The Night Mother’s Moon

Introduction

Life on the streets is hard. The Homeless are invisible. New York City has almost one hundred thousand homeless. Each night they sleep in the city’s parks and subway system, invisible to the population who passes them every day. What better victims could one ask for?

This scenario is designed for 2–4 investigators and can be completed in one to two evenings of play, depending on the length of your sessions. In it, the players take on the roles of New York city’s street homeless as they come together to solve the mystery of something that is stalking and killing the members of their community.

When a relative newcomer to the streets turns up dead in a dumpster, her death is chalked up to just another example of street violence. The local homeless know better. Something is stalking them. Something no one has an explanation for. With nowhere else to turn, they must band together and save themselves before they become just another statistic.

Players will take on the role of local homeless as they attempt to find out what killed Claire and stop it from killing again.

Keeper Information

A local drug gang is active in the area. The gang is led by Tcho-Tcho, who used an apartment as a base of operations and as an altar to a being they call the Night Mother. The gang worships her to protect them and their business from enemies. Far from being a saint, she an aspect of Shub-Niggurath.

The Night Mother demanded the sacrifice of rival gang members, or the occasional crack head, which the gang was happy to provide. Recently, the police launched a crackdown on drug and gang-related activity, which saw the majority of the local gang members arrested. With most of her cult, including the high priestess in jail, her shrine sits unattended. The Night Mother is angry. Her shrine enables her to enter this world on nights of a new moon. Hungry for sacrifice, she has taken to wandering the streets on these dark nights, looking for victims.

The first night the Mother manifested, she caught the low-level gang members in the apartment by surprise. They were caught drinking and high. She slaughtered all but two of them, Cocon and Bendat, managed to flee down the fire escape with the Mother on their heels. A local vagrant, George Mathers (Crazy George), was asleep in the gutter outside and managed to ward her off with some Mythos spells he knows. George is a former Mythos investigator, long insane from the things he’s seen, and now lives on the street.

The survivors of the gang massacre saw this and are searching for him, realizing if they can use him to control the Night Mother they’ll be able to dominate the city.

 A month later, the Night Mother returned. The streets were dark and deserted that night. She came upon Claire Upton, a young runaway with mental illness. She drained Claire of life and left her in a dumpster.

The scenario starts with police cleaning up her body. Locals know something is wrong, but the cops don’t seem to care. There are rumors about George knowing what’s going on and that the gangsters are looking for him. If they want to prevent further death, investigators need to find George before the gangsters do and convince him to help them banish The Night Mother.

A Note on Roleplaying the Homeless

One of the attractions of roleplaying games is the ability to experience another life, even if only briefly, safely within our imaginations. Often, these escapes take the form of power fantasies. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that sort of fun, but it is not the aim of this scenario. We are attempting to provide an opportunity to walk in some shoes that Players might never think of otherwise.

As you run this scenario, bear in mind that the reality of life for these characters is vastly different from that of typical investigators. They are often hungry, cold, dirty, and uncomfortable. Access to things as simple as clean restrooms is sometimes out of their reach. They are often ignored or harassed simply for being somewhere. This creates unique roleplaying challenges for the Players to overcome.

In no way is this scenario meant to be disrespectful to the homeless.

Opening Scene

The Night Mother’s Moon begins with the homeless investigators just waking after spending the night on the street in the Herald Square district of Manhattan. It is early October and the nights have begun to get cold. Stress to the Players how sore and hungry they are.

Hungry investigators might be able to find sandwiches or coffee at a local shop if they’ve saved up enough money (Hard Luck rolls). They can also wash up in a sink in one of the public bathrooms.

Eventually, they begin to hear rumors about someone being found dead this morning. They hear the sirens of police and rescue and see police and an ambulance making their way through traffic. Should they follow, the vehicles stop by an alley behind Mercy College.

Roxy, a local street woman, is sitting against the wall of the building next to the alley looking ill. Uniformed police and the coroner are already on the scene inspecting something down the alley.

If investigators take the time to speak with Roxy, they find she is still in shock. Rocking back and forth she mumbles a few things such as “so cold,” and “no eyes.”

Investigators following the police and ambulance crew down the alley need to make Stealth checks to hide behind trash receptacles and the like, to avoid notice. If they fail, the police push them out of the alley. Successful investigators see the medics cursing as they stare at something in a dumpster.

A coroner finishes up a few minutes after the investigators manage to hide. Medics lift a body from the dumpster and place it in a body bag. Investigators who are watching from hiding see that the body is very shriveled and dried out. If they were shooed out of the alleyway earlier, they can make a Spot Hidden check to note the same thing. Anyone viewing the body needs to make a Sanity (SAN) roll, 0/1D3.

After the body is loaded into the ambulance, the procession leaves. Roxy is still milling about, as are a few other local homeless.

If asked, Roxy says the following: “Me an’ Claire were out last night looking for some food. We got lucky and hit a dumpster right when a restaurant was throwing a bunch out, and the chef gave it to us. We were stuffed when we went to sleep. I woke up late in the night. It was quiet. Way more quiet than it should be here. I heard something walking down the street, but I got scared and closed my eyes. Whoever it was walked right up to where I was and stopped…I couldn’t open my eyes to see it. I was scared like I was a little girl. It walked passed me and to Claire.” She pauses here and pushes her hair out of her face with shaking hands. “I heard Claire wake up. ‘The Fuck you want!’ She said, and then this person just laughs, but it wasn’t like any laugh I ever heard. And then Claire screamed. I kept my eyes closed. I couldn’t help her. I couldn’t….” Roxy breaks down crying here. A successful Psychoanalysis check can help calm her down, but she has nothing further to say.

If investigators ask the other local homeless, none of them heard anything last night. They all slept exceptionally sound. They woke to Roxy screaming when she saw Claire was missing and she found her in the alley. She was screaming about how Claire had no eyes.

Getting the Investigators Involved

The day goes on—investigators have empty stomachs and need money to get by. As the Keeper, make sure the investigators have to struggle to earn their daily bread. If they’re panhandling, stress how they’re ignored. Perhaps the police move them along a few times. Appropriate Perform or Luck rolls can help determine how successful they are.

As the day wears on, other transient persons they come into contact with are talking about Claire’s death. The community is very concerned, and the rumor mill is cranking out all sorts of things such as:

Keepers are encouraged to invent their own rumors to add to the list, but be sure that at least one investigator hears the one about Crazy George. An Idea or EDU roll allows investigators to know that Crazy George is a longtime resident of the streets who usually sleeps in the Herald Square area. George is known for muttering about the most outrageous things, like whole networks of tunnels beneath graveyards, or monsters appearing out of the angles in a wall. He was a journalist of some sort at one time. Come to think of it…George hasn’t been around recently.

The Tcho-Tcho Come Around

As night falls, the investigators have to make their way back to their sleeping spots in the park. Cocon and Bendat, the two Tcho-Tcho survivors of the safe house massacre, are picking their way through the park asking for George.

As they approach the investigators, they stop to speak with an elderly homeless man. Investigators can hear that they’re asking for Crazy George. When the old man tells them to fuck off, Cocon kicks him and knocks him down. If the investigators move to intervene Bendat pulls a handgun and points it at them.

Both men are armed with 9mm pistols, and will use them if they have to, but prefer to intimidate their way out of the situation. Even if they outnumber the gang members, investigators are very likely to get severely wounded, if not killed, going up against armed men. Should they decide to try anyway, Bendat and Cocon will fight with fists until it looks like they might lose, at which point they will shoot a few investigators and attempt to make their escape into the crowded streets. None of the other homeless will intervene to help.

Talking is the preferable path to take. While the elderly man bleeds from a head wound on the pavement at their feet, Cocon says the following: “Listen all you bums, we’re looking for Crazy George. He’s got something we need. Any of you find him and bring him to us, we’ll make it worth your while. We find out any of you are hiding him, you get what my friend here got!”

With that, he kicks the old man one more time and they leave. The other homeless keep their heads down and make no attempt to stop them.

The old man has taken a severe blow to his head. Medicine or First Aid checks can confirm that. Although First Aid will stop the bleeding, he really should go to the emergency room. He protests against this with all his might, as he has no health insurance and is afraid all his worldly belongings will be stolen while he’s getting treated. A Persuade check convinces him to seek help. Investigators who offer to watch over his belongings receive a bonus die to the roll. If he does get help, he’s treated and released in the morning, and very grateful to the investigators for watching his things. If they can’t convince him, he goes to sleep that night and never wakes up (SAN 0/1D3).

At this point, it should be apparent to the investigators that something strange is going on, and somehow Crazy George is connected to it. The next step should be to find George, if only to warn him that some very bad people are looking for him.

If investigators decide to not take the hook, the Night Mother returns on the next new moon. The full moon in October is traditionally called the Hunters or Blood moon. The new moon is the moon of the Dark Hunter. This a major holiday to worshipers of Shub-Niggurath. The Night Mother will expect several sacrifices. If she does not get them, she will once again wander the streets looking for blood. Only a mass casualty event will satiate her on this night—she will slake herself at a night club Halloween party. Investigators will hear about a whole club full of people found dead. The media blames bad drugs, but the investigators hear rumors of dried out bodies without eyes. Assess SAN losses as you see fit.

Although George manages to hide for a while, the Tcho-Tcho will eventually find him. They will torture him into using his Mythos knowledge to make contact with the Night Mother and control her. Rival gangs will be decimated, and the Tcho-Tcho will rule the streets—but at the cost of never-ending sacrifices. The local homeless will disappear one by one: the smart ones will leave, while the others are just never seen again.

Should investigators take the hook, they must start by finding George.

Finding Crazy George

Like most people living on the streets, Crazy George has a story. In his case, it’s uniquely tied to the Cthulhu Mythos. George was a reporter for Global News Service (GNS), a disreputable news service based out of Cleveland.

George’s specialty was crime and the occult. Ninety percent of what he reported on was banal, but the other ten had something to it. George has seen things and learned some of the truths of the Mythos. He’s even learned a few spells from a notebook pilfered from a murder scene.

During one of his assignments, George was investigating a strange, inbred family cult in the hills of Pennsylvania when he and his cameraman witnessed something. The cult was found dead, their bodies neatly arranged in a mass suicide. George was found wandering the roadside, insane and babbling about “the Black Goat.” George’s cameraman was never seen again.

George is an experienced mythos investigator but is now permanently insane after witnessing a summoning of Shub-Niggurath in Pennsylvania.

Finding George will not be easy. He’s lived on the streets for a few years after slipping through the cracks. Finding him requires the investigators to talk to those who know him.

George usually lives in Herald Square. Investigators will recognize him by looks. They also know the following info about him, which should help them begin tracking him down:

  • George usually associates with two other homeless, by the names of Little Dave and Jumper.
  • He usually panhandles on the corner of West 34th St and Fashion Ave.
  • He frequents the St Michael’s soup kitchen on West 31st St.

Global News Service

GNS is a small, independent wire service based out of a single office in Cleveland, OH. It specializes in recruiting talented but broken journalists, either those who’ve hit rock-bottom or those who fell from grace and are aiming for a shot at redemption, getting juicy stories, and selling the to larger outlets. It is, however, all a front for something far worse….

For more information on Global News Service—and the sort of stories they report on—check out Stygian Fox’s We Have Been, We Are, We Will Be, available as a PWYW PDF via DriveThruRPG.com.

Little Dave and Jumper

Little Dave and Jumper are a couple in their late 30’s. They’ve been traveling the country together since meeting at an industrial music festival around 2010. They have purposely chosen the street life as part of a pathological desire to be free of any attachments.

Little Dave is a hulking beast of a man with dreadlocks, an eyebrow piercing, and a great sense of humor.

Jumper is a slight and wiry guy who perpetually wears a red watch cap. He’s developed a significant meth addiction over the years, which has taken its toll on his body and resulted in his nickname.

They can be found on W 32nd Street, where Little Dave plays guitar and Jumper accompanies him on an improvised set of bucket drums.

They know that George is in some kind of trouble and are very wary if investigators approach them asking where he can be found. They initially say they haven’t seen him around and think he’s left the city. A Persuade or Charm check can convince them that the investigators are looking out for George’s best interest. If successful, they say that they last saw George a few weeks ago and he told them he was “heading underground, and he hoped the goat-footed bastards didn’t get him.”

On a Hard success, or if investigators think to offer some drugs as a bribe, Jumper lets slip that George had extensively explored the city and knows where an abandoned subway station is.

If the Keeper wishes the investigators to fail forward, they can get the information out of Little Dave and Jumper even on a failure, but the gangsters visit them shortly after the investigators and bribe them with drugs to get the same information.

West 34th and Fashion Ave

Investigators checking out George’s usual panhandling spot won’t find him. There is a coffee shop on the corner named Rosie’s’. Caitlin, a bubbly young NYU student who works there, is sympathetic to the homeless. She’s given out plenty of free cups of coffee and old muffins, with the owner’s permission, over the years.

If investigators think to ask in there about George (an Idea roll can prompt them if they’re not sure how to proceed), she remembers him fondly as he used to tell her crazy stories which she ate up as a film student. She hasn’t seen him in a few weeks and is worried about him. The last time she saw him, he told her he was heading up around 18th Street, and that some people might come looking for him. She asks if the investigators know what sort of trouble he might be in, but isn’t in any position to provide any further help.

Investigators making successful Navigate or Survival checks piece together that there is an abandoned subway station on East 18th Street. Keepers wishing them to fail forward can give them this information but note that the Tcho-Tcho will also get it from a different source.

 St. Michael’s Soup Kitchen

St Michael’s is a church-affiliated soup kitchen on West 31st St. Street investigators are familiar with it. It is staffed by lay volunteers lead by Donnie Young.

Donnie is a quiet, spectacled man in his early thirties. He confirms that George is a regular, although he hasn’t seen him recently. The last time he was in was over a week ago. When asked about where he’s been, George said he’s been up around 18th and that some people are after him. Donnie is used to George’s paranoia and didn’t believe he was being chased, but is worried about George as he looked haggard and was covered in dust and dirt, almost as if he’d been underground.

Keepers should allow investigators Navigate or Survival checks here, again, to realize there’s an abandoned subway station on East 18th Street. As before, Keepers wishing the investigators to fail forward can allow them this information but assume that the Tcho-Tcho know as well, and will be arriving in the station around the same time as the investigators.

Alternately, Cocon and Bendat can show up at the soup kitchen asking questions as the investigators are leaving. Due to the anonymous nature of the homeless, it’s unlikely the Tcho-Tcho will recognize the investigators unless they fought with them back at the park. Even so, give them a bonus die to their Stealth checks to blend in with the other patrons of the soup kitchen. People don’t like to look too closely at the homeless.

The Abandoned Subway Station

Built in 1904 and closed in 1948 due to its proximity to the 14th St Union Square Station, this Art Deco station has sat graffitied and abandoned for decades. One can glimpse it speeding by on the 6 Train as long as another train doesn’t block the view.

It’s long been thought that the street level access to the station had been sealed off, but some of the NYC homeless have found a way in through old steam tunnels.  

George has been holed up here trying to figure out what to do. Getting to him will not be easy, as investigators will have to find a way in.

The best way to find a way into the old station is to ask around. Investigators arriving at East 18th St will meet Eve, a plump homeless woman in her 60’s who knows the neighborhood well. Charm or Persuade checks get her to admit that she’s seen George around and that he is in the abandoned station. For a small bribe of some food or booze, she shows the investigators the way in.

The Station can be accessed through the basement of a nearby parking facility. Some steam tunnels connect through, and some crawling and twists and turns are necessary. It is an uncomfortable journey.

Eventually, the investigators emerge in the station. It is dark, damp, and dirty. Graffiti covers the walls. At regular intervals, the 6 Train rumbles past, the sound of its passing echoing through the empty catacomb.

Crazy George is living in hiding down here. He’s set up a camp in an old ticket booth. A survivor of the Mythos, he’s lived this long by being paranoid. Other’s may call him crazy—but they haven’t seen what he’s seen.

He’s set up tripwires with tin cans attached to alert him if anyone comes into the station from the tunnels. Investigators entering the station should make Hard Spot Hidden checks to notice the tripwire in the gloom. If noticed, they need a Sleight of Hand check to disarm it without making any noise.

If investigators manage to enter quietly, they find George in a fitful sleep. The stress of hiding is wearing on him and he’s finally passed out. They hear him mumble about whatever Mythos things the Keeper might want to improvise.

Hard Stealth checks are necessary to get close to George without waking him. If failed, or if the investigators tripped his alarm system, he awakes with a start, screaming “Get away from me, dammit” and attempts to run for the subway tracks. A chase scene could occur along a very dangerous tunnel with oncoming trains and a deadly third rail. If investigators can use maneuvers to tackle him, he stops struggling when he sees they are not gangsters.

“What do you want?” he asks, calming down. Allow the investigators a few moments to explain themselves. George is at zero San from what he’s witnessed, but he’s fairly lucid and reasonable. His understanding of reality is just vastly different from everyone else’s. In his eyes, he’s sane and everyone else is not. In a way, he’s correct.

The Keeper has some options after the investigators have introduced themselves to George. If they’ve done a good job and succeeded in the majority of their rolls so far, give them warning: George’s tripwires are set off; they see flashlights and hear voices coming down the tunnels; etc. If they’ve had to fail forward on the majority of their rolls, or have otherwise bumbled along their path here, give them Hard Listen checks to hear Bendat and Cocon sneaking up on them.

If they succeed, they notice the two thugs. If not, the gang members get the drop on them, blinding them with flashlights and drawn guns.

If the investigators attempt to fight back here, all bets are off. There are no witnesses and the Tcho-Tcho only need George alive. There is plenty of cover in the station, as well as old bits of debris or rocks lying around for improvised weapons. The gloom gives the Tcho-Tcho a penalty die on their Firearms attack rolls. If investigators are faring poorly against the gangsters, George intervenes, using his Fist of Yog-Sothoth spell to throw Cocon onto the tracks, where he’s electrocuted by the third rail. This gives Bendat pause—and allows the investigators to gain the upper hand.

Should the investigators surrender, the Tcho-Tcho bind their hands behind their backs. After some discussion, the decision is made to kill them on the spot. They are ordered onto their knees. Before they can fire the first shot, George intervenes with his spell as above, giving investigators a second chance.

Hopefully, the investigators are able to overpower the two Tcho-Tcho with George’s help. Provided nobody is too wounded, a quick exit is necessary.

Allow investigators to rest and tend to any wounds. Serious injuries might require treatment at a medical facility. At some point, George speaks to them: well, I’m not dead, so I’m assuming you’re not with them. What do you want from me?”

George has no sanity left and is extremely paranoid. He is capable of carrying a conversation and answering questions, but ultimately, his understanding of reality has been altered to the point that he sees a lot of conventional things as pointless, which is how he wound up living on the street. In conversation, he often starts looking off into the distance at something that’s not there or laughing at something said to him because he thinks it’s utterly inane.

If investigators ask why the Tcho-Tcho are after him, he responds “I was there when she showed up at their hangout. The survivors saw me drive her off. They think I can control her. Don’t know bout that. I just seen some shit, man. And I know how to take care of myself.”

He tells the investigators that he was sleeping in the alley outside of the apartments where their drug den/shrine is. He knows the gang hangs out there, and he also knows that they occasionally brought someone in who didn’t come back out. “Hey, not my business, right?”

On the night of the new moon, a month ago, some lesser gang members were hanging out in the apartment. These members were unaware of the true nature of the Night Mother and thought it was just superstition. With the higher-ups all in jail, they were attempting to keep the operation going.

The Night Mother manifested, looking for her sacrifice. The gangsters were driven insane and slaughtered almost to a man. Cocon and Bendat were the only two survivors. They ran down the fire escape, pursued by the Night Mother, and, as they ran past George, he woke up.

The Night Mother loomed over him, and was going to attack him, when he had a moment clarity and made the Voorish Sign, something he picked up in the course of his investigations. The spell made the entity pause and allowed George to escape. By that time, the Tcho-Tcho had left too, so she returned to her shrine.

George knew something terrible was going on, and knew that the gangsters were looking for him, so he hid as best he could. He hasn’t heard of Claire’s death. This information, if shared, convinces him that it’s necessary to get rid of the Night Mother. He will help the investigators but needs their help as well. He warns them that this will not be pleasant or easy, and they may fail. The best course of action may be to just jump a train out of the city and not look back.

If the investigators don’t take his excellent advice, he needs some time and materials to prepare before they head for the shrine. George managed to survive his horrific experience in Pennsylvania by casting a Dismiss Deity spell to send Shub-Niggurath back from whence it came. Fortunately, the Night Mother is also an aspect of Shub-Niggurath, although George has no way of knowing that and is just hoping this spell works a second time. George needs some candles and some parchment which can be picked up in a card store, and a gallon of milk. As he scratches a crude symbol onto the paper, he explains to the investigators that they have to do the ritual at midnight—and that all of them will have to participate.

The Night Mother’s Lair

The investigators and George arrive at the apartment building late at night. It’s an old office building converted into loft apartments. They need to be buzzed in and the usual trick of hitting all the buttons and hoping someone lets them in is met with no response.

The Night Mother has corrupted the minds of the inhabitants of the apartment building. They’ve all had visions of her and are currently in their apartments in a sort of daze.

The investigators will have to find another way in. The door can be forced with a successful Locksmith check or broken open with a Hard STR roll. Alternatively, they could climb up the fire escape in the alley and break in through someone’s apartment. This requires a Climb or Jump check for the investigator pulling down the ladder initially, and possibly a Locksmith check to jimmy a window open.

It’s up to the Keeper whether or not the apartment investigators break into this way is currently occupied. If so, the Night Mother senses why they are here and attacks them through her dominated occupants.

The residents’ eyes are all gone, only deep black sockets remain. They jerkily attack using fists and improvised weapons. They attempt to knock the investigators out and throw them out of the windows to their deaths.

Regardless of if they enter through an empty loft or have to fight two or three zombified hipsters, the investigators eventually open the door to a dark hallway. Play this up for effect. It’s long, dark, and only a single bare bulb swings in the air, flickering on and off, providing sickly yellowish light.

The elevator doesn’t work and they’ll have to take the stairs. As they head down the hallway towards the stairs, they hear the whispers of the Night Mother. She fills each investigator’s head with promises of everything they could want: comfort, warmth, a home, and the respect of others. All they need to do is kneel to her. Call for SAN rolls, with investigators losing 1/1D3 SAN. George knows what he’s up against, and soldiers on.

When they open the door to the stairwell, investigators see a resident who was driven mad by the Mother’s whispers and hung herself. Call for another SAN roll, losing 0/1D3.

As they start up the stairs, the Night Mother animates the corpse. The woman’s head turns and leers at them with an eyeless face, before warning them “Turn back, or she’ll drink your soul too!” Call for another SAN roll to see the corpse animate, losing 1/1D6+1. The corpse laughs at them as they flee but cannot pursue.

The Mother makes a final stand in the hallway of the third floor. As an investigator opens the door from the stairwell, they find more eyeless residents standing absolutely still and ready to fight. Again, the possessed New Yorkers fight with fists and perhaps improvised weapons at the Keeper’s discretion. This is meant to be a fight they get through, however, so don’t overdo it. The number of adversaries is left to the Keeper’s discretion.

The Shrine

The loft apartment used by the gang is dingy and furnished with bean bags and futons. Takeout food boxes from the Setting Sun Kitchen and empty beer bottles litter the floor. The corpses of the gang members lie here, desiccated and eyeless.

The Setting Sun Kitchen, 67 Mott Street, New York, NY 10013

Under the dangerous Uncle Tcheou, the Tcho-Tcho have steadily grown their criminal enterprises within New York City. This small restaurant in Chinatown is one of their myriad fronts.

For more information, see Stygian Fox’s The Unbearable Likeness, available at DrivethruRPG.com.

The shrine to the Night Mother sits in a corner of the living room. It is a statue of the Virgin Mary with eyes painted black. Blood stains the white plaster and stains down the statue’s cheeks look like it has wept from the black eyes also. Pictures of mothers from magazines and other print advertising have been torn out and taped to the walls around it. The eyes are also torn out of the ads. Candle stumps are set on a board in front of the statue.

The spirit of the Night Mother lurks here. The atmosphere in the room is otherworldly and oppressive, SAN 0/1.

George wastes no time in setting up. If asked how he knows about this, he explains that he learned it in Pennsylvania without giving any further information.

He clears off the worn candles on the floor and washes away the blood with milk. Then, he draws his own circle of some sort with chalk, places the fresh candles in a triangle around the circle he drew, and places the paper sigil he drew in the center of the circle. As he’s doing this, he explains that although the Night Mother won’t be at full power, she’ll still try to stop them. He will begin the ritual to open the way, and then needs others to aid him in chanting to dismiss the Mother. He recommends at least one person keeps watch to defend them.

After setting up the ritual and lighting the candles, George starts a long, slow chant in an unknown language. The first phase of casting his version of the Dismiss Deity spell is to open the way. This costs him 14 magic points and grants a base 5% chance for the dismissal to be successful.

As he chants, the air becomes dark, the candles sputter, and then finally flare-up in an unnatural purple light. Faint tittering laughter is heard from the hallway, and the statue shakes and cracks. The way is open.

The second stage of the dismissal involves the investigators taking part. They need to join in the chanting for 30 minutes. For every magic point put towards the spell, the percentile chance of success increases by 5% to a maximum of 99%, which would require George’s initial 14 magic point contribution, plus an additional 19 from the investigators.

The Night Mother does all it can to stop the dismissal. Fortunately, for the investigators, she is only at full strength during the new moon.

In the first ten minutes of the chanting, the mothers in the print ads taped to the wall begin talking, begging the investigators to stop. The air becomes nauseous with a burnt flesh/rotten milk smell and it becomes oppressively hot (SAN, 0/1d2).

During the second ten minutes stretch, the stench and oppressive heat become even worse. Investigators should make CON rolls to avoid throwing up. The Mother partially animates the corpses of the gangsters and they crawl feebly up to the chanting investigators, begging them to stop and promising them blessings beyond belief if they listen. They are not true zombies and cannot cause real damage, but require another SAN roll (1/1D6) to shake off them off and continue.

The final ten minutes are the most critical. The sigil George placed in the middle of the circle bursts into a purple flame that shoots to the ceiling. The virgin statue bursts apart with a scream. The Night Mother manifests in the circle—she is beautiful, of indeterminate race, with long, flowing black hair and black robes that shift and flow about her despite a lack of wind. Her eyes are covered with a white cloth. There is a final SAN roll (1/1D10) upon seeing the manifestation.

Investigators who are driven insane by the sight of the Mother hear her in their minds. She begs them to stop the dismissal and promises them rewards if they help her. They attack their compatriots and have to be restrained. Investigators driven mad during the ritual cannot add their magic points to the chance of dismissal. As George and any sane investigators chant the final verse, roll the dice to see if they are successful. If they are, there is a blast of heat and stench, and all the candles and electricity in the apartment goes out. With a whoosh and a scream, the Night Mother departs. If they fail, she laughs and steps out of the circle, free and fully manifested. There was an error in their spell. Their lives are most likely forfeit unless they can run.

Rewards & Repercussions

Although this scenario is intended to be played as a rather nasty one-shot, if worked into a campaign it is suggested that a reward of 1D10 sanity be granted to investigators who are successful in keeping George alive and dismissing the Night Mother.

If they fail in the ritual it’s highly likely they die. If not, a Sanity loss of 1D8 is suggested. The Night Mother is still free, and there is no one left to protect the people of NYC from her.

If they are successful and survive, the group leaves the apartment building and George melts back into the jungle of NYC. The investigators are no better, off despite their heroic deed. When the sun rises in the morning, they’ll still have to figure out where their next meal is coming from and where they’re going to sleep. Such is life on the streets.

Appendix A: Characters & Monsters

Crazy George, battered ex-reporter, and survivor of unnamable horrors, age 48 but looks a lot older.

“I seen shit man. Shit you don’t ever wanna see.”

STR 50CON 70SIZ 45DEX 45INT 65
APP 30POW 80EDU 60SAN 0HP: 11
Damage Bonus: None.Build: 0Move: 7MP: 16

Combat
Attacks per Round: 1

Fighting (Brawl) 40% (20/8), damage 1D3
Dodge 50% (25/10)

Skills
Art/Craft (Writing) 50%, Computer Use 45%, Credit Rating 0%, Library Use 45%, English 75%, Fast Talk 60%, Locksmith 35%, Navigate (NYC) 65%, Psychology 30%.

Armor: None.
Spells: Dismiss Deity (Shub-Niggurath), Fist of Yog-Sothoth, Voorish Sign.
Sanity Loss: None.

Cocon and Bendat, Tcho-Tcho gangsters in over their heads, aged 23 and 25.

“We’re looking for this guy, Crazy George. Weird old homeless guy, hangs out in Herald Square. You help us find him, we’ll make it worth your while.”

STR 60CON 50SIZ 45DEX 50INT 40
APP 50POW 40EDU 50SAN 35HP: 9
Damage Bonus: None.Build: 0Move: 8MP: 8

Combat
Attacks per Round: 1

Fighting (Brawl) 45% (22/9), damage 1D3
Firearms (Handgun) 35% (17/7), damage 1d10 (Glock 9mm)
Dodge 40% (20/8)

Skills
Intimidate 50%, Spot Hidden 40%, Stealth 45%.

Armor: None.
Spells: None.
Sanity Loss: None.

Zombified Hipsters, residents of the apartment complex controlled by the Night Mother

The apartment residents are not true zombies, but their wills have been drained by the Night Mother, and they serve as her mindless thralls. Their eye sockets are empty black holes.

STR 50CON 50SIZ 50DEX 50INT 20
APP 20POW 0EDU N/ASAN 0HP: 10
Damage Bonus: None.Build: 0Move: 8MP: 0

Combat
Attacks per Round: 1

Fighting (Brawl) 25% (12/5), damage 1D3
Dodge 25% (12/5)

Skills
Spot Hidden 35%.

Armor: None.
Spells: None.
Sanity Loss: 0/1 on account of their empty ocular sockets.

TYPICAL PHYSICAL MANIFESTATION:
THE NIGHT MOTHER

a not very maternal aspect of Shub-Niggurath

The Night Mother appears as a tall, slender female of indeterminate race. She is dressed in a black cloak-like garment that rustles around her constantly, as if being affected by a non-existent breeze. Her long, dark hair hangs pin straight over her face. When she reveals her face, her eyes are covered by a white bandage. She never speaks audibly but communicates telepathically.

STR 120CON 100SIZ 65DEX 100POW 90
Damage Bonus: +1D6Build: 2Move: 9MP: 18
  • Hit Points: 16
  • Damage Bonus: +1D6
  • Build: 2
  • Move: 9

Combat
Attacks per Round
: 3 (1 fist; 2 razor-sharp edges of her cloak)
While the Night Mother eschews physical combat, preferring to command humans to deal with the messy stuff, she’s more than capable at both defending herself and dealing with physical threats, with her cloak lashes out with razor-sharp edges, at those who prove resistant to her magical abilities.
Desiccating Gaze: Rather than give life, the Night Mother takes it. It focuses its eyeless gaze on a target and forces an opposed POW roll. Failure means that the target suffers 1D10 HP of damage as their flesh dries and cracks and blood runs from their eyes. The Night Mother gains the hit points lost to this attack if she is wounded. Victims killed in this manner are left as eyeless, desiccated husks.
Lullaby Whispers: The Night Mother speaks to the target in their mind, compelling them to obey. They must succeed in an opposed POW roll or become a thrall. The Night Mother’s first command is often for her new victim to tear their own eyes out.

Fighting (Brawl) 70% (35/17), 1D3+1D6
Dodge 35% (17/8)

Skills
Intimidate 70%, Listen 80%, Spot Hidden 80%.

Armor: None, but fire and electrical do only half damage, physical weapons such as firearms or knives do their minimum damage, and the Night Mother regenerates 2 hit points per round (in addition to those gained with her Desiccating Gaze).
Spells: Augury, Awaken the Beast, Bind Soul, Cloud Memory, Control Elements, Dampen Light, Enthrall Victim, Fury, The Red Sign; others as the Keeper desires.
Sanity Loss: 1D4/1D10 to see the Night Mother fully manifested.

Appendix B: Pre-Generated Characters

Each of the five Pre-generated characters has a female/male name associated with it, allowing a Player to easily choose one based on the background and stats provided. Players may, of course, change the name and background details, but a connection to Claire should remain. Players will need to roll their investigator’s Luck attribute (3D6 × 5), as well as assign an additional 80 Skill Points.

Elizabeth/Ben “Diggy” Johnson, age 46

Elizabeth/Ben used to work in construction operating heavy machinery. An accident left them unable to work, and when the workman’s comp ran out without any sort of settlement, they had to go live on the streets. Due to their injuries, they’ve been unable to secure any sort of work, and have struggled with homelessness for eight years. Elizabeth/Ben has become a survivor, with a thorough knowledge of the NYC streets, and a determination to mind their own business. That being said, they’d helped Claire out a few times, and had felt some responsibility for the young girl. Her death hurts, and the knowledge that nobody in any position of authority cares hurts even more. Question is, what are they going to do about it?

STR 50CON 60SIZ 50DEX 70INT 60
APP 40POW 80EDU 50SAN 80HP: 11
Damage Bonus: None.Build: 0Move: 8MP: 16
Luck: Roll 3D6 × 5    

Combat
Attacker per Round
: 1

Fighting/Brawl 40% (20/8), Damage 1D3
Dodge 45% (22/9)

Skills
Climb 50%, Credit Rating 2%, Listen 60%, Navigate 70%, Operate Heavy Machinery 50%, Charm 60%, Persuade 50%, Stealth 50%, Spot Hidden 40%.

80 Skill Points to be distributed as the Player sees fit.

Christine/David Alton, age 27

Christine/David grew up in a rural flyover state. The only way out of their one-horse town was to join the military, which lead to multiple deployments in the Middle East as an Explosive Ordinance Tech. The pressures of the job and the horrors they witnessed gave them severe anxiety and an inability to hold a job in civilian life. They’ve drifted from place to place and eventually wound up in NYC. Despite being quiet and menacing, Christine/David hates seeing bad things happen to people around them and will get involved in trying to find Claire’s killer out of what’s left of their sense of community.

STR 80CON 50SIZ 70DEX 60INT 50
APP 50POW 60EDU 60SAN 60HP: 12
Damage Bonus: +1D4Build: 1Move: 8MP: 12
Luck: Roll 3D6 × 5    

Combat
Attacks per Round
: 1

Fighting/Brawl 50% (20/10) Damage 1D3+1D4
Dodge 45% (22/9)

Skills
Climb 40% (20/8), Credit Rating 2%, Demolition 70% (35/14), Drive. Auto 40% (20/8), Firearms, Handgun 40% (20/8), Firearms, Rifle/Shotgun 50% (25/10), Stealth 50% (25/10) Survival 60% (30/12), Mechanical Repair 60% (30/12) Intimidate 60% (30/12)

80 Skill Points to be distributed as the Player sees fit.

Isabelle/Raymond, age 17

Izzy/Ray is a runaway and came to NYC to make it big in theater. Too smart for their own good, they never fit in back home and were too strong-willed to just stick it out until graduation. Things haven’t been what they expected in the city, but it hasn’t been so bad that they’d admit they made a mistake either. This is just a temporary setback, and soon their star will rise. Izzy/Ray got along well with Claire, as they were close in age. Her death is a wake-up call that things are harsh out here, but Izzy/Ray’s sense of justice and curiosity, along with their deeply held conviction that they’re much smarter than everyone else, will lead them to investigate Claire’s death.

STR 60CON 60SIZ 50DEX 60INT 80
APP 50POW 70EDU 40SAN 70HP: 11
Damage Bonus: None.Build: 0Move: 9MP: 14
Luck: Roll 3D6 × 5    

Combat
Attacks per Round
: 1

Fighting/Brawl 30% (15/6) Damage 1D3
Dodge 50% (25/10)

Skills
Acting 40% (20/8), Charm 60% (30/12), Climb 40% (20/8), Computer Use 70% (35/14), Credit Rating 3%, Electronics 60% (30/12), Fast Talk 50% (25/10), Jump 40% (20/8), Listen (50% (25/10), Spot Hidden 50% (25/10),

80 Skill Points to be distributed as the Player sees fit.

Donald/Stephanie Duberk, age 39

Don/Steph grew up in a rust belt city and got caught up in the wrong crowd in high school. Drug addiction and a decade of run-ins with the police followed, until they finally served hard time for possession. They were released from jail as a felon six years ago. An attempt to make it on the straight and narrow was met with repeated roadblocks due to their record. Although clean, Don/Steph has been living on the streets for four years. Occasionally they have to use their particular set of skills to put food on the table when no other options are available. Wiry and quick, Don/Steph tried to keep to themself as much as possible but is likely to look into Claire’s murder out of their friendship with Roxy.

STR 50CON 50SIZ 40DEX 80INT 70
APP 60POW 60EDU 50SAN 60HP: 9
Damage Bonus: None.Build: 0Move: 9MP: 12
Luck: Roll 3D6 × 5    

Combat
Attacks per Round
: 1

Fighting/Brawl 50% (25/10), damage 1D3
Dodge 50% (25/10)

Skills
Credit Rating 2%, Climb 50% (25/10), Drive Auto 40% (20/8), Fast Talk 60% (30/12), Intimidate 40% (20/8), Jump 40 (20/8), Listen 50% (25/10), Locksmith 60% (30/12), Sleight of Hand 70% (35/14).

80 Skill Points to be distributed as the Player sees fit.

Grigor/Irina, age 26

Grigor/Irina is a circus performer who came over to the US on a work visa to tour with a circus last summer. The show quickly ran out of money and abandoned them in a small town in New Jersey, with no money and a soon to be expired visa. They’ve picked up enough English to get by and have lived on the streets for the past 7 months, trying to get enough money together to travel home. They work as a street performer. They’re quiet and unassuming, but tough enough to defend themselves if need be. They had to step in and defend Clair a few times and feel a certain responsibility for her even now that she’s gone.

STR 60CON 50SIZ 50DEX 80INT 50
APP 70POW 50EDU 40SAN 50HP: 10
Damage Bonus: None.Build: 0Move: 9MP: 10
Luck: Roll 3D6 × 5    

Combat
Attacks per Round
: 1

Fighting/Brawl 40% (20/10) Damage 1D3
Dodge 50% (25/10)

Skills
Acting 50%, Art or Craft (Acrobatics) 70%, Charm 40%, Credit Rating 5%, Climb 50%, Jump 50%, Language (Russian) 40%, Language (English) 40%, Psychology 40%, Stealth 60%, Sleight of Hand 60%.

80 Skill Points to be distributed as the Player sees fit.

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