Eyes That Should Not See
Author(s): Jim Lynch
Appears in: Halloween Horror
The Trepanation Proponents of America (TPA) is a small organization, based in Webster, Massachusetts (about 20 miles west of Arkham) that believes trepanation leads to the expansion of consciousness and inner clarity. When a blind man attempts to steal strange artifacts from the Ancient Treasures of the Pacific exhibit at the Webster Colonial Museum and patients with holes drilled in their heads begin appearing at the Saint Matthew Hospital in Webster, the TPA is implicated and the investigators are drawn into a "modern day witch-hunt" as unexplained meteorological phenomenon threaten the area...
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Spoilers - Keepers Eyes Only
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A vulnerable nurse at the Saint Matthew Hospital, depressed and disillusioned by her job, begins delving into the Mythos, and is soon enthralled to a minor Mythos entity called F'Ncec, an "entity of dementia and visions" and "visionary of the real" with "the goal of True Sight" who controls the nurse's mind and renders her increasingly sensitive to light. Compelled to do F'Ncec's bidding and seeing an opportunity to direct attention for her actions on the Trepanation Proponents of America (TPA), the nurse-turned-cultist begins gouging out the eyes of some easily overlooked patients, drilling holes in their heads, and using mind-control to force them to steal Mythos artefacts, while F'Ncec causes daylight to grow dimmer day by day. The TPA (an organization based in a New Age bookstore called The Invisible Eye, dedicated to expanding consciousness through trepanation, or holes drilled in the skull) is a red herring; the investigators must follow the clues to identify the nurse as the actual source of trouble, and then banish the entity that is controlling her.
- Pre-Gen character outlines
- Webster Massachusetts, a short distance from Arkham
- Miskatonic University Library (for research)
- Possessed version of Cultist (doubled stats and a few special abilities)
- Servents of F'Ncec (thematically these are zombies)
Tomes and Artifacts:
- The Eye of the Deep (a rock-encrusted circular disc that is only described as "very powerful" and is apparently linked to the Cthulhu cult)
- A few broken Cthulhu statues.
- An early Keeper note reference to the Nurse's library indicate she owns or has access to "the known works of Herbert West... she bought and studied books on spells, accumulating a good-sized collection (2 of the 23 are Mythos tomes, with 1D3 spells each)", but no other details are provided for her library and it's never mentioned again...
Campaigns / Scenarios: (none)
Comments to Keepers about this scenario; Possibly how to run it successfully. Keep general DISCUSSION on the talk page.
Setting: Nominally modern Webster, MA (though it could have just as easily have been set in 1920s Arkham or even a gaslight setting, as there is virtually no reference to anything that places it firmly in the modern era beyond a couple pregen character descriptions, and nothing specifically ties it to Massachusetts beyond a couple references to the towns of Webster and Arkham in location names....)
Special Notes: This scenario isn't a genuinely bad scenario, but it is a "fixer-upper": it has something of an unfinished feel to it, there are several rough spots in it, it seems to need a bit of preparation and modification to work for most groups (or there's liable to be a lot of "wait... what?" moments), and I would recommend that inexperienced keepers avoid running it without doing a lot of CoC adventure-building homework first. For examples:
- Parts of the scenario are at best vaguely linked together. For example, it's taken for granted that the investigators will rush to Miskatonic University Library, break into the special collection, and investigate trepanation and make the leap from there to visions, and from visions to the unrelated mythos being that is using trepanation as a red herring, but it's not entirely clear why the PCs would think of doing any of this or reach these conclusions; this could have been cleared up simply by leaving the relevant clues to be found in a fleshed-out Mythos library found with the notes and clues left by the nurse in her basement, but that bit of background was never developed.
- There's an off-hand reference to the cultist's library in the keeper notes early in the scenario, and the books never make an actual appearance in the adventure, even though there is a scene provided in which the investigators search the suspect's house, and find only a file in the basement with a bloody pick-axe (apparently used in the improvised trepanations and eye-gougings?) These books probably should have made an appearance, though, as they would have provided a more logical source of information for the investigators than the dubious sequence provided for the MU Library.
- Mythos tomes and artefacts, such as they are, are not detailed in any way. They are mentioned, but the plot doesn't take any advantage of them beyond being sketchy motivations for the nurse cultist to move the plot ahead (they almost fail to qualify even as "MacGuffins"). If/when your players get their hands on these, you'll have to provide the names, descriptions, and contents.
- There are no clue hand-outs, though it feels like perhaps there should have been some and the adventure could probably have benefited from them (police and coroner's reports, flyers for the museum exhibit, news articles on the atmospheric disturbances, an inventory describing the condition of the corpses in the morgue and revealing that some are unregistered, etc.)
- The Mythos elements are a bit sketchy, in keeping with the unfinished nature of the scenario. F'Ncec is apparently a powerful mythos being who, for some reason, is jealous of Cthulhu... it didn't seem entirely clear why F'Ncec was dimming the sky or creating zombie servants; the being is apparently a sort of goddess of dementia, dreams and visions, though these attributes play no real part in the scenario and this being could just as easily have been a standard mythos character like Y'Golonac or Nyarlathotep, or even Cthulhu, for that matter; I thought the trepanation cult sounded better developed, more plausible, and more interesting than the F'Ncec cult....
- Pre-gen characters are provided, but without stats - it's not too hard for players to add their own stats, but it's a weird omission and stats could have been easily included. Curiously, these characters seem to have someone else's name written above them, as if this scenario were written for a specific group of players, the characters addressed to those players, and those players' names never removed from the document before submitting it for inclusion in the monograph....
Dependence on Halloween: Virtually non-existent; I don't believe Halloween was referenced at all in the scenario. This scenario could be run any time of year or with an audience uninterested in or unfamiliar with Halloween, and Halloween would be the least of the group's concerns. (I categorize it as a Halloween scenario only because of the title of the Monograph it appears in.)
Sequel Plot Hooks: That New Age trepanation fan club sounds like it could have been an interesting lead to follow up on - I could imagine them coming back in a future adventure at some point after they've expanded their consciousness a little too much; the Cthulhu artefacts at the museum seem like a natural lead-in for later adventures with Deep Ones and/or the Cthulhu cult....