Game Master Daniel Penfold 351

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





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What do the rest of you want to do?

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

"You think you can just gut a friend and disappear?" Jake gritted out forcefully. He pointed at the cultist with his sword.
"You'll go nowhere! And you'll tell everyone who asks what you know as well!"

"Self defense." Sylvia looks sorrowful. "They did attack us, but still...I'm a doctor. I've never actually..." She doesn't finish her sentence, but it's clear that more is weighing on her than just the discovery of Jackson's murder.

"I'll go downstairs to meet the police. Let them know what happened, and what to expect." She heads out the door, deliberately not looking back at either of the dead bodies.

Sylvia has never before dealt with any supernatural stuff, so her first instinct is definitely to leave the investigating to the police.

At this point the cultist attacks Jake, trying to get past and into the driver's seat.

Knife attack on Barney:35: 1d100 ⇒ 66

damage: 1d4 + 2 ⇒ (2) + 2 = 4

Barney and Jake you can have an action

Sylvia, as you wait for the police, you can hear the siren getting slowly closer.

Everyone else can have an action, should they wish.

The cultists knife misses Barney completely

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

Jake lunged to pin the cultist to the car.
Fighting(sword) vs 55%: 1d100 ⇒ 43 for a possible 1d6 + 1 + 1d4 ⇒ (3) + 1 + (2) = 6 damage.
"Don't you move!"


Henry shakes his head as he looks over the scene. Ah, Jackson. We survived Peru and the kharisiri, only for you to end up dead from some death cult connected to the Carlyle Expedition. What did you find out, my friend?

Henry steps out of the room, looking over the scene, and then leans against the wall to divert onlookers.

Sylvia makes sure her gun is safely stored back in her bag while she waits for the police.

Jake's sword cuts deep into the cultist and he grunts in pain

Anyone else?

Male Human (Scottish American) Bounty Hunter

Barney, now that numbers are in his favor, attempts to tackle the man, disarm him, and hold him till the police arrive.

1d100 ⇒ 58 Brawl (38%)

1d3 + 1d4 ⇒ (2) + (3) = 5 Damage (subdual?)

Barney you manage to knock out the cultist.

On his body you find a handbill for a talk at New York University (see documents).

Meanwhile at the front of the hotel, a police car pulls up and two, uniformed policemen step out and start heading towards the reception desk.

Sylvia rushes towards the policemen. "Thank goodness you're here! My friend Jackson was murdered, one of the murderers is trying to escape, he's just outside!" She starts trying to lead the policemen around the corner to where the cultists' car is parked.

The policeman follow Sylvia round to the alley where they see Barney standing over the unconscious cultist.

"Okay, would someone mind explaining what's going on here, the young lady mentioned something about someone being murdered."

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

Once the cultist is out, Jake flicks the blood off his blade and sheaths his sword cane.

Male Human (Scottish American) Bounty Hunter

"My friend Jackson Elias called us to meet with him. When we arrived we found him viciously murdered, and this here is one of the culprits. There were two others upstairs... hurry and see if my other friends are safe. Cuff this one and I'll watch him till that is resolved".

1d100 ⇒ 89 Fast Talk (65%) Attempting to get them to leave Barney and Jake alone with the cultist while they address the situation upstairs.

Damn it I always roll so high. Wish were playing Rolemaster, I'd be kicking butt.

Seeing that this cultist is unconscious, Sylvia instinctively pulls out her medical case and tries to make sure he isn't dying. "I'm a doctor, let me check him over."

First Aid, 50%: 1d100 ⇒ 73

A doctor who probably does more harm than good. Oops.

One of the officers handcuffs the unconscious cultist to the bumper of the car, turns off the engine and puts the key in his pocket. They then ask Sylvia to stay with the unconscious cultist while Barney takes them up to Jackson's room. They use the fire escape to prevent causing too much of a panic within the hotel.

Sylvia shivers a little upon being asked to stay with the man that had murdered her friend. However she dutifully agrees to keep an eye on him while the policemen head upstairs.

The two police officers head up to the room. One of them on seeing the carnage walks out onto the balcony and vomits copiously. The other does a cursory investigation of the body and finds a strange mark on Jackson's back (see document).

The officers ask you to wait until their captain arrives.

Does anyone want to do anything else, otherwise we'll move things on?

I’m fine moving things along, unless someone else wants to do something.

Anyone else?

A few minutes later another police car pulls up. A tall dark haired man climbs out and makes his way to Jackson's bedroom. He sees you all and looks slightly condescendingly at you.

"Would one of you fine people mind telling me what in tarnation has been going on here?"

Is Sylvia still downstairs with the unconscious cultist?

@Sylvia - now the detective has arrived one of the officers has taken over from you so you can head back to Jackson's room.


Henry eyes the tall, dark haired man and says, "Certainly, Captain. Our friend Jackson Elias asked us to meet with him tonight at eight o'clock, here in his room. When we arrived and knocked on the door, I heard a sound of distress. I kicked in the door to find these two men and one other standing over the body of our friend, who was already dead. This man," here Henry points at the one who attacked him, "attacked me with his knife, there, and forced me to shoot him to defend myself. The other two were fleeing out the fire escape. I remained here, waiting for you and your men, Captain...sorry, what was your name?"

Charm, 15%: 1d100 ⇒ 92

"That's precisely what happened, officer. Jackson called us this morning, sounding very distressed, and asked us all to meet him here. When we arrived and heard strange noises from inside, we went in to try and help him. There were three men, all wearing the same headpiece and carrying knives. Jackson...they must have just finished killing him. They attacked us and we...we defended ourselves." Sylvia closes her eyes and takes a deep breath. "Jackson writes...wrote, about death cults. I think he was investigating whatever cult these sick people belong to. And they killed him for it. Worse than killed, they..." she chokes up and can't continue.

"Lt Poole of the NYPD at your service. Well, these two certainly look like cultists. We have had similar things happen in the last few months."

Fast Talk, Persuade or a Credit Rating roll

Male Human (Scottish American) Bounty Hunter

1d100 ⇒ 35 Fast Talk (65%)

Barney can hardly take his eyes off his old friend Jackson's body. "Why? Why Jackson? You should have contacted us earlier".

He then looks around the room seeking Jackson's personal belongings and anything that might offer them clues.

"Do you mind if I look around the room a bit. See if I can figure out why Jackson wanted to meet us? I promise not to take anything that might prove to be of use as evidence".

Sylvia takes a moment to compose herself. Just breathe. In and out. In and out. You've seen worse than this at the hospital. By the time Barney's finished talking, she's...well, not calm, but professionalism is beginning to take over.

Credit Rating, 40%: 1d100 ⇒ 39

"Similar things? You mean other people have been murdered like this?"

"This is the ninth murder victim of this kind in the last 2 years. The victims had no apparent connection; they were poor, wealthy, middle-class, black or white and from all over the city. All the victims had the same mark on them. A man called Dr Mordecai Lemming, an eccentric Manhattanite and folklorist claimed the sign belonged to an African Death cult but was unable to provide any other useful information.

The previous investigation came to a close when Captain Robson of the 14 precint in Harlem arrested a local man, Hilton Adams who had been found at the scene of one of the murders. Now that another murder has taken place I'm convince Robson has got the wrong man.

Now I can see that you captured one of these cultists so I'll take him in for questioning. Likewise your story seems to add up. So for now, you're free to go, but look don't get yourself in any trouble, Ok. I may need to speak to you again."

Unless you want to ask Lt Poole anything else he will leave. You now have quite a lot of leads/clues to follow. I would recommend you look through the documents, etc and then decide where you want to go/what you want to do next. It is now quite late in the evening so I'm assuming you will be finding a hotel and then proceeding in the morning.

What do you want to do next?


Henry considers the evidence, then says, "You know, given that this professor Anthony Cowles seems to know a thing or two about death cults, maybe we should go talk to him? Catch him at the end of his lecture, perhaps?"

Sylvia blinks at the documents produced by the others. "Isn't that tampering with evidence? Shouldn't we have..." her voice trails away.

Death cults. The Carlyle expedition. Jackson wanted us to investigate something, not the police. Because they aren't equipped to deal with something like this.

Maybe we are.

"Never mind. I'm sorry, I'm still not thinking straight." She looks over the flyer. "If we hurry, we might catch him. If not, I'm sure we can find him tomorrow." She starts moving purposefully towards the door.

Are you heading to the lecture hall?

I believe so, unless Barney or Jake has another suggestion.

By the time you reach Schuyler Hall Professor Cowles' lecture has just finished, however he does deign to discuss his lecture with you for a few minutes. He is a tall Australian gentleman, aged around 50.

"Ah, greetings, i understand you are interested in the topic of my lecture. How can I help you?"


"Nice to meet you. We were curious about some of the practices of death cults. For instance, how common is the practice of slicing open the stomach of a sacrifice and removing the intestines?"

Male Human (Scottish American) Bounty Hunter

A combination of hangover, lack of sleep, and the traumatic events of the day have left Barney quiet and introspective.

"Elias... Jackson Elias... Do you know him? Were you and he corresponding or talking about anything"?

"Jackson Elias, ah yes I've read some of his books in connection with Polynesia and New Zealand, he's a clever man. I regret that I haven't met him.

Sometimes death cults do slice open the stomach but it is very rare. Here feel free to have a copy of my latest research notes."

See documents

Sylvia pales at Henry's description and swallows hard. You're a doctor. Get a hold of yourself.

"Um, sorry, give me a second. Have you ever seen this symbol?" She quickly sketches the symbol that had been carved on Jackson's back and hands the sketch to the Professor.

"I'm afraid I haven't my dear, it is very unusual. Where did you find it?"

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

Jake gingerly takes the offered folio of research notes with a smile, then starts leafing through them gingerly. His smile fades.

No harm in telling the truth I suppose.

"Thanks for taking a look. That was carved into the back of Jackson Elias' body. He was murdered, presumably by one of the cults he was investigating. We're just trying to learn anything we can about who might have done such a thing."

"My god, how terrible! The symbol doesn't mean anything to me I'm afraid but do keep a copy of my lecture notes if you think it will help. The photographic plates were made by Arthur MacWhirr and were made by a mining engineer Robert Mackenzie. I also have Macwhirr's diary, however that is back in Sydney. If there's nothing else I can do, it is getting rather late. Do let me know when Jackson's funeral will be, I was an admirer and I would like to pay my respects."

What next?

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

Thinking back on what they saw in the apartment...
"Say fellows, wasn't there a bill from Emerson Imports? That had a New York address anyway. Maybe they know what he was dealing with." Jake pondered aloud.

"Should we meet there tomorrow? It is getting rather late, I doubt anyone would still be there." Sylvia is exhausted, both physically and emotionally. I'll have to take an unscheduled leave of absence from the hospital; hopefully they understand.


"It's a good idea, but might have to wait until morning. I don't know if they'll still be open this late. It can't hurt to check out, but if it's closed up, we'll have to wait."

Male Human (Scottish American) Bounty Hunter

"Sounds like as good of a place to start as any".

Moving on to the next day.

Emerson imports is a long, narrow building on the edge of the Hudson River, just beyond Hell's Kitchen. There are loading docks at both ends. The building itself is a warehouse piled high with freight,with a small set of offices upstairs at the front. Asking around you are advised to head upstairs to the offices where you meet a tall and well muscled man with brown hair in his mid 50s who introduces himself as Arthur Emerson (see Images).

"Good morning, and what can I do for you?"

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