Posts tagged Pelgrane Press

Eternal Lies – Session 12

THURSDAY NOVEMBER 15, 1934: The Investigators decided to travel to the Ethiopia to investigate some of the leads they’d turned up while in Los Angeles. In particular, they wanted to investigate the activities of two archaeologists: GEORGE AYERS and BARTOLO ACUÑA.

It appears that Ayers was a member of RAMON ECHAVARRIA’S cult. In fact he was part of the cult’s inner circle and was close enough to Echavarria to detect the fact that the cult leader seemed to be lying about the entity that the group was worshipping. Echavarria had pointed to GOL- GOROTH, an alien deity drawn to human depravity, but in truth there was another figure that Echavarria sought to contact. Echavarria referred to it as THE LIAR FROM BEYOND.

Whatever occurred between him and Ayers, Echavarria still approved of his associate enough to fund an archaeological dig at his recommendation. In 1924, Ayers joined Acuña on a trip to Dallol, in Abyssinia, to excavate some ancient ruins. As he was out of the country, he evaded the events that led to the death of Echavarria, along with many of his followers, as well as most of WALTER WINSTON’S group of cult-busters.

Nevertheless, while in Ethiopia, Ayers disappeared. Bartolo Acuña is still active and has re-entered Ethiopia recently at the behest of the Italian cultural ministry. He is there to retrieve an ancient stone obelisk from the ancient town of Aksum.

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 1934: FRANK KEARNS piloted the investigators to Massaua, known to be the most active Eritrean transportation hub. Acuña is said to be in the area, possibly in transit to Aksum, while Dallol lies deep in the Abyssinian desert. Traveling may be somewhat complicated, due to recent.

After their brush with annihilation, the Investigators are now armed with heavy firearms and have procured some explosives. Just in case. They got three rooms in the whitewashed, futurist Hotel Internazionale, an establishment that caters to Europeans and wealthy Ethiopians. Dorothy bought a lemon while they walked along the Massaua docks. A man who was unloading crates from a boat smiled to the Investigators, and they approached him. His name was JEROME. He seemed to extremely curious about the Investigators, but generally benevolent.

The Investigators visited the Gotti saloon, which was crowded with more Europeans and well to do locals. They eventually hired a guide, who claims to know the countryside, as well as the English, Arabic, and Italian languages. His name is ABAI. Luke ordered espresso, and his companions followed suit.

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Eternal Lies – Session 10

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 1934: The Investigators decided to visit the mansion of deceased philanthropist/cult leader RAMON ECHAVARRIA once more. They found what might have been strange patterns in the plaster of the walls—similar to the mouth-like manifestations they’d seen at Joy Grove Sanitarium back in Savannah. But these marks were old and might just have been water damage. Wandering the grounds, Dorothy found a garden area that was featured in the pornographic photographs the Investigators had discovered previously.

Recognizing that most of the evidence they’d collected was pointing toward SAMSON TRAMMEL, the Investigators decided to investigate his mansion. Luke and Tick Tock made their way to Pasadena to surveil Trammel’s home by night. They found that the layout corresponded to the blue prints Chantelle had turned up earlier. Posing as stranded motorists, they positioned themselves on the edge of Trammel’s grounds. Tick Tock approached and noticed that a party was going on inside the mansion. The people who were arriving and leaving were a curious mix of the rich and beautiful and the destitute and disposable. Tick Tock also noticed more thugs in zoot suits guarding the place. He found one entrance that was out of sight. It led to a conservatory. The door was locked, and Tick Tock decided to leave it undisturbed for the time being.

Luke and Tick Tock had seen dead bodies being carried out of the mansion. They decided to follow a car that was carrying a body away. It led them on a long drive into the desert. They evaded detection and were able to see two men burying a body, upright, in the rocky sand. They stayed out of sight till the men left. They dug down to the shoulders of the body and examined its head and neck for signs of mouths. They didn’t find any, but noted that the corpse’s face was covered in a dried, translucent paste. They reburied the body and headed back to the Hotel Roosevelt.

If you ever get a chance, check out House on the Rock in Wisconsin…weird stuff

Meanwhile Chantelle and Dorothy tracked down Samson Trammel at the Cocoanut Grove Ballroom. He seemed to recognize them at this point. They played to his lascivious appetites and were granted an invitation to his mansion. The group met and made preparations to confront Trammel. Having a sense that they were entering a dangerous situation, many of the Investigators sent word of their plans back to their associates. Dresses and firearms were pulled together, and the group set out for Trammel’s mansion.

Back in Pasadena, the Investigators again found a party in full swing. Guards offered to park their cars in the carriage house next to the mansion, but Chantelle declined, saying the group could do so themselves. At this point, the Investigators caught a glimpse of CAPTAIN WALKER, leaving the upper floor of the carriage house. They could see what appeared to be a small personal residence set up inside. Walker made conversation with the guards and nodded at the Investigators, but did not speak to them.

Inside, the Investigators found a strange mixture of guests. Some seemed to be from other countries, while many were American. Some appeared to be quite rich, while others were very poor. Many of the guests were openly having sexual relations of various kinds. Samson Trammel greeted the group and offered them drinks. While everyone accepted what they were give, no one drank right away.

Luke and Dorothy snuck off while Chantelle and Tick Tock remained with Trammel. They pretended to be in search of a private area to have sex, while they made their way into the kitchen. Following a path they’d noted on Chantelle’s blue prints, they made their way to the basement, where they found another pocket of orgiastic activity. They crept through a wine cellar to a hidden area indicated on the blue prints. Inside, they found a broader, more disturbing orgy in progress.

To the strains of a peculiar ballad, groups of people engaged in depraved acts around a gargantuan, twisted mouth. It was about the size of a car, and from it, extended tongues and other body parts. It seemed to be participating sexually, while exuding a thick organic secretion. This substance was being harvested by blank faced men who were not participating in the orgy. Dorothy and Luke were both deeply shocked by this sight to a degree where they inhibitions crumbled—along with any sense of rationality. Luke went down on Dorothy, who eventually reciprocated with a hand job, as the chaos continued around them. (SAN losses of 19 and 12, respectively.)

Upstairs, Chantelle continued her banter with Samson Trammel, while Tick Tock took a drink. Tick Tock was again seized by the disturbing pleasure of Nectar. Unable to control himself, he again turned to self-gratification. Trammel was amused and attempted to guide Chantelle into his office and

study. There she caught a glimpse of several old books and a strange painting of an alien landscape. Trammel’s conversation become more pointed and menacing, as he pressed Chantelle for information as to why she had come to Los Angeles. He made it clear that he knew the Investigators had come through Savannah from New York. Chantelle pulled her gun on Trammel, who laughed and indicated that other men had guns trained on her as well.

Chantelle gave up her weapon. From the stairs, Captain Walker threw gave her a glance. Trammel had her and the still transfixed Tick Tock escorted to the basement. The party was reunited, sort of, in front of the mouth. Chantelle and Tick Tock were disturbed by what they saw, but remained calm. (SAN losses of 3 and 1.) Trammel asked Chantelle what they should do next.

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Eternal Lies – Session 9

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 1934: Having questioned attorney ABRAHAM BUCHWALD about his connections to deceased cult leader RAMON ECHAVARRIA, the Investigators made their way back to the Hotel Cecil. Watches were set, and Tick Tock went to visit the bar and to dose himself with Nectar. He experienced a supernatural degree of sexual arousal. He relieved himself in the men’s room, while being watched, part of the time by another man. On his way back to his hotel room, he stopped at the car for further autoerotic experiences.

From the UCLA lot of books Dorothy and Luke have pieced together parts of two rituals—one involving the moon and another that theoretically allows for passage into the demimonde. When Tick Tock returned to their room, Luke noted his strange demeanor, but was unable to determine the cause for it.

Some new games I’m excited to run soon

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 1934: In the morning, Tick Tock escaped to the car rental agency. He managed to exchange the sedan he’d visited the night before for a nearly identical car. [GM Note: he rolled a critical success.] Nevertheless, his companions were suspicious of his behavior. They visited the hotel bar and questioned the bartender. She told them that he had exposed himself to another man and soiled a bar stool in urine. She suggested that they check out of the hotel before the management went to the authorities.

Chantelle called JANET WINSTON-ROGERS and asked her to get access to the movie star OLIVIA CLARENDON, whom the Investigators have linked to Echavarria’s social circle in the 1920s. When Tick Tock returned, the group made its way to MGM Studios. Due to the influence of Janet Winston-Rogers’, Clarendon had agreed to be interviewed by them at her trailer.

Elegant and beautiful, she agreed to sign autographs for a star struck Dorothy and her friends. She told them of her past associations to Echavarria and to movie star RICHARD SPEND, both of who died in the 1924 massacre. She described Echavarria’s group as a mixture of a sex cult and high society party circle. As an up and coming starlet, she visited the parties a few times, without participating sexually, but quickly extricated herself from the scene. She claimed to see the manifestation of a large, inhuman mouth at Echavarria’s mansion. It was taking part in an orgy.

Clarendon also mentioned having contact with missing UCLA professor GEORGE AYERS, who also attended these parties and appeared to be a personal friend of Echavarria. Ayers gave her advice about ancient religions in connection with a part she was playing in a film.

The Investigators picked up stakes and moved to the Hotel Roosevelt in Hollywood. They discussed Nectar and had more of the drug delivered, after Tick Tock made some calls.

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Eternal Lies – Session 8

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 1934: Having taken some time to recuperate and study, the Investigators decided to return to UCLA. Having delivered, a very large donation to UCLA, they borrowed its copy of Unaussprechlichen Kulten. (It is ordinarily kept under lock and key.) They also questioned HAMISH MACDUNN, head of the UCLA History Department, about PROFESSOR GEORGE AYERS. They confirmed that Ayers departed for the area of Dallol in Abyssinia in 1924. While abroad, he contacted MacDunn and convinced him to buy up a lot of books, belonging to the recently deceased RAMON ECHAVARRIA. That lot of books, includes the volumes studied by Luke and Dorothy, as well as Unaussprechlichen Kulten.

MacDunn said that Ayers disappeared while in Abyssinia, some time in 1925. He gave the Investigators a box of Ayers’ effects, including Ayers’ research notes, a travel itinerary for his trip to Abyssinia, and a signed photograph from movie star OLIVIA CLARENDON. Previously, the Investigators had linked the actress to Echavarria and deceased movie star RICHARD SPEND. Clarendon’s signature did not match that of a woman the Investigators met at the Joy Grove Asylum in Savannah, who claimed to be Olivia Clarendon.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 1934: Despite a dramatic wardrobe failure, Tick Tock arranged the purchase of 3 doses of Nectar from a Hollywood dealer. He decided to hang onto them and possibly use them later that night.

The Investigators made their way to the Los Angeles office of ABRAHAM BUCHWALD, Echavarria’s former attorney and collaborator in the Nectar trade. Dorothy and Luke engaged in a classic Good Cop/Bad Cop questioning of Buchwald, who revealed that he was an adjunct member of Echavarria’s “druidic” cult. He was ignorant of the details of that cult’s practices, but he attended sex parties, at which he encountered Olivia Clarendon and Richard Spend.

Buchwald admitted he had coordinated the Nectar trade, along with other business for Echavarria. He mentioned that Echavarria had told him to avoid the cult’s final gathering on the fateful night when Echavarria perished, along with many of WALTER WINSTON’S 1924 group of occult investigators. He told Buchwald to prepare himself for “the end.” Buchwald said that, at the time, Echavarria also told him he was deceiving those in his cult—that his “work went deeper than Gol-Goroth.”

Buchwald also acknowledged that he’d done some bookwork for sSAMSON TRAMMEL, who he believes has spearheaded the expansion of the Nectar trade. Trammel offered him a bribe to handle the transfer of Echavarria’s property, but Buchwald declined. The person offering the bribe, on Trammel’s behalf, was a CAPTAIN HECTOR WALKER—perhaps the same man Tick Tock played cards with on his first night in L.A.

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Eternal Lies – Session 3

NOVEMBER 1, 1934: Having wrapped up their interviews with Douglas Henslowe and Edgar Job, the Investigators decided to leave the Joy Grove Asylum. On their way out, Dorothy was accosted by a heavyset, disheveled patient who identified herself as the movie star Olivia Clarendon. She appeared to be delusional, as Clarendon is a sleek, polished Hollywood icon, but Dorothy humored her. “Olivia” signed autographs, and the group left for Henslowe’s ancestral estate on the outskirts of Savannah.

While driving along the marshy roads, the Investigators convoy of two cars was approached by the sedan that had been tailing them earlier. It moved to ram Dorothy’s car, but Chantelle fired a very large pistol at it. The car went off the road, and the Investigators escaped, shaken, but unharmed.

The Investigators arrived at the Henslowe estate, a decaying plantation. Various outbuildings stood in disrepair, and the grounds themselves were overgrown and being claimed by the nearby swamp.  To be cautious, they approached on foot, but they were detected by a trio of guard dogs. In the ensuing scuffle, Luke Davis was badly mauled. The elderly groundskeeper, JOHN CORUTHERS appeared and called his dogs off.

After speaking with the Investigators and reading the letter of introduction Henslowe had given them, Coruthers escorted the Investigators to his shack. There, he tended to Luke’s injury. He also answered a few questions about the Henslowe family. Douglas and his mother are the only surviving members of what was once a very powerful family. As the Investigators already knew, Douglas has been in and out of Joy Grove since 1924, when experienced some sort of breakdown. Coruthers expressed disdain for Douglas, while also making his obeisance to the family clear. They Investigators warned Coruthers about the men in the sedan, as they noticed it was parked up the road.

On the basis of the letter of introduction, Coruthers escorted the Investigators to the main house. The house itself was largely dilapidated, with some sections being closed off entirely. Coruthers asked the Investigators to keep away from MOTHER HENSLOWE, who was resting on her sun porch. The Investigators looked around a bit, finding a dusty gothic interior. They made their way to Douglas’s room, where they found an old shovel standing by the door, caked in old dried mud. Looking around a bit more, they also found a basket full of a strange mix of stuff, including twine and purple ink.

Using a photograph of the house that they found in a book Douglas had mentioned, (indirectly,) the Investigators determined that he had buried a cache of materials from 1924 in the family graveyard, here on the estate. They dug up a box holding, among other things, a key to the safe deposit box Douglas had mentioned before. It is at the First Bank of Long Beach in California. Meanwhile, Tick Tock had put in a call to an associate back in New York. He was trying to identify the men in the sedan that had been following the Investigators. Aside from finding out that they appeared to be Asian and had been seen in Tick Tock’s neighborhood back home, the contact was unable to tell him much.

A heavy downpour began falling. The Investigators turned to leave. Despite their attempts to sneak away—and to use Coruthers as a distraction—they were set upon by the thugs from the sedan. An altercation broke out, with guns drawn, but no shots were fired. The thugs seemed to be speaking a strange alien tongue and who were made up of a peculiar mix of White and Asian men (peculiar for the time and place). They threw a typed sheet of paper at the Investigators, and then left. The paper read “DROP THIS CASE. GO HOME.”

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Account of an epic campaign (RPG, not political)

Eternal Lies 2020

I thought it might be fun and interesting to keep a record of the game I’m just beginning to GM with my Saturday group. Pelgrane’s Eternal Lies is a lengthy campaign with enormous depth, especially if you factor in a very thoughtful online community that’s grown around it. I myself have run the game once in the past, (2018-19,) and benefitted enormously from the past efforts and online counsel of other GMs.

It’s a particularly interesting time to be running the game, as I have no other choice than to put it out there online. I’m lucky enough to have a patient and stable group who’ve stuck with me as we’ve all transitioned to the internet. They are experienced, proactive players, and they’ve already done some pretty hefty gaming since the pandemic changed all our lives. I thought a running GM’s account might be especially revealing under these circumstances.

I plan to keep my updates here pretty brief, like 2-3 paragraphs. We meet once a week, so a lot will happen, even if we don’t finish. (Always a possibility when you run something of this scope.) For this go-around, I just wanted to provide a setup and a bit of context. We are running on Google Meet. Dice rolling is done by the honor system. Anyone who cheats at a Cthulhu game is robbing only themself, I think. The ruleset is a slightly modified Delta Green/Call of Cthulhu 6.0. I’ve used Trail of Cthulhu in the past—a lot—and felt I needed to clear the mental slate, if I was going to make this be fun for everyone.

To give the PCs a way in, I decided to link them strongly to the 1924 investigation. Eternal Lies takes place in 1934, and initially the PCs are trying to clarify what happened to what is essentially a past Call of Cthulhu party, who got in over their heads. I decided that this time around I would strengthen that connection by insisting that everyone have a defined relationship to a 1924 Investigator. My hope is that this approach will cut down on the “I can’t see any reason why my character would go to Timbuktu and face the Vampire Lich” objections that players sometimes run across relative to their characters’ back stories and personalities. This choice I’m making may create more complications for me than it alleviates, as I’ll have to do even more additional writing to glom everything together, but I am OK with that, if it makes for a stronger game in the long run.

Anyway, I will put up another post shortly that introduces the setting and this group’s PCs. Don’t read unless you want spoilers!

links to more info about the campaign:

https://site.pelgranepress.com/index.php/the-complete-eternal-lies-suite

https://www.yog-sothoth.com/forums/topic/27178-eternal-lies-spoilers-gms-only (only available to members, but a great resource)

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