Game Master Daniel Penfold 351

A play through of the Masks of Nyarlhotep campaign for Call of Cthulu.





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Henry moves out of the store with the others, joining them in going to the car. Once they reach the hotel bar, he grabs two glasses of bourbon and takes a swallow from one. Shooting Jake a 'be quiet' glance, he sets the other in front of Barney and says, "I get where you're coming from, Barney - I want the man responsible for killing Jackson just like you. But we've gotta keep this quiet. We don't know how many of these cultists there are, and we may be badly outnumbered. We also don't want the police making things harder for us, thinking we're trying to do their jobs. We've got to avoid flashing our weapons at everyone who lies to us - even if they deserve it."

It is now just after 1pm, what do you want to do?

Sylvia grabs a bourbon of her own and takes a long swallow. "N'Kwame was lying about the death cults and about Jackson. He knows more than he's telling. Combining that with the man who entered the shop, the one I'm pretty sure was a cultist, makes it seem like there's something going on at the Ju Ju House. Unfortunately I don't think we'll be able to show our faces around there again without being arrested. Any reconnaissance we do will have to be stealthy."

She pulls out the notes they've been taking. "Maybe we should talk to Mordecai Lemming. He believes the symbol on Jackson's back was from an African death cult; he might have other useful information about what we're dealing with here."

Male Human (Scottish American) Bounty Hunter

"Yeah... I get it I messed up. I hoped to scare the old man into giving up some info, but it backfired. I'm just angry over the needless deaths, and I let my emotions get away from me. Sometimes Intimidation works other times it doesn't and obviously it didn't work".

Barney reaches for a glass of the bourbon, gets it to his mouth then with a scowl, puts it back on the table and pushes it away.

"Let me know what you decide to do next and count me in".

Barney then moves to the bar takes a seat at the end and orders something.

Easy Spot Hidden


Barney orders a tonic water.

Going to assume you follow up on Sylvia's idea of seeing Dr Lemming.

Dr Lemming resides at the Murray Hill Hotel at East 40th Street and Park Avenue. The double stairway at the entrance leads up to a marble lined reception hall. A polite clerk at the reception desk greets you and asks if he can be of assistance.

Virile Male Western Movie Actor SAN 49(50) | HP 11(12) | Move:8 | Status: OK

Jake tipped his hat to the receptionist.
"Hello there! I'm Jake Westfield. I'm looking for an interview with Dr. Lemming about a research project I'm shaping up. Is he here now?" He asked.
Charm 70%: 1d100 ⇒ 89

The clerk makes a 'hmmm' noise but rings up to the Doctor's room. A few moments later he tells you to head to the penthouse level where doctor Lemming is waiting for you.

Mordecai Lemming is in his 60s, small, balding and pale. His clothes while fine are covered in ink and dust with grubby cuffs and various stains. He greets you at the door of the penthouse,

"So glad to meet a fan, and what can I do for you?"

Sylvia smiles and extends her hand for a handshake. "Greetings Dr. Lemming. Thank you for agreeing to meet with us. I'm Sylvia. May we come in?"

Once inside the penthouse, she takes out the sketch she'd made previously and shows it to him. "I'm afraid the topic we wish to consult with you regarding is rather...gruesome. A friend of ours was recently murdered and this symbol was carved into his body. Lt. Poole mentioned they'd consulted you about a string of similar murders, but all he knew was that they might be associated with some sort of African death cult. Anything you know about this symbol, or the cult it might be associated with, would be extremely useful."

Dr Leeming takes the picture of the symbol.

"Jackson Elias, I've heard about him, thought some of his ideas were a bit fanciful. Sorry to hear he's dead, he seemed like a nice chap. Now this symbol looks like that of an African death cult, similar to the ones that were on the other bodies. Or rather I think it is someone trying to mimic an African death cult to stir up ill feeling. Either the police have the wrong man or Hilton Adams had some kind of accomplice. I'd recommend talking to a mister Silas N'Kwame the owner and proprietor of the Ju Ju House, an African Art emporium in Harlem, he may be able to help you."

"Is there anything else I can help you with?"

Virile Male Western Movie Actor SAN 49(50) | HP 11(12) | Move:8 | Status: OK

"Well Doctor, do you know if this particular bunch has any identifying marks or patterns? You know, like tattoos, ritual scarring, tooth scarring, anything like that?" Jake inquired, offering the Doctor a Lucky Strike.

Sylvia casts a meaningful look at the rest of the group as Dr. Lemming mentions N'Kwame.

"Thank you for your advice Dr. Lemming. I have to say, we've already spoken to Mr. N'Kwame and he claimed to know nothing about anything related to death cults. Is there a reason you thought he would?"

"The only thing I'm aware of,and this is only fourth hand information you understand is that they have some kind of silk device made of white and red silk that represents a mouth with a tongue poking out. Well I don't know for sure that N'Kwame would know anything about death cults but he sends me trinkets from African countries now and then. If he doesn't know anything more about death cults then surely he'd know who you should contact to find out more."

Male Human (Scottish American) Bounty Hunter

Barney stays quiet, refusing to make eye contact with any of his friends, as the consequences of his actions bear meaning. He shuffles his feet and looks out the window every now and then.

What do you want to do?

Virile Male Western Movie Actor SAN 49(50) | HP 11(12) | Move:8 | Status: OK

Jake thanks the professor and leads the group back out through reception and out to the sidewalk again.
"Well boys and girls, I think all routes lead to Silas N'Kwame." He said, offering everyone a Lucky Strike.
"And that key around his neck has me curious too. I wonder if it unlocks a door or safe in the store somewhere..." He wondered aloud, expelling a smoke ring.
"I don't suppose any of you folk know your way around locks and bolts do you? I'm afraid I'd need a friendly writer for me to be able to do that kind of thing." He raised an eyebrow, looking around expectantly.

Sylvia politely refuses the cigarette. "Unfortunately no. I've never had occasion to learn that sort of trick." Never thought I would need to. What has my life become?

She shakes her head as if to clear it. "I'm not entirely sure what we can do about N'Kwame at this point. Maybe watch the shop for a few days; get a better idea of who goes in and out? Otherwise we do still have a few other leads. I would like to talk to Hilton Adams. He was arrested at the scene of one of the previous murders; maybe he saw something. We could also talk to Lt. Poole about our suspicions. He might be able to search the shop where we can't."

It's now about 3pm, it's probably too late in the day to get to Sing Sing to see Hilton Adams. Lt Poole has previously told you that he has been warned off investigating N'Kwame's shop, a police captain from another district who he believes is corrupt.

Where to next?

Virile Male Western Movie Actor SAN 49(50) | HP 11(12) | Move:8 | Status: OK

Jake sighed.
"Well, I guess it's too late to go to Sing Sing. We may as well get the funeral over with and rest up for the night.
"It's on me guys and girls. I've got the dough for it."

"We might be able to make it to the New York Times and talk to Rebecca Shosenburg. She's the one who investigated the Adam's family; it's the next best thing to talking to Adams himself. Then we can rest, attend the funeral tomorrow, and plan from there."

I believe it's still the 16th, so the funeral isn't until tomorrow.

Male Human (Scottish American) Bounty Hunter

"Your plan is solid. I'll let you guys do the talking this time... and it will be good to get Jackson buried and last respects paid".

Yeah the funeral is tomorrow so I will assume you go to see Shosenburg.

Located in the recently expanded 229 West 43rd Street building the headquarters of the New York Times is a hive of journalistic activity. Asking for Shosenburg you are directed to the news department's crime section and to a neat and orderly desk.

Sitting at the desk is a small, dark-complexioned woman with wavy black hair.

"Good Afternoon, Rebecca Shosenburg at your service. Always nice to meet my readers. How can I help you?"

Images and documents updated.

Virile Male Western Movie Actor SAN 49(50) | HP 11(12) | Move:8 | Status: OK

Jake smiled and offered her a Lucky Strike.
"Afternoon Miss Shosenburg. I'm Jake Westfield."
He introduces the others in order.
"My friends and I were working on various projects with Jackson Elias, before his... murder. We all saw your article on his death. It was very good." He said earnestly.
Charm 70%: 1d100 ⇒ 62

"It's very nice to meet you, Ms. Shosenburg. I'm Sylvia." Sylvia smiles at Rebecca. It's always nice to meet another professional working woman. Unfortunately they're not just here for a chat.

"Given the circumstances of Jackson's murder, it raises questions about the conviction of Adams for similar crimes. Lt. Poole said you had been working on that story. Do you have any information that you think might be relevant? Anything on death cults, for example?"

"Well the reports of the first two bodies make no definite link between them, but by the third murder connections were being made. The police seem baffled especially as there seem to be no ties between the victims other than visits to Harlem.
Initially, the fact that the first bodies were found in different precincts meant that there was little coordination or sharing of information between the various investigations. Even after everything was transferred to Captain Robson of the 14th Precinct in Harlem, there wasn't much progress until Hilton Adams was arrested at the scene of the eight murder. As far as I can tell Robson ended up heading the investigations imply because most of the later corpses turned up in Harlem.
I am suspicious about Hilton Adams' incarceration. Although I haven't found any concrete evidence I'm suspicious that Robson is at best incompetent and at worst corrupt, and I wonder if he was responsible for framing Hilton Adams. I'm afraid I don't know of any links to any death cults but these murders are so strange I wouldn't be surprised."

Sylvia processes this information. So Robson is corrupt and possibly framed Adams. That's bad. It's a good thing we're investigating and not leaving it to the police.

"You said the victims were visiting Harlem. Is there any reason to think they were visiting as opposed to being killed somewhere else? Just because the bodies were found in Harlem doesn't mean the victims ever actually went there. If they definitely were going there of their own free will...where in Harlem were they going?"

If the trips to Harlem were the only connection, it's important to figure out what part of the trip they had in common.

"I think the ones found in Harlem were killed in Harlem. I've heard rumours of something called the Ju-Ju House. That is certainly what Hilton Adams was looking into before he was arrested."

Male Human (Scottish American) Bounty Hunter

Barney shrinks in on himself when the dreaded "Ju-Ju" house comes up again.

"Since we're... and by that I mean I'm not welcome there perhaps we could sneak our way in and see what's going on there. Or you guys could maybe disguise yourselves and try again... or maybe we could go in and apologize for my behavior and see if that gets us anywhere".

"If you like, I can introduce you to Millie Adams, Hilton's wife and I can probably convince Hilton to receive you as visitors at Sing Sing if you'd be interested."


"That might be best. We can see what he was looking into."

"That would be extremely helpful. If he was looking into the Ju Ju House, I'd like to know why, and what he learned. When would be a good time?"

"Well, I can certainly try and arrange that for you. Give me 2 days and I'll contact you with a place and time."

It is now about 5pm and starting to get dark. Do you want to do anything else this evening?

"Thank you for your help Ms. Shosenburg."

Once outside, Sylvia sighs. "Everything goes back to the Ju Ju House. For what it's worth, I don't think N'Kwame would have answered any of our questions honestly, even if we were able to go back openly. For tonight let's just get some rest. Tomorrow we'll attend the funeral and decide what to do about the Ju Ju House."

Moving on to the 17th

Jackson's funeral takes place at 2pm at the Cypress Hills Cemetery and takes place during a light snow shower. The service is short and nondenominational. Turnout is small, apart from yourselves there are two other gentlemen, one accompanied by a younger woman and finally Rebecca Shosenburg is there. The priest invites you all to share any special memories of Jackson and his exploits.

After a brief pause, Sylvia stands up. "I'll never forget the first time I met Jackson. I was working in the hospital when I heard a commotion in the lobby. This gentleman wanted to meet with a doctor to discuss psychological illnesses. No one really knew what to do with him, so as the youngest member of staff he was foisted off on me." She laughs a little. "I never could have imagined that strange first meeting would result in a long-lasting friendship. While we didn't often meet in person, I treasured our correspondence. Jackson Elias was a brilliant man, and the world is diminished by his loss."

Would anyone else like to speak?

Male Human (Scottish American) Bounty Hunter

Barney steps to the podium, his hands obviously shaking.

"Jackson was my friend. We didn't often see each other, but when we did it was if we'd never been apart. He had a way of looking at the world that often revealed what others had missed. Unfortunately his curiosity served him ill this time.".

Barney then goes over and throws a single white rose on his casket.

"Sleep well old friend till we meet again".

And then more quietly so that others might not hear.

"I shall avenge you".

Henry steps up next

"Jackson was always inquisitive. He felt that the world was full of mysteries to be solved. He always said that nothing was inexplicable only unexplained. He was a seeker of truth, of knowledge and never shied away from searching for that truth. He was my friend and taught me much."

Anyone else?

Virile Male Western Movie Actor SAN 49(50) | HP 11(12) | Move:8 | Status: OK

Jake stood with his hat in his hand in the drifting snow. The words of the service sounded far away. He had attended dozens of funerals in the movies. As much as he wished, he just could not find the words for something that was so... real now.

As you finish speaking Jackson's coffin is lowered into the ground and the service is over.

One of the men who was there comes over to you. He is a small, wiry African-American man in his early 50s.

"A terrible business. Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Carlton Ramsey. I was employed by Mr Elias to act as his lawyer. He made a will and you are all mentioned in it as beneficiaries. If you can stop by my office tomorrow I can read the will."

With that Ramsey leaves and the other male figure approaches you. He is a short squat white man, balding and wearing pince nez glasses. He is wearing an immaculate suit.

"Good Afternoon, I understand you were friends of Jackson. My name is Jonah Kensington. I was Jackson's editor at Prospero House. I understand you are investigating Jackson's death. I have some papers concerning Jackson's recent investigations and findings if you are interested and if they would be useful to you."

Sylvia nods politely at both Carlton and Jonah as they approach. "Thank you Mr. Ramsey. We'll be sure to stop by your office tomorrow." She still isn't certain why she would have been named in Jackson's will, but maybe it was for the same reason that he had apparently wanted her help investigating this particular cult.

The mention of Jackson's papers makes her eyes widen. "Mr. Kensington, yes, please. We would be extremely interested in any papers you have. I feel that they will be very helpful to our investigation."

With the funeral over, Sylvia sighs and runs her hands through her hair distractedly. "We won't be able to talk to Adams for another couple days, and I think we're out of other leads. Do we want to continue staking out the Ju Ju House? If we could find a place where we could observe who goes in and out without being observed ourselves...I think that's the best lead we have right now."

Are you heading there now or are you waiting until it gets dark?

Virile Male Western Movie Actor SAN 49(50) | HP 11(12) | Move:8 | Status: OK

Smoking thoughtfully, Jake finally shook his head.
"I wish we could do a proper stakeout at JuJu House, but we are just a bunch of white faces in black Harlem; we simply stand out too much. I have some money; why don't we hire a local Private Eye?" He asked the team.

Whilst the community in Harlem is predominantly African American it is not uncommon at this point to see white faces at all times of day as people tend to visit speakeasys and nightclubs.

"Hiring a Private Eye might not be a bad idea, simply because they'd know better than us how to stealthily observe the place." Sylvia hums thoughtfully. "Do you know of any off-hand that would be both available and trustworthy?"

You manage to track down a private eye called John Harrison who has an excellent reputation. He charges 5 dollars per day. He asks you how often you want him to report in and what exactly you want him to do.

Sylvia glances at the others before answering. "To begin with, I think we're mostly interested in Mr. N'Kwame himself. Where does he go when he's not at the Ju Ju House? Does he live there? Does he get a lot of visitors after hours? If you could keep an eye on him and make notes on anyone who seems to visit him regularly, that would be a good start. As for how often to check in..." She wrestles with the desire for immediate answers versus the knowledge that these kind of stakeouts take time. "Shall we say in three days, and then we go from there based on what you've found?" Again she looks at the others. "Am I missing anything, or do you have other ideas?"

"Ok, I'll see what I cam find out, I'll check in with you in 3 days' time."

What do you want to do for the rest of the evening/the following day?

What is the plan?

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