Actual Play: Tell Me, Have You Seen the Yellow Sign? Part 1




In early 1921, the investigators depart Massachusetts to investigate a mysterious death in New Orleans...

Based on the classic Call of Cthulhu adventure "Tell Me, Have You Seen the Yellow Sign" by Kevin Ross. Originally published by Chaosium in The Great Old Ones, revised version published by Golden Goblin Press in Tales of the Crescent City.

Setting: Boston, Mass. and New Orleans, LA; Friday, January 28 - Monday, January 31, 1921

Characters:


  • Earl Crowley - Antiquarian settled in Arkham
  • Jordaine Furst - Strasbourg-born Great War spy for France
  • Fredrick Tardiff - Great War veteran, Kingsport artist

Summary

The investigators received a telegram from the great occultist, Étienne-Laurent de Marigny of New Orleans asking them to travel to New Orleans, indicating he required their services in an investigation.

Leaving Boston on Friday the 28th, they arrived in New Orleans two days later after an uneventful rail journey. Much warmer than Boston, New Orleans was apparently unaware that Prohibition was in effect. de Marigny met with them briefly, explaining he had business in Arkham that prevented him from giving a curious case the attention it deserved but that their reputation made him confident it would be in good hands.

De Marigny showed them a letter he had received from Charles Sunstram, editor of the New Orleans Daily Gazette. Sunstram's letter indicated suspicion that one of his reporters, Peter Gavvin, had been murdered after stumbling upon a conspiracy. According to the police, Gavvin jumped to his death from the roof of a Tulane University building. Sunstram did not believe it and was concerned about a drawing found in Gavvin's hand - an occult symbol, de Marigny was quite certain...


Sunstram was able to meet with the investigators, with the newsroom beginning to fill up as with Sunday evening setting in and the Monday morning issue being finalized. Sunstram explained how Gavvin had been reporting on various Krewes preparing for Margi Gras (February 8th this year). He shared with them Gavvin's notes:


Going through the newspaper morgue's they learned a number of bits of trivia:

  • Randall Fowler's wife and child had been killed in an automobile accident
  • The Fowler family was once known as the LeFleur family. They changed their name after the Civil War owing to Gaston LeFleur's reputation as a slave-trader.
Sunstram wrote them letters of introduction and secured them lodging at the Lafayette Hotel. On the way to the hotel, they kept seeing examples of the symbol found on Gavvin. Though the hotel was very nice, they were plagued by dreams - dreams of the symbol, yellow-colored, and of an abandoned city of towers on a lake. Tardiff secured liquid courage to help him find his way back to sleep.

On Monday the 31st they sought out information on the strange symbol they were seeing. They found their way to the Avedon Antiquarian Gallery. Avedon wasn't around but his trusted assistant, Rodrigo Vargas was. From Vargas they were able to obtain a blade Imbued with the Might of the Elder Ones.. 

They learned quite a bit from Vargas:
  • Gavvin had met with Avedon. He was looking for a copy of the infamous French play, The King in Yellow. Avedon was going to check his personal library for a copy. He hasn't been in the shop since.
  • Papa Screech is rumored to have been part of a cult shut down by the New Orleans police over a decade ago.
With some persuading, they got Avedon's address. Traveling to his small courtyard house, they were able to meet with Francois Avedon, though he was only partially sane. They did manage to find his private copy of The King in Yellow, in its original French. Furst read it and summarized it for Crowley and Tardiff. The experience was somewhat sanity-rending for all of them, learning strange tales of Carcoa, Hali, twisted royal families, and the Phantom of Truth. All were infected with a strong paranoia, Crowley and Tardiff much worse and indefinitely...

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