Thursday, January 15, 2015

CoC #23: Masks of Nyarlathotep - New York, Part Three

February 3, 1925
Dr Robert Wintermute "Dr Bob"  had spent the last week and a half back in Arkham.  He had picked up a archeology grad student named Anthony Parks (or Porkins, they seemed interchangable) and began his research in the Orne Library.  Parks translated the German edition of Nameless Cults.  They did find similarities with the Brotherhood of the Beast mentioned in the book and the Cult of the Bloody Tongues, Cult of the Black Wind,  Brotherhood of the Black Pharaoh which had been alluded to previously in Jackson Elias' research.

Parks had grown uneasy with all this strange reading, so to calm the young man down, Dr Bob invited him back to his place, where his cook would whip up a batch of comfort food on the cold evening.  

Friiiiiiiieeeeed chicken!  And perhaps some Manhatten Juleps is the young man could keep a secret (and he had been performing admirably thus far).

Except when they arrived at Dr Bob's home, it wasn't the smell of fried chicken throughout the house, but warm brandy.   A certain Ambrose Mogens was sitting in one the comfy chairs in Dr Bob's parlor. 

Anthony was dispatched to the kitchen to make some drinks and a rather one-sided discussion was conducted as Mogens stated that once he discovered who was responsible for the torching of his estate in Queens, he could have easily squashed the investigators like a bug.  

"If you listen to reason, you will avoid New York entirely, and I will not pursue a course of well-deserved revenge."  

In defense of a startled and mightily terrified Dr Bob, he did manage to garner some information out of Mogens  regarding the Cult of the Bloody Tongue and few more cults he was familiar with. Mogens warned him that the Bloody Tongue was extremely violent and never negotiated.  Of course, they were rather "dumb" as an organization, and relegated themselves to the poorer neighborhoods and only had influence in Africa.  The Cult of the Black Pharaoh was simply the other side of the Bloody Tongue coin, perhaps only separated by geography and language. 

Mogens even acquiesed to a refinement by Dr Bob to his "terms"  the investigators would provide advanced warning and a detailed itinerary to Mogens if they wanted to return to the City and still be permitted to live.

After some uncomfortable small-talk, Mogens stood up and bid the good professor adieu, but not before providing him with a few more crumbs of information.  The Widow Carson (P.I.) had been dispatched to New Orleans to conduct a "big job" which would keep her occupied for the near future, if she managed to survive.  He also advised that Dr Wintermute answered the phone as soon as it rang.   Mogens shut the front door, somehow locking it from the inside, and just then, the phone rang.

It was Dr. Millheim

Brian Nichols was recovering for at least the night in the hospital and Steven O'Hara was put under general anesthesia due to the grievous wounds he suffered under the Giant Oriental beast-man.

Millheim had tried to contact Wintermute first, but he was still in the basement of the library, so he called the next person on a very short list, Joshua Wanisko.  The pair met at Steven O'Hara's brownstone and went over what had transpired before trying Wintermute again.

He filled Wintermute in on the fate of their comrades, Wintermute briefly provided his conversation with Mogens,  and it was determined that the best course of action would be to salvage what they could from their New York offices and homes and head up to Arkham. 

February 4, 1925
Nichols was discharged, and with Steve still having a terrible go at the hospital,  the rest packed up  books, equipment, and whatever weapons they didn't ditch during the police investigation  and hopped a train to Massachusetts for refuge.

They went over Wintermute's new knowledge from Nameless Cults and the inconsistent notes from the team's work in New York.  Harlem and Roger's psych records or treatments that Dr Huston had been glossed over, but they were very excited in the Roger's books that Erica still had in her possession. 

February 5, 1925
Three out of the four books that were in the Carlysle safe were already in the Restricted Collection at Miskatonic, with earlier/better copies to boot.   Without help from the University, Dr Wintermute's good nature (and a good Credit Rating with the bank) netted them about $4,000 to use.

February 6, 1925
Dr Millheim was given permission to enter the Resticted Collection at Orne and gloss over their copy of The Book of the Black Skull.    The SAN loss only provided him a few new storylines for his pulp writing.  A pass-around of the worm-eaten copy of the Livre d'Ivon (see #1) only generated more worry and paranoia. 

February 7, 1925
Steven was released from the hospital, grabbed a few items, and headed up to Arkham.

February 21, 1925
Making sure they wouldn't set foot in New York proper, Wintermute and Parks jumped a train back to the New York border, and hired a car to drive them to the Carlyse estate for the book auction.   However, when they got to the front gates, they were met by a heavily armed security force.  Due to continuing threats Erica Carlylse's life, the auction had been moved to one of the traditional auction houses... in Manhattan.

At the auction house, the invitation and line of credit were still intact.     A desperate request for a phone and an even more desperate call to Mogen's office leaving a professional sounding plea not to be slaughtered for entering the Five Boroughs.   After hanging up the phone, Wintermute was handed a note, simply stating.  "I know.  See you there."  Jeremy Van der Klei, Mogen's top research assistant was in attendance.   Lucky for them Van der Klei was more interested in some Colonial and pre-Colonial texts.

They managed to snag the books for the sum of $3,400, which caused a audible ruckus among one of the telephone bidders.

February 24, 1925
They finally made it back to Arkham unscathed and proceeded to have a sleepover in the parlor, each taking turns skimming to the books, losing Sanity and gaining a little Cthulhu Mythos along the way. 
The party could not come to a consensus as to what the books meant, but they all suffered from bad dreams that night of underwater travel and a single giant yellow eye.

For the men passed out in the parlor, they all woke up within moments of each other, and all could hear the sounds of someone trying to get in.

Joshua scrambled towards the liquor cabinet and grabbed a crystal stopper from a brandy decanter.  No true weapons had been left in the parlor.  Steven scrambled off his chair, tripped, and ripped his stitches out.  Parks hid behind a chair, and Nichols...

Nichols didn't wake up. 

The door crashed in and five Africans, armed with nasty-looking machetes, barrelled in.  Two sprinted up the stairs.  Two others charged into the parlor.  Joshua tried with best by punching one of them, but the best he could do was bruise his own ego.  The other African did short work of the chair Parks was hiding behind and soon ferociously struck the grad assistant.  Parks would  be a goner if it weren't for Joshua, who, in his own brawl, pushed the two assailants into each other.  Parks tried to escape through the kitchen, but only succeeded in pushing Steven into the stove, knocking him unconscious, and unbeknowest to everyone, turning the gas on in the process.   

All the while Nichols slept.

The two that climbed the stairs checked the doors in the upstairs hallway.  One was met by a large explosion through the door and his tattered corpse slumped down along the wall.  Dr Bob and Doc Wintermute had been sleeping upstairs in separate rooms, and both had been awoken from bad dreams and heard the oncoming ruckus.  Millheim ran across the hall into Wintermute's bedroom, as Bob pulled shotguns out of the closet.

The other African upstairs decided not to further investigate and ran down the stairs and out the front door.

By this point, the stars had finally aligned and Nichols woke up from his corner seat to witness a full-out brawl mere steps away from him.  He pulled out his hold-out pistol and fired, but luckily didn't shoot anyone.   Parks had returned from the kitchen with a knife and together, they pummelled him into a bloody pulp.   Joshua had begun grappling his intruder, but no one had the upper hand. 

Dr Bob and Doc Millheim began their way down the stairs, only to catch an African running up the porch with a flaming bottle in his hand.  Bob shot down the man, but the bottle flew and broke open into the foyer.  Bob then proceeded to shoot and kill another African, looking questionable on the walk outside, then hopped the flames in his house to see Joshua finally pin his man to the ground.  The barrel of a shotgun at his head quelled any resistance left in the attacker.

Police, fire, and ambulance were called.  Unknown to the rest of the investigators, Steven did manage to regain consciousness, turned off the open burners on the stove, and painfully slumped against the ice box.

Wintermute wisely played upon this random act of violence with the Arkham police, playing up upon unclean immigrants causing wanton violence in their fair town.  The police bought the story, lock, stock, and barrel, the fire department put out the flames with minimal damage to the home, and Steve (and Parks) were tended to on-site and refused hospital care.

If Arkham wasn't safe from the Cult of the Bloody Tongue, it was time to leave the country.

Dr Bob secured a line of credit and passage was booked on an liner headed to England. 

Once they got aboard, the investigators took this downtime to expand their horizons.  Most of them simply perused their reading collection with growing manic glee.  Steven became fast friends with the engine crew and spent a considerable time below deck tinkering with the ship's engines. (Keeper note:  Steve the player was already quite pleased by his 02% and 04% rolls in Persuade and Mechanical Repair, and his flippant demeanor about his avatar meant he rarely cares about such things as, say, patents for his advancements in engine technology.  The smartest member of the crew could possibly become quite well off, although the shipping line would definitely take credit if they found out.) Joshua decided that picking the locks of various storerooms might net him some much needed practice, but his choice of time to performing the tasks (or the badly failed Hide and Sneak rolls) resulted in him getting knocked around by the crew.   

March 3, 1925
They arrived in London and sent a telegram to Kensington at Prospero.  Dr Bob proceeded to send another telegram, announcing his arrival to various newspapers in regards to an investigation regarding the Carlysle.   If the cultists didn't know they made it to London....

Nichols and Doc Millheim tried to visit editor Mickey Mahoney at the Daily Scoop and Inspector James Barrington at Scotland, but the players were so disorganized they got kicked out of each location for wasting their time.

Next Up:  Part Four:  The Talented Mister Shipley

Of course, for what really happened, check out Jugular Josh's interpretation.

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