The Masks of Nyarlathotep

Prologue: The God of Mitnal

The Investigators

The Telegram

In March, 1923, Helena Hamilton received a telegram from Jackson Elias, a former associate, requesting her assistance with research into a cult of Ah-Puch near Campeche, Mexico. He included requests for firearms, gin, Lucky Strikes, and all of the information available on Walter Kimbell.

Helena notified Beryl Blakely another friend of Elias, and the two of them contacted Iris Grenwald, whom they met at a bar the night before. Iris decided to come as an excuse to go bird-watching in the Yucatan. Beryl, fearing that Elias may be in trouble, contacted her lawyer, Cornelius Wellington.

Gathering Booze and Clues

Helena provided the alcohol, stating proudly, “I’ve already got the gin.” Weapons and Lucky Strikes were no problem to obtain, due to the Investigator’s collective wealth.

Iris researched Ah Puch in the library ( P3 – Entry on Ah Puch in Book on Ancient Mayan Gods), determining that he was the Mayan god of Death, who appears as a human with an owl’s head. Helena went to Jonah Kensington, Elias’ editor, and found out that he had been contacted, as well. He provided Helena with the information on Kimbell that he’d obtained already ( P4-P7 – Walter Kimbell’s Texas Rangers File) Beryl and Cornelius went to the nearest army base and obtained a confidential report on Kimbell’s conduct.

The team determined that Walter Kimbell is being sought by both the U.S. Army and the Texas Rangers for an AWOL status, multiple thefts, gun running, and possible involvement with Poncho Villa. Armed with this knowledge, the Beryl, Helena, and Iris left for the Yucatan. Cornelius stayed behind in New York.

The Yucatan

During the ship journey, the investigators studied basic Spanish. Their rooms in the Hotel San Miguel were paid for by Prospero Press. On the night of their arrival, the investigators met a man in a bar who mentioned that his friend, Ricardo, had bought an antique gun recently. The investigators confronted Ricardo, who said he’d bought the gun from a man named Esteban (one of Kimbell’s aliases), who comes to town every few weeks. He would not return for another 3 weeks.

The next morning, the Investigators went to the train station to meet Guillermo. Guillermo gave them a letter from Elias thanking them for their help and telling them to get off of the train at the Mile #126 marker. He also provided them with passes to ride a flatbed train car.

On the way to their stop, the investigators spoke with Maria, an elderly local woman praying the rosary. She said that several men had gone missing recently, and that many believed the god, Ah Puch, had risen from hell in the pyramids nearby. She begged the players not to get off of the train. When they refused, she gave Beryl her rosary for protection.

Ah Puch Appears

The players exited the train and followed the river to Elias’ camp, finding it ransacked and deserted. As the players debated their next course of action, strange noises filled the jungle and a dark figure with an owl’s head appeared. The figure claimed to be Ah Puch and ordered the investigators to leave behind a sacrifice of food and alcohol. Initially fearful of this turn of events, the investigators began to doubt what they were seeing, and Helena noticed that the figured claiming to be Ah Puch was speaking Spanish, while the Mayans did not.

Ah Puch then summoned three “demonios”, men whose bodies were painted in skeleton motifs, to scare the investigators. One of the demonios threw a tiny explosive at Iris’ head, stunning her. The investigators fired on their enemies, who began to flee into the woods. They captured three of the men, while one disappeared into the night. After interrogating the men, the investigators learned that Kimbell was at a nearby pyramid, hiding from the authorities and scaring away superstitious locals with his Ah Puch routine. One of the men, Jose, told the investigators that the owner of the camp had been captured and taken to the pyramid. The investigators ordered Jose to lead them to the pyramid.

The Pyramid

The investigators allowed Jose to leave when they arrived at the pyramid after he promised to notify the police, stating that he would be a dead man for letting Kimbell down. Iris spotted a hole cut into the side of the pyramid through her binoculars, and the investigators decided to sneak in. Helena started a fire with her lantern and a Chinese firework, then ran into the pyramid with Iris. Beryl snuck into a nearby car and managed to take out a couple of Kimbell’s men as she sped away.

In the pyramid, Iris and Helena discovered a cache of weapons. They explored a long hallway, and discovered Jackson Elias and two other men inside a room with a makeshift lock. The pair tried unsuccessfully to pick the lock before Iris shot it off with her handgun. The group fled the pyramid to meet up with Beryl. On the way out, Helena dropped a lit firework into the ammunition. Regrouped and in the car, the investigators sped off into the jungle as an massive explosion rocked the pyramid.

As they approached an old bridge in the jungle, the investigators encountered Walter Kimbell and some men in another car. Kimbell ordered the investigators to surrender. When they refused, a car chase through the jungle erupted. Iris shot out one of Kimbell’s tires, and Helena dropped firework under the car, causing the driver to wreck into a ravine.

As the Investigators turned around to head toward Campeche, Beryl noticed an albino owl waiting patiently on Kimbell’s wrecked car.

Upon reaching the city, the group notified the Federales of the events in the jungle, then spent several days with Jackson Elias on the beach. Elias said that the investigators’ remaining time in Campeche would be on his dime. Elias left early, leaving behind a note saying that he was heading for Morocco to work on another story.

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Episode 1 - Room 410
New York

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On January, 6th,1925, Helena Hamilton received a telegram from Jackson Elias, sent from the SS Rothgard while at sea. He said that he had information on the ill-fated Carlyle expedition and requested that she gather an investigative team.

The team, comprised of Helena, Beryl, Iris, Archibald, and Cornelius, decided to surprise Jackson as his freighter arrived at 2:30 a.m. on January 14th. Jackson appeared very disheveled, and quickly excused himself after requesting to meet with them at his Chelsea hotel room on the 15th at 8:00 p.m.

The team went to meet Jackson at room 410, but there was no answer at the door. Beryl convinced a housekeeper to unlock his room, and the team quickly stumbled upon the gutted corpse of Jackson. As the team recoiled in horror, several of them noticed a hooded figure disappear behind the window sill. Running to the window, they watched a figure in a dark robe race down the fire escape to join two other hooded men in an idling car which disappeared into the night. Iris recorded the license plate. While searching the room, the team found a box full of evidence from Jackson’s travels. Iris noticed strange marks on his forehead, and drew them.

The police, led by Sgt. Poole, arrived on the scene and questioned the team. He noticed injection marks on Elias’ arms, and concluded that he must be a heroin addict who got mixed up with the wrong crowd. He recorded the team’s names and allowed them to leave.

The following morning, Beryl contacted Erica Carlyle’s assistant to schedule a meeting, but was told that she is too busy. She said that it related to Roger’s disappearance; Erica’s PA told her not to mention that to Erica.

Then, the team decided to split up to follow-up on the evidence.

Iris and Beryl went to the library to follow-up on Jackson’s attempts to obtain a book, which they learned to be Africa’s Dark Sects. While there, the two found information on the symbol carved into Jackson’s forehead; it belonged to The Cult of the Bloody Tongue, a death cult that was banished from Dynastic Egypt.

Helena contacted Prof. Anthony Crowles with Miskatonic University, to request his lecture notes. She then contacted Emmerson Imports to schedule a visit. The staff said that they frequently received shipments for Silas M’Kwane, owner of the Ju-Ju House. They described them as strange cultural artifacts from Africa. She also learned that Jackson Elias had inquired about Silas.

Cornelius used his police contacts and found out that the escape car was reported missing before Jackson’s murder, and was found on 12th street the following morning, unharmed.

The team decided to split up that evening; Helena, Beryl, and Archibald went to investigate the Ju-Ju House, while Cronelius and Iris went to 12th street to search for clues.

The Ju-Ju House was a cramped voodoo shop owned by a seemingly gentle older African man. The team inquired about Jackson, but Silas denied any knowledge of him. He also denied knowing anything about the Cult of the Bloody Tongue or its symbol. However, while discussing his wares, the team noticed a pendant with the emblem carved into Jackson’s forehead around Silas’ neck. They quickly excused themselves.

The trio hid across the street and watched Silas close up for the night, then shortly after put a candle in the window. Slowly, a group of approximately 20 robed figures arrived at the shop and went inside. Beryl phoned the police, stating that she believes there’s a connection. The police arrived and spoke with a stern, 40-something African man, who seemed to stare directly at the investigators in their hiding spot.

Cornelius and Iris found nothing of interest on 12th street.

As the team retired for the night, they found that their homes had been broken into, but nothing of value was taken. They all decided to sleep at Corenlius’ heavily-guarded home. They became paranoid that the police were involved.

The next morning, Sgt. Poole arrived and demanded to speak with the investigators, telling them that Prospero Press had been broken into on the night of Jackson’s murder. He urged them to come forward with any additional information.

Iris and Beryl returned to the library to follow-up on information in Jackson’s Nairobi notes. They learned that the library was expecting a collection of books from Erica Carlyle in several days and arranged a hold on them.

Helena went to see Jonah, editor of Prospero Press. He gave her a letter from Jackson stating that he was investigating the Carlyle massacre and believes that some of the members survived. He also gave her a stack of notes he had written about his investigation, as well as a final note which seemed to reflect Jackson’s slowly unraveling mind. It said that all of the Carlyle primaries had survived and that something unspeakable is coming. He also wrote that he was having dreams, similar to those that Carlyle reportedly had before the expedition. He was determined to find Carlyle’s psychotherapy notes to investigate further. Jonah offered to support the investigators in solving the mystery.

Beryl went to see Olivia, a friend of Hypatia Masters. She learned that, shortly before the expedition, Hypatia had been dating Francisco Rodrigo, a Spanish Marxist, and had become pregnant. Knowing they could never be together, Hypatia had an abortion, but became paranoid that her boyfriend would find out. Shortly after, Carlyle invited her on the expedition and she used it to escape. Olivia confessed her guilt, stating she gave Hypatia the contact information for her abortion doctor, and had encouraged her to go on the expedition. Beryl also pieced together that Olivia is now with Francisco.

Beryl then went to see Erica, and barged into her office. Erica didn’t want to talk about her brother’s expedition and said that she’d sold all of his books to the library after learning that Beryl had been wanting information. She said that she wanted everything connected to the expedition out of her home. She mentioned that, before the expedition, Roger began seeing an African woman named, “Anastasia” (a likely alias), whom she’s convinced talked Roger into the whole mess. She claims this woman went on the expedition, even though she is not mentioned in any reports. Erica also said that Anastasia used Roger’s money to purchase old tomes. Eventually, Erica invited Beryl to her Eclipse galla on January 25th.

Cornelius spoke with Michael Graham, owner of the escape car, and learned that the police had searched it for evidence, but it was otherwise not harmed in any way.

Iris did some further research and determined that the Stumbling Tiger Bar is located in Shanghai.

Helena received Prof. Crowle’s lecture notes, which mention a cult in Australia.

The next day, Carlyle’s books were available at the library. The team spent the day studying, and Helena discovered two spells. Beryl read a diary, Life as a God, which describes the Cult of the Black Pharaoh and contained a cryptic passage about a occult ceremony.

Reviewing the clues, the team decided to retrace Jackson’s steps by going to London, using the assistance of Prospero Press to hide their identities. As they prepared for their journey, Helena went to see Prof. Crowley, who noted some similarities in Jackson’s injuries and the practices of the Australian bat cult. He also offered the full support of the Armitage Trust, a foundation that searches for evidence of the supernatural.

Several days later, as the rest of team boarded a ship bound for London, Beryl called Sgt. Poole and left a cryptic message with all of the information on Jackson’s murder that the team had been able to obtain.

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Episode 2 - The Thing in the Mist
London, Part 1

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The Investigators set sail for London aboard a small steamer. Their travel costs and boarding accommodations were arranged by Jonah Kensington, with Prospero Press. Helena notified her friend, Darzim, of their arrival date and requested his assistance with their investigation.

Upon arriving in South Hampton, the team took a train to London where they met with Mr. Humphrey, the owner of the small bed and breakfast where the team would be staying.

The following day, the team began to follow-up on Elias’ leads.

Iris went to the Oxford library, but was unable to find further information on the Brotherhood of the Black Pharaoh or the Cult of the Bloody Tongue.

Archibald went to the Naval Authority. There was no information on the ship photo, but he learned that there is an importer in the Limehouse Docks owned by Punji Chabout, that imports things from Egypt and China.

Helena went to meet with Mickey Mahoney, an old friend of Jackson Elias who runs a tabloid called The Scoop. Mahoney reported that Jackson was cagey during his visit in November or December, and that he’d asked to review some old archives. He showed particular interest in a story about a surrealist painter and a string of immigrant murders on the Thames.

Beryl met with Graham Bishop, and old flame who works for Parliament, and determined that the Egyptian politician that the Carlyle Expedition met with has no real significance.

Helena & Darzim went to meet with Inspector Barrington, lead investigator on the Thames murders. He told them that he had met with Jackson Elias, who had believed the deaths may be related to the Brotherhood of the Black Pharaoh. Barrington had interviewed Edward Gavigan and Tewfik al-Sayed, but was told that the cult no longer exists. He told them that all of the victims had their extremities broken before a stake was driven through their heads. He also told them that all of the victims frequented the Blue Pyramid nightclub.

Beryl and Archibald then went to the Penhew Foundation, posing under false names as a team preparing an expedition to Egypt that would follow Carlyle’s. Edward Gavigan, the Executive Director of the Penhew Foundation, did not wish to reveal any details of the Carlyle Expedition, but warned the two that the Carlyle Expedition had cost many lives and did not return any artifacts of real value. He referred the two to Tewfik al-Sayed, the owner of a spice shop, if they needed additional information on Egyptian lore (or an Arabic translator).

That night, the team went to the Blue Pyramid. The nightclub was packed with a diverse crowd of English citizens and Egyptian immigrants. The bartender did not seem interested in discussing the murders, merely saying that the they were probably victims of gang violence. While exploring the club, Beryl met Ahmed Abdullah, a young, captivating Egyptian man. Beryl told him that she and her friends were “doing Europe”. He told the team that he vaguely knew some of the victims, but not personally. He also believed that there was gang violence involved. He denied any knowledge of the Brotherhood of the Black Pharaoh, stating that it was merely an Egyptian superstition to scare children.

Meanwhile, Archibald met Yalesha, a young Egyptian belly-dancer. Upon asking her about the murders, Yalesha requested to meet with Archibald in the alley behind the bar at midnight.

Archibald discovered an unmarked door near the bathrooms. After notifying the others, Archibald, Helena, and Darzim failed miserably to make their way to the door without drawing attention. The door led to a long hall filled with empty offices. At the end was an exit leading to an alley behind the club. Archibald found nothing of note in the alley, but as he made his way back toward the club, he was attacked by an invisible Being that began to suffocate him. Helena ran to call the others, and the team desperately tried to remove the Being. Iris determined that the creature must have an elemental weakness. In his dying moments, Archibald motioned frantically toward his flashlight before convulsing in death.

As the team reeled in shock, the Being attempted to latch onto Beryl, who managed to avoid its grasping tentacles and run back into the nightclub, followed by the others. Beryl found Yalesha and slammed her against the wall, accusing her of murdering Archibald. Yalesha seemed shocked at the news and asked to meet with the investigators elsewhere at the end of her shift. The group decided to reconvene at the Lumpy Dog Pub.

Most of the group left for the pub, while Beryl and Darzim watched the pub from across the street. Beryl noticed Ahmed Abdullah staring at her from across the street. He then fled on a bicycle upon being discovered. Beryl hailed a cab and followed him until he disappeared into Tewfik al-Sayed’s spice shop.

At the Lumpy Dog Pub, Yalesha warned the investigators that they were placing themselves in grave danger by digging into the murders, and that they were likely already being watched. Yalesha went on the say that there is a mob-like group in London known as the Brotherhood. The group helps Egyptian immigrants come to London illegally, but then demands tributes, dirty jobs, and other forms of repayment. Yalesha had been made to work in the bar, while her brother had to do other work; she did not know what it was, but feared that it involved drugs or other illegal activity. Fearing for her brother, she followed him to the Blue Pyramid one night and saw him and a large group of other young men get on a bus. Her brother did not come back; she believes he is dead. She began to notice that this bus ride happens on every new moon; the next will be February 8th. Yalesha begged the investigators to be more careful, stating that there are dark, magical forces at work in London. She and the Investigators swapped contact information, and she promised to be of service in any way that she could.

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Episode 3 - Thieves in the Night

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Still in shock from the death of Archibald, the team committed themselves to further unraveling the mystery while Helena Hamilton spent several days recovering from the shock of the recent events.

The Investigators sent word to Archibald’s mother, Eunice, via telegram. She joined them in London one week later.

Iris and Beryl went to Miles Shipley’s home, following the lead from The Scoop. They met with his mother, a kindly old woman, as well as the artist himself, a disheveled, possibly drug-addicted young man. They viewed some of his work- sexually-charged scenes of horror and violence- and Beryl purchased one of the more tasteful pieces. Miles was not classically trained, and said that his career began when a stranger in a bar encouraged his work and promised to show him incredible things.

Eunice, Cornelius, and Darzim went to Tewfik al-Sayed’s spice shop, where they learned that Ahmed Abdullah is a part-time employee. They also learned that Tewfik specializes in black market activity, including smuggling illegal goods. The team met with Tewfik under the pretense of wanting to purchase illegal goods, but when the conversation shifted to Jackson Elias and the Carlyle expedition, the team was quickly escorted out.

That evening, the team went to the Limehouse Docks and broke into the storage warehouse owned by Punji Chabout. There, they discovered various crates being shipped to Ho Fong in Shangai. The crates were full of strange statues, and, more curiously, various electrical and mechanical odds and ends made from strange metals.

Following that, the team went to Miles Shipley’s home. Beryl broke in and discovered several tomes, several vials of purple liquid and a syringe, as well as a strange painting that seemed to come to life as she looked at it. As she fled, she briefly saw Miles’ mother in the form of a reptile.

Then, the team decided to break into Tewfik al-Sayed’s shop after watching him leave for the Blue Pyramid. Eunice ound various scrolls and tomes, as well as vials of strange powder to be used with the Mirror of Gal in Tewfik’s living room in order to scry and torment foes from afar. They also discovered a letter to Tewfik stating that Jackson Elias had been “dealt with” and that “more gnats are buzzing in his place”. The letter demands that Tewfik “take care” of Charlie Bucket and Violet Beauregard, and suggests that Sir Aubrey Penhew is alive. It was signed by Edward Gavigan.

Following that lead, the team decided to break in to the Penhew Foundation. There, Iris found several Mythos tomes and artifacts, including statues of a Bloated Woman and a beast with a dragon body and octopus head, as well as a bust of the Black Pharaoh.

After returning to their bed and breakfast, the team reviewed the information they had gathered, and began to discuss whether they should further investigate the bus that leaves from the Blue Pyramid, or flee London for Shanghai or Cairo.

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