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The Unmasking

Categories: Scenarios

This adventure is an attempt at a sequel to my favorite scenario “The Evil Stars” by Keith Herber from Cthulhu Now. I’ve also Delta Green’d it and reconciled the old Hastur references to the John Tynes version of the Hastur Mythos from Countdown.

Background

In the early 1990’s the rock band ‘God’s Lost Children’ lead by Brian Lochnar, employed the southern Florida motorcycle gang ‘Satan’s Sadists’ as security. Lochnar was a cultist worshipping Hastur. The Leader of Satan’s Sadists, William “Billy” Masters, was his right hand man, assisting in the preparation of a complex plot to bring He Who Is Not To Be Named into our world. When Lochnar sacrificed Billy’s girlfriend Star to the great old one, Billy put two .357 magnum rounds in his face just as federal agents closed in. Billy, distraught over the loss of his girlfriend, went peacefully and plea bargained to a lesser charge of manslaughter and served 10 yrs. in Florida State Penitentiary. Billy spent his time studying mysticism and chemistry through the prison library and interlibrary loan system, while harnessing his devotion to Hastur the Unspeakable.

He was released in 2003 and dropped out of sight shortly thereafter. During a chance meeting at a gun show in northern California, Billy met Rex Hagans, leader of the Army of the Yellow Sign, a militia / cult based in Montana. Billy spent the next few years studying with Rex and the Army of the Yellow Sign at their compound in Montana. After learning all he could from them, he decided to leave for Southern California. That is where Billy began building the motorcycle gang that would become known as the Strangers.

The Strangers operate just like any other motorcycle gang, with new members or ‘prospects’ only allowed to wear the bottom 3rd of the back patch until they are voted in by majority of the ‘full patch’ members, or members who have been in the gang long enough to have earned the lower patch which has the territory the gang controls, the upper patch, with the name of the gang on it, and the large insignia patch in the center. Of the full patch members there are the executive officers, with rank insignia designating them as President, VP, Treasurer or Sergeant at arms. Billy is the President of the Strangers; his executive officers form the inner circle of the gang and are all devoted cultists of Hastur. Billy has a new plan to bring Hastur into this world and is using the power of the Strangers to make it happen.

During his time with Rex Hagan’s Army of the Yellow Sign, Billy learned of a poppy native to Carcosa, homeland of Hastur and the King in Yellow, called Melonia, a powerful hallucinogen that opens the users mind to the influence of Hastur. Melonia poppies are harvested in Carcosa by the Tcho-Tcho peoples and brought to the Plateau of Leng. From there, they smuggle it to Malaysia. Billy has the Melonia shipped from Malaysia into Long Beach Harbor in Southern California via Tiger Transit. Mixing Melonia with a very low grade Mexican Black Tar Heroin (tracking the origins of the heroin purchase eventually leads to the Disciples of the Worm), Billy had found the key to converting an army of unknowing sacrifices to He Who Shall Not Be Named.

Using ruthless violence and his summon / bind Byakhee spell to get rid of anyone that opposed him, Billy quickly began growing the territory of the Strangers and eliminating opposing gangs and drug dealers. It didn’t take long for word to spread among the criminal community that the Strangers were not to be messed with.

Billy and the Strangers moved into the desert of Southern California in the foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains, a place known for its clandestine drug labs and wide open spaces. The current biker gang claiming this as their turf, the Monarchs stood little chance against Billy and his Strangers. They quickly took over the meth labs that dot the desert landscape and converted them to make Billy’s new drug, known only as ‘Yellow’.

The gang owns a warehouse where they receive shipments of the Melonia they need to make Yellow. These shipments come by delivery truck, are unloaded, separated, and delivered to the various labs scattered throughout the desert. The labs then turn the raw Melonia into Yellow, a simple yellow powder, similar in appearance to finely ground cornmeal, by chemically processing the Melonia the way opium is turned into heroin, and then adding small doses of black tar heroin. The finished product is then handed over to various dealers who sell it on the streets for a modest markup. The current street price of Yellow is around $10 per dose (1/10 gram). The effects are very similar to most mild hallucinogens, with underlying heroin effects including mild euphoria, feeling of separation from the body, with common hallucinations including Victorian cityscape, mist covered lake, labyrinth, impossible architecture, inverted night sky with two moons and a royal palace in the distance.

Billy has purchased a large plot of desert in an area of  Lucerne Valley known as Anderson Dry Lake bed, a naturally V shaped valley surrounded on three sides by rocky hills, where he has begun construction of the nine monoliths needed to summon Hastur. Members of the Strangers can be followed to this location and seen working on and guarding the monoliths at all hours. Billy personally oversees construction, barking orders and rushing construction, as he needs to have everything ready before Feb 2nd. The Agents are called in early Jan. leaving less than a month of investigation.

Investigator Information

The investigators, all of whom should be Delta Green agents, are summoned to the DEA field office in Riverside, Ca. All agents should either be DEA or FBI agents or they will be provided with cover as such by A cell. The agents are met by DEA Agent

Matt Webster, a DG friendly who was able to identify traces of black tar heroin, but a 2nd unknown component and an unusual yellow symbol on the baggie caused Webster to alert A cell. Agent Webster informs the agents of the new drug that was brought to them by the local sheriff’s dept. drug task force for identification. The deputy says it is known only as ‘yellow’ and its very cheap, very powerful, and very addictive. The deputy that brought it in said that the sample was seized during a routine traffic stop of a biker named ‘Junior’ a few days ago in Victorville and is being held in the Victorville Sheriff’s office. The search turned up only a small sample, less than 1/10 gram, and the DEA hopes more can be learned from a bigger sample.

Mike “Junior” Reed Jr
STR 14 CON 18 SIZ 15 INT 11 POW 10
DEX 12 APP 8 EDU 10 SAN 30 HP 17
Skills: Fist 80% 2D3+1D4 dmg, Knife 75% 1D4+1D4 dmg, Handgun 55%, Dodge 55%, Hide 80%, Jump 85%, Sneak 85%, Motorcycle 85%, Cthulhu Mythos 1%

Junior is being held at the Victorville Sheriff’s department office and is available for questioning, however very little can be learned from him. Junior (Mike Reed jr.) is a 42 yr. old 6’ tall 190 lb. Caucasian man with tattoos over most of his body. Juniors possessions at the time of the arrest include his leather vest with a large yellow symbol (the Yellow Sign) embroidered on the back. Junior tested positive for low doses of heroin in his system at the time of his arrest 3 days ago. Interviewing Junior reveals that he is completely out of touch with reality, mumbling about the return of the Last King and Lake Hali. He says that the truth will be revealed when all the masks are removed at the great ball this Candlemas, the Palace is being rebuilt, and the gate will be opened for the phantom stranger. He will give only cryptic answers. Junior has made the Unspeakable Promise and has a 2% chance of transforming into the Unspeakable Possessor while Aldebraan is in the night sky.

Successful mythos roll determines the symbol to be the yellow sign, library search will point to the King in Yellow play, in English, Nearest available copy at the UCLA library, and the Turner Codex, in English, at the UC Berkeley library, both in the rare books departments and only viewable in the library under supervision of the librarian. FBI cross reference of the King in Yellow and Turner Codex reveals that a copy of each is listed among the items confiscated during the Feb 1988 investigation of the death of GLC lead singer Brian Lochnar.

The King in Yellow
Sanity loss 1D3/1D6+1; Cthulhu Mythos +5%; average one week to study; spells: none

The Turner Codex
Sanity loss 1D3/1D6; Cthulhu Mythos +4%; Anthropology +1%; x3 spell multiplier; Chime of Tezchaptl, Brew Space Mead, The Unspeakable Promise, Call Hastur, Free Hastur, Song of Hastur

Investigating local bikers will lead the characters to the Screaming Chicken Saloon, local biker hangout and neutral safe zone between members of the various area biker gangs. This bar is as stereotypical as they come. The bikes out front and the outside appearance of this run down dive bar make sure that everyone approaching knows exactly what they are in for. Open from 9am till 2am local seedy characters can be found here at any time of day or night, sitting at the bar, watching sports, playing pool and other, less wholesome, activities. The Bartenders are the only authority in this place, badges, ranks and affiliations are thrown out the window here, like so many past patrons. Head bartender Ruby works Thursday thru Sunday, 6pm to closing. Ruby is in her early 40’s but years of hard living have taken their toll. Any investigators who look out of place will be met with resistance as tight lips are the rule here. If caught alone, Ruby can be persuaded to talk with offers of $100 or more, substantial quantities of cocaine or successful fast talk, credit rating or persuade rolls. What Ruby knows: Junior is a local who used to run with a gang known as the Monarchs and recently joined “the Strangers” she doesn’t know much about the Strangers, other than they don’t hang out at the bar, they wear a strange yellow symbol on their vests, and no one talks about them. If asked about ‘Yellow’, Ruby will say that it first started making the rounds about 6 months ago, some kind of trip drug that’s dirt cheap, and getting real popular. In fact, Junior started fooling with it before he joined the Strangers and the same for several other bikers who have recently switched teams. Ruby has never tried Yellow, as she had a bad trip on LSD in the late 70’s, and hasn’t touched hallucinogens since. Big Ed of the Monarchs might know more, and he might be found working security on any night of the week at Art’s Place, a Monarchs controlled bar in Apple Valley. Beyond that, Ruby knows nothing else of use.

Big Ed is 5’9” 350lb Hispanic, and loyal member of the Monarchs. Eduardo Ramirez is his real name, and he is on probation from an assault charge 2 years ago. Ed recently had a baby with his long term girlfriend Maria and that is his only weakness. One of the terms of his probation was that he not associate with any other known felons, a quick glance around the bar will turn up 3 violations within arms distance. Ed has been working very hard to clean up his act since the birth of his baby, and will cooperate grudgingly if convinced he might go back to jail. Big Ed knew Junior well, and knows that Yellow was in fact the catalyst that led to his leaving the Monarchs. Yellow turned up the area a few months ago and became very popular very fast. Junior tried it at a party, and began to change very quickly. He became obsessed, when he wasn’t high on Yellow, he was trying to get more, or talking about Lake Hali and the Last King and other such nonesuch. Not long after, he left the Monarchs for the Strangers. When the Monarchs decided they did not appreciate this intrusion on their territory and income, they found out all about the Strangers. What exactly happened, Ed will not say. Ed knows only where the Strangers clubhouse is, an old warehouse in Adelanto, but he will deny ever talking to the investigators.

Eduardo “Big Ed” Ramirez
STR 17 CON 17 SIZ 18 INT 15 POW 14
DEX 12 APP 8 EDU 14 SAN 60 HP 18
Skills: Fist 85% 2D3+1D6 dmg, Knife 80% 1D4+1D6 dmg, Handgun 65%, Dodge 55%, Hide 70%, Jump 65%, Sneak 65%, Motorcycle 75%, Grapple 80%, Listen 65%

The following are real world locations of branch offices for various federal agencies in the area. Each of these offices are approx. 45 minute drive away from the locations listed in the adventure, while temporary command centers could easily be set up at any of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s offices in the area.

Victorville California is the main city of the Victor Valley in the Mojave Desert of north-eastern San Bernardino County. The Victor Valley is sprawling desert community located along Interstate 15 between San Bernardino and Barstow. The climate of the area is usually cold and rainy with potentially freezing temperatures and occasional snow between December and early March. The Landscape is a vast sea of varying shades of brown, with rocky hills and small mountains in most every direction, and the only greenery being found in the newly arrived housing developments near the highway. With Victorville being in the center, Apple and Lucerne Valleys are to the eastern edge of area, known for the extremely isolated and sparse population, abandoned homesteads and the high number of clandestine drug labs dotting the landscape. To the west are Phelan and Adelanto, with tightly clustered areas of mass housing surrounded by sprawling industrial areas.

The Strangers Clubhouse

The small warehouse in Adelanto is located in a mostly abandoned industrial neighborhood and other than the occasional delivery; it would appear to be abandoned as well. The property owner on file is George Spelvin. The building is a small square windowless steel warehouse with one large roll up door in the front and one normal door on the side of the building. A 6’ chain link fence surrounds the cracked asphalt covered yard and protects passersby from the 3 large Pit bulls who patrol the property night and day. There is a 5% chance that Billy will be at the warehouse at any given time, and a 10% chance he will be among the bikers that show up at night

A stakeout will give a 40% chance on any night of 2d4 motorcycles showing up late in the evening, go in through the gate, locking it behind them, then into the warehouse via the roll up door, locking their motorcycles and themselves inside till morning when the delivery arrives. Once a week an unmarked delivery van is met at the gate by the bikers, let in and backed up to the roll up door, and unloaded. Each delivery is the same, 2 pallets of unmarked cardboard boxes. Running the plates of the truck shows it’s registered to George Spelvin, the address is the same as the warehouse. The driver is different each time and knows nothing of the contents or the recipients. He speaks little English and will say he was paid $100 by some members of the Strangers a few days ago to drive this truck from Adelanto to the Long Beach port and back to the warehouse. There is nothing else in the truck if stopped after leaving the warehouse. If stopped on the way to the warehouse it will have only the 2 pallets of unmarked cardboard boxes. In these boxes are what appear to be dried gooseberries, small greenish yellow orbs about the size of a grape. These berries are Melonia; they grow only in Carcossa and are unidentifiable by any chemist or botanist. Following the truck after the delivery leads to a parking lot in Victorville, where the driver will park it, locking the key inside, and walk home. Several days later, a different driver will get in the truck and drive it to a port in Long Beach where it will pick up 2 more pallets of Melonia and repeat the process. Once the truck has been stopped, or once the Strangers know they are being watched, the deliveries will stop coming to the warehouse and the truck will be parked and abandoned.

After the delivery truck drops the pallets of Melonia at the warehouse and leaves, the bikers inside sort out the different packages and leave with saddle bags full at around 11pm. They will each go to different locations with their individual parcels. Various clandestine drug labs throughout the desert, mobile homes on large, isolated and fenced desert lots, all with dogs, geese and peacocks patrolling the property, each having 2d6 bikers and amateur chemists on the property. If the investigators attempt to break into the lab without help from the bomb squad or other experts, they will need successful spot hidden rolls while entering to see the traps before setting them off, and then a successful explosives skill roll to disarm them before triggering the explosive chemicals that quickly fill the cramped mobile home and explode causing burn damage and hazmat exposure. Inside these labs Melonia is refined using a complex and dangerous chemical process and mixed with small amounts of very low grade heroin, dried, crushed into powder and packaged in individual 1/10 gram baggies with a small yellow sign embossed on them.

Inside the Warehouse

This building is approx. 2000 sq. ft. of open rectangular warehouse space with a roll up bay door on the east wall, and the main entrance on the north wall. Inside the walls are corrugated steel and the floor is plain concrete. The main warehouse area is a cluttered mess of empty boxes, beer cans and motorcycle parts. The south eastern corner of the building is home to the small private office. The office is a filthy mess of empty boxes, pornography, trash and broken grease stained furniture. A pile of mail opened and unopened sits on top of a 19” TV/VCR in the corner of the room. The mail is all addressed to George Spelvin, all with the address of the warehouse. Some of the mail is registration info for the delivery van, receipts from local concrete delivery company, lease and insurance info for the warehouse, and then there is mail from the federal bureau of land management regarding the purchase of 20 acres of land in nearby Lucerne Valley on Camp Rock rd., for $45000, paid in full. The receipts indicate that 9 different concrete delivery trucks are scheduled to deliver 10 cubic yards of concrete each, every other day from January 6th to January 22nd, to a location on Camp Rock rd.  in Lucerne Valley, for just over $1000 per delivery.

George Spelvin

A pseudonym commonly used in theater by actors wishing to keep their names out of the program. In this case, it is Billy Masters false ID that he uses for many transactions.

William “Billy” Masters
STR 16 CON 16 SIZ 15 INT 16 POW 15
DEX 14 APP 14 EDU 12 SAN 8 HP 16
Skills: Fist 85% 2D3+1D4 dmg, Knife 75% 1D4+1D4 dmg, Handgun 80%, Dodge 85%, Hide 60%, Jump 65%, Sneak 65%, Motorcycle 85%, Spot Hidden 65%, Cthulhu Mythos 35%

Billy keeps his copies of the Turner Codex and the King n Yellow in the leather saddle bags on his motorcycle at all times

Byakhee
STR 5D6 CON 3D6 SIZ 5D6 INT 3D6
POW 3D6 DEX 3D6+3 MOVE 5/20
SAN LOSS 1/1D6 ARMOR 2 pts
Attacks: claw 35%, 1d6+db, bite 35%, 1d6+blood drain (1d6 pts STR per rnd), listen 50%, spot hidden 50%

Average Bikers
STR 14 CON 13 SIZ 12 INT 9 POW 8
DEX 12 APP 8 EDU 8 SAN 30 HP 13
Skills: Fist 65% 2D3+1D4 dmg, Knife 65% 1D4+1D4 dmg, Handgun 50%, Dodge 45%, Hide 60%, Jump 85%, Sneak 65%, Motorcycle 75%, Spot Hidden 45%

Following the Bikers

Successfully trailing any member of the gang has a 20% chance of being lead to Anderson Dry Lake bed. They follow hwy. 18 for about 35 miles to Camp Rock rd. and turn left (north) and then travel approx. 5 miles out into the open desert where the road cuts into a small valley and becomes a dirt road and turns sharp to the right following the side of a large dry lake bed. At this point safely following the bikers undetected by car will be practically impossible since this trail goes another 5 miles around the outside of Anderson Dry Lake and ends in a V-shaped valley where the bulk of the Strangers are camping, partying and constructing the 10’ tall, 5’ wide and 5’ thick monoliths in a large V within the valley, surrounding the dry lake bed on 3 sides.

Every other day, starting Jan. 6th, a concrete truck is scheduled to deliver 103 yards of concrete (a full mixer truck) to Anderson Dry Lake at 9am. The truck will be met at the end of the pavement by one of the members on his motorcycle and escorted to whichever one of the large wooden forms in the lake bed are supposed to be filled, alternating from the outside of the V-shape, left and right, until the final monolith form at the point of the V on January 22nd.

Agents able to get a vantage point to watch the proceedings will see the gang members constructing forms or assisting in the pouring of the concrete if a delivery is being made. It takes about 1 hour to empty the contents of the concrete mixer in a monolith form, then the truck drives out the way it came, stopping briefly near the edge of the
valley to rinse out the truck and chute with the built in water hose.

At midnight after a concrete delivery, Billy will come out to the lakebed personally to perform the consecration ceremony for the monolith. The whole gang will be there, and they will all be under the influence of Yellow. Billy will then climb to the top of the scaffolding around the newest monolith and make the necessary sacrifice to He Who Shall Not Be Named.

Anderson Dry Lake Bed

This large dry lake lies within a V shaped valley surrounded on three sides by jagged rocky hills. This lake bed bears the scars of years of use by off roaders and camping with trails zigzagging across the valley floor. The main trail cuts to the right from camp rock rd. and follows the southern edge of the valley between the hills and the lake bed. There is absolutely no cover here and the hills are rocky and jagged. Nearly 4 miles in and 3 miles across of flat, cracked dirt, broken only by the occasional small sagebrush shrub clinging to the harsh almost alien landscape. Along the sides of the lakebed are the nine 10’ X 5’ X 5’ wooden forms in various stages of construction depending on the date. From above the forms make a perfect V shape along the borders of the lake within the confines of the small valley floor. The area within the valley is guarded by a Byakhee summoned by Billy on January 6th and bound to protect the valley from anyone not wearing a yellow sign until February 1st.

Taking ‘Yellow’

Standard purchase = approx. $10 for 1/10 gram, or 100 mg, approx. 2-4 doses usually snorted, but may also be smoked or injected. Effects are felt within seconds and last from 2 to 4 hours with a gradually increasing sense of displacement, sometimes a floating or swimming feeling and a general euphoria. Users will see the world around them ‘differently’ with buildings and environment looking Victorian / Edwardian, mist blanketed lake, streets made of cobblestone with street lights replaced by gas lamps. Black stars dot the eternally dismal grey sky and huge winged black beasts occasionally soar past the twin moons that illuminate the strange dark city. All of this comes as if perfectly normal to anyone under the influence of Yellow and only seem odd in retrospect. 1/1d4 san loss per use. Extended use will reveal more and more of Carcosa. Deeper understanding of Hastur, the KiY, Yhtill and the masquerade ball, and a general feeling of homesickness when not under the influence. Also, after one use of the drug, the yellow sign will swirl whenever seen, sober or not. On Candlemas, when Billy begins the ceremony in the desert, anyone who has ever taken a single dose of yellow, will be drawn to the location of the ceremony like a sirens song.

YELLOW
Dosage – 50 mg
Street cost – $10 100 mg
Effect – 1 to 3 rounds
Duration – 2 to 4 hours
POT – 19
SAN loss – 1/1d4
Mythos + 1%

Spells

Enchant Whistle pg 235 CoC 6
Summon / Bind Byakhee pg 244 CoC 6
Call / Dismiss Hastur pg 222 CoC 6
Free Hastur pg 236 CoC 6
Unspeakable Promise pg 246 CoC
Song of Hastur pg 243 CoC 6
Chime of Tezchaptl pg 224 CoC 6
Brew Space Mead pg 221 CoC 6

Timeline of Events

January 4th – Junior arrested in Victorville

January 6th – First concrete delivery to Anderson dry lake for monolith creation

January 7th – Investigators arrive

January 8th – Second concrete delivery

January 10th – Third concrete delivery

January 12th – Fourth delivery

January 14th – Fifth delivery

January 16th – Sixth delivery

January 18th – Seventh delivery

January 20th – Eighth delivery

January 22nd – Ninth and final delivery

February 1st -Yellow users begin flocking to the lakebed, Masquerade ball begins at dusk

February 2nd – Billy summons Hastur

Finale

On February 1 anyone within 50 miles who have used Yellow will begin flocking to Anderson Dry Lakebed by any means available. After sunset the area within the monoliths will be transformed into the royal ballroom of Yhtill to all who have taken Yellow. The transformation will become increasingly real to the users as Billy begins the Call Hastur spell which climaxes just after midnight when the spell is completed and, to the Yellow users who are participating in Queen Cassilda’s masquerade ball, are instructed to remove their masks. Anyone watching this who has not taken Yellow will be horrified to witness hundreds of hallucinating attendees go from ballroom dancing to unheard music, then after a few moments of rapt attention to an unseen speaker, they will begin calmly clawing at their own faces, attempting to remove their masks and reveal their true identities. The victims / participants will take 4D4 damage as well as blood loss at the rate of 1 hit point per minute. This scene will cost witnesses 1d6/1d20 san as the stars in the sky become inverted and Byakhee screech and swoop through the air above. The area within the monoliths will slowly become permanently transformed into a gate to Carcosa which will leak and overflow until it consumes our entire reality.

Conclusion

Stopping Billy from performing the final Free Hastur spell at midnight in the presence of the required monoliths and appropriate number of sacrifices is all that the investigators need to do to prevent the summoning. There are several paths to this end.

Destroying a monolith will require getting past the bikers and the Byakhee as well as explosives. If a monolith or more are destroyed, Billy will attempt to rebuild them as quickly as possible, sparing no expense to erect the replacements in time for the summoning.

Preventing Billy from attending the masquerade ball is the simplest answer, however, he will return to try again next year if given the opportunity. Again, the bikers and Byakhee will not make this easy for the players.

If the investigators succeed in stopping Billy they each receive 3d6 Sanity award.

Have you seen the Yellow Sign?

Have you seen the Yellow Sign?

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