― Samuel Johnson, The Life of Samuel Johnson LL.D. Vol. III
Well, we managed a first in the latest session of my Masks of Nyarlathotep campaign - an entire play session without any real combat. That's not to say there weren't any deaths of course. After all, these are my players we're talking about!
It was also the first session that saw the players move out of North America, as they travelled to London town, leaving dangers unchecked behind, and more to be discovered ahead.
This session started in the early hours of the morning of Wednesday 24th January, 1925. The investigators were in Harry's car, rapidly leaving Harlem, with a captured cultist tied up in the boot. They decide to head north out of the city and find a secluded wooded area in which to question the cultist. Things immediately get off to a bad start with Tso Yoo hauling the cultist out of the trunk of the car by his privates!
The cultist pleaded ignorance when questioned on the whereabouts of Silas N'Kwane, and so Harry decided to get involved in his own inimitable style - with a game of Russian Roulette. Despite three attempts at this intimidation the cultist continued to plead ignorance.
Meanwhile Mr Yoo thought he had seen something lurking in the woods. Panicked (and still suffering from his encounter with the Mask of Hayama) he ran back to the car, threw himself into the back seat, and covered his head with a blanket.
His "game" having drawn no results Harry decided to end things by shooting the cultist in the head. A shocked group consequently lost more SAN, and concerns grew that Harry was becoming as bad as the forces the investigators were supposed to be fighting. A discussion ensued and it was agreed it might be for the best if they left the U.S. for a while to let things die down. They had several leads that pointed to London, so decided to head back to the city and make arrangements to travel there.
After calling in on Jonah Kensington, who agreed to help make the travel arrangements, the investigators paid a quick visit to Cutter in the hospital to check he was recovering and to pick up the copy of Africa's Dark Sects that they had left with him. He hadn't been well enough to do much reading.
The next day the investigators boarded the Laurentides, a passenger steamer bound for Southampton. As the ship pulled out from the city's harbour the group looked back at New York with mixed feelings. They were leaving behind a dangerous cult unchecked, and no wiser as to it's aims (and consequently I decided not to award them any SAN as they recovered on the journey). It remained to be seen whether they would regret their actions of the previous two weeks.
Four days later the Laurentides arrived in England. The journey had been uneventful and the group had taken the time to recover and practise some of their skills. Mr Yoo had locked himself away with the copy of Africa's Dark Sects, loosening his already fragile grip on sanity even more. Harry managed to critical his Fast Talk to get a bag through customs unchecked. It contained some of the groups guns. I fear what this single critical roll might mean for the future of England's peace!
|What horrors will the investigators encounter in London?|
An evening train to Victoria Station was taken and the group found a good hotel on The Mall. A good nights sleep was had by all, and the next day they set out to the offices of The Scoop, a local newspaper on Fleet Street. The editor, a grubby Irish journalist called Mickey Mahoney was a known friend and source for Jackson Elias when he had visited London.
Mahoney welcomed the investigators warmly telling them he had been saddened to hear of Elias' death in New York. He allowed them free access to the papers archives and pointed out three stories that Elias had taken particular interest in before he had cut his visit to London short and moved on to New York. He also mentioned that Elias was researching a well-connected cult in the city, but he knew of no details.
The three stories that Elias had shown interest in had concerned a local painter of particularly gruesome and disturbing vistas, a series of murders in the city that had become known as the Egyptian Murders due to the nationality of most of the victims, and a strange case of some mysterious beast haunting the villagers of Lesser Edale in Derbyshire.
The party retired to to local pub and invited Mahoney to join them for a drink, which he did, proceeding to drink the rest of the group under the table. On the way back to the hotel the investigators decided to call in on Miles Shipley, the talented artist of disturbing scenes that Elias had shown interest in. They made their way to Holbein Mews, and the Yoo brothers knocked on the door to number 6. They were greeted by a friendly old lady who introduced herself as Bertha Shipley and who asked them to return the next morning if they were interested in purchasing one of her son's paintings.
So, the next morning the investigators duly made their way through the fog-shrouded streets of London to Miles Shipley's home. They decided that the Yoo brothers would go alone whilst the others kept a rather chilly vigil outside.
Bertha opened the door once more and invited the two Chinese men inside, introducing them to her son, Miles. They did not need a psychology roll to see that Miles was quite mad - his stuttering and twitchy demeanour made it obvious. After a brief discussion they went upstairs to the garret loft where Miles had his studio, and Mr Yoo and Tso Yoo began to inspect some of the paintings. They were all very disturbing in nature, with vibrant colours and a worrisome attention to detail.
Tso Yoo purchased a painting of an ancient urn for £100. The urn was greek in design, and the figures on the urn were depicted performing cruel mutilations on restrained victims, and coupling with ill-drawn bent-backed things. Mr Yoo purchased a self-portrait of the artist that depicted his shape as blotchy and inchoate. He was in shadow, seated, in a garden, with thin green snakes crawling amongst the weeds. The sky seemed blurred and unnatural.
Armed with their purchases, and with no other line of questioning available they were then ushered out of the house by Bertha. On the way out they noticed a strange smell, though they were unable to identify it.
Talking with the rest of the group afterwards both Mr Yoo and Tso Yoo could not help but find their minds drawn back to the strange paintings they had seen. Their was something unnatural about them that preyed on their minds, causing them both to lose a good chunk of SAN.
On that note the session finished. It was a session full of investigation and only one death, some sort of a record! I'm sure things won't remain that way as they follow up on their other leads in London, and continue their investigations into the Shipley household.