Chapter Prepping

Once you have an overview of the entirety of the main campaign, either by a full read-through or a preliminary first-pass, you can begin prepping your first chapter. If you’re an experienced Keeper/GM and have a preferred prep style feel free to disregard all the suggestions here and stick to the approach that works for you. If you feel daunted by the information contained in each chapter, try some of these suggestions. First, we’ll re-read all the introductory chapter information, including the connection to the main campaign, Carlyle Expedition, Jackson Elias, as well as the chapter’s feature cult. If you wish, you can breeze past the information about the NPC and plan to return to

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Feedback – An Easy Campaign Diagnostic

Perhaps you just ran your first session with a new group of excited Investigators or you’re wrapping up an epic chapter. Or maybe things felt a little stale and subdued at the table during the last game. Whether things appear superlative or sub-par, gathering player feedback allows us Keepers to continue actively improving our campaign and developing our skills. To obtain useful, candid feedback, you will want to rely on some simple, open-ended questions for your players. After our first Peru session that included an extending roleplaying introduction to Larkin, de Mendoza, and Jackson at Bar Cordano, as well as some high-tension sneaking around the Hotel España while distracting the proprietor and discovering Larkin in

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Random Events – Going Off-Script in Masks of Nyarlathotep

Since the dawn of role-playing games, random event and encounter tables have been available as tools for gamemasters to fill time and space during play. This campaign requires ongoing, dedicated preparation, so it can be nice to toss out a simple encounter and improvise. Empty travel time can suddenly become an opportunity to interactively illustrate the world your players inhabit. A lull in the action at the table can spontaneously be disrupted. Or a missed clue can be revealed in a chance encounter. The campaign book provides two random event tables, including a wonderfully detailed d10 table in Egypt for complications encountered en route to Nyarlathotep’s Chamber (p.352). A second random encounter table can be

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Session Zero for MoN

The experience of Keeping and playing MoN requires a significant commitment from everyone involved. A baseline non-play session before commencing the campaign provides an opportunity for you and your players to discuss the campaign while aligning your goals and expectations for the collaboration. You may approach your Session Zero with a specific campaign conception in mind (Classic or Pulp, for example) or you may be exploring your player’s interests and deciding together. Even if you have an idea of what sort of campaign you want to Keep, a Session Zero should be approached as dialogue aiming to form an optimal consensus to ensure everyone has fun. By agreeing to a shared vision of the campaign,

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Random Events – Peru

  Unlike the rest of the campaign, the Peru Prologue follows a linear track moving from Lima to Puno to the Ruins. Depending on how things develop in Lima, your players may choose to bypass events in Puno entirely. Some random events may serve to punctuate some of the travel time between locations or add some Peruvian spice in the populated locales. As mentioned in our general random encounters discussion, you need not roll on the table, but can simply select your favorite or best-fit event. Instead of using the specific encounter, you could just opt for something similar out of the category, such as a bit of Local Color like some native Quechua-speaking craftsmen

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The Whammy

“Evil-Eye Fleegle is th’ name, an’ th’ ‘whammy’ is my game. Mudder Nature endowed me wit’ eyes which can putrefy citizens t’ th’ spot!. There is th’ ‘single whammy’! That, friend, is th’ full, pure power o’ one o’ my evil eyes! It’s dynamite, friend, an’ I do not t’row it around lightly!” Quoted from Lil’ Abner, July 1951 In speaking with some MoN players deep into their campaigns, we have heard that despite how much they love the experience, a sense of rote tedium emerges through the almost mechanical process of collecting clues and interviewing NPCs. You may hear this yourself, particularly when playing a deeply investigative version of MoN.  This does not reflect

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Campaign Time Keeping & Tracking

On April 19th, 1919, The Carlyle Expedition departed London for Cairo. On Friday, March 18, 1921, the Investigators first met daring author Jackson Elias. By December 16, 1924, Jackson wired Jonah Kensington from London before returning the following day to New York. Finally, on Thursday, January 15, 1925, your Investigators took that one small step into Jackson’s Chelsea Hotel room and a giant leap forward into a dizzying world of clues and conspiracy.  Your players’ foray into the main campaign happens nearly six years after the ill-fated Carlyle Expedition formally gets underway. And the dates listed above? Just a small sample of those in the MoN timeline. To effectively guide our players through the intricacies

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Should I Be Using the Masks Companion?

Prospective MoN Keepers scouring the Internet for advice on how to run their first campaign will come upon extensive praise for the Masks of Nyarlathotep Companion. This richly detailed, fan-produced 763-page guide drew from the extensive collective experience of Yog-Sothoth.com (YSDC) members and deserves all the accolades and recommendations you will find across forums and social media; however, the physical book arrived in 2017, just a year before the release of MoN 5th edition, as well as CoC 7th edition. The authors of this latest MoN edition revised and expanded a good deal of the content published for the campaign. Due to their attentive and detailed work, the 5th edition team supplanted some of the

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Getting Organized – Suggested Keeper Tools

Now, if you saw my desk right now at the Prospero offices you would immediately discount any opinion I might hold on the topic of organization, but I beseech you for a bit of leeway here. Maybe I should just put it this way: if I can organize and run MoN amid these piles of papers, typewriter ribbons, and ink stains, so can you.  After your initial pass through the campaign books, you can begin your preparation in earnest, which will naturally include reviewing and preparing the first chapter or scenario you will be running for the campaign. Playing TTRPGs in our digital age offers a wide variety of tools to facilitate organization. While Keepers

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Reading the Whole Campaign Before Starting – Do I Have To?

Conventional wisdom among Keepers for years about Masks of Nyarlathotep, as well as any grand scope TTRPG campaign, strongly suggests (sometimes demands) that prospective Keepers read the entire campaign from cover to cover once, if not several times, before getting players to the table. We won’t argue that more familiarity with and mastery of the material will increase your comfort level before you jump into the campaign; however, many of us may not have the time or patience to plow through the current edition’s 666 pages before getting things underway. We take the position that the latest version of MoN provides you with a user-friendly layout and focused material to cut a more direct path

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