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Eternal Lies SPOILERS GMs ONLY

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JustinAlexander

Sweet googly-moogly. That's fantastic PoC!

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Lisa

Ah, Professor Dreamy Eyes! And he was actually a nice guy, an innocent who was driven mad by hanging out with PCs too long.

 

(Okay, technically, by events in Ethiopia, but it boiled down to the same thing.)

 

I like the idea of using the anti-investigators ,as full on rivals in a race against time. I don't know if I'd be good at that. I know that when I first ran the game, I wouldn't have had a clue how to do that. As Aviatrix noted, there's no built in ticking clock for Eternal Lies. I think she said she'd added one, but I'm not quite sure how it worked, even after the campaign, as I don't know that the PCs ever knew about it.

 

Whether to let the players / PCs know about the lack of ticking clock is an interesting question. You'd think "no" would be the obvious answer, but if they're racing through to the end, there's this tendency to turn what could be a whole heart of darkness thing into combat after combat, and worse yet, with no time to prepare, into a TPK, which, while it doesn't have to kill the campaign, can dilute it. This is obviously worst case scenario.

 

The way I used the anti-investigators happened almost accidentally. I started with 6 players, 2 of whom never made it to the first session, 2 of whom quit the campaign after it (in one case, becoming a father will eat up one's free time -- no fault, no blame in any case), leaving me with 2 players, one of whom tended to miss a lot of session.

 

So, 2 PCs were written out, easy enough to do, and three more players were recruited, one of whom left after the second session (again, life busy-ness). One of the remaining new players created a backstory involving a murdered lover, leaving it to me to figure out the details of that. As the lover had been involved in antiquities, I figured Savitree's group had approached him to ask about some item or other, and then things went wrong -- they tried to kidnap him, he resisted, he wound up dead.

 

I also had by now two... online occasional players. One of these wrote a letter from the dead lover, one he'd written while dying, and it was amazing. I sighed about how I'd love an excuse for more of these, and the player of the PC whose lover he was suggested that maybe the guy had been brought back somehow. And... so, the words "Mi-Go brain canisters" popped into my head. Savitree's team had picked one up, had it on them, and had accidentally killed someone the boss wanted to talk to. It writes itself.

 

Eventually, Savitree had enough of a talk with the PCs to be able to send some instructions ahead before she got killed. At least I think that was it -- I'd have to check my notes on the exact timing. But, whatever happened, it justified my swapping in one of the anti-investigators for Tshombe's translator. He didn't survive Ethiopia. I'd planned to flip his gender, I think, originally, as I didn't want the group to be all men, completely forgot, had already established that Fauche and Kramer were guys, so flipped the gender of the only one left, figuring "Okay, you're the bookish person, globetrotting into dangerous situations -- yeah, dressing as a guy makes sense, and means I don't have to retcon what I told the PCs." She wound up being treated fairly well by the PCs (not getting killed by them, being helped to escape a sticky situation, being given enough information to keep herself in Nectar), and I used that to say that she was keeping Luc and Kramer off their backs because at that point, the anti-investigator stuff had played itself out and would have been a distraction from the endgame.

 

She probably survived. The one with Tshombe died gruesomely and graphically at one of the PC's hands. Luc wound up getting beaten up when in disguise and trying to kidnap a PC who set the entire bar on him, but otherwise survived, at least until the Liar was banished. My current headcannon is that he probably killed himself after that. Kramer had a face off with one of the more combat capable PCs, and they both backed off, for reasons. I don't think he was an addict, so odds are he survived and is someone else's muscle now.

 

But, both here and in Masks, I'm never quite comfortable with "here are some wandering goons -- you figure out how to use them". So, of course, I'm running the Dracula Dossier now, the ultimate "here is some stuff -- you figure out how to use it" game (and have made it worse by doing it as the four generational campaign).

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Niels

Hi guys,

I know this thread is done'ish since most of you have now finished running Eternal Lies, but I have a question that is also of some conceptual importance to GM'ing in general, so perhaps you are willing to give me your two cents. 

Bringing you up to speed on where we are in the campaign:
Eternal Lies has been on hold for us for a couple of years (due to us living in different parts of the country and not really up for online play), and we only really got out of Savannah (and then a lot of so far unused prep on my part). But we are now back to it and pretty close to the Samson Trammel wrap up of Los Angeles. I've been running with Justin's remix and added in my own thoughts and stroyline on Edgar Job as well as handouts and thoughts here from the forum and I generally have a really good feel for the campaign allowing me to "wing" most of it (although we are not too comfortable with GUMSHOE yet) and focus on character play and engaging with the players. I drew a random symbol for the protective stone gotten from Henslowe's stash, and accidentally it was close to an aksumite symbol that one of my players knew, so now they've latched onto Aksum by coincidence and I will definitely be using your scenarios, Justin so thanks a lot for those resources! 

Well that is just an update on the life of the campaign from my point (rambling a bit, I guess), and now to the question. So: my players were awesome in LA and using a node-based design, they have managed to gain most of the core clues (aside from Trammels mansion, which we have yet to play) without ever logically bringing the cult to their attention. They left a right mess in Savannah with multiple bodies, but due to it being different states and some good paperwork by a shady laweyer/criminal PC, it has yet to catch up to them.

The questions:
I generally believe that I play the NPCs best, if they fit with the setting and respond logically to PC actions, but I feel they need some more conflict and I don't want to just "throw goons at them". Do any of you have suggestions for how to do this seamlessly? 
One of the PCs they met is a nice real estate agent called Roger Royce living in Ecchavaria's old house where all the shenanigans in 1924 took place. 2 out of my 3 PCs went there and really liked the guy: A smiling guy, who serves up drinks for his guests, treats his maids with respect, whoose wife is slightly tipsy but highly interested in New York fashion (one of my PCs is a socialite), takes them on the grand tour of the mansion and has helped rebuild Long Beach post the 1933 earthquake that wiped out that community. He is a real scion of society and doesn't offer any clues because he doesn't know anything. "Roger. Royce. Real Estate - what a brilliant name for a real estate agent, am I right? [blinks an eye]", "The poor sod died and everything was auctioned of - what a tragedy.... But i was able to net this prime piece of real estate for a nice penny - look at these hard wood panels, aren't they gorgoues?!".
So here is the thing - I want him to be Samson Trammel, and I want your guys input on whether it is a good idea. I didn't intend him to be anything but a nice NPC, but he is a character that came to life and it would be a shame to have him not reappear. The PCs know about Ayers and Ethiopia and Gol-Goroth and all of that story line. They've talked to Buchwald (the catch all clue in LA) and know that Samson Trammel threatened Buchwald to buy the estate, and they know it was auctioned off. They haven't yet checked the auctioning records (where it says that Trammel bought Ecchevarias books), so I could make it so that Samson Trammel also bought the estate. I like how one of Lisa's PCs (Martin) had Trammel become a source of stability, and I like the sociopatic aspect of Royce inviting two of my PCs to dinner and toying with them Hannibal Lector Style. The plot change works because the two PCs who visited didn't have asses honesty, so there is no way for them to know that all he said was lies (even though i weren't playing them as lies at the time :) ). The one reason it could be a bit weird is that no neighbours said anything about wild parties and people coming in and out of the house. So I am debating whether Roger Royce's Highland Park Prime Real Estate house is also the current 1934 cult lair in LA: Does his family knows (he has 7 kids) or does he have the Trammel Mansion on a different location in Pasadena? They haven't yet been to the farm or encountered Jack Pizner or Captain Walker, so making it all come together like this could be a really nice way to have the net tightening around them and leave them feeling that what has felt like a bit of a breeze in LA so far was in fact to some extent the cult toying with them. 

Best wishes and happy new year from
Niels

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ReverendBayes

If you and the PCs seem to gravitate to Royce, it sounds like a great idea. You can easily put the "lair" at one of his real estate holdings. Would you keep the name as Royce? That would be the main complication I can think of, but it just means you'll need to do more modification to props created by the publisher or other GMs. 

 

My players are on Session 17, and about to head into the Yucatan to get the final pieces of the puzzle. 

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Lisa

I don't consider this topic dead. We're past the first flowering, sure, but it's great that folks are still playing this.

 

I was talking with Aviatrix about Trammel -- she did some interesting stuff with him. And yes, you could make Royce Trammel, so long as your players don't feel mistreated, and you know them better than I.

 

You could also have Royce be exactly what he seems. Trammel still wants the house, right? He could put pressure on Royce, maybe kidnap the kids or wife or send thugs over or something. Either Royce tells him about the PCs or Royce goes to them for help or both.

 

Royce could be a secret Investigator, but I don't recommend that. It dulls the impact of Malta and Ethiopia.

 

Aviatrix said that Trammel could be the guy Royce hired to pretend to be in charge.

 

You may want to consider just how dark you want to go, whichever ideas you run with, because white picket fence horror, parents and kids, and Nectar can get very dark indeed.

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Niels
On 05/01/2017 at 02:21, ReverendBayes said:

If you and the PCs seem to gravitate to Royce, it sounds like a great idea. You can easily put the "lair" at one of his real estate holdings. Would you keep the name as Royce? That would be the main complication I can think of, but it just means you'll need to do more modification to props created by the publisher or other GMs.

 

My players are on Session 17, and about to head into the Yucatan to get the final pieces of the puzzle.

 

Thanks for your response! It is exactly because they gravitate to him, that I want to make him a more meaningful character. I think I would keep the character name as Royce but perhaps go with Aviatrix' option that Trammel is a front that Royce is using for all of his shady business - which would hold and allow for few modifications of props. The idea of having the lair in another real estate holding is good.

 

I would love to hear about your experiences with the Yucatan locale!

 

On 05/01/2017 at 05:32, Lisa said:

 

Quote

I don't consider this topic dead. We're past the first flowering, sure, but it's great that folks are still playing this.

 

I am glad that you are saying this as this forum is such a wonderful community and resource! I am really looking forward to using and contributing to it now that some life is being breathed back into our campaign!

 

Quote

I was talking with Aviatrix about Trammel -- she did some interesting stuff with him. And yes, you could make Royce Trammel, so long as your players don't feel mistreated, and you know them better than I.

 

I think they might like it, since it the only PCs who have visited were quite trusting types and the other PCs later reacted with "what?! Did you just ring the doorbell of what might be the old lair of the '24 cult?! Are you deranged?!!", so it might actually fit as the perfect initiation point of current day cult activities in LA.

 

Quote

You could also have Royce be exactly what he seems. Trammel still wants the house, right? He could put pressure on Royce, maybe kidnap the kids or wife or send thugs over or something. Either Royce tells him about the PCs or Royce goes to them for help or both.

 

This is a cool idea, but I think a variation of the option you talked with Aviatrix about better suits the narrative that we've got running so far

 

Quote

Royce could be a secret Investigator, but I don't recommend that. It dulls the impact of Malta and Ethiopia.

 

The PCs have already latched onto Aksum and the Bangkok thug clue trail in Savannah, so I think I will leave the secret investigators for this and go with Justin Alexander's remix version of these NPCs.

 

Quote

Aviatrix said that Trammel could be the guy Royce hired to pretend to be in charge.

 

Now that I am considering this option and also what RevernedBayes suggested, I think that a variant of this option is what I will go for. I think I will make Royce the actual Trammel character of LA but Royce being rather shrewd (and completely psychotic bordering on skizofrenic) will very early in his life have set up Samson Trammel as the alter ego he uses in all of his shady affairs. In the auctioning of the Ecchavaria estate of '24, it will then be one Samson Trammel who bought the estate, but it will be filed with Royce Real Estate allowing the PCs to start making the connection. They might well make the connection that Royce is the front and not the villain himself but that will only make the truth that much more sweet.

 

Quote

You may want to consider just how dark you want to go, whichever ideas you run with, because white picket fence horror, parents and kids, and Nectar can get very dark indeed.

 

 

I have been a bit lenient on my players so far as we have all been learning gumshoe with this campaign. We've all agreed that now is the time to ramp up the darkness and make it more 'difficult' or at least dangerous for them. All of my players have made quite comprehensive PCs who have interrelated background stories and interact well with their sources of stability. One frail student is writing letters to his mother that explains every single thing they experience, so that her mind is unraveling at the same pace as the PCs - he is setting her up to be his fall-back PC, but has also hinted it is a good place for me to throw some darkness at him. Other than that religous weirdness is also permeating the campaign - The cult in LA, Aksum, Kailash being a sacred mountain and me planning to have many of the acutal religions in that place being curropted by the liar, the Edgar Job and Azatoth nihilism strain.

 

Real estate, the earthquake and the resulting economic crash in Long Beach has also been thematic for our LA locale. I therefore think it will suit my players very well if Royce who on the surface is the scion of society in fact turns out to be the cult leader. On the surface it will look as if he is helping rebuild communities, but in fact he is taking poor people from these communities and bringing them to his "parties" for orgiastic rites and sacrificing. Perhaops some of his "children" are orphans from the earthquakes and his "wife" is a nectar addict who enjoys the "sweet" life he can give her (perhaps she is in fact his real wife he has turned into an addict and a husk). I think I would like to play him as a genuinely charismatic and likeable guy with this completely dark other side, as I think that would make it much more scary. Perhaps.

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Aviatrix
On 09/01/2017 at 13:22, Niels said:

Thanks for your response! It is exactly because they gravitate to him, that I want to make him a more meaningful character. I think I would keep the character name as Royce but perhaps go with Aviatrix' option that Trammel is a front that Royce is using for all of his shady business - which would hold and allow for few modifications of props. The idea of having the lair in another real estate holding is good.

 

I would love to hear about your experiences with the Yucatan locale!

 

 

Cool beans :)

 

My Trammel had a secret identity as well...actually, two of them: he was Richard Spend, who assumed Trammel's identity after the events at the farm, and also a radio preacher who went by the name Goodman Black since he believed he was talking to Nyarlathotep. (I based him on Amy Semple McPherson, and turned the mansion into the "Temple of Joy.")

 

My Yucatan section, which Lisa got to play through, was a bit more...apocalyptic. You can read the writeup starting here. Hope you find it useful!

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chicklewis

I must be missing something, or the plot is weak regarding the "Warding Stone" buried with Henslowe's journal. 

 

(My group's first session went very well a week ago, and I'm prepping for the next game.)

 

I recall that George Ayers shipped this piece of carved stone or masonry from the dig in Eritrea to Ecchivaria in Los Angeles.

 

Then we find it in the box buried on the grounds of the Henslowe mansion with a note which says "- - - I took it from the barn that night." 

 

But I just cannot imagine WHY Ecchivaria would have brought the stone to the summoning at the barn.  He wants to SUMMON the Liar, not ward him away. 

 

AND I cannot imagine why, when Henslowe, by his own account, panic-ed and "ran like a damned coward", he would have carried the stone away with him, while running in terror. 

 

What am I missing here?  Is it really that weak a point in the narrative? 
 

I see that the excellent Alexandrian Remix substitutes a 'stone dagger' for the Warding stone, but haven't digested enough of the Remix to know the background on that stone dagger.

 

How did you handle this for your adaptation of the campaign?

 

Thanks in advance for any advice or additional inspiration. 

 

Chick

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Lisa

The plot may be that weak. Even amazing campaigns will have unexpected ?!? moments.

 

If it weren't for "I took it from the barn that night", there's an easy fix -- he stole it earlier. Even with it, you can use the unsatisfying-but-workable "Henslowe's under stress and blurring events together" explanation.

 

Echevarria might not have known the effect the stone had, so that hole's patchable. He sent Ayers to Ethiopia to distract him, and may not have a clear idea of what Ayers might find. Heck, Ayers didn't seem to know exactly what he was sending, if I recall correctly. I mean, why send your leader something that has mystical power against what you're all working for? My take on that is Ayers knew it was related to the Liar, but not how, and sent it to Echevarria, who either didn't know any more (which is totally believable to me) or was too busy to pay proper attention, as he was finishing preparing for the big night (which is less believable to me, but YMMV).

 

As for Henslowe, if we're keeping things as writ... I could see him grabbing it in a panic and not thinking, but that is not my ideal answer. Perhaps he grabbed it intending to bash someone's head it, then subconsciously realized it gave him some protection -- maybe cultists subconsciously shunned him, maybe the Liar did, maybe both? And having such protection, he chose to run, rather than fight.

 

Mind, Henslowe considers himself a coward, but it's possible he's being too hard on himself. Whatever protection the stone gave him, a direct attack from the Liar would've made that irrelevant. Heck, you could say that the stone is what influenced him to run.

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Dront

It's probably just a continuity error. But the way I played it, I decided that Henslowe was lying to Winston. "The stone you might recognize. I took it from the barn that night. (I think it was E's.)" This is what Henslowe wrote. But on p 183, "Echevarria was dead by the time the fragment arrived. Douglas Henslowe stole the fragment on his way out of town".

 

Henslowe knew that Winston could not have seen the stone at the barn (because it was never there). But maybe Henslowe wanted Winston to believe that he (Douglas) had had his wits about him and stolen the stone right then and there, despite the panic and terror. See, he wasn't a coward. Yet Henslowe could not be sure that Winson wouldn't recognize the stone as Echevarria's. Winston had spied on Echevarria, maybe even paid him a visit, and could have seen the stone at his place. Hence the casual remark that Winston might recognize the stone (as E's). If Winston did recognize the stone, it would make Henslowe's lie all the more plausible.

 

So where did Henslowe get the stone from? For my game, I asked myself what Henslowe was doing in the group. Winston was the brains, Kullman the expert in the occult, Vince the fixer, Katherine the chronicler/camerawoman. Why was Henslowe hired? I decided that he was the stealthy burglar type. So, he would have sneaked into Echevarria's house and stolen the stone from there.

 

So why lie to Winston about it? Well, direct confrontation with the liar may have unwholesome side effects. Also, the investigators had spied on Echevarria. Maybe Henslowe had been tempted to do more than just keep an eye on the house like he had been told? Maybe he had actually sneaked into the house. And met someone on the premises. A barely clad lady high on nectar, perhaps? He could not tell the others what happened next. Above all, he could not tell Katherine. He was sure that he had not been followed on his way out of there, but what if he was wrong? Maybe the cultists had been expecting the investigators. Maybe the disaster was all his fault? Also, that stone. It had caught his eye in the house. It would protect him. He had to get back there and take it for himself. While his best friends were dead, dying or fleeing for their lives. No, Henslowe was not proud of himself. And those whispers in the night...

 

 

[Edit: Grammar corrected. Sorry, not my native language...]

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Lisa

I like the rewrite. It fits nicely thematically -- I had a sudden realization when running Malta for the full EL campaign (as opposed to the playtesting) that Donovan's pilgrimage to his wife's grave is even more of a lie than I'd realized. He knows he is visiting an empty grave.

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Dront

Thanks, Lisa! Yes with a title such as Eternal Lies it's fun to put in a few of these seemingly trivial little 'alternative facts'.

 

By the way, since I alluded to it above I should probably mention that in my game, Katherine and Henslowe were having an affair. He was in love, while for her it was more... convenient. Also she may or may not have left him for Vince. This allowed me to flesh out Henslowe's notebook with stuff that made for at least somewhat interesting reading, yet did not reveal anything about the plot. Also I decided that there were pages missing (Henslowe had torn them out) while other pages had been crumpled up, then smoothed out again and carefully put back, especially pages with drawings on them (and interesting stuff on the verso). The fragmentary state of the notebook made it easier for me to make the prop (while at the same time illustrating Henslowe's state of mind I guess).

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chicklewis

These are interesting ideas, Lisa and Dront !  Thanks ! 

 

I had decided that in my campaign, Henslowe's functions in the failed investigation team were 'sketch artist and logistician', but adding 'sneaky burglar' might work well.  

 

Anybody remember where the Alexandrian stone dagger appeared?  My players haven't dug up anything yet, so I can still decide what will be in the box.  

 

Chick

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JustinAlexander

The only reason I substituted a stone dagger is that I had a really cool obsidian dagger that I could use as a prop there. It was originally just a one-for-one swap for the warding stone. After the fact, I realized that it made sense for Echavarria to have it: Remember that his goal is to sacrifice that which he summoned. A dagger designed to ward against it? Makes perfect sense for the weapon used to make the sacrifice.

 

If you keep it a warding stone instead of a dagger, I have a couple of theories on why Echavarria might have specifically wanted it: First, like a sorcerer drawing a pentagram to ward himself from that which he has summoned, Echavarria may have wanted some extra protection. Second, specifically destroying this artifact might have had sympathetic significance as a later part of the ritual (which Echavarria never got to carry out because everything got, literally, shot to hell).

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chicklewis

Been thinking about your comments, Justin, for a few days, and I like your rationalizations.  I think I'll keep it a decorated panel and use your logic on why E brought it to the summoning.  

 

If I have Henslowe say that E was carrying it, and the players figure out that it does warding, might make a nice foreshadowing that E wasn't completely on Ygolonac's side of the equation.

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chicklewis

Hi, fellow game-organizers !  (Can we still be 'Keepers' when running TRAIL campaigns?)  

 

My group did well clue-gathering in Savannah, and now are in Los Angeles.  I'm having a few problems justifying to myself the ways Jack Pizner might locate and identify the investigators.

 

Surely enough, detectives at LAPD or the foreman at the construction site can tip off Jack that 'folks' are snooping around asking questions about the 1924 massacre.  They could also give appearance descriptions of the investigators, but my players are pretty paranoid, and always check in to lodging and introduce themselves using false names.  

 

So, Jack would have descriptions, and the license number of the rented auto, but no direct and plausible way to cross the trail of the investigators if they never return to the LAPD nor the construction site.  

 

In addition, Savitree's thugs DID threaten the party just before they exited Savannah.  Do Savitree and Trammel/Walker communicate often enough and in enough detail that Trammel and Walker know the descriptions of the folks who were snooping around Savannah?  Why might she offer him that information, and what would she want in return?  

 

Thanks for any and all suggestions and hard-won knowledge.  

 

Chick

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Lisa

Savitree could have communicated in sufficient detail.

 

I mean, basically, it's your call, but given it makes your life easier, use it.

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chicklewis

How did you handle it in your game, Lisa?

 

How did Jack Pizner locate the investigators after someone tipped him off that they were in town?  

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Lisa

Hm, I don't recall. The PCs weren't keeping a low profile, and Savitree did communicate with Walker. So, it wasn't something I worried about needing to justify.

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ReverendBayes

In my game, the PCs wrote their names in the guest book at Joy Grove! Savitree's spies got their names, and Savitree notified Trammel to be on the lookout for people with those names, but she was cagey and didn't say why.

 

Pizner was alerted to the PCs' presence in L.A. when they looked at the graphic photos from Echavarria's mansion while a security guard was standing a little too close and overheard them. He notified the police, and one of Pizner's moles at the station alerted Pizner. 

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chicklewis

Nice, thanks, Lisa and ReverendBayes.  

 

My PI player surprised me by using her real name at the LAPD and revealing the correct hotel when asked "How can we contact you if we get new information?"

 

So in my game Pizner now has zero problems locating the investigators.  Great stuff.  

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Harndon

I'm planning to run this (Spawn of Azathoth first) and am reading the Remix, I'm going to be looking at the playthroughs linked here... I've owned SoA for about a decade, and MoN for longer than that before I ran it - so I know both fairly well. I figure I should get to know Eternal Lies as well as possible before I run it. It seems like it's got a lot of moving parts. 

 

Issues/questions that have popped out at me so far that I haven't seen discussed here. 

 

-unless I've missed something, there's not much to be done regarding background research on the 1924 investigators who died at the failed summoning. I get the sense my players are going to try, though - they tend to have a laser focus on things that aren't fleshed out in scenarios. Have I missed something, or should I just come up with some plausible background that doesn't conflict with the rest of the book?

 

-Tibet is part of the endgame in both this and SoA. "Hey, remember the last time we saved the world? This time it's also the same place" seems a bit silly. I'm guessing I might have to move one to not-Tibet - which would be easier, I wonder? 

 

-Revelations of Glaaki seems to come up a lot, but the way it's presented is different from the way that other references to it in Cthulhu games have it. For example, the CoC Keeper's Compendium lists the cult's personal version as having 12 volumes (the last of which deals with Y'Golonac, and none of which deal with Gol-Goroth), and the published edition as having the first 9 volumes. Why does Trammel's library have two copies, one of which has the twelfth volume (I may be misremembering; I don't have the book here)? Isn't the twelfth book the one where reading it can let Y'Golonac possess you? It seems like there's a real potential to give the game away here. It's possible ToC handles these books differently (my copy of the campaign showed up before the copy of the book did; still not sure which system I'm going to run it in). 

 

-is there any downside to just leaving the thugs in Savannah out? My players tend to be pretty combat-happy, so I limit the amount of combat that happens. Some guys showing up to menace them is just going to lead to a bunch of hard-bitten murderhobos pulling their concealed weapons and blasting away. Pizner in LA is important enough that I'm going to figure out a way he can do his thing without that happening, but I'm not sure what the Savannah thugs accomplish. 

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Lisa

The last first: It's fine to leave out the Savannah thugs. Heck, I did, and then decided to put them in NYC the following session. They're a wandering factor you can use when you need, if you need, like the anti-investigators.

 

There is some data on the 1924 investigators. Not a lot, granted. FC Kullerman was an older man, wheelchair bound, author, research guy. Katherine was the crusading photographer, maybe a journalist, young. Vince Stark was a PI, good in a fight, and a fixer, I think. Winston was the moneybags, and you get a fair amount on him. Kullerman seems to have had money as well. Henslowe's from money as well, and his role is a little less defined. Aviatrix had her PC decide he was her equivalent, basically backing everyone up as needed, iirc, which I was fine with.

 

In her run, Aviatrix had Henslowe's letters actually contain coded messages, but remember the bit about how he's got one particular edition of a book, I think Nameless Cults? Winston had the wrong edition, which is why he couldn't find the hidden messages, whatever they were. This actually felt like it should have been there all along.

 

The whole Gla'aki books is downright odd, an oddness that isn't specific to Eternal Lies, but to the book to begin with. That is, you've got this epic dictated by one mythos deity that suddenly mentions another in the last volume. The Alexandrian Remix has one explanation of this. I know Oscar Rios has another. You can probably come up with a third, at least.

 

As for the question of whether that gives the game away, well... so, a few things:

 

1. It really doesn't matter who the OG in question is. You can change that. It's kind of the least important thing. Heck, when I was talking about EL to my spouse, who had playtested the very part where the PCs find out who the OG is, he was sure it was Shub Niggurath. That's what he remembered. It wasn't, but it totally could be.

 

2. It doesn't matter if the PCs find out immediately who the OG is. That said, it's certainly fine keeping it something to discover.

 

3. What do the players know about the mythos? And what do the PCs know? And how good are they about keeping player and PC knowledge separate?

 

That's actually the crux. I edited the description of the creature described by Edgar Job at Joy Grove, just the smallest bit, and...

 

So, okay, technically, NONE of the PCs should have known from Y'golonac. Seriously, none. One had gone through Masks, and another through Tatters. This made the game great because each was convinced their personal nemesis of an OG had a role, and I found logical places for the OGs to be active.

 

That said, the one who'd been through Tatters -- well, okay, the PC didn't say anything, but the player thought it might be Y'golonac.

 

Immediately, the one who'd been through Masks said that this couldn't possibly be the case because there weren't missing heads. I pointed out that Katherine's head had never been found, and she brushed that aside. Given that there was no way her PC should know anything about any of that anyway, my only concern was whether she'd think things hadn't been quite fair, and it wasn't a big concern because, frankly, what the OGs are is fungible, and your Y'golonac may be quite different from mine. Heck, her Gol-Goroth when she ran EL was WAY different from mine, and ten times as creepy.

 

So, don't worry too much. Focus on the human cultists -- they're the interesting ones. I found that the lack of detail worked well for me because I could fill in things that would fit with the group I was running for, and EL is really all about that -- all about tailoring the campaign to the strengths, and especially the weaknesses, of the PCs.

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Harndon

There is some data on the 1924 investigators. Not a lot, granted. FC Kullerman was an older man, wheelchair bound, author, research guy. Katherine was the crusading photographer, maybe a journalist, young. Vince Stark was a PI, good in a fight, and a fixer, I think. Winston was the moneybags, and you get a fair amount on him. Kullerman seems to have had money as well. Henslowe's from money as well, and his role is a little less defined. Aviatrix had her PC decide he was her equivalent, basically backing everyone up as needed, iirc, which I was fine with.

 

I think I'm going to make Henslowe the record-keeper. I've got one player who is really into note-keeping (in the current campaign, he's the only one who has explicitly stated that his notes are in-game; regardless of whether the current character survives until I run EL, I think it's a habit he's going to keep. 

 

The whole Gla'aki books is downright odd, an oddness that isn't specific to Eternal Lies, but to the book to begin with. That is, you've got this epic dictated by one mythos deity that suddenly mentions another in the last volume. The Alexandrian Remix has one explanation of this. I know Oscar Rios has another. You can probably come up with a third, at least.

 

As presented in the Keeper's Companion, it's basically "this book tells your PCs everything that Ramsey Campbell came up with" which isn't to my taste. I like books that are vague, descriptions instead of names (a lot of CoC handouts involve a great deal of naming of deities, and I'd rather give their "titles" - I think that consonant-heavy names are less creepy than "The One Who Waits In Twilight" or whatever. I also cut down the reading time, Mythos gain, and SAN loss of books - delivering the skill gain and SAN loss in drips and drabs seems to seduce some players into reading the books - sort of a collector mentality. 

 

1. It really doesn't matter who the OG in question is. You can change that. It's kind of the least important thing. Heck, when I was talking about EL to my spouse, who had playtested the very part where the PCs find out who the OG is, he was sure it was Shub Niggurath. That's what he remembered. It wasn't, but it totally could be.

 

The themes of Y'Golonac - perversion, corruption, human frailty - tie in with the way the cults are presented in this book, in my view. Just reading the book I'm getting the feeling that, compared to what my players have encountered (the fairly stereotypical true-believer cults in DotB, MoN, and HotOO - I'm planning to run SoA before EL, and that one doesn't really have a central cult at all) the descendants of the Echavarria cult are noticeably lacking in earnest zealots. So far they've dealt with the (nightmarish death cult) version of the early Christians: mostly underground, dedicated to bringing their evil god to the world, willing to die. EL is going to see them running into the Mythos version of the Avignon Papacy (or, the unfriendly depiction of it) - worldly, corrupt, fractious, not particularly devoted to their god, barely even aware of who their god is

 

2. It doesn't matter if the PCs find out immediately who the OG is. That said, it's certainly fine keeping it something to discover.

 

I think that's unlikely, but I would like to have a progression from "oh, they were trying to summon The Ultimate Evil, just like we've seen how many times?" to "oh, the cult leader was lying to his cult? That's weird" to "wait, that lie was covering for another lie?" - I think it will be fun, and a nice switch from the very mission-statement-based cults they've tangled with so far. I'll be happy if they just connect the whole thing to Y'Golonac's descriptor, not knowing the god itself. Instead of the usual division that CoC seems to create between "PCs who read all the handouts and know things" and "PCs who just close their eyes and blast away", I shoot for "PCs who think they know what's going on but don't" and "PCs who know they don't and don't care because reading the books is for suckers". 

 

3. What do the players know about the mythos? And what do the PCs know? And how good are they about keeping player and PC knowledge separate?

 

That's actually the crux. I edited the description of the creature described by Edgar Job at Joy Grove, just the smallest bit, and...

 

So, okay, technically, NONE of the PCs should have known from Y'golonac. Seriously, none. One had gone through Masks, and another through Tatters. This made the game great because each was convinced their personal nemesis of an OG had a role, and I found logical places for the OGs to be active.

 

That said, the one who'd been through Tatters -- well, okay, the PC didn't say anything, but the player thought it might be Y'golonac.

 

Immediately, the one who'd been through Masks said that this couldn't possibly be the case because there weren't missing heads. I pointed out that Katherine's head had never been found, and she brushed that aside. Given that there was no way her PC should know anything about any of that anyway, my only concern was whether she'd think things hadn't been quite fair, and it wasn't a big concern because, frankly, what the OGs are is fungible, and your Y'golonac may be quite different from mine. Heck, her Gol-Goroth when she ran EL was WAY different from mine, and ten times as creepy.

 

I am expecting that at least one PC will survive through the current campaign and what I plan to run next, so there will likely be at least one PC with some Mythos knowledge. But since I make the books vague, when they succeed with Mythos, I can give them a tidbit of information that's equally vague. The players seem pretty good at not bringing outside knowledge in, but none of them seem to have a great deal of outside knowledge - I think I'm the only one who's read much Lovecraft, has read the game books, etc. The one who I have a suspicion knows some stuff seems to be the best roleplayer of the group. I may just be projecting my having read everything onto them.

 

So, don't worry too much. Focus on the human cultists -- they're the interesting ones. I found that the lack of detail worked well for me because I could fill in things that would fit with the group I was running for, and EL is really all about that -- all about tailoring the campaign to the strengths, and especially the weaknesses, of the PCs.

 

Thanks for the advice. I think I'm going to go with that - I get the feeling that, compared to the classic 80s campaigns, this one is more about people.

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chicklewis

My players are still in Log Angeles, but in preparing for tomorrow's game I ran into one thing I don't understand, and would appreciate any advice.   Back in '24 the LA Major Mouth was in Ecchavarria's basement, but now it is in Trammel's basement.  How did this come to pass?  

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