The Armitage Files

From the Deep

Following up on what they learned at the Bison Club the previous evening, Mahone calls a contact at the Boston PD to see what sort of car Florence Hutchinson drives. They learn that she has a 1936 Rolls Royce…..in Royal Blue. The Professor follows up on his cables to the London Bookdealers and has received two return cables (of the five sent) regretfully informing him that the Tears of Azathoth is not currently in their possession but that they will attempt to locate a copy, hinting that it might be obtained but that a volume of such rarity might well be very expensive.

Before leaving town again the intrepid group decide to visit the sheriff to confirm that he has lifted his restriction on the Professor’s movement. He readily confirms this and apologises for the intrusion on the Professor’s privacy but points out that he was obliged to follow every lead. The group come clean regarding their investigations into Elsa Hower’s disappearance and share their evidence (circumstantial as it is) regarding the blue car. Prouty is interested in the discovery but warns the group to be careful, pointing out that Florence’s Husband, Diamond Walsh, is a dangerous individual but may not be as problematic to a police investigation as her father, Wallace Hutchinson, the influential local magnate. Wallace certainly has contact with the local Mayors of the area and Prouty hints that he may well have the ear of the Governor of Massachusetts.

They drive to Kingsport and find Wallace Hutchinson‘s house where they spot a Royal Blue Rolls Royce and decide to stake out the house. They are too far away to notice if the car has any missing paint. After a few hours a car returns to the house and they are spotted by a sinister looking man in the car. A few minutes later the gate opens and a man in his 50s flanked by two goons approaches the car. Mahone recognizes him as ’Diamond’ Walsh, notorious Boston rackateer and husband of Florence Hutchinson. At first mistaking the group for Federal agents, Walsh soon realizes they aren’t and then puts the ‘frighteners’ on them in the form of a .45. The investigators quickly drive away.

Deciding to follow up the lead in another way they head for the Kingsport Yacht Club. The Investigators approached the KYC at night along the foreshore. As they made their way along the shore, they got the sense that something was watching them from the water but all they heard was a slight splash out in the darkness.

There was little activity, and the lights in the main room were off, although there was a dim light from within somewhere and the investigators speculated that there were still servants within cleaning up or preparing for the following day. The main entertaining room with the French doors overlooking the deck and marina was dark and quiet so the Professor pointed out a side door that he thought might be near the kitchens and the door to the basement.

Wasting no time, the group sneak into the Club and after a moment carefully listening for activity go straight to the basement door and quickly through. At the bottom of the stairs they found another door leading to a small entrance room with 2 more doors facing each other to the left and right. Under one was a dim glow of light so they chose the other. Mahone picked the lock with a loud click and they heard a murmur of voices and some movement from the behind the other door. As they waited behind the door peering through the keyhole, they saw two men dressed as sailors emerge carrying a lantern. They looked suspiciously at the open door at the bottom of the stairs and then across to the door the investigators were hiding behind. Mahone masterfully relocked the door just in the nick of time and this time silently. The sailors tested the door handle and decided that they should investigate upstairs.

A quick search of the room revealed a safe behind a painting and the visitors book that showed the Wallace Hutchinson, local magnate, was the member that signed in Wendy Hower the night she went missing. Mahone opened the safe and discovered that the combination is 12R, 13L, 36R (the date of the next new moon in a few night’s time). Unfortunately the safe only held a number of financial papers (including the Professor’s application and cheque). They steal both the financial books and the visitors book.

They decided then to move on to the second room where the sailors were, where they found a storeroom with a couple of palette beds and a number of shelves containing supplies for the Club. With the barest of warnings they are attacked by the two sailors, one an ‘old salt’ brandishing a knife and the other a ‘young jack’ wielding a marlin spike. Although weakened by the encounter the investigators prevail and the sailors are bludgeoned into unconsciousness and left to their fate. The sailors both have an an unusual amulet with a strange symbol, which they also take. Mahone’s interest in architecture pays off and he notices a strange anomaly in a wall behind some barrels which leads them to a short rough-hewn tunnel which leads to a sea cave. There they find a terrified Elsa Hower, manacled behind her back and chained to a heavy chain embedded into the stone wall of the cave. Laid out on a small wooden table nearby is a strange chart, covered in symbols and dates. Before they can make any real sense of it they are attacked by hideous creatures that emerge from the water of the cave. Large ‘fish men’ attack them with their vicious claws and a bloody battle ensues. Shotguns make short work of the creatures and as the group stands shocked at the events that have unfolded the Doctor administers first aid to his companions….

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The Cold Light of Day

The Dr, Prof, and Detective returned to the creepy barn to find nothing disturbed, this time skirting the stepford-esque town of Rowley. Leaving Arkham, however, the group is pulled over by a Sheriff’s Deputy, and the Sheriff is soon on the scene, demanding to know why the Professor had ignored his express instruction not to leave town. Mahone manages to mollify him and assures Sheriff Prouty that he will ensure that Jones returns to town, telling him that they are themselves following up on some leads regarding disappearances in the area.

Following the path from the barn out to the main road they discovered a hidden path off the main road that led through the forest to the barn,. Having now seen it, they can find it again from the main road. There looked to be a small spot within the forest where cars had been parked and they speculated that this is where the cultist parked before following the path through the forest to the barn.

They dragged the body of the beast back through the woods and hid it near the car to be collected later when a more suitable vehicle was available.

Then they went on to the bison club and discovered that Elsa Hower was seen talking to Florence Hutchinson at the bar late in the evening by the bartender. Possibly exiting through the back door into an alleyway where they noticed blue car paint had been scraped off on the side of a large bin. Follow up discussions with Austin Kittrell leave the investigators feeling that he mistakenly put the police onto the professor’s trail in a drunken haze. Sheriff Prouty was there before them and seemed to have shed some of his suspician as they passed him as he left.

The Professor scoped the route out to the back alley and confirmed the possibility that Elsa may have disappeared out the back with Florence. He chatted to a waiter and dismissed the heavy smell of ammonia as cleaning products. The Doctor checked the store rooms in the basement and did not discover anything suspicious.

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Suspicious Minds

Dr Henry Armitage calls in Professor Massachusetts Jones to tell him about the startling arrival of Document 3. He relays how Dr Warren Rice, suspicious that Armitage was somehow creating the documents himself as part of some madness, was present at the arrival of the document. Armitage tells Jones that Rice recalls being overwhelmed by vertigo and nausea, passing out, and then awakening perhaps 20 minutes later to find the third document at his feet. The document itself reveals alarming news about one of the investigators.

Following up on the references to The Tears of Azathoth Jones talks to Dr William Dyer who has a feeling of deja vu about the tome, but cannot recall any more about it. Jones then talks to Llanfer who suggests that any search for obscure writings must necessarily be made with the more esoteric booksellers of London. Having been supplied with a list of likely sources Jones wires them in London and awaits their replies.

Fresh from his solo success at the Kingsport Yacht Club Jones makes a trip to the Bison Club and wastes little time in getting himself invited to sit with Austin Kittrell and Elsa Hower with a clumsy fabrication about being an acquaintance of Samuel Hepburn, who fortuitously is the father of Elsa’s friend Betty Hepburn. Jones somewhat amateurishly plies them from information about Wendy Hower’s disappearance and confirms that Austin Kittrell indeed knew her well from the Bison club. When asked about the Kingsport Yacht Club, Kittrell indicated that they were too conservative in their ideas of fun for his taste. And Kittrell certainly does have a taste for it, consuming copious quantities of alcohol and opening admiring many of the young ladies present despite his stunning young companion, Elsa Hower.

As the night wore on and Kittrell became increasingly drunk, he became more and more patronising of Jones’s less privileged station in life. And Elsa for her part seemed to find this mocking most amusing, giggling at Jones’s embarrassment.

Jones eventually leaves them in a state of considerable drunkenness and head home, having firmly established a connection between Kittrell and Wendy Hower.

The following morning at the University Jones is grimly interviewed by Sheriff Allan Prouty who asks a number of probing questions about his night at the Bison Club with Elsa and Kittrell. Jones soon discovers that Elsa is now missing and insists to the Sheriff that he left the Bison Club alone. The Sheriff, however, informs him that a witness, Austin Kittrell, reports him leaving with Elsa Hower. Jones maintains that he left alone and encourages the Sheriff to talk to the doorman who saw him leave alone, and points out that when he left, Austin Kittrell did not have his wits about him, being very drunk.

Jones repeats his thin story about her being described to him by an acquaintance and exacerbates the lie by pretending not to recall whom it was, eventually saying it must have been one of the gentlemen he met at the Kingsport Yacht Club: Oliver Gardiner, Samuel Hepburn, Hutchinson, Wallace, or Raymond Perkins. The Sheriff becomes even more suspicious at the mention of the Yacht Club, probes him about his knowledge of Wendy Hower’s disappearance from the Kingsport Yacht Club and warns Jones not to leave town.

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The Bloody Barn

Mahone follows up with Sheriff Allan Prouty at the Arkham Police Station regarding Wendy Hower and her sister Elsa Hower. Reflecting on the gentlemen that the Professor meets at the Kingsport Yacht Club, Mahone makes the connection between Florence Hutchinson and the magnate Hutchinson, Wallace.

Mahone and Stumpf decide it’s time to visit the Bison Club and after a few minutes with the bartender, Mahone learns that Austin Kittrell’s beautiful young companion is none other than Elsa Hower. He also learns that Wendy and Elsa would often come into the club together. He hadn’t heard the names of Edgar Lyon or Dr. Kenneth Dawn but did know the Sheriff, Allan Prouty. The pair also learn that Diamond Walsh and his wife had also been in the club a few months ago.

Early on Monday the 7th of December, having decided to follow up on the Helping Hands lead they pick up Phil Hughes and convince him to show them where he witnessed the Helping Hands dragging a chained hobo into a barn. As they passed through Rowley, a disturbingly clean and tidy town, they were closely observed by locals in cream linen suits as they passed. This unnerved Phil Hughes a little and after he had pointed out the place, they drove him to the ‘safety’ of Innsmouth.

They found the creepy barn in a dish in the forest, there was a unnerving quiet over the barn with none of the usual forest sounds. Inside they found a rustic thick slab wooden table of obvious age, soaked with old blood and wax. There were manacled chains fixed to the posts of the barn. Up in the hayloft was an old sleeping palette with a biscuit tin beside the palette with some wax in the bottom. A large bird swooped ominously over the barn a few times.
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As they left they could smell the acrid stench of rotting juniper berries and decided to follow the track leading from the barn (they had cut in through the forest). With the barest of warnings the pair swung around as a hideous creature hurtled towards them from the sky. A large necrotic worm skinned vulture creature with huge bat like wings. Mahone got off a quick shot with his pump action shotgun hitting the creature at point blank range as it crashed into him a moment later and raked him badly with its two claws. The good doctor somehow managed to miss a 10 foot bat demon at a range of 6 feet but blessedly missed Mahone too. Mahone, hampered by the creature’s rough embrace clubbed at it partially effectively with his shotgun but the creature then latched on with it’s hideous ‘mouth’ as well. The Doctor, relatively calm through this otherworldly encounter squeazed off a second shot from Mahone’s pistol, this time solidly hitting the beast and killing it as it slumped over Mahone.
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The Doctor bandaged the heavily battered and shaken Mahone and they decided to stop following the track from the barn and made their way directly back to the car, leaving the hideous creatures body on the track after Mahone takes some photos on his trusty box brownie. They drive back towards Arkham and towards the bottom of a hill realise that the car has no brakes! Some skilful driving by Mahone keeps them in one piece and after a quick inspection of the car, Mahone realises that the brake lines were deliberately cut. They walk back to town and call it a night, deciding to recover the car the next day with the aid of the local garage.

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A Scholar and a Gentleman

Professor Jones cannot shake the feeling that the gypsy’s card reading was laid out in a pattern familiar to him and resolved to solve the mystery returns to the University Library as is natural for a scholar of his standing. Discussing the layout with Dr Armitage reveals a startling discovery. The layout of the reading is in the same as the Elder Sign, set in the marble floor, that the Professor walks across in the vestibule of the Orme Library itself! The Professor speculates that the gypsy believes that the layout protects her from the Outer Gods and Old Ones from beyond.

Recalling some details from the file of missing socialite, Wendy Hower, Jones decides to investigate the Kingsport Yacht Club. Wendy disappeared after last being seen at the KYC on 14 August (two days before the new moon). The police interviewed her parents (Robert and Mae) and sister, Elsa Hower. As a distinguished gentleman scholar the Professor decides to try his hand at infiltrating the Kingsport Yacht Club and is soon admitted and met by the Club President, Oliver Gardiner.

Oliver Gardiner gives Jones a tour of the Club, including the walk in humidor for which the club is justifiably reknowned. Jones, fond of a cigar, gladly accepts one from Gardiner and the pair talk cigars, before being introduced to some of the club members. The Professor’s charm and obvious social standing has him soon engrossed in conversation with a number of the club’s members: Samuel Hepburn a lawyer; Raymond Perkins an accountant; Dr Oscar Fairfield; and Wallace Hutchinson a local shipping magnate. Jones examines the photos adorning the walls looking for Wendy Hower and soon realises there are no women members.

Jones and Raymond Perkins hit it off immediately and an interesting evening is spent in the accountant’s company discussing the goings on at the club, particularly the occasional parties in which the young ladies of the region sometimes attend, always assuming they are of sufficiently good breeding to warrant entry into the club. Perkins explains that guests of members are signed into the club (but not out). Jones somewhat ham-fistedly broaches the subject of Wendy Hower but Perkins does not notice the awkwardness of the question and distressingly relates how she was indeed in the club as a member’s guest attending the birthday party of a member’s daughter, but no one can recall her leaving. He seems to genuinely be distressed by her disappearance.

The Professor attempts to inconspicuously locate the sign in book but cannot locate it, speculating that it might be in the President’s Office. He recalls Mahone’s speculation of there being a basement to the Club, and this is born out when Gardiner tells him that a particular door in the hallway leads to the basement storerooms and Gardiner’s office. Gardiner returns from his office with some forms, and relays to Jones the usual membership process that after he fills in the form and provides a cheque for the annual club fees of $800, he will continue to be signed in as a guest until he is regularly accepted into the club at a scheduled meeting of the members. He must continue to take part in the clubs social activities in order to secure a sponsor. Jones writes a cheque for $800 and the President is content that he is a man of sufficient means to warrant consideration.

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Legwork and Leads

As Mahone rejoins the group after a reconnoiter of the caravans they discuss what they have learned. Mahone’s close encounter in the field was with a man with a swollen face. The Doctor noticed that one of the roustabouts lounging in front of the caravans around the fire was being waited on by his companions. No positive identification was made, but Mahone and Stumpf could not help but link the attack from earlier in the night and the apparently battered men.

Even more curious was Mahone’s niggling recognition of the upper class woman leaving the red caravan. The vague memory of seeing her somehow connected to Boston could not be shaken. Also of note was the intense curiosity of the carnival master observing the woman leaving the red caravan.

Deciding to leave the carnival before pushing their luck too far the team beats a retreat to the safety of Arkham to prepare for a fresh start the following day,

Thursday the 3rd of December 1936

The Doctor and Mahone decide to follow up on some leads and visit St. Mary’s Hospital in Arkham, curious about the incident mentioned in the Document 1 and wondering if the assailants from the previous night had presented for treatment. The Doctor asserted his authority and demanded the files of Claudia Brazda, Oliver Gardiner, and the two strongmen from the beleaguered nurse. She could only find a very thin file for Oliver Gardiner, with one entry from August 1926 in which he had been delicately recorded as a temporary fugue state. The entry was signed by Dr Oscar Fairfield.

Stumpf proceeded to question Dr Everett Lynch about admissions the previous day and he learns that Tony Webb, a young sailor, was admitted with a bandaged hand, apparently crushed in a loading accident. The astute detective, however, questions Dr Lynch about the timing and establishes that it was several hours before the assault.

With Professor Jones delivering lectures and the Major laid up in bed resting from the serious beating he received at the hands of the ruffians, Mahone and Stumpf decide to follow up some leads at the Sheriff’s Office. They quickly learn that Austin Kittrell, mentioned in the first Armitage Paper, is a notorious cad, famous for drunkenness and carousing with young socialites. He is a minor heir to a large fortune and often frequents the Bison Club, a Private Gentlemen’s club in Arkham.

Mahone asks the Sheriff about the Helping Hands and is startled to learn that the Sheriff is a member of the local Arkham Chapter. He tells them the annual meeting is the second Tuesday of every month (next Tuesday) and that the Helping Hands can be found feeding the poor in a soup kitchen by the docks most nights. Not sure whether they can now trust the Sheriff they resolve to tread lightly around the subject of the Helping Hands for the moment.

Deciding to follow up on some unattended leads the pair info themselves once more on the University grounds at the Orme Library and soon learn that the Home Encyclopedia has its business headquarters in Providence, Rhode Island. Feeling this is a good lead to follow up the Phillips character and his story about the Helping Hands they embark on a road trip. The small office has two employees: and older man named Harold Spencer and a younger man in his 20s, but not matching the description of Phillips. After convincing Spencer that they are here on behalf of ‘a young lady’ regarding a delicate matter, Harold gives them the address of Phillip Hughes in a poor part of Boston. He tells them that Hughes is prone to ‘flights of fancy’ sometimes seeing the worst in people.

Dropping in at the precinct, Mahone learns that Phillip Hughes does not have a record and isn’t known to Police as a ‘concerned citizen’. In following up the lead on the socialite leaving the red caravan they make a startling discovery after a search of the social pages in the Boston papers. Her name is Florence Hutchinson and she is non other than the new wife of Horace ‘Diamond’ Walsh, notorious racketeer.

Making their way to Hughes’ apartment they encounter instead his neighbor at #8, an old lady who tells them that Hughes is away during the week, but always returns on Fridays from the road. They decide to return to Arkham and visit the Helping Hands soup kitchen.

There they meet the two Helping Hands members on duty, a fellow by the name of Edgar Lyon and Dr Kenneth Dawn. Mahone makes a connection with the unfortunates while Stumpf discusses medicine with the Doctor. Between them they learn that the hobos have stopped traveling north of Ipswich, talking of fellow travelers going missing and commenting that the hobo sign for “not a safe place” (three diagonal lines) marks a lot of the roads heading further north. They learn that should a hobo need to travel north they go far inland to avoid the area north of Ipswich. They learn that “Old Henry” went missing in the winter of ‘34. And was last seen by Christmas of that year by Maynard Steinore. Then again maybe the cold got him, it’s a tough life on the road in winter. Another hobo, Wilson also went missing last summer (1936).

They also learn that the sailors have seen some funny goings on along the coast and don’t like going out on dark nights, where their superstitions get the best of them. An Old Salt, Sherman Berns, gave the investigators some insight into the goings on of the Kingsport Yacht Club, talking of regattas and laughing about the entrance criteria…

Ya need to be a millionaire just to join that club!

He talks of how crazy they are sailing their yachts around in the dead of night and talked of all the shipwrecks along the coast up and down from Kingsport in the ‘old days’.

Dr Dawn admits to treating the hobos and sailors for free outside of his regular surgery hours. He keeps an eye out for any of the poor who visit the soup kitchen and suggests they drop by his surgery early in the morning before the regular patients start to show up for their appointments.

It being late they hit the hay and return to Boston on Friday evening to talk to Phillip Hughes under the pretense of looking for witnesses to the missing persons, Wendy Hower. He is extremely nervous and Mahone uses his police position to question him rigorously, alternatively reassuring him that he isn’t in trouble and asking pressing questions to get the most from his witness. Eventually Philip Hughes breaks down and confesses to having seen a couple of men dressed in suits and with the armbands of the Helping Hands leading a struggling hobo into a barn at a farm on the outskirts of Rowley. He recalls in vivid detail chanting that sounded like Ai! Shut-Niggurath followed by an anguished scream and recounts the terrible guilt he has carried since.

Gee whiz Mister, I was just so scared I didn’t know what to do, I just ran and ran and I ain’t never been back to that town not ever. Those men, they looked so respectable like, I swear I saw ‘em in town, respectable men of business like. Gee whiz Mister! I couldn’t tell no-one I didn’t know who I could trust!

Mahone asks him if he remembers the date and he gives them the exact date as the 15th of October that year from a small diary he keeps of his sales routes to help remember which houses to try again and which ones to skip. Convinced that Hughes is telling the truth a he knows it, Mahone and Stumpf return to Arkham to plan their next move and check in on Wessex and the Professor.

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A Close Encounter

The Investigators return to the Carnival to visit the freak show. Wishing to leave no stone unturned they are enticed into the dim lit burlesque tent and treated to a hoochie coochie show. Following a close up encounter with Estelle the Dancer the Investigators are told that for a small fee a “private dance” could be arranged.

They quickly moved on to the freak show tent where they encountered the Bearded Lady and the freak Alfie Pivar.

Professor Massachusetts Jones visited Claudia Brazda and received a reading. The professor made note of the unusual layout which seemed strangely familiar but he couldn’t figure out where he had seen it before.

First we lay the path you tread, who you are, what you want to be, and what you seek. First, who you are…Strength…a man of action, who beleives in himslef. Now who you want to be…Temperence…you wish to be careful in your undertakings, slow to rush in. Now the last card in the path that tells us what you seek?…the Devil.

She looks up at you with nervous eyes.

Now we see the things that cross your path, this card crossing the first step of the path, who you are, and tells us how that helps or hinders you in percieving the world…The Magician…you see the ancient ways, you learn about the world by looking at old things yes? Now the card that crosses both who you are and who you want to be, and tells us how it really is, not just how you percieve the path…The Tower…this signifies great change…you see the tower about to fall. The next card crosses only who you want to be and tells us how it it will come to be…The Hierophant. He represents mystery, the way is unclear.

She licks her dry lips and her hands begin to shake…perhaps with the cold.

The last two cards cross the path of what you seek…first the card that will tell us what affects your search…The Hermit…called Kronos by the Greeks – he is Father Time…perhaps you do not have enough of it. The last card tells us what you will find…Death.

As the last card drops from her hand the breath catches in her throat.

The air became noticeably cooler during the reading and the Professor asked her if she noticed the change. The fortune teller told him that the reading opens a portal to the other side that exists in the cold darkness of space. Once again Claudia Brazda seemed shaken by the reading and rushed from the tent to her blue caravan. Jones looks for mechanical tricks that could explain the sudden drop of temperature in the tent, but can find nothing except the climate itself. As the Investigators observe Claudia fleeing to her caravan they once again notice the carnival master watching them. This time however he is pointing them out to a tall, dark, sinister-looking man whom looks their way with dead eyes. He turns and strides to the red caravan and disappears from view.

The investigators decided it was time to take a closer look and so Dr Carl Stumpf and Massachusetts Jones created a diversion while Detective Mahone snuck into the darkness and approached the caravan from the shadows of the rear. Professor Jones speculated whether the red box caravan was the Red Box mentioned in Document 1. After a close encounter in the darkness with one of the carnival roustabouts he made it to the shadows between the blue and red caravans.

A sense of foreboding fell over him as he approached the red caravan and is close enough to see a well dressed woman hastening away from the caravan, nervously looking over her shoulder at the red door as she departs. Discretion being the better part of valour the investigators regroup to decide on the next course of action.

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Carnival of Stars

Fresh from talking with Sheriff Prouty the previous evening, the investigators decide to see if the Carnival is still at Beach Bluff. After a short drive they find it, a number of tents in a central area with about 7 or 8 trucks parked in the field behind. Each truck tows a wooden box ‘caravan’ trailer. Most are fairly drab but three are painted in bright colours: Red, Blue, and Yellow.

The investigators sample some of the delights of the carnival, playing the sideshow alley games, where Detective Mahone, a streetwise detective familiar with the troubles and troubled folks whom inhabit these travelling carnivals, subtley plies the ball and skittles man for information, learning that Sergei Garkalin is working the ‘Test of Streength’ at the moment and that the more risqué entertainments such as the freak show and the burlesque show start after dark.

Before the investigators arrive at the Test of Strength, a second strongman takes over the amusement, and they soon learn that this is Vladimir Krotkin, an immensely strong man and an obvious bully. Major Wessex, hardened by 20 years in the US Marine Corps, manages to ring the bell on the Test of Strength, slightly deflating the strongman’s string of insults as he taunts the Doctor for being a “leetle man”. The bile rises in the Doctor’s throat as he begins his viturperation, but Mahone, experienced in reading people, recognises that the strongman will respond violently and without warning if pushed by the arrogant Doctor. A confrontation is avoided and the Detective notices the bruising and callouses present on the strongman’s knuckles.

Making a subtle recconoiter of the after dark aspects of the carnival they note the freak show and burlesque show tents and notice an open air boxing ring, which they speculate is the province of the strongman after dark. They move on to the Fortune Teller and the Doctor enters to have a reading by Claudia Brazda, the smokey eyed gypsy woman. After the Doctor’s dime disappears into the folds of her gypsy shawl the fortune teller quickly recognises Stumpf’s disbelief in the power of the reading. She presents an ominous reading for the Doctor, warning him off his current course of action. The Fortune Teller’s tent is dim and a haze of incense fills the air in a cloying smoke. The smell of vanilla masks a number of other scents.

First we lay your path before us, who you are, what you want to be, and what you seek. Who are you I wonder…aah the Chariot Reversed; a sceptic you are, you do not believe in the cards. Never mind, I will make you believe before we are done. Next, who do you want to be? Yes, yes the Emperor, ruler of all, surely all will bow before your greatness no? now the third card tells us what you seek?…the Devil. This is very dangerous. You should not seek the devil. Give up your foolish quest before it is too late.

She seems slightly shaken but continues with the reading.

Now we lay the cards across, first the card that tells us how you perceive….here is Judgement, but it is reversed….I think here it is the troubadour, yes I feel the trumpet is the key, you perceive the music of the soul, the inner harmonies and disharmonies. You hear the music of the universe don’t you? Now the card that tells us the reality of what you perceive here…the World…this heralds great change before you. See how she hovers above the world naked with a staff in each hand? This is change…for good or ill I cannot yet see. Let us see how you will proceed on your journey…the fool…you will be foolish in your pursuit, you cannot see the truth and you will make many wrong choices, turn aside now before it is too late.

She stares directly at Stumpf, as if afraid to turn another card. For the first time her voice quavers and her sultry purr takes on an anxious edge.

Lastly we see the cards that tell us if you will find what you seek. The first is what will affect your search…the Hermit, called Chronos of old, this is father time, in my old country in the village by the sea, we called him another name, but time will be your enemy or perhaps your friend. Lastly we see what you will find at your journey’s end….Death

The card falls from her hands into place. A cold shiver runs down your back and you could swear that the room has darkened, perhaps it is just a cloud passing in front of the sun.

You have been a fool and you rush towards death…

Dr Carl Stumpf’s first reading

As the last card is revealed the fortune teller is clearly disturbed and rushes from a previously unnoticed back entrance to the tent. The Doctor is momentarily stunned into inaction and by the time he gathers his wits and leaves the tent his only hint to the location of the gypsy is the door closing on the blue caravan about 50 yards away across the field. Pure instinct alerts him to the fact that in amongst the bustle of the carnival the hasty departure of the gypsy woman has not gone unnoticed. The ball and skittles man is staring straight at him and a man in a hat and purple ‘tails’ has apparently stopped mid-stride to stare in his direction. The man in tails abruptly changes direction and hurries toward the blue caravan.

The investigators, sensing that they have inadvertently stirred up some trouble, decide to move on from the carnival and return later that evening to observe the more risqué aspects of the show.

Having plenty of time before the scheduled monthly meeting of the astronomers, the investigators decide to look into the Kingsport Yacht Club. They immediately recognise that the establishment is one of incredible opulence and that they are not its usual class of clientele. The Doctor’s arrogance drives him to claim bogus membership of boating organisations in both Tripoli and Gibraltar and they are reluctantly admitted by the staff, and skilfully deposited in a side drawing room, given drinks and made comfortable. The Doctor makes a faux pas, demanding congac, and is accommodated with the same. The club president eventually arrives to interview the club guests and the Doctor, hoping to substitute for actual social standing with arrogance and exaggerated claims to the Austrian nobility, supplementing his bogus boating associations, quickly raises the upper class (subtle) ire of the President, Oliver Gardiner. They are henceforth skilfully ejected by the head porter, sure in the knowledge that their social standing will not afford them legitimate entrance again. Perhaps, Professor Massachusetts Jones’s more credible social standing will permit him entrance at a later date, though he will no doubt have to attempt this without his companions now that the first attempt was botched.

Disappointed by the Kingsport Yacht Club outing the investigators move on to the New England League of Amateur Astronomers, where they are enthusiastically greeted by the President, Thomas Ongine. They meet a number of the members at the small gathering, including Mattie Pease, a local historian who seems to be perpetually offering them a finger of sherry. The Major enters into an enthusiastic conversation about local areas of Revolutionary War interest. She gives the evenings presentation, tying in the current night sky with the local historical occurances, shipwrecks and the like. They also meet Sheriff Elisha Culberson, a chain smoking and laconic man. Major Wessex asks him whether he knows where the ‘standing stones’ are (a reference to the aforementioned hidden clue in the pictures drawn by homer at the sanatorium). The Sheriff doesn’t immediately answer, instead asking them why they want to know. He eventually tells the Major where the standing stones might be found, referring to it as “Sacrifice Hill” exhorting the investigators not to go at night, ominously warning him that the forests are confusing in the dark and freezing at this time of year. More than one wanderer has lost their way, never to be heard of again. The Major promises to check in at the Bolton Sheriff’s station if they decide to make their way to the stones.

After the meeting the investigators leave, Detective Mahone making his way to the local boarding house he uses when in Arkham and the Major and the Professor making their way to their accommodations on campus. As they move through a darkened archway between buildings they are set upon from behind by two ruffians. A short scuffle ensues and the major is badly beaten. The Doctor, through a series of lucky, if unskilled, strikes and dodges emerges largely unharmed and one of the assailants in pummeled badly. They withdraw suddenly and the Doctor administers first aid to his beaten companion. They withdraw to the safety of their lodgings.

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A Genius in the Sanitorium
Stumpf Struts

Following a lead from the Armitage papers, the investigators make a trip to the new sanatorium at the edge of town. Dr Carl Stumpf, Austrian Alienist and notable author, demonstrates his immeasurable arrogance, and gains admission to the office of the Sanatorium Director, Dr. Walter Gotho. There he reads the files on Dr Nathaniel Wingate Peaslee and learn that he only interacts with one other patient. After questioning Dr. Walter Gotho they learn that it is Homer Coleman, an insane factory worker. They also learn that the nature of the interaction is that they lock eyes and some sort of recognition passes between them. Coleman begins chanting about the Yellow King and Peaslee starts making a rhythmic “tock tock tock” sound. The file shows that sometimes he makes this sound while alone along with muttering about the sound of the sticks. He also sometimes is overcome by irrational fear and screams aobut the wings beating in the night.

Stumpf uses his particular skills in psychology, particularly his research into music and the mind to bring Peaslee out of his fugue state and learn of Hastur, the Yellow King, somehow connected with the Western Australia expedition.

He then interviews Coleman, whom was admitted to the Sanitorium on the 13th of August 1932. Coleman is obsessed with ‘the Yellow King’ and draws images of him over and over again. He gives the players two drawings he has made (Homer Coleman drawing 1) (Homer Coleman drawing 2) and Major Alfred Wessex, whose interest in Astronomy stems from his years in the USMC, concludes that the absence of a moon in the more sinister drawing is an indication that evil work is done on the night of the new moon.

Following the trail of Astronomy, the investigators decide to pursue the reference in Document 2 to The New England League Of Amateur Astronomers. Once again the Major’s interest in astronomy is useful in gaining an audience with Thomas Ongine the current president of NELAA. Major Wessex pays $2 for yearly membership learning that membership is now but half what it used to be, but hard times have had an effect on all sorts of organisations. They also learn that the monthly meeting is on the 1st wednesday of each month, tomorrow night! The latest copy of the newsletter has a list of members and no names leap out except that one member is Elisha Culberson, Sheriff of Bolton County. The investigators notice that Thomas Ongine’s house backs onto woodland, and can’t help wonder at the coincidence when recalling Homer’s ranting about the evil in the woods.

Following the lead to the Sheriff, Detective Patrick Mahone enquires at the local Sheriff’s Department, speaking to an acquaintance, Sheriff Allan Prouty, who speaks highly of Sheriff Elisha Culberson and tells him that he has been a local sheriff for over 20 years. While there the group ask about missing persons, and note that Wendy Hower, a young local socialite, went missing on 14 August earlier this year. Also curious was the fact that there seemed to be more missing person cases than a community this size should really warrant. Making the clue trifecta, Mahone finds out from the Sheriff that one of the travelling carnivals was heard to be down near Beach Bluff recently.

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The Armitage Inquiry

Enough professors at Miskatonic University have stumbled onto the Mythos in the last several years to create a critical mass of dangerous knowledge. Under the direction of Dr Henry Armitage, they have decided to do something about it. He has formed an informal “Inquiry Group,” similar to the interdisciplinary collection of scholars who advised President Wilson at the Versailles talks in 1919.

You still recall meeting him last Christmas Eve in his office at the University when he gathered you together for the first time, the members of the Ancillary Field Research Team composed of academics from Miskatonic University and those whom are obtusely referred to as “outside clerks”.

“My good fortune in securing the backing of Miskatonic University was great… We were not too specific with the public about our objects, since the whole matter would have lent itself unpleasantly to sensational and jocose treatment by the cheaper newspapers.”

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