In what is becoming a tradition with our games, the players are writing their own epilogues for the games. Here’s Matt Boyle’s version of what came after the events in Cairo…
After the events of the Pyramids of Giza, Billy lies in the dust, burned and nearly dead. Desperate, he reaches into the magic bag, searching for something that will bring him home. He pulls out a coin-operated phone that does not exist yet. After an hour of Knowledge rolls, he finally realizes what it is, and says, “Oh, if only I had a quarter!” Then, from the distance, he sees the ghost of his old friend comes walking.
“I shall help you Billy,” his old friend says, and he smiles. Billy smiles back, and then his old friend explodes into guts the size of quarters. Billy is showered in gore and has to make a sanity roll. He succeeds. Then, somehow, he realizes that the guts are forming into quarters. These quarters all have the same face, a strange bartender-like fellow.
“I can help you call home sir,” says Jameson O’Doul.
Billy’s eyes widen. “Quarters can’t talk!” he says, and has to make another sanity roll. He succeeds. Growling, he reaches for the talking quarter and puts it in the portable pay phone. He calls home to his beloved wife.
“Billy! Billy!” she says. “Where are you!?”
“I’m in the desert honey,” he says. “Talking to currency. The coins can speak here.” His wife is confused by this and has to make a sanity roll. She succeeds.
“Never mind that Billy,” she says. “Just get home!”
Luckily, Mrs. Billy is a learned professor of Egyptology. Clearly, Jonathan Putnam had intended to hire her and had hired Billy by mistake. Billy realizes this when his wife figures out his location by the scantest of descriptions on his part. She calls the American embassy and coordinates a rescue party. Billy has to make a sanity roll at the realization she knows how to do this. He succeeds.
Angie remains institutionalized for two months after the events at the Pyramids of Giza. Upon recovering her wits, she remains focused despite the horrors she’s experienced. She does finally realize that these creatures are real. She’d been skeptical up until that point, hypothesizing that the party’s experiences had been a collective acid trip, perhaps induced by the mysterious substance Blue John. She rents out an apartment near the institution and used it as a base of operations. Her plan:
- research vampire lore, learning more about Hauptmann, the creature that stole her father’s face
- attend to Gabriel Moreau, institutionalized at the same hospital.
Slowly, she uses her skilled psychoanalytical abilities to nurse Gabriel back to sanity. She bides her time.
Meanwhile, Sir Reginald bumbles through Cairo, raving about Sphinxes with faces like the void. Finally, he pulls himself together and returns to the pyramids. Arriving there, he finds nothing save for the wind, not even a hint of the bodies of the dead. Disquieted, he discovers a trail that he follows to the nearly mutilated body of Karl Stoltz. Karl is still alive, subsisting on rats and little else the past two months. Reginald doesn’t know what to say to Karl, so he tries some words of encouragement.
“Buck up old boy!” he says. This does not work. So, he then decides to say, “What’s all this then?” This also does not work. Karl looks at him with malevolent eyes, so Reginald decides to retreat.
Thinking carefully, he uses his navigation skills to search for the nearest mental institution. He knows his colleagues are likely there. A week later, after getting lost several times, he arrives to discover Angie tending to Gabriel’s mind. He informs her of Karl’s continued existence, and she hires a guide to help them travel back to the Pyramids. Reginald is insulted that she does not trust his navigation skill, but Angie placates him by telling him his new suit is very dapper. This pleases him.
The two of them rediscover Karl, and Angie takes him on as a patient. She helps him come to terms with the loss of Yasmena, and also with his feelings of isolation over being an undead horror. She does have to commute to his cave to provide care though. The mental institution is not interested in having an undead horror as a patient.
A few months pass, and Nikolas finds his way back to the party as well. His eyes are haunted, and he lashes out at the slightest provocation. He informs them that they all deserve to be dead. Both Angie and Reginald agree that he is much less friendly than before. Reginald then asks Angie to get them some tea as he thinks about it. She smiles and ignores the request.
Nikolas takes up an interest in knives and pet snakes. He also begins surveying all those around them with an unnerving eye, occasionally muttering about Yig’s will. A week after his return to the hospital, one of the nurses disappears. No one has any idea what happened to her.
Around this same time, Gabriel recovers his wits. Contrary to Nikolas, he seems cheerful, and close to normal self. That said, he does speak more candidly of his experiences in the war, describing battlefields in great detail — mud, blood, and death. He describes how vast giants would walk along the landscapes of the Somme, terrible beings with massive shoulders the size of tombs. The party listens in horror as he sips his coffee and describes deranged landscapes.
“They lumber across the landscape and lift the dead into their maws. They walk through no-man’s land, great giants barely perceivable in the haze. They harvest the bodies we tore to pieces with bullets, mortars, and violence.” Pleasantly, he sips his coffee. After a time, he says, “Murder is a ritual, my companions, and the nightmares are there to harvest our sacrifices.”
Reginald and Angie are sure he has cracked. But Nikolas merely scoffs. “He’s been saying that shit since we’ve met him. He just hasn’t bothered to say it in English.”
Five Years after NWI’s Plot
Five years after the NWI takes control of the world, Billy’s life is as close to ideal as it can be.
Billy receives doting care from his loving wife and happy children. And, although many cities are in the grip of madness and violence still, Billy’s farm is rather pretty and isolated. Mrs. Billy has kept their family in good shape. She is an accomplished survivalist, a speaker of nine languages, a crackshot, and a skilled neurosurgeon. Billy sees all this and marvels, “Gee, it sure seems like Jonathan should have hired you!” She smiles at him demurely as they sit on the porch and agrees. Nearby, Jameson O’Doul arrives and offers him a sloe gin fizz.
“That’s right sir,” he says. “She’s a crackerjack.”
Billy does not quite understand what is going on. He rolls Intelligence. He fails.
Gabriel retires from the world of the occult. When asked why by his companions, he pleasantly says, “Because, there is no God, only Hell. And after we die, we will be enslaved eternally to the beings that hold the yokes of the giants. They will rend our flesh and force us to build great pyramids to their glory. We will live on the ancient fields of their worlds, and though our bodies be broken and brutalized, we will toil for them still. Better for us to enjoy the only life we have. I know I will.”
Nevertheless, at Angie’s persistence, he reaches out to some of his contacts to earn her a new identity — Jessica Moreau, his niece from America. She uses this false identity to apply for a position at NWI.
Angie works diligently for NWI as a consulting psychiatrist for many years. Her great insight and adaptable mind make her greatly in demand. Soon, she rises up the ranks to become the shrink of Baron Hauptmann himself…
Reginald becomes a private detective in Cairo, known by the local as “The Dapper Man.” He investigates all manner of evil events with the help of his colleague, Karl Stoltz, known as “The Tall Man.” The two of them are often consulted whenever a terrible murder takes place, and local authorities trust them implicitly. Unfortunately, there is one killer whom they can never discover the identity of. He is known as the “The Serpent Murderer,” for his propensity to leave snakes in the pockets of his prey. The Serpent Murderer only preys on low, evil men. And so few are bothered by his actions. Yet…his continued existence disturbs Reginald in ways he cannot identify.
Once, a young nurse managed to observe The Serpent Murderer from behind as he flees a crime. She gives Reginald a general description, but little distinctive. When Reginald asks if there is anything else she could tell him, anything at all, she shrugs.
She shrugs. “He cursed like a sailor after murdering the man. He was exceptionally rude.”
Nikolas purchases a bookstore in Cairo and is well-known for being exceptionally rude to customers. He otherwise lives an uneventful life.
Ten Years after NWI’s Plot
Years have passed, and Billy attends his son’s graduation, crying tears of happiness. In the years since NWI took control of the world, much has changed. All agree that NWI ‘s control is reasonable, save for a few who speak out and are never heard from again. But Billy is a simple man, and though he sustained great injuries on his travels, he manages to grow strong again. He bears terrible burn scars over his entire body, but is ultimately accepted again by his family and community. And so he watches his son go up to accept his diploma, so proud he thinks he might burst. And look! There is Jameson O’Doul filming the entire thing with a camcorder. How lucky he has Jameson there to help.
And then, a small warning sounds in the back of his mind. Confused about this strange device, Billy rolls Cthulhu Mythos, and for the first time in his life, he succeeds.
Billy suddenly realizes he is living a nightmarish illusion. He has been entrapped within it by a malevolent parasite known as The Servant. The Servant is prone to appearing before people as a friendly bartender, waiter, or otherwise solicitous figure. It encourages madness or entraps people within beautiful nightmares, feeding off their energy.
“That’s right sir,” says Jameson O’Doul, who is suddenly standing right next to him. “And you are full of guileless energy. Nothing affects your sanity sir, nothing at all.”
Billy stares in horror, then he looks at his wife, and her face slides into an enormous grin that nearly slices off the top of her head. “Oh honey,” she says. “You know you never left the desert, don’t you?”
Billy’s eyes widen and he realizes he’s in the desert, dying. He looks around at the emptiness, unable to comprehend what he is seeing. He has to make a sanity roll. He succeeds. Then he makes an Intelligence roll. He fails. He blinks. And then Jameson O’Doul is gone. The desert is gone. Only his beautiful wife is there, and his proud, strong son is earning his degree on a platform where nobody else stands, waving at him.
“It’s alright honey,” Mrs. Billy says, putting his arm around him in the beautiful Kansas sun. “Everything is OK.”
And Billy nods, and puts his arm around her in turn.
And there he stands, a savagely burned man in the middle of the desert, his arm around the waist of a thin, eldritch abomination with its long fingers wrapped around his waist. Half of the abomination’s face is missing, and it turns and grins at him.
“Everything will be alright, sir.”
And Billy smiles and nods.
Reginald and Karl work closely together to search for The Serpent Murderer, but while this dynamic duo discovers much evil, they are never able to discover The Serpent Murderer’s true identity.
“I say,” Reginald says to Nikolas Tourine on one of their weekly lunches. He has already changed suits twice that day. “It’s most curious. I truly wish I could discover this one killer.”
Nikolas sneers at him. “Well, perhaps one day you will get lucky.”
And Reginald nods and flicks off a speck of dust from his suit. “Well, lovely, now I must change.”
Nikolas remains a law-abiding citizen, and he never ritualistically murders anyone in service of Yig, not once. He lives the rest of his life as a law-abiding member of society.
Though he is exceptionally rude.
Angie spends five years in service to Baron Hauptmann as his psychotherapist. He is surprisingly melancholic, as the years of his own existence have made him somber about his continued reality. Slowly, Angie infuses into him the idea that life must end sometime, never explicitly saying it, but subtly infusing it into his mind. The Baron finally decides he must destroy himself. He sets his castle aflame, and as it burns down, he sees a note that has been left for him. It has Angie’s name on it. He opens it, and he reads the words there.
“For my father,” it says.
And he smiles in misery, because he knows these words change nothing. Though Angie’s plan was ill-intentioned towards him, her conclusions remain correct. He is an abomination, and he must leave this world. He remains in the flames as they consume him.
Gabriel spends the rest of his life performing sleight of hand at fancy parties. Few people ever like talking to him one-on-one. He is not a well man.
One night, the police are called to the scene of a bar fight. Gabriel is dead on the floor. According to a barmaid, he apparently tried to steal a man’s watch.
“He looked so afraid when he was dying,” she says. “He’s usually so cheerful and nice. A rascal, mind you, always stealing where he shouldn’t, but always giving it back if caught. We always told him to be more careful, that he would eventually take something from someone who would take offense. But he always laughed it off. I guess he finally took from someone who didn’t see the funny side.”
She excuses herself, wiping her eyes and walking away. The police officer turns to look at Gabriel’s body and shakes his head.
He’d seen dead men before, but the look on this fellow’s face was one of pure terror.
NWI is the new world power, and the world exists at the whims of those who run it. Some of the brotherhood meet their end, but still the world follows their decisions.
In a generation’s time, the NWI masters lose control of the beings they brought into this world, the great old ones they sought to use to control the world. The world devolves into madness, and within a generation of their plot, it has come to an end. It becomes a flea-ridden carcass covered in enormous flying bugs, great lumbering beasts, and creations that would drive one mad to think about.
Or at least that’s the vision told to Sir Reginald, the Dapper Man himself, when he visits Temesgen ten years after the events of Cairo.
“A vision that will come to pass,” Temesgen says, “unless someone stops it.”
To be continued?