The Hounds of Salem

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Transcript of The Hounds of Salem

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Anthony L. Wolf

HAIR-RAISING MYSTERY IN THE MISKATONIC VALLEY

The Hounds of Salem

A CALL OF CTHULHU 7E ADVENTURE

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The hounds of salemHAIR-RAISING MYSTERY IN THE

MISKATONIC VALLEY

anThony l. Wolf

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CrediTs

Written by

Anthony L. Wolf

Editing by

John Coffield

Cover Image

Darkmoon Art from Pixabay

Interior Art

Dean Spencer

Cartography

Anthony L. Wolf via DungeonDraftAssets by 2-Minute Tabletop, Spiffeigh

Layout & Design

Anthony L. Wolf

Play Testers

Lorenzo Tralicci, Roberta Lupo, Marshall Mowbray, S. Atkinson Special thanks to the London RPG Community

THE HOUNDS OF SALEM is copyright © 2021 Anthony L. Wolf. All rights reserved.The names of public personalities may be referred to, but any resemblance of a scenario character to persons living or dead is strictly coincidental.

This scenario is best used with the CALL OF CTHULHU (7th Edition) roleplaying game, available separately from www.chaosium.comThis is a work of fiction. The names of personalities, places, and events may be referred to, but any resemblance of scenario and game related

characters to persons living or dead is strictly coincidental. All material is fictionalized and described through the lens of the Cthulhu Mythos, and no offense to persons living of dead is intended.

Call of Cthulhu © copyright 1981-2021 Chaosium Inc. All rights reserved.Fractal Slakes © 2021 Graeme Patrick, used with permission.

Handouts

Cthulhu Architect - Handout Generator

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Table of ConTenTsIntroduction ..................................................................................... 7

Background ....................................................................................................... 7The Theft of the Forbidden Tomes .................................................................. 8

Keeper’s Secret .................................................................................................8Involving the Investigators .............................................................................9

Notes for the Keeper .......................................................................................... 9Dramatis Personae.........................................................................................10The Study of Alexander Wallace ...................................................................10

Part 1: Arkham .................................................................................12Investigating the Tomes ................................................................................ 12

Asking around campus ....................................................................................12The Orne Library ..............................................................................................12

Talking with Armitage ........................................................................................ 13

Other avenues for Investigation .....................................................................14Investigating Abraham Elrich ....................................................................... 14To Salem ...........................................................................................................15

Part 2: Salem .................................................................................... 17Reaching Salem ...............................................................................................171920s Massachusetts & Salem ...................................................................... 18The Elrich Family ........................................................................................... 18Essex Street ..................................................................................................... 19

Elrich House .....................................................................................................20The Elrich Study ...............................................................................................21Finding Sydney .................................................................................................21

The Abandoned Leather Factory ..................................................................23Facing Abraham Elrich ................................................................................... 23

Part 3: Final Showdown ................................................................ 23Conclusion ...................................................................................................... 25Rewards ...........................................................................................................26The Forbidden Tomes .................................................................................... 27

Appendix A: Characters & Monsters .......................................... 29Handouts ........................................................................................ 34

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To Bea,

The only person on this planetfoolish enough to believe in

my stories.

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The hounds of salem

inTroduCTion

The Hounds of Salem takes place in the winter of 1923 between Arkham and Salem, Massachusetts. Despite its name, Keepers may relocate this adventure freely with some work, so long as the new setting includes a library (with a different director) and a college. More creative Keepers may want to explore the possibility of placing this scenario in the days of the Salem Witch Trials or the Great Fire of Salem in 1914, though more research will be required to that end. This adventure is suitable for 2-4 intermediate-level players and should last 2-3 sessions.

The investigators will start in Arkham, Massachusetts, where a professor will inform them about the mysterious disappearance of a few tomes from the Orne Library. The police have not been immediately alerted, as Dr. Henry Armitage hopes the issue may be resolved by asking a few questions around campus. This adventure can be inserted into an existing campaign, though the investigators should have ties with the Miskatonic University.

This scenario emphasises investigation and storytelling over action, though eager investigators will find ways to fire their guns

in the final confrontation.

WARNING: This scenario includes a scene that suggests self-harm, in the figure of Sydney Elrich in Salem. Keepers are encouraged to glide over the scene or ignore the detail, if triggering for the group. Due to the Christian nature of Abraham’s fanaticism, some players at the table may feel offended by the storyline. The Keeper is advised to tread carefully in those cases.

baCkground

In the seventeenth century, a Sacred Congregation gathered in Rome to investigate a list of books which were believed to be dangerous for the Church and their loyal followers. Thousands of book titles were deemed heretical or contrary to morality and blacklisted in the Index Librorum Prohibitorum (“List of Prohibited Books“). The index included works by astronomers, writers, scientists and alchemists.

Two of these impious tomes survived the scorching fire of censorship and found their way to the New World. A witch and alchemist from Spain, Abigail de Mora, was condemned to be burnt at the stake with her books, but managed to flee Europe and

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found refuge in the small town of Salem, Massachusetts. During the Witch Trials of 1692, Abigail was arrested and her books confiscated. The tomes passed from owner to owner, but remained largely unharmed in Salem for centuries, until they were donated to Miskatonic University in the late 1800s by Thornton West, Esq.

For over three decades the books remained in the Orne Library, unbeknownst to most, concealing secrets that the Roman Catholic Church in Europe deemed of demonic nature at best. Until the day when Abraham Elrich, native of Salem and professor of Religion and Theology, came along.

The ThefT of The forbidden

Tomes

In late 1922, as the day of his retirement approached, Abraham Elrich grew increasingly anxious over the twilight of his life. A conservative townsman from Salem by origin, Abraham tied the knot at a young age and believed that hard work was the only way to please the Lord. He could not bear the sight of his frame growing more feeble, nor the feeling of strength - so long harnessed in service to God - abandoning his body. To make matters worse, Abraham could never get over the loss of his firstborn Jacob, one of the many victims of high infant mortality in the late 1800s, and was certain that a miracle from God could bring him back to life.

As his second son reached his teenage years, Abraham entrusted him with his caring wife and moved to Arkham. He spent

most of his career living a delusion, looking for spiritual answers in old books, learning languages such as Spanish, Italian and Latin, and studying the most ancient teachings from the far lands of Europe.

As he wandered lonely in a grim and grey December afternoon amidst the bookshelves of the Orne Library, immersed in old dust and the smell of polished mahogany, Abraham’s eyes rested on a dark shelf at the far end of the Rare Books section. Two tomes, bound in horse skin, felt like they were calling out his name. As he flicked through their pages, disdain made way for surprise, surprise made way for interest. Certainly those impious pages were not for his devout eyes to see. And yet…

keeper’s seCreT

The books detailed ways to “be one with God” and “reach for eternal life,” and they sounded persuading enough to Abraham, who would do anything to please his Lord and reach out to Him. As the year of his retirement drew closer, Abraham started making plans to put those ways into practice – becoming increasingly obsessed with the tomes, whilst progressively losing interest in his job.

Soon Abraham became more aggressive towards students and professors alike around campus, which forced Armitage to bring forward Abraham’s retirement date by one year. The week before his forced retirement in December 1922, as he made preparations to travel back home, Abraham entered the

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library with the excuse of returning some books and stole the two Spanish tomes. He would use them to brew the Elixir of Life, a dangerous substance described in a Flawed Spell (see The Grand Grimoire of Cthulhu Mythos Magic, page 13), which required the blood of his only surviving son as a core ingredient, alongside the ashes of amber from a pure Fractal Slake.

By the time the investigators arrive in Salem, Abraham will have already brewed and drunk the Elixir of Life, turning into a deformed Slake Hybrid and unleashing a Fractal Slake into our dimension.

involving The invesTigaTors

Recommended investigators for this scenario include students and fellow professors from Miskatonic University, perhaps interested in researching the stolen tomes themselves. Other investigator occupations may include men of the law (policemen, police detectives), archaeologists and journalists. As this is not a combat-heavy scenario, social and research skills may have a deeper impact on the story, but having some firepower is recommended to survive the final showdown in the ruins of the leather factory.

It is important that the investigators have a personal, academic or professional connection with Alexander Wallace, the senior professor concerned about the mysterious disappearance of the books. If

some are students, perhaps they have been caught cheating or selling alcohol on the University grounds, and the professor is now blackmailing them for help. If a policeman is present in the party, the Keeper may want to hint that the rest of the police force is treating the mystery as a minor nuisance — in which case, investigator organisations may also be used.

There may or may not be some financial reward for participating investigators, depending on the party and their approach to the case.

noTes for The Keeper

This scenario starts in Arkham and can easily be tied into an existing campaign. The investigators will have to learn more about the stolen books before they can trace them back to Abraham Elrich, as none at the Campus suspect his involvement in the matter. Investigators will then be led to Salem to unveil more clues about Abraham, and finally into the abandoned Korn leather factory, Elrich’s secret hideout.

As soon as the investigators land in Salem, the eeriness should set in. The Fractal Slake is currently haunting the town and is unable to leave due to its ties with Elrich. It will do anything to scare the investigators away — or antagonise them altogether, carrying out surprise attacks when they are isolated from the group. A Fractal Slake needs to feed – meaning there are likely to be strange killings around town. Perhaps happening even in front of careless investigators.

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Remember that the Fractal Slake is a multi-dimensional creature, able to cause fire damage at will and distort the spacetime around it. Get creative. There is no limit to the kind of damage or nuisance it can cause.

dramaTis personae

Alexander Wallace: Senior professor of philosophy at the Miskatonic University, 48. He has no personal interest in the books, but finding them would please Dr. Armitage, who could help grant him a much desired (and awaited) promotion.

Students: Paul Abbott, Jane Harris, Francis Bishop and Caroline Turner are some suggested names for students from Abraham Elrich’s former course. Investigators could question them to learn more about the retired professor.

Dr. Henry Armitage: Director of the Orne Library and esteemed professor at the Miskatonic University. Armitage is 68, grows a white beard and lives with his wife, Eleanor. He has directed the library since 1906 (source: Arkham: Unveiling the Legend-Haunted City, page 97).

Sydney Elrich: Mad wife of Abraham Elrich, 56. She turned insane when Abraham coerced her into facilitating the sacrifice of their son and then locked her in their house’s basement.

Abraham Elrich: Retired professor of religion and theology, 64. Obsessed with extending his life to connect with God and bring his dead son back to life, he grew

interested in the forbidden Spanish tomes and in brewing the Elixir of Life, at the expense of his own sanity and the ones he loved. He is now hiding in Salem as a Slake Hybrid.

The Fractal Slake: Multi-dimensional creature conjured up and bound by Abraham Elrich. It haunts Salem, causing distress and unease around town. It hides with Abraham in the abandoned Korn leather factory.

The sTudy of alexander WallaCe

Read the boxed text out loud to the players:

The Hounds of Salem starts in the study of Alexander Wallace. If the investigators do not

It is a frosty winter morning in the city of Arkham. The Miskatonic campus buzzes with swarms of students returning from their Christmas holidays. Misty puffs float away from your nostrils as you stroll around in your heavy winter coats, the pungent smell of a heavily polluted Miskatonic River to fill the air. A few ravens sweep over the area. There has been some turmoil in the past few days, following the first crime committed at Miskatonic University in months: two precious and ancient tomes have disappeared from the Orne Library’s Rare Books section. You have all been summoned to Professor Alexander Wallace’s office to discuss the matter. Something tells you this will not be a quiet day.

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know each other, they may bump into one another as they enter the professor’s office. Existing investigators and non-student characters may have been made aware of this matter by an acquaintance or a friend, perhaps someone who recommended them to Wallace to solve this case.

Alexander Wallace is a proud senior professor of philosophy at the Miskatonic University, with ice-blue eyes and a straightforward temperament. He has been waiting for the perfect chance to ask for a promotion to Head of Department for years. He grows impatient easily and has little interest in the personal issues of the investigators. All he cares about is that the books are found and returned as swiftly as possible, so he can bask in the glory of the solved mystery with Armitage and possibly push for the much desired promotion.

If asked about the books, Wallace will demonstrate no interest in the tomes themselves. “I ain’t concerned ‘bout a bunch of ol’ tomes. Whoever stole them will find more bookworms than words, that’s what I think. But Doctor Armitage’s expressly asked all of us professors to look into the matter, ask our students and whatever. My only desire is to be the person who finds them. I’m sure some stupid student’s just forgotten to return them anyway.”

Wallace will mention that there were no forced locks, broken windows or other signs of breaking and entering into the Orne Library. If there is no man of the law in the party and the investigators ask about alerting the police, Wallace will respond that Armitage doesn’t think it necessary at this

stage. “No reason to throw a scandal for some dusty old tomes, right?”

Investigators may have varying motivations to help Wallace with the mystery. Wallace may offer a financial reward to the players, but if it is a party of students, he will try to leverage his power as a professor to coerce them into collaborating. Perhaps they have been caught doing something they were not supposed to. Perhaps some of them tried to smuggle alcohol around the campus. Perhaps there is another professor in the group who may have personal interest in finding those rare tomes. Whatever the reason, Wallace will soon grow impatient of the party’s questions and dismiss them, leaving them with no more than a piece of paper bearing the names of the stolen books (see Handout: Stolen Books Note).

The investigators will now be able to ask around campus for some information about the books, or bring their investigations to the Orne Library.

handouT: sTolen booKs noTe

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invesTigaTing The Tomes

Having learned about the names of the missing books, the investigators may wish to look into their history to understand the reasons behind the theft. The Orne Library will provide such background. Alternatively, they may wish to ask around campus to other professors or students.

asKing around campus

If some of the investigators are students, the Keeper may request a History roll to determine if they possess a contact in the History department or course. This person can be a professor, and they will be available to receive them immediately. In the absence of that, the investigators may choose to go to the History department anyway, though they will have to obtain an appointment to discuss the books with a teacher. A successful Luck roll may determine the availability of the professor during the day or the week, depending on the level of success (Standard for later in the week, Hard for the day after, Extreme for a couple of hours).

History professor Sonya Bates, who was an associate professor when they were donated to the University, will be able to relay that the two missing books were banned by the Church in Europe during the Seventeenth Century, but they found their way into the New World under mysterious circumstances. The professor will not be able to tell the PCs much about the exact contents of the book, though a successful Psychology roll will reveal that she is deliberately choosing to withdraw information. If caught, she will still change the subject and try to dissuade the investigators from inquiring any further. “Nothing good ever comes from looking into dark stories and prohibited books.”

If the group is willing to move forward, however, she will suggest the Orne Library as the next step.

The orne library

A tall, three-storey building and pulsing heart of the university, the Orne Library appears more like a monument than a repository of learning. Dr. Henry Armitage, director of the library, is one of the most powerful and influent people in Arkham — though he prefers to keep humble and

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pursue knowledge rather than power.

If one or more of the investigators are students, gaining access to the library should not prove difficult. If, on the other hand, the investigators are external to the campus, they may have to press Wallace for a letter of recommendation (which he won’t give out too willingly), or persuade the Orne clerk to let them consult the archives. Both cases will require a successful social skill roll, depending on the approach of the investigators. A failed pushed roll may end in an unpleasant conversation with the Campus Security — and possibly another summoning to Wallace’s office.

If successful, the investigators will be able to discuss the matter with Ruby Brandon, one of the Orne archivists, who will tell them more about the books. Ruby was the one who discovered the theft and informed Armitage of the missing books. She will confirm that there were no broken windows or doors, as if the thief had had free access to the library at any time. She will also corroborate the information provided by Sonya Bates, but she will add that the tomes originally arrived in Salem from Spain, and were donated to the Miskatonic University just a few decades earlier. The tomes were deemed heretic and immoral by the Roman Catholic Church in Europe, presumably due to their strange prose and their focus on alchemy.

If asked whether a specific person seemed more interested in the books lately, Ruby will admit that professor Abraham Elrich, a professor of religion and theology who retired suddenly at the beginning of the new year, had picked up the habit of spending

several days in the library before his retirement, and that he was growing rather fond of the Rare Books section. Investigators wishing to look into the borrowing or access history of the Rare Books section (perhaps through library records) should be granted the same information. This key clue can be given to the players for free.

TalKing wiTh armiTage

If all else fails, the investigators may wish to talk with Armitage himself. Dr. Armitage is often busy and will not easily be available to receive the players, but the group will be able to leave a message to his personal assistant to receive a call later in the day. He will offer the same information as Ruby and Sonya about the origins of the tomes, and will suggest they talk with the Orne archivist if the investigators haven’t done so yet.

If asked, Armitage will be reluctant to further detail the topics of the books, for he does not believe their contents should be spread outside of a few trusted people. He will admit, however, that former professor Abraham Elrich had recently discussed the books with him over coffee, though regrettably he didn’t pay too much attention to the matter at the time.

At the time of this scenario, Armitage was keeping correspondence with Wilbur Whateley, though the Rare Books section still remained freely accessible. It would not be until a few years later that Armitage would realise the dangers of the ancient tomes in the library. Yet, Armitage is

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growing increasingly protective of these books, meaning players may find it difficult to convince him to talk freely about the missing tomes.

oTher avenues for

invesTigaTion

There is a possibility that the investigators will wish to look into student groups with an interest in the occult. This path will prove to be fruitless, for although there may be occasional gatherings of occultists around campus and beyond, these students will know little about the tomes themselves. Whether Abraham Elrich would attend these gatherings under (poor) disguise is left to the discretion of the Keeper.

Additionally, after speaking with Sonya or Ruby, some investigators may want to approach a priest or visit the campus’ chapel to learn more about the forbidden tomes. This is allowed, and the Keeper may take the occasion to introduce some interesting moments of roleplay, or to explore the backstory of the books — discretion is advised, however, to avoid giving out too much information about the tomes so early in the game.

invesTigaTing abraham elriCh

At this point, the investigators will have the option to ask Armitage about Abraham

Elrich, find students from his course, or go back to discuss their findings with Wallace. The latter will show little interest in all the clues and progress of the investigation, being more concerned about the results than the process itself. He will however demonstrate no fondness of Abraham Elrich, whom he will describe as “a retrograde, rude and grumpy old man with too disgraceful views for this beautiful and advanced country.”

Further investigations with Armitage or other students will paint a rather grim picture of professor Elrich. He was not loved around the campus, and in fact, he was somewhat feared by some of his students, particularly the women. He despised the most recent industrial and cultural progress, he was no fan of jazz and cinema, and made a clear point of criticising modern mannerisms and the way young women dressed in the new era. Nevertheless, he worked incredibly hard and was deeply devoted to his job, which made it look all the more strange to his students of theology when he was forcibly sent back home to Salem a few weeks earlier, one year before his retirement was due.

Students won’t need to be persuaded to relay this story, but if the investigators wish to know the reasons behind his untimely retirement, they will have to ask Armitage directly. He will not give out this information much easily, and a Persuade or Fast Talk opposed roll against his Psychology will be necessary to have him further elaborate on the matter. No other social skill will work in this case, and the mere attempt to do otherwise may have the investigators kindly escorted out of his office.

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If successful, the investigators will learn that the professor’s manners had worsened in the past few weeks, and he had become increasingly unreliable and aggressive. Blaming senility, Armitage decided to bring forward his retirement date for the good reputation of the Miskatonic campus.

However, Armitage will happily provide the address to Elrich’s old house: 130 Essex Street, South Salem. This can also be obtained by asking Wallace (who will phone Armitage directly) or by investigating the Elrich family in Salem.

To salem

There are few avenues of investigation left in Arkham at this point. The students will know little about the missing books and no one will have read them apart from Armitage.

Curious investigators may wish to look into whether Elrich had an address in Arkham. If they ask around the campus or check the records in an appropriate place, they will easily find a house in French Hill in his name. However, all they will find is an empty house, with just a few old books on religion and theology littering the apartment. Elrich left Arkham weeks ago. If questioned, his neighbours will be able to confirm that as well.

If the Keeper is feeling generous, a successful Spot Hidden roll may have the investigators find some confused scribbled notes slipped into the remaining books, or a page about old world alchemy from one of the forbidden tomes.

Eventually, the investigators will realise that the only way to make progress is to go to Salem, and find Elrich’s old family house.

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reaChing salem

Salem is a small town along the coast of Massachusetts, far too notorious for playing a dark part in the Witch Trials of 1692. It can easily be reached from Arkham in less than a day of travel by car, and just a few hours by train. Keepers could choose to place the earliest available train in the afternoon, so that investigators will arrive in Salem closer to the curfew.

Salem greets the investigators with an ominous environment. The shrouded skies above cover most of town with a sickly dark veil, shadows stretching across buildings as tendrils, almost hinting at the unwelcoming nature of some townsfolk. Scorched buildings and construction sites dominate the scenery as the town makes its last efforts to rebuild after the Great Salem Fire of 1914. However, some of those burns will look much more recent. As they walk or drive around the quiet streets of Salem, the Keeper may request a group Spot Hidden roll. A success will reveal that some inhabitants are constantly looking over their shoulders, while others are hunching forwards in thick coats and seem to be rushing in any direction. Other Salemites will glare at the

investigators, particularly if they appear as a rather “unorthodox” group.

Keeper’s Note: the Salemites are slowly going mad due to the presence of the Fractal Slake in town, hunting and killing with the hybrid Abraham Elrich during the night. Elrich has summoned and bound the Slake to brew his Elixir of Life, but was then unable to send it back to its dimension. As a result, Salem is currently under strict curfew starting at 7pm. The Keeper is advised to place policemen or signage around town warning the investigators of the curfew. Alternatively, the investigators could notice the Salemites rushing to leave the streets in the early evening. This clue should be given to them for free.

If approached by the investigators, some more talkative inhabitants will mutter and mumble, before mentioning strange beasts disappearing out of the corner of their eyes or in odd angles. Due to these beasts’ predatory nature, most Salemites have started referring to them as “the Hounds”. Some may have had their friends or family killed in random murderous sprees, while others may have seen mysterious flames and small fires sparking out of nowhere. As a multi-dimensional creature, the Slake can

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distort and bend light and space around it, and this otherworldly friction can sometimes cause flames.

Keepers should feel free to use the Slake on the investigators as a device to generate tension, though never to encourage an encounter. The Slake is fleeting and dangerous, often appearing in elements or segments of its whole, and is mostly uninterested in the humans strolling around Salem, if not for nourishment. It only stalks around town in the heart of night. It is however unable to leave Salem due to its bond with Elrich – and this is making it grow rather nervous.

The elriCh family

Once in Salem, the investigators may wish to look into Elrich’s family history before heading to Essex Street. If they so desire, they may head to the Town Hall or at the Salem Gazette.

The clerk at the Town Hall, a bored citizen with a much too tedious job, will offer little resistance to questioning. A successful Library Use in the Town Hall will reveal that the house in Essex Street has belonged to the Elrichs for centuries, proving them to be one of the oldest families in Salem. If for any reason the investigators have travelled to Salem straight away and did not obtain an address, this is a good occasion to relocate

1920s massaChuseTTs & salem

At the dawn of the Twentieth Century, the state of Massachusetts was thriving on a strong industrial economy. A few decades later, however, low-wage competition from the South and Midwest and excessive reliance on single-product industries took a serious toll on the economy of the state. Starting in 1921, some specific industries (such as shoes and textiles) began to fail, leading to widespread unemployment and urban decay.

Additionally, smaller and more conservative communities were not particularly fond of the new progressive views of the Roaring Twenties. Coming from a strong Puritan heritage which led to the Witch Trials in 1692, some people in Salem did not like the new cultural influences, refusing to embrace progress.

Nevertheless, Salem aimed to rival Boston in terms of commercial trade. In the 1920s, it quickly became a strong destination for retail, as it attempted to bounce back from the Great Salem Fire of 1914.

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that clue.

The Salem Gazette may prove more challenging. The newspaper is presently run by a board of conservative editors who are not fond of strangers and have been busy reporting strange happenings all around town. If there are no journalists or Salemites in the group, the investigators will have to succeed in a Credit Rating or Appearance roll in order to gain access to the newspaper archives. An old necrology from 1876 (Handout: Jacob Elrich’s Obituary) will detail the premature death of Jacob Elrich, son of Abraham and Sydney Elrich, due to sickly health.

Policemen will most likely be useless. The police force in Salem has recently been dealing with the mysterious killings and disappearances caused by Abraham and the

Slake, and policemen have no time to listen to the investigators — let alone help them snoop around in the affairs of one of the most respectable families of Salem.

If they learn about the murders, some investigators may wish to focus on them instead, feeling they will require more urgency. The Keeper could treat the Slake’s killings as a minor side-quest within the adventure. Perhaps the investigators are approached by a desperate NPC, asking them to find their children or partner. Sadly, it is unlikely anyone will have survived the murderous spree of the Hounds, and their remains can later be found in the Korn leather factory, during the final showdown.

Keeper’s Note: While the investigators look into the Elrich family, Sydney Elrich will remain locked up in the house’s basement

plan of The ciTy of salem, showing essex sTreeT as The main arTery in souTh salem.briTish library digiTised image from page 330 of “The annals of salem, from iTs firsT seTTlemenT”

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and will be slowly dying of starvation and self-inflicted wounds. If the PCs waste too much time on research (perhaps by focusing on the murders for too long, or by spending an extra day in the Town Hall), they may arrive too late to save her life. The Slake will also grow more aggressive as Elrich becomes increasingly aware of the PCs’ investigations, perhaps even attempting to harm one of the players while isolated from the group.

essex sTreeT

Once in Essex Street, prudent investigators may wish to prepare and buy some equipment before heading to the Elrich house. Though unnecessary at this stage, the Keeper may accept their request to subsequently accelerate the last act. As one of the main neighbourhoods of Salem and as home to the Salem Museum, the Essex Street area is constantly buzzing with townsfolk and will provide several ways for the investigators to stock up, from general stores to gun shops and cafés for refreshments. This is also the same area where the Town Hall resides, providing an easy location link between the building and the Elrich house.

Residents in this area will be particularly vulnerable to the presence of the Slake. Shopkeepers may be twitching and shaking in anxiety, passersby may glare at the investigators with more intensity or appear more on edge than the rest of town. While Abraham rarely leaves his hideout during the day, the Slake is especially active in the late afternoon hours and will haunt this area

sparingly, causing damage and distress. Investigators witnessing the fleeting presence of the Slake in any form (including fires appearing out of nowhere) will have to take a Sanity roll (1/1D3). The inter-dimensional hunter has not yet identified the party as a threat, rather as one more minor nuisance in this forsaken town.

elrich house

The Elrich house is an old two-storey house in English style, dating back to the late eighteenth century. Knocking on the front door will produce no result. The house stands somewhat isolated from the rest of Essex Street, meaning that the investigators should be able to find ways to infiltrate it with relative ease and without waiting for darker hours. However, the front door and all the ground floor windows are locked tight. There will be an open window on the second floor at the back of the house, but no immediate way to reach it. The investigators may want to find a ladder or other ways to climb up, or break through the front/back door instead. If the former, a successful Spot Hidden or Luck roll at the discretion of the Keeper will enable them to find something to reach the window. If they decide to break in, a successful Strength or Locksmith roll will grant them safe passage. If, however, the investigators fail and wish to push either of the roll, more time will pass and the Salemites in the neighbourhood may grow aware of their presence.

Some investigators may wish to ask questions around the neighbourhood.

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This is a good chance to introduce an NPC into the party, in the figure of a concerned neighbour. Do keep in mind, however, that the Salemites are currently frightened and wary, and it is unlikely that any NPC will want to collaborate easily with a group of strangers. Players will have to get creative with their arguments if they wish to enlist the help of a willing neighbour.

As soon as the investigators enter, a pungent and musty smell will force them all to take a CON roll. Failing investigators will be incapacitated and vomiting for 1D3 real-time rounds. This is the lingering malicious and deadly smell of the Fractal Slake, which sometimes travels back to the Elrich house as if led by instinct.

The two-storey building is well furnished and clearly belonging to a high-class family. A beautiful brick fireplace dominates the living room, which also features a baby grand piano and several religious paintings. Upstairs are one elegant study and two bedrooms, one with a king-sized bed and one with a single bed. There is an abundance of Christian crosses and religious heirlooms in every room of the house. At first sight, the building looks and feels inhabited, and little of interest can be found in most rooms of the house.

However, if the investigators did not gain access to the newspaper archives, a successful Spot Hidden roll in the double bedroom will reveal a newspaper clipping hidden inside of a bible on the left nightstand  – the necrology of little Jacob Elrich. (Handout: Jacob Elrich’s Obituary).

The elrich sTudy

There is a large bookshelf stretching across the back wall. The room is riddled with religious iconography and paintings, and a large cherry writing desk sits in front of the gigantic bookshelf. This is Elrich’s old study and the room where he used to spend most of his time while in Salem. The room is filled with the fragrance of old books and leather bindings, melding in sharp contrast with the

handouT: Jacob elrich’s obiTuary

via The cThulhu archiTecT handouT generaTor

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foul stench that dominates the house.

A successful Spot Hidden roll will reveal that, while most of the shelves behind the desk are filled with dusty old books on theology, religion and the history of Christianity, some volumes are much newer. A range of tomes on botanics and alchemy populate one of the shelves, visibly in healthier conditions compared to the rest of the wall. Elrich’s interest in alchemy started when he first read the forbidden tomes, which would explain the presence of these new books in his study.

On one of these shelves, unassuming, sits the first of the two tomes seeked by the players: El Libro del Alma. An initial reading (and a subsequent study) of this tome requires a successful Language (Spanish) roll, but successful investigators will be able to take a glimpse into Elrich’s attempts at reaching eternal life. If no Spanish speaker is present in the party, the investigators may wish to ask someone else to translate the book for them, or assist them in the task – in which case a bonus die can be awarded to the Language roll.

However, before the investigators tackle the reading of the book, Keepers are advised to have them find Sydney Elrich in the house’s basement.

finding sydney

At any point during the exploration of the house, the Keeper may call for a group Listen roll. Successful investigators will hear noises and muffled screams coming from

beneath the floor. By following the sounds, the investigators will be led to a locked door under the main staircase on the ground floor. If Sydney is not alive anymore, the Keeper may guide the PCs into investigating this door autonomously. You are encouraged to refer to HoS Supplement: Elrich House Map on DriveThruRPG for a floorplan of Elrich House. Any investigator with a Locksmith skill of 25% or higher will notice that the lock has been sabotaged, meaning the door can only be kicked open (a successful Locksmith roll will reveal the same). The investigators should be allowed access to the basement with little resistance, but a particularly sadistic Keeper may request a Strength roll that, if pushed and failed, will have one unfortunate investigator tumble down the basement stairs. This fall would cost them 1D3 damage and a good scare.

The walls of the old basement are grimy and moist to the touch. Old and rotting wooden planks make up the stairs and there is no electricity moving downwards. If the party does not possess a torch or any other source of light, they can easily find some candlesticks in the kitchen. As the investigators move downstairs, use the darkness of the basement to create a sense of crippling anxiety for the players. In truth, the muffled screams belong to Sydney Elrich, wife of Abraham, hunched over in a corner of the basement with an emaciated visage and long, tendril-like white hair.

Sydney is badly wounded and near death from starvation after staying in the basement for at least two days. She is suffering from indefinite insanity caused by the death of her only surviving son, which she witnessed and

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The forbidden Tomes

The tomes found by Abraham Elrich were once possessed by the witch Abigail, who was condemned to be burnt at the stake during the Spanish Inquisition. Abigail brought the books with her to Salem, where they stayed until a later owner gifted them to the Miskatonic University. The books speak of alchemy and dark rites, act at brewing mysterious potions to cure illness, curse one’s enemies and prolong life.

Amoris et Dominus, focuses on alchemy and the connection between the Christian God and eternal life, which is what enticed the delusional mind of Abraham.

El Libro del Alma, entirely written in Spanish, includes a flawed version of the Brew Elixir of Life spell. This spell requires certain ingredients to be mixed with Slake amber ashes in order to extend a human’s life beyond imaginable. This flawed version requires different ingredients and shorter brewing time, leading to unfortunate consequences for whoever drinks the potion. The tome also features senseless ramblings about the Void Hunt, a nightmare place beyond Euclidean space and enclosed within a bubble outside of conventional space-time. To date, no one has travelled there and returned.

• Author: Abigail de Mora

• Publication date: 1475

• Sanity loss: 1D8

• Cthulhu Mythos: +2/+3 percentiles

• Other: +4 percentiles to Occult

• Mythos Rating: 14%

• Study: 3 weeks

• Spells: Brew Elixir of Life (Flawed), Summon/Bind Fractal Slake

• Author: Unknown (Translation)

• Publication date: 1470

• Sanity loss: 1D3

• Other: +3 percentiles to Occult, Science (Chemistry)

• Study: 3 weeks

el libro del alma, spanish amoris eT dominus, english

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spell: breW elixir of life (flaWed)• Cost: 20 magic points; 5 POW; 5 SAN points to brew

• Casting time: 24 hours

Anyone who takes the time to learn this spell will study this variant of an ancient alchemical formula that promises to extend life indefinitely. The non-flawed version of this spell would convert a human into a full Hybrid; however, Abigail de Mora was a clumsy alchemist and she did not fully understand the source material from which she created this spell. This flawed version features a shorter casting time (normally 6 months) and the blood of an adult as an ingredient (normally the blood of an infant). The result is an imperfect Slake Hybrid, still clinging to its human form and tied to its mortal life.

Ingredients for this elixir include diamond dust, blood of an adult (5 litres, boiled down into a tar), and numerous odd herbs, as well as ashes from a pure Fractal Slake.

Without the ashes, the elixir is just a foul-smelling drink. If the brewer adds the amber substance and drinks it, things will go quite differently: the caster will feel like the drink is rotting their insides, and they will go through excruciating pain for one day, as the substance courses through their digestive tract. During that time, they will feel like their soul is being shattered and torn to pieces, causing a 1D4/2D6 SAN loss.

Once the ichor is excreted, an Extreme POW roll will be required to start the transformation into a Slake Hybrid. If failed, the human will lose the capability to eat normally for the rest of their life, they will not reach immortality, and they will need to be fed through a tube until death comes to claim its toll.

Alternative names: Divine Contact, Eternal Amber.

This flawed spell was inspired by page 47, The Grand Grimoire of Cthulhu Mythos Magic © copyright 2017, 2021 Chaosium Inc. All rights reserved.

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helped carry out. She has become rather mad and the investigators will struggle to make sense of her ramblings, but one formula will keep coming up in her confused discourse: the leather factory. If the investigators shine their light on the walls, they will notice the word “Korn” scribbled with blood from her own self-inflicted wounds.

By applying some first aid or offering some food and water, the investigators can calm her down and soothe her chronic paranoia. “My husband” she will say, “I can’t believe he’d do that to our son. My son, my son, my poor beloved son.” Sydney will explain how her husband coerced her into participating in the ritual that would cost their Isaac his life. To build character, Sydney may sometimes swap the name of Isaac for the one of her firstborn Jacob, but only if the investigators are aware of both sons. She will tell that Abraham collected five vials of blood from Isaac’s wounds and poured

them into a bowl, mixing it with some other yellowish substance that Sydney had never seen before.

If the investigators arrive in the house too late and Sydney is dead, they will not get to hear her screams or her part of the story, but they will find the “Korn leather” words scribbled on the walls of the basement.

At this point, the investigators may desire to involve the police in the case. This is fine and the Keeper may take the occasion to add one policeman to the party as an NPC. The police will take in Sydney for interrogation and to learn more about the mystery, then possibly send her to an Asylum. However, if the investigators linger for too long, be mindful of reminding them about their sense of urgency by having the Fractal Slake appear more presently around town. Also note that the Slake may now see the police and the investigators as hostile.

sydney’s message on The basemenT wall.via The cThulhu archiTecT handouT generaTor

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The abandoned leaTher faCTory

A quick investigation in an appropriate place (police included) will reveal the address of the abandoned Korn leather factory in Boston Street, not far from Essex Street. Knowing more about the possible hideout of professor Elrich, the investigators will now want to ensure they are ready before heading to the factory. This is another occasion to go for some shopping on Essex Street before ultimately moving to the ruins for the grand finale.

In truth, there is not much left of the Korn leather factory in the first place. This pile of ruins and rubble represents the exact location where the Great Salem Fire of 1914 started, following a series of explosions in the factory that quickly spread the fire across town. What is left is a monument to that disaster, the remains of some old machinery and one quarter of the building that did not crumble against the might of the flames.

The abandoned factory is a ghostly location, filled with scorched ruins and furniture, and occasionally, even some unidentified bones. Salemites take good care of staying away from the place, as it evokes unpleasant

memories. Some swear the smell of burnt flesh can still be felt whilst walking around the ruins.

The Keeper should paint the factory as an unsettling and silent place, full of blind spots and dark areas, completely deserted and silent if not for a few rats creepily squirming amidst the rubble. There is a foul stench of rotten flesh dominating the area, and a successful Spot Hidden roll will reveal traces of a strange yellowish substance, similar to dense ash, smeared over some rocks and debris. This is the amber ichor generated by the Fractal Slake, which is moving around the area, staking out the investigators like a hunter with its prey.

It is in the main building that the final showdown will take place.

facing abraham elrich

Hiding away in one of the rooms of the surviving building is Abraham Elrich himself, though little of his former human appearance is left to cover his bones. In attempting to recreate the Elixir of Life from one of the forbidden tomes, Elrich has in fact followed a flawed version of the spell, requiring slightly different ingredients

parT 3:final shoWdoWn

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(adult blood instead of an infant) and a shorter brewing time. As Abraham drank the Elixir, he transformed into an imperfect Slake Hybrid, endlessly in balance between this dimension and the next one.

Despite his new fleeting appearance, which may be described as made of crystals and unfathomable geometries, Elrich still wears his professor clothes and his glasses, perhaps in an attempt to preserve the little humanity he has left. He stands in front of a rudimentary altar made of a rough stone slab, on top of which lies the body of a decomposing young man, his throat slit and his visage forever frozen in an expression of inhumane terror. Next to the corpse of the young man is one bulky tome. (See page 23, The Forbidden Tomes, Amoris et Dominus)

Abraham is surrounded by human remains, mangled corpses and fragments of bones, flesh and organs, belonging to the victims that he and the Fractal Slake hunted and devoured during their murderous sprees. The young man’s corpse on the stone slab, however, remains untouched.

If spoken to, the professor will respond in plain English and will try to dissuade the investigators from attacking him. His tone is mellow, but if his wife is mentioned, Elrich will turn somewhat sorrowful. “My Sydney… my dear Sydney, she could never understand. Don’t you see? This is the destiny my God has written for me. That Abraham would sacrifice Isaac for His love. My God, my dear God, I know now: thou hast not forsaken thy child. Thou hast made me stronger and closer to you. Please forgive me, my God, for ever doubting your plans for your humble lamb.”

Elrich is completely mad and delusional, believing the books have been mistaken by the Church and he was the only one destined to understand their true meaning. Now that he is certain his elixir works, he is determined to go back to Sydney and grant her “eternal life”. Despite the professor’s state of mind, the investigators should not underestimate this fight. Seeing a Slake Hybrid causes 1D4/1D8 Sanity points loss, and the professor will be a formidable foe, able to drain investigators of their strength, dodge bullets and even swallow a human whole. With all his regrets, Elrich still thinks he is in the right and he will make sure to survive the day – so that he can travel to the afterlife and retrieve his children’s souls.

Brave or clever investigators may want to bring up the death of Abraham’s firstborn to undermine Elrich’s certainties. This may shake the already frail psyche of the professor and grant investigators an advantage throughout the fight – perhaps by suppressing the professor’s capabilities to shift between dimensions and dodge weapons. This will make the players feel rewarded for their investigations and greatly influence the outcome of the fight.

arT by dean spencer

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ConClusion

This scenario will most likely end with a confrontation at the Korn leather factory, Abraham Elrich’s secret hideout. In the eventuality that the investigators kill the professor, his bond with the Fractal Slake is broken, and the Slake will be unleashed to wander freely around the world – possibly, not without making an appearance before the investigators first. The Keeper should however note that encountering a Fractal Slake causes 1D3/1D20 Sanity points loss, which could end rather badly for any investigator involved.

If a tenderhearted Keeper decides to release the Slake without an appearance, or if any of the investigators survives the whole encounter, they will be in possession of both the missing tomes. Players can choose

to either bring them back to Arkham for a reward, or steal them for themselves. Please refer to the boxed text on page 23 for more information on the ancient Spanish books. (See page 23, The Forbidden Tomes)

There is also a possibility that the players wish to play it smart and distract Elrich whilst a part of the group retrieves the last tome. This is allowed, and it would in fact be more enjoyable to reward the players for thinking this creatively. If they run away to regroup and rethink their strategy, the Keeper may perhaps grant them some kind of bonus during the final combat with Elrich, based on some information found in the tomes about the Slake race (bonus die to dodge a special attack, etc.).

Professor Elrich cannot be arrested or captured alive and he must be destroyed in order to successfully complete the scenario.

Korn leaTher facTory. creaTed in dungeondrafT.

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Retrieving both tomes without killing Elrich will only delay the inevitable. However, if the investigators are having a bad time with him, the Keeper may decide to have the Fractal Slake swoop in and punish Elrich for taking its ichor, as the professor weakens to the investigators’ weapons.

If the investigators do not survive the encounter, the professor and the Fractal Slake will keep haunting Salem for a while, eventually choosing to march towards Arkham to seek revenge for Elrich’s premature retirement.

With the Fractal Slake unleashed in the game world, the Keeper may utilise this scenario as the basis for a short or longer campaign, perhaps one in which the main goal is to vanquish the Slake from our dimension completely.

reWards

Depending on the outcome of the scenario, allow for an Investigation Development Phase and apply the following rewards to the surviving investigators:

• Stopping professor Elrich and reclaiming the tomes: +1D6 Sanity points.

• Saving Sydney Elrich from the basement: +1D4 Sanity points.

• Surviving the encounter against the professor and the Slake: +7 to Cthulhu Mythos skill.

• Choosing to keep the tomes: add El Libro del Alma and Amoris et Dominus to their inventory.

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appendix a: CharaCTers & monsTers

prof. alexander

wallace, age 48, grumpy

professor

Prof. Alexander Wallace is a senior professor of Philosophy at the Miskatonic University. Full of himself and often willing to sacrifice his integrity to reach his goals, Wallace’s selfishness is only equalled by his own ambition. Bold, highly educated, straightforward and intimidating to most students at the Miskatonic Campus, Wallace has been pursuing a promotion to Head of Department for years and will gladly take any possible chance to obtain it. He disdains violence, but won’t refuse the opportunity to exercise his power and take advantage of a group of students. Of course, he won’t be personally open to getting his hands dirty, and will much rather enlist someone else to perform the job for him.

STR 70, CON 55, SIZ 40, INT 73, POW 55

DEX 50, APP 40, EDU 70, SAN 55, HP 9

Damage Bonus: +0, Build: 0, MOV: 9, MP: 11

Combat

Brawl 25% (12/5)

Dodge 25%

Skills

Anthropology 41%, Archaeology 16%, Art/Craft (Philosophy) 50%, Credit Rating 52%, Intimidate 50%, Language (Latin) 29%, Library Use 65%, Listen 30%, Natural World 35%, Psychology 55%,

dr. henry armiTage,

age 68, man of leTTers

Tall, white-bearded and experienced in most regards, Dr. Henry Armitage is one of the most esteemed professors in the Miskatonic University and belongs to one of the great families of Arkham. He has directed the Orne Library since 1906 and knows its secrets better than anyone (see Arkham: Unveiling the Legend-Haunted City, page 97). At the time of this scenario, Armitage has already been in contact with Wilbur Whateley for some time (see H.P. Lovecraft, The Dunwich Horror), but is still unaware of the influence of cosmic evil on our human dimension. He cares about the

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Orne collection dearly and will do all he can to protect it from harm.

STR 55, CON 40, SIZ 60, INT 90, POW 80

DEX 50, APP 65, EDU 95, SAN 55, HP 11

Damage Bonus: +0, Build: 0, MOV: 7, MP: 16

Combat

Brawl 35% (17/7), damage 1D3

Dodge 25% (14/5)

Skills

Accounting 40%, Art (Literature) 75%, Cryptography 75%, Cthulhu Mythos 7%, History 65%, Language (Own) 99%, Language (French) 80%, Language (German) 70%, Language (Greek) 68%, Language (Latin) 75%, Library Use 95%, Occult 25%, Persuade 75%, Psychology 48%

Spells: Elder Sign, Powder of Ibn-Ghazi

Possessions: Armitage has four working Elder Signs, left to him by Laban Shrewsbury when the eccentric scholar vanished in 1915.

sydney elrich, age 56,

wife and caring moTher

Sydney Elrich is a simple woman. A punctilious housewife and caring mother, she has strong religious views and has lived most of her life married to Abraham Elrich. While her

husband spent decades of his life in Arkham as a professor of theology, Sydney cared for their only surviving son with her morbid love, keeping him home at all costs and shielded from the outside world, as a result of the trauma derived from losing her firstborn in her youth. Sydney looked forward to Abraham coming back home to spend the twilight of her life with her family, at last reunited after many years. When Abraham coerced her into participating in the ritual to brew the Elixir of Life, forcing her to cut her own son’s throat to gather his blood, Sydney went totally and irreparably insane. Afterwards, Abraham locked her up in their house’s basement, with the promise of coming back to her with a “solution to all their mundane pains”.

STR 30, CON 55, SIZ 50, INT 65, POW 60

DEX 30, APP 40, EDU 55, SAN 0, HP 11

Damage Bonus: -1, Build: -1, MOV: 7, MP: 12

Combat

Brawl 25% (12/5)

Dodge 15%

Skills

Accounting 50%, Art/Craft (Painting) 40%, Charm 30%, Credit Rating 24%, First Aid 60%, Language (Spanish) 55%, Library Use 42%, Listen 70%, Psychology 15%, Spot Hidden 75%,

prof. abraham elrich,

age 64, imperfecT hybrid

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The story of professor Abraham Elrich has been rather tragic indeed. Born and raised in Salem by a family of conservative Christians, he married his wife Sydney at a young age and instantly tried to have a child. The health of his firstborn, Jacob, was however precarious, and in just a year the baby died of high fever. His second son, Isaac, had more luck and was able to reach his teenage years without major hiccups. Soon after, Abraham moved to Arkham to become an associate professor of religion and theology, working hard to please his Lord and seeking answers for the death of Jacob. He believes that by extending his life he would be able to reach into the afterlife, connecting with God and bringing both Jacob and Isaac back to life.

Abraham possesses strong views on religion, predestination and the culture of hard work. He believes in the old ways and prays to the Gospel regularly. He is equally respected and hated around the campus due to his knowledge and regressive opinions on human history and culture.

He now hides in Salem as a Fractal Slake Hybrid, a multi-dimensional humanoid squirming through the shadows of Salem, appearing more as a conglomerate of crystals than a normal human being. He is attempting to contact God to retrieve his children’s souls.

Slake Hybrids can employ some powers from the Void Hunt race. Abraham is an imperfect hybrid, victim of his own flawed elixir, and thus his powers will not be as strong as the ones of a pure Slake Hybrid, but he will still be an incredibly lethal foe.

STR 98, CON 90, SIZ 55, INT 60, POW 95

DEX 85, APP 00, EDU 75, SAN 0, HP 14

Damage Bonus: +1D4, Build: 1, MOV: 9, MP: 19

Combat

Fighting 50% (25/10), damage 1D4+DB, plus ashes of amber (see below)

Bite 50% (25/10), damage 1D4+1D10 STR, DEX, CON, APP per round (see below)

Fractal Shard 60% (30/12), damage 1D10 POW + 3D10 CON drain (see below)

Dodge 42% (21/8)

Attacks per round: 2 (claw) or 1 (fractal shard or bite)

Special abilities

Ashes of Amber: beings from the Void Hunt leave behind slurries of ash from their charring of reality. As they are part human, hybrids don’t set fire to everything they touch, but they can still leave this substance when they willingly bend reality. When a victim is struck by a Fighting attack, some of these yellowish ashes are smeared over them. This alive and active substance deals 1D6 damage to the opponent in the current round, plus half damage (1D3) for every round thereafter if not removed. The ashes can be wiped off with a successful DEX roll using water, a towel or a rag (during combat).

Bite: Slakes can swallow whole anything up to the physical limits of human size (SIZ 100). Those swallowed have 1D8+6 rounds to escape before they are devoured by the Void Hunt and die. Breaking free requires a minimum of 12 damage (cumulative), which can be dealth with mundane weapons from within the hybrid. Spells and enchanted

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weapons deal full damage. For each round inside the Slake, a person suffers 1D2 damage and the loss of 1D10 STR, DEX, CON, and APP points; lost STR, DEX, and CON regenerate at 5 points per day of rest, although APP loss is permanent.

Fractal Shard: with a successful attack, an interdimensional crystal inflicts a deep (though bloodless and painless) hole-shaped wound. Despite the wound, the victim takes no damage, but loses 2D4 points of POW permanently. The hybrid uses this shard to drain 2D10 points of CON per round thereafter, which regenerate at 5 points per day of rest. The shard can be targeted with mundane weapons and, if it suffers 6 damage, it will be destroyed (STR 60, 6 HP, regenerates 2 HP per round).

Ripple Reality: at the cost of 5 magic points per round, a hybrid can phase into hyper-dimensional space, becoming immune to mundane weapons (magical weapons and spells have full effect).

Skills

Detect Humans 85%, Jump 70%, Listen 70%, Spot Hidden 75%, Stealth 80%.

Armor: 2-point skin; regenerates 2 hit points per round. At zero hit points, a hybrid shatters into crystal fragments.

Spells: Summon/Bind Fractal Slake, Brew Elixir of Life.

Sanity Loss: 1D4/1D8 Sanity points to encounter a Slake hybrid.

fracTal slaKe, inTer-

dimensional hunTer

Multi-dimensional creature conjured up by Abraham Elrich. It haunts Salem, causing distress and unease around town. It hides with Abraham in the abandoned Korn leather factory.

Slakes are entities without number that make up the charred realm of the Void Hunt. Slakeless they roam the fractal, beyond Euclidean space. Crashing like great tides which pound on the boundaries of time, they seek anomalous prey.

A Fractal Slake is usually capable of travelling freely through dimensions, but Elrich was able to bind this one to his will and anchor it to our dimensional realm. The Slake now wanders Salem, constantly on the hunt for its next prey.

The presence of a pure Slake is in contrast with our laws of physics. Fractal Slakes cause boundless friction in the air and they can set most items on fire at will.

Pure Fractal Slakes can employ a range of special powers at the peak of their strength. Some of them, with the permission of writer Graeme Patrick, are collected below.

STR 90, CON 150, SIZ 85, INT 90, POW 135

DEX 60, APP 00, EDU 00, SAN 0, HP 23

Damage Bonus: +1D4, Build: 1, MOV: 9, MP: 19

Combat

Fighting 50% (25/10), damage 1D4+DB, plus amber ichor (see below)

Bite 50% (25/10), damage 1D4+1D10 STR, DEX, CON, APP per round (see below)

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Fractal Shard 60% (30/12), damage 1D10 POW + 3D10 CON drain (see below)

Dodge 30% (15/6)

Attacks per round: 2 (claw, bite or fractal shard)

Special abilities

Ashes of Amber: a Fractal Slake leaves behind slurries of ash from its charred reality. When a victim is struck by a Fighting attack, some of this stuff is smeared over them. This substance is alive, dealing 1D6 damage to the opponent in the current round, plus equal damage for every round thereafter if not removed. The ash can be wiped off with a successful DEX roll using water, a towel or similar (during combat).

Bite: Slakes can swallow whole anything up to the physical limits of human size (SIZ 100). Those swallowed have 1D8+6 rounds to escape before they are devoured by the Void Hunt and die. Breaking free requires a minimum of 12 damage (cumulative). Spells and enchanted weapons deal full damage. For each round inside the Slake, a person suffers 1D2 damage and the loss of 1D10 STR, DEX, CON, and APP points; lost STR, DEX, and CON regenerate at 5 points per day of rest, although APP loss is permanent.

Fractal Shard: with a successful attack, an interdimensional crystal causes a deep (though bloodless and painless) hole-shaped wound. Despite the wound, the victim takes no damage, but loses 3D4 points of POW permanently.

Skills

Sense Anomalies 90%

Armor: 2-point hide; regenerates 4 hit points per round; as interdimensional creatures, slakes are immune to mundane weapons and can only be hurt by enchanted weapons and spells, which deal full damage. At zero hit points, a Sake shatters into crystal fragments.

Spells: knows 1D6 spells.

Sanity Loss: 1D3/1D20 Sanity points to encounter a Fractal Slake.

Void Hunt Powers

Unwordly Odor: all humans within 10 yards/meters must succeed with a CON roll or vomit for 1D8 rounds.

Stuttering Blur: While moving, slakes constantly shift form, shattering it and reassembling it in an often unpredictable spot; they ignore cover and simply slip through obstacles with ease. They run through the air, over any sufrace, defying gravity, reality and space time.

Ripple Reality: can twist local space-time around itself for 5 magic points per round. Reality twists in strange and elongated directions all round, while those inside the ripples see themselves being distorted and twisted. This provokes a Sanity roll (1/1D6 loss).

Cinders: Friction on the air from a Slake presence causes any materials with an ignition point below 2000°C to catch fire. Investigators need to make a group Luck check, or have their possessions set aflame. If the investigators catch fire, they will suffer 2d6 burn damage in the first round, then 2 points of damage per round until the fire is extinguished.

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handouTs

handouT: sTolen booKs noTe

handouT: Jacob elrich’s obiTuary

via The cThulhu archiTecT handouT generaTor