Dreams and Broken Wings

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Details

Scenario splash illustration

Pages:

  • (1st ed.) 24
  • (2nd ed.) 25

Author: Alex Mayo

Artists: Brennen Reece, Alex Mayo

Editor(s):

Setting: Harlem, New York, November 1927

Appears in:

Summary

The investigators must find out what has happened to Harlem artist Clayton Morris: He's disappeared, but his face has mysteriously appeared in one of his paintings, now owned by his sister. Their investigation unveils the intersections of Harlem's art, crime, and occult worlds as they learn about Morris's unparalleled ability as a dreamer of big dreams.

Spoilers - Keepers Eyes Only

Players should not read any further.

Synopsis

 Spoiler Section (Highlight to Read)
With Clayton Morris missing, the artist's sister gets even more spooked when the Harlem man's face appears in a painting he made for her. Looking for the missing artist reveals that much of Harlem is under some kind of spell that makes them irritable and depressed. The trail eventually reveals that Morris had accepted a strange deal from rich White men who promised him peace from the grief he felt after his wife, Lena, was shot and killed in a petty crime. Seizing on his desire to get her back and his unprecedented ability to enter the Dreamlands, the Temple of Leviathan said they would help him bring Lena back if he could find the plans for a dream battery in the Dreamlands—a device that drains the dreams of people nearby while allowing its user to channel that dream energy to conjure up their heart's desires. Morris confronted the Temple when he learned they were using their dream batteries to drain entire neighborhoods to fuel their carnal desires—so they had him killed by the mob. The investigators must recover the dream batteries fueling the Temple's dark rites and stop the group before it is too late.


References

Player Handouts:

  • Shooting of Lena Thoreau (newspaper article)
  • Lena Thoreau’s Obituary in The New York Amsterdam News (newspaper article)

Locations:

  • Pearl Wilkins’ apartment
  • Clayton Morris’ apartment
  • Clayton Morris’ studio
  • Cecil Dreyfuss’ workshop
  • East Harlem Policy Office
  • Madame Yonday’s (occult shop)
  • Temple Sanctuary (abandoned theater)

Creatures:

Tomes and Artifacts:

Organizations

Comments

Keeper Comments

Keepers should read the scenario carefully; as written, it contains a few bottlenecks in which key clues are gated behind skill checks. The scenario can be simplified, as well. Some ways to do this include:

  1. Rather than splitting the creation of the dream batteries between two artists (Morris, the discoverers and drafter of the plans, and Dreyfuss, the sculptor of the physical batteries), merge the two roles into one person. In this change, Morris either becomes a sculptor, or the dream battery becomes a two-dimensional drawing of some sort. Either way, Morris has both found the plans for the batteries in the Dreamlands, and he has created the batteries himself.
  2. The criminal faction in the scenario can be removed to simplify things by having one of the rich cultists kill Morris rather than hiring a gangster to do so. Such a change would also make the cultists more present as villains; the scenario as written doesn't really introduce them until the scenario has almost concluded.
  3. The ritual the investigators must foil comes out of nowhere. Keepers may wish to seed information about the cult and their ritual earlier, and establishe it as a bad thing the investigators need to stop. Revealing that the ritual will take place puts a clock on the scenario that can lead to some interesting suspense.
  4. The fact that the investigators have to collect four dream batteries may cause the scenario to drag on too long. To shorten things, reduce the number of dream batteries to two: one of these is in Morris's apartment, and the second is the one the cult is planning to use for its ritual.
  5. The scenario does not clarify why Morris was able to use the dream battery to conjure a Dreamlands version of his wife, but the cultists have not been able to do similar things and must instead conduct a ritual. To reconcile this disparity, the final encounter may involve not the thwarting of a ritual, but rather the crashing of a hedonistic soirée wherein the cultists have already conjured up dream figures for their own carnal pleasure. In this version of the scenario, the final scene involves fighting dream creatures, trying to determine what is real and what is illusion, and recovering the dream battery to stop the madness.