Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Masks of Nyarlathotep: New York Timelines

Such a helpful resource even when for the 1940s.

This is where my Masks (or rather Half Moon Rising) preparation gets tricky. I'm going to use the 1938 New England hurricane as the justification for how Mogens' experimental test subject got loose but that will likely occur after James arrives in New York. Unfortunately this means working out the timelines for all of the events in the scenario as there's no real series of "This happened three days ago, this happened yesterday" in the scenario itself. I did figure out how I would do it, however, and how to distract James so that he doesn't get ahead of himself and get too involved in the newspaper agency before the journalist goes missing.

James Tyler will wake up in hospital as a human being on the 30th August which gives him about a week to set himself up and reach the point where he can hop an ocean liner by the 10th (at the latest) to get to New York by the 18th (at the latest).

September 18th
James will be almost out of money. He'll need to find a place for him and Charlie to rest up for the night. Introduce New York docklands. I found some menus from the era using the New York Public Library's "What's on the Menu?" project. This gives the player a bit of an idea about prices in that era and it gives me a chance to drain his coins all the more as I really want to play with the reality of near homelessness

September 19th - 20th
Settling in. I imagine James might try to con / gamble his way into money. This might work out for a bit but if he relies on it I will find ways to bankrupt him. It'll keep him busy at least. He may also seek out an illegal gun. I have a short conflict for when he starts looking at moving into a rental apartment since it'd be cheaper than a hotel. There's a very cheap place that's $3 a week in Hell's Kitchen where he could get away with just paying two weeks in advance and having an otherwise nice enough place at that rate (normally would be $4 a week) if he kicks out a violent couple of men who are terrorising the apartment building and forcing the owner to give them most of the rent money. If James can evict them, James can keep their furniture as well.

September 21st
A full moon AND the Autumnal Equinox. Also Hurricane Day. Haven't figured out whose magics will be partly responsible for this, if anyone, but I am considering the possibility. At this stage I'll stop distracting him and let him start researching Eugene Vanderklei, attempt to get in contact with the lawyer who busted out Jack Frost (can get an appointment next week), or try to speak with Sydney Silver at the office (Sydney is off investigating, the receptionist can take a message).

Researching Eugene Vanderklei will reveal his university degree in biochemistry, his marriage certificate, and birth certificates for their six children of which Jack Vanderklei is the youngest. If he does quite well he'll also see that Jack Vanderklei won the 'Better Babies' contest of his youth as being a perfect baby. Naturally he'll have to go through the New York Public Library newspaper stacks or the Hall of Records for information. Probably a mix of both.

From about 10AM he'll notice a strong wind from the north.  At 11AM, the wind will shift east and soon blow almost a gale from the North East with heavy rain but that's expected this time of year.  At around 1AM he may be near a radio in which ase he will hear that "The West Indies hurricane is in the Mid-Atlantic".  From 2PM: Winds switche from the east.  Clouds race by the sky.  2:30PM begins the white water storm surges.

Extensive street flooding due to blocked drains and very high winds will make the hurricane obvious even in New York. The East River will flow three blocks and flooded a Consolidated Edison power plant at 133rd Street which causes power failures all the way north of 59th Street and in the Bronx for several minutes to a few hours. I'm still uncertain on the exact timeline for that so I'll do it at around mid-afternoon and just avoid giving an exact time for it. I doubt James will spend anytime north of 59th on that particular day so he'll probably not have to worry about power failures so much. Railroad and ferry services will be suspended just as bridges and tunnels connecting Manhattan to the outer suburbs will close until the following afternoon. This might make an impact on him if tries to go to Sydney Silver's offices as I've moved them to Brooklyn Heights since Fleet Street is no longer as much of a thing by 1938.

That night the creature gets loose and is spotted by one of the sanitation workers brought onto the late shift to help clear up the debris. He mentions it to his friends and it spreads like wildfire.

September 23rd
Sydney Silver hears of the "monster in the sewer" and interviews the sanitation worker.

September 24th
The "Monsters in the Sewers" article runs. The sanitation worker is threatened during the day and then kidnapped overnight by Mogens crew. His hotbed friend is convinced that he ran away from the hostile media attention due to a letter left behind. Sydney Silver is threatened by Mogens crew who try to grab her when she returns home that night and it's only by fleeing on foot and hopping between subway trains that she gets away. This means that even if James is straight on top of it he won't be able to contact the sanitation worker or Sydney. During the daytime, both will just be busy doing other things and therefore be hard to reach.

September 25th
This is the time when I'm hoping James gets drawn into the middle of things.

September 28th
Mogens 'Half Moon Ritual' will occur. I'm not giving him much time as I know the player well enough to realise that a four day timeline is all he needs to follow these breadcrumbs more than likely.

Ahh, research. I love doing it. And I really love when natural events happen to coincide with plots.

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