Actual Play: One in Darkness Part 1
Do you think I care if there was just beer in that keg? I know what's in it. I know what you've been doing all this time, how you got those clothes and those new cars. You've been telling Ma that you've gone into politics, that you're on the city payroll. Pat Burke told me everything. You murderers! There's not only beer in that jug. There's beer and blood - blood of men!
- Mike Powers, The Public Enemy
Based on the adventure of the same name by Doug Lyons with L. N. Isynwill, contained in the Chaosium anthology The Great Old Ones.
Setting:Boston; Wednesday, April 20, 1921
- Earl Crowley - Antiquarian settled in Arkham
- Jordaine Furst - Strasbourg-born Great War spy for France
- Fredrick Tardiff - Great War veteran, Kingsport artist
After some unpleasant bouts with madness in New Orleans, Crowley and Tardiff had spent the previous two months undergoing psychiatric care. In the interim, the chaos of the early days of Prohibition had seem an increase in mob violence in Boston, with the Crimson Gang cutting a swath of violence through the streets as they made their play for more territory in Southie.
The local papers such as the Boston Leader had been full of news about a recent shootout. The first was dated Saturday, April 16.
On Tuesday the 19th another article had a strange connection to this, one that was retracted the next day...
Later that morning a disheveled young reporter, Jeffrey Daniels, came into Crowley's Boston office to meet with the investigators. He explained he was the author of the retracted article - his editor chose not to publish it after a phone threat from Patrick Malone. He paid a compositor to slip the article into early editions of the Leader - and was fired for doing so. Earnestly he asked they look into it - suggesting they check with the police for verification.
The three had conferred with a Boston police detective, Paul Farrell, when they had looked into missing people at the Museum of Fine Arts. Going to his precinct they found it a cross between a madhouse and a military headquarters getting ready for battle. Farrell explained they were preparing for follow-up battle with the remnants of the Crimson Gang. He explained that yes, the threats to art dealers was indeed legitimate but he tried to assure them, unsuccessfully, that the threats were some sort of prank. However, some snooping revealed some of the survivors of the earlier raid had gone mad and there was talk of some beast that bullets bounced off of...
Going to Digby's Colonial Galleries they met with Bertram Digby. After much haggling and negotiation he admitted to having bought a statuary tablet from a fence, Keyhole Eddie. He sold them the tablet, a strange sone slab about a foot square and an inch thick, made of glossy blue-green serpentine, a brittle rock which can easily be broken. One side has been inscribed with images of a repulsive humanoid face, surrounded by a flowing script. He agreed to call them should Keyhole Eddie return. Crowley returned to his office and Furst and Tardiff went to Anthony Huer's Boston Art Shoppe, located in a less friendly area of the city, off of the notorious Scollay Square. He eventually told a similar story and sold them a similar, though not identical, tablet. He explained how he used the red talisman he'd received with the threat as a bookmark - but he turned it over to police. They noticed the book he had had a red talisman within it... Huer was mystified how it had gotten there and offered it to them. They made some calls to Miskatonic University to have an expert look at their tablets that evening. They noticed before they motored off the tablet was gone - going back into the Art Shoppe they saw it was again in Huer's book. They took the book with them that time. Sure enough, at some point (not when they were looking at it), the red talisman again vanished... back to Huer, this time in his pocket...
At the university, Furst and Tardiff met with Doctor Ronald Galloway, a prominent Egyptologist and skilled linguist. He explained that the script was in Aklo, the language of an ancient race prior to the Hyperborean world. The tablets were some mechanism to summon and dispel the Black Demon to and from our world. The Black Demon was an agent or avatar of the Black Pharaoh, Nyarlathotep...