The Gamer's Guild Masks of Nyarlathotep, Episode Six - The Mauretania & London
by, 17th August 2012 at 11:49 AM (281 Views)
Hon. Lord Frontbottom: That's our peanut gallery - never oily, always dry.
Call of Cthulhu, supposedly an investigation of horrors – and Frontbottom sunbathing in a thong certainly qualifies. Certainly, the stewards eventually come around and ask him to stop terrifying the other passengers. Spoilers ahead for The Mauretania and Death In The Post
Frontbottom and Timmons attempt to identify the mystery priest, but discover that he is unlisted on the passenger manifest. Unfortunately, their bizarre excuses about why they have urgent need to talk to the priest, compounded with their earlier and subsequent behaviour, lead to a conviction among the Mauretania’s stewards that the pair are drunk. These behaviours include rifling through the luggage holds looking for stowaways, and checking every lifeboat for same. Timmons helps himself to a bottle of wine from somebody else’s luggage, reasoning he had to have some excuse for being down in the holds.
Frontbottom is unconcerned by the possibility the crew will have him locked up for the rest of the trip, claiming he’ll escape into the ducting and become the Phantom of the Mauretania, emerging every so often to steal a meal or leave a seahorse’s head on the captain’s pillow. Although the crew do promise to take the claims of a stowaway disguised as a priest seriously, insofar as anybody can take the Monocle Brothers seriously.
And perhaps they did, which is why the priest reappears, punches a steward in the face, and attempts to flee into the bowels of the ship. The eventual battle deep in steerage leaves three dead, but fortunately none of the investigators are among them. And the priest and his compatriots are revealed to be Bolshevik assassins sent to kill Krosov!
Byron Timmons: What's so impressive about killing somebody with a bazooka? If someone came up to me and told me they're going to kill me with a pencil, and did, THEN I'd be impressed.
Prof. Deborah Einstein: No you wouldn't, you'd be dead.
There’s a certain amount of irony in the fact that a certain Lord Frontbottom and petite bourgeoisie Timmons manage to dispatch the Russian communists with stolen Mauretania silverware and a sword cane. Frontbottom extracts one of his purloined steak knives from the chest of the assassin.Hon. Lord Frontbottom: The queen sends her regards.
At least Agent Johnson can claim all the credit for himself and the anti-communist agenda of ONI, even if he missed the entire battle due to falling down the stairs and breaking three ribs on a potted palm.
Of course, their triumph ensures their hope of arriving in London incognito are utterly quashed, especially since they already have a reporter in the party...
NAVAL INTELLIGENCE FOILS ASSASSINATION OF RUSSIAN COUNT
Dramatic Scenes On Cunard Liner
In other alarming news, Frontbottom spends the next few days of the trip learning from the Givetti Grimoire.
Hon. Lord Frontbottom: The world is suddenly a more dangerous place. I know Dominate.
February 5th - The group stay in Southampton overnight, while they plan their investigations.
Aldous Quinn: We'll have to go round the palace and get that photo for Mr McGinty. Use mind control on one of the Guardsman and get them to smile.
GM: Is that really an appropriate use for your magic points and sanity?
Getting through Customs presents some drama as well. Most of the party leave their guns at the docks until they leave the country again, having neglected to arrange for their ownership in the UK. The top-hat full of dynamite would be more difficult to explain, especially since the UK considers silk goods dutiable, but fortunately Customs doesn’t actually look inside the hat.Customs and Excise: Anything to declare?
Byron Timmons: Yes, I'm cold and miserable.
Happily, Prof. Einstein never went through with her threat to pack a hot air balloon, given the aforementioned tax on silk goods. However, the customs officers do take some time going through her underwear.Customs and Excise: Is there any duty on circus tents there, Bill?
Prof. Deborah Einstein: I don't have any silk underwear.
GM: It's hessian or nothing.
Aldous Quinn: He says he's English nobility, and he acts like it. It explains how he gets away with what he does, too.
Byron Timmons: Why do you even have me along to do the translating, when we're in a country that speaks English?
Prof. Deborah Einstein: Because the people who sent you just wanted to get rid of you.
Byron Timmons: ....No! Dad wouldn't do that! He pays for everything!
GM: It's not like you went out kidnapping rival university's sports mascot.
Byron Timmons: Only the once.
Agent Johnson: And they never caught you.
Byron Timmons: And they still haven't found it.
Hon. Lord Frontbottom: We could always tell them Professor Einstein is a man - they'd probably believe us.
Aldous Quinn: What's the one industry that survives financial upheavals?
GM: Organised Crime?
Frontbottom alarms Timmons with various jokes about the large number of knife-wielding maniacs that populate London – jokes that don’t seem quite so funny when one of the headlines is the following:EGYPTIAN MURDERS CONTINUE!
Scoop Offers Reward!
THE BODY OF AN UNIDENTIFIED FOREIGNER was found floating in the Thames this Tuesday, the 24th victim in a series of bizarre slayings.
Though Inspector James Barrington of the Yard had no immediate comment, sources exclusive to The Scoop agreed that the victim had been beaten severely by one or more assailants and then stabbed through the heart.
This series of murders has continued over the space of three years, to the bafflement of our faithful Metropolitans. Must we hope that Mr. Sherlock Holmes, though reported by Mr. Doyle to be in retirement, will one last time rise to the defence of our majestic isles?
Readers of The Scoop are reminded that this esteemed journal has a standing reward for information leading to the apprehension and conviction of the perpetrators, in an amount now risen to £24 with the latest death. Be on guard!
- THE SCOOP, Feb. 4, 1925
Byron Timmons: One pound per death? That seems reasonable
Nonetheless, they decide to make visiting George Edmundson, Egyptologist, their priority, after Aldous makes reservations for himself at the Ritz.
Aldous Quinn: I wouldn’t fit in at the Savoy. That’s for Old Money.
Whereas the Ritz will take anybody’s money, as long as it’s real. Abbagale likewise books in advance – after all, Daddy is paying for it. Just as well it’s not the London Season, or neither of them would be able to get a room. Johnson, Timmons, and Frontbottom, after gagging for a bit on the pea-souper fog, ask a cabbie for advice, and he recommends a Temperance hotel. Clearly he’s an excellent judge of character and wasn’t very impressed by the investigators.Byron Timmons: Is the weather always so miserable?
Agent Johnson: Well, it warms up about three degrees in summer.
Byron Timmons: I can't stand it. I can see why the locals go around stabbing each other in the face.
Aldous Quinn: Oh, I dunno. I kinda like it. Brisk.
Byron Timmons: And you look like you've been stabbed in the face.
Aldous Quinn: ...
Hon. Lord Frontbottom: I'm sorry Aldous, he's young, and doesn't understand respect.
GM: The kind of respect due to large, ugly, heavily muscled men
Aldous Quinn: Who could squash your head like a grape.
Timmons sets an equally poor example at the bank, when he’s purchasing a safe deposit box for any tomes they’re carrying, and at the nearby newsagency, where the locals patiently attempt to explain the intricacies of Imperial currency to the poor benighted Colonial.Hon. Lord Frontbottom: For God's sake, Timmons, you take your money, give it to the man, say 'thank you for not taking advantage of my stupid American companion' and go!
February 6th - At least they’re on their best behaviour at Edmundson’s – they even leave the top hat stuffed with dynamite behind. Funnily enough, high explosives weren’t on the list of things banned at the temperance hotel. Although, no doubt, by the time they leave it will be.
Edmundson wonders why they have a physicist in their party, and not an Egyptologist.
Hon. Lord Frontbottom: We don't know either!
There they make polite small talk over the excellent meal, and Johnson stomps heavily on Frontbottom's instep until he stops trying to pocket Edmundson's silverware, before retiring to the drawing room for cigars, port, and mystery. One mystery is why Jackson ever went there – according to Edmundson he only wanted to know about something called the Eye of Light and Darkness. Despite being an expert on Egyptian ritual beliefs, Edmundson could only theorise that it was an alternative name for the Eye of Ra, and recommended Elias try the d’Anastasi Collection in Leiden.That said, mention of the Brotherhood of the Black Pharaoh does provoke one connection. By a curious coincidence, Edmundson recently came into possession of a papyrus, apparently a very early curse document that begs a certain Dark Pharaoh smite the author’s enemies. He has some doubts about the authenticity of the artifact, doubts soon confirmed by Quinn’s freakish knowledge of hieroglyphics and forgery, Timmons knowledge of archaeology, and Johnson’s unhappy ability to recognise a genuine Mythos spell when he sees one.GM: The same sort of freakish skill-set as Fluttershy's knowledge of high fashion? Although I don't believe Fluttershy was ever in Sing-Sing.
The name in the cartouche – Niar Lat Hotep – variously translated as The Chaos at the Gate, or He Who Is Gratified by Sacrifice, also gives the investigators profound cause for worry. Despite their worries about possible dangers the scroll poses – especially in the hands of a collector of Egyptian occult material - Edmundson refuses to identify his source for the document, but promises to contact them and encourage them to talk to the investigators on the morrow. They return to their respective hotels, but sad to say their first visitors next morning are a constable and an Inspector from New Scotland Yard – Edmundson was horribly killed in the night.Aldous Quinn: Called it.
Happily, the investigators can prove they left well before the death. Although, of course, that doesn’t mean they didn’t go back later, something that will no doubt occur to the Inspector once the corpses start piling up.