Adding “The Vanishing Conjurer” to Your Campaign

Warning: Vanishing Conjurer Spoilers Below Presented as an introductory-level investigation, The Vanishing Conjurer is suggested as an “intermission” in the Masks of Nyarlathotep campaign during the England Chapter. The Masks of Nyarlathotep Companion also notes it as a suitable sidetrack adventure. We thoroughly enjoyed this scenario as a one-shot featuring a stage magic act, but we also incorporated elements and easter eggs tying it to our larger Masks of Nyarlathotep campaign. In particular, we used it as an opportunity to introduce our players to both Mickey Mahoney and Carl Stanford, as well as foreshadow the importance of the Order of the Bloated Woman. In this post, we share our experience in running this scenario as

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Scenario Remix – The Vanishing Conjurer

    WARNING: Vanishing Conjurer Spoilers Below Stage magic and the Cthulhu Mythos pair beautifully. Lovecraft himself collaborated and ghostwrote for Harry Houdini. Over the decades, several scenarios have capitalized on this thematic association, including the two-pack of adventures from Games Workshop published in 1986 featuring The Statue of the Sorcerer and The Vanishing Conjurer. Other notables include The House of Memphis in Mansions of Madness, volume 1, and Miskatonic Repository offerings, Death is the Final Escape and The Maw. Of these, our personal favorite is The Vanishing Conjurer by Mike Lewis and Simon Price, which features evocative cover art by Lee Gibbons, a promising hook, and a novel roleplaying opportunity baked into the scenario. As

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Eye of Light & Darkness – MoN MacGuffin?

Even if you won’t be keeping score for your Masks of Nyarlathotep campaign, the Eye of Light and Darkness (EL&D) plays a critical role in disrupting the cultists’ efforts to open the Great Gate. This powerful warding spell relies upon clues scattered unevenly across the globe, and the impact of the spell in your campaign depends heavily upon your players’ destination choices. If your group travels to China initially they will rapidly uncover the entire truth about the ward; however, if they travel the conventional London-Egypt-Kenya route they will slowly uncover this end-stage element of the campaign all while lugging around a useless stone MacGuffin. We offer some suggestions and tweaks to make the broken

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Mythos Monsters – Hunting Horror

“Stars swelled to dawns, and dawns burst into fountains of gold, carmine, and purple, and still the dreamer fell. Cries rent the aether as ribbons of light beat back the fiends from outside. And hoary Nodens raised a howl of triumph when Nyarlathotep, close on his quarry, stopped baffled by a glare that seared his formless hunting-horrors to grey dust.” H.P. Lovecraft, Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath Originally mentioned in The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, these ravening terrors serve  Nyarlathotep as flesh-tearing hunters and intimidating totems of his dark power. Numerous elements of the published campaign provide Keepers with opportunities to incorporate the hunting horror as a prominent, recurring menace throughout all chapters. While every Nyarlathotep avatar

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Mythos Tomes – Équinoxe Divisé

Title Translation (English): Divided Equinox Location: Gavigan’s Secret Room at Penhew Foundation (England) Physical Description: Hand-written and illustrated medium-sized manuscript with untrimmed, worn pages bound in soft calf leather Author:  Ghyslain d’Aramitz, a French merchant, colonial administrator, and explorer. The great-grandson of Henri d’Aramitz, lay abbot of Aramitz (1620-1674) and the historical basis for Aramis of Dumas’ Three Musketeers.   Publication History: Single copy, written in French and completed in 1807 as a memoir Skim:  Recounts his experiences traveling around the world with an interest in detailing and comparing various regional customs and beliefs in locales he visited, including North Africa, Asia, and Europe, as well as a substantial amount of text devoted to recounting unusual regional farming and hunting practice with

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Mythos Tomes – Book of Dzyan

Pronunciation: Dzyan – “zon”, also called “The Stanzas of Dzyan” Location: Gavigan’s Secret Room at Penhew Foundation (England) Physical Description: Woven papers bound in goatskin with a distinct smell of sulfur Author:  Unknown, but alleged to be an account of the High Masters of Shamballah Publication History:  Introduction indicated the original text is of Ancient origin. Written in English, but reported originally to be composed in Senzar, a sacred language related to Sanskrit. According to theosophist Madame Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, the text is of Tibetan, but some purport the original text originated in Atlantis. Blavatsky published a watered-down version of the text as “The Secret Doctrine” in 1888, which many occultists will be familiar with; however, none beyond

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Mythos Artifact – The Mirror of Gal

Adorning the luxurious lounge in Zahra Shafik’s posh apartment above Empire Spices, the Mirror of Gal, hides in plain sight. This mysterious reflective surface functions as both a scrying device and a potentially deadly weapon. The mere possession of this valuable magical item insinuates Shafik’s power and influence in the London Brotherhood of the Black Pharaoh. By presenting this incredibly powerful artifact as a compelling item of interest, it can become a key element in the England chapter, which offers a variety of interactions and outcomes. Here we offer some thoughts and suggestions for incorporating the Mirror of Gal into your campaign. Before your Investigators ever see the artifact, you can hint at its existence.

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Random Events – England

The main campaign should be a sandbox for your Investigators to explore, choosing what leads to pursue, cultists to investigate, and NPCs to interview. The England chapter provides a wide variety of locations with plenty of colorful encounters to spice up their pursuit of the London Brotherhood of the Black Pharaoh and interrupt their investigation of the cultists’ global plot. Random events can promote improvisation on all sides of the table while dramatically disrupting or redirecting the investigative trail. You may choose to roll or select an event from the table before the session and then challenge yourself to find a suitable moment to incorporate it. We will start with events for the central location

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Mythos Monsters – The Thing in the Fog

The noisome London fog offers the perfect cover for Edward Gavigan’s Mythos invisible pets, the gish-rla (pp. 206-207). These viscous vapors referred to throughout the England chapter as “The Thing in the Fog” provide the Keeper with an atmospheric (pun intended – Ed.) threat to your Investigators on the dark streets of London. The Thing may be employed as an alternative to your routine cultist encounters, particularly after your Investigators have irritated or threatened Gavigan. The nature of the Thing precludes normal combat solutions, instead offering a deadly puzzle for your players to solve. We will discuss a variety of ways to present this other-worldly monster with consideration to incorporating it throughout the chapter.  Before

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Chapter Inspiration – England

  The England chapter offers a dramatic range of settings and encounters for your players to explore, and you can unveil a variety of locations and characters to create a dreadful, and even gritty, depth to this corner of the campaign. We like to imagine our Investigators arriving in London with visions of Downton Abbey and Oxford professors only to find themselves soon mixed up in the seedy underbelly of the city.  London:  For an inspirational piece contemporary to the setting, we strongly recommend Hitchcock’s 1927 classic silent thriller The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog. The plot, based on Marie Belloc Lowndes’s 1913 novel, centers on the hunt for the “Avenger”, a serial

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