Arkham has recently become home to the newest tobacco company on the east coast, “Reinhart Cigarettes.” This brand has become suddenly extremely popular in many cities including Arkham, where it has recently opened its very substantial brand-new factory headquarters.
Reinhart advertises heavily in the Arkham Advertiser and other newspapers. Their tagline (“To Achieve Greatness One Must Smoke Green!”) is fitting, as the cigarettes produce a faint but distinctive, bilious green smoke. It is also appropriate because many of the loyal Reinhart smokers believe that their choice of cigarette brings them good fortune.
Despite a thriving demand for their product, all is not well for Reinhart Tobacco. When company president Reinhart Laine is found dead in his luxury high-rise office, the Investigators are charged with discreetly looking into the matter.
Who could have wanted the wealthy tycoon dead? Were his political affiliations in the bitter race for Arkham’s next Mayor somehow a factor in his death? Or is the closely held secret to Reinhart Cigarettes’ distinctive green-smoking tobacco something that a rival company might be willing to kill to find out?
Life in the early penal colony of New South Wales was pretty grim. Conceived as a self-contained prison, the colony was designed as somewhere that every “undesirable” element from Britain could be banished. What nobody considered was the potential for catastrophe created by the concentration of all the “dregs” of British society in a pressure-cooker environment, and more importantly the concentration of their dark and degenerate beliefs.
This scenario tells the story of a convoy of two ships – the Emily and the Lulworth Cove recently arrived at Port Jackson carrying a mixture of new convicts, free settlers, and redcoat soldiers. The eight-month voyage of these vessels from England has been anything but smooth, made especially unpleasant due to a mystery illness that has spread like wildfire through both ships. The strange affliction leaves victims covered in disgusting yellow scabs; almost everybody has shown some signs of infection. To everyone’s great dismay the harbourmaster at Sydney has refused to allow the ships to land, placing the convoy under quarantine.
But … not everyone seems willing to wait for permission to land. Last night both ships were awoken by a terrible ruckus which ended with a solitary figure falling into the water, apparently hell-bent on swimming the last miles to Sydney Town. The strange thing is … the man who was seen paddling into the distance as though he had the devil at his heels was a frail old priest – and blind!
Note: This session doesn’t assume players know about life in the penal colonies of early Australia; all necessary historical detail will be provided in the session.
It is the early months of the war that will come to be known as World War One. The recently-formed nation of Australia as part of the mighty British Empire finds itself at war against Germany. The effort is well underway to recruit tens of thousands of soldiers to fight overseas as part of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZACs). But closer to home, the German colonies in the Pacific Ocean – and in particular the German wireless communication stations in New Guinea, a few hundred miles to the north of Australia – are a more immediate concern.
A hastily-assembled military force of volunteers known as the Australian Naval & Military Expeditionary Force (ANMEF) has already been dispatched to fight against German interests in the waters north of Australia. One of the ships crewed by members of this first fighting group is the submersible ship known as the HMAS AE-3. The crew of this cramped vessel have already been involved in one of the very first battles of the war – a military victory during which the Germans surrendered New Guinea to the Australians.
Buoyed by these recent successes, the AE-3 cruises through the Bismarck Sea ever-watchful for German vessels … but as the crew of this small submarine are about to discover, there are places in the remote and empty oceans where the threat of enemy detection is the least of your worries.
In 1920s Australia, life in the big cities – where most people live – is fairly cosmopolitan; people in Melbourne have most of the same modern conveniences as those in England or America. New dance halls and lavish art deco picture palaces are being built every week as Australians soak up an era of optimism and elegance, a welcome relief after long years of war. But the civilised face of Australia is little more than a veneer – you don’t have to go too many miles from the centre of even the largest of cities before you find yourself in a landscape which still feels as ancient as time. Untouched and primal.
This scenario charts a voyage of discovery which takes a group of well-heeled city types from Melbourne out into that other, more ancient, Australia. Summoned to Strahan in north-west Tasmania by a respected academic, the group have been charged with transporting a rare “convict diary” that recently went up for auction in Melbourne. Much of the journal is in code, but Professor Burnham believes that it might hold secrets to an elusive mystery – the fate of a group of convicts that escaped in 1832 and struck out into the ancient, brooding woodlands around the Gordon River. The scant details known of their ordeal hint at some kind of terrifying battle for survival and sanity in the wilderness.
As these city-folk are about to learn, there are secrets in the ancient wilderness that are far stranger and far more deadly than anything they might stumble upon in the streets of gang-ridden Melbourne.
The seaside town of Busselton, Western Australia, is synonymous with sand, sea, and relaxation, but when the investigators arrive on New Years’ Eve 1982, the atmosphere in the resort town is anything but relaxed. Over the past week, Busselton has been plagued by curious and increasingly disturbing events — events that soon take a deadly turn. Who is behind these senseless events … and just how far are they willing to go?
The mad scholars of the Cthulhu Mythos always said that one day the Great Old Ones would return. Nobody believed them. But then, one day Great Cthulhu and his kin awoke to reclaim ownership of our planet. Humanity put up the briefest of struggles, but didn’t have a chance.
That was twenty years ago. Twenty long, hard years in which a few scattered groups of humanity were able to somehow cling on to the barest of existence. Civilisation is a memory. The once-great cities are ruins, haunted by horrors beyond description.
But wherever the flame of human life flickers – no matter how feebly – there is always hope. And it is into one of these survivor settlements in rural Australia that a stranger stumbles, apparently with information about a great repository of knowledge about the past. Could this chance encounter give humanity the learning that will allow it to fight back and reclaim the world from the horrors?