Last week I ran 'King of shreds and patches' with my regular gaming group.
I always liked the scenario but wanted to change some aspects which I felt where a bit internally inconsistent. Recently, I felt even more the need to modify it in order to bring it a bit more in line with the contemporary views of Hastur, as presented in the 'Delta Green' and 'Tatters of the King'.
The game played out really well so I thought I'd share the changes here on the forum, in case they may be useful to other keepers.
The main problem in 'King of Shreds and Patches' is that the place of worship is underground, when in the Tatters of the King it is stated that any Hastur-related spell can only be cast with Aldebaran visible in the sky. I didn't really like the D&D-ish aspect of crawling about caves anyways, so I switched the ritual to outdoors. I decided to put it downstream from London, in Greenwich, and that the village was the original site of worship in Roman times. This led to a few cosmetic changes in other bits of the scenario: no key to be found on van der Wyck, no problem of where the 200-odd cultists would come from (villagers as cultists indocrinated by Barker) and how no one would notice the visits to the site described in diaries.
Another major change involved the scene where Lucy is taken away by Barker: I had him there alone, with a Byakhee on hold to fly away, with the fogy St James Park providing a great settting for the players to get really spooked by Barker's power.
Lastly, I noticed a lot of incosistencies in the plot and ironed them out:
-why would Marijn Berents visit van der Wyck first and stay for 2 weeks without contacting Lucy? Why wouldn't they meet immediately? How did Lucy manage to send a message to troubled Holland and get a reply so quickly about Marijn having departed as planned? To eliminate these problems, I changed the story so that there was no direct connection between the Berents and van der Wyck. van der Wyck was a goldsmith and jewelry merchant who ran his own ship between Amsterdam and London to get supplies. Berents wanted to send Marijn away to live with Lucy due to the unrest in the Netherlands but when Marijn was not arriving when expected, Lucy sent word to her father who replied that she had left as planned, securing transfer on the ship of a respectable merchant called Van Der Wyck, with a shop on London Bridge.
-why would van der Wyck kill Marijn in his cellar just prior to the ritual when they need 3 victims, especially if she was akin to Lucy who was deemed very powerful and a great potential sacrifice? I had the characters find a pile of female clothes and Marijn's pendant, but upon inspection of the cameo they could see that the dead woman was someone else (a village-girl van der Wyck found trading on south bank and tricked into following him). This obviously necessitated van der Wyck leaving with two big chests...
-the timeline of Barker's life, in particular his study with Dee is inconsistent with historical facts. He cannot both be in his early 30s and a student of Dee and Kelley 12 years ago - at that time, Kelley was in Bohemia, separate from Dee, their research into Enochian through crystal scrying over a long time ago. I made Barker 38 years old and that he came to study with Kelley and Dee in 1582 and their falling out may have led to Dee and Kelley leaving for the continent in 1583.
-The story of the throne in Barker's house needed a bit of historical spicing up: I re-wrote the handout so that the author says how he had the Chocho sent to him as he wanted to reassert the importance of Rome and how upon revealing his evil worship he tortured him and got out the secrets of the jewels. Then you can see he ordered his servant Leonardo to fashion the jewels. Signature: Cesare Borgia, in 1503.
-Why would Barker get Dee to be merely among the cultists, which Hastur picks up with his tentacles and rips to bits throughout the ritual? More importantly, why would Dee accept such a lame deal? I had Barker and Dee (who was intimidated by Barker) conduct the main ritual, with van der Wyck likely to get killed or apprehended during the attack at the Globe. The perceived betrayal by Dee had a really strong impact on the players. The three sacrifices were Lucy, Marijn Berents and a third woman of similar beautiful and dignified looks that Barker had also courted and then kidnapped.
I also changed some aspects of the characters and gave them somewhat different tie-ins to some story elements.
I removed all aspects of the characters personality and just left their histories, in order to give the players more freedom to define them as they see fit. I removed the servant character and had the characters connected as a group of bachelors who are art-lovers and spend a lot of time together. In order to add a bit of quirkiness, I made Simon Page to be typecast as playing the female lead, which he resents and wants to get out of. I also made Henry Russel an amateur composer, to make him a bit less dour. Fletcher was best friends with Simon Page, whos poetry he published, while Simon Page was friends from Cambridge with Henry Russel and Matthew Holland.
The scenario worked a treat and the outcome was quite fun: they saved Lucy who then married Fletcher, Simon Page joined the Globe and got the role of Ophelia, while Will Page and Henry Russel robbed both van der Wycks and Barker's houses (sadly, not the throne... they ran like hell when the King started forming out of smoke) and invested it in the east India trading company.
We were greatly helped in our game by Liza Picard's excellent, detailed book 'Elizabethan London' which I got off amazon second-hand at a very good price and whose section on medicine was particularly invaluable in fleshing out the current practices for the benefit of the player who had Matthew Holland as character.
If anyone wants to run the game in Serbian and would like my translated handouts, please drop me a message.
Hope this helps and enjoy the gaming!