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Masks of Nyarlathotep

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All I need now is a comprehensive pulp/golden age sourcebook

 

You seem more than qualified to write such a book. You have exactly what would be needed for such an endeavor; enthusiasm!

 

I think you should seriously think about it my friend

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The following day brings a somewhat difficult interview with Inspector Barrington. As tonight is the scheduled day for the mysterious truck to leave from the Blue Pyramid club, Barrington agrees to allow the heroes to continue to operate in England and to participate in the proposed activities that night. However, he insists on them strictly following his intructions, and makes oblique references to "back-up". He is also not as sceptical as they expect when they relate their tales of "monsters" being conjured up on board the (now sunken) ship.

 

The rest of the day passes with the heroes doing their best to recuperate, and prepare themselves for what might follow. Eventually, as arranged, they return to Scotland Yard where a number of vehicles and plain clothes officers are in evidence. After a brief discussion it is agreed that the heroes will shadow the truck from the air, while the police vehicles follow by road at a discreet distance. Barrington suspects the likely destination is the country estate of Gavigan, out on the east coast, and shows the characters a map of the terrain - a large mansion built on an island accessible only by a causeway or by water. They agree that if this is the destination, the police vehicles will wait on the main road until one of the heroes signals them in (Barrington is concerned they will be quickly spotted as they cross the causeway, and wants to be sure this only happens at the right moment).

 

As the hour approaches, they all get into position - the undercover police vehicles parked inconspicuously and American Eagle and Pyroman on a convenient rooftop.

 

As they watch and wait, a fog starts to form, obscuring the view for all of them. The lorry eventually arrives, picking its way through the misty streets, and about 20 people leave the Blue Pyramid and climb into the back. They are dressed in rather tatty plain clothes, but by the light of the door through which they emerge, American Eagle is sure he recognises at least one as a waiter from the club.

 

Once everyone is on board, the truck rumbles off into the dark, and American Eagle and Pyroman silently take to the air and follow. Behind them, Barrington's convoy also follows....

 

The journey takes a number of hours, and it becomes apparent that Barrington's guess is right - they are heading for Gavigan's country estate. Arriving, the truck rumbles across the causeway, and pulls up outside the mansion - the passengers climb out and enter the building through the front door, opened by Gavigan himself. They enter, and the door closes behind them and all goes quiet. After a brief pause, Eagle and Pyro drift over and start looking through the windows of the building (taking care not to put themselves in a position where they might be seen). To their surprise, the place seems completely deserted...

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The pair swiftly split up and start to investigate the building. American Eagle flies up and starts looking through the upstairs windows. He is disappointed to find that although the curtains are drawn back, he looks in on ordinary-looking bedrooms, but with no sign of anything unusual or sinister. Downstairs, Pyroman floats on the earth's magnetic field and looks in through the windows through one of the upper corners (hoping he will be less likely to be spotted). Again he is disappointed - the place seems deserted, and he has no idea where the men from the truck have gone. At the far end of the house, he finds himself looking in on an enormous high-ceilinged room, luxuriously appointed, and with a huge stone fireplace at one end. As he watches, one of the stone pillars of the fireplace slides to one side, revealing a hidden stair. Out of this troops a line of people dressed in long robes and hoods hiding their features. They march straight to the front door,and opening it, light torches before heading across the island towards a large stone monolith that looms out of the darkness.

 

Pyroman flies up and over the house and tells American Eagle what he has seen. After a brief discussion, American Eagle flies off to alert Inspector Barrington and his men, and Pyroman shadows the cultists from the safety of the air. From here he sees that in the midst of them is a young woman, with bound wrists. Increasingly worried, he follows them towards the monument. Here the young woman is chained to a stone altar slab, and the cultists start a strange chanting, while two of them, who look to be leaders of some type start making a series of strange gestures.

 

Meanwhile American Eagle has informed Inspector Barrington of the situation, and he gives his men the signal to move in. As they do so, American Eagle turns and flies back to the estate. Here he can see the torches of the cultists and heads towards the monument.

 

In response to the chanting and gesturing, a strange roiling vortex forms, and out of appears a hideous winged monstrosity that creates a sense of spiritual sickness deep within Pyroman's soul. Somehow he keeps control of himself, and as the THING flaps higher into the air, he activates his force field and flies after it. American Eagle is approaching the ritual, when one of the gesturing leaders spots him. He unleashes a green bolt of energy (that American Eagle has seen before...) which slams into him and knocks him clean out of the sky. He crashes into the ground, and slowly drags himself to his feet in the middle of a smoking crater. Above, Pyroman unleashes a blast of electricity that smashes into the hideous flying creature. Enraged it turns on him, snapping at him with a hideous beak full of teeth - with a blinding crackle of energy, the force field is penetrated and Pyroman cries out in pain...

 

On the ground American Eagle shakes off the effect of the strange energy blast and strides forward - only to take another blast in the chest..... Above him Pyroman breaks clear of the creature's grasp, and blasts it again - this time the THING seems to take flight and flaps off into the darkness. Pyroman pursues. On the ground Barrington's men have arrived and a gun battle begins between the police and the cultists.

 

American Eagle closes with the cult leader, and with one punch knocks him flying so that he fetches up senseless on the ground about 7 yards away. He turns to the other leader figure, who in turn is starting to gesture towards the Eagle and to chant... In the air, Pyroman blasts the foul THING once more, and it spiral down to the ground, smoking and crackling with energy discharge. One final blast pins the THING to the ground for a moment before it explodes in a welter of foul smelling gore....

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There follows a mopping up operation, involving the characters and the police under the supervision of Inspector Barrington. Investigating the house they locate the mechanism that opens the secret door, and make their way down into the cellars. Here they discover a number of further artefacts and clues, most importantly a ledger showing materials that Gavigan has shipped to from places across the globe. One of the entries refers to Ho Fong Imports in Shanghai, and the two heroes decide to follow up their leads in Shanghai as their next step. They make their farewells of Inspector Barrington (somewhat to his relief) and leave the cultists in his capable hands.

 

Making their way to Southampton, they book first class cabins on the Eastern Queen, and set sail.

 

On board they notice a smart but aloof aristocratic gentleman surrounded by a number of tough looking bodyguards. Amongst the other travellers they soon strike up a conversation with an elderly academic, one Professor Paterson. Although a little hesitant at first, they soon find themselves discussing matters of a vaguely occult nature - especially when they realise the professor has a keen amateur interest in such matters. Eventually he invites them to his cabin late one evening where he promises a "demonstration".

 

Heading for the cabin, they are attacked by a group of crewmen from below decks. Although they easily defeat the attack, the crewmen make good their escape, especially after Pyroman slips and falls whilst following them down a set of steep steps.

 

Eventually arriving at the Professor's cabin, they find he has set up a strange piece of glass, an odd-looking brazier burning incense, and an ancient book....

 

The Professor uses the book to invoke a strange effect in the glass, and the light form a candle starts to produce odd patterns on the wall of the cabin. Gradually this clears and reveals chanting cultists on a beach under a night sky. The waters heave and boil, and a gigantic, tentacled head emerges from the deep. The Professor frantically tries to terminate the effect, and American Eagle freezes with a sick cosmic terror. Only Pyroman keeps his cool, and leaning forwards, pinches out the candle between thumb and forefinger. To the relief of all the image immediately vanishes. American Eagle leaves without a word and makes his way to the rail, where he stares out to sea and takes deep, calming breathes of the night air. Back in the cabin, a stammering Prof Paterson tells Pyroman to see to his friend, and swiftly closes the door as he leaves...

 

After fortifying themselves with a drink or two, they retire for the night, briefly noticing a scruffy little priest who seems to be making notes in a diary.... The next day the Professor does not appear at breakfast, and at his cabin a crewman, who appears to be on guard, tells them the Professor is "indisposed". Reluctantly they wait to see if he puts in an appearance and lunch. Finding the little priest they saw the night before, they seek to strike up a conversation, but find he seems to only speak Russian, or some other, similar slavonic language. When the Professor does not show up at lunch they go back to the cabin, where a different crewman again refuses admission, giving a slightly different account of the situation. The pair decide to speak to the captain and head off towards his day cabin.

 

As they approach, they see the Aristocratic gent and his bodyguards playing shuffleboard. Pyroman realises this is the same part of deck where he saw the little priest making notes the night before. Almost at the same time he sees the priest himself and two other men, approaching the shuffleboard game. Suddenly the two men draw pistols, and the priest a hand grenade. Mayhem seems about to break loose...

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