Monday, January 12, 2015

CoC #22: Masks of Nyarlathotep - New York, Part Two

For Part One, look here.  For previous storylines, check this.

With the other investigators forced to deal with "real world" commitments, it left pulp writer/parapsychologist Doctor Nathaniel Millheim, his assistant/book agent Brian Nichols,  and Columbia University Professor/Researcher Steven O'Hara to uncover what their good friend Jackson Elias was trying to research. 

Wednesday, January 21, 1925
The trio attended Elias' funeral.  There, they ran into Prospero Press publisher Jonah Kensington again.   Perhaps it was the setting, or the lack of a small mob grilling him earlier, but he invited them back to his office and formerly gave them his notes from Elias (Keeper:  I had forgotten these handouts last session).

Doc Millehim and Steven compiled the notes on Kenya and integrated them into the timeline for the Carlysle Expedition.  Something ill had befallen the group that was not in the original investigation,  but Jackson hadn't figured it out before his death.  The big bombshell was that Jack Brady, Roger Carlysle's friend/assistant/bodyguard was spotted alive in '23!

Thursday, January 22, 1925
Doc met with  Lt Poole, the lead investigator  on the attack and murder of Elias murder (O'Hara had to pretend to work and Nichols was still paranoid over two murder raps in Pennsylvania). Even after a precarious conversation, Poole did not attach Millheim to the scene of the crime.  Doc volunteers to help, but also hires a private eye to see if anyone is trailing their group.

Friday, January 23, 1925
Doc smoothed things over with the importer, which generated a lead to a curio shop in Harlem.

They were not getting any access to Erica Carlysle, Roger's brother and heir to the family fortune.  Steven decided that a donation to one of Erica's charities might earn an invite to an event and a few seconds of conversation.   He hopped the next train to Pennsylvania and decided to schmooze his soon-to-be-ex-wife's parents for the money. 

He might not be able to get much past the wife, but he wowed the in-laws so much a hefty contribution arrived by courier to Erica Carlysle's Charitable Foundation on Monday morning.  Mr & Mrs. O'Hara received invitations to the next soiree that Friday.

Friday, January 30, 1925
The O'Haras bury the hatchet and attend Carlysle's ball.   Steven hob-nobs among the nation's elite, and finally networks with Carlysle's secretary for a meeting.

Sunday, February 1, 1925
Meeting with Erica Carlysle about her brother's expedition was rather unproductive except she admitted that she still had Rogers's books and an interested buyer lined up.  When the investigators expressed interest, her tone changed, "perhaps an appraisal and a formal auction might generate greater value".   The group left their information for Doc Millheim's office.

Monday, February 2, 1925
The investigators headed up to Harlem to visit the Juju House, as advised by the importer/exporter.  Of course, this was the same place that Nichols had frequented before. Besides frightening the shopkeeper while yelling names of cults and dark gods at him, there was little to work on.  When Nathaniel admitted he was a doctor, the man took twenty minutes of their day to look at his bunion.  After a prescription of soaking in warm water and elevating it was given, they had no solid evidence of his involvement and dropped the Harlem investigation.  Nichols succeeded in keeping all his remaining fingers. 

Back at the office, they received a call for Carlysle, confirming a date of February 21st, on the estate grounds.  Their names would be left at the gate.

That night, while Doc Millheim did some honest-to-God-library research at an actual library, Steven and Nichols relaxed at his office, hitting the bath-tub gin, and doing some very casual research among Doc's "normal" books.

Nichols decided to investigate a strange sound coming from the back room of the office (aka the living quarters) and was promptly hit in the face with a bed frame.  A towering presence of the eight-foot Asian man/creature managed to break in through the fire escape and began to tear the office apart.  Nichols was crushed by some bookcases, and Steven had a chunk of his back bitten off by the creature, and a few rakes of its claws across the rest  of the back for good measure.   Doc Millheim returned a few minutes later to find the office destroyed and his friends critically injured.
Take of the silly armor, make him taller, orange-er, and Asian, and you've got the suspect.
It took numerous attempts to get ahold of the rest of the group that night, with no success by the time Lt Poole made an appearance.  After taking Millehim's statement, and one from a barely conscious Nichols, he let them know another ritual killing had taken place in Manhattan.

Specifically, the Private Investigator they had hired.

Keeper Notes:  It was a small session with only three players, but it was certain for every step forward they made, they stumbled backwards three times.   Regarding O'Hara's visit to the in-laws.  While most would find his plan suicidal or foolhardy, a few sub-10% Persuade rolls guaranteed their cooperation, as did a few clutch Persuades with Carlysle's secretary.  Despite his new-found social skills, Steven could do nothing against the creature.

Next up:  Session #3:  Wherever We Are, Let's Get Out of Here!

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