Keepering MoN: Preparation V (Cairo)
by, 23rd July 2006 at 05:02 PM (238 Views)
So, what are my plans for Cairo? In my view it's the meatiest chapter in the book, it's certainly the fulcrum upon which the campaign turns. Most of the information the group need to discern the people and purposes of the conspiracy are duplicated across various locations, but in Nyarlathotep's throneroom is the key to the mystery: the when and where. In addition, they have the Nitocris resurrection to foil (or not as the case may be) and plenty of opportunities to run into the Brotherhood of the Black Pharoah.
In terms of cult awareness of the PCs I'll assume that although the Brotherhood knows of the group's existence and composition (Gavigan has fled to Cairo, they're going to get a shock when they find him having tea with Omar Shakti in the Shepheard's tearoom), they don't know they're there yet, since they came to Cairo from completely the wrong way (via Canada, China and India). So they're safe for the time being, however as soon as their names become public or they make themselves known to the Brotherhood, then they're in trouble.
To help in introducing this trouble, I'm going to have Nigel Wassif being rather pro-active (as written there's no reason for the investigators to see him outside of a habit of visiting the local newspaper office). Before leaving Shanghai, I had the British Vice-Consul insist that the group register with the Consulate in Cairo when they arrive (they're all British subjects and have just sparked a minor diplomatic incident between Britain and Japan). Wassif, in his capacity as a British agent, will have already been informed of their impending arrival, so even if they neglect to register he'll spot their name on the residents list at Shepheard's. He's going to send Lady Dyson a letter inviting her and her acquaintances to tea, suggesting that such important visitors (well, mainly Lady Dyson!) are people that he is in the business of getting to know.
If the PCs refuse his offer, then Wassif willl be suspicious of them and might start causing problems for them or keep an eye on them via various minions. If they accept, they could get a lot of information and help from him, but so far they've been burnt by two of the three journalists they met on their travels so they'll probably play their cards close to their chest. I'm going to try to play Wassif as an Egyptian version of Nigel Dempster (a well-known British gossip columnist of the 1970s and 80s): simultaneously fawning and sneering about "high society". If they do end up meeting with him (and even if they don't), they're going to have a hard time keeping their names out of the Bulletin if they do anything remotely close to notable while in the city. Once they're in the papers, Shakti et al will notice and the cult attacks will begin!
As for other elements, I'm going to give them Mahmoud as their guide, who will be worth his bacon as soon as they enter the Old City: he'll know where everything is, where the best money changers are (a couple of the players are running low on funds), and how to escape that angry mob of anti-British demonstrators that are bearing down on them... I may yet remove the Bast subplot, and I'll need to give this thread on YSDC another read!
ETA: One of the (few) advantages of my current job (monotonous, dull, dusty, vaguely exhausting) is that it gives me plenty of time to think. So I've had a few more ideas about what to do in Cairo, basically about what to have the Brotherhood of the Black Pharaoh do when they find out that the PCs are in town.
First off, like Wassif, I might make Shakti a bit more proactive (and crafty) in his reaction to news of their arrival: he'll invite them to his villa in Gezira Mohammed. By this point they should be "eyes wide open" regarding this invitation. They've already noted Shakti's name appearing in newspaper articles about Penhew Foundation funded expeditions in Egypt and also I'm planning on having them spot Gavigan (travelling under the name of Jeremy Hemmingway) and Shakti together, which they should be able to do unobserved (fumble rolls excluded). I'd like to think they'd take Shakti up on it in true James Bond style (lots of trying to sneak around while avoiding various "accidents"), but even if they don't it'll alert them to his status as a "cool customer".
If they do go to Shakti's, or even if they remain at Shepheard's, I'm tempted with that old standby of pulp fiction: the introduction of a snake to the PCs sleeping quarters (yes, I've read too much Fu Manchu!). It fits the cult as Egyptian Cobras are Nitocris's favoured pet, and either Gavigan (who's also staying at Shepheard's) or a Brotherhood minion employed at the hotel will introduce it through an open window. I don't expect it to be actually deadly, but I expect it to scare them.