Trail of Cthulhu: Masks of Nyarlathotep – London – episode 6

londonAfter surviving the deadly paintings of Miles Shipley and his even more dangerous mother, the investigators have begun to glimpse the sheer scale of the plan of the cultists. Now they just have to find them. Their next target, the Penhew Foundation, is apparently a legitimate research organization, but what secrets does it current leader, Edward Gavigan hold? Who else is connected to the Foundation? As the investigation continues, our heroes discover that their foes are more active than the cultists in New York. For every action, there is an equal and deadly reaction by insane cultists, after all.

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  1. man, starting a Trail game with a chase scene depletes the fuck out of the PCs’ pools, huh? gotta make sure that divergence from CoC’s narrative powerlessness has the potential for reward, I guess.

  2. I might not have been listening very closely, but what exactly would have been so dangerous about attacking the cultists’ ceremony? Were they just insufficiently prepared? Because if they had a vantage point from which to observe them undetected, that also means that they would have a vantage point to attack them by surprise. And you can machine gun a whole lot of cultists in a surprise round.

  3. Ethan: Admittedly, listening to this, the choice to not engage the cultists at the ceremony makes little sense. In the moment, however, it seemed logical.

    If memory serves, there were a few things going on there.

    1. Machine guns were not an option. Hard to hide one of those in your pocket.
    London (Ross was justifiably strict on the “firearms are conspicuous in the
    and not highly-tolerated in the UK.” The history backs him up on this, as much as we tried to fight him on it 😉 .) So, the best options we would have had were hunting weapons, like rifles and shotguns, or sidearms that were easy to hide. The element of surprise would have been lost with the first shot and we might have been swarmed.

    2. Those of us observing the situation were low on points to spend by the time we got to that point. Essentially, we were trying a little too hard to keep our characters alive. Don’t worry…that won’t be a problem in the future. 🙂

    3. Flying, scary monsters played a role in the decision.

    4. Ross had a disturbing Cheshire-Cat grin on his face throughout the whole scenario. Seriously, unnerving. Wish we had a photo. It really gets in your head…Messes with you…Fear the Ross.

    5. Finally, some of us (cough…me…cough) were gun-shy after nearly being killed by a psycho painter, his mom, and a canvas filled with primeval horrors, so we were a bit more reserved in the next session (this one). Again, trust me…it won’t be a problem in future episodes. 🙂

  4. Author

    Attacking a large group of heavily armed and fanatical cultists at their isolated stronghold head on without any preparation or plan? Pretty much suicidal.

    If the PCs tried to snipe them all from their vantage points, the cultists would have hid behind cover (plenty with the ceremonial stones and whatnot), then used magic to summon various monsters to kill the PCs. Meanwhile other cultists sneak away from the bright fire and try to flank the PCs. Other cultists would take up positions in the nearby manor house and try to countersnipe with hunting rifles.

    Infiltrating the stronghold while the cultists are distracted with a ceremony? Extremely dangerous but possible.

  5. I was thinking they should’ve had the Yithians go in and bury a giant explosive under the ritual site 25 years ago or something, pull a Caleb in Night’s Black Agents’ finale and hide your time travel preparedness in the earth

  6. I still love the way this team just can’t talk to NPC’s. You’d figure the Monsignor could at least intimidate the priest into not causing a fuss….

  7. I’m really enjoying Masks so far, but one thing is starting to get a bit old. It seems like Monseigneur Killjoy always approaches every social situation by playing the priest card, and the only other cards in his hand are “Irish”, “drunk”, and “murderhobo”.

  8. Bill, I have to applaud you sir for that subtle Columbo reference. Well done.

    Ross, I like how you handled the problem of the PC’s spilling their guts to Twyfek last episode. A less deft gamemaster would have just sent another hunting horror after them, but the catspaw gambit fits perfectly with what a cultist of Nyarty would do.

    I haven’t see any other Masks game where the cultists were competing with each other for the “privilege” of winning a Shantak seat. That was a neat detail and it fits in nicely with the ultra competitive psychology of a cultist who would use the PC’s against their rivals to gain points with their god.

    Sean and Bill, love the Catholic jokes. Even the Merovingian heretic one.

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