Trail of Nyarlathotep
Elizabeth "Jackson" Pierce
Skeptic & Intrepid Journalist
I provided a narrative of how I built Elizabeth Pierce’s character in the Character Creation Step by Step, but I’ll summarize here:
She’s a journalist and author, already a rising—if under a pseudonum—star by the time we opened our story in 1918.
She’s healthy, adventurous, and of exceptionally strong mind:
- Sanity 9
- Stability 12
- Health 12
Her abilities lean towards the sorts of things a journalist—particularly one with her interests—might need:
- Assess Honesty 2
- Cop Talk 2
- Credit Rating 4
- Oral History 4
- Reassurance 4
- Streetwise 2
- Languages 3
- Occult 3
- Craft (Writing) 1
- Evidence Collection 4
- Athletics 4
- Disguise 4
- Electrical Repair 2
- Firearms 1
- Fleeing 14
- Mechanical Repair 2
- Scuffling 4
- Sense Trouble 4
- Shadowing 8
- Stealth 4
- Make a Mess
- I can fit through!
- Allowance From Dad (special for her, +2 CR)
Born in 1892, Elizabeth is the youngest daughter of industrialist and oil tycoon Henry Clay Pierce. Her doting father took her with him on his international business dealings, which kindled in her a deep curiosity about the world. The more she saw, the more she became convinced that people all over the world shared a common thread of humanity, and that progress in human rights and dignity required overturning the petty superstitions and just so stories that pitted factions of people against each other.
She began to write for newspapers, first at boarding schools and then local papers, an act that infuriated her notoriously privacy-minded father. He insisted that she use a pseudonym to “avoid embarrassing the family”. Needless to say, this spurred her on, and she became interested in, and attended meetings—incognito, of course—of workers groups, aid societies, and all manner of masonic lodges and other clubs. By 1912, her father threatened her with disinheritance if she didn’t return to the family’s estates and pursue interests more closely aligned with his own social darwinist views. Her father had her early writings suppressed.
She attempted a reconciliation in 1914, but while traveling with her father to Bolivia and on an expedition into the amazon headwaters, she instead found a renewed calling in life. She simply had to write a book about her experiences in Bolivia, and she had to do it quietly and with a publisher that her father wouldn’t immediately be able to strongarm. That’s when she met Jonah Kensington and Prospero House Press. They were just under the radar enough to get a full print run on shelves before Henry found out.
Published in 1915, Skulls Along The River was a searing indictment not only of the cultlike tribal superstitions that divided the native peoples of the Amazon, but also of how business interests (largely her father’s) used these superstitions as a wedge. Along the way she debunked the legends that so incited the Spaniard Conquistadors to bloody violence. Although it was published pseudonymously it drove a wedge between her and Henry that has yet to heal.
She went to Europe in 1916 to study the increasingly fashionable occult societies such as the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, but turned her talents to war correspondence, as she saw a need for painting a human backdrop to the horror of the front. Her stories of pacifistic priests, scheming aristocrats, workers tired of bloodshed, and soldiers just trying to survive gained her alter ego “Jackson Pierce” a larger following, one that snapped up Masters of the Dark Art her devastating critique of Theosophy and occult secret societies across Europe as soon as it hit shelves in late 1918.
Her skepticism about the occult and her belief in the common dignity of all classes of people pervades her work, and provides her with a dedicated, if still small, following.
She’s loyal to her editor at Prospero House, Jonah Kensington, and as of 1919 she’s working on a broad commission from him to study Witch Cults and Witchcraft in both New and Old England. Kensington has managed the publicity for her writings without even a hint of her actual name or personage.
A Short C.V.
- 1912-1914, various suppressed articles
- 1915, Skulls Along The River, largely overlooked at the time and poo-poo’d by “serious” academics, sales are up as a result of her work in the Great War.
- 1916-7 War Correspondence from Paris
- 1918 Masters of the Dark Art; scooping Rene Guenon’s devastating critique of Theosophy, she delivered a broad critique of modern magical charlatans and then then-very-fashionable secret occultic societies.
- 1920 Witch Cults of New England; volume one in a two part series on the place of women throughout Anglo-Saxon history and the history of Witchcraft and Witch Cults on both sides of the pond. Our intrepid investigators provide an extended cameo and thrilling chapter in this work :).
- 1921 Witch Cults of Old England, volume 2 in the above.
- 1923 Sons of Death, traveling to her father while he recuperated from fever in Polynesia, she stumbled into a controversial subject: she claims the infamous Thugee cult from India is not only still active, but also active throughout Southeast Asia, and the Pacific.
- 1924, The Smoking Heart, she revisited Latin America, but this time into the Mayan Hinterlands in the Yucatan. She’s uncovered some, but very limited, cultlike religious practices still at work in the area, but for the most part this is a true-life adventure story in revolutionary Mexico.