Nothing says lovin’ like ooky eldritch tomes. And when an Investigator receives one as a Christmas present, the fun just doesn’t stop!
Christmas morning, one of the Investigators receives a parcel via UPS from a friend who runs something like a metaphysical bookstore or a rare bookstore. Perhaps the friend was just a collector of ancient relics. It’s up to the Keeper to decide just how he wants to go about this.
There is no note attached, but the Investigator can easily identify who the sender is by the return address on the shipping slip. However, this friend is not responding to phone calls, and when he goes to visit his friend he finds a bunch of disgruntled police officers (not pleased at working on Christmas day) roping off the crime scene. The friend has been murdered. Brutally. And his home/shop has been ransacked.
Inside the parcel is a set of five books, seeming, at initial glance, to be ancient arcane tomes. While bound in nice leather, perhaps even recovered, the pages are stained and tattered, and the writing is a little faded and brown. However, the first thing a successful SPOT HIDDEN roll will inform a curious Investigator of is that there is a lingering smell of coffee about them. Further examination will indicate that the binding is a rather modern one. Despite the front page describing the tomes as being a number of rare and hard to find books, the actual texts are transcribed copies of the Iliad and the Odyssey in the original Greek, the Aeneid in the original Latin, one of the versions of the trade paperback “Necronomicons” in poorly translated Portuguese. The fifth book appears to be random symbols meant to look like Arabic, with lots of gruesome pictures in it that were inspired by artwork seen in the Evil Dead flicks.
In short, they are not real Mythos tomes. Though they make neat props.
If the Investigators go so far as to have a lab analyze it, the stain on the pages is in fact caused by coffee and the ink used is primarily from a specific type of modern ink. (Vis-á-Vis Wet-Erase Extra Fine Point pen, to be precise).
To make matters worse, a couple days after the books are received, someone breaks in to the home of the Investigator who received them. It doesn’t matter if the tomes actually get stolen, though. They don’t have much value outside of quaintness, and when the culprits realize they have fake tomes, they’ll likely dump them in the yard of the Investigator.
“So, what’s going on?” you ask. Well, quite simply, the Investigator’s friend received some very rare tomes, some cultists wanted the tomes, but he stashed them pretty well before they got there, and then mailed some prop books he had lying about to the Investigator. The cultists found the receipt for UPS, and thought it might be a lead, especially since the package delivered was quite weighty. Hence the break in.
From here the cultists will now try to abduct the Investigator and/or his friends in order to interrogate them about the books. Of course, they don’t believe the Investigators when they claim they don’t know where the books are.
It’s up to the Keeper whether the books can actually be tracked down. If the Keeper is looking to introduce some tomes to the campaign, this is a handy time to do it. However, remember that any clues the Investigators find, so can the cultists.
Damage Bonus: +0
Weapon: Fist/Punch 50%, 1d3
Spells: Keepers discretion. Likely Contact spells for their patron, plus a number of icky goodies.
Skills: Astronomy 35%, Cthulhu Mythos 81%, Computer Use 50%, Drive Auto 50%, Fast Talk 70%, Hide 65%, History 70%, Occult 65%, Organize Cult 90%, Persuade 60%, Sneak 30%
PS: Thanks to Christian Matzke for his wonderful site that gave me handy information for this scenario!
Jeremy Zimmerman is a teller of tales who dislikes cute euphemisms for writing like “teller of tales.” His fiction has most recently appeared in 10Flash Quarterly, Arcane and anthologies from Timid Pirate Publishing. His young adult superhero book, Kensei, is available as part of Cobalt City Rookies. He is also the editor for Mad Scientist Journal. He lives in Seattle with five cats and his lovely wife (and fellow author) Dawn Vogel.