The Call of Cthulhu: Nyarlathotep's Mask

The Trail of the Bloody Tongue
New allies emerge

My body has died, but my spirit remains with my friends, and I shall offer guidance and protection from beyond the grave. Either that or my improsoned spirit is deluding itself with pointless tales in an effort to preserve its individuality and delay the inevitable dissolution into an alien hive mind, but it’s important to stay positive!

If the Cult of the Bloody Tongue (or Nyarlathotep?) is to be defeated, the missing expedition must be found. The trail leads to England, so that is where our heroes must go. In this time of great darkness, two mighty warriors have arisen to join the party.

Jeanie Barnes (née Malone) is a fiery redhead with a temper to match. Growing up on the mean streets of Brooklyn, she can hold her own in any scrap, whether it’s with her fists, feet, forehead, or her trusty revolver.

Determined to return home with her missing husband or avenge his death, she has been told that the Mafioso Chuck Lucino murdered him and fled to England. A bit of a double-edged sword, she is not yet trusted by the party. She might not be ready to hear the truth about her husband’s death yet, but it would be unfortunate for all involved if she discovered on her own that she was being lied to.

Arthur Chapman is a veteran of the Great War. The trenches of the Somme left their scars on him, but his combat skills are unmatched. With rifle, fist and a rock-like head, he has offered the use of his mighty vessel “The Sea Bitch” to ferry the party back to his native England. Will he find healing or damnation on this journey? None can say, but guesses can be made.

What shall our investigators discover in Great Britain? Will they discover traces of the vanished expedition and the vile cult? Will they even make it off the ship alive?

Well, dear souls, you’ll just have to tune in next time, for another installment of “Beyond the Grave with Marilyn Cooke.”

Secrets of the JuJu House
The Sacrifice of Marilyn Cooke (and Harry)

The JuJu House is a place of many secrets. Concealed in a Harlem alleyway across from an abandoned pawn shop, not advertised in any news periodical, the store does not so much exist to conduct business as to conceal it. The steady influx of negro traffic would indicate that this business reaches far more than the proprietor, Silas N’Kwane, and his mysterious African contact. If there is any outflow traffic at all, our investigative team has not witnessed it.

Our objective is to trac down the Cult of the Bloody Tongue, a mysterious African sect that our friend, Jackson Elias, died trying to expose. The trial led us to Silas N’Kwane. When asked about blood cults, he became surprisingly defensive.

Taking up positions across the alley in the abandoned pawn shop, we observed that the JuJu House received plenty of visitors after the posted closing time, as well as the delivery of two crates large enough to contain a man-sized antique of some sorts.

Which of us first posited the idea of entering the building I cannot recall, but Willy and I agreed that it needed to be investigated. Rosalyn, still constrained by the centuries-old shackles that bind our sex to subservience, refused to accompany us on account of her nerves. It would not have been wise to bring Evie into a place like this, for my friend has not the fighting spirit of her forefathers. Harry, dear Harry would just as soon have stayed behind, but in the end, he was unwilling to allow me to go without him.

Some would say it was folly to go through the trap door into that hidden basement, but I maintain that we could have triumphed, had we entered in armed force with fire in our bellies and lead in our hands. I suppose such speculations are pointless, at this stage.

The sound of many drums emerged behind a massive pair of oaken doors. Opening the doors, we witnessed an orgy of such ferocity as to eclipse the blackest Voodoo. A horde of naked negroes swarmed around a massive vault sunk in the basement floor as a a score of drummers drove their frenzy beyond revelry and into bloodlust. A man in priestly vestments presided over the dark sacrament.

We would have called the police, had there been any phone in the shop. News of any white woman trapped in a basement surrounded by denuded black men would have brought the Blue Thunder running, and they would have flown had they known the aforementioned damsel was none other than famed author Marilyn Cooke!

We had no time to hunt for a telephone, however, for the content of the crates became suddenly apparent. Two white people, man and woman, were brought into the rave and forced to kneel before the monstrous shaman. Using a pair of wickedly bladed gauntlets, the priest carved marks into the foreheads of the victims as a massive crank was turned, opening the subterranean vault.

Would that we were greater in number, or accompanied by one of the heroes of legend. We could have set upon the savages with violence and delivered their captives to freedom. We poor, soft, civilized fools instead watched helplessly as the prisoners were cast into the vault.

It is then that I found my courage. My inaction in Vermont allowed the crab people to summon a creature that did not belong in our world, and an entire village lost their lives. Were it only my life on the line, I would have stayed and witnessed! I had never known how much there was to see in this universe! They may seem horrors to my eyes, but think; how monstrous must we appear to them, crawling hairless apes bound to only four dimensions and constrained by only 5 very limited senses? We must seem so small.

However insignificant these apes must be in the eyes of the cosmos, they are mine. I am a human. This is my species, and this is my planet.

Our species and planet must be protected, and that means this ritual must be stopped. If no hero is here to do that job, then a foolish young girl with a pistol must suffice. The priest must be mortal. If I could get close enough I could end his life with a single bullet.

And so I run.

I am tackled from the side, pinned down by a mass of stinking flesh. I fire my gun. I cannot say where the bullet went. I hear the sound of further gunshots. I am dragged before the priest, and I know I will fuel the ritual rather than halt it.

The priest is hit with a slug, and his shoulder explodes in a red spray. He reacts, notices the injury, but he ignores the pain and carves into my forehead, intoning the monstrous name of Nyarlathotep.

Harry is next to me now, and on his forehead is carved the symbol of the Bloody Tongue. Oh Harry, you brave fool. I see now I should have loved you from the moment we first met. I spit in the face of the high priest. He must know that he will not go unchallenged, that there will be others to stand in his way.

Over the edge we go, and then we are consumed. The noise. The screaming. The suction. And so many faces…

Harry and I are together now, and our screams join the choir of wordless misery.

Beyond the Grave with Marilyn

-From the post-mortem diary of Mailyn Cooke

I am dead, yet I cannot rest. There is a clawing, a grasping, and an endless wailing from the mouths of thousands. I may not be able to free them from this beast from beyond the sane realms of the universe, but perhaps their suffering can be soothed; through the gift of quality literature!

I never wrote anything worthwhile in my life. My best-selling novel, Man of My Dreams was nothing more than a cynical cash-grab, without a word of truth contained within. It succeeded beyond my wildest hopes, but my true love has always been science fiction/adventure. Conan the Cimmerian, Tarzan of the Apes, John Carter of Mars, these were my heroes, not the lifeless husks in Fitzgerald, Hemingway and Parker’s stories, who would rather bemoan the loss of the world than conquer it and make it theirs.

I’m not sorry that I met the Crab People. They showed me that the universe was bigger and more wonderful than I ever could have imagined. Is it any wonder that this should shock and horrify us small humans, trapped as we are within our very limited senses and very small planet?

Changes can be terrifying, but friends, we must not let our fear of change destroy us! Even trapped within the bowels of an amorphous hellbeast, I am not conquered! Even as my voice is drowned out by the screams of the trapped souls around me, I remain a unique and marvelous individual! I will not be afraid and I will not be defeated! I will adapt to my new existence as a member of this hive entity because… well, because I must. It’s not like I’m going anywhere.

I think I am going to write a story about my friends. While my soul may not be allowed to leave the digestive tract of this truly singular and fascinating organism, my imagination remains as active as ever, and I know a thing or two about good narrative structure. If I can keep my mind active, I may be able to maintain my essence as an individual and avoid losing myself entirely to the creature (who I have just decided shall be named “Harold”). I will spin a tale of my friends and their quest to stand against the entities that threaten our planet, and hope that the true events mesh with the story. As it should be.

Welcome to your campaign!
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Wondering how to get started? Here are a few tips:

1. Invite your players

Invite them with either their email address or their Obsidian Portal username.

2. Edit your home page

Make a few changes to the home page and give people an idea of what your campaign is about. That will let people know you’re serious and not just playing with the system.

3. Choose a theme

If you want to set a specific mood for your campaign, we have several backgrounds to choose from. Accentuate it by creating a top banner image.

4. Create some NPCs

Characters form the core of every campaign, so take a few minutes to list out the major NPCs in your campaign.

A quick tip: The “+” icon in the top right of every section is how to add a new item, whether it’s a new character or adventure log post, or anything else.

5. Write your first Adventure Log post

The adventure log is where you list the sessions and adventures your party has been on, but for now, we suggest doing a very light “story so far” post. Just give a brief overview of what the party has done up to this point. After each future session, create a new post detailing that night’s adventures.

One final tip: Don’t stress about making your Obsidian Portal campaign look perfect. Instead, just make it work for you and your group. If everyone is having fun, then you’re using Obsidian Portal exactly as it was designed, even if your adventure log isn’t always up to date or your characters don’t all have portrait pictures.

That’s it! The rest is up to your and your players.


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