Trail of Nyarlathotep

A Curious Auction in Providence: 1923

Father Yang, Natalia, and The Fowler Book

Keeper’s note: Father Yang and Natalia, I’d like to invite you to participate in a little flashback with me. It’s 1923 and you’ve heard that a copy of the Liber Ivonis—one of six known copies in the entire world—may be included in an estate auction in Providence, Rhode Island. I’ll be explicit up front: you won’t be able to keep the book, but you might meet some interesting people and learn some interesting things. Game? If so, respond with your preparations in the comments.

The auction is at the Marble House, recently shuttered mansion of one of the Vanderbilt/Belmonts. Alva’s moved to France, and she’s raising funds for renovating her estate over there by selling some of her late husband’s collection.

The auction is widely announced, and it’s no secret that there are several one-of-a-kind books included. You’ve heard through your sources that the Liber Ivonis may well be amongst them.


After doing some research into the house, Natalia decides that she will need to pass herself off as being one of the well-to-do in order to blend with the surroundings. She has no intention of standing out from the crowd at the auction (the better to sneak around and eavesdrop, my dear).

Between her mad tailoring skillz, disguise, art history, and flattery abilities, the goal is to pose as an art collector (of some means) and keep attention off herself at all costs. She wants to do some exploring if possible. Anyone with a Liber Ivonis in his/her library has other skeletons, figuratively and perhaps literally, in the closet.

Her other preparations will include speaking with her favorite purveyor of used books, Mr. Theophilus Carter of the Bell, Book, and Candle (Located off a little-used side street in Greenwich Village, its primary smell is of dust and very old books — This is Natasha’s Safety in her character bio, which I will flesh out more there).

Mr. Carter is extremely well-versed in rare books of the more pedestrian variety. Whether he will be a specialist in areas of the occult is up to the GM.


When you arrive at the house, you discover that there are about two dozen principal buyers there: there’s a Brit, several Canadians, and even a Frenchman. Everyone is exceedingly polite; one gentleman in particular—a dapper middle-aged gent from Massachusetts, wearing a lapel pin shaped like a trident—is gregarious and outgoing, though his expression is a little sharp around the edges.

He introduces himself as Carl Stanford.

The auction proceeds smoothly until you get to the rarer of the items, at which point there’s a little more excitement. The auctioneer suggests a break for tea.

The tea and sandwiches are lovely.


Carl Stanford can be overheard muttering to his associates about how “those English bastards are sure to scotch the pricing on the L—I—”.


Sure enough, when the Liber Ivonis comes up for auction, there’s quite the frooferaw as Stanford furiously bids against an Asian collector from New York City and the English party. The Englishmen end up walking away with the book for the princely seeming sum of $18,420. Even the auctioneer seems astounded.

Stanford is visibly furious; the Asian collector merely disappointed. He appears to hand Stanford his business card as Stanford rises to storm out.

The Englishmen leave after collecting their item as well. Apparently they were both here with that one item in mind. You can overhear shouting in the parking lot.


Feel free to jump in to this flashback to ask questions or talk, as you see fit :).


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