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Lisa

Eternal Lies SPOILERS GMs ONLY

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JustinAlexander

How can you manage an Investigator who know her father died and that he was a friend of Walter Winston?

 

(1) The investigator may know that their father died in LA, but it should be a mystery to them HOW and WHY he died. The letters from Henslowe make it clear he's the best lead for figuring it out. That should provide a strong attraction to Savanah.

 

(2) Add more leads around LA pointing to Ayers at UCLA. Then add more leads at UCLA pointing to Jobs (because of his association with Ayers).

 

(3) Append the doctor's request to transfer Jobs to Savannah to the police report regarding the ritual.

 

(4) Savitree has Jobs under surveillance. Add leads from Bangkok pointing to Savannah.

 

If the PCs end up "skipping" Savannah, don't worry about it: They've got clear leads pointing them in that direction. They'll get to it eventually. (You could even easily end up with a situation where they go to Los Angeles first, hit a brick wall in their investigation, go to Savannah for more information, and then return to LA to finish things up.)

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JustinAlexander

Earlier in this thread (or maybe it was a tangent over on the props thread) someone had asked about what would happen if the PCs try to kill Edgar Jobs before the final chapter. I proposed the idea that the mantle of "chosen one" would pass to the PC who killed him (following the laws of sacrificial magic), which would force the PC to make the choice to exile themselves from Earth to end the Apocalypse.

 

This afternoon my players spent a great deal of time discussing the possibility of collecting Edgar Jobs from Savannah before flying to Tibet so that they could throw him into the Maw of the Mouth. I think they've talked themselves back out of it, which is a little sad because I figure this could have one of two results:

 

(1) The Apocalypse never happens. The ritual short-circuits itself. (The Liar's final vision would now take the form of channeling Echavarria's original plan in a series of apocalyptic vignettes. The PCs would emerge from it with the knowledge that they had saved the world twice over.)

 

(2) The Maw eats Edgar Jobs and becomes the Chosen One. Then the PCs kill the maw, and they (probably collectively) become the Chosen Ones. The entire Apocalypse focuses on them and they have to collectively leave Earth never to return in order to save it.

 

Not sure which way I would actually go with it. In both cases, though, I note that the severity of the Apocalypse is probably severely reduced (or, of course, eliminated). Which is also true if they haul Edgar Jobs along and just keep him by their side in Thibet, I suppose. (Since the PCs don't have to cross the planet to track him down, the effects are probably more localized and haven't gotten too severe before they can complete the ritual.

Thoughts from the collective GM hive mind?

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ReverendBayes

Interesting! For your group, which would be the most dramatically rewarding?

 

If they've figured out the purpose of EJ in the ritual, I think it's a suitable reward to short-circuit the Apocalypse (your #1).

 

On the other hand, if they just think it'd be neat to give The Liar an EJ-shaped snack, I'd aim to bring about the Apocalypse and maintain the theme of sacrifice that runs through the game. #2 works well to that end, although it's convoluted enough that you'll need to consider how to telegraph this to the players.

 

Here's another possibility: upon being swallowed by The Maw, EJ (being impervious to death) is vomited from a Major Mouth somewhere else before the PCs complete the ritual. In this contingency, the Apocalypse begins, and the players have to figure out Where on Earth is Edgar Job?

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Lisa

I'd go for #2 myself.

 

That said, Will Hindmarch came up with a #3.

 

His take was that if EJ was killed, well, there was no focus, which meant that the planet was doomed because there was no single being one could send elsewhere.

 

Alternatively, I do like the "yep, he's swallowed -- and then vomited up elsewhere" plan. This does mean there needs to be a way for the PCs to find EJ.

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philipv

So I'm starting Eternal Lies on Saturday, and I have the first of what I imagine will be a lot of questions.

 

Can you destroy a major mouth with weapons that aren't explosives? The book offers a Health stat which implies you can, but narratively only really talks about blowing the things up as a way of getting rid of them.

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FreddieF

So I'm starting Eternal Lies on Saturday, and I have the first of what I imagine will be a lot of questions.

 

Can you destroy a major mouth with weapons that aren't explosives? The book offers a Health stat which implies you can, but narratively only really talks about blowing the things up as a way of getting rid of them.

 

If you read it carefully, especially the Bangkok section, even blowing up a major mouth won't kill it completely unless the charges are placed well and the explosion carefully constructed to blow it up and bury it. They will eventually reform. So I imagine that yes, you can "kill" it using conventional weapons, but it ain't going to stay dead for long. You could always let investigators go to the lengths of killing one and have anyone with Cthulhu Mythos get the idea that it isn't going to stay dead as a Core Clue (no spend) - this should push them towards looking for the body and destroying it once and for all!

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ReverendBayes

I'm in the middle of an EL run. So far: Savannah -> LA -> Ethiopia, eight sessions, leaning heavily on the Alexandrian Remix (with some deviation because my players didn't find Trammel's Testaments). Next stop: Malta. How are other GMs treating Nectar addiction in Malta?

 

The book hints that each Mouth has its own "flavor" of Nectar, but doesn't flesh out every locale. It is implied that L.A. Nectar amplifies hedonism. In Bangkok it's sadism, in Ethiopia it's masochism, in Mexico City it's aestheticism. But there's no clear "sin" to amplify in Malta, and there are no scenes describing worship of the Liar in that chapter. I also find it a little odd to reconcile the usually debilitating effects of Nectar addiction with the fact that most of the crew of the Thyrsus are supposed to be addicts.

 

For the effects of Maltese Nectar, I'm thinking it might amplify avarice. Working through the consequences of that modification, it seems to change the behavior of some of the major players. Donovan becomes less philanthropic and more of a ruthless businessman, until after his wife's death when he started giving it away to charity. Cultist guards become more susceptible to bribes, and maybe there's a minor crime wave in Valletta, associated with a trend of wearing expensive jewelry among those who can least afford it.  

 

But I'm interested in hearing what others have come up with. What are the effects of Maltese Nectar in your game?

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Lisa

I treated the Maltese blend as functionally similar to the LA blend.

 

Mexico's was weaker -- you'll notice that several NPCs have done Nectar a couple of times, but don't seem at all addicted to it, and one guy who supposedly is addicted is willing to up and quit if bribed in cash.

 

But, one of my players hypothesized that each mouth characterized a different deadly sin, so, by all means, go with Avarice.

 

A couple of other thoughts:

 

The god is called The Liar for a reason -- yet, it gave Donovan the true key to finding it.

Donovan visits his wife's grave regularly. That grave is a lie. No one is buried there, and he knows it.

He's using Nectar to try to cure his son of the Liar's curse. This is insane.

The Major Mouths corrupt their cults in ways that hurt the Mouths themselves.

 

I'm not sure if these all add up to something usable, but I found it interesting.

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ReverendBayes

Thanks Lisa. Great point about the wife's grave, and I also found the use of Nectar to cure his son to be bizarre. But, I guess that's insane cultist for you.

 

In my game I treat the Liar's intelligence as utterly alien. The lies it tells to protect itself are not so much clever as instinctive, like a chameleon changing colors to match the surroundings. It interacts with humans entirely through their id, so it's not really capable of understanding complex logical motivations. Mostly it just figures out what people want most in life and then just gives them 100x of that until they're insane or destroyed, feeding on their satisfaction throughout.

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Lisa

"Insane cultist" can get old fast. I know Aviatrix's remix has looked at cultist motivations and tweaked them with the goal of avoiding Insane Cultist Syndrome. (We may disagree on which cultists suffer from it, but that's another story, and not limited to Eternal Lies in any case.)

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christian

I've just run "Ethiopia" and even though it's a strange location with no real antagonist, it was suitably otherworldly and creepy as hell

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Lisa

According to the book, the intention for Ethiopia is that, sooner or later, the PCs will have to flee the mob of villagers in the creepy village.

 

In practice, though, I found myself playing up the creepy niceness of the villagers. I mean, sure, they worshipped something inimical to humanity and engaged in disturbing practices, but they didn't initiate violence in my run. Aviatrix did something completely different in her run which I'm not sure I'd use, but which worked very well for her campaign.

 

Me, I considered my run of it a success when the PC who was a Nectar addict was seriously tempted to give Tshombe his hand so that the mouth where her breast used to be could bite it.

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christian

I forgot to be more precise: genocidal bloodbath was had by all

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christian

One of my players did this, and I thought you'd enjoy it, even if it has minor spoliers which make it unwise to show it to players at the start of the campaign

post-205-0-66001500-1452345624_thumb.jpg

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JustinAlexander

Any chance that poster exists in a larger format somewhere? I'd love to be able to remove the location names and print that out at actual poster size.

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christian

I'll ask my friend, Justin, and see what we can find. I wish to take this opportunity to thank you. Your "rewrite" of EL, using the node system, is an eye-opener. I realize now more clearly how important presentation of scenario is ro a rpg. I am used to Chaosium's system which is quite straightforward and deceptively simple looking. I have been having great difficulty with EL for the exact reasons you point out. And your rewrite has salvaged the campaign for me

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JustinAlexander

Hmm... Maybe commemorative postcards.

 

Glad you enjoyed the remix! I love this campaign!

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Aklo

Did anybody ever use the white hermits spider surprise, or the rival investigator group twist to good effect in their campaigns? I am playing with either one to pad the sessions between LA and Ethiopia.  

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ReverendBayes

Taking a cue from Justin Alexander, I introduced the rival investigators in Ethiopia (right after LA). I find them very useful as a device to add urgency to the campaign, and to introduce or reinforce clues that were missed. 

 

With Savitree's backing the rivals had been fruitlessly hunting for information about the Liar's true nature, when they coincidentally encountered the PCs in Massaua doing the same thing. One of the PCs, an antiquarian, is an old acquaintance of Fauche, and unwittingly tipped the rivals to an important clue while getting clues in return. So the rivals traced the PCs' steps into the desert, and found a bunch of information that accelerated Savitree in her pursuits.

 

Now (after Savannah+LA+Ethiopia+Malta) the rivals are making thinly veiled threats to the PCs to sell them their tomes on the Liar, which if left unheeded will cause the rivals to try to take the books by force. If the PCs don't eventually dispose of the rivals, I expect both groups will piece together the clues simultaneously, and meet in a climactic battle near Mt. Kailash. I want the PCs to feel like they are in a race against the worshippers of the Liar, usually just a step behind, and I hope this will give the Nepal chapter a little dose of desperate action.  

 

Also, my players completely missed Trammel's library, skedaddling after finding the Mouth in the basement. So I've used the rivals to feed them core clues they missed: Lowman's address in Bangkok (he's their shop clerk), an invitation to participate in the Bangkok rites, some clues about Savitree, connections and inconsistencies in the Liar's relationship to Gol-Goroth, and the names of some important tomes. 

 

Regarding the white hermits, I've given the players some foreshadowing of their existence, but haven't introduced them directly yet. The rivals' trunk of goodies is trapped with white hermits, and one of The Guardians in Massaua tried to break into it while the PCs were in the desert. They found his body later, covered with bites, along with a solitary dead white hermit. I expect them to find the trunk themselves when they go that address in Bangkok.... 

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Aviatrix

Since I went for the full-on PoMo remix, I didn't quite use the parallel investigators as such, but I did manage to get most of them in as sort of nodding cameos for Lisa at least:

 

--Luc Fauche (aka Professor Dreamy Eyes) was a professor of archaeology who was taking a year to teach (by coincidence, of course!) at the boarding school attended by Lisa's character. Later on he showed up in Ethiopia on an expedition to Dallol.

 

--Phajol and Alex showed up working at the "Temple of the White Buddha" (which had a curious room constructed by the Templars in the back)

 

--I think I mentioned Hussain in passing (I probably intended him to join Dr. Fauche in Ethiopia, but plain forgot.)

 

So I guess the answer is No, really, as except for Fauche none of them had any major face time. Partly this was because I promoted Bethany Mae Hampton from Savannah to occult operative and gave her a team of women to work with.

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Aklo

Really like how you handled it ReverendBayes, since my own group missed a couple of clues in LA I might borrow shamelessly from your example. More likely I will introduce one or two of them, and maybe the group will even consider them helpful NPCs putting themselves in a bad spot for the imminent betrayal.

 

Like what you did with the White Hermits too...*shudders at thought of the trapped trunk*

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PoC

For convenience, I've uploaded a 1941 WPA Guide to Los Angeles for anyone running that chapter. It's about as close as I can find at the moment. The guide is illustrated and has some history of the city relevant for the period of play.

 

 

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