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Graham

Reconstructing a lost campaign from 1982

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Graham

I've recently become aware that M. B. Wilner, author of an early Call of Cthulu scenario "The Horror on Old Hill" also wrote "The Mauritania".

 

In his notes for "The Horror on Old Hill" Wilner wrote:

 

“At present, I have one group who… are now onboard the Mauritania headed for London and points east to rescue mankind from … N’yarlathotep…â€

 

I am assuming that the two scenarios are linked in some way to form a now lost campaign.

 

My conjectural structure of this would be as follows:

 

The Horror on Old Hill - Unpublished Scenario(s) - The Mauritania - Unpublished Scenario(s) - Unpublished Campaign Climax.

 

I don't have a copy of either published version of "The Mauritania" so I'd like to ask a specific question of anyone who does, could they please provide a listing of the named NPCs from that scenario so that I can compare it with the NPCs from "The Horror on Old Hill"?

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WinstonP

I've got the first edition of the scenario in the Asykum and Other Tales. What are you looking for?

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Graham

1. Names of all the major NPCs, so I can compare them with the names of the major NPCs from "The Horror on Old Hill".

 

2. Wilner on the basis of "The Horror on Old Hill" believed that tomes should convey scenario specific information (& not just a bunch of spells) to the players when they read them. If there are tome writeups in the scenario then a summary of what information he planned to have the Keeper pass on to the players would be very helpful.

 

I'm getting ready to pull my copy of "The Horror on Old Hill" out of storage just to double-check the tome writeups  and see if there were any clues to later scenarios in those.

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dce

Scanning through the original publication of "The Mauretania" (in "The Asylum & Other Tales") ... there are quite a number of NPCs named but most seem fairly much self-contained to the plot. Ther ARE a trio of Arkham-based academics who have "recently foiled the schemes of an ancient brotherhood" and are now on their way to Jerusalem for a follow-up adventure. They seem sort of Investigator-ish but are just sort of on the boat as a bunch of NPCs knowledgeable about the Mythos. The names of these three are Prof. Felix Fuda, Hargrave Thorpe and Richard Bloch. The latter two are students.

 

And yes there are tome write-ups in the scenario which incorporate not only the stats for the book but also a few sentences about the types of "facts" that are contained in the volume; I don't think any of these relate specifically to the scenario as such, but are more general background on Mythos-weirdness. For example the "facts" revealed by "Cthulhu in the Necronomicon" are "Explains Cthulhu's place in the mythos; tells of his wide worship among seafaring folk; warns that he is an alien monster from the stars, waiting for the right time to return and engulf mankind; delivers his messages in dream-fonn; his worshippers delight in bloody sacrifices." From the perspective of the scenario this is all just interesting background colour ...

 

Good luck on your piecing stuff together ...

 

 

Dean (from Adelaide)

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Graham

Scanning through the original publication of "The Mauretania" (in "The Asylum & Other Tales") ... there are quite a number of NPCs named but most seem fairly much self-contained to the plot. Ther ARE a trio of Arkham-based academics who have "recently foiled the schemes of an ancient brotherhood" and are now on their way to Jerusalem for a follow-up adventure. They seem sort of Investigator-ish but are just sort of on the boat as a bunch of NPCs knowledgeable about the Mythos. The names of these three are Prof. Felix Fuda, Hargrave Thorpe and Richard Bloch. The latter two are students.

 

Thanks, looks like Wilner actually used player characters from "The Horror on Old Hill" as NPCs in the published version of "The Mauritania", Hargrave Thorpe, Richard Bloch & a 'Professor Felix Frankfurter' (Presumably the original name of Professor Felix Fuda.) are listed in a thank-you at the end of the magazine scenario. I think that 'Ancient Brotherhood' therefore is the organization encountered in the magazine scenario.

 

I think I may have found another piece of the puzzle, the Clavis Solomanus is common to both scenarios. Amongst the facts in the version written up for "The Horror on Old Hill" is that information concerning the location of a 'Hidden Library' (location determined by Keeper) is contained within but the reader needs to make an INTx2 roll to find it. Which tomes are with the Arkham party, and what facts are in the writeup?

 

In my estmation Willners campaign was probably more linear than Masks, but probably more cohesive than Shadows, with a strong chase component. 

 

A revised structure is below, which incorporates a few guesses as to what the missing parts might be:

 

The Horror on Old Hill - Unpublished Scenario(s) (A further Arkham based scenario (?) Travel/New York Scenario (?)) - The Mauritania - Unpublished Scenario(s) (One set in London(?), Travel Scenario(s?), One set in Jerusalem (Climax ?) - Unpublished Campaign Climax.

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WinstonP

Dr. Fuda shows up, many years later publishing-wise, in the Miskatonic University Guidebook (but not Arkham Unveiled) no doubt as part of author Sam Johnson's attempt to collect all the MU related material into one book.

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MrYog

Well as it looks like the players actual names are listed along with their character names it seems there's a clear way of corroborating your theories.

Keeper - (M.B. Willner)
Professor Felix Frankfurter (Dave Krogerman)
Hargrove Thorpe (Lionel Martinez)
Richard Bloch (Dick Jones)
Professor Herkheimer Henry Braithwaite III (John Fluker)
Teddy Baskins, ace reporter for Bizarre Facts mag (Bill Murray)
Simon Ace (Mike Bellenger)
If any of them are still alive that is.

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Shimmin Beg

When you said Jerusalem, I briefly wondered about The Bleeding Stone of Iphtah but that's Steve Williams & Jon Sutherland.  Alas.

 

Interesting puzzle though.  Is there any chance there are more scenarios waiting to be discovered?  In magazines, say?

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Graham

Dr. Fuda shows up, many years later publishing-wise, in the Miskatonic University Guidebook (but not Arkham Unveiled) no doubt as part of author Sam Johnson's attempt to collect all the MU related material into one book.

 

Thanks, I just found the entry, looks like Johnson tied Fuda into 'Shadows', which is understandable, as the scenario that gives the backstory was published in a magazine that went out of print 23 years before the current guidebook was written. I'm still amazed myself that I was able to find a copy.

 

@Shmmin Beg: I'd say the chances of finding more are slim at best. Willner published twice to my knowledge, once in 'Adventure Gaming' (A magazine) and once in 'The Asylum & Other Tales' if they did publish again after that, it may have been in a Fanzine and they are almost impossible to trace.

 

The picture I'm getting is of a Keeper with fairly strong ideas about the game, with more than one group of players, who then seems to have dropped out of sight, even assuming they are alive and find-able, did they keep their scenario notes?

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WinstonP

The picture I'm getting is of a Keeper with fairly strong ideas about the game, with more than one group of players, who then seems to have dropped out of sight, even assuming they are alive and find-able, did they keep their scenario notes?

I'm a pack rat and I've got a scattering of ephemera from games going back to the late 80s, when I was gaming regularly. Mostly old character sheets etc. The oldest campaign notes I can find are some maps from around then; the first mostly complete set from college in the 90s (a planetary gazetteer and campaign outline for Star Wars campaign). I do sometimes find old game notes and sheets tucked into the odd ook or, especially, boxes. .Who knows what might lurk in an attic or a dusty shelf... or a stack of 5 1/4 floppies...

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Graham

I'm a pack rat and I've got a scattering of ephemera from games going back to the late 80s, when I was gaming regularly. Mostly old character sheets etc. The oldest campaign notes I can find are some maps from around then; the first mostly complete set from college in the 90s (a planetary gazetteer and campaign outline for Star Wars campaign). I do sometimes find old game notes and sheets tucked into the odd ook or, especially, boxes. .Who knows what might lurk in an attic or a dusty shelf... or a stack of 5 1/4 floppies...

 

Oh well, I'll keep my fingers crossed. I wonder if Chaosium still has records dating from back then? With a full name the search might be a bit easier.

 

Even if the rest is lost then the clues from the two surviving scenarios should allow a rough approximation of what was played to be created. I'm going to take a punt that the trip to Jerusalem mentioned in "The Mauritania" was actually to find the 'Hidden Library' mentioned in the version of the 'Clavis Solomanus' featured "The Horror on Old Hill" since both versions are probably the same.

 

It would be useful to know (as I mentioned previously) just which of the tomes appearing in "The Mauritania" are in posession of the Arkham trio and their contents as it might just confirm if Jerusalem was intended as the finale or simply as a stop along the way.

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wombat1

Have you considered posting an item on rpg.net or therpgsite.com to see if anyone there has contact information for any of these cats?  I would assume that this thread would have been detected and picked up by now if any of them were regulars here.

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tentarephobia

H'mm...

 

Someone following the exploits of a group of investigators from a previous era, trying to find what clues they may have discovered by reading the same tomes they read, retracing their steps, stage by stage, hoping to find a surviving member of the group willing to talk, in order to discover the party's destination and final fate...?

 

Add in a good reason to investigate - perhaps the previous party temporarily foiled some Mythos threat that is now re-emerging and the present-day investigators must find out how they did it, or retrieve the vital artifact that disappeared with them - and some power opposing the party's investigation, and you've got the basis for a scenario there! :-D

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dce
It would be useful to know (as I mentioned previously) just which of the tomes appearing in "The Mauritania" are in posession of the Arkham trio and their contents as it might just confirm if Jerusalem was intended as the finale or simply as a stop along the way.

 

The Arkham trio (well, actually, Fuda) are carrying two Mythos Tomes: The Key of Wisdom and Clavis Solomon (both of which are statted out in the scenario). Interesting the write-up for the former notes that it can be found in the "Jerusalem Archive" which could be a hint as to where the three were travelling (?)

 

In case it helps with your detective work, here's the few sentences which describe what the trio are doing:

 

Fuda and his two students, Hargrove Thorpe and Richard Bloch, are deeply involved with the dark side of the mythos. The three of them hail from Arkham, and there they recently uncovered an ancient brotherhood of evil sorcerers who, through their foul spells, have gained irnmortality. They foiled a scheme of this brotherhood only to find out that they were far stronger than the professor and his students had first dared to believe. The trio is now headed to Jerusalem to consult some arcane works available only there. They hope to learn enough to end the evil menace, and incidentally save themselves from the revenge of the brotherhood.

 

 

Dean (from Adelaide)

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Graham

@tentarephobia: Eternal Lies uses a similar idea.

 

@dce: Thanks, both items help, the second quote confirms that the cult the 'Arkham Trio' are fleeing from is the one described in "The Horror on Old Hill" and not the Silver Twilight. It also confirms that there must have been at least one other scenario between that scenario and "The Mauritania" because The Key of Wisdom does not appear in "The Horror on Old Hill". 

 

Now as I said in my earlier post my first suspicion is that the Jerusalem Archive is the 'hidden library' mentioned in the Clavis Solomanus and assuming that a party on-the-run is only going to take with them those items of most use I'm going to hazard a guess that The Key of Wisdom either contains some further clue related to that or a clue to some other thing of importance to these NPC investigators, so presumably that book has some item of information that requires a INT roll to reveal, and that could be useful to the reconstruction.

 

Of course the Jerusalem Archive could be where they learn to make space mead and fly off to Celaeno before returning for the climax as in "Day of the Beast"

 

@wombat1: I had thought of posting to the rpg.net forums with that query, but given the speed with which postings disappear off 'page 1' unless it was answered quickly the chances of success are as low as the chance of the unpublished campaign material surviving the years since the early 1980s.

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The_Tatterdemalion_King

@wombat1: I had thought of posting to the rpg.net forums with that query, but given the speed with which postings disappear off 'page 1' unless it was answered quickly the chances of success are as low as the chance of the unpublished campaign material surviving the years since the early 1980s.

 

If you tag it with a keyword ('cthulhu' 'chaosium' etc) it has a greater chance of being spotted by people who have specific interests.

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Graham

If you tag it with a keyword ('cthulhu' 'chaosium' etc) it has a greater chance of being spotted by people who have specific interests.

 

Thanks for the suggestion, I've posted a query and I might have had a bite, fingers crossed.

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Graham

Just had a reply from Willner...

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Shimmin Beg

The breath, it is bated.

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WinstonP

I, too, am very curious.

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deuce

I, too, am very curious.

 

Myself, as well. This type of search always fascinates me.

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JustinAlexander

Subscribed.

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dwillems

I realize this is an old thread, but Mike Willner is very much still alive and is active on Facebook, especially through the Metropolitan Wargamers NYC group.

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