Saturday, October 31, 2020

Look to the Future Part Nine: February 15-16, 1926


Ron and Vivian

Ron calls Vincenzio and is castigated for causing trouble in Boston (in other words, his whole vendetta with Mikey, and being arrested and bailed out by Mr. Cacciatore’s lawyer). Ron  is suitably cowed. He tells Vince that he and Vivian will probably be coming home soon before handing off the phone to Vivian. Vivian speaks to her father and to Luca, assures them that she is fine, and hangs up.

The group decides that Vince is a far more terrifying potential foe than anyone they have yet faced.

Meanwhile, Ron has asked Vito, who is still in the house, to help him pack up everyone’s belongings and load them into the cars. He is quite paranoid that Vince is going to send someone to check on the house, and he doesn’t want to be caught living here with stuff belonging to five people who don’t belong. Vivian also helps once she’s off the phone, and the three of them soon load up everyone’s cars.

Ron then calls up Kane at the apartment and lets him know that they are coming over. Then they bid Vito a fond arrivederci and drive to Kane’s place.

Kane’s Place

The entire group crams into Kane’s studio apartment and talks about the day’s events. Johnny and Judge Putnam describe their search of Bryan Slim’s house and show off the treasure trove of knowledge that they have found. Then Kane, Dr. Black, and Mikhail describe what happened in the basement of the LTF building. Dr. Black reveals the message he pulled off of the group’s strange telegraph machine and Johnny becomes immediately possessive of Dr. Black’s future gun. Mikhail drops the bombshell that he has $15,000 in cash that he liberated from LTF, as well as the LTF bank book. There is much discussion about what to do with the money, and if the group should go to the Eastern Bank to try and withdraw the more than one million dollars LTF has deposited there. After a long discussion, they decide this is too risky. The judge, however, plans to freeze LTF’s assets once he gets back to New York, so that the group (and any subsidiaries) cannot use it.

The "Telegraph" Message Dr. Black Found

While Vivian pores over the new bits of information the group has collected, everyone else tries to decide whether to go to Syria or Scotland next. Valid cases are put forth for both places, but the group remains indecisive about the destination of their next mission. They agree to think it over on the drive back to New York City and part ways. Mikhail and Kane make a last stop at the Clark place in New Hampshire. The rest travel to Arkham to once again avail themselves of the books at Miskatonic University.

A Creepy Scroll with a Drawing of the R'lyeh Disc

The Clarks

Kane and Mikhail arrive at Stephen Clark’s mountain cottage only to find that he is preparing to drive back to Boston to resume his work with the museum. He tells them that he is also bringing all of the recent paintings with him, to see if the Boston Museum will be interested in using them for a follow up exhibition. He also asks Mikhail if the two paintings he loaned the group can be returned for this purpose.

Kane and Mikhail discover that, while Stephen is in Boston, he has hired a live-in assistant named Mrs. Harris to watch the place and take care of James. Both Mikhail and Kane are very suspicious of Mrs. Harris, and both search her room and her purse (separately) to see if she is on the up-and-up. They find nothing untoward, but this just raises further questions.

James is in good spirits and is scheduled to be visited by a doctor later in the week. He hopes to be weaned off of some of his medications. Mikhail surreptitiously checks all of his bottles while Kane checks the medicine cabinet in the bathroom, just to make sure that James isn’t on anything weird.

Before leaving, Stephen tells them that last night was the first night in a while that he didn’t have dream visions. Well-rested and relieved, he tells Mikhail and Kane that he is working on a “thank you painting” for the group. It’s not finished yet, but he will send it along when it is. After he leaves, Kane slips into the studio and finds a half-finished painting of a landscape of an indeterminate place.

Realizing that they can do little else, Kane and Mikhail soon depart for New York. Upon arrival, Kane calls up Mrs. Harris’ agency and confirms that she is indeed an employee there.

An Excerpt from the Sandy Slopes of Syria

The Library
Professor Armitage

The rest of the group arrives at the Miskatonic University Library, only to discover an Arkham police officer stationed by the door. The officer tells the group that, due to the recent theft of an artifact from the library, he has to search the bags of everyone who leaves the premises. Ron almost gets into a fight with the officer, but the group somehow manages to get inside without incident.

The group spends the afternoon looking up information on the Nameless City and the Knights of the Outer Void, with mixed success. Judge Putnam asks after Professor Armitage again and manages to get himself and Johnny a meeting with the professor and a look at the Necronomicon. Once again, Professor Armitage vigilantly polices their use of the book, but permits them to look up information on the Nameless City and on a method to destroy Carl Stanford’s anchor.

Realizing what the group might be getting into, Armitage tells Judge Putnam that he can be reached by telegram should they encounter something beyond their skills to handle. The judge thanks him, and he and Johnny take their leave. They return to the library to find that Ron has not caused any incidents. After a cursory once-over from the police officer at the door, they drive back to New York City. 

This brings the second adventure of the Shadows of Yog-Sothoth campaign to a close...

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Look to the Future Part Eight: February 15, 1926 (Part Two)

We continue from last time, where the group had plunged Look to the Future into confusion and accessed the mysterious door in the back of the hall.


Continued down the street and into a side street, where she took up a vantage point and watched the proceedings. She remained there until Johnny came to fetch her later.


Got in the car. Saw that the judge was interacting with a policeman and an old lady and drove over there. He left the car on the sidewalk near the judge (after determining that Judge Putnam was okay), and went back in front of the LTF building. He joined Ron, who was being detained by police, along with the conscious and unconscious Turks that he had been fighting.

Johnny corroborated Ron’s “story” that the Turks had made a pass at Vivian. He then runs to collect Vivian. Vivian further corroborates the story (after a quick summary from Johnny). They are inadvertently aided by the do-gooder banker that Ron knocked over, who provides further evidence that is sort of in Ron’s favor.

Ron and the conscious Turk are placed in the back of the paddy wagon. They trade insults. When the Turk tells Ron that he will, “fillet him like a fish,” Ron headbutts him into a mild concussion. The police, upon discovering that Ron has done this, throw him in the back of a police car to take him to headquarters for booking. Vivian, still playing the part of Ron’s “girlfriend,” goes along with them as a character witness.

Judge Putnam

Informs the police that a murder has been committed and leads them to the body of the dead Turk in the vacant lot. Three police officers join him to process the scene. He further explains that he believes the perpetrator of the crime is in a nearby house (indicating Bryan Slim’s residence). One cop remains at the scene while the other two go to interview Slim. The judge follows after them.

Slim answers the door and listens politely to the charges against him. He initially agrees to going downtown with the police, and pauses just a moment to get his coat. Upon joining the police on the front steps, he uses magic to dominate their minds and sic them on Judge Putnam. Judge Putnam flees across the abandoned lot with the cops hot on his heels, while Bryan Slim waves goodbye and goes on his merry way.

Johnny, who has doubled back to look for the judge, sees him fleeing from the police. He and the judge both leap into the touring car and drive away, leaving the two dominated police officers at the scene. The police come around a moment later, and cannot recall why they were chasing the judge in the first place.

Downtown (Where All the Lights are Bright)

While Ron is being processed for his many crimes, Vivian puts in a call to Vito. She tells him that Ron has been arrested. After Vito stops laughing, he tells her that he will take care of everything, and to give him 45 minutes to make arrangements.

45 minutes later, Mr. Vitali, who is the personal lawyer of one Mr. Cacciatore (the gentleman who manages the Bernouse Family affairs in the city), arrives on the scene. He plays the, “do you know who my client is?” card and manages to so badly terrorize the cops that all charges against Ron are dropped. Mr. Vitali wishes Vivian and Ron well before being driven away in his very nice limousine. Ron and Vivian return to the safe house, so that they can call Vince and let him know what’s going on.

On the way there, Vivian informs Ron that Vito really helped him out. Ron is…conflicted about this.

The Break-In

The Layout of Slim's House

Johnny and the Judge do a quick circuit of the harbor area before deciding to return to Bryan Slim’s house. They park out of sight on a back street and approach the three storey house from the back. After some difficulty, Johnny manages to pick one of the doors leading out to the garden patio, and the two go inside.

Johnny and Judge Putnam make a thorough search of the house, making sure that they are alone before getting down to business. They find that the house has no personal touches of any kind, and that three of the four bedrooms are converted into barracks for, presumably, the Turks. Each one contains three bunks and three trunks. The fourth bedroom seems to be used by Bryan Slim.

Upon searching the rolltop desk in Slim’s room, they find: A picture of a glowing disc, a black scroll penned in white ink, an excerpt from a book about Syria, and a formidable book entitled, “The Catechism of the Knights of the Outer Void.” The last book bears a symbol that might be familiar to some of the group.

Realizing that they are pressing their luck, Johnny and the judge leave the house and drive to Kane’s apartment…but not before Judge Putnam opens up the gas valve on the kitchen stove.

What Lies Beneath

Kane, Dr. Black, and Mikhail begin to explore the basement of Look to the Future, only to be immediately surprised by a pair of Turkish guards wielding some very futuristic and deadly looking rifles. The group is ready for trouble, however, and Kane guns down one and the good doctor wracks the other with magical agony. One Turk does get off a few shots, spraying the hallway and somehow missing everyone. Kane, cool as a cucumber, executes the agonized guard.

The Deadly Future Guns

Dr. Black and Kane take the guards’ futuristic weaponry and continue onward. They do not get far when a pair of additional guards, having been drawn by the sound of gunfire, attack them. Dr. Black reenacts the finale to Robocop on one of the guards. The other, however, hoses down the hallway and badly injures both Dr. Black and Mikhail before fleeing deeper into the complex.

Dr. Black manages to staunch both his and Mikhail’s bleeding and the group make the decision to get the hell out of the basement. Kane, however, decides to do a very quick bit of exploring around the immediate area first. He hears a strange mechanical noise from a nearby open doorway that he feels compelled to investigate. The rest of the group goes with him into an air-conditioned room where Look to the Future has set up a 1960s Honeywell computer mainframe.

Quote From the Group: "This Isn't From the 1920s!"

Dr. Black finds a typed note on some kind of printing press that talks about both the Arc of Vlactos and the Disc, which he takes. Mikhail picks the lock on one of the computer cabinets and finds what he later discovers is LTF’s ledger and a leather pouch containing $15,000.

The group then falls to arguing about what to do with the room. Dr. Black believes it is too dangerous to leave such a powerful machine in the hands of LTF. Mikhail wants to find some way of taking it out of the basement. Dr. Black scoffs that this is impossible.

Kane Eastman, being a pragmatic man, unloads the rest of his futuristic rifle rounds into the machinery, destroying it and thereby depriving LTF of its use.

The group heads back to the stairs to escape. As they get closer, they hear the door leading to the back of the LTF hall open and close. Realizing that someone is moving in on their position, they hunker down in the guardpost nearest the stairs. Mikhail draws his sword and steels his nerves as Bryan Slim and Lostalus Black step into view.

Mikhail plunges his blessed blade into Bryan Slim, badly wounding him and forcing Slim to retreat. He curses the group as he presses his hand to his wound and stumbles up the staircase. Dr. Black attempts to wrack Lostalus Black with his magic, only to have Lostalus laugh it off. Kane, realizing that his futuristic rifle is empty, draws his .45 automatic and fires point blank into Lostalus Black’s chest.

Lostalus seems more or less unphased by this, and makes sarcastic remarks for several seconds about how his is mortally wounded and obviously dying. He still slumps to the floor though, and appears to die. Kane is relieved, until he and the others notice that Lostalus Black’s body is beginning to swell.

Utterly horrified, the group flee, reaching the top of the stairs and the back hallway to the LTF hall before Black’s body explodes with a nightmarish howling, screaming sound. They fumble their way outside of the darkened hall and out into the light of a normal February day, relieved that they have escaped the basement.

Mikhail suggests that the trio continue to hunt down Bryan Slim, who likely cannot have gotten far. The others, however, feel that discretion is the better part of valor, and decide to retreat to Kane’s rented apartment. Mikhail goes with them.

The scenario ends with Ron and Vivian calling Vincenzio on the safe house phone and the rest of the group huddling in Kane’s apartment, where they share information and lick their wounds. This reunion is briefly interrupted by the sounds of sirens heading toward the harbor. Apparently, a gas explosion has leveled a building nearby…

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Look to the Future Part Seven: February 15, 1926

Early on this chilly Monday morning, Ron goes to the North End to get the lowdown on Mikey Angelo. His plan is to confront Mikey and probably murder him. He gets a lot of information, but also attracts the attention of people who work for the syndicate in Boston. After hearing about the complexities of the situation from them, Ron has new theories about what’s going on and begins to rethink his plans. He returns to the safe house with some Boston Cream Pie.

Johnny spends the early morning hours tailing Bryan Slim. He finds Bryan in the abandoned lot near to the LTF, for a second time, and overhears him talking to himself. Only, this time, he realizes that the other person Slim is talking to is Carl Stanford. He witnesses “Stanford” try to strangle Bryan Slim with his own arm/hand before retreating to the safe house.

Vivian, meanwhile, has studied the painting that shows the group being tortured by Slim and Lostalus Black, and finds several other minor details that are cause for concern. There is some discussion about the future events that Stephen paints, and whether or not they can be change, or if they are fated.

Shortly after everyone wakes up and returns to the safe house, the caretaker stops by. Ron follows the caretaker into the basement to have a conversation with him. This swiftly degenerates into Ron insulting the caretaker and the caretaker making veiled reverences to Ron’s cannoli. Ron, in a fit of rage, pins the caretaker up against the wall and is about to go screaming berserk on his face when Vivian, who has been listening from upstairs, comes into the basement and basically orders him to stop.

Ron, wanting to have the last word, returns Mikey’s pocketknife to the caretaker. The caretaker is visibly upset and concerned by this, and profusely apologizes for Mikey’s behavior. “He ain’t right in the head.” The caretaker leaves, promising to talk to Mikey about this breach of Mafia etiquette. He is stopped, briefly, by Johnny, who asks him to procure some more “heaters” for the safe house.

The "Safe House" From the Front

Look to the Future

The group decides to descend on Look to the Future for the Monday morning motivational seminar. The crowd is smaller, but Bryan Slim and his Turkish guards are here in full force. The speaker, Mr. Carruthers, is only motivational if one were a narcoleptic, but that is not why the group are here anyway. They have part of a plan to distract the crowd, and Slim, so that Dr. Black can test his YOLE key on the security door located on stage.

Judge Putnam attempts to ask one of the Turks the location of the nearest bathroom. As there are no restrooms on the map, he is directed to a public toilet located outside on the harbor. The judge leaves, quietly disgusted.

Bryan Slim catches sight of Ron and is visibly shaken by his presence. After some glad-handing and showing off other future artifacts (including a snap bracelet), he ventures out to the back of the hall, where Ron and Viv are standing. Ron says something that completely punctures the thin veneer of civility, which sends Slim into an apoplectic rage. Seemingly overcome, he has one of his guards escort him out.

Judge Putnam returns from the bathroom just in time to see Slim and the guard leaving. He follows them both through the vacant lot. Though they mostly talk in Turkish, Slim and the guard pepper their speech with enough English words so that the Judge can follow their conversation. At one point, the guard asks Slim if they should contact, “him,” to see what they should do, and also suggests that Slim should return to the hall to continue the plan and accumulate finances for the group. Slim (actually Stanford), enraged, says that he is the final authority and he will do what he personally thinks is right. When the guard protests this, Slim melts his face off and kills him before fleeing across the lot to a house on a nearby street.

The judge searches the body, finding a pistol, an unusual magazine of large bullets, a knife, and a silver amulet with the seal of the Silver Twilight Lodge stamped upon it. Concerned at what all of this means, he goes back to the hall to report the findings to his companions.

A Family Matter

With Slim’s exit, the group decides that it is now or never, and put their distraction into action. This involves Vivian and Ron starting to argue in Italian, quietly first, then increasing in volume until they attract the attention of everyone in the hall.

The three Turkish guards still in the hall remain at their posts, at least at first. This changes abruptly when a well-intentioned, portly banker attempts to intercede on Vivian’s behalf. Ron decks him in the mouth, laying him out on the carpet. When the guards are distracted by the escalation of threat, Dr. Black climbs up the steps to the stage and, with a few deft button presses, turns off all the lights in the room.

The darkness is nearly absolute. People begin panicking. The guard at the back of the room moves to intercept Ron and get him out of the hall. One of the guards on the stage leaps down and runs to the back of the room, while the other moves over to the light panel to turn the lights in the room back on.

Johnny steps into the main aisle and attempts to play soccer with one of the guard’s testicles. This fails, and Johnny winds up flat on his back on the carpet. He recovers quickly and heads to the steps leading up to the stage, where he helps Mikhail, Dr. Black, and Kane beat the tar out of the guard who was trying to get the lights back on.

Meanwhile, in the back of the room, several of the innocent bystanders panic and flee the building. Using the morning light streaming in through the front door, Vivian and Ron move outside, to continue their argument in the street. Two of the Turks (the one from the back of the room and the one that Johnny failed to stop), engage Ron in a bit of fisticuffs on the sidewalk. Vivian takes this as her cue to leave.

The commotion, and a busybody old lady who was out running errands, attracts the attention of a nearby Irish cop. Judge Putnam, realizing what’s happening, attempts to delay the cop’s intervention in the fight. He tells the police officer that, while, yes, this public display of violence is certainly bad, he’s just witnessed a murder, knows where the body is, and knows where the suspect has gone.

The cop is paralyzed with indecision, and doesn’t act until several other cops start arriving on the scene. He then agrees to go with the judge.

In the meanwhile, Johnny has fled the building to get the car and Ron has KOed one of the Turks with a savage uppercut. 

We're Gonna Need More of These to Stop Ron Deluca, Boys!

The Door

Inside the darkened hall, Dr. Black puts the YOLE key in the security door’s lock and turns. There is a moment of resistance and an unsettling grinding noise from the lock, but the door soon opens. On the other side, Dr. Black sees a well-lit hallway with a stairway going down at the far end. He ventures inward and downward. Kane and Mikhail follow him.

They descend into another well-lit, concrete hallway that takes a left turn a fair distance ahead. As the trio decide what to do, they all notice that there appears to be two seams in the concrete in the wall, which indicates a separate section of concrete that covers up a narrow gap. Mikhail slips his sword into the seam and sinks it about six inches into the wall before it stops, with a clank, at a piece of unyielding metal.

The trio determine that there may be some kind of emergency security door hidden in the wall, though they see no means of triggering it. Concerned at this finding, they try to figure out what to do next…

Friday, October 16, 2020

Look to the Future Part Six: February 14, 1926

Back to the Safe House

Kane, Johnny, and Dr. Black get back to the safe house first. They are soon joined by the caretaker, who has brought along a small, grimy, weaselly guy who twitches when he’s standing still and cleans his fingernails with a razor-sharp folding knife.

The caretaker explains to the group that, apparently, Ron called Vincenzio Bernouse to complain about him. “The Boss” told the caretaker he was going to be reassigned until Ron had left, and would be working somewhere else. Meanwhile, his cousin, Mikey (the smaller guy) would be watching the safe house in his stead. The trio, especially Johnny, were not impressed with this.

The caretaker says he wasn’t either, until Ron called back, apparently having changed his mind. So now the caretaker gets to stay, Mikey can keep on doing what he’s doing, and all that has to change is that the caretaker has to stop making fun of Ron. Easier said than done.

The caretaker introduces Mikey to the group. Mikey is dubious of the trio, until Johnny lets him have one of the leftover “ritual chickens” for free. Mikey is so elated that he insists on giving Johnny a hug, which Johnny begrudgingly accepts.

Things get a touch more fraught when Mikey demands to know which one of them is Deluca, because, “he’s got something to say to him!” The caretaker tells Mikey to get a box (which contains cannolis) out of the car, and warns the others that his cousin is a little bit high strung.

At this point, Viv, Mikhail, Ron, and Judge Putnam arrive. Mikey, despite previous appearances, is effusive in his praise of Ron and thanks him many, many times for not going through with getting his cousin fired. He insists on giving Ron a hug, which Ron refuses. They eventually settle on a handshake. 

In the midst of this chaos, Ron mentions that he now knows the caretaker’s name, which is Vito.

With everything seemingly resolved, Vito and Mikey head home. The group goes inside to talk about their new discoveries.

Mikey, the Caretaker's Cousin


Johnny, Dr. Black, and Kane relate their experiences in Kingsport. Johnny says that they have acquired a ritual that will allow them to summon the Veiled Sage, a being that can purportedly answer any question. After some discussion, it is decided that Ron, Johnny, Vivian, and the Judge will perform the ritual and see if anything comes of it.

Kane also learns that, after he got back, he telephoned his friend, Papa Doc Horus, and learned from him how to hypnotize people. He demonstrates his ability on Ron, and has enough self-control not to make Ron cluck like a chicken. The group is impressed, and asks who they should try to hypnotize. Kane, always a step ahead, says that he wants to hypnotize Stephen Clark, to see if he can determine why and how Stephen is painting the future. This is widely regarded as a good idea. Mikhail and Dr. Black will accompany Kane to New Hampshire to see if Stephen is willing to be hypnotized.

Vivian tells everyone that she has gotten a lot more research done and has learned more about the being called Nodens/Nuadda/Llud. She now believes that he is some sort of a god, similar to this Yog-Sothoth that keeps popping up everywhere. She, too, has learned several spells during her research, including one that might allow her to visit Nodens.

Ron rounds out the conversation by showing everyone the wire covered doorknob he stole from Miskatonic. The Judge identifies it as being similar in size and shape to an artifact found in a Native American burial site in northern Maine.

New Hampshire

Kane, Mikhail, Dr. Black, and Pushok visit the Clarks. They find that Angie and Deb are still there. James is doped to the gills, but in good spirits, while Stephen is in the throes of whatever mania the evening brings and is in the middle of painting. He finishes shortly thereafter to meet with the trio.

Stephen’s latest painting depicts Vivian, Ron, Judge Putnam, and Johnny standing in a circle around some kind of mystical symbol, speaking to a figure in a shimmering robe. Stephen is not quite sure what to make of it, but the group has some ideas.

Stephen agrees to Kane’s offer to hypnotize him. While under hypnosis, he describes flying over a vast ocean before diving deep beneath its surface. He describes an underwater mountain honeycombed with tunnels and galleries, inhabited by fish-people adorned with jewelry, lighting their way with the glowing lobes on their foreheads. At last, he reaches a great chamber, where, “It sleeps and dreams and I must paint its dream.”

Stephen refuses to look down to behold the dreamer, but Kane forces him to. This causes Stephen to have a psychotic attack. Kane ends the hypnotic session. Stephen, still freaked out, paints a second painting at incredible speed. This one is of a half man, half dragon, half octopus thing on a throne, surrounded by worshippers. Mikhail and Kane both remember the creature from a carving they saw in the basement of the Lodge.

Stephen goes to bed. The trio takes Stephen’s latest painting and go back to Boston to meet up with the others.

What Stephen Clark Painted


The quartet decide to have the ritual in the basement. This first involves drawing a mandala with colored sands that features various runes, symbols, and a shape that looks like a gateway. They stand around the circle and chant the ritual chant, until they are at last joined by a shimmering figure in a veiled robe of swirling light.

“Do you summon me to serve or to ask?” demands the Veiled Sage.

“To ask.”

"Then ask.”

"What must we do to ensure that Carl Stanford, the sorcerer, is forever banished and unable to affect this Earthly realm?”

“Death cannot stop Carl Stanford, for though he may die, his soul is anchored to this realm and may return to it at his whim. The only way to remove him from this realm forever is to destroy his anchor, which is currently in the catacombs of the Nameless City.”

With that, the Veiled Sage departs.

Judge Putnam, finally confronted with something blatantly supernatural, has a breakdown. He flees from the house and runs up and down the Boston streets, shouting his new nihilistic philosophy for the world to hear. When Johnny, Vivian, and Ron finally catch up to him, they find that the judge has run afoul of one of Boston’s finest. Ron tackles the policeman into a snowbank, while Vivian and Johnny try to get “grandpa” back to the safe house. Surprisingly, the policeman lets Ron go with just a warning, and he, too, is able to return to the house.

Monday, October 12, 2020

Look to the Future Part Five: February 13-14, 1926

February 13, 1926 Evening

The visit to Look to the Future took an emotional toll on the group. After returning to the safe house, they split up to either take a break or to work on their own things.

Judge Putnam

Sent another letter.

Kane Eastman

Just relaxed, because he’s cool as hell and almost nothing bothers him, ever.

Vivian and Ron

They first went to talk to Aoife, Ron’s one-night stand. Ron’s plan was to find out how to contact Aengus, Aoife’s brother (he of the jaw that Ron shattered), and arrange for a fair fight at a boxing ring “for honor.”

Ron learns, to his dismay, that Aoife was the one who told Aengus that she had had no-no times with Ron. Apparently, this was to get back at her brother for being too protective all the time. Realizing he had been played, Ron “paid Aoife for her services” and left, with a furious Vivian following right behind.


After dropping Vivian off at the house, Ron decides to case the Look to the Future building. While outside the main doors, he overhears two men (whom he later confirms are Lostalus Black and Bryan Slim) discussing a third man, “Carl,” who is getting very impatient with Slim. A hideous, unearthly bout of laughter from Black causes a normally impervious-to-social-cues Ron to flee the scene.

He returns to the safe house and wakes up Vivian. Vivian, being the scholar of the group, manages to piece together the missing bits of Ron’s story. She becomes convinced that Black and Slim are going to try to resurrect Carl Stanford. Furthermore, based on the painting Stephen Clark had made, Vivian is convinced that they will try to use Ron to bring Carl back somehow.

The walls of the safe house are thin, and so Johnny also hears this. Realizing that he may need to take care of Carl Stanford for good, he puts his own plans into motion.


Jaunts through the gate box to Staten Island, where he acquires the surplus truck he had purchased previously. He pulls some strings to acquire a gun safe and several dozen chickens. He then makes the long drive back from New York, arriving in Boston early the next morning. His plan is to make another blessed blade, so that he can leave it in Carl Stanford’s resurrected corpse, if necessary. He also plans to fill the safe with Carl Stanford’s corpse, and cement, and hurl it into Boston Harbor, “in the hopes that that fucker can find some tea.”

That'll Hold Him


Having secured James’ release, Mikhail drives up to New Hampshire to meet up with the Clarks and Angie and make sure that James is getting settled in.

He arrives late that night, at Stephen’s secluded mountain home, to find the atmosphere tense. Angie and James are there, as is Deb and Pushok. Angie and Deb tell Mikhail that everything was fine until after it got dark. At that point, Stephen locked himself in the studio and would neither come out nor answer them.

At this point, a frantic Stephen comes out of the studio and, surprised but relieved to see Mikhail, drags him into the studio to show him his latest work. The painting depicts Mikhail and his friends all dying horribly in a white room, their bodies covered with engorged purple-black veins. Mikhail can see many tubes of black liquid on shelves throughout the room. Bryan Slim seems to be injecting Mikhail’s friends with this liquid while Lostalus Black looks on, grinning fearsomely.

Realizing that his friends are in danger, Mikhail asks to borrow the still wet painting. He places it, and Pushok, in his car and drives like a maniac to get back to Boston as soon as possible. He arrives shortly before Johnny does.

February 14th, 1926, Valentine’s Day

And Then There Was Cake

The group catches one another up on their activities. Mikhail’s dramatic reveal of Stephen’s new work terrifies just about everyone. Ron fills the others in on his encounter at Look to the Future, and Johnny discusses his plans for dealing with Carl Stanford.

Ron and Vivian decide to go to church. Before they go, Ron leaves a note for the caretaker, ribbing him about his weight and asking the caretaker to get him a pineapple upside down cake.

Johnny asks Dr. Black and Kane to help him with the ritual to bless a blade. They slaughter lots of chickens in the backyard and gain themselves a third magical weapon. Then they proceed to clean the chickens so that people can cook them up and eat them.

Ron and Vivian come back from church. A short time later, the caretaker shows up with the cake. He also tells Ron that he has purchased, “an itty-bitty cannoli,” just for him. Ron at first vows to toss the cannoli into the garbage the moment the caretaker leaves, as he suspects this has been tampered with. Then he starts paying attention to the caretaker’s words and realizes that he is using the cannoli as a “subtle” metaphor to mock the size of Ron’s penis.

Ron decides to throw hands.

He is briefly restrained by Mikhail, who throws a hand over Ron’s mouth and tells him to shut the hell up, please. Ron shakes Mikhail off and steps forward, only to find himself firmly restrained by the iron grip of Judge Putnam.

“So. You work out.”

The judge manages to deescalate the situation with Ron, while Johnny takes the caretaker outside and gives him one of his chickens, “you know, for the missus?” The caretaker is extremely grateful for the gift and is about to leave.

This should have been the end of it, but then Ron burst through the kitchen door, threw the cannoli, and got the caretaker right in the face with it. The cannoli is filled with cherry juice, which stains the caretaker’s face. The caretaker wipes himself off, continues to mock Ron, intimates that he will come by tomorrow to “taste Ron’s cannoli” again, and then leaves.

Ron, very uncomfortable, vows REVENGE!

A Productive Afternoon

Everyone but Mikhail has pineapple upside down cake. While eating, they plan their next move. Realizing that they need a lot more information, and also realizing that they are relatively close to Arkham, MA, Vivian suggests that they go to Miskatonic University and study their books on magic and medieval metaphysics. Ron, Mikhail, and Judge Putnam all decide to go with her.

Meanwhile, Johnny, Kane, and Dr. Black plan to travel back to Kingsport. Johnny’s plan is to meet with Wilton, the old man who met with Bryan Slim a couple of days ago. Johnny hopes that Wilton can tell them something about Carl Stanford.

Go Fighting Cephalopods!

Roll Up the Windows, Darling...

A librarian assistant shows the group into the Rare Books section of old MU. Vivian looks up information on Nephrem-Ka and the Black Pharaoh. Mikhail tries to research why Stephen Clark is able to paint divinatory artworks. Judge Putnam surprises everyone by asking if he can have access to the University’s copy of the Necronomicon.

Ron gets bored and goes for a walk. He finds a display cabinet in a corner of the library which features a weird art object—something that looks like a warty doorknob with wires all over it. He takes it out of the display case and puts it in his pocket.

Meanwhile, the librarian assistant returns to the judge and says that Professor Armitage currently has the Necronomicon under lock and key, “for security reasons,” but tells the judge that she will speak to the professor and see if he can be granted a special viewing.

As all this goes on, Vivian takes copious notes.

The Terrible Old Man

...This is Lovecraft Country

Kane, Dr. Black, and Johnny reach Kingsport and Wilton’s house. Kane stays with the car, while Johnny and Dr. Black head to the house. They are greeted at the door by Wilton, who seems displeased that they exist. Johnny manages to make a little headway with Wilton by performing the Voorish Sign.

They are invited into the tumbledown house to have a meeting with Wilton. He says, though not in so many words, that he is a sorcerer in the service of Yog-Sothoth, and that he works with Bryan Slim from time to time. When asked about Stanford, Wilton bristles and says something about, “too much hubris, aye? He thinks he is a man with no need of masters. Foolish.”

Johnny asks Wilton how to get rid of Stanford permanently. Wilton explains that there are numerous ways to bring Stanford back, and that Stanford will always be able to be restored to life, unless and until someone is able to find and destroy the anchor for his soul. Wilton says that he does not know where Stanford’s anchor is, but he is sure that his master, “who sees all worlds and times,” will know.  Wilton gives Johnny a copy of a magical ritual that will help them learn this information from, presumably, Yog-Sothoth. Then he shoos them out of his house, and tells them never to return.

As the duo leave, they discover that Kane, having become increasingly nervous while waiting, has started the car and brought it around to the front of Wilton’s house. In silence, the three men drive back to Boston.

Friday, October 9, 2020

Look to the Future Part Four: February 12-13, 1926

February 12, 1926 Evening

Several members of the group spend some time on various personal projects.

Judge Putnam and Johnny

At the judge’s request, Johnny finds an appliance repair shop and drives the judge over there. The judge talks to the proprietor about making an adapter for the drone power supply, only to discover that the proprietor has one on hand. Apparently, several other people have been in the market for the same thing. The proprietor charges the judge a nominal fee for both the adaptor and silence, and tells him that plugging in “whatever it is” probably won’t blow a fuse or burn the building down. The judge returns to the safe house to charge up the drone, monitoring the adapter earnestly.

Mikhail and Vivian

Mikhail and Vivian separately decide to go to the Boston Public Library to do research. Mikhail learns more than he was expecting about quantum physics, as well as the Justman Equation—a formula that can stabilize timelines. Vivian learns more about the Ouroboros symbol, including that a gold ring featuring that symbol was one of the nine treasures of the Black Pharaoh and originally belonged to his high priest.


Ron called Vince, looking for information on the caretaker and permission to start a mob war with the Irish Mafia in Boston. He didn’t get very far, but he resolved not to let, “The letter of the law,” stop him from having fun.

Ron also visited Stephen Clark to get a look at the painting that Mikhail told him about. Ron was disturbed to see himself, apparently dead, strapped to a table with two men standing over him and Carl Stanford looking on. Ron also noticed that Mr. Stanford was sort of transparent—like a ghost. Stephen told him that the painting was finished, and that the transparency was not an accident.

Stephen also showed Ron a portrait he had done the night before of Dr. Black. Dr. Black was in a room with a lot of machinery and seemed to be about to throw a very large knife switch. He had a strange symbol on his head.

The Pesky Symbol that Keeps Showing Up Everywhere...


After dropping the judge off at the safe house, Johnny decided to tail Bryan Slim. He first located the house that Slim and some of the Turks were using, then watched as Slim was driven away from the house in a Rolls Royce Phantom (fun fact $17,200 MSRP in 1920s dollars!). Johnny tailed Slim as he was driven north, out of the city and along the MA coast. Slim was eventually chauffeured to an old-style house in the coastal town of Kingsport, where he met with an old man. The old man had a strange symbol on his gate.

Johnny only heard part of the conversation, but he was fairly certain they were talking about “magic stuff.” Later, when he related the conversation to the group at the safe house, he realized that it was very likely that the old man and Bryan Slim were talking about Carl Stanford. Johnny is now convinced that Mr. Stanford likely won’t be dead for much longer.


Mikhail telephoned Angie to arrange for getting James out of Bellevue. He sent a courier down with the paperwork and asked Angie to take James to Stephen’s New Hampshire home. Angie agreed.

Sharing Information

Everyone got back to the safe house after their errands to kibitz about what they had learned. Ron warned Dr. Black about the painting he had seen and drew a crude representation of the symbol he had seen on the painted Dr. Black’s forehead. Johnny noted that the symbol was identical to the one on the old man’s gate, and that also he had an almost overwhelming compulsion to open the gate. The group was disturbed by this.

At this point, Ron tried to leave the house because he had “something to do.” Suspicious that this something had to do with visiting additional pain upon Aengus and his friends, members of the group intervened—especially Johnny, Dr. Black, and Vivian. Johnny gave Ron an ultimatum and Ron, briefly cowed, decides to stay in for the night.

The judge safely unplugged the drone charger and everyone in the house went to bed.

Saturday, February 13, 1926

The house gets an early-morning visit from the caretaker, who sasses Ron, thereby delighting everyone else. The caretaker brings sandwiches for later (from the North End), gives over a letter that was mailed to the judge, and tells Johnny about some nice Greek places to go eat.

The caretaker finds a letter that was written by Dr. Black and left on the crate of bootleg beer. The letter is a polite request to acquire some additional medical supplies, just in case. Ron had found the note and added some colorful Italian phrases at the end of it, meant to needle the caretaker and get him pissed off at Dr. Black. The caretaker is merely amused, while the doctor is embarrassed. Vivian recognizes Ron’s handwriting on the note and calls him out, earning him another verbal beating from the caretaker.

Ron, at this point thoroughly pissed off with the caretaker making fun of him, tries to intimidate him, but fails badly. Surprisingly, a fight does not break out.

Kane asks the caretaker if there’s a range where he can practice with his newly acquired gun. The caretaker writes down an address before leaving.

Morning Preparations

Johnny, Judge Putnam, and Kane Eastman go to the gun range. Johnny dazzles them all with his gun play. Judge Putnam manages to not jam his firearm this time, so that’s a bonus! 

In the meantime, Vivian, Ron, and Mikhail go back to the Boston Public Library to look up additional information on the Black Pharaoh and Nephrem-Ka. They turn up bupkiss.

As 1:00 pm approaches, the group takes several cars over to the Look to the Future building. Ron takes point, watching the entrance from a nearby coffee shop, while the others mingle with the crowd and go inside.

Look to the Future

There’s more than a hundred people here, some of whom the group has seen before in other locations.

A young woman, her eyes wide, walks up to Dr. Black and says, “Dr. Black! It’s an honor to meet you!”

Dr. Black is completely befuddled by this. As he attempts to stammer out a response, a heavily accented voice from behind him says, “It is Meester Bleck, actually!”

This breaks the ice enough for some of the group to introduce themselves to the fabled Lostalus Black, a pleasant-looking Turkish man in a fez. Lostalus welcomes them all to Look to the Future. He engages in small talk with some of the group.

The Charming Lostalus Black

  • He and Johnny bond over being from the Mediterranean and having to change their names (or have them changed for them) to better fit in with American society. On a hunch, Johnny makes the Voorish Sign, which causes Lostalus to take a step back and smile. Lostalus tells Johnny he’s full of surprises. Johnny tells Lostalus that, “if someone’s going to the future, I want to be that someone.” Lostalus agrees.
  • He then introduces himself to Vivian, saying that he happened to see her play in a conservatory in New York over Christmas. Vivian is taken aback, but is delighted. She is, however, confused when Lostalus asks her about, “your companion? You know? The beeg man with the theek brow?”

It is time for the meeting to begin. Bryan Slim introduces Lostalus Black. Lostalus says a few words about the future before leading the entire assembly in the strange chant mentioned in Rothschild’s letter. Most of the group either mime the words or don’t say anything, though they feel the air slowly energizing all around them.

About an hour into the chanting, Mikhail becomes somehow aware that the timestream is about to be changed in his area. He begins to concentrate on the Justman Equation, just as everyone from his group winks out of existence.

Sweet Caroline (Bam bam bam!)

Kane, Johnny, Judge Putnam, Dr. Black, and Vivian all appear, disoriented, in an alleyway at night. After Dr. Black evacuates his stomach on the pavement, the group heads toward the lights and noise of the nearest street. They see strangely dressed people and bubble-like cars. Everyone is cheering and singing and honking horns.

The group is derided as “hipsters” by some passersby, only for Judge Putnam to tip his hat politely. This wins him much acclaim.

The group eventually discovers that they are in Boston, there are actual bars, and they are open! And people are drinking in the street! Truly, the future is a wondrous time. The group abandons Vivian to go get drinks. There is some confusion about the man at the door “seeing their identification,” but the man realizes that Judge Putnam is old, and that tonight’s a party, so it’s fine.

They go up to the bar, where they attempt to order drinks. Due to an error on the GM’s part, the bartender believes the group’s money is counterfeit and has the bouncer escort them outside. The group leaves without too much of a fuss.

In the meantime, Vivian has located a discarded section of the Boston Globe and is paging through it. She learns that today is October 28, 2018, that the Red Sox are due to play the fifth game in the world series, and that New England has recently suffered hurricane damage. She is utterly bewildered by all of this new information.

It is at this moment that the group snaps back to their proper timeline, to the relief of Mikhail.

A Glimpse of the Terrifying Future

The Aftermath

The group is very badly disturbed by their recent trip through time. In a moment of clarity, Dr. Black realizes that the metal door behind the stage looks identical to the one in one of Stephen Clark’s paintings. Mikhail and Johnny have a heated conversation, where Johnny tries to figure out how Mikhail resisted being sent into the future. Mikhail tries to explain to Johnny about the Justman Equation.

Meanwhile, onstage, several of the Turkish guards appear from nowhere, pushing carts filled with future goods. The crowd goes berserk. The group, however, having had enough of these events, all leave. They collect Ron and return to the safe house.

A Final Conversation

After the group gets home and gets their bearings, the following is discussed.

  • That Mikhail’s equation will be extremely useful in preventing Lostalus’ time shenanigans.
  • That, while Lostalus may have seen Vivian perform, he can’t have seen Ron, because Ron doesn’t go to the conservatory with Viv.
  • That, according to Kane, the spell used to send people into the future is a powerful ritual, and that Lostalus is using the psychic energy from a very large group of people to power it. Fortunately, this means that this isn’t something he can just trivially cast.
  • That Stephen somehow has intimate knowledge of future events.
  • That there are answers behind that stage door.
  • That the future must be good if the Red Sox win the World Series at least one more time.
  • That Judge Putnam is a Sox fan, despite living in New York.
  • That, as Dr. Black wisely said, “the future is entirely filled with hooligans!”

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Look to the Future Part Three: February 11-12, 1926

Vivian, Johnny, and Ron get dressed up and go to an evening performance at the Boston Conservatory. Afterward, Vivian is introduced to the director and his wife and makes important society connections, while Ron and Johnny overhear two matrons of the upper-class twit variety discussing a small flying machine called a “drone.” This drone was apparently purchased by one matron’s husband, who is a member of Look to the Future. The matron flew it briefly in Boston Commons, which resulted in a grainy picture and a sensationalist story about the machine appearing in the Globe.

While the three of them are out, Mikhail gets a call from Stephen Clark, who expresses a renewed interest in seeing and helping his brother, James. Mikhail and Stephen discuss paperwork, visitation, and James’ aftercare once he leaves Bellevue.

Stephen further remarks that he has found a painting of Ron among his new collection. He describes the painting as: Ron, apparently injured, lying on a white table in a white room. A man in a conical hat and a man with black hair stand over him. The  black-haired man holds a wavy bladed knife. In addition, a third person, a chubby man in spectacles and holding a cane, looks on from a distance.

Mikhail, concerned about this, informs Ron once everyone comes back from the conservatory. In the middle of his story, Mikhail realizes that the man in the picture might be Carl Stanford.

Ron seems largely unperturbed by this story, and asks if anyone wants to go with him to the Game Preserve. Everyone but Vivian, who is a classy lady, decides to go.

Carl Stanford. Gone, But Never Forgotten!

The Game Preserve

The night starts out pleasant enough. After everyone gets drinks, Dr. Black seats himself at the Blackjack table and wins a few hands. Meanwhile, Judge Putnam sits down at a poker table with a bunch of the local toughs. Using Psychology, he proceeds to strategically lose to the other players for several hands, all the while assessing their strengths and weaknesses and insinuating himself into their good graces with his usual charm. When he eventually leverages his information to a substantial win, the rest of the players aren’t even mad! They simply insist on him paying for a round of drinks for the table.

Kane, Mikhail, and Johnny relax at the table with Ron, until three Irish toughs start shooting dirty looks in Ron’s direction. Johnny attempts to prevail upon Ron to let it drop, but Ron refuses to do so. He sits down at the table with the three toughs and engages in frosty dialogue with them. This is not improved when Aoife—behickeyed and flustered—comes in and starts being friendly with Ron.

The conversation rapidly deteriorates from there. Aengus, one of the three men, happens to be Aoife’s brother, and insinuates that, since he told Aoife to stay away from Ron, that Ron must have done something untoward to get her to sleep with him. Things get so bad that the three Irishmen and Ron all agree to step outside to settle things. Fortunately for Ron, everyone else in the group follows after him to help even the odds.

And a good thing, too. The fight ends with Mikhail sitting atop one of the Irish boys, Ron shattering Aengus’s jaw, Ron dropped unconscious on the pavement, and Dr. Black attempting to apply ether to a still-flailing Aengus. Judge Putnam and Johnny manage to de-escalate the situation to the point where both sides are willing to take their wounded and leave. As the fight breaks up and the group leaves the Game Preserve, Johnny warns the Irishmen that, “if Ron sees you again, he’s going to kill you.”

Back at the Safe House

Vivian is bemused and unsurprised when Ron is brought into the house unconscious. Dr. Black tends to him and gets him up and awake, but Ron is only sort of lucid and in a lot of pain. During all this, the still nameless caretaker ambles into the house to see what’s up. He mocks Ron to his face—to the delight of everyone else in the group—and tells Johnny that he has a list for him of good Greek places in the area.

After all this excitement, the group decides it’s more than time for bed.

Friday, February 12, 1926

Judge Putnam has the idea to show up at the Look to the Future building prior to the Saturday meeting, to see if the group can gather information. He says that, if asked, they will act very eager to join the group and insist that they had gotten the date wrong (Friday instead of Saturday).

Ron, who is still in a lot of pain, begs off, and has Dr. Black take him to Mass General. He is diagnosed with a concussion and is given morphine tablets. This does little to take the edge off of his rage, either at the unnamed caretaker or at the Irish boys at the Game Preserve.

Kane, meanwhile, goes to his failsafe apartment and tries to use his occult knowledge to ward it against supernatural attack. This seems to work.

Look to the Future

In order to make it seem as though they are not all one group, Judge Putnam and Mikhail form one team, while Johnny and Vivian form another. They approach the Look to the Future building, which is located on Boston Harbor, and note its strange, lozenge-like architecture. Johnny notes that the building is reminiscent of a pillbox, with one entrance and no windows.

While looking around, Johnny and Vivian discover a pedestrian trail that leads off through the middle of a vacant lot. They decide to walk in that direction to see what’s there, while Mikhail and the judge enter the building.

The Lot

Vivian and Johnny encounter a dark-haired man who is standing in the field and, apparently, arguing with himself. The man is startled to see them and apologizes for his somewhat erratic behavior before introducing himself as Bryan Slim, one of the organizers of Look to the Future. They exchange pleasantries, and Johnny and Vivian feign distress and embarrassment when they realize that the meeting is actually on Saturday. Bryan Slim tells them not to worry, and that he would be happy to give them a tour of the facility right now.

Bryan Slim, President, Look to the Future

Inside the Building

Judge Putnam and Mikhail enter the Look to the Future building to find it laid out much like a church, with numerous benches for seating and a raised platform with a podium at the far end. There are also six gentlemen of North African descent, dressed in olive drab clothing, standing at key positions around the room. One of them approaches the judge and Mikhail and tries to explain, in broken English, that the hall is currently closed.

In an attempt to remain in the hall for as long as possible, Judge Putnam very politely, but very insistently, begins to ask questions of the guard, purposely peppering his speech with very complex words that non-native speakers wouldn’t know. This baffles the guard, who calls over a second guard. The two of them converse in Turkish and attempt, with little success, to get the Judge and Mikhail to leave.

At this point, Bryan Slim enters the building with Vivian and Johnny. He speaks to the guards in Turkish and dismisses them back to their posts. At this point, Johnny introduces himself and his girlfriend, Vivian, to the Judge and Mikhail. The four of them express “sincere” bafflement that they have all somehow arrived on the wrong date.

Bryan Slim escorts them to the front of the room, where display cabinets have been arranged in front of the stage. He says that these cases contain valuable artifacts pulled from the future by his colleague, Lostalus Black, and that they are available for purchase to interested parties. Looking over the case, the group sees that these items are all exorbitantly priced, with nothing offered for sale for less than $20.

While Bryan Slim talks, Vivian notices that all six guards are carrying concealed pistols, and that there is a very plain, industrial door at the back of the stage that is locked. She and Mikhail also look around for any signs of theatrical machinery that might allow Look to the Future to pull off their stunt with stage magic. Other than controls for the lights, they don’t see anything of note.

Bryan Slim proceeds to show off and demonstrate the following:

  • A 20 oz plastic bottle of Coca Cola.
  • A pair of tinted, bifocal sunglasses with those springy frames.
  • A Rubik cube.
  • Pots and pans similar to the one owned by Rothschild.
  • A Tamagotchi.
  • A drone.

Mikhail purchases the Tamagotchi and the judge spends $200 on the drone. Bryan Slim thanks them for their interests and their purchases and expertly shoos them out of the hall.

Judge Putnam's Newest Toy

The Return

Everyone returns to the safe house. The players take turns flying the drone until it runs out of electricity. Ron sucker punches Doctor Black for unspecified reasons, then announces his plan to take vengeance on the caretaker. Everyone else talks about what they learned at Look to the Future and discusses their plans for Saturday.