Realms of Cthulhu: Masks of Nyarlathotep

Meeting Jackson Elias
Whispers behind door. Knocked. No answer. Went home. Campaign over.

Okay, so it was a little more exciting than that…

January 15th, 1925

Our daring heroes were contacted by Jonah Kensington, and hired to be the watchdogs over his prize author, Jackson Elias. They arrived at the Chelsea Hotel, and made their way up to room 412. However, upon arriving at the door, the characters over-heard the sound of shuffling feet just inside. Kugler was the first to open the door, and was greeted by the sight of Elias’ corpse, cut to ribbons on his bed. His stomach had been slashed from stem to sternum, and the walls were coated with his blood. Standing over the rapidly cooling corpse were two men, wearing African tribal masks and wielding long bush knives.

Murder scene

One of the men fired at Kugler, who returned a quick shot, and took down the first assailant. His partner threw his long knife at Kugler, but the throw went wide, and the attacker smashed out a window and started down the fire escape. Reid tried to close with him, but a third attacker, lurking just behind the door, tried to take him down. Luckily, Reid was too quick for him, and stunned him just long enough for Maloney and Morgan to make short work of him.

Carriage and Kugler then headed to the window, and tried shooting the fleeing attacker, who was rapidly making his way down to a waiting Hudson Roadster. Unfortunately, the alley proved too dark to get a clear shot, and it looked like he was getting away. At least, until Morgan took a flying leap out of the window and landed on top of the idling car! Maloney more prudently decided to take the stairs, and jumped up on the driver’s side running board of the moving vehicle. He then wrested control of the car away from the driver, and steered it into a concrete wall, killing the driver and seriously injuring the passenger, but escaping from harm themselves.

A quick search of the attackers and the hotel room led to a whole host of clues being discovered, which revealed some of what Elias’ expected. The group attempted to interrogate the sole survivor, but unable to speak his language, they were unable to get any information from him. He was then turned over to the police to face his judgement.

Returning to Kensington’s office, the PCs informed him of Elias’ demise, and pressed Kensington for more details. Kensington turned over what notes Elias’ had entrusted to him, and promised the group to fund any research required to find out what Elias knew.

Our boys then hit the streets, and were able to make the following connections:
  • A message is waiting for Professor Cowles at his office on the Miskatonic campus.
  • Dr. Robert Huston’s medical records were transferred to the Medical Affairs Board, near Park Avenue and 61st Street.
  • Kugler and Carriage tried to get an audience with Erica Carlyle, but were unsuccessful. They were informed to come back a week from Tuesday (January 27th, 1925).
  • Reid and Morgan broke into Emerson Imports, where Morgan viciously attacked an otherwise innocent security guard, and found links to a Silas N’Kwane at a place called the Ju-Ju House in Harlem, and his possible supplier in Mombasa.
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Horror at Ju-Ju House
Well, it was a total party kill. For a party of one!

January 16th, 1925

After the excitement of the previous evening, our investigators began their research in earnest. A glance through the newspapers showed scant coverage of Elias’s murder, but Reid did note that Erica Carlyle was planning a benefit at her home to raise money for single mothers and their children. With an entry fee of only $25, the group thought that it might be worth attending … if only to case the joint.

Meanwhile, our group headed down to Emerson Imports to speak with the owner and manager Arthur Emerson. He confirmed that Silas N’Kwane is one of his clients, the proprietor of the Ju-Ju House, a small shop in Harlem.

The team traveled there to ask N’Kwane some questions, but their interrogation was interrupted by the arrival of Mukunga M’Dari, whose presence both disturbed and frightened the team. Retiring to a nearby coffee shop, Reid, Kugler, and Fitzgerald watched the outside, while Morgan tried to get a closer look.

Morgan first checked out an abandoned pawn shop that faced the Ju-Ju House, but found no signs of recent activity. However, while looking around the outside, he noticed a moving curtain in a high window, then saw human shapes moving beyond it. He then saw two shadowy forms cross an alley mouth across from him, followed by footsteps from the other end of the building. He crouched low, fixing a set of brass knuckles to his fist, and waited for the first one to step around the corner. When he did, he saw a flashing blade slicing down towards him, and ducked beneath it, rolling to the side. He stood to throw a punch at his assailant, when the second attacker thrust at him … and then darkness.

Meanwhile, the team in the coffee shop began to get concerned over their partner, and followed his route into the alleyway. They saw the, now opened, pawn shop door, and saw just a hint of red blood splatter against the wall. They knew that the men at the Ju-Ju House had something to do with it. But where was Morgan?

Circling to the rear entrance, Fitzgerald rigged an electric battery to the door handle, then they pounded on the rear door for all it was worth. When one of the cultists came to investigate, he was thrown to the floor by the shock, where he was quickly subdued. The team then headed inwards, and found a trap door that lead to a dark basement. They could just make out the ritual carvings in the walls as they made their way to a stoat oaken door, bound with iron. They opened the door, and were greeted by a nightmarish scene: N’Kwane, M’Dari, and the remaining cultist were marking the corpse of Morgan with ritual cult symbols. A group of walking dead mechanically rotated a winch that was raising up a heavy stone block. And from beneath the block arose an earthly cacophony of moans, screams, and cries.

Gunfire, fisticuffs, eldritch energy, and the cultists lay dead on the floor. Reid sealed the pit shut by cutting the winch line loose, and several new artifacts were discovered…

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The Carlyle Affair
"No, really, this isn't what it looks like."

Following last week’s harrowing encounter at the JuJu House, our brave PCs responded as all good investigators should: by burning it to the ground. Only a timely phone call to the New York Fire Department prevented the flames from spreading and consuming the tenements that surrounded the doomed structure. The heroes then collected the artifacts and retired to home base to read and ponder the found mysteries.

Shortly afterwards, Father Michael Maloney received a call from Jonah Kensington, letting him know that both Miriam Atwright and Professor Anthony Cowles had been trying to get in touch with him. Miss Atwright revealed that Africa’s Dark Sects was only read by two other people: Professor Henry Armitage, of Arkham University, and John Scott, late of Boston. It seemed that this lead was going nowhere.

However, Professor Cowles was able to provide considerably more information. He hinted that the strange mask found might be related to legends of mighty Cthulhu, and part of a Australian aboriginal legend involving a deity called The Sand Bat. He was able to provide a short synopsis of his lecture, and promised to provide the group with some more detailed notes.

Meanwhile, Detective Carriage was summoned to the precinct house by his Lieutenant. He was surprised to see a feisty 12-year old girl attempting to kick the shins of some poor patrol man. Carriage was shocked to discover that this child was Rowan Morgan, the younger sister of the late and lamented Brian Morgan. Knowing that she was now an orphan, Carriage allowed her to tag along with him, until a more suitable situation might be discovered.

It worked out for the best, however, as tonight was the night for Erica Carlyle’s fund raiser at her home in Westchester County. Meant to raise funds for single mothers and their children, Rowan’s presence only served to highlight their plight … and gave young Rowan and Father Maloney ample opportunity to slip away from the festivities to look for Roger Carlyle’s private safe.

Reid, Fitzgerald, Kugler, and Carriage took this opportunity to scan the main party hall, and found the lovely Erica Carlyle, her confidant Bradley Grey, and a host of other burly, and somewhat Mediterranean looking security guards. Reid covered for Morgan and Maloney, while Fitzgerald struck up a conversation with Grey, and Kugler took the opportunity to cozy up to Miss Carlyle.

Grey offered some information about Roger Carlyle, informing Fitzgerald that he had left the estate in dire financial straits, and that his sister had saved the family from the brink of ruin. He also mentioned that she kept some of Roger’s books locked away somewhere, but he didn’t know where. He also agreed to set up a meeting with Erica, should Fitzgerald desire.

Erica took quite a liking to the strikingly handsome Kugler, even going so far as to politely ignore his choice of profession. She made it clear that he would be welcome to call on her again, but offered no other information.

Maloney and Morgan, the two troublemakers, quickly searched the mansion’s library, and discovered a secret catch that released a swinging bookshelf. Behind this shelf was a small safe, which Rowan set to opening, while Maloney watched the door. A curious guard almost blew their cover, but Maloney’s fast thinking … and quick right hook … kept him from sounding an alarm.

The safe only contained a quartet of books, which Maloney and Rowan quickly secreted about their person, then quickly made their escape. The group then retreated back to base again, and began to lay plans to head towards wild Australia.

Found Items

New Leads

  • Professor Cowles plans on returning to Australia in the future.
  • A man named McWhirr wrote a diary relating attacks by Australian aboriginals on his expedition.
  • Bradley Grey can set up a meeting with Erica Carlyle
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Off to the Land Down Under
"No! No, no, no, no, no, no, no!"

After spending a few days studying their newly discovered texts, the team boarded a ship bound for Sydney, Australia. Professor Cowles advised them that Arthur MacWhirr’s original diary could be found in Cowles’s home there, so he advised them to speak with his associate, Dr. David Dodge. Dodge was only too pleased to hand over the diary, but seemed to not know much about it or its contents. They then researched some local art houses, and were able to discern an alarming undercurrent of Mythos activity. They also discovered that there had been a handful of disturbing attacks on random citizens, perpetrated by thugs wielding baseball-type bats with nails pounded through them.

The team then boarded another small craft to head to Port Hedland, there to meet Robert Mackenzie, who knew MacWhirr personally. Mackenzie assured the PCs that MacWhirr had died of influenza, but had entrusted him with precise location of his find: 22°3’14” South by 125°0’39”. Mackenzie also arranged for transportation and supplies to this site through a man named Donnelly, who would meet the group in a town named Cuncudgerie, south of Port Hedland.

In Port Hedland, the group was just getting ready to settle in for the night, when the bar door flew open, and an old swagman with a shock of red hair, burst in, claiming to have seen a ghost. After calming him down, he revealed that his name was “Ginger” Muldoon. He had been out “hunting” (more likely poaching, from the sound of it) out near a rock outcropping called Dingo Falls, when his campsite was visited by a horrible apparition: a man wreathed in flames and fire. The entity reached for him, but Muldoon fled, and didn’t stop until reaching the pub that night.

Other patrons at the bar mentioned that a swagman had gone missing within the past year, a traveler named Bill Buckley. It was thought that Buckley had run afoul of the Slattery Clan, but no one could confirm this.

Investigators being investigators, they gathered up their gear and went forth. In the growing twilight, they could see a strange figure at the base of the rock, urging them forward. As they moved closed, they could see what looked like another swagman, but before they could see his features, he moved into the shadows of the rock and disappeared. Coming after him, they then saw three cave mouths, some 20’ over the ground, with the mysterious swagman gesturing them forward. Rowan took the end of some rope, and free climbed up to the cave’s mouth. As she began to affix the rope, she heard an unearthly sound from somewhere in the darkness: a man’s voice quietly singing Waltzing Matilda.

The rest of the group scrambled up the rock face, and went deeper into the cave. They uncovered the now-bare skeleton of what looked like a swagman, but noticed that he was missing his boots. It was then that Buckley’s spirit made his appearance, and it was clear that the spirit, like the skeleton, was also missing any footwear.

It now remains for the PCs to determine what is to come next.

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Facing the Slatterys
"Quick, to the truck! Agghh! Quick, to the mine!"

After discussing how to handle their new knowledge about the fate of Bill Buckley, the heroes decided to go talk to the Slattery family, and at least get their side of the story. They arrived at the decrepit homestead about noon to find that the boys were nowhere to be found. They examined the house, but found nothing more than some sickly sheep, a freshly butchered sheep carcass, and enough grit, grime, and dirt to last them for days. It was then that the Slatterys decided to head home, and, mistaking the investigators for intruders, commenced a firefight.

It wasn’t long before the Slatterys were beaten, and further investigation revealed that Vern Slattery, the father, knew more about Buckley’s death than he was willing to let on. Reid discovered an old cricket bat stashed in the work shed. The shape of the weapon matched the wounds that Buckley showed, and a trace of dried blood revealed that it indeed was the murder weapon. The Slatterys were then turned over to the authorities in order to be brought to justice.

After dealing with the ruffians, the group met with Mackenzie’s man Donnelly, who set them up with a pair of trucks and some other supplies to last them through the desert trip. They then set off for Bundibinni Well, which was the nearest water source to MacWhirr’s dig site. Along the way, they met up with a wandering Koori, who warned them that a new cult was active in the area, headed up by some “white fella”. He also said that they used the symbol of the Sand Bat, and that if they saw a peculiar five-toed footprint, to run the other way.

Upon beginning their journey again, the driver took a wrong turn, and the group found themselves at a mining site nestled among some rock outcroppings. The area looked abandoned, but there were dried out bones and corpses around, as well as an empty explosives shack, a makeshift lean-to with canned food stuffs under it, and several of the forewarned five-toed foot prints…

It wasn’t long before the maker of the prints made it’s appearance. Flying Amorphous Thing The heroes tried to hide, but the creature spotted Maloney, and pinned him into place with its wind attack. The rest of the group tried to make for their trucks, but the creature flattened the cab of one with a swipe of its tentacles, then dashed the other against the rock wall. With no where left to run, the group ran for the mouth of the mine, where the overloaded mine elevator broke free, and plunged the group into darkness.

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Under the Australian Desert
"Give me what you got..."

After plummeting into the dark mine shaft, the group shakes off their wounds and investigates their surroundings. The broken elevator has left them stranded, but part of the shaft wall had collapsed, revealing a long, strangely decorated corridor. They follow it, and discover that they have found an entryway into the City of the Great Race. It seems they aren’t the only inhabitants, as Jeremy Grogan meets them, and tells of what he knows of a man named “Carver”.

The group also discovers that “Carver” has found the same city, and has strung electric lights along some of the corridors. Some men are assigned to maintaining these lights, and the group runs into such a crew, but made short work of them before they could set off an alarm. Our heroes follow that crew’s path back to a research laboratory, where Kakakatak is being held prisoner. In return for setting the creature free, Kakakatak tells him as much as he knows of “Carver, known as Huston”, including a partial map of the city.

The group follows Kakakatak to a hidden library, where Kakakatak gives them one of his race’s Lightning Guns by way of reward, and also delivers much new Mythos knowledge to them.

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Against the Cult of the Sand Bat
"Ya gotta ask yerself one question... are you right with the Lord?"

Leaving their good buddy Kakakatak behind, the group takes a copy of his map and moves deeper into the lost City.

They find their way to Huston’s headquarters, now convinced that he is the mysterious “Carver” that Grogan and Kakakatak spoke of. They found a wide cavern, housing a makeshift structure holding supplies, cages with human prisoners, and what looked like Huston’s living space. Rowan Morgan was able to get close enough to Huston to have a conversation, which seemed to both delight and impress the old man, while Reid tried to get close enough to eavesdrop.

When Huston rang his bell to summon tea, and the servant clad in cult robes stepped from the shadows, all hell broke loose. The cultist spotted Reid hiding in the shadows, and even though Reid had the drop on him, the cultist went for his boomerang anyway, but missed hitting the hidden detective. Reid shot back, alerting Huston that something was up, and Huston leveled his own lightning gun at Rowen. Carriage had seen enough, and used his lightning gun to cut through the structure’s supports, sending the combatants crashing to the floor.

Huston was apprehended, and revealed several details about his own survival. He blamed the failure of the expedition squarely on Carlyle’s shoulders, saying that Carlyle’s fascination with a woman named M’Weru was at fault. He also claimed that he was a prisoner of the cult, and that they were using his knowledge and expertise to complete their goals. The team wasn’t buying it, and decided to end Huston’s life. However, in doing so, they inadvertently released Huston’s pet Flying Polyp, that tried to kill all the standing characters. A few short lightning bolts later, and the thing ran scurrying back to its hole.

Fitzgerald searched through Huston’s meager possessions, and found a copy of Huston’s memoir Gods of Reality. It mentioned something about a ritual to take place at three locations, and named an “M” on a mountain somewhere, and a “P” on an island, but gave no details. The group suspected that “M” stood for Masters, and that the mountain might be in Kenya, while “P” would mean Penhew, and that he might be in England. Kenya being closer, the team decided to make that their next stop.

However, their work in the underground caverns was far from complete, and they took the fight to the Cult of the Sand Bat directly. Following Kakakatak’s directions, they went to the Purple Dome Temple, and surprised the cult in the middle of one of their horrific sacrifices.

The ritual in action

Maloney, being strong in the Lord, strode forward towards the crowd. “Ya gotta ask yerselves one question,”, he said, ”... are you right with the Lord?” The cultists, being about as far from the Lord as anyone could be, fell upon him with the cult’s signature weapon: long clubs studded with animal teeth. Maloney found that being strong with the Lord didn’t help him much, and fell broken to the ground. Reid tried to using Huston’s lightning gun, but the alien technology failed him on his first try. He then switched to the more reliable technology of Messrs. Smith and Wesson, but to no avail.

Carriage and Fitzgerald laid down covering fire from a set of alcoves by the cavern’s entrance, but not before the cultists awoke the guardian of the temple, an Avatar of Sand Bat himself. The beast strode forward, confident that no force on earth could stop it … and was greeted by most unearthly lighting bolts from Carriage’s weapon. The bolts raked across its skin, sending it reeling against the pillars, before it finally succumbed. Seeing their pet beast destroyed, the surviving cultists fled into the darkness.

The now freed sacrifices introduced themselves as lost prospectors, and offered to take the characters back to civilization .. provided they can find their way out of the darkness…

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Foggy London Town
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