so they follow Barry out the fire escape. Handsome decides to meet up with Barry the next day, while Bonnie heads back to the speak easy, catching a glimpse of Jonah Kensington, Elias’s Editor, heading toward the hotel. He does a double take when he sees Bonnie, but keeps going. Barry goes to a nearby touristy “I Heart NY” kind of shop and uses the phone to call one of his guys, a cleaner. The cleaner comes by and takes care of the bodies, avoiding all detection from the police.

Poole.png

Meanwhile, being credible people with good reputations, the Nathaniel and Jade hang behind to speak to the police. A few officers come running up the stairs and begin to swarm the room. Jade and Nathaniel are questioned by Lt. Martin Poole, who has been assigned the case, which began as a simple ‘shots fired’. Upon seeing the body, Poole’s demeanor changes, as he has encountered 8 other murder cases like this one in the past 2 years. Nothing connected the victims, they came from all kinds of backgrounds, and all of them had the same symbol carved into their foreheads. With Nathaniel and Jade’s reputations, he believes their story, that only they were meeting Elias, and that there were two or three other assailants, but they got away in a vehicle matching one that was reported stolen earlier that day. He will check out their arrival with the folks in the hotel to make sure the timing works out, simply to rule them out as suspects. He also asks for their contact information, as Nathaniel seems to be very knowledgeable in the occult, more so than their current consultant, a Dr. Mordecai Lemming.

Kensington.png
Free to go, Nathaniel and Jade leave the hotel, running into Jonah Kensington on their way out. They tell him the whole story, and he asks them to meet him, along with the rest of the group, the next day at 3pm at his office, as he has a proposal. They agree.

Returning to the speakeasy, Jade and Nathaniel encounter Bonnie, who, with Ethel’s help, has successfully deciphered the confusing English on the letter she found on Elias’s body (another Luck roll of 01, geez!) The trio drinks a lot and crashes at the speakeasy, shaken by the events of that night.

Friday, 1/16/1925

The following morning, with wicked hangovers (cured by Bonnie, who just knows how these things work by now) Jade calls Barry’s place, and gets in touch with Barry and Handsome. They all decide to meet at 2 at the speakeasy to consolidate the clues they found, prepare for their meeting with Kensington, and discuss potential courses of action (see list of leads below).

At 3pm, they arrive at Kensington’s Prospero Press, and find him exhausted and distant, staring at Elias’s latest manuscript and pouring over his notes. He tells the group how shaken he is, and how he worries for his own life and the lives of the party. He suspects that the police are correct in assuming it was a cult murder, and believes that possibly some of Elias’s old enemies had caught up to him. He knows that it must be a powerful group, as Elias had been clearly shaken and was spouting some wild theories, ever for him (that the leaders of the Carlyle Expedition were alive, for one). Before continuing further, he presents his proposal.

Jonah Kensington, as a tribute to Jackson Elias and his work, and for his own health and safety, wants this final mystery solved. He anticipates that group will need to extend their investigations past New York, and asks if the group would be willing to travel. They agree, as long as the price is right, and worth justifying quitting their current jobs. He agrees that they should be duly compensated, and promises the group $1000 up front to take this case. They accept, on the condition that if anything were to happen to Kensington that his resources would become theirs. Kensington accepts this proposal. Their findings will be relayed back to Kensington periodically so he can record their progress, and coordinate other logistics related to travel or additional personnel. He gives the party Elias’s notes from Nairobi and London, which show a clear change in his mental health. The London notes are absolutely disturbing and difficult to read compared to the flowing pen of the Nairobi notes. The notes suggest the group will find more leads in London, so Kensington refers the party to Mickey Mahoney of “The Scoop” Newspaper, and Inspector Barrington of Scotland Yard, and the group agrees that London will be their next destination, after resolving whatever cult activity seems to be present in New York.

The party bids Kensington farewell, and regroups at the speakeasy, while its members discuss the many leads they have and what their next step is.

Introduced NPCs:

Lt. Martin Poole, NYPD
Jonah Kensington, Prospero Press

Leads

*NYC: *
Names – Erica Carlyle, Miriam Atwright (letter to Elias), Anthony Cowles (brochure on Elias), Silas N’Kwane (Emerson imports card)

Places – Medical Affairs Board (Huston’s files on Carlyles), Emerson Imports (Business card)

Other- Symbol on Elias’s forehead
elias_atwright_letter.pngElias_Cowles_Brochure.pngElias_Emerson_card.pngElias_symbol.png

London:

Names – Edward Gavigan (Director of Penhew Foundation), Mickey Mahoney (editor of the Scoop, from Kensington), Insp. Barrington (Scotland Yard, from Kensington)

Places- Penhew Foundation, The Scoop Newspaper, Scotland Yard

Other- Elias’s Disturbing London Notes

elias_penhew_card.pngElias_London_Notes.png

Transcription: “Many names, many forms, but all the same and toward one end… Need Help… Too big, too ghastly. These dreams… dreams like Carlye’s? Check the psychoanalyst’s files… All of them survived! They’ll open the gate. Why? …So the power and danger is real. They…many threads beginning… The books are in Carlyle’s safe… Coming for me. Will the ocean protect? Ho Ho no quitters now. Must tell, and make readers Believe. Should I scream for them? Let’s scream together…”

Cairo:

Names- Faraz Najir
Places- Street of Jackals (Najir’s shop), Carlyle Expedition’s Stops

elias_cairo_letter.png

Nairobi, Kenya –
Other: Elias’s Nairobi notes, Nairobi letter (names and places here)

Elias_Nairobi_Notes.png

Elias_Note_to_Kensington.png

Australia:
Cowles lecture’s subject is cults in Australia

Shanghai:
Other: Stumbling Tiger Bar Matchbook, Photo of yacht surrounded by Chinese junkers (DAR…)

Elias_Matchbook.pngElias_photo.png

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3- The God of Mitnal Pt.2

After foiling the attack by the Mexicans, the party decided to take a rest at the abandoned campsite. Around 5 am, a search party of two men arrived looking for the lost Mexicans. Armed with only machetes, they quickly surrendered to the party once they were surrounded by them, and realized that Handsome was absolutely serious about maiming them (that leg was a good bait and intimidation).

The group gathered as much information as possible about the nearby ruins: there were 7 other men, 3 on patrol, 2 taking care of chores, the boss and his right hand man. They also received maps of the area and a confirmation that Elias was still alive, and that Kimble was in charge, going by one of his aliases.

The party tried to concoct a plan. Handsome, with a great Mechanical Repair roll, knew he could make a bomb to strap on to one of the hostages if the party wanted to send in a suicide bomber, though he would have faced resistance from the hostages. String Bean and Nathaniel decided to lead the approach to the ruins to try to catch any patrolling guards. On the way in, they managed to sneak up on one and cut his throat.

String Bean and Nathaniel continue to do recon, and discover the two men doing chores, one on each side of the ruins. The party splits to coordinate an attack on each side. Nathaniel and String Bean go to the further man, while Handsome, Barry, and Jade go to the closer one. Both parties encountered a patrolling guard on their way, but they are able to stealthily subdue them (nice punch out by Barry, and knife work by Nathaniel and Bonnie). Both parties got a little turned around in the jungle but managed to coordinate their attacks about the same time, taking out the two men outside.

Upon preparing to assault the inside of the pyramid, the group set up near the entrance, as Kimble’s right hand came out to see the commotion. As he realized he was outnumbered and saw none of his men, he laid down his arms and called for his boss. This call was mistaken as a warning by the party, who opened fire and killed the man. Kimble then came out, unarmed, and surrendered to the party, leading them to his stockpiles of weapons and his jail cell. He released Elias, who thanks the party, along with 2 of Elias’s men and two lost boys from a nearby village. The party decides to let Kimble go, as they believe he may be more useful alive than dead. Kimble assures the investigators that while he will not be of any help in North America, he will be in contact possibly in Africa, Asia, Australia, or Europe.

The party returns to the hotel with Elias and they party it up for a few days. Elias has a great time and makes good friends with everyone. He mentions he is going to be “investigating the fate of a high profile expedition” for his next project, but says no more. The final morning, Elias has left, leaving a note saying he has already left to pursue his next project, and he hopes to meet up with the investigators back in NYC when he is finished, probably in a few months. The entire trip is paid for, and the party returns to NYC.

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2- God of Mitnal, Pt 1

1923

Nathaniel had developed a friendship with Jackson Elias, the friendly journalist he met at the library during our last adventure. Elias had sent him many of his books, and grew to trust Nathaniel. Nathaniel soon left the country to work on a new project. Nathaniel then received a telegram from Elias asking for his help in the Yucatan with a cult of Ah Puch, and to research a Walter Kimble. Nathaniel knew that Elias would not ask for help unless he were truly in trouble.

The group met up for one of their regular ‘group therapy’ sessions in the back of Lady Jade’s speakeasy, where they discussed how they had been since the last incident. Nathaniel proposed a trip to Mexico to aid Elias, as the group thought that something that could shed light on their recent encounter could be occurring there (and if not, FREE VACATION TO MEXICO!).

The group went over to Prospero Press, Elias’s publisher, to speak with Jonah Kensington, who volunteered to pay for the trip, as Elias is too great an asset. They found him working late, and provided steamship tickets the following morning. He also handed over a big folder of information he had gathered on Kimble. Apparently, Kimble was a dangerous man, dishonorably discharged from the army, and had been all over North America, suspected mostly for running guns.

The group prepared for travel, and researched Kimble. Jade and Handsome managed to take time off work. Barry tried to call a contact for information on Kimble, but could not get through. Bonnie got a lot of alcohol, and Nathaniel studied all night.

On the steam ship, the group had a few days of vacation time, with Bonnie drinking a lot, Handsome handsoming a foxy older lady into bed, Barry gambling away most of his money, and Jade and Nathaniel studying and relaxing.

Upon arrival in Campeche, the group proceeded to the San Miguel Hotel, and booked 2 rooms with Carlos, the manager. They then hung out at the bar/restaurant, and had a fine meal (Ceviche!) and lots of drinks. Bonnie impressed the bartender by downing a giant glass of vodka, but was otherwise unsuccessful in seduction. One of the waitstaff did remember Elias, as a kind and interesting guest, but did not know much else about him (while Handsome tried to get him to bring him drinks on his day off).

The following day, they proceeded to the rail road station and tracked down the station manager Guillermo. Guillermo plays dumb at first, but upon learning that these people are friends of Elias, he invited them into his office, gives them drinks,, and provides rail passes to mile marker 126, the rail location nearest to Elias’s camp. According to Guillermo, Elias hired a few men to go on an expedition to Mayan ruins. He returned shortly after his discovery to send telegrams, and then returned to the field. He hasn’t been seen for a couple weeks.

The train ride was fairly uneventful. The flat, open cars did not provide any shelter for the ;passengers. Handsome tried to get to know the two crewmen, but hit a language barrier. Barry managed to crouch down behind some crates to prevent soot from getting on his suit (see what he did there???). There were a few stops at nameless villages, and to allow other trains to pass by.

As they approached mile marker 126, one old woman, clutching her rosary, caught the eye of Jade. She spoke to this woman, Maria, and learned of the local beliefs about the area, that it is a place of death ruled by the Mayan god of the dead Ah Puch. Nathaniel perked up when he heard the name, and recounted what he knew, that Ah Puch is associated with owls, spiders, bats, and he appears as a bloody skeleton wearing a necklace of human eyeballs. Upon reaching mile marker 126, the group disembarks, against Maria’s protests.

It was around twilight, and the group searched the treeline for the path to Elias’s camp. Handsome’s machete was very useful in hacking their way through (Barry is very good at spotting paths). On their way to the camp, they encountered a stone slab showing Mayan hieroglyphics, a skeletal figure standing on a mass of skulls flanked by two owls in a cave or chamber. It’s pretty creepy.

The group finds Elias’s camp abandoned, and perceive cat-like forms running through the brush. Barry finds blood drops. Others find Elias’s favorite tobacco. Then, a flute and wind chimes are heard, and a voice begins speaking Spanish. A couple of the group begin to freak out, but most realize the words are slurred (Bonnie knows this ‘creature’ is drunk). A humanoid figure appears with a read glow, with a beaked, bird-like head, holding a flaming skull. Two other ‘creatures’ appear running toward the investigators, but one disappears. The other throws a chinese firebomb, which is successfully dodged by the party. The still standing minion is shot dead by Handsome, while the main ‘demon’ takes off his bird head and tries to flee (Zoinks Scoob!). He is tackled by the party and convinced to take the party to the Mayan ruins where Elias is being held.

Handsome and Barry find the other man, who tripped and broke his leg while running to attack the party. Somehow, they convince him that the only way they will let him live is if they cut off his leg, so Handsome cuts it off with his machete (sanity hit) and decides to keep it as a weapon (another sanity hit). They leave the man to die (another sanity hit).

The gang will pick back off with the scooby doo villain in custody, prepared to lead them to Elias.

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1- The Edge of Darkness

Thurs June 8, 1922

Each character received a telegram from Meriwether (see PC pages for exact relationship to him), except for Barry, who received a call. The message was to meet Meriwether at 1pm in his hospital room. After morning routines (of note was Nathaniel’s library research), the group has an interesting encounter with each other in the lobby, as Bonnie demands to see Meriwether to the confused Jane, while Nathaniel and Handsome overhear and join in. Barry quietly observes, and goes past them, already knowing the location of the room. Jane after some discussion, leads the group to Meriwether’s room.

After exchanging pleasantries with Meriwether’s wife Agnes and son Bertrand, he asks for time alone with the group. He tells them of his youthful research into the unknown with a group of college friends, led by a Marion Allen. The students, jokingly calling themselves The Dark Brotherhood, purchased a farmhouse in Ross’s Corners (a terrible name for a town) to conduct private research. They attempted summoning and prayers to many deities. They eventually succeeded in summoning something, which resulted in the death of one student and the insanity of another. They fled the house, but Meriwether knows the thing is still there, as it was bound to the house as long as the men who summoned it live. Meriwether is the last of these men, and he knows he is dying. He hands Handsome a key, saying that it will lead them to their reward for fulfilling his last wish. He then asks for someone to take a metal box from his bedside. As Jane complies, Meriwether coughs up blood onto her and falls into a coma.

The group is ushered out of the room and opens the box, finding the deed to the farmhouse, a key, a gold sarcophagus-shaped box with hieroglyphics on it, and Meriwether’s journal. After toweling off, they discuss what to do. They agree to split up for the afternoon to conduct research into this case and meet back at Jane’s speakeasy, as the next train to Arkham leaves the following morning.

Barry breaks into Meriwether’s Greenwich Village Apt and finds a Miskatonic U annual with a picture of the Dark Brotherhood members together. Barry also consults one of his guys in Arkham by phone, who digs up an article about Miskatonic U students involved in a carriage accident, naming members of the Dark Brotherhood in the picture.

Nathaniel and Bonnie research the sarcophagus in the NYU library. They encounter a friendly journalist, Jackson Elias, who aids them in their library search and gives them a great deal of information. He exchanges contact information with Nathaniel, hoping to hear from him about the outcome of the box and promising to send any jobs that are not his type Nathaniel’s way. He also strikes up a conversation with Bonnie in her native Slavic tongue, explaining that he researches cults and their tactics of brainwash and control, and finds ways to debunk the superstitions surrounding them. While highly superstitious and guarded, Bonnie approves of his sentiments. Elias gives her a copy of one of his books about his time spent in Eastern Europe, but as it is in English, she tosses it to Nathaniel saying “This is of no use to me.”

Jane researches Meriwether’s illness in the hospital library. She doesn’t find much, apart from it being regular mundane cancer (which she already knew from her medicine skill). She checks on Meriwether later, only to find that he had died a mere hour after she left.

Handsome spends the afternoon reading Meriwether’s journal, which recounts the whole Dark Brotherhood saga, and provides insight on how the creature was summoned and how it might be banished. Also of note is an article describing the apparent murder of Marion Allen in New Orleans (unusual as his tongue was removed, and pursuers were apparently after the gold box). Handsome removes the final page, including the article, the obituaries, and a final, recent entry from Meriwether, as he deems it too private for the others.

The party meets back at Jane’s speakeasy, and discusses their findings and plans to leave the next morning for Arkham. The party agrees that all will go, and everyone splits up for the night.

Friday June 9th 1922

The party meets at the station. Handsome attempts to get free tickets for the party, but fails. He does successfully convince his boss to give him a few days off work. Incredibly hung over, Bonnie barely makes the train and is far too sick to attempt to jump it, and must pay for passage. Barry, unlike the others, bribes the conductor with a wad of cash, instead of buying a ticket.

The party spends a day and night on the train, with Barry, Nathaniel, and Jane all reading Meriwether’s journal.

Saturday June 10th, 1922

Upon arrival in Arkham, the gang splits up to conduct research while waiting for a bus for Ross’s Corners, with tickets paid for by Bonnie.

Barry, Nathaniel, and Handsome go to Miskatonic U library. Barry looks for a book mentioned in the diary, De Vermis Mysteriiis, and determines it is kept in a restricted section under lock, and he must gain approval of Dr. Henry Armitage to read it. Handsome checks alumni records, but doesn’t find much; Marion Allen never finished school, while the other students all moved to different areas. Nathaniel, Barry, and Handsome consult the lady at the front desk about Dr. Armitage, and learn that he is in his office upstairs. They find his door and knock. There is no answer, though Barry hears someone inside. Handsome opens the door and barges in, asking for Armitage’s help. Armitage is not pleased to see them, and demands that Barry get out, as he does not like his look. With Handsome’s miraculous persuasion (a roll of 01, you just got Handsomed!), Armitage allows Nathaniel to read and translate relevant parts of De Vermis Mysteriis, though under his supervision in his office. The group agrees this is satisfactory and spend their afternoon there, receiving valuable information on the summoning and banishment rituals, and exactly the kind of spirit they are dealing with.

Bonnie and Jane consult the Arkham hall of records, and befriend the very talented librarian there. The librarian (with a 03) finds exactly the records the girls needed very quickly. They learn that the insane Dark Brotherhood member was committed to an asylum, but died 6 months later, effectively a dead end. They also learn that the tax records for the other members all end, showing that each member moved elsewhere.

With their afternoon spent, the party takes an uneventful bus ride to Ross’s Corners. Upon arrival, Handsome investigates the General Store and befriends (or ‘Handsomes’) the matriarch Ma Peters. In multiple trips in and out, he buys shotgun shells, flashlights, a gallon of gasoline, and learns some information about the town. Apparently one of the farmers’ wives is missing from milking cows the previous night, and the townsfolk are now a bit untrusting of strangers. The farmer’s house was next door (the plot the next mile over) from Meriwether’s house (the creepy house the kids stay away from). Handsome manages to get Ma Peters’ nephew Jimmy (who also calls her ‘Ma’) to give the party a lift to the next door farmer’s house, as they hope to question him about the wife’s disappearance. Upon arrival, the house appears dark and vacant. Bonnie attempts to lock pick the door but jams the lock. Handsome manages to fix the jam, while Jane tries to pick it again, succeeding just as Barry prepares to break it down. With the door open, the investigators realize no one his home, and find a letter explaining the current whereabouts of the farmer (he is having dinner with the sheriff, Pa Peters, to discuss the case and if they should declare his wife dead). With their ride Jimmy already gone, the group walks the mile over to Meriwether’s farm house.

At the farm house, Handsome patrols the perimeter of the house, peeking in windows and getting a general idea of the layout. He notes to the others that the house is covered in protective wards, carved by Marion Allen. Barry notices a dead raccoon in the bushes. He flips it over and notices a large gash in its chest. He keeps this to himself. Jade unlocks the front door with the key from the box, and it opens. The front room is unimportant with nothing of interest besides some rotting furniture and water damage. Bonnie and Barry hear some kind of movement under the house, in what could be a cellar.

In the next room, the dust is kicked up, there are footprints, and evidence of someone squatting there: pork n’ beans, embers of a recent fire, can opener, blanket, and the back door slightly ajar, the lock broken. More movement is heard in the basement. Barry and Bonnie decide to check it out, proceeding down the nearby stairs while Handsome, Jane, and Nathaniel study a sheaf of papers and cigar box found on a high shelf.

The papers on the shelf match Nathaniel’s translated documents. The cigar box contains a silvery talc-like powder, which the investigators conclude could be the Powder of Ibn-Ghazi, as described in the journal and translated notes. There is also a brownish powder that is determined by the journal to be a mixture of sulfur and copper, everything needed for the ritual.

Bonnie going first, she spots a surprise attack from someone swinging a broken table leg in the crowded basement. The attacker attempts to flee, but gets punched by Barry. Bonnie then grapples him onto the floor, and attempts to punch him out, but fails. The attacker, now clearly a hobo, gets free and tries to run up the stairs. Handsome, hearing the commotion, heads down the stairs with his shotgun. The hobo freezes, and babbles incoherently about things in the house and how he needs to get out. Handsome calls Jane to calm him down, which she does successfully.

With the shotgun, Handsome and Barry intimidate (Handsomed?) the hobo, who calls himself Red Jake, to investigate the trap door in the ceiling, in exchange for his freedom. Red Jake agrees, and is hoisted up by Barry. Red Jake screams as something grabs him and a guttural sound comes from the attic above. Barry lets go, but Jake is suspended in the air momentarily, then his corpse thrown violently to the floor, with huge gaping holes on either side of his head. Everyone is shocked. Barry notices an unusual and direct gust of wind outside, probably the creature going out to hunt.

The group prepares for the two hour banishment ritual, and Jane tries to calm everyone down. Nathaniel, Jane, and Handsome will chant while Bonnie and Barry act as watchers. The first twenty minutes are relatively easy, until the creature returns to the attic with a thud. It begins making unsettling monstrous noises and curses in strange and vulgar tongues, and shakes the house to its foundation. Shelves fall and walls vibrate. Acidic ooze then drips from the ceiling, with everyone luckily missing it except Nathaniel, who takes a large amount on his face, leaving burns. Luckily, the effects were not bad enough to scar him.

A feminine cry of help is heard by Barry from outside the house. He looks out the window to see a wounded woman crawling through the grass toward the house. While his first instinct is to help the woman, he remembers something Nathaniel said in his translation of De Vermis Mysteriis, that the spirit will use any kind of trickery to interrupt the ritual. He ignores the cries. Bonnie, in the other corner, is then attacked by the reanimated corpse of Red Jake, who misses. Bonnie shoots him dead with a single shot from her pistol (wow, great damage roll). By this time Handsome is becoming unfocused and needs a break, while Barry is preparing to fight the woman, who is stuck screaming and cursing at the open door and unable to enter due to the protective wards. Handsome fires a single shotgun burst and puts her down, while Bonnie takes over his chanting.

The creature manifests itself in the center of Nathaniel’s carefully drawn pentagram, just barely visible. Nathaniel begins to freak out and starts walking forward to embrace it. Barry reaches him just in time and pulls him away from the twisting mass with a thousand maws. The party completes the ritual and the creatures is banished with a flash of light. In the center of the pentagram is a small sphere of what appears to be raw energy. Nathaniel decides to put this in the sarcophagus, but as he picks it up, it is absorbed into his body, and he feels more powerful (POW increase by 1!).

Sunday June 11/Monday June 12, 1922

The group decides that burning the house down, as originally planned, is not a good idea, as arson is a crime. They bury the bodies in the basement, and make the long return the New York. At the train station, Handsome attempts to persuade the party to come back later for the money, but they are adamant about being paid right now. He agrees, and they follow him to a train station locker, which he unlocks with Meriwether’s key. Inside the locker is $500 for each person. The party splits.

The group continues to meet up every so often to discuss the strange events they witnessed, and for free counseling by Jane. Nothing like a little group therapy. Nathaniel also strikes up a friendship with Jackson Elias, who sends him a new book from time to time. Elias will be in touch soon with a job that is Nathaniel’s kind of thing.

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Welcome to your campaign!
A blog for your campaign

Wondering how to get started? Here are a few tips:

1. Invite your players

Invite them with either their email address or their Obsidian Portal username.

2. Edit your home page

Make a few changes to the home page and give people an idea of what your campaign is about. That will let people know you’re serious and not just playing with the system.

3. Choose a theme

If you want to set a specific mood for your campaign, we have several backgrounds to choose from. Accentuate it by creating a top banner image.

4. Create some NPCs

Characters form the core of every campaign, so take a few minutes to list out the major NPCs in your campaign.

A quick tip: The “+” icon in the top right of every section is how to add a new item, whether it’s a new character or adventure log post, or anything else.

5. Write your first Adventure Log post

The adventure log is where you list the sessions and adventures your party has been on, but for now, we suggest doing a very light “story so far” post. Just give a brief overview of what the party has done up to this point. After each future session, create a new post detailing that night’s adventures.

One final tip: Don’t stress about making your Obsidian Portal campaign look perfect. Instead, just make it work for you and your group. If everyone is having fun, then you’re using Obsidian Portal exactly as it was designed, even if your adventure log isn’t always up to date or your characters don’t all have portrait pictures.

That’s it! The rest is up to your and your players.

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