Pickman's Student

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Details

5th Edition Cover

Pages: 23

Author(s): Keith Herber

Artist(s): (Jason Eckhardt and Kevin Ramos, maps by Carolyn Schultz-Savoy et.al.)

Setting: Dreamlands, 1920s Boston

Appears in: H.P. Lovecraft's Dreamlands

Campaign: (none)

Summary

An extended scenario in which the investigators discover that the relationship between dream and reality is frighteningly unstable. In this scenario the investigators attempt to undo the horrible doom awaiting a Boston artist, learning the details of his suffering both by investigation in the Waking World and the Dreamlands. The investigators should be familiar with the Dreamlands and have visited it before.

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Synopsis

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An extended scenario in which the investigators discover that the relationship between dream and reality is frighteningly unstable. In this scenario the investigators attempt to undo the horrible doom awaiting a Boston artist, a student of Richard Upton Pickman, learning the details of his suffering both by investigation in the Waking World and the Dreamlands, where they must travel to the Underworld of Dream and learn from the Ghoul that was once Pickman how to face and destroy the Ghadamon-Thing that grows beneath the quiet surface of a dark lake: the Dream counterpart of the Thing that lives and grows in the sickbed of the artist. The investigators should be familiar with the Dreamlands and have visited it before.


References

Player Handouts: (reproduced in Handouts Appendice)

  • Pickman Papers #1 (newspaper clipping)
  • Pickman Papers #2 (police report)
  • Pickman Papers #3 (receipts of sale)
  • Pickman Papers #4 (Baldrige's letter)
  • Pickman Papers #5 (Pickman's letter)
  • Pickman Papers #6 (photograph of Pickman and Friend)
  • Pickman Papers #7 (Blakely's letter)
  • Pickman Papers #8 (newpaper clipping)
  • Pickman Papers #9 (excerpt from The Book of Eibon)
  • Items not presented as handouts, but might be of some use as handouts:
    • Map: The Graveyard
    • Map: The Sorceress' Tomb
    • Illustration: Penny Tilstrom
    • Illustration: Feasting Ghoul
    • Illustration: The Sorceress
    • Penny's Story

Locations:

  • Boston:
    • Penny's home
    • Police Department
    • St. Mary's Hospital
    • Blakely's Studio
    • The homes of various artists, art collectors, and crackpots associated with the artist Blakely
  • Dreamlands:
    • Dream Yuggoth
    • Underworld
    • Pickman's Lair
    • The Graveyard
    • The Sorceress' Tomb
    • The Sterile Lake


Creatures:

  • Cultists and Crackpots (generally not hostile)
  • Cultist Jerry's Dream-Forms
  • Deep Ones (optional)
  • Ghouls (generally not hostile)
  • The Sorceress
  • Witches (generally not hostile)
  • The "Black Man" avatar of Nyarlathotep (generally not hostile)
  • Fungi: Slime Molds, Parasite, Deadly Filiments
  • Fairy (generally not hostile)
  • Robigus, Roman god of fungus (generally not hostile)
  • Minions of Ghadamon
  • The Larvae
  • Richard Upton Pickman (off-screen)

Tomes and Artifacts:

  • The Book of Eibon, English Translation (Stimson's copy is missing pages from the front and back, and notes on the "Spell of Oneiro-Dismissal")
  • Sorceress' Grimoire
  • Paintings:
    • Sterile Lake by Nelson Blakely (Untitled and incomplete surrealistic background of an ominous, lifeless lake, surrounded by ruins of ancient temples, in darkness.)
    • Elder Yuggoth by Nelson Blakely (A strange desert landscape with the ground studded in spiky crystals, on the far horizon can be seen the spires of a weird alien temple.)
    • New York at Dusk by Nelson Blakely (Strangely archaic view of the city just before darkness falls, with skyscrapers in the background and a cemetary full of Ghouls in the foreground.)
    • Fate by Nelson Blakely (Depicts a canopied, curtained bed in a vast room of white marble, with ominous, threatening shadows upon the walls.)
    • R'lyeh at Dawn by Nelson Blakely (A scene from somewhere at sea aboard an outrigger canoe with a terrible black island looming on the horizon against the blue sky, the island oozing with slime and seawater as if just risten from beneath the waves, a strange monolithic structure of strange planes and angles standing at the center of the island.)

Campaigns / Scenarios:

  • Some versions of the classic scenario "The Haunting" (e.g., 6th Edition) include a hook for "Pickman's Student": "(Ground Floor Room 4) On the wall in this room is a bizarre painting. Investigators who observe it feel inexplicably unsettled. The artist’s name is Nelson Blakeley. The keeper should note that this picture leads to an adventure in Chaosium’s supplement H.P. Lovecraft's Dreamlands".

Comments

List dedication, trivia, images, anything else of note.

Keeper Comments

Comments to Keepers about this scenario; Possibly how to run it successfully. Keep general DISCUSSION on the talk page.

Setting: Begins nominally in 1920s Boston, but can probably be adapted to campaigns in other eras and locations with minimal trouble.

Special Notes: The artist Nelson Blakely (and possibly his fiance) might best be introduced to the investigators in an earlier scenario, if possible. The scenario's author suggests random encounters with Evelyn Bancroft's little cult at the discretion of the keeper, with run-ins between the cult and Deep Ones who are working to hasten Blakely's transformation, and also random encounters at embarrassing moments with a derelict who acquired one of the paintings if the investigators buy or steal the painting from him.

Sequel Plot Hooks: The cultists, art collectors, and the derelict Jacob might all suggest lead-ins to other scenarios; the witches and Nyarlathotep met randomly in the Dreamlands might also be a lead-in to Nyarlathotep-related scenarios; if the Deep Ones make an appearance, they could suggest a lead-in to Deep One-related scenarios.