Carlos Orsi Martinho
To the Keeper
This scenario takes place in the city of Manaus, in the Brazilian state of Amazonas, during the year of 1922. The investigators will meet a group of Hastur worshippers that have discovered a special plant from the rainforest that can induce people to dread dreams with He Who Is Not to be Named. Better than that, this plant is strongly addictive -- so, with a good distribution system, the cultists believe that they'll be able to enslave all mankind. As the search goes on, the investigators will have an opportunity to face the King in Yellow and, perhaps, the Unspeakable himself.
The City and the Theater
Just five years before the events in this scenario, Manaus was one of the most interesting cities of the world. The rubber tree, that existed only in the Brazilian rainforest, has made the fortune of a group of land owners, men and women who like to feel that they are in Paris, Rome or Lisbon, not in the heart of the wild forest. And for a time they had the money to buy a look of "European civilization," so they did it. People from all over the world have come to the Manaus harbor, on the Negro river, to trade, to work, to see, to drink and eat, and to explore the mysterious rainforest. Ted Roosevelt was there in 1914; and there was a time when it was not a surprise to see Henry Ford in downtown Manaus. But now . . .
Now, in 1922, the rubber tree, hevea brasiliensis or seringueira, grows in the fields of Indonesia, Ceylon and Malay. The Brazilian monopoly of rubber production has been broken, and the times are going bad. See the Teatro Amazonas, or Amazon Theater, for example. Caruso has performed there. The theater has more than 1,000 seats, is the largest building in town, and is decorated with Italian paintings. It is a stage suited for the greatest stars. Now, due to the decline of the city, the Teatro Amazonas is open to a small acting company, only three American artists who want to perform a play called The King in Yellow.
Enter the Investigators
The administrator of the theater, Angelo Durval Pontes, or just Mr. Pontes, is worried about his new friends. Performing the King in Yellow seemed at first to be a good idea -- it's a work with an "evil" aura, a polemic play, something ideal to draw some attention in this new era of jazz and "modern art." Indeed, a number of American and European VIP's, people who used to come to the Teatro during the glory days -- and who have "forgotten" Manaus in the last years
-- have already sent telegrams asking for places on the opening night. Everything seems to be quite nice, but . . .
Strange meetings are happening at the theater on some special nights; the people who come to try to get a role in the play (after all, only three actors won't be enough) leave the building with a weird, spooky gleam in their eyes; and Rodrigo Gurgel, the theater's chief scenographer -- a man who used to be one of Mr. Pontes best friends -- is now a sinister figure, always wearing heavy dark clothes and talking to no one.
The cause seems to be the American artists: two actresses (known only as "Camilla" and "Cassilda") and the "playwright," a self-proclaimed writer-actor-director who will perform the role of the King in Yellow himself. This man, called Barnaby Kramer, doesn't allow anyone to see or listen to the work as it will be performed. The other actors, free-lance or from the theater's permanent staff, receive only partial scripts, the rehearsals of the main roles are top secret and Kramer says that there will be no dress rehearsal. "Greater the mystery, greater the impact," he explains.
Unable to avoid the feeling that there is something wrong, Mr. Pontes decides to call up some friends -- investigative friends -- to find out, in a discreet way, what is going on. Who are these friends? Well, it's time for the players to create their investigators, or use old ones. If the investigators are all Americans, at least one of them could be from the American Consulate in Manaus (Pontes might have decided that it would be more polite to ask for the help of a countryman of the suspects). If they are Brazilians (or Europeans, or from any other nation), the investigators could come from every occupation listed in the Call of Cthulhu book, or allowed by the keeper. Actors, writers, lawyers, medical doctors, dilettantes and clergymen will be the most common. The group may contain a tribal fisherman or tribal warrior, perhaps a mercenary, military leader or revolutionary. Note that Brazilian investigators have Portuguese as Own Language, except by the tribal ones, and that Portuguese is the only language that most of the people will understand. For more details, see the topic "Books and Language." If someone wants a tribal investigator, read the "To be a Tribesman" topic.
So, What's Going On?
Nobody knows it (yet), but this American drama company is a group of Hastur worshipers. Even worse, their leader, Barnaby Kramer, is not an actor playing the King in Yellow; he's indeed the King in Yellow playing an actor. Kramer used to be human, and a Hastur priest. After his death -- in a special ceremony -- his body became an avatar. Before his transformation, Kramer had found in the Bibliotheque Nationale, in Paris, France, a small essay about a book written in the XVII century by a Portuguese Jesuit in Brazil. He has come after the tome, and found it at the Biblioteca Pública [acute accent on "u"] de Manaus, or Manaus Public Library. In this new mysterious book he discovered some hints about a "tea" that some Amazonic shamans used to have wild dreams and visions.
The liquid was an infusion of a tentacle-like aquatic plant of a specific Amazonic lake. Drinking it causes dreams and visions of the lost city of Carcosa, Hastur and the Lake of Hali, and gradually transforms the drinker into a green, bloated, scaly, mindless worshipper. Unfortunately, the beverage is very addictive, and a kind of tentacle-plant cult is spreading through the city. These people don't know anything about the true nature of Kramer, or about the real existence of an ancient Hastur cult. At the opening night of The King in Yellow, Kramer will try to have the beverage given to everyone waiting in the hall, prior to their entrance into the auditorium. With its addictive powers highly boosted by the play itself, the tentacle-plant will ultimately take over the minds of those very important men and women, and a world-wide net of tentacle-plant distribution and consumption will be created. Or, at least, that's the plan.
The actresses, known only as Camilla and Cassilda, are humans who worship Hastur; they know that Kramer is a minor form of the King in Yellow, and are helping him. The scenographer was one of the first people "introduced" to the tentacle-plant, and is going through the major changes of body and mind. He's also building a scenographic replica of the Lake of Hali to be used in the play, a kind of work that really doesn't help him on saving sanity.
Talking to Mr. Pontes
If the investigators promptly go to help the administrator of the Teatro Amazonas, they will find him at his office, inside the theater building. Angelo Durval Pontes is a thin man, a little short in height and with no hair on the top of his head. Like everybody else (including the investigators) he wears a complete man's suit, with tie and hat, and pretends to be immune to the intense heat of the equatorial environment. However, Mr. Pontes removes the hat from his head and wipes his head with a white handkerchief at very small time gaps. If he is without the hat, he just wipes his head.
Angelo speaks Portuguese, French and Italian (very bad). If the investigators come from the Consulate, it will be no problem: French by that time was the universal language of the diplomacy business. He will explain the motives behind his doubts (the secrecy, the changes in the behavior of the scenographer, etc.) to the investigators, and exhort them to discover the truth without making too much noise -- his responsibilities as administrator, he will tell, were given to him by the President of the State (the same as a modern Governor) himself, and a scandal at the Teatro Amazonas would be most undesirable." The King in Yellow opens within two weeks," he says.
If one of the investigators has artistic skills (as an actor), the idea of "infiltration" amidst the supporting cast may arise. Indeed, Mr. Pontes himself will suggest this (if the keeper likes the idea, of course), offering a temporary "job" to that investigator. It's up to the group to accept it or not. If the "job" is refused, the investigators will have to start making interviews, sending telegrams, following people and visiting the Library. We won't cover all the possibilities here, but just take a look at some of them.
If asked, Mr. Pontes will say that the three artists are living in the dressing rooms that the Teatro has assigned to them. "They didn't want any hotels," the administrator explains. "They live, eat and work there."
Doing Some Research (I)
The investigators may want to walk by the building, chatting a little with workers, musicians and actors from the permanent staff. If they do so, the people involved in the King will say that the play is the dark masterpiece of a real genius, an amazing work, but that there is something very disturbing, weird, about it. "This guy, the King in Yellow," someone will say. "None knows what he looks like, or what exactly he stands for!"
If the investigators get a partial script to take a look, they'll find some very strange dialogue in it (these scripts are in French, since this will be an international show), and an even stranger drawing at the upper-right corner of every page (the Yellow Sign).
Other workers know even less. The scenography group is working without the chief, because Gurgel is fully absorbed by a single piece of scene, the Lake of Hali, and won't work on anything else. And, no, he doesn't allow anyone to help him with that. If asked about the three Americans, the artists will say that they are very reclusive people. Someone may remember that Kramer spends lots of time at the Biblioteca Pública [acute accent on "u"] (public library). A specially gossip-talented investigator may discover, from one of the Brazilian actresses, or perhaps from the theater caretaker, that Cassilda is developing a special relationship with Humberto Reis, a wealthy land owner, while Camilla seems to have won the heart of Fernando Bandini, an Italian who has a navigation company working in the Amazonic rivers.
Infiltrated -- If someone infiltrates, other things can be discovered. For example, the actors involved with the play are quite less "ordinary people" than the investigators can imagine in any casual chat. Those people suffer wrath attacks, professional jealousy and lots of paranoia; they are all slowly going insane. Indeed, every participation in a partial rehearsal causes 1d2 Sanity loss. If after one week of intense rehearsals the character (investigator or not) makes a successful Idea roll, she gains one point in the Cthulhu Mythos skill (up to a maximum of 4). The infiltrating investigator will be induced to drink the tentacle-plant infusion before his first rehearsal; if he politely refuses the "tea," the beverage will be laid in the water and given to him at the first opportunity.
An infiltrating investigator that is discovered by Kramer or one of his "crew" -- perhaps while trying to sneak into a secret rehearsal -- will be driven into unconsciousness, wake up in some dark place (probably the theater basement) and forced to drink a great amount of the tentacle-plant beverage, even by means of torture (the attackers may put his head in a basin full of the liquid, and keep it there until he opens the mouth to breath -- swallowing the substance). He will be released after that, but it's not something to celebrate (read the "Tentacle-plant" box for more information).
American data -- Any investigator who knows English can try to raise some information about Kramer in the USA by using the telegraph (the keeper may want to ask for a Credit Rating roll). If someone does it, and gets a good reply, the information will come as follows: he was a Drama student at Miskatonic University in Arkham, with minor interests in Occultism and Linguistics. After graduation he created a theater company with some other friends and performed some very nasty plays of his own. There was a little scandal when a freelance actress died during one of his performances (the terrible accident meaningfully happened when she was playing the role of victim in a human sacrifice scene). The police couldn't prove anything, but since then Barnaby Kramer and his sidekicks were no more seen in public performances. The Brazilian immigration authority only knows that the passports of the three artist were OK; they are coming from France, not from the US, and they have visas for a whole year (they have arrived four months prior to the beginning of the scenario). The real name of "Cassilda" is, surprisingly, Cassilda Resnick, and "Camilla" is, belive it or not, Camilla Windham (the investigators will have to bribe someone to get this information).
Interview with Barnaby Kramer
Barnaby Kramer is a corpse possessed by the spirit of the King in Yellow, a human-like aspect of Hastur himself. His intention is to change into a full King in Yellow form only during the last act of the play; if pushed to hard, however, he can use the King powers and looks at will. Dealing with him is one of the most dangerous aspects of this scenario, at least to the investigators.
In his disguise of "modern artist," Barnaby Kramer is a very kind man, with some eccentricities that ingenuous people often mistake for the "mark of a genius." He can be found at the main dressing room, in the theater building, or at the public library. In the library, he will be using one of the private reading rooms, and will enter and leave that place with lots of papers and files, plus a black-leather briefcase under his arm. Kramer will always do everything possible to avoid physical contact with anyone outside the sect. This happens because his body has been dead for almost three months now, and so his skin has developed a very disgusting humid and spongy touch. He also exhales a very sweet and sickening smell, due to an excess of cheap perfume. If asked about it, he will say that he sweats a lot, and that the fragrance disguises the undesirable odor. In fact, the perfume disguises the smell of rotting human flesh.
If he has reasons to believe that the investigators are harmless to him and to his goals, Barnaby will treat them very well, be very nice and, even so, tell them very little. He'll pose as an anarchist-socialist intellectual, saying that The King in Yellow is a brilliant play, and that it hints of many hidden truths of the human soul and human society. The truths of the play are so strong, he says, that the "power-owners" -- politics, wealthy people, capitalists -- fear it. That's why the work was banished in France. If confronted with the fact that the performance that he is working on will be done for the amusement of the "power-owners" themselves, Kramer will say that progressive and revolutionary ideas can find a fertile ground even amidst the "exploiters of the people." This anarchy-cliché is a mere smoke curtain, however, and any real Anarchist or Marxist of the 1920's can expose it in a more serious talk. If it happens, Barnaby will just change the subject.
If the investigators ask if he has any clues about the strange behavior of the scenographer or of the actors, he'll attribute it to the "liberating powers" of the play.
If Barnaby comes to belive that the investigators curiosity is a real threat, he will change his speech from the anarchist-socialist to the pure mystic. In a very tactful way, he'll invite them to a meeting at a house built over stakes in the town border (see the "Following the Scenographer" section), and talk about the mind-expanding, soul-liberating powers of the tentacle-plant. Any investigator with a solid interest in the occult may be tempted this way. Of course, if physically harmed, Kramer may use his King powers to defend himself. Besides, he has gained control over a very good network of agents (and thugs) in town, so he thinks that he can manage the "disappearance" of inconvenient foes.
The dressing room -- If Kramer receives the investigators in his dressing room, they will notice a great number of papers and a typewriting machine over an old but yet solid colonial-style table. There are chairs by the place, no mirror and a bed. A successful Idea roll (not Spot Hidden, because the things are confused, but not really hidden) will reveal that among the papers there are a signet and a ring with the yellow sign on it (if somebody wants to "borrow" them, let him make Sneak and Conceal rolls; failure means that Barnaby has spotted the theft, and the consequences are at the keeper's will). On the table, above the mess of papers, there is a ceramic object -- a white, pallid mask. If an investigator has his attention drawn to the object (or if someone makes a question about it) Kramer'll say that it's just a prop, something that the character, the King in Yellow, should use at some point during the last act of the opera. Barnaby will be very harsh if someone tries to touch the mask -- it will be the only moment, during this interview, when he obviously loses his sense of fair-play.
The investigators may attempt to sneak into the room later, after Kramer leaves for the library. If they do so, a Spot Hidden roll at the table will show them a secret compartment that contains the villain's journal (but the pallid mask is no longer in this room). Skimming through its pages will reveal that Barnaby is a Hastur worshipper. Further readings (possible only if someone steals the book) will show that he has studied the Tupi-Guarani language, and that he is guilty of a great number of homicides, perpetrated as sacrifices to his blasphemous deity. The last entry, however, is from three months ago, and reads: "Tonight I will give, or better saying, merge my soul with He Who Is Not to be Named. The greatest honor!" Reading this journal costs 0/1d4 Sanity points, and adds 1 point to the Cthulhu Mythos skill; a complete reading will take two weeks. Note that Kramer will miss the book; in fact, stealing it is like telling him that there are enemies in town. It's possible (keeper's will) that there is a yellowish-red spot on the cover of the diary, with one or two fat green flies feeding and buzzing on it. This thing is almost liquid, sticky and disgusting. A successful Know roll will be enough to identify it as rotten meat, but it will take a Medicine roll to find out that this ooze comes from human flesh. Realizing such a fact will cost 1d3 Sanity points.
At the library -- Barnaby Kramer uses a private reading room, but anyone can go in there and talk (whisper is the real word) to him. The privacy of private rooms depends a lot more on the good will of the other users of the library than on anything else.
Barnaby will be making extensive copies (or translations, the investigators can't be so sure at the first moment) of a huge folio tome. Kramer won't show his notes, nor even the book, and he will use any excuse needed to get the investigators out of there -- in a very polite way, of course. A little chat with one of the librarians (with Fast Talk, Credit Rating or Persuade rolls) will tell the investigators that the book that Kramer is studying is called Ang Mbai-Aiba, a very rare work, written in Tupi-Guarani by a Jesuit missionary back in the XVII century (for more details, see the "Books and Language" topic). This book deals with some ancient Indian beliefs and practices (Ang means "ultimate evil" in the Indian language), and it was never printed. This copy is one of the only two handwritten ones known to exist; the another is at the Biblioteca Nacional (National Library) in Rio de Janeiro.
Cassilda and Camilla
Camilla is a very beautiful woman, but she won't talk to anyone at anytime. She will avoid any contact with people that are not from the drama company, except for her boyfriend Fernando Bandini. If someone goes to her dressing room, she refuses to open the door. If approached in the corridors, she will growl something impossible to understand, say "excuse me" and open her door as a way out. If she has reasons to belive she is pursued or harassed, the perpetrator will find himself dealing with sailors and stowers from Bandini docks.
Cassilda, however, is a fully different case. Very attractive (and with a very deep interest in the heartbreaking business), this beautiful actress will try to befriend (and to seduce) any male investigator with high APP, even by inviting him to go in secret with her to some very discreet part of her wealthy boyfriend's large estate. Indeed, she has no scruples in using Reis property for the benefit of the sect, or to fulfill her own desires. If refused (or betrayed), however, this woman won't rest until she gets her revenge -- and it will be a very nasty one.
Humberto and Fernando, by the way, are now men without free will, fully dominated by the astonishing beauty of Camilla and Cassilda, and by the mind-destroying powers of the tentacle-plant.
Following the Scenographer
Another course of action -- less investigative, but more dramatic -- is to follow the scenographer, Rodrigo Gurgel. He lives in a four-story, upper-middle class place not very far from the Teatro Amazonas. The address can be obtained from Mr. Pontes.
At the end of every day the man goes home from the theater, stays there for some 40 minutes and then leaves, wearing a black tuxedo and a very heavy cloak. He won't take any vehicle, walking always by foot. The artist will leave downtown, pass by the great manor houses of the wealthy and the low buildings of the urban middle class, heading to the palafitas or palafittes, wooden houses covered with grass and built over stakes on the igarapés [acute accent on "e"], green-equatorial swamps and channels flooded by the Amazonic tributaries. The whole city is cut by these water courses, but in the wealthier neighborhoods the water is clean and sanitized, and there are no palafitas.
In the periphery, however, strange water plants and swampy animals and snakes can still find a home. Here are the living places of the poor, and where the "civilized" Indians dwell (see "To be a Tribesman"). Behind these igarapés [acute accent on "e"] lies the Negro river, and behind it are the almost untouched rainforest.
Some palafitas can be reached only by canoes or boats, but others (as the one where the scenographer enters) may be reached by foot.
This palafita is one of the greatest, and there is a continuous flux of people getting in. The investigators can mix with them and enter unnoticed, at least for a while. Inside the place, the people are sitting on the floor in front of Gurgel. He has removed the top hat, the cloak and the gloves, so the investigators can see him (there's an oil lamp hanging on the ceiling): his head is bald and bloated, the skin, flaccid and lifeless, with a greyish-yellowed color. It's so pallid and emaciated, indeed, that one might believe that there are no skull bones under the face. The teeth, deeply yellow, are the most visible feature. The eyes are deep, small and dark, but still have some glow. The hands are bloated, white-green and flaccid, too. So flaccid, in fact, that the fingers seem to be boneless. Seeing this figure calls for a Sanity roll. The loss is 0/1d4.
Beside him there is an iron cauldron with something boiling inside, and lots of metallic mugs. There are three Indian girls putting the liquid of the cauldron in the mugs and serving it to the people (there are almost twenty five men and women, rich or poor, inside the palafita). The beverage is, of course, the tentacle-plant infusion.
Anyone who refuses the "tea" will be grabbed by four or five others and forced to drink. The investigators may witness this, or the event may happen to them. Trying to leave the house will cause the same result. Since everybody has taken their mugs, a soft chant will start and a few minutes later one of the Indian girls who helped Gurgel will allow herself to become naked and tied to the roof by her wrists. Eight of those who have taken the "tea" will be chosen by Gurgel to do it; if an investigator is under the effects of the beverage and is chosen, he'll obey (to add drama, the keeper can make a "secret" dice roll). Once the girl is without her clothes and tied, Gurgel will produce a ceremonial knife from one of his pockets, and carve the yellow sign on the girl's bosom, belly, shoulders and buttocks. She'll scream and scream and scream, till Gurgel -- at last -- opens her throat.
While the poor girl bleeds, the people inside the palafita will start chanting words in an unknown language (if the investigators are under the effects of the beverage they'll be screaming, too), and everything fades to black. Next morning these people will awake, each one in their own bedroom and without any memory of what happened; but they will feel an intense urge to go back to the palafita at night.
If the investigators resist the effects of the "tea" (see how in the "Tentacle-Plant" topic), they probably will try to save the Indian girl's life. In this case Gurgel will fight using the knife (treat as a fighting knife, from the Expanded Weapons Table). His skill with it is at 75%. He can also use the knife to draw the yellow sign in the air. This action will drain Magic Points (1d10 points) from anyone watching it. He can also try to bite an investigator (80% chance after a succesful grapple). Any bitten victim who fails to clean the wound within 1d6 rounds will start to rot alive. The body will be reduced to a pool of stinking liquid flesh within 1d10 weeks; the keeper may want to apply penalties to APP, STR, CON and DEX in the meantime.
Due to the changes that the beverage has already caused to his body, Gurgel suffers only half-damage from all impaling weapons; his limbs can be amputated by receiving 3 points of damage from any sharp device or weapon.
The other people in the palafita may try to help the scenographer to fight the investigators, but they all are in a kind of "bad trip," so their actions won't be really effective.
To the basement -- Instead of following Gurgel, the investigators may want to talk to him at his workshop, in the theater's basement. This is a wide place, but with a very low roof, and is quite dark. There the investigators will see the replica of the Lake of Hali scene -- a quasi-elliptical surface of mirrors, blue paper and dry grass. Under the dim light of the basement (the same kind of light that will be used on stage) the "lake" seems to contain a spectral outline, something that hints about the true nature of Hastur himself. Looking at it with great attention causes 1d3/1d6 Sanity loss. The simulacrum of the lake works as a gate, too, and anyone coming near it wearing Barnaby Kramer's yellow sign ring has a chance of 20% to inadvertently summon an angry byakhee.
Down there the investigators will find lots of tools, pieces of glass and wood and things like that. A Spot Hidden roll may show them a copy -- a very dirty, used and blurred one -- of The King in Yellow, French version. The book has passages underlined and several notes (in Portuguese) written by pencil in the margins.
If Gurgel finds the investigators in his workshop, he will shout angrily at them, and get them out of there, even using a piece of wood to menace them with violence. He won't talk to anyone about his work or his life, and will reply to any questions about the lake using the phrase "talk to Mr. Kramer." If harmed, Rodrigo will scream, and in 1d4 rounds other workers, or even a few policemen, will show up. He may also try to bite someone.
Doing Some Research (II)
By now the investigators may want to stop a little and try to put things together. If they already know about the tentacle-plant beverage, they are quite capable of having a good idea of what is going on -- in 1920's terms, they might believe that there's something like opium been produced in Manaus, and the core of the problem is in the Teatro. They can try to tell these things to the police, but remember that they have a "no scandal" commitment with Mr. Pontes. If they insist, let them know (even in a hard way) that those "American artistic freaks" at the theater have the protection of Baron Humberto Reis (he has bought a title from the Vatican), a wealthy, powerful man, and that the authorities won't do anything to get him upset, and that the delegado (the same as a police chief) won't even hear anything against him or his new friends from North America.
If they decide to find out where the drug come from, they'll have to go to the harbor. The truth is that only Kramer, Camilla, Cassilda and Humberto Reis do know exactly where the source is, but some harbor workers may remember the steam cargo boat that comes down the Negro river twice a week, full of packs of a strange, tentacle-like plant. The boat belongs to the Fernando Bandini Company, but the men who work aboard come from the Humberto Reis estate.
If they have taken the ring and/or the yellow sign signet, the investigators will not find any useful information (indeed, no information at all) in those objects. However, the items are dangerous to the group sanity, and they will attract strange energies from beyond, with unusual effects (the summoning of the byakhee at the lake prop, for example). The exact response, however, depends on the keeper.
Gurgel's The King in Yellow copy has lots of comments written on the pages. A great amount of such comments have a scenographic interest -- the palace description, the city of Carcosa, the image of the Hyades, etc. At some point, however, the notes start to deal with Rodrigo's dreams; mainly, with dreams of a "Pallid Mask" and of a "Unspeakable fear under the calm dark waters."
Back to the library -- Smart investigators will go back to the Biblioteca Pública [acute accent on "u"] to find the Ang Mbai-Aiba and see it for themselves. The book is written in Tupi-Guarani, so it's quite improbable that anyone in the group would be able to read it. Anyway, in the tome there is a huge drawing of a pallid mask just like the one on Kramer's desk, and the word "Angoca" appears lots of times. With this word as a reference (or even with a description of the tentacle-like plant, if an investigator has seen the beverage being prepared) and a successful Library Use roll, the investigators will find the Ritos Cruentos nas Matas Brasileiras (Bloodthirsty Rites in Brazilian Woods) by the Portuguese scholar Marcos Teixeira Ramos, who visited the country in the XIX century. This book is about the atrocities that, the author says, were perpetrated by the Brazilian Indians for the sake of religious rites. A good use of common sense will show to the investigators that many parts of the book are composed of misunderstandings, legends and pure and simple lies. But there is a small chapter with reference to a certain branch of the Manaus nation, a people that used to live somewhere northwest from where today Manaus city is and who worshipped a formless and nameless god. The pajé [acute accent on "e"] (shaman) of the tribe used to wear a pallid mask made of ceramic in some sacred rites. With the mask, the shaman was considered the incarnation of the god, conducting human sacrifices by magical means. Just before the sacrifice rites the warriors of the tribe would drink an infusion made of a certain plant connected with the god (the vegetable was called "angoca," or "home of all evil"), and the most favored ones would gain a likeness with The King. Time, however, proved that the infusion of angoca was a slow poison, and the tribe disappeared in five or six generations. (Or they were all transformed in cadaveric/boneless/undead creatures like Gurgel and so fled into the forest, of course. But the Portuguese book doesn't hint anything about that.)
The Homes of Humberto and Fernando
The investigators may want to sneak into the homes of Humberto Reis or Fernando Bandini, trying to find some useful clue about the tentacle-plant source. Reis is the owner of large extensions of forest land, from where his workers extract rubber, wood and Brazilian nuts. Nonetheless, he doesn't live in the rural property, but in a manor house at Manaus. His house was built in a style that one could call "19th century neoclassic;" it's a big rectangular two-story box with lots of high bowed windows and small sculptures at the gutters and parapets. The first story contains a hall, a library, the ballroom and a dining room. The library has no Mythos books, but the investigators will find a collection of Indian artwork behind a glass panel in one of the walls. There is an empty slot there, from which the Pallid Mask was removed. Next to the library there is an office with a bathroom; a Spot Hidden roll will show to the investigators a map of the Negro river, with a route marked on it. There are lots of maps in the room, but this one is the only one that was hidden (in the false bottom of a drawer). This is the navigation chart to the secret source of angoca.
The second story has fourteen bedrooms. The largest is Humberto's own suite. If the investigators decide to search the wardrobe drawers, they'll find a Luger and two boxes of bullets under the shirts. In the bathroom there are six crystal bottles full of the tentacle-plant liquid.
Behind the house there's a beautiful garden mixing European plants with local specimens, a greenhouse and a fountain (fed by a canalized igarapé [acute accent on "e"]) with stone seats, much like a private square. At the end of the garden the investigators will find a garage with a Rolls-Royce and the rooms of the servants -- a butler, an underbutler, a governess, a driver, ten other women and a variable number of well-armed thugs or "bodyguards." As a matter of fact, behind his "aristocratic gentleman" front Reis is much like a bad rancher from the western movies: someone who will take the land from small and defenseless farmers and hire professional killers, always keeping a payroll full of high and petty authorities and a little army of fanatically loyal and brutal thugs. Today, due to the powers of Cassilda, Humberto does not control his small empire anymore. Now she is the one in charge.
Fernando Bandini, the Italian owner of an average-size ship company, doesn't have a house, at least in the proper sense. He lives at the harbor, aboard a yacht, A Rosa dos Rios (The Rose of Rivers). This ship is a steamer, with furnace and machines under the main deck and two wooden structures above. The one astern is two-story, and contains the crew's quarters, the kitchen, the navigation system and telegraph, charts, the helm and a staircase that leads down to the machines. The other structure, at the prow, is one-story. There are the private chambers of Bandini, the living room and the dining room. Most of the space, however, is occupied by a huge library.
Fernando is a part-time sorcerer of very small powers (he knows up to two spells from the Lesser Grimoire), but he always tries to improve himself. So in his library one can find The Key of Solomon (Italian-Latin bilingual edition), The Emerald Tablet (Italian edition), The Zohar (in the original Hebrew) and the Ritos Cruentos nas Matas Brasileiras. A Library Use roll, followed by a Spot Hidden, will reveal to the investigators a secret recess in one of this library shelves. That's where Bandini keeps his most secret treasure, the missing manuscript Monstres and Their Kinde, stolen years ago from the British Museum. This book, that deals with Cthulhu, Yog-Sothoth and Lloigor, has nothing to do with the present scenario (even Bandini didn't have the courage to study the tome yet), and the keeper may decide to delete it. It's here as a fake clue (the investigators can be induced to believe that Bandini is the real bad guy instead of Kramer), just to increase the mystery.
There are usually eight sailors aboard at any moment. Only three of them have guns, but the others can find knives and clubs with no trouble.
Bandini is a very reclusive man, a characteristic that has been growing in evidence since he first met Camilla. He speaks Portuguese (and any other Language) with a heavy Italian accent. He's under Camilla's control, and gossips at the harbor administration say that Fernando is losing money, neglecting good contracts and using his best cargo ships to bring "weird grass" from Humberto Reis estate.
Where Do They Keep It?
When the Bandini's ship arrives with the angoca (the Indian name for the tentacle-plant), the cargo is unloaded into a harbor warehouse. From that place the drug is distributed (as soon as nigh falls) in the city by two black Ford trucks. Following these trucks will give the investigators a scareful idea of the broadness of this addiction: they go to some of the palafitas of the periphery, but they also pay visits to great manor houses, brothels, pubs, a small church (whose priest puts the drug in the communion wine) and more than one middle-class home.
If the investigators stop at these places, they'll find every kind of reception -- from harsh and violent highly-mutated sailors and pimps to those almost innocent who believe to have found "enlightenment" in the beverage, and who now want to share it with others. There can be whole families of addicted people, but when the investigators start to feel sorry and to be careless remember that, victims as they are, these addicted men and women (and even children) have all became zero-sanity, murderous Hastur worshippers, with the venomous rotting bite -- a most dangerous and unpredictable kind . . .
In the evening before the opening night of The King in Yellow, Humberto Reis will give a big party at his manor house. All the foreign celebrities that had come to Manaus to see the play will be invited, but the drinks will not be contaminated with the angoca beverage; this part is reserved for the next day. If the investigators have developed some kind of friendship (even if only pro-forma) with Cassilda, Reis or Kramer, they will be invited. If not, Mr. Pontes will take them with him.
The list of invited VIP's can be freely made by the keeper. Almost everybody in the western world with some measure of interest in "forbidden texts" and "avant-garde art" has a reason to show up, and this may include Al Capone, H.G. Wells, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sigmund Freud (and Carl Jung), Jean Cocteau, Ernest Hemingway, Aleister Crowley, Leon Trotsky and many more. Roleplaying the conversations of the investigators with such people can be very funny, but remember that they also have something more important to do: if they didn't search Reis's house before (or if they did, but couldn't find the map to the angoca source),this is the time to do so. And, of course, there will be thugs in tuxedos all over the place.
Happy and Unhappy Endings
Sooner or later the investigators will realize that they must (1) destroy the angoca source; and (2) impede The King in Yellow from opening. There is no need for things to happen in this exact sequence. Indeed, notice that even if the source is destroyed, there will be enough angoca in town to render -- with the help of the performance itself -- the theater's audience into Hastur's slaves. If the keeper is using some very appealing celebrities as potential victims, the urge will be even greater.
The source -- Using the map found in Humberto's office is the easiest way to find the path to the angoca source, but it's surely not the only one. Investigators can try to follow one of Bandini's small cargo steamers, or ask the ship's sailors (if they will say something or not is another question . . .). Anyway, they'll need a boat and someone able to use it. Both can be hired at the harbor. The character of the hired pilot may become something important to the plot, and it can be anything that the keeper thinks adequate.
The trip is up the course of the Negro river, and it is not a very long one. It will take only two hours for the investigators to arrive at the point marked on the map. Then they'll find a small anchorage. If they have followed the cargo steamer, that ship will be docking there (with nine men aboard, plus two thugs with guns). If there is no ship docking (or casting off), the anchorage will seem to be empty. When the investigator's boat starts to approach, however, two thugs with Thompson guns will come out from the bushes. If an investigator has Kramer's yellow sign ring (or the signet) and shows it to them, they'll allow him and the others to go ashore. If not, any attempt to dock the boat will initiate a small battle. If someone falls bleeding into the river, this poor fellow may have to face crocodiles or piranhas. Allow him a Luck Roll, anyway.
Once the thugs are defeated (or convinced that the people aboard are part of the sect), the investigators will be allowed to disembark. The anchorage is a small wooden structure; there are ropes and hooks all over the place. There is a cottage, also; inside of it the investigators may find oil lamps, oil casks, wood, safety matches, beer and water bottles, knives and forks, metallic dishes, mugs, pots, ammo, some canned food and a fireplace. There can be some packs of angoca waiting for the next ship, too.
There is a clear track starting at the anchorage and leading into the forest. The distance is a three-hour walk. It's the rainforest, remember; clouds of mosquitoes, constrictor snakes and vampire bats with rabies may show up. This track is highly used, however, and most of the wild life is certainly leaving the place alone. But one never knows.
At the far end of the track lies the Yellow Lake.
This is an earthly manifestation of the Lake of Hali. Its dim waters sparkle with gleams of a pallid-yellow reflection. And under the surface of the lake there is something.
The water is too dense and dirty to allow a good view, but it seems to be a "blob" of some kind, a hideous spectral shade. Anyone staring at it for too long will lose 1d6/1d12 Sanity points.
From this shapeless shadow eight roots come out of the waters and go onto the shore. These things are immense, each one larger than a man. They tower from the surface of the lake, bow in the skies and then dive into the soil. From such huge roots hundreds, perhaps thousands of smaller branches and green-yellowish leaves grow in uncanny webs. These leaves, long, flaccid and thin, are the so-called tentacle-plant.
The next problem will be, of course, how to destroy it. Even a dozen strong men with good axes would take several months to cut off all the gigantic roots. And there's no assurance that the thing under the water won't make more of them. The best way (the investigators can always think about something better, however) is to put plenty of fuel on the surface of the lake and burn it. As a matter of fact, the oil casks back in the cottage are there just for this purpose.
It won't be easy, however. Any serious attempt to destroy the lake will summon the lost members of the Angoca tribe from the woods. They are the ones who are harvesting the plant, putting it all in packs and taking the packs to the anchorage. They are human beings no more, however; they are the almost-mindless hasturians.
A hasturian is a creature very like the transformed Rodrigo Gurgel, but even uglier. Their heads are bald and very big, too large, indeed, for their bodies. One can see veins and bulges pulsing all over them. The skin and the flesh are parchment-yellow and quasi-transparent.
These creatures have the same powers described in the topic concerning Gurgel. The only difference is that they grapple and bite with an efficiency of 90%, and their bites rotting effect starts the next round (and reduces the victim to liquid in 1d10 rounds, not weeks!). There are from twelve to sixteen of these monsters, but they won't appear all at the same time: four scouts will come at first, and then the rest. They attack in silence.
The creatures will flee, screaming and panicked, from great fires (at night, the light of a Thompson gun burst can keep them at bay for a while). If they are frightened and disbanded, however, the three bravest warriors of the tribe will try to restore their honor by setting an ambush at the path that leads back to the anchorage.
If the hasturians are defeated and it's night, with Taurus and Aldebaran in the sky, Hastur himself will react from the lake: the eight roots will become real tentacles and reach for the aggressors. Hastur grasps with a skill of 100% and his touch means instant death. The range is only inside the clearing that contains the Yellow Lake, however; if the lake is on fire, the attack will last for only three rounds. After that, the tentacles will become ashes and carbonized wood.
The theater -- If the investigators have faced Hastur in the lake, it'll be quite difficult for them to have mental conditions to try to stop the play from opening. And if the lake or the hasturians (or both) are destroyed, Kramer will know it automatically. If he knows, who did it depends on the number of clues about themselves that the investigators have left in town.
However, the best way for stopping the show is to fight Kramer and destroy the Pallid Mask. Once it's done, Barnaby will revert into a pool of stinking ooze and bones, while Camilla and Cassilda will lose the spells that keep their beauty intact -- and will be converted into insane hasturian creatures. The control that they have over the minds of Reis and Bandini will vanish, and Humberto's thugs are men who shoot first and ask questions later.
Trying to stop the play by calling the authorities will fail. First, because a great part of these authorities are in Humberto's payroll; second, because another part of these authorities are already angoca addicts; third, because the play is the greatest sensation in town since 1914, a sign that the good old days are coming back! Or haven't the investigators seen all those important people walking around?
So the best course of action is try to get Kramer and the Mask in the dressing room, before the performance. Anyway, if the investigators arrive too late things will happen as follows:
The first performance should happen at 9:00 sharp, on the night after the party. The theater will have been open since 7:30 p.m., however. There'll be a reception at the theater's hall, a small party with hors d'oeuvres and soft drinks, all provided by the staff of Humberto's manor. These drinks contain the angoca infusion, and all the foreign celebrities were invited. The investigators may sneak in (the security is by Reis's thugs) or get an invitation from Mister Pontes. Once inside, they can make an attempt to gain the help of some of the VIP's (suppose that the keeper has brought Randolph Carter or Sherlock Holmes, for example), but they'll have to come with real hard evidence or they will be dismissed as crazy people.
A little bit of good observation will show to the investigators that the guests get a weird look in their eyes just after finishing the second or third drink. If they manage to deduce that angoca has been mixed with the other beverages, the investigators can try to follow the waiters to the back door and into the black Ford truck that is serving as kitchen and bar. There can be a fight there (two "security" thugs with guns; the waiters and cooks are just innocent people doing their jobs), and if an investigator has the antidote he can make an attempt to force it into the new drinks.
A gunfight will attract attention, however. Other thugs and the police will show up very quickly. Inside the theater's hall, Kramer and Reis will say things like "it's okay" or "the police are already here" to calm down the guests and move on the plan. And, yes, Barnaby will be with his inseparable black-leather briefcase.
At 9:00 p.m., everyone who has drank anything in the hall will be under the effects of the angoca liquid. So when Kramer opens the auditorium doors above the stairs and says "please, come on in," they won't be accepting an invitation, but following an order.
This enslaving effect will be deepened and boosted by the play itself. Indeed, the actors also were induced to drink the angoca, and the whole performance will create an almost tangible psychic charge in the atmosphere. Everybody's magic points will be drained to a kind of magic pool (but none will lose consciousness in the proper sense) that's the mirror-replica of the Lake of Hali. Soon the Hyades will become visible through the glass, and then the dreaming spires of lost Carcosa.
Anyone who is not under the power of the angoca will lose no magic points, but there is a cost of 1d4/1d6 Sanity points due to the oppressive mood that takes over the auditorium. There will be no interval between the acts. To make any significant move (such as standing up) an investigator will have to match his POW against the auditorium's magic points pool (to give him a fair chance, assume that this number is 21).
In the last act, the King in Yellow comes on scene. This is Kramer, fully transformed, the real King in Yellow in his throne form that appears in the Call of Cthulhu book. He's wearing the Pallid Mask, but he will soon take it away and direct his blasphemous gaze over the audience. Those who are under the angoca drug's power will lose all their sanity and become bound to the cult of Hastur for the rest of their poor lives. Others will loose 1d6 Sanity points and 3 magic points per round (to avoid the gaze the investigator must overcome the magic points pool).
An investigator who manages to escape the magic point paralysis can try a last heroic effort: with his gun (if he has one) he can aim at the Pallid Mask and shoot. If successful, the Mask will be shattered; the King in Yellow will become a pool of ooze; Camilla and Cassilda will become hasturian monsters; and the audience will flee in panic. A bullet in the Lake of Hali will only destroy the magic points pool.
If Barnaby, Camilla and Cassilda were destroyed before the opening night, they'll be considered missing people, and a police investigation will start. The play will never be performed. If the Yellow Lake was not burned, Humberto Reis, Fernando Bandini and Rodrigo Gurgel may decide to keep on the angoca traffic, now in a more profitable way. If the roots are carbonized, however, the addicted victims will suffer a very harsh abstinence syndrome. This will last for 1d6 weeks. After this period the people will seem normal (those physically changed will keep their deformities, however), but they'll have at least 1 point in the Cthulhu Mythos skill and will forever be potential Great Old Ones worshippers and/or victims. Remember, anyway, that there'll be some storages of angoca in town (for more details, go back to the "Where Do They Keep It?" topic). Perhaps these last leaves can grow elsewhere...
If the King in Yellow is defeated during the play, there will be panic in the theater and the investigators will need Dodge and Luck rolls to escape been smashed by the running crowd. If someone fails in both rolls, he'll suffer 2d10 points of damage. The next day, a version that someone has cried "fire!" in the auditorium will appear and will be largely accepted; everyone is trying to find a rational explanation for those events and to forget them as soon as possible. Again, Kramer, Cassilda and Camilla will be considered missing people. (Indeed, Mr. Pontes may ask to the investigators to find them.)
If the King in Yellow is not defeated at all, the Kramer scheme will start to work. The VIP's in the audience will go back to their own countries and jobs, but they'll all be members of a secret society of Hastur worshippers and angoca smugglers (if the lake was not destroyed, of course). They can be (or become) gang leaders, great thinkers or even kings and presidents. The play will stay at the Teatro Amazonas, attracting new audiences.
If the keeper wants to use this scenario to launch a full campaign, there are some plot "hooks" that he or she may use besides those in the topics above. First: were Kramer and his partners acting alone? They can possibly be part of the Brotherhood of the Yellow Sign, or even come from the K'n-Yan people. These major sects may come out for revenge. Another possibility is to consider the healing time of the Yellow Lake. After all, the fire can't touch the thing beneath the water. How much time can it take to grow new roots? Perhaps these things are starting to grow again now, in the 1990's . . .
The police in this scenario are underpaid, under equipped and largely corrupt. The officers believe that their main role is to "keep the order," not to "enforce the law." It means that drunks, burglars, Indians and prostitutes can all be harassed and jailed without any formal accusation or right to defend themselves, while wealthy people with high Credit Rating scores can do almost anything that they want with an absolute sense of impunity.
Roberto Buarque, the delegado (police chief) is a man full of political commitments who uses his position to make "small favors" to the correct leaderships; he knows that his force has almost no real strength (after all, the thugs of Reis do have the firepower). However, he tries to avoid the abuse of authority by his men. And, yes, he's in Humberto's payroll.
Books and Language
In 1920's Brazil, all the "educated" people had to know how to speak French. This includes university professors and young maidens from aristocratic families. The businessmen were learning that learning English was something necessary to the new times. German and Italian were cultivated by the second generation of the immigrated families (the children of those who came from Europe), but in the third generation (the grandchildren) the tradition of knowing the language of the "homeland" was vanishing. There were two kinds of secondary school: the "classic," for people who wanted to go to Law, History or Art colleges, where one would learn Greek, Latin, French, History, Music and Mythology; and the "scientific," for people interested in Engineering and Medicine, where the students would learn the hard sciences.
Almost all the books in the libraries are written in Portuguese or French. The only new Mythos book that appears in this scenario is the Ang Mbai-Aiba, a tome written in Tupi-Guarani. This used to be the "common" language of several Indian nations of South America, and its written form was developed with full grammar and orthographic rules by the Jesuit priests. They used this to teach the Scriptures to the "gentile," as the Indians were called during the colonization process. During the 1920's it was not difficult to learn to write and read the Tupi-Guarani language; it was almost "fashionable," and grammars and dictionaries could be found with ease. The minimum learning time for someone to become proficient with the language (i.e., have enough skill to read a full book with only the occasional help of a dictionary) was 6 months.
The Ang Mbai-Aiba (The Book of the Deepest Soul of Evil) was written by the Jesuit missionary Dom Gaspar Henriques de Roncesvales in the early XVII century and describes the worship of He Who Is Not to be Named by some of the Brazilian Indians. There's a text about the pallid ceramic mask that can make a shaman receive and keep the soul of the King in Yellow -- hinting that the destruction of the mask will dismiss the avatar -- and about the sacred (or damned, depending on one's point of view) plant that, after boiled in water, allows normal men to make contact with the Great Old One. The book also predicts the "day when all the nations will be one with the Unspeakable." All the real and valuable information is hidden under vast layers of Christian mythology and metaphor, however, and it is very hard to find the Mythos truths behind it. Reading this book takes 15 weeks, costs 1d6/2d6 Sanity points and adds +10 points to the Cthulhu Mythos skill. The spell multiplier is only x1 (due to the oblique language) and the book contains Call and Dismiss Hastur, Summon/Bind Byakhee, Create Gate and up to seven other spells, chosen by the keeper.
Besides the Tupi-Guarani, the Indians of the Amazonas could belong to the Caribe or to the Aruaque language groups; so, learning Tupi-Guarani won't grant free understanding of (or by) every native.
This scenario also uses The King in Yellow, a tome well-known in the Call of Cthulhu game. This book is a theater play, written by an unknown author in France, and published by the year 1895. The text is scandalous and nihilistic, and the French version (that is been performed in Manaus) was long forbidden and believed lost. Reading the book takes 1 week, causes 1d4/1d8 Sanity loss and adds 6 points to the Cthulhu Mythos skill. Watching the play puts the audience and actors in contact with the mind of Hastur; looking at the Yellow Sign with attention costs 0/1d6 Sanity points.
There is only one complete copy of the book in this scenario, however; that's the one that can be found in the theater's basement. But there are also several partial copies, which are the scripts given to the many actors. These copies are made by Kramer himself, who (obviously) knows the play by hart.
This powerful plant is also called angoca (a Tupi word that means "home of all evil"). It grows only in the Lago Amarelo (Yellow Lake), not far from the left shore of the Negro river and just a few miles from Manaus, inside the rainforest. If boiled in water, the plant will release a green-yellow juice of amazing hallucinogenic, mutagenic and mystic properties.
Anyone who drinks from the infusion must match the POT of the plant (16) against his POW on the Resistance table. If the roll is successful, the victim will just be paralyzed for 2d4 rounds. During this time the person will be out of our reality, living strange but harmless hallucinations. If the roll fails, however, the victim's mind will be under the control of the Hastur sect for 3d8 rounds. During this time the controlled person may receive post-hypnotic commands (that they will have to accomplish once awakened, even if this means treason or murder) and will be extremely vulnerable to Hastur's possession, Hastur's dreams and shall feel a strong impulse for Hastur worshipping. At the end of the effect, the victim won't have any conscious memory of what happened (the post-hypnotic orders remain, however) -- but they will be addicted, and 24 hours later they'll want to return to the same place where the drug was given to them at first. Suffering the full effects of the angoca infusion calls for a Sanity roll. If the victim fails, they will lose 1d6 Sanity points for each dose consumed.
After the third dose of the angoca beverage, the addicted victim will become an active Hastur worshipper. Their mind will be changed, and they'll start to retain vivid memories from the trances. Besides, each ninth dose causes the automatic loss of 1 APP point (except for those magically protected, as Cassilda and Camilla). When APP falls to zero, the worshiper will be transformed into a hasturian creature. After the sixth dose, the victim will have the power of the venomous bite.
The beverage doesn't lose potency when mixed with normal liquids (such as alcohol, coffee, tea, etc.). Mixtures with other magic beverages, however, may lead to wild results. Any investigator with good skills in the fields of Pharmacy and Occult (and with at least 4 points in Cthulhu Mythos) may attempt to create an antidote. How it works and how long it takes is up to the keeper.
The Pallid Mask
The ceramic Pallid Mask of the lost Angoca tribe is the same mask that the investigators may see upon Barnaby Kramer's desk. Indeed, Kramer has came to Brazil to find it and the angoca plant.
The ancient shamans of that people used to wear the Mask to attract the spirit of their god (the King in Yellow). The origin of this artifact was lost with the tribe, but its existence is told in the Ang Mbai-Aiba and, with less emphasis, in the Ritos Cruentos.
After his arrival at Manaus, Kramer found the Mask in the private collection of Baron Humberto Reis, who was also the owner of the Yellow Lake site. Using the charms of Cassilda, he soon managed to get Reis enslaved by the sect, and so Kramer got the mask. During a stormy night, in a hideous ceremony at the margins of the Yellow Lake, Barnaby, while wearing the Mask, allowed himself to be killed by Camilla and Cassilda. A few minutes later thunder shook the earth and Kramer walked again. Now, however, he is a mere vessel to the King in Yellow, the humanoid avatar of Hastur.
This "new" Kramer cannot be killed by any normal means. Nonetheless, the destruction of the Mask (it's ceramic with 10 HP, and can be broken with a good enough impact) will make the King leave the body, and Barnaby will suffer all the delayed decay at once. Unfortunately Kramer usually keeps the Mask in a briefcase that is always with him whenever he goes, and any attempt to take it away will lead to a fight against the King in Yellow himself.
To be a Tribesman
It can seem to be a little hard to fit a tribesman into this scenario; after all, Mr. Pontes is not a man free from the prejudices of his time, and he's not willing to have a "savage" making questions in the corridors of the theater. Even the Indians that live inside the urban perimeter do it in the palafitas, like the Manaus tribe (the city was named after them), and are poor and under-educated people, often seen with contempt. However, there's always the possibility of an Indian that has became rich in the rubber business, and that has been accepted by the "society." Against this kind of investigator there's the fact that he's not a real tribesman, and that the player will have to spend millions of points in Credit Rating. There are other ways: the tribesman could be a guide or hunter of great ability and fame -- someone who Mr. Pontes could not avoid contact with, because of the Indian's remarkable skills. Or, of course, the Indian can be introduced to the administrator as the "sidekick" of another investigator.
If there will be a tribesman investigator, he will have to have skills like fishing, anthropology, navigate (Amazonic rivers/rainforest), pharmacy (the Indians of Amazonas can make curare!), natural history, pilot (steam and paddle boats), throw, track, use bow and arrow and blowgun. Other skills are up to the player and keeper. His own language should be Tupi-Guarani, Aruaque or Caribe. One of his other languages must be Portuguese. To tribesmen, literacy in any language is considered a different skill. Another problem that you may have with a tribesman investigator is giving him a name. Here are some sample names, almost all of them from literary characters of the Tupi-Guarani group: Peri, Araken, Caubi, Ubirajara, Urubatan, Moacir (male); and Ceci, Yara, Yaci, Poti (female). If you want a more "realistic" approach, the names of the "civilized" Indians are in most of the cases formed by a Portuguese first name (usually the name of a saint, like Maria, José [acute accent on "e"], Pedro or Paulo) and a last name that is in fact the name of the tribe or nation. So an investigator could be called Paulo Aruaque or José [acute accent on "e"] Manaus.
The Brazilian currency in the 1920's was officially called real, but its value was so small that all the trade was made in mil-réis [acute accent on "e"] (thousands of reals) or contos de réis [acute accent on "e"] (millions of reals). The exchange rate was something like US$0.05/1.00 mil-réis [acute accent on "e"], but don't worry: in a city like Manaus, everyone is quite able to make a price in dollars at anytime.
Angelo Durval Pontes, concerned theater administrator
STR 9 CON 8 SIZ 9 INT 16 POW 16 DEX 10 APP 10 EDU 20 SAN 70 HP 10
Damage bonus: +0
Skills: Accounting 40%, Art (Theater) 70%, Art (Music) 50%, Credit Rating 60%, French 80%, History 90%, Italian 25%, Portuguese 100%, Latin 40%, Greek 60%, Library Use 70%, Literature 80%, Persuade 50%, Politics 60%
Barnaby Kramer, walking corpse
STR 12 CON 14 SIZ 10 INT 19 POW 20 DEX 14 APP 8 EDU 20 SAN 0 HP 10 (in the Mask)
Damage bonus: +0
Weapons: .38 revolver 50%, damage 1d10
Spells: Create Gate, Summon/Bind Byakhee, Transform into Yellow King
Skills: Anthropology 15%, Art (theater) 70%, Astrology 80%, Botanicals 40%, Chemistry 60%, Credit Rating (Manaus society) 60%, Cthulhu Mythos 60%, Fast Talk 80%, French 90%, Greek 15%, Latin 50%, Library Use 70%, Occult 60%, Persuade 50%, Pharmacy 70%, Portuguese 60%
Cassilda, beautiful and seductive cultist
STR 15 CON 14 SIZ 11 INT 17 POW 19 DEX 14 APP 21 (falls to zero if the Pallid Mask is destroyed) EDU 19 SAN 0 HP 13
Damage bonus: +1d4
Weapons: .25 derringer (1B), 60%, damage 1d6
Spells: Summon/Bind Byakhee, Mind Control (this spell reduces any man in love with Cassilda to a puppet under her will. To have a man in love, Cassilda must first seduce him with the "Seduce" skill and then beat his POW with her APP at the Resistance Table.)
Skills: Art (Theater) 60%, Cthulhu Mythos 17%, Credit Rating (Manaus society) 90%, Fast Talk 80%, French 80%, Occult 30%, Persuade 40%, Portuguese 55%, Seduce 85%
Camilla, beautiful but mysterious cultist
STR 12 CON 14 SIZ 10 INT 18 POW 18 DEX 13 APP 19 (falls to zero if the Pallid Mask is destroyed) EDU 21 SAN 0 HP 12
Damage bonus: +0
Weapons: Fist/Punch 70%, damage 1d3
Spells: Summon/Bind Byakhee, Mind Control (as Cassilda's spell)
Skills: Art (theater) 74%, Credit Rating (Manaus society) 80%, Cthulhu Mythos 22%, French 70%, Occult 80%, Portuguese 35%, Seduce 75%
Rodrigo Gurgel, addicted hasturian and scenographer
STR 15 CON 17 SIZ 15 INT 18 POW 19 DEX 14 APP 4 EDU 21 SAN 0 HP 15
Damage bonus: +1d4
Weapons: Fighting Knife 75%, damage 2d4+2, venomous bite 80%, after graple, damage: rottens human flesh if wound is not cleaned, death in 1d10 weeks
Armor: Gurgel suffers only half-damage from impaling weapons
Spells: Draw Yellow Sign with Ritual Knife (drains 1d10 Magic Points from victim)
Skills: Art (Scenography) 80%, Art (Theater) 60%, Credit Rating (theater business) 80%, Cthulhu Mythos 20%, French 80%, Occult 40%, Pharmacy 60%, Portuguese 90%
"Baron" Humberto Reis, wealthy gentleman and gangster
STR 12 CON 11 SIZ 11 INT 17 POW 14 DEX 12 APP 13 EDU 19 SAN 2 HP 12
Damage bonus: +0
Weapons: Luger P08 90%, damage 1d10, common handguns 70%, Bolt-Action Rifle 50%, damage 2d6+4
Skills: Accounting 70%, Bribe 75%, Credit Rating 90%, Crime 80%, Cthulhu Mythos 3%, English 50%, French 60%, Leadership 70%, Occult 15%, Politics 75%, Portuguese 80%, Savoir-Faire 90%, Torture 60%
Fernando Bandini, wealthy Italian sorcerer
STR 11 CON 10 SIZ 12 INT 19 POW 17 DEX 11 APP 10 EDU 10 SAN 1 HP 11
Damage Bonus : +0
Weapons: .22 short automatic 70%, damage 1d6
Spells: Two spells from the Lesser Grimoire, chosen by the keeper
Skills: Accounting 60%, Credit Rating 78%, Cthulhu Mythos 7%, English 60%, French 80%, German 60%, Hebrew 70%, History 60%, Italian 85%, Latin 75%, Library Use 70%, Navigate 90%, Occult 65%, Pilot steam boat 100%, Smuggling 80%
Raimundo Neves, first sample thug
STR 15 CON 16 SIZ 12 INT 10 POW 12 DEX 14 APP 9 SAN 80 EDU 7 HP 14
Damage bonus: +1d4
Weapons: 7.65 mm automatic 90%, damage 1d8; 12-gauge shotgun 85%, damage 4d6/2d6/1d6
Skills: Conceal 90%, Credit Rating (servant of a powerful master) 50%, Drive truck 70%, Hide 85%, Listen 60%, Loyalty 75%, Set Ambush 80%, Sneak 55%, Spot Hidden 45%, Torture 98%
Tadeu Miranda, second sample thug
STR 18 CON 16 SIZ 17 INT 12 POW 10 DEX 10 APP 10 SAN 70 EDU 14 HP 16
Damage bonus: +1d6
Weapons: Thompson Submachine gun ("Tommy gun") 85%, damage 1d10+2; .45 automatic 90%, damage 1d10+2
Skills: Bribe 40%, Conceal 100%, Credit Rating (servant of a powerful master) 50%, English 12%, Hide 25%, Intimidate 80%, Interrogate 75%, Loyalty 90%, Military Tactics 70%, Navigate 50%, Pilot steam boat 15%, Smuggling 90%
Roberto Buarque, corrupt police chief
STR 14 CON 16 SIZ 13 INT 12 POW 10 DEX 12 APP 12 SAN 50 EDU 16 HP 15
Damage bonus: +1d4
Weapons: .38 revolver 100%, damage 1d10
Skills: Accounting 20%, Bargain 80%, Credit Rating 40%, French 50%, Interrogate 75%, Intimidate (poor people) 90%, Intimidate (wealthy people) 30%, Latin 20%, Law 50%, Persuade 60%, Politics 78%, Portuguese 70%, Psychology 45%, Sneak 60%
Hasturians, mindless mutant members of the lost Angoca tribe
The hasturians have the same statistics that normal humans, except by their SAN and APP, which are both at zero point. They also have the same powers of Rodrigo Gurgel. But they bite and graple at 90% efficiency, and this attack reduces the victim to liquid in 1d10 rounds.
Weapons: Borduna (heavy club) 88%, damage 1d8+db
Created: July 1, 1998; Updated: August 9, 2004