Location: Roger Carlyle’s Library
Physical Description: Poorly bound in scarred human skin over wood, numbering 150 pages in duodecimo format. No title on the cover, but the frontispiece features a low-quality faux-Egpytian styling opposite the handwritten title page. The content is handwritten in a brown-black scrawl that occasionally fades out.
Author: Montgomery Crompton, an English soldier and amateur artist, who traveled to Egypt in 1805 and became a minor priest in the Brotherhood of the Black Pharaoh. Originally from a prominent English family, he served in the military and became interested in Egyptian history and art. Research into Crompton while in London (Library Use) can be revealing. Originally born in 1780 and raised in Gloucester, the son of a minor noble, he served as a Lieutenant according to family expectations but returned home after charges of abuse and abhorrent behavior. A black sheep, he made a pass at university and became interested in painting and sculpture, but was documented by his teachers as a fair-to-middling talent. After an unnamed lascivious scandal, he departed London for Cairo. At the time of this diary, Crompton had already descended into degenerate lunacy. He perished in a Cairo asylum in 1811.
Publication History: Single copy of Crompton’s diary, which functions more as a reflective autobiography on his experiences as an initiate and priest in the Brotherhood of the Black Pharaoh.
Initial Reading: Skimming through the contents of the work reveals a catalog of horrific deeds performed by Crompton and his “Brothers.” in Cairo. The content and handwriting become increasingly incomprehensible as the diary nears its end, where he reveals he has been reconstructing his megalomaniacal beliefs and vicious atrocities from the cell in an asylum. At initial glance, the reader will note reverent praise to a Black Pharaoh, or Nivrin Ka, interspersed between his sadistic ramblings. The work concludes by emphatically stating that he expects an imminent full ascent to god-hood followed by unholy vengeance upon his pathetic captors.
Connection to the Broader Campaign: You may want to consider how this rare work came into Carlyle’s possession. It may possible that Penhew provided this book to a pliable Roger in preparation for the expedition or that M’Weru gifted it to Roger in an attempt to fuel his obsession. A brief handwritten note from either hidden between the pages could be a compelling clue. Crompton’s book foreshadows the encounter with Brother of the Black Pharaoh in London and Egypt with a description of the hidden throne room in the Bent Pyramid. You may wish to include the below description of Omar al-Shakti to reveal the age and power of the Egyptian Brotherhood leader. Attentive readers may recognize the sacred cult weapon during future encounters. You may wish to include some secret passwords used by the Brotherhood to gain access to Misr House, rituals, or other potential cult locations in London and Egypt. As to whether these are still useful, remains up to the Keeper.
“When I first met my liege, he appeared as a man. Dark as night. He must have disdained my pitiful state, as I cowered before him covered in blood and filth. And yet, unlike the swarthy men who brought me to this dank chamber beneath the pyramid, he showed mercy. A thin smile crossed his shadowy mien, and he extended a hand to the pustulent wound on my chest. Immediately, the burning subsided, replaced by a glowing warmth, such as one found in many bottles of wine. But my head was perfectly clear. My aches relieved. In a hushed voice, only to me, he revealed his secrets. He would pry the world from the clutches of unworthy men, and, as his faithful servant, I would ascend to claim my rightful place at his side. He would oversee the ignorant cattle and instruct them in the ways of the true, ancient gods. I finally felt relief. The empty ache in my soul that yearned for mastery of my lessers found its purpose. I would be free. With a word, he affirmed his promises. A single guttural tone arose from His perfect mouth and the coward that beat me most unfairly melted in dark flames where he stood. Enraptured, I watched him burn.”
“The wretch struggled against us in the dark of the alley, but his withered frame was no match for me and my brothers. This was to be my first offering to my Lord. My body was wracked with the purest ecstasy while I bludgeoned the weak mortal, again and again, with my sacred tool. His face was a soft pulp and his limbs quivered as I held the piercing-end of the cudgel aloft. I reveled in his burbling inanities. After several exquisite moments, I sensed the full presence of My Dark Master in my soul, and I immediately spiked the beggar’s heart. Elated by his final agonized scream, I could feel my new life beginning, empowered as a willing servant to my Black Pharaoh. We ate the man’s liver in the shadows. The pathetic unwashed crowds of Cairo passed by in the street, ignorant of our ancient secrets.”
“I arrived at the merchant’s spice shop just before midnight with the unsuspecting sacrificial virgin. The well-fed, smiling shopkeeper greeted us at the door. At his feet, purred a gorgeous white cat, which hissed threateningly as I offered it a morsel of flesh from my pocket. Our middle-aged host led us down into the cool air of the shop cellar amiably speaking with the offering. Here in the heart of Cairo’s largest bazaar, I would finally meet the Pharaoh’s High Priest. I struggled to contain my ardor, as my young companion sipped the wine proscribed by her faith from a crude ceramic vessel. As the merchant lit a torch in a dark corner, the implements of the Harvesting became clear. The cup shattered on the floor as the girl attempted to flee, but blessed words emerged from the mouth of the merchant. An unseen force crushed her against the wall, rendering her limp and ready. I threw myself before the smiling spice trader, our Nivrin Ka’s greatest sorcerer and priest.”
“Its angles were magnificent and most strange; by their hideous beauty I was enraptured and enthralled, and I thought myself of the daylight fools who adjudged the housing of this room as mistaken. I laughed for the glory they missed. When the six lights lit and the great words said, then He came, in all the grace and splendour of the Higher Planes, and I longed to sever my veins so that my life might flow into his being, and make part of me a god!” (quoted excerpt from Masks of Nyarlathotep campaign book and handouts, © Chaosium 2018)