Masks of Nyarlothotep

Session Four
Fancy Fancimancers

(We had a guest in the party this time, an apothecary. I believe he wants to continue, but I’m not sure. I incorporated him into the action as best I could.)

Cesar Sanholo and Peter O’toole were still in the safehouse with the dead body of Pablo. Cesar was having a moral dilemma; he had known Pablo almost his entire life, but if the police were called in Cesar would almost certainly be implicated in the murders. O’Toole was not much help after his brief breakdown. Cesar finally decided that it would be best to just leave the body of his friend; abandoned in a foreign land, most likely not buried in consecrated ground.

Cesar went back to the bar to tell everyone the bad news, but O’Toole, still trembling from his conniption, decided to go home. He returned to his 3rd floor apartment and noticed that the light was on. He couldn’t remember leaving a light on, so he made a lot of noise unlocking the door, drew his gun, and waited a moment. He didn’t hear anything coming from the apartment. He opened the door. His apartment/office had been trashed. Someone had gone thoroughly through his possessions. He took a few steps into his apartment and noticed the curtains moving in front of the window that led to the fire escape. That was when the cultist behind the door walloped him on the head. Two other cultists appeared out of the dark corners of his apartment. There was a brief struggle and O’Toole was able to get off two shots, both which missed wildly, but the heavy blows of the cultists brought him down.

The next morning, Dr. Warren Bedford received a call from Lt. Martin Poole. He told Dr. Bedford of O’Toole’s disappearance under mysterious circumstances. Dr. Bedford said he was also concerned and would ask around. He immediately called Velma Christie.

The investigators decided to go to O’Toole’s apartment to see if they could find anything. There were two officers on the scene: Inspector Chelmey and Inspector Barton. Chelmey did much of the talking. He was a gruff fellow who wouldn’t let the investigators in on the details of anything he had found. The investigators showed the Inspectors the cult marking, said that they were investigating the Carlyle Expedition, and that O’Toole had visited the JuJu House the day before.

The apothecary had the brilliant idea to investigate the JuJu House’s reputation in its neighborhood of Harlem rather than walking straight into the place and asking probing questions. After some street walking, door knocking, and a couple of bribes, they were finally able to find someone willing to talk. This local resident seemed very scared of whatever was going on at the JuJu House. He said that once or twice a month, a large group of people would go in late at night and strange noises would be heard; beating of tribal drums, chanting, and sometimes screaming. When he learned that the investigators were planning on staking out the place, he suggested the abandoned pawn shop that fronted the same square that the JuJu House did. The doors were boarded up, but it looked like with a little effort they would be able to gain access.

The group went back to gather some weapons and other items and returned at nightfall. They took the boards off the doors to the pawn shop and snuck inside. The back door was chained from the inside and padlocked from the outside, but it could be opened slightly to see the JuJu House. There was also a small window through which they watched. At around 10 o’clock, two large packing crates were delivered. They were quickly brought inside, but the investigator’s noticed that none of the delivery guys ever left the building. The investigators kept watching. At 1 o’clock, small groups of people began to enter the JuJu House. By 1:30, around 34 people had entered. Velma realized that the small JuJu House couldn’t possibly hold that many people. Around this time, the investigators began to hear the faint, distant beating of tribal drums.

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Session Three
Stoop Yur Medlin

The next day Velma Christy, Dr. Warren Bedford, and Cesar Sanholo went to meet with Erica Carlyle at her estate. Peter O’Toole stayed behind in New York to investigate the JuJu House.

The drive to the Carlyle Estate took about half an hour. The countryside estate was surrounded by a tall wall. The two guards at the gate let the investigators into the estate. At the door, they were led into a sitting room, where Erica Carlyle shortly joined them.

Velma began her interview by reassuring Erica that she was only doing research for a novel, and that she would not point anything back at the Carlyle family. She asked of her time in Africa searching for her brother, but Erica couldn’t tell them anything that they hadn’t already heard from facts or rumors. Her brother’s hunting party was found massacred in a very bizarre fashion, but none of the whites in the party were ever found. It was believed that they had been taken to a secret location for even worse torments.

Erica also told them of Roger’s movements before the expedition. He had been having strange dreams which Erica believed spurred the mission. He began to see Dr. Robert Ellington Huston, a popular Freudian psychologist and later part of the expedition. Erica didn’t know what Roger’s dreams were about, but perhaps there was something in Dr. Huston’s notes.

Roger began consorting with an African lady Erica only knew as the Negro Woman. Roger would disappear with her for days at a time and, when he finally turned up, would only say he had been to Harlem. It was around this time that the strange dreams began.

Before they left, Erica mentioned that there were several books in the library Roger consulted very often before he left on the expedition. When asked what they were, she told them to follow her to the library. It was a very large library with many rows of shelves and comfortable places to read. Erica found a volume of Poe, inside which Cesar and Warren noticed she had written a safe combination. The bookcase slid aside due to some mechanism, revealing a small safe. Inside were four books: Pnakotic Manuscripts, Selections of Livre de Ivon, People of the Monolith, and Life as a God. Erica refused to let the investigators borrow such old books, but said she may let them borrow the newer ones after their appraisal.

Meanwhile, back in New York, O’Toole drove his motorbike to the JuJu House.

Ju ju house

It was a small shop, curtained so that the inside couldn’t be seen from the outside. The shelves were lined with various African bric-a-brac. The shopkeeper eyed O’Toole suspiciously. When he asked for Silas N’Kwane, the shopkeeper said that he was that man. When O’Toole drew the cult symbol and asked if the man knew anything about it, Silas told him he best be leaving now. O’Toole left his business card in case there was anymore information Silas wished to talk about later and promptly left.

Everyone met at Jackson Elias’ funeral. It was a short ceremony, and other than Jonah Kensington and a few reporters, no one else attended.

Mourning her friend in an appropriate manner, Velma Chrisy led the group back to Chumley’s. A few hours later, one of Cesar’s contacts showed up and new told him that shots had been heard at his safe house. Taking O’Toole, who was only slightly more sober than the others, Cesar raced back to his safe house in a quiet, mostly abandoned part of New York. They approached cautiously, but whoever had attacked the place was long gone. Inside, they found Pablo, his intestines ripped out and the cult mark carved into his forehead. This upset O’Toole quite badly, who began to scream and fire wildly at the body. He calmed down after a moment, though. They searched the house for Juan, but only found written in blood on a wall, “Stoop yer medlin or yur nex.”

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Session Two

(Cesar’s player was feeling ill and unable to play for this session, so we did a little bit of retconning on what happened at the end of last session. Also, Peter O’Toole’s player missed the previous session, but the police investigation seemed like a good time to introduce him. The session was cut short because we needed to reroll characters; the database we were using to keep them on disappeared, and we didn’t have any backups.)

Despite Velma Christy and Dr. Warren Bedford’s best efforts, the police carted Cesar Sanholo and his Mexican buddy Pablo back to the precinct for further questioning. The homicide detective, Lt. Martin Poole, showed up and questioned Velma and Dr. Bedford.

Private Investigator Peter O’Toole was pulling a late night in his office, wrapping up a few loose ends and paperwork on his last case. An old police buddy called to let him know that some of his friends had somehow become wrapped up in a murder investigation. It only took 10 minutes for him on his Triumph Ricardo motorbike to reach the Chelsea Hotel.

Lt. Poole became more amicable when O’Toole arrived. He let them in on a few of the details of the case.

  1. Elias was the ninth victim murdered in this fashion in the past two years.
  2. None of the victims were related in an obvious way. They were of varying genders, ethnicities, and social backgrounds.
  3. The police believed that the crimes were being perpetrated by an African death cult based in Harlem, but they couldn’t get any information about it out of the residents.
  4. The police believe the victims learned too much about this cult and were killed to protect its secrets.

Lt. Poole released Christy and Dr. Bedford, but told them he would be in contact.

The next day, Dr. Bedford decided to investigate the strange symbol carved into Elias’ forehead. Going to the New York Public Library, he began to look into African death cults. After a few hours of searching, he finally came across a short entry in an obscure book on the most mysterious of African Cults. It was the mark of the Cult of the Bloody Tongue, a cult based out of Kenya. The cult is thought to have been descended from a sect that was driven out of dynastic Egypt.

Velma Christy, meanwhile, went to go see Jonah Kensington, editor-in-chief of Prospero Press, where Jackson Elias published his books. Velma has met Jonah from time to time and wanted to see if he had heard the bad news.

Jonah had already heard the news. When Velma asked if he knew what Jackson had been working on, he produced a few notes that Jackson had wired or had dropped off the day before.

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Kensington also was able to fill Velma in on some of Jackson movements abroad. Jackson wired the Nairobi notes from Hong Kong and asked for an advance. He didn’t hear anything else until the end of last month. He said he’d been to China, Africa, and to London. He said he had dug up a lot of weird stuff. He mentioned something about a plan or conspiracy of world-wide proportions. There was a timetable, but he didn’t or couldn’t explain more.

Kensington told Velma about Elias’ funeral the next day. When Velma offered to write a novel about any conspiracy uncovered, Jonah said he would definitely publish it.

Peter O’Toole had gone to Emerson Imports to see what he could find. He met with Arthur Emerson. O’Toole found out that Elias had been checking importers to find connections with Mombasa. There was one, a Mombasan exporter named Ahja Singh, whose only known U.S. account was with the JuJu House in Harlem. Emerson was also able to confirm that Silas N’Kwane managed the JuJu House.

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Session One
A Murder in New York

January 3rd. 1925.

Velma Christy, author, was getting ready to go to her favorite speakeasy, Chumley’s. Before she leaves, there is a knock at the door. A courier hands her a small envelope.

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Velma Christy was a close friend to Jackson Elias, a fellow author who typically investigates and writes about the bloodiest death cults he can find. If he has some new information on the Carlyle Expedition, then it must be something shocking and juicy!

Christy met two of her close friends at Chumley’s: Dr Warren Bedford, a professor of European History, and Cesar Sanholo, a moonshine smuggler. She informed them of Elias’ return and his request. Bedford seemed interested, though Sanholo was not so interested. He realized that he would be coming back from a run in Kentucky around that time, so he agreed to if he was in town.

Over the next few days, Christy did some research, since the details on the Carlyle expedition were fuzzy in her mind, being six years old. She was able to find the following in the morgue of the New York Riposte.

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On the 13th, Sanholo returned to New York, and the three met in Chumley’s again. Intrigued by the notion of King Solomon’s mines, Bedford decided to do some research on the subject. Sanholo said that he would bring one of his smuggling buddies, another Mexican fellow by the name of Pablo.

On the morning of the 15th, Christy received a telephone call from Elias’. He seemed very rushed and secretive, but he told her to bring anyone she had gathered to the Chelsea Hotel, Room 410, at 8 PM.

Christy, Bedford, Sanholo and Pablo arrived at 7:45 PM. Because the lifts were out of order, it took them a few minutes to climb the stairs, and no one answered to their knocks. After waiting until 8:10, Christy decided to ask the desk clerk if Elias was still out. As she questioned the man, she heard a car squeal away from in front of the hotel. Sanholo, who happened to look outside, saw that it was a black Cruiser, circa 1915, but he didn’t catch the licence plate.

The hotel manager aid that Elias had returned around 7:30 and hadn’t left the hotel. No one answered when he called the room. Worried, he took his ring of keys up to room 410. After loudly knocking, the manager opened the door.

Murder scene

Jackson’s intestines had been ripped from his body, a strange symbol had been carved into his forehead, and the window was open, leading out to a fire escape.

In the moments before the police arrived, they were able to find these clues:

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When the police arrived, they eyed Sanholo and Juan suspiciously, but Bedford and Christy were able to get them off of the hook. For the moment.

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