Trail of Nyarlathotep
On The Trail… of Nyarlathotep!
First, some ambience (just background music):
“He is horrible — horrible beyond anything you can imagine — but wonderful. He haunts one for hours afterward.” — H.P. Lovecraft
New York, January, 1925. It’s one of the coldest and snowiest winters in living memory (hey, sounds a lot like January, 2014!), but the roaring 20s are in full swing and won’t let a little chill take the life out of the party! It’s the jazz age, the golden age of finance, an unprecedented era of prosperity in the United States. But against the shining backdrop of the Big Apple in its heyday a shadowy conspiracy casts long shadows.
An old friend reappears after having been off the grid for a year or more, bearing urgent news… and in the blink of an eye, our protagonists are plunged into a murky, satisfyingly involved mystery that will tax their investigative skills as much as their physical ones—and their sanity most of all!
It’s a conspiracy of Holmesian proportions; one that Sam Spade would be proud to be drawn into—and lucky to get out of alive! Two-fisted pulp action and tense chases across five continents! Wildernesses of mirrors… and much, much worse! And always… existential horror lurking in the shadows. Uncover the mystery, cast light into the shadows where nameless horror lurks… if you dare!
Tell me more?
Sure. I’ve taken one of the most famous adventures in role-playing history and stripped it down to the bones before rebuilding the core adventure story around more modern lines. I’ve had a ton of fun making a landslide of “realistic” props (because I’m a huge dork). I love the 1920s aesthetic of art deco and jazz, so it’s been really nice putting together the mood and feel that will provide some nice verisimilitude to our story.
But as a GM, I’ve only come up with the background details and a nefarious plot full of larger-than-life antagonists who need to be stopped. What I don’t know is who the protagonists are and what they want and how they’re going to stop the end of… everything. That’s where players come in :).
You don’t need to be an RPG pro: the focus here is on narrative over mechanics. It’s an excuse to have some fun and tell a shared story… about the end of the world, and maybe also the way a few brave souls averted disaster.
If that sounds like fun, check out this page for how to join us!
What mood or tone are we trying to strike?
Well, obviously all Lovecraftian games have a certain pervasive sense of Dread and Survival Horror. The background of this adventure practically cries out for a bit of a Pulp Adventure feel, and I happen to think that sounds swell. I also think it is fully appropriate to inject a bit of Film Noir into the mix too, since that bridges the gap between the action-oriented PIs and the things man was not meant to know pretty well.
So a little The Thing, a little In The Mouth of Madness, a little Indiana Jones, and a dash of the Maltese Falcon.
You can pretty safely stop reading here unless you’re interested in RPG System nerdery.
What game system(s) are we going to be using?
Predominantly, we’re going to be using the most excellent investigation-driven system from “Trail of Cthulhu”. It’s an implementation of the Gumshoe system, which has a strong narrative and mystery-solving focus. Because Masks of Nyarlathotep requires quite a bit of pulp action, I’ve brought in some bits and pieces from “Night’s Black Agents”, and because I have a strong desire to get everyone invested in their characters there are going to be some other wrinkles thrown in along the way.
Well, I’m putting a crack team of investigators together as we speak. If you think that should include you, check out this page and get in touch!