With the Father of Maggots returned to his putrid quiescence and friendship blossoming with Jackson Elias, your Players may be ready to return to their own lives and personal adventures. At this juncture, Keepers will be confronted with the question of how to pass the time between Prologue and the New York Chapter. You will find a number of opportunities to consider here.
First and easiest, you can simply fast forward to the Jackson Elias telegram and New York, which will probably leave Keeper and players feeling unsatisfied. Instead, you can simply ask your players to provide an explanation of what they have been up to over the intervening years. You could even elicit this through correspondence from Jackson Elias to individual players or the whole group, like this.
On top of the roleplaying opportunity, you can consider allowing your players to make development rolls. Keepers can determine what makes the most sense for their campaign as far as the number of skill rolls. Offering one to two rolls per year may help them craft a particularly meaningful backstory about their intervening years. You may want to suggest they pick a skill and roll in series allowing them to tailor their backstory to the results. Decide in advance whether or not you will require them to roll against the current skill level as per the typical Development Phase before they can gain their d10 skill points. We chose not to require a failed skill roll to gain points. Here’s an example from our table:
Dr. Dibden remained in South America from 1921 until returning to civilization in 1925 after receiving Jackson’s telegram. During his time there, he honed his medical skills (Medicine x 2 rolls) but also engaged in a number of skirmishes with bandits, smugglers, and anarchists, which gave him both incentive and opportunity to practice wielding a pistol (Handgun x 3). He decided to retreat further into the jungle on an expedition to study the flora and fauna (Biology x 1), which required an eagle eye to spot the rare medicinal flowers (Spot Hidden x 2) his team sought.
Alternatively, you could provide them with a skill point pool to spend as they chose while determining how they passed their time. Another option may be to employ the Experience Packages from Investigator Handbook (p.61). You can choose whether or not you want to adjust the points available in the package, as well as the incurred SAN loss and phobia/mania (except for the Mythos package!). The Packages can also be used as a template to brainstorm with player-specific alternatives. A simple tweak would be to adjust the War Experience package to reflect employment as a mercenary, which may encourage some blending with the Organized Crime package.
If your players have a strong Mythos inclination and acquired useful tomes, you could substitute rolls for Mythos study depending on the tome requirements (with associated SAN loss, of course). Players could also learn a spell in lieu of a development roll.
For those playing a Pulp Campaign, you can offer your players an additional Pulp feat as a result of their intervening years with an appropriately thrilling accompanying story.
Finally, should you decide to fill the time between Peru and New York with additional scenarios, you can modify the number of rolls, points in a package, or any consideration of feats depending on the amount of time your Investigators spend out there fighting the good fight. A possible rule of thumb could be to reduce the number of rolls you may have planned (4-8, maybe) by one (rounding up) for each added scenario. Naturally, the decision will be up to you and tailored to your own campaign.
How did you handle the years between Peru and New York in your campaign?