Masks of Nyarlathotep Session 2

We started off last week down two investigators. Their players were called away by real life, so Ms Harlow and the good minister could no longer aid in the pursuit of Jackson Elias’ killers. That left Professor von Fasselstein and his assistant Sophie, Mr Ryan and Mr Spadowski — that’s my barnstormer — to pull together some of the strands tripped over so far: not only the murder of Jackson, but any connections to the Carlyle expedition.

To that end, we found ourselves moving toward the surviving Carlyle, Robert’s sister. But apparently tooling up in a roadster to the Westchester home of a very rich person is not the done way of making a social call, so the group finangled its way into attending a war widows benefit Ms Carlyle organized.

That’s all we really got done that evening. It was a lot of faffing about with social and societal conventions. You can’t call up a psychoanalyst or lawyer on the weekend. Not even the state medical board. And even when you do get hold of them on Monday, they’re not going to be terribly helpful. Patient records and treatment notes are typically kept from the avidly curious onlooker’s eyes.

Personally, I found myself constrained by two concerns: the perennial foil “that’s not what my character would do” and an uncertainty about whether the situation warranted extreme efforts. Sure, we could have burgled the exports shop to rifle the paperwork, but it didn’t seem to me that events had accelerated to an importance or urgency where vigilante break-ins were justified.

Jackson Elias was murdered, yes, but that’s what police are for. And that does remind me, I don’t know if we’ve interacted with the police at all, having stumbled upon a crime scene. At the very least, it might behoove us to attempt to piggyback their own investigation, if unofficially.

In summary, we’re in a weird space where none of the player characters are exceptionally well-suited to a situation like this, but we’ll try because damnit, we’re player characters and the GM’s got a big, fat book on top of the core rules. And that counts for something.

2 thoughts on “Masks of Nyarlathotep Session 2

  1. I’ve only played CoC a few times. I really enjoyed it, though. I was a Polish laborer, who worked for a furniture mover. Another player was an Italian butcher and there were a few other colorful types. What I found interesting – and you mention it in your post – is the attention that must be paid to issue of class, ethnicity and culture. It was a lot of fun to explore.

  2. When I ran MoN I expected my players to want to call in the police, so I gave them a specific reason not to (I can’t remember now what it was), just specifically to push them through the sticking-spot your group is having trouble with. I seem to recall also making clear that the situation was dire enough to justify taking more steps — though admittedly this was easier for me because my group was made up of dimension-hoppers that were always being dropped into places where something needed doing, rather than being natives, so they came to it knowing that in some way, they were needed.

    In any case, your account makes me think I correctly guessed a few things that might stymie the group and headed them off, which is encouraging. I can offer this encouragement in return: I think it’ll be surprisingly soon that you’re past this impasse, and there will be few places in the rest of the adventure where you’ll have the same problem. It’s really something that only comes up at the very beginning. (There were other points where I had to nudge the players into following up something that they might otherwise have felt not worth it, but none were as critical as this — it was more a matter of choosing between storylines, not failing to get the whole momentum going.)

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