The Alexandrian

Go to Eternal Lies: The Alexandrian Remix

ADRIFT IN A STORM-TOSSED SKY

Eternal Lies - Adrift in a Storm-Tossed Sky

A quaint, pocket-sized volume of poetry written in the 19th century by some metaphorical outcast of the Brontë housefhold named Candace Hawthorne. The vast, sweeping vistas of the Scottish heaths form a faint patina of mildly amusing poetic imagery varnishing vague, groping lurches of romantic languishment.

But there is something distinctly unsettling in leafing through these competent irrelevancies, and as one reads the poems there develops an unmistakable sense of the work’s central imagery. And regardless of the order in which the poems are read, this imagery becomes inexorably clearer: Of the night sky being a completely malleable entity. That the stars we see each night are radically “repainted across that tapestry” although we believe them constant. That the only constancy is the searing, sucking, and all-consuming depth of midnight black which seeks to swallow those “dancing motes” in their “chaos waltz”.

ADRIFT IN A STORM-TOSSED SKY

(reader has Cthulhu Mythos 3+)

Eternal Lies - Adrift in a Storm-Tossed Sky

A quaint, pocket-sized volume of poetry written in the 19th century by some metaphorical outcast of the Brontë housefhold named Candace Hawthorne. The vast, sweeping vistas of the Scottish heaths form a faint patina of mildly amusing poetic imagery varnishing vague, groping lurches of romantic languishment.

But there is something distinctly unsettling in leafing through these competent irrelevancies, and as one reads the poems there develops an unmistakable sense of the work’s central imagery. And regardless of the order in which the poems are read, this imagery becomes inexorably clearer: Of the night sky being a completely malleable entity. That the stars we see each night are radically “repainted across that tapestry” although we believe them constant. That the only constancy is the searing, sucking, and all-consuming depth of midnight black which seeks to swallow those “dancing motes” in their “chaos waltz”.

The cycle of the poems conceals a memetic pattern that forms the rudimentary principles of a spell to Contact Azathoth. Fortunately, the collection is incomplete. If not, one would intuit that the mere act of reading the poems in the correct order could bring the reader’s mind in contact with the laughing destruction of that dread entity. It is disturbingly unclear, however, whether the missing poems were never finished by Hawthorne or if they have simply been omitted from this particular collection.

BENEFITS OF SKIMMING:

  • 1-point Mythos Stability test

AZATHOTH AND OTHER HORRORS

Eternal Lies - Azathoth and Other Horrors

Published in 1909, this collection of Edward Pickman Derby’s nightmare-lyrics was printed by the Miskatonic University Press when he was a youth of only 18 years. The forward describes Mr. Derby as “the most phenomenal child scholar I have ever known. At seven he was writing verse of a somber, fantastic, almost morbid cast which astonished the tutors surrounding him. In the scant few years which have passed since those early gropings, he has flourished into a sensational talent.”

Included in this collection are the poems “Azathoth” (which occupies fully half the book), “Nemesis Rising”, “Charnel House”, “Dead But Not Gone”, and “Medusa’s Kiss”, among others. These works draw heavily upon the local legendry of Arkham, Massachusetts, and combine startling insights with verse of surprising power.

This particular copy has been annotated with extensive marginalia in a cramped hand. These notes draw copious comparisons between Derby’s work and Justin Geoffrey’s The People of the Monolith, alleging that there was a close correspondence between Derby and that notorious Baudelairean poet. The scholarship seems half-crazed, but through a composite of the two poets’ imagery it creates a strong correlation between the omni-present “gaze of the blind idiot” from Derby’s “Azathoth”, the “skipping ebon stones” that “dance across the skim-skein haze” of reality, and the “mastodonic horror” of Geoffrey. One facet of the “compound gaze” is fixed upon the “land beyond the stone” and some solace could be taken from that “plenipotent distance” if a “ladder of faith” had not been built between that land and this.

BENEFITS OF PORING OVER

  • 1 dedicated pool point for Sense Trouble in Arkham
  • Cthulhu Mythos +1 if you already have a Cthulhu Mythos rating (no effect if you do not)

THE BROKEN OUROBORUS OF AHTU

Eternal Lies - The Broken Ouroborus of Ahtu

Although not as well known as The Cancer of the Congo – the lurid, pulp-retelling of Dame Alice Kilrea’s explorations in the Congo Free State from 1895-1909 – The Broken Ouroborus of Ahtu is an infinitely more useful volume for any serious scholar. Written by Dame Alice herself, it possesses a curiously dry and formal tone which in no way alleviates the terrifying horrors inflicted upon the indigenous population during King Leopold II’s brutal plundering of natural resources.

In 1895, she journeyed in the heart of the Congo in response to her belief that the “crawling chaos” which had been “eating at the heart of Europe” was manifesting under the jungle canopy. She describes her belief that this “infinite darkness, born from the collective subconscious of humanity or perhaps spewed down upon it from the stars above” sought nothing more than to “permeate our world like mold through a loaf of bread, until the very planet becomes a ball of viscid slime hurtling around the sun and stretching tentacles towards Mars.” Her worst fears were, apparently, confirmed when she encountered a depraved cult of individuals mutilated by Belgium atrocities who had taken up the pagan worship of an entity they referred to as Ahtu: “Those without eyes could see Ahtu. Those without ears were called by him. Those without hands were guided by his touch.”

She describes the cultists succeeding in manifesting Ahtu: “Pulsing, rising, higher already than the giants of the forest ringing it, the fifty-foot-thick column of what had been earth dominated that night. From the base of the main neck had sprouted a ring of tendrils, ruddy and golden and glittering all over with inclusions of quartz.”

Dame Alice spends the next fifteen years of her life hunting down the “cancer of the golden wyrm” throughout the Congo. Ahtu, which she describes as “but one mask of the crawling chaos”, consistently manifests itself as some form of gelatinous mass extruding golden tentacles and worshipped by the disparate Cult of the Spiraling Worm. Her explorations eventually lead her to Nyhargo, the “basalt-towered city” which she describes as “predating Eve herself”. There she found that a new kingdom of necromancy and cannibalism had sprung up within the ruins. Although she managed to thwart the rituals being carried out there, she seems to take small comfort from that fact. “Surgeons do not kill cancers. They cut out what they can find, knowing that there is always a little left to grow and spread again… My time in the Congo has come to an end, but I fear that the work there will need to be taken up again before the stars have shifted far in the sky.”

The ultimate fate of the two-parted golden bracelet that Dame Alice claimed from the cult is vague and uncertain.

BENEFITS OF PORING OVER

  • Cthulhu Mythos +1
  • 2 dedicated pool points for Occult or Cthulhu Mythos associated with Nyarlathotep
  • Gain the ability to cast the Nyhargo Dirge, a spell translated from the Nyhargo Codex, a volume which Dame Alice describes as being transcribed from charcoal rubbings taken by Lord Waite from the monolithic ruins of Nyhargo.

NYHARGO DIRGE

By chanting the dirge and breaking the neck of a live bird, the caster destroys the “unlife” of a Mythos power. This causes the collapse and rapid decay of creatures such as zombies. For each round that they continue the chant (up to 5 rounds), the target loses 2 Health. (The chant can continue beyond 5 rounds, but this requires a fresh Stability test and cost.)

  • Stability Test Difficulty: 4
  • Cost: 4 Stability
  • Time: Up to 5 rounds

CHILDREN OF THE NIGHT AND NAHUA LEGENDS

Eternal Lies - Children of the Night and Nahua Legends

This late-19th century volume is a curious blend of archaeological surmise and mythography. The author, Rupert Mulholland, catalogues a number of curiously anachronistic sites scattered throughout the eastern portion of Central America. Each site is marked by a cluster of earthen domes, with low doorways that are uniformly sunk into the ground. From the surface, these structures are largely unremarkable, but the dwelling-places are connected by underground corridors, so that the entire village would become like an ant-bed or a system of snake holes. Mulholland also reports some evidence that other subterranean corridors might run off under the ground, perhaps emerging long distances from the village (although he was never able to find their points of exit in wider surveys).

Mulholland links these curious communities to an obscure cycle of Nahua legends concerning the “children of the night” (or, in some translations, the “children of the earth”). These mischief-makers and outlaws are often described as being somehow reptilian in character with a particularly jaundiced complexion; some accounts even going so far as to describe them as being “yellow-scaled”.

In this, Mulholland draws heavily upon Evidences of Nahua Culture in Yucatan, despite this work apparently having been widely discredited by Professor Tussman of Sussex. Mulholland insists, however, that the linguistic inconsistencies highlighted in Tussman’s work are, in fact, evidence for an unrecorded epoch of cultural invasion among the Nahua tribes and that the legends of the Children of the Night are a reflection of that lost period of Mesoamerican history.

Of particular interest, perhaps, are the vestigial myth cycles which the author traces back to the obscure Nahua tribes which migrated to the Yucatan peninsula. These refer to the Children of the Night as being “chosen by the God of the Black Stone” and also claim that they “carry the legacy of the Isle of the Gods”. They are somehow connected to a people referred to as the Xoxul (which translates roughly as “the tribe of strangers”) and Mulholland is able to clearly delineate a myth cycle in which a “jewel” or “key” (or possibly “jewel-key”) is said to have been taken from the Xoxul and hidden away somewhere in Honduras. (The author makes some effort to correlate this legendry with tales from the Pipil tribes of El Salvador, the southern-most survivors of the Nahua migrations, but it seems that any surviving myths have become thoroughly muddled by a transmigration of Mayan cultural influences.)

BENEFITS OF SKIMMING

  • 2 dedicated pool points for any Investigative ability involving Nahua legends, Xoxul, or Children of the Night

COLLECTED SERMONS OF THE FLOAT’D TONGUE

Eternal Lies - Collected Sermons of the Float'd Tongue

This is a handwritten volume purportedly presenting the “true words” which were spoken by the “many mouths of the Float’d Tongue”. The source of these sermons appears to have been the Misión Santa Maria de la Cabeza, located north of the Mission de Nuestra Senora de Loreto Concho, in Baja California. Starting in 1821, the mission’s padres seem to have formed some form of glossolalia cult, albeit with the curious variance that they were reputedly “speaking without tongues”. Rather, the “breath of their voice stirred the robes which fell about them”.

An initial religious fervor surrounding the incidents of glossolalia appears to have spurred a spike of local interest, which is accompanied by congratulations from the Spanish leadership for so effectively appealing to the local mestizos. Shortly thereafter, the contents of the sermons turn vulgar, and it appears that the “religious services” which accompany them could, at best, be described as orgiastic. Praises are replaced with sanctions and then with condemnations.

Despite the growing tensions with distant sources of authority, the leadership of the cult rapidly grows and appears to have even incorporated some of the indigenous people. The “sweet honey” of the “padre’s voice” is consumed by many and recorded sermons are attributed to over a dozen people.

Shortly thereafter, however, the attributions of the sermons vanish from the text. Instead, it refers only to the “Float’d Tongue”. Around this same time, the corporal punishments used to enforce the native population’s conversion to Catholicism are radically increased so that “their wounds might speak through fresh-slit lips”.

According to attached historical notes written in a much later hand, the mission was wiped out by a military action in 1825 and razed to the ground. Reputedly all official records of the mission were destroyed. There are even some radical claims that the secularization of the missions in 1826 by the Mexican government was partially predicated by the “crisis de Santa Maria”.

It is possible that members of the mission (and possibly the cult as well) escaped its destruction via secret, underground tunnels which had been built beneath the iglesias. That could explain the survival of this volume, assuming that it isn’t simply an elaborate hoax.

BENEFITS OF SKIMMING

  • 2-point Mythos Stability test (also applied each time the dedicated pool is used)
  • 2 dedicated pool points for any Investigative ability involving the Mouths (can be used multiple times per adventure)

BENEFITS OF PORING OVER

  • Cthulhu Mythos +1

Go to Books of the Los Angeles Cult – Cult’s Library (Part 2)

Go to Eternal Lies: The Alexandrian Remix

CULTS OF THE AKSUMITE EMPIRE

Eternal Lies - Cults of the Aksumite Empire

Written as a thesis paper by Brill Davidsen in 1897 and published in a purely limited edition in that year. This copy has been recovered in some sort of reptilian hide.

Daviden’s thesis is a remarkable work of scholarship, delving deep into the cult history of the Kingdom of Axum along the Red Sea coast during the 5th century BC, the resurgence of these cults during the Zagwe Dynasty of the 12th century, and even hinting darkly of evidence that the cults were still present (or at least their folk beliefs) well into the 19th century as the interior of Africa was opened to European eyes. There are suggestions that Italian colonists may have carried some of the Aksumite beliefs back to their homeland, possibly infecting Masonic lodges in Venice and Rome with their barbaric rites.

Davidsen also references the Revelations of Glaaki, suggesting strange parallels between those apocryphal book of prophecies and lurid blasphemies and the Axumite beliefs he charts over the course of a millennia. At times it is unclear if he is suggesting that both the English text and the Axumite beliefs spring from a common source; or if he believes that the Axumite beliefs may have somehow traveled to Europe much earlier than the 19th century (possibly via Roman legionnaires) and found fertile soil in Celtic Britain. The last three dozen pages of thesis are given over to a detailed symbological analysis of the “Prisoner of Glaaki” and the “Maw of the Mouth”, equating the two figures on a deep level through complicated Jungian metaphors despite the gross differences of their disparate mythologies.

BENEFITS OF PORING OVER

  • Cthulhu Mythos +1
  • Learn details of a “Spell to Open the Sky” from photographs of stellae meticulously reproduced in the text. (Sufficient details in order to actually learn how to cast the spell.)

FISHING THE RIVER OF STARS

Eternal Lies - Fishing the River of Stars

A strange and curious text reputedly among those in the blasphemous library of Auguste Chapdelaine. Recovered during the Second Opium War and brought back to London in 1858, the origins of this anonymous work were lost with Chapdelaine’s life. (Chapdelaine, along with other Chinese Catholics from his circle of followers, was arrested and executed in Yaoshan, helping to precipitate France’s involvement in the war. Reputedly Chapdelaine was condemned for his missionary work, but darker rumors suggest that it was dark rites emerging from his study of forbidden Chinese texts which ultimately brought down the wrath of the local mandarin.)

Fishing the River of Stars is reputedly a first-hand account of the rise of the Northern Song Dynasty during the 10th and 11th centuries in China. Much of its bulk is taken up with routine and unsurprising bureaucratic “revelations”, but the choice passages which have given the book its particular notoriety are those revolving around the legendary engineer Zhang Sixun, who served Emperor Taizu of Song.

Zhang Sixun is said to have been served by a council of “thrice-mouthed advisors”, each of whom was said to “speak with three tongues” and to “balance the words of one hand against the other”. The strangely cryptic and disturbingly inhuman descriptions of these advisors are echoed eerily in a description of the inner (or secret) gardens of Emperor Taizu, where the author reputedly saw flocks of blue-green hummingbirds, their “feathers flecked with gold and with lipped mouths gaping upon their hovering backs”.

There are also suggestions that the ingenious armillary sphere of Zhang Sixun’s astronomical clock tower, which employed liquid mercury in its escapement mechanism, was only the “precursor” or “broken model” of the true clock tower which was “hidden by the Emperor”. This “true tower” was reputedly powered by “reddened mercury”.

In its final, black chapters Fishing the River of Songs reputedly supports the legends that claim Emperor Taizong killed his brother Taizu to inherit the throne. Here, however, it is intimated that the “Golden Shelf Promise” (the sealed document which validated Taizong’s claim to the throne) was filled with such horrid blasphemies that its “golden inks were placed in flame until they melted into screaming lead” and the scroll was replaced with a more palatable forgery.

As for the bizarre claims that the “honey of the hummingbirds” nevertheless corrupted the blood of Taizong’s sons, it can only be said that the text descends into almost incoherent poetry and the true meaning of whatever metaphor is being sought is perhaps lost within the archaic Chinese.

RIFT OF THE MAW

Rift of the Maw

This thin, ebon-covered book is a collection of thirteen meditative mantras. The character of these meditations, however, is severely disturbing to any civilized mind: They fixate upon imagery of depraved acts both sexual and violent in their character.

Each mantra is disparate (albeit varied) in its perverse obsession, but the common theme which joins the mantras together is that of the “Mouth” and the “Maw”. The Maw is the void from which both Truth and the turgid release of the flesh emanates. It is the gaping hole beyond the empty gulf which is the world of mortal perceptions.

The Mouth is characterized as being connected to the Maw. It is the path which cleaves its way through the barriers of the mind which lie between your voided gulf and that place beyond, releasing thereby the wisdom of the Maw. It is also the font from which such “honeyed knowledge” is spewed forth from the world.

Delving deeper into the imagery of the mantras, however, reveals another layer of truth: That there is a more direct path to the Maw. A rift. And that the “new-mooned Rift” will give “clear skies of truth” to those who find it.

The final mantra issues a chilling warning against the “name of the Maw”. For the name of the Maw is the Maw and the name of the Maw is its wisdom and the name of the Maw is its void and the name of the Maw is the gulf which swallows and the name of the Maw is that which destroys. The name (which is not given) is a shortcut by which the Maw of the Mouth can be regurgitated (or vomited) into this world; but such sudden and overwhelming truth would “sear one whose mind has not been glazed to the stars beyond one’s own”.

BENEFITS OF SKIMMING:

  • 1-point Mythos Stability test

EFFECTS OF PORING OVER

  • 4-point Mythos Stability test
  • 2 dedicated pool points for any Investigative ability involving the Maw of the Mouth (usable once per adventure)

UNAUSSPRECHLICHEN KULTEN

Eternal Lies - Unaussprechlichen Kulten (Nameless Cults)

Fredriech Wilhelm von Junzt

Written by the German eccentric von Junzt, the original edition of Unaussprechlichen Kulten (Nameless Cults) is also known as the Black Book. That edition was published in Dusseldorf in 1839; this copy is the cheap and faulty translation pirated by Bridewell in London in 1845. It is nevertheless markedly superior to the better known, but thoroughly expurgated, version published by Golden Goblin Press of New York in 1909. And even moreso because the margins of this copy appear to have been heavily annotated by someone consulting the original German text.

Von Junzt (1795-1840) spent his entire life delving into forbidden subjects; he traveled in all parts of the world, gained entrance into innumerable secret societies, and read countless little-known and esoteric manuscripts in the original. In the chapters of Nameless Cults, which range from startling clarity to murky ambiguity, there are statements and hints to freeze the blood of the thinking man. Reading what von Junzt dared put into print arouses uneasy speculations as to what it was that he dared not tell.

In addition to the annotations mentioned above, there are additional annotations in a different hand calling particular attention to specific passages regarding the Black Stone. These annotations appear to cross-reference and copy text selected from some unknown secondary source (perhaps a travelogue of some sort). These notes identify the Black Stone – that curious, sinister monolith that broods among the mountains of Hungary – as the “spikes of his world” and the “ladders of faith” (intimating, perhaps, that other such monoliths might exist). It is described as octagonal in shape, some sixteen feet in height and about a foot and a half thick. Its surface had evidently once been highly polished, but it was now (according to von Junzt) thickly dented as if savage efforts had been made to demolish it (although to little effect). The travelogue draws parallels between the surviving symbols upon the Black Stone and “crude scratches on a gigantic and strangely symmetrical rock in a lost valley of the Yucatan”. A note of commentary remarks, “The God of the Black Stone cannot be summoned without the link of His stone or the Fire of his Jewel.

BENEFITS OF SKIMMING

  • 1 dedicated pool point for any Investigative ability involving cults (usable once per adventure)

BENEFITS OF PORING OVER

  • Cthulhu Mythos +1 (Bridewell edition)

ZIGGURATS OF THE PRE-HELLADIC PERIOD

Eternal Lies - Ziggurats of the Pre-Helladic Period

Kornel Alexander

A fascinatingly inchoate and bizarrely unorganized survey of its titular topic. Great and particular attention is given to Sir Leonard Woolley’s excavation of the Great Ziggurat of Ur, which was essentially contemporary to the composition of this text. Its dimensions (both real and hypothetically reconstructed) are given in painstaking detail and some sense of the structure of Alexander’s text begins to become apparent as one realizes that these dimensions are being equated through complex mathematical transformations to the dimensions of other ziggurats.

This, perhaps, also explains the sharp and sudden departures of the text from its topic: While drawing complex relationships between the ziggurats of Babylon, the ziqqurats of Akkadia, and the pre-zigguratical zaqaru of the Ubaidian period, Alexander will abruptly introduce discussions of monoliths and other structures from South and Central America and even from his native Hungary.

It then becomes clear that the dimensional diatribes – which at first seem a secondary characteristic of the text, wedged between lengthy narrative descriptions of each site – are actually of the primary and utmost important to the author: And in unwinding the strange cycles of his numbers, one realizes that he is making the bold claim that all of these disparate works of stone draw their ultimate inspiration from the preternatural dimensions of the “Black Stone” which the author ultimately claims “thrusts into the heart of every building constructed by man; thrusts into the very subconscious of our modern edifices of pride and hubris”.

Ziggurat of Ur

 Ziggurat of Ur

BOOKS OF THE LOS ANGELES CULT: UCLA LOT
(PDF Copy)

Go to Books of the Los Angeles Cult – Cult’s Library

Go to Eternal Lies: The Alexandrian Remix

Eternal Lies - Los Angeles (Hollywoodland)

Campaign NotesDioramaProps Packet

Los Angeles is, in many ways, the heart of this remix. By scattering several additional clues around the area (and obfuscating some of the material originally found in Trammel’s Testament), the PCs’ investigation is complicated (while, in some ways, also becoming clearer). They’re still given just as many options, but it will hopefully feel less like those options are being presented to them on a platter and more like they’ve been hard-fought and hard-won.

LOS ANGELES NPCs

One thing to note about the Los Angeles location is that there are a lot of NPCs running around there. Hopefully the NPC briefing sheets will help you run them all, but it should also be noted that several of the NPCs could be easily forced into becoming proactive nodes if the PCs are running into problems. (For example, private security or publicity agents hired by Olivia Clarendon could easily tip her off that people are poking around subjects she would prefer remain buried.)

PROP NOTES

Ayers Research Notes: Note that there are two versions of this prop. Give the players the first version when they discover the research notes. Give them the second version after they’ve spent time poring over the research notes.

Safe Deposit Box: Similarly, note that there’s a secondary prop for the safe deposit box that is only given once the books of account have been successfully decoded.

Walker’s Report on the Investigators: As indicated in the file, make sure to scrawl a phone number on the top of the page.

De La Luz Recording: You can burn the audio recording onto a CD and then use the Neato CD label to print a label for the front of the CD. (Or you could just play the MP3, I suppose.)

Trammel’s Testament: This prop is heavily based on a prop from Yog-Sothoth, but it’s been significantly reworked to fit this remix.

Books of the Los Angeles Cult: The props file for this location does NOT include the cult’s Cthulhu mythos tomes. Those are presented separately (see link below).

Eternal Lies - Los Angeles (Diorama)

Go to Books of the Los Angeles Cult – UCLA Lot

Eternal Lies – Savannah

May 24th, 2015

Go to Eternal Lies: The Alexandrian Remix

Eternal Lies - Savannah, GA

Campaign NotesDioramaProps Packet

Welcome to Savannah, GA!

The only major structural shift to this section of the campaign is the addition of a viable path by which the PCs can track the local cult agents back to their boss in Bangkok. Combined with the wide enrichment of the campaign’s node structure, this opens the door to a radically different experience with Eternal Lies (in which the PCs begin investigating the extremities of the cult before turning their attention to the nexus of its operations in Los Angeles).

What the remix primarily offers in this section of the campaign, however, is a plethora of props.

NPC NAMES

I’ve included sheets with a list of sample NPC names for each of the major locations in Eternal Lies (male, female, and last). These should come in handy whenever you need to improv a new lead or contact.

RESEARCH

Each location includes a “Research” section. These list any general research topics that the PCs might pursue in a location. If the PCs are researching a specific node or NPC, those research results are listed with the node or NPC. (Savannah breaks the “rules” here a bit by including general research on the Henslowe Estate and Joy Grove Sanitarium, which are also specific nodes. That’s just because I hadn’t quite figured out my format yet.)

REVELATION LIST

Each location also includes a revelation list, which briefly summarizes all the clues which point to each node or NPC. If the clue is local, it’s simply listed. If the clue is picked up in a different Eternal Lies - Douglas Henslowelocation, the location is indicated. For example, the revelation list for Joy Grove Sanitarium reads:

  • NEW YORK: Douglas Henslowe’s Letters
  • Interviews at Douglas Henslowe’s Estate

Which simply means that the PCs could have obtained letters in New York that would point them at the Sanitarium. Or there are multiples NPCs at the Henslowe Estate who can tell the PCs that Henslowe is at the Sanitarium.

As described in the Three Clue Rule, you can use this revelation list to keep track of what information the PCs have obtained and what information the PCs have missed. This will allow you to quickly troubleshoot the investigation, easily picking out revelations that they’ve missed entirely.

The revelation list also included a list of Proactive Nodes: These are nodes that the PCs generally won’t find; instead they’ll come and find the PCs. (The group of Bangkok thugs in Savannah is an excellent example of this.) The bullet points below each proactive node lists triggering conditions. (In the case of the Bangkok thugs, they’re watching Douglas Henslowe and Edgar Job, so they’ll become aware of the PCs as soon as they interact with either of those characters.)

Collectively, these revelation lists also provide a handy table of contents for the location.

STAT SHEET

Fairly self-explanatory: The stat sheet at the end of each location collects all the miscellaneous stat blocks for the location onto a single page for quick and easy reference. (NPC stat blocks generally aren’t repeated here.)

PROP NOTES

Savannah Sanitorium Ambience: This is a really fantastic track from someone over at Yog-Sothoth. You can play it pretty consistently throughout the sanitorium scenes, flipping in tracks from the official Eternal Lies Soundtrack when they’re interviewing Henslowe and Job.

Henslowe’s Cemetary: I mounted this graphic on corkboard. The rope that the PCs can find at the Henslowe Estate was represented with a piece of string that I marked appropriately with purple marker. Using push-pins, the players could actually play around with positioning the “rope” in order to figure out what the stash had been hidden.

Henslowe’s Stash: I placed the items from the stash in a fancy box (not included). The “stone dagger” referenced in the campaign notes is an art piece I bought on vacation in Mexico. I’m afraid you’ll have to figure out your own object for the protective artifact.

Eternal Lies - Savannah, GA

Go to 1.3 Los Angeles

Lucrece - William ShakespeareFor those of you being introduced to the American Shakespeare Repertory for the first time with our production of William Shakespeare’s Rape of Lucrece in the 2011 Minnesota Fringe Festival, one of the distinguishing traits of the company is our “foundational” approach to Shakespeare.

As part of the Complete Readings of William Shakespeare, we go back to the original scripts as they were published during (and shortly after) Shakespeare’s lifetime. We then build up our performance scripts by re-exploring and re-establishing the scholastic traditions of the last 400 years while following a principle of least interference. The process has not only given us a deeper appreciation of the texts themselves, but also — in our opinion — resulted in more accurate and useful scripts for the purposes of rehearsal and performance.

We first performed the epic poem Lucrece as part of the Complete Readings in February 2010 with Emma J. Mayer in the title role. For that performance we used a complete version of the poem based on the original 1594 Quarto:

LUCRECE – FULL TEXT

Unlike many of Shakespeare’s works, there is not much to say about this text: It is remarkably clean and free from errors. One point of potential interest is that the poem was originally published as Lucrece and only later became popularly known as The Rape of Lucrece.

CUTTING SHAKESPEARE

When it came time to revisit the show for the Fringe Festival, it was necessary to cut the text so that it could be performed within the festival’s 60 minute time limit.

Cutting Shakespeare is a difficult and daunting task at the best of time. Before you can even begin, you must first have a deep understanding of the work: Otherwise you’ll have no idea what valuable dramatic beats and textual clues you may inadvertently and ignorantly discard.

Fortunately, having edited the text and previously performed the piece, I was intimately familiar with it. But, of course, there were still mysteries. (For example, I’m still not entirely sure why Shakespeare so frequently emphasizes the image of a honey bee over the course of the poem. Each individual piece of imagery makes sense; but I haven’t fully grasped its pervasive totality. Since I was uncertain what Shakespeare was trying to accomplish, I erred on the side of caution and left every honey bee allusion intact.)

Once the process of cutting actually begins, I find it most effective to perform multiple passes through the text. This allows one to gently massage the text instead of feeling the need to cut huge chunks out of it. I can identify the extraneous while also preserving the essential. And it generally makes me more successful in maintaining as much of the text’s original structure and content.

In the case of Lucrece, for example, I performed six passes through the text — each refining the result. (And later a seventh when we were still running a couple minutes too long.) I am very pleased with the result: The only element of the original poem which is entirely missing from this cut is the character of Lucrece’s maid (who fetches her pen and paper to write). And the success of the cut seems testified by those who have seen the show and, having read the poem, feel nothing in its absence.

Here’s the final version of our script as it is being performed:

RAPE OF LUCRECE (MINNESOTA FRINGE FESTIVAL – DRAFT 7)

This script also shows how the lines have been assigned to the two actors for the purposes of performance.

TEXTUAL PRACTICES

Source Text: First Quarto (1594)

1. Original emendations in [square brackets].
2. Spelling has been modernized.
3. Punctuations has been silently emended (in minimalist fashion).
4. In the Fringe 2011 script, lines have been assigned to the two actors for the purpose of performance.

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