Call of Cthulhu Investigator Handbook 7th Edition 9781568824314, 1568824319 - DOKUMEN.PUB (2022)

Table of contents :
Title Page
Table Of Contents
Chapter One: Introduction
Example of Play
What You Need to Play Call of Cthulhu
Chapter Two: The Dunwich Horror
Chapter Three: Creating Investigators
The Steps
What the Numbers Mean
Example of Investigator Creation
Period Names
Other Ways of Creating Investigators (Optional Rules)
Quick Reference Chart for Half and Fifth Values
Quick Reference: Investigator Generation
Chapter Four: Occupations
List of Occupations
Chapter Five: Skills
Skill List
Living Standards
Becoming a Believer
Optional Rules
Chapter Six: Investigator Organizations
Sample Investigators
Members of The Society for the Exploration of the Unexplained
Chapter Seven: Life As An Investigator
Monster Size Comparison Charts
Chapter Eight: The Roaring Twenties
Chronology of the Roaring Twenties
Useful Information for 1920s Investigators
1920s Biographies
Notable Libraries and Museums
Chapter Nine: Advice For Players
Setting the Scene
Rules Advice
Chapter Ten: Reference
A Hundred Years and More
Speeds and Distances
Equipment, Travel & Weapons: 1920s
Modern Day
Weapons Table
Converting from Previous Editions
Map of Arkham
Map of Lovecraft Country
Investigator Sheets
Kickstarter Backers

Originally written by

Keith Herber This revised 7th Edition is a collaboration between

Mike Mason and Paul Fricker Editorial: Scott Dorward, Paul Fricker, Charlie Krank, and Mike Mason Design Format: Badger McInnes, Meghan McLean, and Mike Mason Layout: Badger McInnes, Meghan Mclean, Nicholas Nacario, and Rick Meints Art Direction: Mike Mason and Meghan McLean Cover Illustration: Sam Lamont Chapter Illustrations: Jonathan Wyke, Paul Carrick, François Launet, Victor Leza, Charles Wong, Mike Perry, Mariusz Gandzel, Cyril van der Haegen, and Linda Jones Interior Illustrations: Alberto Bontempi, Rachel Kahn, Grilla, Chris Huth, Paul Carrick, Jonathan Wyke, Robert Hack, Francois Launet, John T. Snyder, Nathan Rosario, Chris Lackey, and Earl Geier Cartography: Stephanie McAlea Cristoforo Font: Thomas Phinney

investigator handbook The Call of Cthulhu Investigator Handbook

The authors would like to thank the following people for their ongoing support and assistance: Charlie Krank, Keary Birch, Alan Bligh, John French, Matt Anderson, Scott Dorward, Dean Engelhardt, Matthew Sanderson, Tim Vincent, Garrie Hall, Dan Kramer, and of course Sandy Petersen, without whom none of this would have happened!

Clear Credit

This book was developed and written by Mike Mason and Paul Fricker. Mike Mason wrote and revised the Occupations and Investigator Organizations, with development and additional material from Paul Fricker. Life as an Investigator and The Roaring Twenties revised with additional material by Mike Mason. Paul Fricker and Mike Mason wrote Advice for Players. The Equipment Lists were revised and updated by Mike Mason with assistance from Dan Kramer. Paul Fricker revised the Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition rules with development and additional material from Mike Mason. 7th Edition investigator sheets designed by Dean Engelhardt. Updated equipment costs were provided by Mike Mason and Dan Kramer. Joe Schillizzi also helped with the revised weapon tables. This book additionally draws from earlier publications, including The Investigator’s Companion Vol. 1 & 2, as well as previous editions of the Call of Cthulhu rules. The following authors’ work has been used or revised in this current edition: Sandy Petersen, Lynn Willis, Keith Herber, Kevin Ross, Mark Morrison, William Hamblin, Scott David Aniolowski, Michael Tice, Shannon Appel, Eric Rowe, Bruce Ballon, William G. Dunn, Sam Johnson, Brian M. Sammons, Jan Engan, Bill Barton, Les Brooks, Gregory Rucka, Gary O’Connell, John Crowe, Kenneth Faig Jr., Justin Hynes, Andrew Leman, Paul McConnell, Ann Merritt, Lucya Szachnowski, and friends. Tony Williams assisted with Cristoforo font typesetting. Period photographs were taken from Wiki Commons or Flickr Commons are in public domain. Call of Cthulhu is published by Chaosium Inc. Call of Cthulhu (7th Edition) is copyright ©1981, 1983, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2004, 2005, 2013, 2014 by Chaosium Inc.; all rights reserved. Call of Cthulhu® is the registered trademark of Chaosium Inc. Similarities between characters in Call of Cthulhu and persons living or dead are strictly coincidental. The reproduction of material from within this book for the purposes of personal or corporate profit, by photographic, optical, electronic, or other media or methods of storage and retrieval, is prohibited.


Address questions and comments by mail to: Chaosium, Inc. 3450 Wooddale Court Ann Arbor, MI 48104 U.S.A.

Please do not phone in game questions; the quickest answer may not be the best answer. Our web site www.chaosium. com always contains latest release information and current prices. Chaosium Publication 23136 ISBN 9781568824314 Published in October 2015. Printed in Germany. Follow Chaosium on Twitter @Chaosium_Inc Find Chaosium on Facebook

investigator handbook

For Lynn Willis


investigator handbook

TABLE OF CONTENTS Chapter One: Introduction

10 Chapter Seven: Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Life As An Investigator Example of Play . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 What You Need to Play Call of Cthulhu. . . . . . 15

Chapter Two: The Dunwich Horror


Chapter Three: Creating Investigators


The Steps . . . . . . . . . . . . . . What the Numbers Mean . . . . . Example of Investigator Creation Period Names . . . . . . . . . . . Other Ways of Creating Investigators (Optional Rules) . . Quick Reference Chart for Half and Fifth Values . . . . . . Quick Reference: Investigator Generation . . . . . . .

. . . .

. . . .

. . . .

. . . .

. . . . . . 59 . . . . .64-65

Chapter Five: Skills


List of Occupations . . . . . . . . . . . . .68-69 . . . .

. . . .

. . . .

. . . .

Chapter Six: Investigator Organizations

. . . .

. . . .

Chapter Eight: The Roaring Twenties


Chronology of the Roaring Twenties . . . 166-167 Useful Information for 1920s Investigators . . . . 168 1920s Biographies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 183 Notable Libraries and Museums . . . . . . . 202

Chapter Ten: Reference


. . . .

Monster Size Comparison Charts . . . 158-159

. . 43 . . 46 Chapter Nine: . . 47 Advice For Players 208 .54-55 Setting the Scene . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 210 Rules Advice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 215 . . . . . . 58

Chapter Four: Occupations

Skill List. . . . . . . . Living Standards . . . Becoming a Believer . Optional Rules . . . .


. . . .

. . . .

. . . .

. . . .

. . . .

A Hundred Years and More. . . . . . . Speeds and Distances . . . . . . . . . . Equipment, Travel & Weapons: 1920s . Modern Day . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Weapons Table . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Converting from Previous Editions . . Map of Arkham . . . . . . . . . . . . . Map of Lovecraft Country . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . .


. 226 . 236 . 238 . 247 . 250 . 256 . 260 . 261

. 97 . 102 Index 262 . 103 . 121 Investigator Sheets 1920s . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 266-267 Modern-Day . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 268-269


Sample Investigators . . . . . . . . . . . 130-141 Members of The Society for the Exploration of the Unexplained . . . . 142-145


Playtesters. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 270 Kickstarter Backers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 271

investigator handbook


elcome to the Call of Cthulhu Investigator Handbook! Call of Cthulhu is a game full of secrets, mysteries, and horror. Playing the role of a steadfast investigator, you will travel to strange and dangerous places, uncover foul plots, and stand against the terrors of the night. You will encounter sanityblasting entities, monsters, and insane cultists. Within strange and forgotten tomes of lore you will find secrets that man was not meant to know. You and your companions may very well decide the fate of the world… Call of Cthulhu is a horror roleplaying game based on the writings of Howard Phillips Lovecraft. Lovecraft penned a tremendous body of work during the 1920s and 1930s concerning both horrors from beyond and from within. Following his death in 1937, Lovecraft’s stories of cosmic horror have grown in reputation and stature, and today he is recognized as a major American horror story writer of the twentieth century, influencing numerous authors, film directors, and amassing a huge following of devoted fans. Indeed Lovecraft himself could now be considered a cult figure in his own right. Lovecraft’s fiction ranges from science fiction to gothic horror and into nihilistic cosmic terror— perfect material on which to base a roleplaying game. Lovecraft’s most famous invention has become known as the Cthulhu Mythos, a series of stories sharing common plot elements such as certain mythical books of arcane lore and alien godlike entities. The Cthulhu Mythos fired the imagination of other authors, mostly protégés and friends of Lovecraft, and soon they were adding to this complex

Read Me First— How to Use this Book If you are new to Call of Cthulhu, we recommend you read this Introduction all the way through (especially the Example of Play on pages 13— 15), followed by The Dunwich Horror story by H.P. Lovecraft (page 18), before reading through the rest of the book. However, if you are already familiar with H.P. Lovecraft and previous versions of the Call of Cthulhu game, you will probably want to jump straight in at Chapter 3: Creating Investigators and read on from there.


mythology, further advancing its concepts and constituent parts. Today "Cthulhu" stories are still being written (and filmed) by the heirs to Lovecraft’s literary legacy. Do not be concerned if you’ve never read one of Lovecraft’s stories or don't know anything about the Cthulhu Mythos; such information will unfold during the game. A lot of the fun is to be found in discovering secrets and unraveling the mysteries set up by the Keeper of Arcane Lore, who "referees" the game.

About this Book

This book has been written for people who will be playing the roles of investigators in Call of Cthulhu games, and contains rules for creating investigator characters and a guide to playing, which includes information for games set in the era of H.P. Lovecraft’s stories—the 1920s—as well as contemporary settings. As well as this book, you will need gaming dice, pencils, notepaper, and some friends—one person must have the Call of Cthulhu Keeper Rulebook and act as the Keeper of Arcane Lore for the game.

Purpose of the Game

The aim of playing Call of Cthulhu is to have fun with your friends as you explore and create a Lovecraftian story. Players take the role of intrepid investigators of the unknown ("investigators"), attempting to seek out, understand, and eventually destroy the horrors, mysteries, and secrets of the Cthulhu Mythos. A game moderator, known as the Keeper of Arcane Lore ("Keeper"), is necessary for this game, and his or her role is, within the rules of the game, to set up situations for the players to confront. The investigators need not be anything at all like the people who play them. Indeed, it is often more rewarding and enjoyable for players to create characters entirely unlike themselves: tough private eyes, rude taxi drivers, or sinisterly genteel occultists. Most of the play is a verbal exchange. The Keeper sets the scene, describing the environment, the individuals, and encounters to the players. The players tell the Keeper what they intend their investigators to do. The Keeper then tells them whether they can do it, and, if not, what happens instead. In play the game takes the form of a group conversation with many twists and turns and fun on the way. The game rules use dice to determine if an action succeeds or fails when a dramatic conflict presents itself; for example, whether your investigators are able to leap out of the way of giant statue that is about to crash down upon their heads! The rules describe how to decide the outcome of such conflicts.

chapter 1: introduction

Cooperation and Competition

Example of Play

Gaming is a social pastime. If you want to use your imagination alone, you could simply read a book. However, be warned! When a number of people get together cooperatively, they build a communal fantasy far more interesting and imaginative than a single person could—and the joint effort results in an extremely fun and satisfying experience for all involved. Together you create and develop a story in which each of your investigators plays a leading role! Whether or not investigators cooperate, the players should. Investigators may be played as nice people, as devious brutes, or however the players wish. Most of the entertainment of the game can be found in the ingenuity of players’ roleplaying and in-character conversations. Working cooperatively together, along with the Keeper, builds an enjoyable and understandable game world within which to play. The rewards of cooperation are great. Remember, the object of all of this is to have fun!

Winners and Losers

In Call of Cthulhu, there are no winners and losers in the standard competitive sense. Play is usually cooperative, the participants working together to attain a common goal—usually to discover and foil some nefarious plot being perpetrated by the minions of some dark cult or secret society. The opposition that the investigators face will often be alien or hostile—controlled by an impartial Keeper. It’s the Keeper’s job to run the game and they will have prepared a scenario (either a published adventure or one written by the Keeper) for you and the other players to play through. Winning in such a situation depends on whether the investigators succeed in their goal. Losing is what happens if they fail to achieve their goal (though they may be able to try again later). During the game investigators may become injured, suffer sanity-shattering experiences, or even die! However, someone has to make a stand against the cosmic horrors of the universe, and the death of a single investigator matters little if it means repulsing Cthulhu’s master plan to enslave the Earth! Investigators who survive will gain power from arcane volumes of forgotten lore, knowledge of horrendous monsters, and advancement in their skills as they become more experienced. Thus the players’ investigators will continue to progress, until their demise or retirement—whichever comes first.

If you’ve never played a roleplaying game before, you might still be wondering just how it all works. The following example of play provides an illustration of a typical gaming session. Don't worry about some of the terms used, as you’ll become better acquainted with them as you begin to play the game. Paula, Joe, Cathy, and Arnold are the players, each of them controlling an investigator. Garrie is in the role of Keeper and is running the game (leading the story and controlling the non-player characters and monsters in the game). Notice that though the players have different ways of referring to their characters, Garrie the Keeper easily sorts out their statements and feels no need for consistency. We join the game in mid-session… (GARRIE) KEEPER: You have arrived just before closing time at the library. There’s hardly anyone around. In fact everyone seems to be leaving. You notice that a female librarian is sitting behind the checking desk. Well guys, what’s your plan? PAULA: I want to speak to the librarian. I think the rest of you should wait here. All the investigators agree to Paula’s plan. (GARRIE) KEEPER: You make your way to the desk. The woman behind it appears to be stamping a pile of books. She is middle-aged, wears large spectacles, and has an annoyed look on her face. PAULA: Err, ahem. I clear my throat to get her attention and give her a winning smile. (GARRIE) KEEPER: She looks up at you with an even more annoyed look on her face. She stares at you and says, “It's closing time you know.”

In Call of Cthulhu, the players play investigators

PAULA: “I’m very sorry, but I wonder if you can help me,” Paula asks in a polite tone, with smile on her lips. “Can you direct me to the local history section? It really is most urgent.” JOE: Okay, while Paula's investigator is talking to the woman at the desk, I’m going to look for the section on occult books. (GARRIE) KEEPER: Just hang on a moment Joe; I’ll get to you in a second. Paula, she winces and points her hand to the big stack of shelves two rows down. She then says, “Down there. You’ve got ten minutes and then I’m locking up for the night.” Right Joe, you look about at the signs and see that there is a section called "Mysteries and the Supernatural" down the aisle. You want to go look?


investigator handbook JOE: Sure I do! CATHY: My private eye, Jake, is going to wait near the main entrance and keep an eye out. ARNOLD: I’m going with Joe. (GARRIE) KEEPER: Paula, you get to the local history section. What do you want to look for? PAULA: I want to see if I can find anything on the Cult of the Green Flame, and also if there’s a history of incidents at the local graveyard. (GARRIE) KEEPER: Okay. Can you give me a Library Use roll? PAULA: Right. Paula rolls two ten-sided dice. I rolled 34, under my Library Use skill of 40. What did I find? (GARRIE) KEEPER: Cool. You search over the shelves and come across a book called "Local Legends and Ghosts." It looks like it has a whole chapter on Burke’s Cemetery. You’ll need to check it out soon as your ten minutes are nearly up. JOE: So have me and Arnold found anything? Shall we make rolls? (GARRIE) KEEPER: Well, just as you arrive at the mysteries section you see a strange-looking man in a trench coat. He appears to

be examining an old book. He suddenly notices you and quickly disappears down the end of the stack. ARNOLD: He’s up to something! Did I recognize him from the bar we visited last night? (GARRIE) KEEPER: It’s hard to say as you didn’t get a good look at him. However you probably think there’s some resemblance. ARNOLD: Right, I’m sure it’s the guy that’s been following us! I’m running after him! JOE: Yes! Off we go! (GARRIE) KEEPER: Okay. I’m going to cut to Paula and then back to you guys. Paula, are you heading to the checkout desk? PAULA: Yes I want the librarian to issue me the book. (GARRIE) KEEPER: Fine. Arnold and Joe, you run round the back of the shelves and the man is waiting for you. He’s holding the old book and there’s a twinkle in his eye, and a sort of grin on his face. ARNOLD: I didn’t expect that. I hold up and look at the man. What’s he doing with the book? JOE: Can I make a Psychology roll to see if I understand his intent? (GARRIE) KEEPER: Yes, make the roll. Arnold, he’s just holding the book firmly in both hands. JOE: I made it; I rolled under half my Psychology skill. (GARRIE) KEEPER: Well he looks like he wants to say something to you. He gestures with the book for you to come closer. JOE: Okay, I move towards him, “How can I help you?” ARNOLD: I’m waiting back to see what happens. (GARRIE) KEEPER: Cut to Paula. The librarian checks out your book and pointedly asks you and your friends to leave as she’s locking up now. PAULA: Fine. I go to look for Joe and Arnold. CATHY: Is Jake aware of what’s going on with Arnold and Joe? (GARRIE) KEEPER: Not really. You do see Paula's investigator go off in the direction they went. CATHY: I’m going to follow Paula.


What are you doing in the restricted sect ion!?

(GARRIE) KEEPER: Right, Joe. As you edge closer to the man you begin to notice a fishy smell. He looks at you with his big watery eyes and says, (the Keeper drops his voice here) “I saw you last night asking questions that don't concern you. I advise you to stop poking your noses into places they don’t belong.” JOE: “Urgh! I’m not scared by you! What’s it to you who we talk to anyway?”

chapter 1: introduction ALL (in confusion): I’m running after him! I’m trying to catch the book! What’s going on?! I’m shouting for help! Do they catch up to the strange, fishy smelling man? What was in the book that he was holding? What’s going on at Burke’s Cemetery? Who doesn’t want more questions asked?

What this Game Covers Likewise are there dread survivals of things older and more potent than man; things that have blasphemously straggled down through the aeons to ages never meant for them; monstrous entities that have lain sleeping endlessly in incredible crypts and remote caverns, outside the laws of reason and causation, and ready to be waked by such blasphemers as shall know their dark forbidden signs and furtive passwords. —H.P. Lovecraft and William Lumley, The Diary of Alonzo Typer

What lurks within? ARNOLD: Careful! (GARRIE) KEEPER: He smiles again and says, “Oh, I’m not important, but there’s some who take a very dim view of nosey people.” JOE: I want to find out what he knows. I grab his coat lapels and lean into his face saying, “Tell me what you know, old man.” (GARRIE) KEEPER: Sounds like you are trying to intimidate him. Make an Intimidate roll. JOE: I failed it. Can I push the roll? I stare into his eyes and go nose to nose with him, telling him that I’ll hurt him if he doesn’t start talking. (GARRIE) KEEPER: Sure you can. Of course, if you fail the pushed roll something bad is going to happen… JOE: Heck, I did fail the pushed roll! Oh no… ARNOLD: I told you to be careful! (GARRIE) KEEPER: You stare into his eyes and threaten him, when suddenly he throws his head violently forward, head-butting you. You reel back and blood begins to pour from your nose. He throws the book up into air and runs. Mark off two hit points damage. Paula and Cathy, you arrive at this moment. Arnold what are you doing?

Many Call of Cthulhu scenarios are set in the United States in the 1920s—called the Classic Era—in which most of Lovecraft’s tales were set. To Lovecraft the 1920s were modern-day and so this book uses both the Classic Era and our own Modern-Day as period settings. Many supplements and published scenarios exist for different eras, including Gaslight Victorian and the Dark Ages. The Cthulhu Mythos transcends all time and space, and the unfathomable machinations of the mysterious Old Ones could spill into any conceivable setting or historical period.

What You Need to Play Call of Cthulhu

When you are ready to begin playing Call of Cthulhu, you only need a few things to start:

G The Call of Cthulhu Rulebook—only needed by the Keeper.

G Roleplaying dice. G Paper. G Pencils and an eraser. G

Two or more people to game with—one person must play the role of Keeper.

G A quiet place (the kitchen table is a good place to start). G Three or four hours in which to play the game.


investigator handbook

The dice used to play Call of Cthulhu

Roleplaying Dice

As mentioned, to play this game the Keeper and players will need a set of roleplaying dice, including: percentage dice (D100), a four-sided die (D4), a six-sided die (D6), an eightsided die (D8), and a twenty-sided die (D20). Ideally, to keep things moving along, players and Keeper should each have their own set of dice. People new to roleplaying may never have seen dice with more than six sides. A variety of them can be found at most hobby game stores and online—probably including the place where you bought this book. The letter D stands for the word "die" or dice. The number after the D stands for the range of random numbers sought: D8 generates the random numbers 1 through 8, for instance, while D100 generates the numbers 1–100. The dice are used to indicate how many hit points were lost to an attack, to generate investigators, or to determine sanity loss, etc.

Reading the D100 (Percentile Dice)


Percentage dice (as the abbreviation D100 means) usually consist of two 10-sided dice rolled at the same time. These dice are sold as a pair, one (units die) being numbered 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 0, the other (tens die) being numbered 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, 00. When rolled, read the top numbers on the dice to get the result. The single digit is the units, the double digit the tens, and you read them together. A roll of 00 on the tens die combined with a 0 on the units die indicates a result of 100. A roll of 00 on the tens die combined with any other roll on the units die indicates a roll of under 10; for example, a roll of 00 on the tens die and 3 on the units die would be read as 3%. Alternatively use two "units" dice of different colors, each numbered 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 0. Read the die of one color consistently as the tens-digit and the other as the

units-digit: thus a result of 2 and 3 reads as 23, a result of 0 and 1 reads as 1, and a result of 1 and 0 reads as 10. A result of 0 and 0 reads as 100.

Dice roll variations

Sometimes a dice notation in the rules or in a scenario is preceded by a number: it tells the reader that more than one such die should be rolled and that their results should be added together. For instance, 2D6 means that two 6-sided dice should be rolled and totaled (or roll a D6 twice and add the scores together). Sometimes additions are shown to die rolls. You might see 1D6+1, for instance. This means that the number following the plus sign should be added to the result of the D6 roll. For 1D6+1 the result must be 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7. A notation may require that different dice be rolled at one time. If a monster claws for 1D6+1+2D4 damage, find the power of the actual attack by rolling the three requested dice, totaling the results, and adding one (thus, rolling 1D6 and 2D4 (1D4 and another 1D4) and adding 1 to the total rolled). The notation "damage bonus" or "DB" appended to attack damage reminds the Keeper and players to add the monster’s or investigator’s damage bonus to the dice rolled.

The Investigator Sheet

Players should record their investigators on investigator sheets, found near the back of this book and ready to photocopy (see page 266-269). You can also find downloadable versions at the Chaosium website at www. There are versions for the 1920s and Modern-Day games. The investigator sheet holds all the information needed for investigators to tackle mysteries. Chapter 3: Creating Investigators explains how to fill out this sheet.

chapter 1: introduction


investigator handbook H.P.L. believed that The Dunwich Horror was “so fiendish that Farnsworth Wright may not dare print it.” Fortunately for us (and Lovecraft, as he received a check worth $2,800 in today’s dollars), it was published in the April 1929 issue of Weird Tales. The story introduced the Outer God YogSothoth to the Cthulhu Mythos as well as the degenerate Whateley family who served him. The librarian Henry Armitage is a prime example of a Call of Cthulhu investigator: he discovers the horrible truth that lies behind the veil of reality but he decides to fight against it instead of running away (as is normal for most Lovecraftian tales). “Gorgons, and Hydras, and Chimaeras—dire stories of Celaeno and the Harpies—may reproduce themselves in the brain of superstition—but they were there before. They are transcripts, types—the archetypes are in us, and eternal. How else should the recital of that which we know in a waking sense to be false come to affect us at all? Is it that we naturally conceive terror from such objects, considered in their capacity of being able to inflict upon us bodily injury? O, least of all! These terrors are of older standing. They date beyond body—or without the body, they would have been the same. . . . That the kind of fear here treated is purely spiritual—that it is strong in proportion as it is objectless on earth, that it predominates in the period of our sinless infancy—are difficulties the solution of which might afford some probable insight into our ante-mundane condition, and a peep at least into the shadowland of pre-existence.” —Charles Lamb: Witches and Other Night-Fears



hen a traveller in north central Massachusetts takes the wrong fork at the junction of the Aylesbury pike just beyond Dean’s Corners he comes upon a lonely and curious country. The ground gets higher, and the brierbordered stone walls press closer and closer against the ruts of the dusty, curving road. The trees of the frequent forest belts seem too large, and the wild weeds, brambles, and grasses attain a luxuriance not often found in settled regions. At the same time the planted fields appear singularly few and barren; while the sparsely scattered houses wear a surprisingly uniform aspect of age, squalor, and dilapidation. Without knowing why, one hesitates to ask directions from the gnarled, solitary figures spied now and then on crumbling doorsteps or on the sloping, rock-strewn meadows. Those figures are so silent and furtive that one feels somehow confronted by forbidden things, with which it would be better to have nothing to do. When a rise in the road brings the mountains in view above the deep woods, the feeling of strange uneasiness is increased. The summits

are too rounded and symmetrical to give a sense of comfort and naturalness, and sometimes the sky silhouettes with especial clearness the queer circles of tall stone pillars with which most of them are crowned. Gorges and ravines of problematical depth intersect the way, and the crude wooden bridges always seem of dubious safety. When the road dips again there are stretches of marshland that one instinctively dislikes, and indeed almost fears at evening when unseen whippoorwills chatter and the fireflies come out in abnormal profusion to dance to the raucous, creepily insistent rhythms of stridently piping bull-frogs. The thin, shining line of the Miskatonic’s upper reaches has an oddly serpent-like suggestion as it winds close to the feet of the domed hills among which it rises. As the hills draw nearer, one heeds their wooded sides more than their stone-crowned tops. Those sides loom up so darkly and precipitously that one wishes they would keep their distance, but there is no road by which to escape them. Across a covered bridge one sees a small village huddled between the stream and the vertical slope of Round Mountain, and wonders at the cluster of rotting gambrel roofs bespeaking an earlier architectural period than that of the neighbouring region. It is not reassuring to see, on a closer glance, that most of the houses are deserted and falling to ruin, and that the broken-steepled church now harbours the one slovenly mercantile establishment of the hamlet. One dreads to trust the tenebrous tunnel of the bridge, yet there is no way to avoid it. Once across, it is hard to prevent the impression of a faint, malign odour about the village street, as of the massed mould and decay of centuries. It is always a relief to get clear of the place, and to follow the narrow road around the base of the hills and across the level country beyond till it rejoins the Aylesbury pike. Afterward one sometimes learns that one has been through Dunwich. Outsiders visit Dunwich as seldom as possible, and since a certain season of horror all the signboards pointing toward it have been taken down. The scenery, judged by any ordinary aesthetic canon, is more than commonly beautiful; yet there is no influx of artists or summer tourists. Two centuries ago, when talk of witch-blood, Satan-worship, and strange forest presences was not laughed at, it was the custom to give reasons for avoiding the locality. In our sensible age—since the Dunwich horror of 1928 was hushed up by those who had the town’s and the world’s welfare at heart—people shun it without knowing exactly why. Perhaps one reason—though it cannot apply to uninformed strangers—is that the natives are now repellently decadent, having gone far along that path of retrogression so common in many New England backwaters. They have come to form a race by themselves, with the well-defined mental and physical stigmata of degeneracy and inbreeding. The average of their intelligence is woefully low, whilst their annals reek of overt viciousness and of halfhidden murders, incests, and deeds of almost unnamable violence and perversity. The old gentry, representing the two or three armigerous families which came from Salem in 1692, have kept somewhat above the general level of decay; though many branches are sunk into the sordid populace so

chapter 2: the dunwich horror deeply that only their names remain as a key to the origin they disgrace. Some of the Whateleys and Bishops still send their eldest sons to Harvard and Miskatonic, though those sons seldom return to the mouldering gambrel roofs under which they and their ancestors were born. No one, even those who have the facts concerning the recent horror, can say just what is the matter with Dunwich; though old legends speak of unhallowed rites and conclaves of the Indians, amidst which they called forbidden shapes of shadow out of the great rounded hills, and made wild orgiastic prayers that were answered by loud crackings and rumblings from the ground below. In 1747 the Reverend Abijah Hoadley, newly come to the Congregational Church at Dunwich Village, preached a memorable sermon on the close presence of Satan and his imps; in which he said: “It must be allow’d, that these Blasphemies of an infernall Train of Daemons are Matters of too common Knowledge to be deny’d; the cursed Voices of Azazel and Buzrael, of Beelzebub and Belial, being heard now from under Ground by above a Score of credible Witnesses now living. I my self did not more than a Fortnight ago catch a very plain Discourse of evill Powers in the Hill behind my House; wherein there were a Rattling and Rolling, Groaning, Screeching, and Hissing, such as no Things of this Earth cou’d raise up, and which must needs have come from those Caves that only black Magick can discover, and only the Divell unlock.” Mr. Hoadley disappeared soon after delivering this sermon; but the text, printed in Springfield, is still extant.

Noises in the hills continued to be reported from year to year, and still form a puzzle to geologists and physiographers. Other traditions tell of foul odours near the hill-crowning circles of stone pillars, and of rushing airy presences to be heard faintly at certain hours from stated points at the bottom of the great ravines; while still others try to explain the Devil’s Hop Yard—a bleak, blasted hillside where no tree, shrub, or grass-blade will grow. Then too, the natives are mortally afraid of the numerous whippoorwills which grow vocal on warm nights. It is vowed that the birds are psychopomps lying in wait for the souls of the dying, and that they time their eerie cries in unison with the sufferer’s struggling breath. If they can catch the fleeing soul when it leaves the body, they instantly flutter away chittering in daemoniac laughter; but if they fail, they subside gradually into a disappointed silence. These tales, of course, are obsolete and ridiculous; because they come down from very old times. Dunwich is indeed ridiculously old—older by far than any of the communities within thirty miles of it. South of the village one may still spy the cellar walls and chimney of the ancient Bishop house, which was built before 1700; whilst the ruins of the mill at the falls, built in 1806, form the most modern piece of architecture to be seen. Industry did not flourish here, and the nineteenth-century factory movement proved short-lived. Oldest of all are the great rings of rough-hewn stone columns on the hill-tops, but these are more generally attributed to the Indians than to the settlers. Deposits of skulls and bones, found within these circles and around the sizeable table-like rock on Sentinel Hill, sustain the popular belief that such spots were once the burial-places of the Pocumtucks; even though many ethnologists, disregarding the absurd improbability of such a theory, persist in believing the remains Caucasian.

II. It was in the township of Dunwich, in a large and partly inhabited farmhouse set against a hillside four miles from the village and a mile and a half from any other dwelling, that Wilbur Whateley was born at 5 a.m. on Sunday, the second of February, 1913. This date was recalled because it was Candlemas, which people in Dunwich curiously observe under another name; and because the noises in the hills had sounded, and all the dogs of the countryside had barked persistently, throughout the night before. Less worthy of notice was the fact that the mother was one of the decadent Whateleys, a somewhat deformed, unattractive albino woman of thirty-five, living with an aged and half-insane father about whom the most frightful tales of wizardry had been whispered in his youth. Lavinia Whateley had no known husband, but according to the custom of the region made no attempt to disavow the child; concerning the other side of whose ancestry the country folk might—and did—speculate as widely as they chose. On the contrary, she seemed strangely proud of the dark, goatish-looking infant who formed such a contrast to her own sickly and pink-eyed


investigator handbook


albinism, and was heard to mutter many curious prophecies about its unusual powers and tremendous future. Lavinia was one who would be apt to mutter such things, for she was a lone creature given to wandering amidst thunderstorms in the hills and trying to read the great odorous books which her father had inherited through two centuries of Whateleys, and which were fast falling to pieces with age and wormholes. She had never been to school, but was filled with disjointed scraps of ancient lore that Old Whateley had taught her. The remote farmhouse had always been feared because of Old Whateley’s reputation for black magic, and the unexplained death by violence of Mrs. Whateley when Lavinia was twelve years old had not helped to make the place popular. Isolated among strange influences, Lavinia was fond of wild and grandiose day-dreams and singular occupations; nor was her leisure much taken up by household cares in a home from which all standards of order and cleanliness had long since disappeared. There was a hideous screaming which echoed above even the hill noises and the dogs’ barking on the night Wilbur was born, but no known doctor or midwife presided at his coming. Neighbours knew nothing of him till a week afterward, when Old Whateley drove his sleigh through the snow into Dunwich Village and discoursed incoherently to the group of loungers at Osborn’s general store. There seemed to be a change in the old man—an added element of furtiveness in the clouded brain which subtly transformed him from an object to a subject of fear—though he was not one to be perturbed by any common family event. Amidst it all he shewed some trace of the pride later noticed in his daughter, and what he said of the child’s paternity was remembered by many of his hearers years afterward. “I dun’t keer what folks think—ef Lavinny’s boy looked like his pa, he wouldn’t look like nothin’ ye expeck. Ye needn’t think the only folks is the folks hereabaouts. Lavinny’s read some, an’ has seed some things the most o’ ye only tell abaout. I calc’late her man is as good a husban’ as ye kin find this side of Aylesbury; an’ ef ye knowed as much abaout the hills as I dew, ye wouldn’t ast no better church weddin’ nor her’n. Let me tell ye suthin’—some day yew folks’ll hear a child o’ Lavinny’s a-callin’ its father’s name on the top o’ Sentinel Hill!” The only persons who saw Wilbur during the first month of his life were old Zechariah Whateley, of the undecayed Whateleys, and Earl Sawyer’s common-law wife, Mamie Bishop. Mamie’s visit was frankly one of curiosity, and her subsequent tales did justice to her observations; but Zechariah came to lead a pair of Alderney cows which Old Whateley had bought of his son Curtis. This marked the beginning of a course of cattlebuying on the part of small Wilbur’s family which ended only in 1928, when the Dunwich horror came and went; yet at no time

did the ramshackle Whateley barn seem overcrowded with livestock. There came a period when people were curious enough to steal up and count the herd that grazed precariously on the steep hillside above the old farmhouse, and they could never find more than ten or twelve anaemic, bloodlesslooking specimens. Evidently some blight or distemper, perhaps sprung from the unwholesome pasturage or the diseased fungi and timbers of the filthy barn, caused a heavy mortality amongst the Whateley animals. Odd wounds or sores, having something of the aspect of incisions, seemed to afflict the visible cattle; and once or twice during the earlier months certain callers fancied they could discern similar sores about the throats of the grey, unshaven old man and his slatternly, crinkly-haired albino daughter. In the spring after Wilbur’s birth Lavinia resumed her customary rambles in the hills, bearing in her misproportioned arms the swarthy child. Public interest in the Whateleys subsided after most of the country folk had seen the baby, and no one bothered to comment on the swift development which that newcomer seemed every day to exhibit. Wilbur’s growth was indeed phenomenal, for within three months of his birth he had attained a size and muscular power not usually found in infants under a full year of age. His motions and even his vocal sounds shewed a restraint and deliberateness highly peculiar in an infant, and no one was really unprepared when, at seven months, he began to walk unassisted, with falterings which another month was sufficient to remove. It was somewhat after this time—on Hallowe’en—that a great blaze was seen at midnight on the top of Sentinel Hill where the old table-like stone stands amidst its tumulus of ancient bones. Considerable talk was started when Silas Bishop—of the undecayed Bishops—mentioned having seen the boy running sturdily up that hill ahead of his mother about an hour before the blaze was remarked. Silas was rounding up a stray heifer, but he nearly forgot his mission when he fleetingly spied the two figures in the dim light of his lantern. They darted almost noiselessly through the underbrush, and the astonished watcher seemed to think they were entirely unclothed. Afterward he could not be sure about the boy, who may have had some kind of a fringed belt and a pair of dark trunks or trousers on. Wilbur was never subsequently seen alive and conscious without complete and tightly buttoned attire, the disarrangement or threatened disarrangement of which always seemed to fill him with anger and alarm. His contrast with his squalid mother and grandfather in this respect was thought very notable until the horror of 1928 suggested the most valid of reasons.

chapter 2: the dunwich horror The next January gossips were mildly interested in the fact that “Lavinny’s black brat” had commenced to talk, and at the age of only eleven months. His speech was somewhat remarkable both because of its difference from the ordinary accents of the region, and because it displayed a freedom from infantile lisping of which many children of three or four might well be proud. The boy was not talkative, yet when he spoke he seemed to reflect some elusive element wholly unpossessed by Dunwich and its denizens. The strangeness did not reside in what he said, or even in the simple idioms he used; but seemed vaguely linked with his intonation or with the internal organs that produced the spoken sounds. His facial aspect, too, was remarkable for its maturity; for though he shared his mother’s and grandfather’s chinlessness, his firm and precociously shaped nose united with the expression of his large, dark, almost Latin eyes to give him an air of quasi-adulthood and well-nigh preternatural intelligence. He was, however, exceedingly ugly despite his appearance of brilliancy; there being something almost goatish or animalistic about his thick lips, large-pored, yellowish skin, coarse crinkly hair, and oddly elongated ears. He was soon disliked even more decidedly than his mother and grandsire, and all conjectures about him were spiced with references to the bygone magic of Old Whateley, and how the hills once shook when he shrieked the dreadful name of Yog-Sothoth in the midst of a circle of stones with a great book open in his arms before him. Dogs abhorred the boy, and he was always obliged to take various defensive measures against their barking menace.

III. Meanwhile Old Whateley continued to buy cattle without measurably increasing the size of his herd. He also cut timber and began to repair the unused parts of his house—a spacious, peaked-roofed affair whose rear end was buried entirely in the rocky hillside, and whose three least-ruined groundfloor rooms had always been sufficient for himself and his daughter. There must have been prodigious reserves of strength in the old man to enable him to accomplish so much hard labour; and though he still babbled dementedly at times, his carpentry seemed to shew the effects of sound calculation. It had already begun as soon as Wilbur was born, when one of the many tool-sheds had been put suddenly in order, clapboarded, and fitted with a stout fresh lock. Now, in restoring the abandoned upper story of the house, he was a no less thorough craftsman. His mania shewed itself only in his tight boardingup of all the windows in the reclaimed section—though many

declared that it was a crazy thing to bother with the reclamation at all. Less inexplicable was his fitting up of another downstairs room for his new grandson—a room which several callers saw, though no one was ever admitted to the closely boarded upper story. This chamber he lined with tall, firm shelving; along which he began gradually to arrange, in apparently careful order, all the rotting ancient books and parts of books which during his own day had been heaped promiscuously in odd corners of the various rooms. “I made some use of ’em,” he would say as he tried to mend a torn black-letter page with paste prepared on the rusty kitchen stove, “but the boy’s fitten to make better use of ’em. He’d orter hev ’em as well sot as he kin, for they’re goin’ to be all of his larnin’.” When Wilbur was a year and seven months old—in September of 1914—his size and accomplishments were almost alarming. He had grown as large as a child of four, and was a fluent and incredibly intelligent talker. He ran freely about the fields and hills, and accompanied his mother on all her wanderings. At home he would pore diligently over the queer pictures and charts in his grandfather’s books, while Old Whateley would instruct and catechise him through long, hushed afternoons. By this time the restoration of the house was finished, and those who watched it wondered why one of the upper windows had been made into a solid plank door. It was a window in the rear of the east gable end, close against the hill; and no one could imagine why a cleated wooden runway was built up to it from the ground. About the period of this work’s completion people noticed that the old tool-house, tightly locked and windowlessly clapboarded since Wilbur’s birth, had been abandoned again. The door swung listlessly open, and when Earl Sawyer once stepped within after a cattle-selling call on Old Whateley he was quite discomposed by the singular odour he encountered—such a stench, he averred, as he had never before smelt in all his life except near the Indian circles on the hills, and which could not come from anything sane or of this earth. But then, the homes and sheds of Dunwich folk have never been remarkable for olfactory immaculateness. The following months were void of visible events, save that everyone swore to a slow but steady increase in the mysterious hill noises. On May-Eve of 1915 there were tremors which even the Aylesbury people felt, whilst the following Hallowe’en produced an underground rumbling queerly synchronised with bursts of flame—“them witch Whateleys’ doin’s”—from the summit of Sentinel Hill. Wilbur was growing up uncannily, so that he looked like a boy of ten as he entered his fourth year. He read


investigator handbook avidly by himself now; but talked much less than formerly. A settled taciturnity was absorbing him, and for the first time people began to speak specifically of the dawning look of evil in his goatish face. He would sometimes mutter an unfamiliar jargon, and chant in bizarre rhythms which chilled the listener with a sense of unexplainable terror. The aversion displayed toward him by dogs had now become a matter of wide remark, and he was obliged to carry a pistol in order to traverse the countryside in safety. His occasional use of the weapon did not enhance his popularity amongst the owners of canine guardians. The few callers at the house would often find Lavinia alone on the ground floor, while odd cries and footsteps resounded in the boarded-up second story. She would never tell what her father and the boy were doing up there, though once she turned pale and displayed an abnormal degree of fear when a jocose fish-peddler tried the locked door leading to the stairway. That peddler told the store loungers at Dunwich Village that he thought he heard a horse stamping on that floor above. The loungers reflected, thinking of the door and runway, and of the cattle that so swiftly disappeared. Then they shuddered as they recalled tales of Old Whateley’s youth, and of the strange things that are called out of the earth when a bullock is sacrificed at the proper time to certain heathen gods. It had for some time been noticed that dogs had begun to hate and fear the whole Whateley place as violently as they hated and feared young Wilbur personally. In 1917 the war came, and Squire Sawyer Whateley, as chairman of the local draft board, had hard work finding a quota of young Dunwich men fit even to be sent to a development camp. The government, alarmed at such signs of wholesale regional decadence, sent several officers and medical experts to investigate; conducting a survey which New England newspaper readers may still recall. It was the publicity attending this investigation which set reporters on the track of the Whateleys, and caused the Boston Globe and Arkham Advertiser to print flamboyant Sunday stories of young Wilbur’s precociousness, Old Whateley’s black magic, the shelves of strange books, the sealed second story of the ancient farmhouse, and the weirdness of the whole region and its hill noises. Wilbur was four and a half then, and looked like a lad of fifteen. His lips and cheeks were fuzzy with a coarse dark down, and his voice had begun to break. Earl Sawyer went out to the Whateley place with both sets of reporters and camera men, and called their attention to the queer stench which now seemed to trickle down from the sealed upper spaces. It was, he said, exactly like a smell he had found in the tool-shed abandoned when the house was finally repaired; and like the faint odours which he sometimes thought he caught near the stone circles on the mountains. Dunwich folk read the stories when they appeared, and grinned over the obvious mistakes. They wondered, too, why the writers made so much of the fact


that Old Whateley always paid for his cattle in gold pieces of extremely ancient date. The Whateleys had received their visitors with ill-concealed distaste, though they did not dare court further publicity by a violent resistance or refusal to talk.


For a decade the annals of the Whateleys sink indistinguishably into the general life of a morbid community used to their queer ways and hardened to their May-Eve and All-Hallows orgies. Twice a year they would light fires on the top of Sentinel Hill, at which times the mountain rumblings would recur with greater and greater violence; while at all seasons there were strange and portentous doings at the lonely farmhouse. In the course of time callers professed to hear sounds in the sealed upper story even when all the family were downstairs, and they wondered how swiftly or how lingeringly a cow or bullock was usually sacrificed. There was talk of a complaint to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals; but nothing ever came of it, since Dunwich folk are never anxious to call the outside world’s attention to themselves. About 1923, when Wilbur was a boy of ten whose mind, voice, stature, and bearded face gave all the impressions of maturity, a second great siege of carpentry went on at the old house. It was all inside the sealed upper part, and from bits of discarded lumber people concluded that the youth and his grandfather had knocked out all the partitions and even removed the attic floor, leaving only one vast open void between the ground story and the peaked roof. They had torn down the great central chimney, too, and fitted the rusty range with a flimsy outside tin stovepipe. In the spring after this event Old Whateley noticed the growing number of whippoorwills that would come out of Cold Spring Glen to chirp under his window at night. He seemed to regard the circumstance as one of great significance, and told the loungers at Osborn’s that he thought his time had almost come. “They whistle jest in tune with my breathin’ naow,” he said, “an’ I guess they’re gittin’ ready to ketch my soul. They know it’s a-goin’ aout, an’ dun’t calc’late to miss it. Yew’ll know, boys, arter I’m gone, whether they git me er not. Ef they dew, they’ll keep up a-singin’ an’ laffin’ till break o’ day. Ef they dun’t they’ll kinder quiet daown like. I expeck them an’ the souls they hunts fer hev some pretty tough tussles sometimes.” On Lammas Night, 1924, Dr. Houghton of Aylesbury was hastily summoned by Wilbur Whateley, who had lashed his one remaining horse through the darkness and telephoned from Osborn’s in the village. He found Old Whateley in a very grave state, with a cardiac action and stertorous breathing that told of an end not far off. The shapeless albino daughter and oddly bearded grandson stood by the bedside, whilst from the vacant abyss overhead there came a disquieting suggestion of rhythmical surging or lapping, as of the waves on some level beach. The doctor, though, was chiefly disturbed by the chattering night birds outside; a seemingly limitless legion of whippoorwills that cried their endless

chapter 2: the dunwich horror message in repetitions timed diabolically to the wheezing gasps of the dying man. It was uncanny and unnatural—too much, thought Dr. Houghton, like the whole of the region he had entered so reluctantly in response to the urgent call. Toward one o’clock Old Whateley gained consciousness, and interrupted his wheezing to choke out a few words. “More space, Willy, more space soon. Yew grows—an’ that grows faster. It’ll be ready to sarve ye soon, boy. Open up the gates to Yog-Sothoth with the long chant that ye’ll find on page 751 of the complete edition, an’ then put a match to the prison. Fire from airth can’t burn it nohaow.” He was obviously quite mad. After a pause, during which the flock of whippoorwills outside adjusted their cries to the altered tempo while some indications of the strange hill noises came from afar off, he added another sentence or two. “Feed it reg’lar, Willy, an’ mind the quantity; but dun’t let it grow too fast fer the place, fer ef it busts quarters or gits aout afore ye opens to Yog-Sothoth, it’s all over an’ no use. Only them from beyont kin make it multiply an’ work. . . . Only them, the old uns as wants to come back. . . .” But speech gave place to gasps again, and Lavinia screamed at the way the whippoorwills followed the change. It was the same for more than an hour, when the final throaty rattle came. Dr. Houghton drew shrunken lids over the glazing grey eyes as the tumult of birds faded imperceptibly to silence. Lavinia sobbed, but Wilbur only chuckled whilst the hill noises rumbled faintly. “They didn’t git him,” he muttered in his heavy bass voice. Wilbur was by this time a scholar of really tremendous erudition in his one-sided way, and was quietly known by correspondence to many librarians in distant places where rare and forbidden books of old days are kept. He was more and more hated and dreaded around Dunwich because of certain youthful disappearances which suspicion laid vaguely at his door; but was always able to silence inquiry through fear or through use of that fund of old-time gold which still, as in his grandfather’s time, went forth regularly and increasingly for cattle-buying. He was now tremendously mature of aspect, and his height, having reached the normal adult limit, seemed inclined to wax beyond that figure. In 1925, when a scholarly correspondent from Miskatonic University called upon him one day and departed pale and puzzled, he was fully six and three-quarters feet tall. Through all the years Wilbur had treated his halfdeformed albino mother with a growing contempt, finally forbidding her to go to the hills with him on May-Eve and Hallowmass; and in 1926 the poor creature complained to Mamie Bishop of being afraid of him. “They’s more abaout him as I knows than I kin tell ye, Mamie,” she said, “an’ naowadays they’s more nor what I know myself. I vaow afur Gawd, I dun’t know what he wants nor what he’s a-tryin’ to dew.” That Hallowe’en the hill noises sounded louder than ever, and fire burned on Sentinel Hill as usual; but people paid more attention to the rhythmical screaming of vast flocks of unnaturally belated whippoorwills which seemed to be

assembled near the unlighted Whateley farmhouse. After midnight their shrill notes burst into a kind of pandaemoniac cachinnation which filled all the countryside, and not until dawn did they finally quiet down. Then they vanished, hurrying southward where they were fully a month overdue. What this meant, no one could quite be certain till later. None of the country folk seemed to have died—but poor Lavinia Whateley, the twisted albino, was never seen again. In the summer of 1927 Wilbur repaired two sheds in the farmyard and began moving his books and effects out to them. Soon afterward Earl Sawyer told the loungers at Osborn’s that more carpentry was going on in the Whateley farmhouse. Wilbur was closing all the doors and windows on the ground floor, and seemed to be taking out partitions as he and his grandfather had done upstairs four years before. He was living in one of the sheds, and Sawyer thought he seemed unusually worried and tremulous. People generally suspected him of knowing something about his mother’s disappearance, and very few ever approached his neighbourhood now. His height had increased to more than seven feet, and shewed no signs of ceasing its development.

V. The following winter brought an event no less strange than Wilbur’s first trip outside the Dunwich region. Correspondence with the Widener Library at Harvard, the Bibliothèque nationale in Paris, the British Museum, the University of Buenos Ayres, and the Library of Miskatonic University of Arkham had failed to get him the loan of a book he desperately wanted; so at length he set out in person, shabby, dirty, bearded, and uncouth of dialect, to consult the copy at Miskatonic,


investigator handbook


which was the nearest to him geographically. Almost eight feet tall, and carrying a cheap new valise from Osborn’s general store, this dark and goatish gargoyle appeared one day in Arkham in quest of the dreaded volume kept under lock and key at the college library—the hideous Necronomicon of the mad Arab Abdul Alhazred in Olaus Wormius’ Latin version, as printed in Spain in the seventeenth century. He had never seen a city before, but had no thought save to find his way to the university grounds; where, indeed, he passed heedlessly by the great white-fanged watchdog that barked with unnatural fury and enmity, and tugged frantically at its stout chain. Wilbur had with him the priceless but imperfect copy of Dr. Dee’s English version which his grandfather had bequeathed him, and upon receiving access to the Latin copy he at once began to collate the two texts with the aim of discovering a certain passage which would have come on the 751st page of his own defective volume. This much he could not civilly refrain from telling the librarian—the same erudite Henry Armitage (A.M. Miskatonic, Ph. D. Princeton, Litt. D. Johns Hopkins) who had once called at the farm, and who now politely plied him with questions. He was looking, he had to admit, for a kind of formula or incantation containing the frightful name Yog-Sothoth, and it puzzled him to find discrepancies, duplications, and ambiguities which made the matter of determination far from easy. As he copied the formula he finally chose, Dr. Armitage looked involuntarily over his shoulder at the open pages; the left-hand one of which, in the Latin version, contained such monstrous threats to the peace and sanity of the world. “Nor is it to be thought,” ran the text as Armitage mentally translated it, “that man is either the oldest or the last of earth’s masters, or that the common bulk of life and substance walks alone. The Old Ones were, the Old Ones are, and the Old Ones shall be. Not in the spaces we know, but between them, They walk serene and primal, undimensioned and to us unseen. YogSothoth knows the gate. Yog-Sothoth is the gate. Yog-Sothoth is the key and guardian of the gate. Past, present, future, all are one in Yog-Sothoth. He knows where the Old Ones broke through of old, and where They shall break through again. He knows where They have trod earth’s fields, and where They still tread them, and why no one can behold Them as They tread. By Their smell can men sometimes know Them near, but of Their semblance can no man know, saving only in the features of those They have begotten on mankind; and of those are there many sorts, differing in likeness from man’s truest eidolon to that shape without sight or substance which is Them. They walk unseen and foul in lonely places where the Words have

been spoken and the Rites howled through at their Seasons. The wind gibbers with Their voices, and the earth mutters with Their consciousness. They bend the forest and crush the city, yet may not forest or city behold the hand that smites. Kadath in the cold waste hath known Them, and what man knows Kadath? The ice desert of the South and the sunken isles of Ocean hold stones whereon Their seal is engraven, but who hath seen the deep frozen city or the sealed tower long garlanded with seaweed and barnacles? Great Cthulhu is Their cousin, yet can he spy Them only dimly. Iä! ShubNiggurath! As a foulness shall ye know Them. Their hand is at your throats, yet ye see Them not; and Their habitation is even one with your guarded threshold. Yog-Sothoth is the key to the gate, whereby the spheres meet. Man rules now where They ruled once; They shall soon rule where man rules now. After summer is winter, and after winter summer. They wait patient and potent, for here shall They reign again.” Dr. Armitage, associating what he was reading with what he had heard of Dunwich and its brooding presences, and of Wilbur Whateley and his dim, hideous aura that stretched from a dubious birth to a cloud of probable matricide, felt

chapter 2: the dunwich horror a wave of fright as tangible as a draught of the tomb’s cold clamminess. The bent, goatish giant before him seemed like the spawn of another planet or dimension; like something only partly of mankind, and linked to black gulfs of essence and entity that stretch like titan phantasms beyond all spheres of force and matter, space and time. Presently Wilbur raised his head and began speaking in that strange, resonant fashion which hinted at sound-producing organs unlike the run of mankind’s. “Mr. Armitage,” he said, “I calc’late I’ve got to take that book home. They’s things in it I’ve got to try under sarten conditions that I can’t git here, an’ it ’ud be a mortal sin to let a red-tape rule hold me up. Let me take it along, Sir, an’ I’ll swar they wun’t nobody know the difference. I dun’t need to tell ye I’ll take good keer of it. It wa’n’t me that put this Dee copy in the shape it is. . . .” He stopped as he saw firm denial on the librarian’s face, and his own goatish features grew crafty. Armitage, halfready to tell him he might make a copy of what parts he needed, thought suddenly of the possible consequences and checked himself. There was too much responsiblity in giving such a being the key to such blasphemous outer spheres. Whateley saw how things stood, and tried to answer lightly. “Wal, all right, ef ye feel that way abaout it. Maybe Harvard wun’t be so fussy as yew be.” And without saying more he rose and strode out of the building, stooping at each doorway. Armitage heard the savage yelping of the great watchdog, and studied Whateley’s gorilla-like lope as he crossed the bit of campus visible from the window. He thought of the wild tales he had heard, and recalled the old Sunday stories in the Advertiser; these things, and the lore he had picked up from Dunwich rustics and villagers during his one visit there. Unseen things not of earth—or at least not of tri-dimensional earth—rushed foetid and horrible through New England’s glens, and brooded obscenely on the mountain-tops. Of this he had long felt certain. Now he seemed to sense the close presence of some terrible part of the intruding horror, and to glimpse a hellish advance in the black dominion of the ancient and once passive nightmare. He locked away the Necronomicon with a shudder of disgust, but the room still reeked with an unholy and unidentifiable stench. “As a foulness shall ye know them,” he quoted. Yes—the odour was the same as that which had sickened him at the Whateley farmhouse less than three years before. He thought of Wilbur, goatish and ominous, once again, and laughed mockingly at the village rumours of his parentage. “Inbreeding?” Armitage muttered half-aloud to himself. “Great God, what simpletons! Shew them Arthur Machen’s Great God Pan and they’ll think it a common Dunwich scandal! But what thing—what cursed shapeless influence on or off this three-dimensioned earth—was Wilbur Whateley’s father? Born on Candlemas—nine months after May-Eve of 1912, when the talk about the queer earth noises reached clear to Arkham— What walked on the mountains that MayNight? What Roodmas horror fastened itself on the world in half-human flesh and blood?”

Henry Armitage During the ensuing weeks Dr. Armitage set about to collect all possible data on Wilbur Whateley and the formless presences around Dunwich. He got in communication with Dr. Houghton of Aylesbury, who had attended Old Whateley in his last illness, and found much to ponder over in the grandfather’s last words as quoted by the physician. A visit to Dunwich Village failed to bring out much that was new; but a close survey of the Necronomicon, in those parts which Wilbur had sought so avidly, seemed to supply new and terrible clues to the nature, methods, and desires of the strange evil so vaguely threatening this planet. Talks with several students of archaic lore in Boston, and letters to many others elsewhere, gave him a growing amazement which passed slowly through varied degrees of alarm to a state of really acute spiritual fear. As the summer drew on he felt dimly that something ought to be done about the lurking terrors of the upper Miskatonic valley, and about the monstrous being known to the human world as Wilbur Whateley.

VI. The Dunwich horror itself came between Lammas and the equinox in 1928, and Dr. Armitage was among those who witnessed its monstrous prologue. He had heard, meanwhile,


investigator handbook of Whateley’s grotesque trip to Cambridge, and of his frantic efforts to borrow or copy from the Necronomicon at the Widener Library. Those efforts had been in vain, since Armitage had issued warnings of the keenest intensity to all librarians having charge of the dreaded volume. Wilbur had been shockingly nervous at Cambridge; anxious for the book, yet almost equally anxious to get home again, as if he feared the results of being away long. Early in August the half-expected outcome developed, and in the small hours of the 3d Dr. Armitage was awakened suddenly by the wild, fierce cries of the savage watchdog on the college campus. Deep and terrible, the snarling, half-mad growls and barks continued; always in mounting volume, but with hideously significant pauses. Then there rang out a scream from a wholly different throat—such a scream as roused half the sleepers of Arkham and haunted their dreams ever afterward—such a scream as could come from no being born of earth, or wholly of earth. Armitage, hastening into some clothing and rushing across the street and lawn to the college buildings, saw that others were ahead of him; and heard the echoes of a burglaralarm still shrilling from the library. An open window shewed black and gaping in the moonlight. What had come had indeed completed its entrance; for the barking and the screaming, now fast fading into a mixed low growling and moaning, proceeded unmistakably from within. Some instinct warned Armitage that what was taking place was not a thing for unfortified eyes to see, so he brushed back the crowd with authority as he unlocked the vestibule door. Among the others he saw Professor Warren Rice and Dr. Francis Morgan, men to whom he had told some of his conjectures and misgivings; and these two he motioned to accompany him inside. The inward sounds, except for a watchful, droning whine from the dog, had by this time quite subsided; but Armitage now perceived with a sudden start that a loud chorus of whippoorwills among the shrubbery had commenced a damnably rhythmical piping, as if in unison with the last breaths of a dying man. The building was full of a frightful stench which Dr. Armitage knew too well, and the three men rushed across the hall to the small genealogical reading-room whence the low whining came. For a second nobody dared to turn on the light, then Armitage summoned up his courage and snapped the switch. One of the three—it is not certain which—shrieked aloud at what sprawled before them among disordered tables and overturned chairs. Professor Rice declares that he wholly lost consciousness for an instant, though he did not stumble or fall. The thing that lay half-bent on its side in a foetid pool of greenish-yellow ichor and tarry stickiness was almost nine feet tall, and the dog had torn off all the clothing and some of the skin. It was not quite dead, but twitched silently and spasmodically while its chest heaved in monstrous unison with the mad piping of the expectant whippoorwills outside. Bits of shoe-leather and fragments of apparel were scattered about the room, and just inside the window an empty canvas sack lay where it had evidently been thrown.


Near the central desk a revolver had fallen, a dented but undischarged cartridge later explaining why it had not been fired. The thing itself, however, crowded out all other images at the time. It would be trite and not wholly accurate to say that no human pen could describe it, but one may properly say that it could not be vividly visualised by anyone whose ideas of aspect and contour are too closely bound up with the common life-forms of this planet and of the three known dimensions. It was partly human, beyond a doubt, with very man-like hands and head, and the goatish, chinless face had the stamp of the Whateleys upon it. But the torso and lower parts of the body were teratologically fabulous, so that only generous clothing could ever have enabled it to walk on earth unchallenged or uneradicated. Above the waist it was semi-anthropomorphic; though its chest, where the dog’s rending paws still rested watchfully, had the leathery, reticulated hide of a crocodile or alligator. The back was piebald with yellow and black, and dimly suggested the squamous covering of certain snakes. Below the waist, though, it was the worst; for here all human resemblance left off and sheer phantasy began. The skin was thickly covered with coarse black fur, and from the abdomen a score of long greenish-grey tentacles with red sucking mouths protruded limply. Their arrangement was odd, and seemed to follow the symmetries of some cosmic geometry unknown to earth or the solar system. On each of the hips, deep set in a kind of pinkish, ciliated orbit, was what seemed to be a rudimentary eye; whilst in lieu of a tail there depended a kind of trunk or feeler with purple annular markings, and with many evidences of being an undeveloped mouth or throat. The limbs, save for their black fur, roughly resembled the hind legs of prehistoric earth’s giant saurians; and terminated in ridgy-veined pads that were neither hooves nor claws. When the thing breathed, its tail and tentacles rhythmically changed colour, as if from some circulatory cause normal to the non-human side of its ancestry. In the tentacles this was observable as a deepening of the greenish tinge, whilst in the tail it was manifest as a yellowish appearance which alternated with a sickly greyish-white in the spaces between the purple rings. Of genuine blood there was none; only the foetid greenish-yellow ichor which trickled along the painted floor beyond the radius of the stickiness, and left a curious discolouration behind it. As the presence of the three men seemed to rouse the dying thing, it began to mumble without turning or raising its head. Dr. Armitage made no written record of its mouthings, but asserts confidently that nothing in English was uttered. At first the syllables defied all correlation with any speech of earth, but toward the last there came some disjointed fragments evidently taken from the Necronomicon, that monstrous blasphemy in quest of which the thing had perished. These fragments, as Armitage recalls them, ran something like “N’gai, n’gha’ghaa, bugg-shoggog, y’hah; YogSothoth, Yog-Sothoth. . . .” They trailed off into nothingness as the whippoorwills shrieked in rhythmical crescendoes of unholy anticipation.

chapter 2: the dunwich horror Then came a halt in the gasping, and the dog raised its head in a long, lugubrious howl. A change came over the yellow, goatish face of the prostrate thing, and the great black eyes fell in appallingly. Outside the window the shrilling of the whippoorwills had suddenly ceased, and above the murmurs of the gathering crowd there came the sound of a panic-struck whirring and fluttering. Against the moon vast clouds of feathery watchers rose and raced from sight, frantic at that which they had sought for prey. All at once the dog started up abruptly, gave a frightened bark, and leaped nervously out of the window by which it had entered. A cry rose from the crowd, and Dr. Armitage shouted to the men outside that no one must be admitted till the police or medical examiner came. He was thankful that the windows were just too high to permit of peering in, and drew the dark curtains carefully down over each one. By this time two policemen had arrived; and Dr. Morgan, meeting them in the vestibule, was urging them for their own sakes to postpone entrance to the stench-filled reading-room till the examiner came and the prostrate thing could be covered up. Meanwhile frightful changes were taking place on the floor. One need not describe the kind and rate of shrinkage and disintegration that occurred before the eyes of Dr. Armitage and Professor Rice; but it is permissible to say that, aside from the external appearance of face and hands, the really human element in Wilbur Whateley must have been very small. When the medical examiner came, there was only a sticky whitish mass on the painted boards, and the monstrous odour had

nearly disappeared. Apparently Whateley had had no skull or bony skeleton; at least, in any true or stable sense. He had taken somewhat after his unknown father.

VII. Yet all this was only the prologue of the actual Dunwich horror. Formalities were gone through by bewildered officials, abnormal details were duly kept from press and public, and men were sent to Dunwich and Aylesbury to look up property and notify any who might be heirs of the late Wilbur Whateley. They found the countryside in great agitation, both because of the growing rumblings beneath the domed hills, and because of the unwonted stench and the surging, lapping sounds which came increasingly from the great empty shell formed by Whateley’s boarded-up farmhouse. Earl Sawyer, who tended the horse and cattle during Wilbur’s absence, had developed a woefully acute case of nerves. The officials devised excuses not to enter the noisome boarded place; and were glad to confine their survey of the deceased’s living quarters, the newly mended sheds, to a single visit. They filed a ponderous report at the court-house in Aylesbury, and litigations concerning heirship are said to be still in progress amongst the innumerable Whateleys, decayed and undecayed, of the upper Miskatonic valley. An almost interminable manuscript in strange characters, written in a huge ledger and adjudged a sort of diary because of the spacing and the variations in ink and penmanship,


investigator handbook


presented a baffling puzzle to those who found it on the old bureau which served as its owner’s desk. After a week of debate it was sent to Miskatonic University, together with the deceased’s collection of strange books, for study and possible translation; but even the best linguists soon saw that it was not likely to be unriddled with ease. No trace of the ancient gold with which Wilbur and Old Whateley always paid their debts has yet been discovered. It was in the dark of September 9th that the horror broke loose. The hill noises had been very pronounced during the evening, and dogs barked frantically all night. Early risers on the 10th noticed a peculiar stench in the air. About seven o’clock Luther Brown, the hired boy at George Corey’s, between Cold Spring Glen and the village, rushed frenziedly back from his morning trip to Ten-Acre Meadow with the cows. He was almost convulsed with fright as he stumbled into the kitchen; and in the yard outside the no less frightened herd were pawing and lowing pitifully, having followed the boy back in the panic they shared with him. Between gasps Luther tried to stammer out his tale to Mrs. Corey. “Up thar in the rud beyont the glen, Mis’ Corey—they’s suthin’ ben thar! It smells like thunder, an’ all the bushes an’ little trees is pushed back from the rud like they’d a haouse ben moved along of it. An’ that ain’t the wust, nuther. They’s prints in the rud, Mis’ Corey—great raound prints as big as barrel-heads, all sunk daown deep like a elephant had ben along, only they’s a sight more nor four feet could make! I looked at one or two afore I run, an’ I see every one was covered with lines spreadin’ aout from one place, like as if big palm-leaf fans—twict or three times as big as any they is—hed of ben paounded daown into the rud. An’ the smell was awful, like what it is araound Wizard Whateley’s ol’ haouse. . . .” Here he faltered, and seemed to shiver afresh with the fright that had sent him flying home. Mrs. Corey, unable to extract more information, began telephoning the neighbours; thus starting on its rounds the overture of panic that heralded the major terrors. When she got Sally Sawyer, housekeeper at Seth Bishop’s, the nearest place to Whateley’s, it became her turn to listen instead of transmit; for Sally’s boy Chauncey, who slept poorly, had been up on the hill toward Whateley’s, and had dashed back in terror after one look at the place, and at the pasturage where Mr. Bishop’s cows had been left out all night. “Yes, Mis’ Corey,” came Sally’s tremulous voice over the party wire, “Cha’ncey he just come back a-postin’, and couldn’t haff talk fer bein’ scairt! He says Ol’ Whateley’s haouse is all blowed up, with the timbers scattered raound like they’d ben dynamite inside; only the bottom floor ain’t through, but is all covered with a kind o’ tar-like stuff that smells awful an’ drips daown offen the aidges onto the graoun’ whar the side timbers is blown away. An’ they’s awful kinder marks in the yard, tew—great raound marks bigger raound than a hogshead, an’ all sticky with stuff like is on the blowed-up haouse. Cha’ncey he says they leads off into the medders, whar a great swath wider’n a barn is matted daown, an’ all the stun walls tumbled every whichway wherever it goes.

“An’ he says, says he, Mis’ Corey, as haow he sot to look fer Seth’s caows, frighted ez he was; an’ faound ’em in the upper pasture nigh the Devil’s Hop Yard in an awful shape. Haff on ’em’s clean gone, an’ nigh haff o’ them that’s left is sucked most dry o’ blood, with sores on ’em like they’s ben on Whateley’s cattle ever senct Lavinny’s black brat was born. Seth he’s gone aout naow to look at ’em, though I’ll vaow he wun’t keer ter git very nigh Wizard Whateley’s! Cha’ncey didn’t look keerful ter see whar the big matted-daown swath led arter it leff the pasturage, but he says he thinks it p’inted towards the glen rud to the village. “I tell ye, Mis’ Corey, they’s suthin’ abroad as hadn’t orter be abroad, an’ I for one think that black Wilbur Whateley, as come to the bad eend he desarved, is at the bottom of the breedin’ of it. He wa’n’t all human hisself, I allus says to everybody; an’ I think he an’ Ol’ Whateley must a raised suthin’ in that there nailed-up haouse as ain’t even so human as he was. They’s allus ben unseen things araound Dunwich— livin’ things—as ain’t human an’ ain’t good fer human folks. “The graoun’ was a-talkin’ lass night, an’ towards mornin’ Cha’ncey he heerd the whippoorwills so laoud in Col’ Spring Glen he couldn’t sleep nun. Then he thought he heerd another faint-like saound over towards Wizard Whateley’s—a kinder rippin’ or tearin’ o’ wood, like some big box er crate was bein’ opened fur off. What with this an’ that, he didn’t git to sleep at all till sunup, an’ no sooner was he up this mornin’, but he’s got to go over to Whateley’s an’ see what’s the matter. He see enough, I tell ye, Mis’ Corey! This dun’t mean no good, an’ I think as all the men-folks ought to git up a party an’ do suthin’. I know suthin’ awful’s abaout, an’ feel my time is nigh, though only Gawd knows jest what it is. “Did your Luther take accaount o’ whar them big tracks led tew? No? Wal, Mis’ Corey, ef they was on the glen rud this side o’ the glen, an’ ain’t got to your haouse yet, I calc’late they must go into the glen itself. They would do that. I allus says Col’ Spring Glen ain’t no healthy nor decent place. The whippoorwills an’ fireflies there never did act like they was creaters o’ Gawd, an’ they’s them as says ye kin hear strange things a-rushin’ an’ a-talkin’ in the air daown thar ef ye stand in the right place, atween the rock falls an’ Bear’s Den.” By that noon fully three-quarters of the men and boys of Dunwich were trooping over the roads and meadows between the new-made Whateley ruins and Cold Spring Glen, examining in horror the vast, monstrous prints, the maimed Bishop cattle, the strange, noisome wreck of the farmhouse, and the bruised, matted vegetation of the fields and roadsides. Whatever had burst loose upon the world had assuredly gone down into the great sinister ravine; for all the trees on the banks were bent and broken, and a great avenue had been gouged in the precipice-hanging underbrush. It was as though a house, launched by an avalanche, had slid down through the tangled growths of the almost vertical slope. From below no sound came, but only a distant, undefinable foetor; and it is not to be wondered at that the men preferred to stay on the edge and argue, rather than descend and beard the unknown Cyclopean horror in its lair. Three dogs that were with the party had barked furiously at

chapter 2: the dunwich horror first, but seemed cowed and reluctant when near the glen. Someone telephoned the news to the Aylesbury Transcript; but the editor, accustomed to wild tales from Dunwich, did no more than concoct a humorous paragraph about it; an item soon afterward reproduced by the Associated Press. That night everyone went home, and every house and barn was barricaded as stoutly as possible. Needless to say, no cattle were allowed to remain in open pasturage. About two in the morning a frightful stench and the savage barking of the dogs awakened the household at Elmer Frye’s, on the eastern edge of Cold Spring Glen, and all agreed that they could hear a sort of muffled swishing or lapping sound from somewhere outside. Mrs. Frye proposed telephoning the neighbours, and Elmer was about to agree when the noise of splintering wood burst in upon their deliberations. It came, apparently, from the barn; and was quickly followed by a hideous screaming and stamping amongst the cattle. The dogs slavered and crouched close to the feet of the fear-numbed family. Frye lit a lantern through force of habit, but knew it would be death to go out into that black farmyard. The children and the womenfolk whimpered, kept from screaming by some obscure, vestigial instinct of defence which told them their lives depended on silence. At last the noise of the cattle subsided to a pitiful moaning, and a great snapping, crashing, and crackling ensued. The Fryes, huddled together in the sitting-room, did not dare to move until the last echoes died away far down in Cold Spring Glen. Then, amidst the dismal moans from the stable and the daemoniac piping of late whippoorwills in the glen, Selina Frye tottered to the telephone and spread what news she could of the second phase of the horror. The next day all the countryside was in a panic; and cowed, uncommunicative groups came and went where the fiendish thing had occurred. Two titan swaths of destruction stretched from the glen to the Frye farmyard, monstrous prints covered the bare patches of ground, and one side of the old red barn had completely caved in. Of the cattle, only a quarter could be found and identified. Some of these were in curious fragments, and all that survived had to be shot. Earl Sawyer suggested that help be asked from Aylesbury or Arkham, but others maintained it would be of no use. Old Zebulon Whateley, of a branch that hovered about half way between soundness and decadence, made darkly wild suggestions about rites that ought to be practiced on the hill-tops. He came of a line where tradition ran strong, and his memories of chantings in the great stone circles were not altogether connected with Wilbur and his grandfather. Darkness fell upon a stricken countryside too passive to organise for real defence. In a few cases closely related families would band together and watch in the gloom under

one roof; but in general there was only a repetition of the barricading of the night before, and a futile, ineffective gesture of loading muskets and setting pitchforks handily about. Nothing, however, occurred except some hill noises; and when the day came there were many who hoped that the new horror had gone as swiftly as it had come. There were even bold souls who proposed an offensive expedition down in the glen, though they did not venture to set an actual example to the still reluctant majority. When night came again the barricading was repeated, though there was less huddling together of families. In the morning both the Frye and the Seth Bishop households reported excitement among the dogs and vague sounds and stenches from afar, while early explorers noted with horror a fresh set of the monstrous tracks in the road skirting Sentinel Hill. As before, the sides of the road shewed a bruising indicative of the blasphemously stupendous bulk of the horror; whilst the conformation of the tracks seemed to argue a passage in two directions, as if the moving mountain had come from Cold Spring Glen and returned to it along the same path. At the base of the hill a thirty-foot swath of crushed shrubbery saplings led steeply upward, and the seekers gasped when they saw that even the most perpendicular places did not deflect the inexorable trail. Whatever the horror was, it could scale a sheer stony cliff of almost complete verticality; and as the investigators climbed around to the hill’s summit by safer routes they saw that the trail ended—or rather, reversed—there. It was here that the Whateleys used to build their hellish fires and chant their hellish rituals by the table-like stone on May-Eve and Hallowmass. Now that very stone formed the centre of a vast space thrashed around by the mountainous horror, whilst upon its slightly concave surface was a thick and foetid deposit of the same tarry stickiness observed on the floor of the ruined Whateley farmhouse when the horror escaped. Men looked at one another and muttered. Then they looked down the hill. Apparently the horror had descended by a route much the same as that of its ascent. To speculate was futile. Reason, logic, and normal ideas of motivation stood confounded. Only old Zebulon, who was not with the group, could have done justice to the situation or suggested a plausible explanation. Thursday night began much like the others, but it ended less happily. The whippoorwills in the glen had screamed with such unusual persistence that many could not sleep, and about 3 a.m. all the party telephones rang tremulously. Those who took down their receivers heard a fright-mad voice shriek out, “Help, oh, my Gawd! . . .” and some thought a crashing sound followed the breaking off of the exclamation. There was nothing more. No one dared do anything, and no one knew till morning whence the call came. Then those who had heard


investigator handbook it called everyone on the line, and found that only the Fryes did not reply. The truth appeared an hour later, when a hastily assembled group of armed men trudged out to the Frye place at the head of the glen. It was horrible, yet hardly a surprise. There were more swaths and monstrous prints, but there was no longer any house. It had caved in like an egg-shell, and amongst the ruins nothing living or dead could be discovered. Only a stench and a tarry stickiness. The Elmer Fryes had been erased from Dunwich.

VIII. In the meantime a quieter yet even more spiritually poignant phase of the horror had been blackly unwinding itself behind the closed door of a shelf-lined room in Arkham. The curious manuscript record or diary of Wilbur Whateley, delivered to Miskatonic University for translation, had caused much worry and bafflement among the experts in languages both ancient and modern; its very alphabet, notwithstanding a general resemblance to the heavily shaded Arabic used in Mesopotamia, being absolutely unknown to any available authority. The final conclusion of the linguists was that the text represented an artificial alphabet, giving the effect of a cipher; though none of the usual methods of cryptographic solution seemed to furnish any clue, even when applied on the basis of every tongue the writer might conceivably have used. The ancient books taken from Whateley’s quarters, while absorbingly interesting and in several cases promising to open up new and terrible lines of research among philosophers and men of science, were of no assistance whatever in this matter. One of them, a heavy tome with an iron clasp, was in another unknown alphabet—this one of a very different cast, and resembling Sanscrit more than anything else. The old ledger was at length given wholly into the charge of Dr. Armitage, both because of his peculiar interest in the Whateley matter, and because of his wide linguistic learning and skill in the mystical formulae of antiquity and the Middle Ages.


Armitage had an idea that the alphabet might be something esoterically used by certain forbidden cults which have come down from old times, and which have inherited many forms and traditions from the wizards of the Saracenic world. That question, however, he did not deem vital; since it would be unnecessary to know the origin of the symbols if, as he suspected, they were used as a cipher in a modern language. It was his belief that, considering the great amount of text involved, the writer would scarcely have wished the trouble of using another speech than his own, save perhaps in certain special formulae and incantations. Accordingly he attacked the manuscript with the preliminary assumption that the bulk of it was in English. Dr. Armitage knew, from the repeated failures of his colleagues, that the riddle was a deep and complex one; and that no simple mode of solution could merit even a trial. All through late August he fortified himself with the massed lore of cryptography; drawing upon the fullest resources of his own library, and wading night after night amidst the arcana of Trithemius’ Poligraphia, Giambattista Porta’s De Furtivis Literarum Notis, De Vigenère’s Traité des Chiffres, Falconer’s Cryptomenysis Patefacta, Davys’ and Thicknesse’s eighteenthcentury treatises, and such fairly modern authorities as Blair, von Marten, and Klüber’s Kryptographik. He interspersed his study of the books with attacks on the manuscript itself, and in time became convinced that he had to deal with one of those subtlest and most ingenious of cryptograms, in which many separate lists of corresponding letters are arranged like the multiplication table, and the message built up with arbitrary key-words known only to the initiated. The older authorities seemed rather more helpful than the newer ones, and Armitage concluded that the code of the manuscript was one of great antiquity, no doubt handed down through a long line of mystical experimenters. Several times he seemed near daylight, only to be set back by some unforeseen obstacle. Then, as September approached, the clouds began to clear. Certain letters, as used in certain parts of the manuscript, emerged definitely and unmistakably; and it became obvious that the text was indeed in English. On the evening of September 2nd the last major barrier gave way, and Dr. Armitage read for the first time a continuous passage of Wilbur Whateley’s annals. It was in truth a diary, as all had thought; and it was couched in a style clearly shewing the mixed occult erudition and general illiteracy of the strange being who wrote it. Almost the first long passage that Armitage deciphered, an entry dated November 26, 1916, proved highly startling and disquieting. It was written, he remembered, by a child of three and a half who looked like a lad of twelve or thirteen. “Today learned the Aklo for the Sabaoth,” it ran, “which did not like, it being answerable from the hill and not from the air. That upstairs more ahead of me than I had thought it would be, and is not like to have much earth brain. Shot Elam Hutchins’ collie Jack when he went to bite me, and Elam says he would kill me if he dast. I guess he won’t. Grandfather kept me saying the Dho formula last night, and I think I

chapter 2: the dunwich horror saw the inner city at the 2 magnetic poles. I shall go to those poles when the earth is cleared off, if I can’t break through with the Dho-Hna formula when I commit it. They from the air told me at Sabbat that it will be years before I can clear off the earth, and I guess grandfather will be dead then, so I shall have to learn all the angles of the planes and all the formulas between the Yr and the Nhhngr. They from outside will help, but they cannot take body without human blood. That upstairs looks it will have the right cast. I can see it a little when I make the Voorish sign or blow the powder of Ibn Ghazi at it, and it is near like them at May-Eve on the Hill. The other face may wear off some. I wonder how I shall look when the earth is cleared and there are no earth beings on it. He that came with the Aklo Sabaoth said I may be transfigured, there being much of outside to work on.” Morning found Dr. Armitage in a cold sweat of terror and a frenzy of wakeful concentration. He had not left the manuscript all night, but sat at his table under the electric light turning page after page with shaking hands as fast as he could decipher the cryptic text. He had nervously telephoned his wife he would not be home, and when she brought him a breakfast from the house he could scarcely dispose of a mouthful. All that day he read on, now and then halted maddeningly as a reapplication of the complex key became necessary. Lunch and dinner were brought him, but he ate only the smallest fraction of either. Toward the middle of the next night he drowsed off in his chair, but soon woke out of a tangle of nightmares almost as hideous as the truths and menaces to man’s existence that he had uncovered. On the morning of September 4th Professor Rice and Dr. Morgan insisted on seeing him for a while, and departed trembling and ashen-grey. That evening he went to bed, but slept only fitfully. Wednesday—the next day—he was back at the manuscript, and began to take copious notes both from the current sections and from those he had already deciphered. In the small hours of that night he slept a little in an easy-chair in his office, but was at the manuscript again before dawn. Some time before noon his physician, Dr. Hartwell, called to see him and insisted that he cease work. He refused; intimating that it was of the most vital importance for him to complete the reading of the diary, and promising an explanation in due course of time. That evening, just as twilight fell, he finished his terrible perusal and sank back exhausted. His wife, bringing his dinner, found him in a half-comatose state; but he was conscious enough to warn her off with a sharp cry when he saw her eyes wander toward the notes he had taken. Weakly rising, he gathered up the scribbled papers and sealed them all in a great envelope, which he immediately placed in his inside coat pocket. He had sufficient strength to get home, but was so clearly in need of medical aid that Dr. Hartwell was summoned at once. As the doctor put him to bed he could only mutter over and over again, “But what, in God’s name, can we do?” Dr. Armitage slept, but was partly delirious the next day. He made no explanations to Hartwell, but in his

calmer moments spoke of the imperative need of a long conference with Rice and Morgan. His wilder wanderings were very startling indeed, including frantic appeals that something in a boarded-up farmhouse be destroyed, and fantastic references to some plan for the extirpation of the entire human race and all animal and vegetable life from the earth by some terrible elder race of beings from another dimension. He would shout that the world was in danger, since the Elder Things wished to strip it and drag it away from the solar system and cosmos of matter into some other plane or phase of entity from which it had once fallen, vigintillions of aeons ago. At other times he would call for the dreaded Necronomicon and the Daemonolatreia of Remigius, in which he seemed hopeful of finding some formula to check the peril he conjured up. “Stop them, stop them!” he would shout. “Those Whateleys meant to let them in, and the worst of all is left! Tell Rice and Morgan we must do something—it’s a blind business, but I know how to make the powder. . . . It hasn’t been fed since the second of August, when Wilbur came here to his death, and at that rate. . . .” But Armitage had a sound physique despite his seventythree years, and slept off his disorder that night without developing any real fever. He woke late Friday, clear of head, though sober with a gnawing fear and tremendous sense of responsibility. Saturday afternoon he felt able to go over to the library and summon Rice and Morgan for a conference, and the rest of that day and evening the three men tortured their brains in the wildest speculation and the most desperate debate. Strange and terrible books were drawn voluminously from the stack shelves and from secure places of storage; and diagrams and formulae were copied with feverish haste and in bewildering abundance. Of scepticism there was none. All three had seen the body of Wilbur Whateley as it lay on the floor in a room of that very building, and after that not one of them could feel even slightly inclined to treat the diary as a madman’s raving. Opinions were divided as to notifying the Massachusetts State Police, and the negative finally won. There were things involved which simply could not be believed by those who had not seen a sample, as indeed was made clear during certain subsequent investigations. Late at night the conference disbanded without having developed a definite plan, but all day Sunday Armitage was busy comparing formulae and mixing chemicals obtained from the college laboratory. The more he reflected on the hellish diary, the more he was inclined to doubt the efficacy of any material agent in stamping out the entity which Wilbur Whateley had left behind him—the earth-threatening entity which, unknown to him, was to burst forth in a few hours and become the memorable Dunwich horror. Monday was a repetition of Sunday with Dr. Armitage, for the task in hand required an infinity of research and experiment. Further consultations of the monstrous diary brought about various changes of plan, and he knew that even in the end a large amount of uncertainty must remain.


investigator handbook By Tuesday he had a definite line of action mapped out, and believed he would try a trip to Dunwich within a week. Then, on Wednesday, the great shock came. Tucked obscurely away in a corner of the Arkham Advertiser was a facetious little item from the Associated Press, telling what a record-breaking monster the bootleg whiskey of Dunwich had raised up. Armitage, half stunned, could only telephone for Rice and Morgan. Far into the night they discussed, and the next day was a whirlwind of preparation on the part of them all. Armitage knew he would be meddling with terrible powers, yet saw that there was no other way to annul the deeper and more malign meddling which others had done before him.



Friday morning Armitage, Rice, and Morgan set out by motor for Dunwich, arriving at the village about one in the afternoon. The day was pleasant, but even in the brightest sunlight a kind of quiet dread and portent seemed to hover about the strangely domed hills and the deep, shadowy ravines of the stricken region. Now and then on some mountain-top a gaunt circle of stones could be glimpsed against the sky. From the air of hushed fright at Osborn’s store they knew something hideous had happened, and soon learned of the annihilation of the Elmer Frye house and family. Throughout that afternoon they rode around Dunwich; questioning the natives concerning all that had occurred, and seeing for themselves with rising pangs of horror the drear Frye ruins with their lingering traces of the tarry stickiness, the blasphemous tracks in the Frye yard, the wounded Seth Bishop cattle, and the enormous swaths of disturbed vegetation in various places. The trail up and down Sentinel Hill seemed to Armitage of almost cataclysmic significance, and he looked long at the sinister altar-like stone on the summit. At length the visitors, apprised of a party of State Police which had come from Aylesbury that morning in response to the first telephone reports of the Frye tragedy, decided to seek out the officers and compare notes as far as practicable. This, however, they found more easily planned than performed; since no sign of the party could be found in any direction. There had been five of them in a car, but now the car stood empty near the ruins in the Frye yard. The natives, all of whom had talked with the policemen, seemed at first as perplexed as Armitage and his companions. Then old Sam Hutchins thought of something and turned pale, nudging Fred Farr and pointing to the dank, deep hollow that yawned close by.

“Gawd,” he gasped, “I telled ’em not ter go daown into the glen, an’ I never thought nobody’d dew it with them tracks an’ that smell an’ the whippoorwills a-screechin’ daown thar in the dark o’ noonday. . . .” A cold shudder ran through natives and visitors alike, and every ear seemed strained in a kind of instinctive, unconscious listening. Armitage, now that he had actually come upon the horror and its monstrous work, trembled with the responsibility he felt to be his. Night would soon fall, and it was then that the mountainous blasphemy lumbered upon its eldritch course. Negotium perambulans in tenebris. . . . The old librarian rehearsed the formulae he had memorised, and clutched the paper containing the alternative one he had not memorised. He saw that his electric flashlight was in working order. Rice, beside him, took from a valise a metal sprayer of the sort used in combating insects; whilst Morgan uncased the big-game rifle on which he relied despite his colleague’s warnings that no material weapon would be of help. Armitage, having read the hideous diary, knew painfully well what kind of a manifestation to expect; but he did not add to the fright of the Dunwich people by giving any hints or clues. He hoped that it might be conquered without any revelation to the world of the monstrous thing it had escaped. As the shadows gathered, the natives commenced to disperse homeward, anxious to bar themselves indoors despite the present evidence that all human locks and bolts were useless before a force that could bend trees and crush houses when it chose. They shook their heads at the visitors’ plan to stand guard at the Frye ruins near the glen; and as they left, had little expectancy of ever seeing the watchers again. There were rumblings under the hills that night, and the whippoorwills piped threateningly. Once in a while a wind, sweeping up out of Cold Spring Glen, would bring a touch of ineffable foetor to the heavy night air; such a foetor as all three of the watchers had smelled once before, when they stood above a dying thing that had passed for fifteen years and a half as a human being. But the looked-for terror did not appear. Whatever was down there in the glen was biding its time, and Armitage told his colleagues it would be suicidal to try to attack it in the dark. Morning came wanly, and the night-sounds ceased. It was a grey, bleak day, with now and then a drizzle of rain; and heavier and heavier clouds seemed to be piling themselves up beyond the hills to the northwest. The men from Arkham were undecided what to do. Seeking shelter from the increasing rainfall beneath one of the few undestroyed Frye outbuildings,

chapter 2: the dunwich horror they debated the wisdom of waiting, or of taking the aggressive and going down into the glen in quest of their nameless, monstrous quarry. The downpour waxed in heaviness, and distant peals of thunder sounded from far horizons. Sheet lightning shimmered, and then a forky bolt flashed near at hand, as if descending into the accursed glen itself. The sky grew very dark, and the watchers hoped that the storm would prove a short, sharp one followed by clear weather. It was still gruesomely dark when, not much over an hour later, a confused babel of voices sounded down the road. Another moment brought to view a frightened group of more than a dozen men, running, shouting, and even whimpering hysterically. Someone in the lead began sobbing out words, and the Arkham men started violently when those words developed a coherent form. “Oh, my Gawd, my Gawd,” the voice choked out. “It’s a-goin’ agin, an’ this time by day! It’s aout—it’s aout an’ a-movin’ this very minute, an’ only the Lord knows when it’ll be on us all!” The speaker panted into silence, but another took up his message. “Nigh on a haour ago Zeb Whateley here heerd the ’phone a-ringin’, an’ it was Mis’ Corey, George’s wife, that lives daown by the junction. She says the hired boy Luther was aout drivin’ in the caows from the storm arter the big bolt, when he see all the trees a-bendin’ at the maouth o’ the glen—opposite side ter this—an’ smelt the same awful smell like he smelt when he faound the big tracks las’ Monday mornin’. An’ she says he says they was a swishin’, lappin’ saound, more nor what the bendin’ trees an’ bushes could make, an’ all on a suddent the trees along the rud begun ter git pushed one side, an’ they was a awful stompin’ an’ splashin’ in the mud. But mind ye, Luther he didn’t see nothin’ at all, only just the bendin’ trees an’ underbrush. “Then fur ahead where Bishop’s Brook goes under the rud he heerd a awful creakin’ an’ strainin’ on the bridge, an’ says he could tell the saound o’ wood a-startin’ to crack an’ split. An’ all the whiles he never see a thing, only them trees an’ bushes a-bendin’. An’ when the swishin’ saound got very fur off—on the rud towards Wizard Whateley’s an’ Sentinel Hill—Luther he had the guts ter step up whar he’d heerd it furst an’ look at the graound. It was all mud an’ water, an’ the sky was dark, an’ the rain was wipin’ aout all tracks abaout as fast as could be; but beginnin’ at the glen maouth, whar the trees had moved, they was still some o’ them awful prints big as bar’ls like he seen Monday.” At this point the first excited speaker interrupted. “But that ain’t the trouble naow—that was only the start. Zeb here was callin’ folks up an’ everybody was a-listenin’ in when a call from Seth Bishop’s cut in. His haousekeeper Sally was carryin’ on fit ter kill—she’d jest seed the trees a-bendin’ beside the rud, an’ says they was a kind o’ mushy saound, like a elephant puffin’ an’ treadin’, a-headin’ fer the haouse. Then she up an’ spoke suddent of a fearful smell, an’ says her boy Cha’ncey was a-screamin’ as haow it was jest like what he smelt up to the Whateley rewins Monday mornin’. An’ the dogs was all barkin’ an’ whinin’ awful.

“An’ then she let aout a turrible yell, an’ says the shed daown the rud had jest caved in like the storm hed blowed it over, only the wind wa’n’t strong enough to dew that. Everybody was a-listenin’, an’ we could hear lots o’ folks on the wire a-gaspin’. All to onct Sally she yelled agin, an’ says the front yard picket fence hed just crumbled up, though they wa’n’t no sign o’ what done it. Then everybody on the line could hear Cha’ncey an’ ol’ Seth Bishop a-yellin’ tew, an’ Sally was shriekin’ aout that suthin’ heavy hed struck the haouse— not lightnin’ nor nothin’, but suthin’ heavy agin the front, that kep’ a-launchin’ itself agin an’ agin, though ye couldn’t see nothin’ aout the front winders. An’ then . . . an’ then . . .” Lines of fright deepened on every face; and Armitage, shaken as he was, had barely poise enough to prompt the speaker. “An’ then . . . Sally she yelled aout, ’O help, the haouse is a-cavin’ in’ . . . an’ on the wire we could hear a turrible crashin’, an’ a hull flock o’ screamin’ . . . jest like when Elmer Frye’s place was took, only wuss. . . .” The man paused, and another of the crowd spoke. “That’s all—not a saound nor squeak over the ’phone arter that. Jest still-like. We that heerd it got aout Fords an’ wagons an’ raounded up as many able-bodied menfolks as we could git, at Corey’s place, an’ come up here ter see what yew thought best ter dew. Not but what I think it’s the Lord’s jedgment fer our iniquities, that no mortal kin ever set aside.” Armitage saw that the time for positive action had come, and spoke decisively to the faltering group of frightened rustics. “We must follow it, boys.” He made his voice as reassuring as possible. “I believe there’s a chance of putting it out of business. You men know that those Whateleys were wizards—well, this thing is a thing of wizardry, and must be put down by the same means. I’ve seen Wilbur Whateley’s diary and read some of the strange old books he used to read; and I think I know the right kind of spell to recite to make the thing fade away. Of course, one can’t be sure, but we can always take a chance. It’s invisible—I knew it would be—but there’s a powder in this long-distance sprayer that might make it shew up for a second. Later on we’ll try it. It’s a frightful thing to have alive, but it isn’t as bad as what Wilbur would have let in if he’d lived longer. You’ll never know what the world has escaped. Now we’ve only this one thing to fight, and it can’t multiply. It can, though, do a lot of harm; so we mustn’t hesitate to rid the community of it. “We must follow it—and the way to begin is to go to the place that has just been wrecked. Let somebody lead the way—I don’t know your roads very well, but I’ve an idea there might be a shorter cut across lots. How about it?” The men shuffled about a moment, and then Earl Sawyer spoke softly, pointing with a grimy finger through the steadily lessening rain. “I guess ye kin git to Seth Bishop’s quickest by cuttin’ acrost the lower medder here, wadin’ the brook at the low place, an’ climbin’ through Carrier’s mowin’ and the timberlot beyont. That comes aout on the upper rud mighty nigh Seth’s—a leetle t’other side.”


investigator handbook Armitage, with Rice and Morgan, started to walk in the direction indicated; and most of the natives followed slowly. The sky was growing lighter, and there were signs that the storm had worn itself away. When Armitage inadvertently took a wrong direction, Joe Osborn warned him and walked ahead to shew the right one. Courage and confidence were mounting; though the twilight of the almost perpendicular wooded hill which lay toward the end of their short cut, and among whose fantastic ancient trees they had to scramble as if up a ladder, put these qualities to a severe test. At length they emerged on a muddy road to find the sun coming out. They were a little beyond the Seth Bishop place, but bent trees and hideously unmistakable tracks shewed what had passed by. Only a few moments were consumed in surveying the ruins just around the bend. It was the Frye incident all over again, and nothing dead or living was found in either of the collapsed shells which had been the Bishop house and barn. No one cared to remain there amidst the stench and tarry stickiness, but all turned instinctively to the line of horrible prints leading on toward the wrecked Whateley farmhouse and the altar-crowned slopes of Sentinel Hill. As the men passed the site of Wilbur Whateley’s abode they shuddered visibly, and seemed again to mix hesitancy with their zeal. It was no joke tracking down something as big as a house that one could not see, but that had all the vicious malevolence of a daemon. Opposite the base of Sentinel Hill the tracks left the road, and there was a fresh bending and matting visible along the broad swath marking the monster’s former route to and from the summit. Armitage produced a pocket telescope of considerable power and scanned the steep green side of the hill. Then he handed the instrument to Morgan, whose sight was keener. After a moment of gazing Morgan cried out sharply, passing the glass to Earl Sawyer and indicating a certain spot on the slope with his finger. Sawyer, as clumsy as most non-users of optical devices are, fumbled a while; but eventually focussed the lenses with Armitage’s aid. When he did so his cry was less restrained than Morgan’s had been. “Gawd almighty, the grass an’ bushes is a-movin’! It’s a-goin’ up—slow-like—creepin’ up ter the top this minute, heaven only knows what fur!” Then the germ of panic seemed to spread among the seekers. It was one thing to chase the nameless entity, but quite another to find it. Spells might be all right—but suppose they weren’t? Voices began questioning Armitage about what he knew of the thing, and no reply seemed quite to satisfy. Everyone seemed to feel himself in close proximity to phases of Nature and of being utterly forbidden, and wholly outside the sane experience of mankind.


X. In the end the three men from Arkham—old, white-bearded Dr. Armitage, stocky, iron-grey Professor Rice, and lean, youngish Dr. Morgan—ascended the mountain alone. After much patient instruction regarding its focussing and use, they left the telescope with the frightened group that remained in the road; and as they climbed they were watched closely by those among whom the glass was passed around. It was hard going, and Armitage had to be helped more than once. High above the toiling group the great swath trembled as its hellish maker re-passed with snail-like deliberateness. Then it was obvious that the pursuers were gaining. Curtis Whateley—of the undecayed branch—was holding the telescope when the Arkham party detoured radically from the swath. He told the crowd that the men were evidently trying to get to a subordinate peak which overlooked the swath at a point considerably ahead of where the shrubbery was now bending. This, indeed, proved to be true; and the party were seen to gain the minor elevation only a short time after the invisible blasphemy h a d passed it.

chapter 2: the dunwich horror Then Wesley Corey, who had taken the glass, cried out that Armitage was adjusting the sprayer which Rice held, and that something must be about to happen. The crowd stirred uneasily, recalling that this sprayer was expected to give the unseen horror a moment of visibility. Two or three men shut their eyes, but Curtis Whateley snatched back the telescope and strained his vision to the utmost. He saw that Rice, from the party’s point of vantage above and behind the entity, had an excellent chance of spreading the potent powder with marvellous effect. Those without the telescope saw only an instant’s flash of grey cloud—a cloud about the size of a moderately large building—near the top of the mountain. Curtis, who had held the instrument, dropped it with a piercing shriek into the ankle-deep mud of the road. He reeled, and would have crumpled to the ground had not two or three others seized and steadied him. All he could do was moan half-inaudibly, “Oh, oh, great Gawd . . . that . . . that . . .” There was a pandemonium of questioning, and only Henry Wheeler thought to rescue the fallen telescope and wipe it clean of mud. Curtis was past all coherence, and even isolated replies were almost too much for him. “Bigger’n a barn . . . all made o’ squirmin’ ropes . . . hull thing sort o’ shaped like a hen’s egg bigger’n anything, with dozens o’ legs like hogsheads that haff shut up when they step . . . nothin’ solid abaout it—all like jelly, an’ made o’ sep’rit wrigglin’ ropes pushed clost together . . . great bulgin’ eyes all over it . . . ten or twenty maouths or trunks a-stickin’ aout all along the sides, big as stovepipes, an’ all a-tossin’ an’ openin’ an’ shuttin’ . . . all grey, with kinder blue or purple rings . . . an’ Gawd in heaven—that haff face on top! . . .” This final memory, whatever it was, proved too much for poor Curtis; and he collapsed completely before he could say more. Fred Farr and Will Hutchins carried him to the roadside and laid him on the damp grass. Henry Wheeler, trembling, turned the rescued telescope on the mountain to see what he might. Through the lenses were discernible three tiny figures, apparently running toward the summit as fast as the steep incline allowed. Only these—nothing more. Then everyone noticed a strangely unseasonable noise in the deep valley behind, and even in the underbrush of Sentinel Hill itself. It was the piping of unnumbered whippoorwills, and in their shrill chorus there seemed to lurk a note of tense and evil expectancy. Earl Sawyer now took the telescope and reported the three figures as standing on the topmost ridge, virtually level with the altar-stone but at a considerable distance from it. One figure, he said, seemed to be raising its hands above its head at rhythmic intervals; and as Sawyer mentioned the circumstance the crowd seemed to hear a faint, half-musical sound from the distance, as if a loud chant were accompanying the gestures. The weird silhouette on that remote peak must have been a spectacle of infinite grotesqueness and impressiveness, but no observer was in a mood for aesthetic appreciation. “I guess he’s sayin’ the spell,”

whispered Wheeler as he snatched back the telescope. The whippoorwills were piping wildly, and in a singularly curious irregular rhythm quite unlike that of the visible ritual. Suddenly the sunshine seemed to lessen without the intervention of any discernible cloud. It was a very peculiar phenomenon, and was plainly marked by all. A rumbling sound seemed brewing beneath the hills, mixed strangely with a concordant rumbling which clearly came from the sky. Lightning flashed aloft, and the wondering crowd looked in vain for the portents of storm. The chanting of the men from Arkham now became unmistakable, and Wheeler saw through the glass that they were all raising their arms in the rhythmic incantation. From some farmhouse far away came the frantic barking of dogs. The change in the quality of the daylight increased, and the crowd gazed about the horizon in wonder. A purplish darkness, born of nothing more than a spectral deepening of the sky’s blue, pressed down upon the rumbling hills. Then the lightning flashed again, somewhat brighter than before, and the crowd fancied that it had shewed a certain mistiness around the altar-stone on the distant height. No one, however, had been using the telescope at that instant. The whippoorwills continued their irregular pulsation, and the men of Dunwich braced themselves tensely against some imponderable menace with which the atmosphere seemed surcharged. Without warning came those deep, cracked, raucous vocal sounds which will never leave the memory of the stricken group who heard them. Not from any human throat were they born, for the organs of man can yield no such acoustic perversions. Rather would one have said they came from the pit itself, had not their source been so unmistakably the altarstone on the peak. It is almost erroneous to call them sounds at all, since so much of their ghastly, infra-bass timbre spoke to dim seats of consciousness and terror far subtler than the ear; yet one must do so, since their form was indisputably though vaguely that of half-articulate words. They were loud—loud as the rumblings and the thunder above which they echoed—yet did they come from no visible being. And because imagination might suggest a conjectural source in the world of non-visible beings, the huddled crowd at the mountain’s base huddled still closer, and winced as if in expectation of a blow. “Ygnaiih . . . ygnaiih . . . thflthkh’ngha . . . Yog-Sothoth . . .” rang the hideous croaking out of space. “Y’bthnk . . . h’ehye—n’grkdl’lh. . . .” The speaking impulse seemed to falter here, as if some frightful psychic struggle were going on. Henry Wheeler strained his eye at the telescope, but saw only the three grotesquely silhouetted human figures on the peak, all moving their arms furiously in strange gestures as their incantation drew near its culmination. From what black wells of Acherontic fear or feeling, from what unplumbed gulfs of extra-cosmic consciousness or obscure, long-latent heredity, were those half-articulate thunder-croakings drawn? Presently they began to gather renewed force and coherence as they grew in stark, utter, ultimate frenzy.


investigator handbook


chapter 2: the dunwich horror “Eh-ya-ya-ya-yahaah—e’yayayayaaaa . . . ngh’aaaaa . . . ngh’aaaa . . . h’yuh . . . h’yuh . . . HELP! HELP! . . . ff—ff—ff— FATHER! FATHER! YOG-SOTHOTH! . . .” But that was all. The pallid group in the road, still reeling at the indisputably English syllables that had poured thickly and thunderously down from the frantic vacancy beside that shocking altar-stone, were never to hear such syllables again. Instead, they jumped violently at the terrific report which seemed to rend the hills; the deafening, cataclysmic peal whose source, be it inner earth or sky, no hearer was ever able to place. A single lightning-bolt shot from the purple zenith to the altar-stone, and a great tidal wave of viewless force and indescribable stench swept down from the hill to all the countryside. Trees, grass, and underbrush were whipped into a fury; and the frightened crowd at the mountain’s base, weakened by the lethal foetor that seemed about to asphyxiate them, were almost hurled off their feet. Dogs howled from the distance, green grass and foliage wilted to a curious, sickly yellow-grey, and over field and forest were scattered the bodies of dead whippoorwills. The stench left quickly, but the vegetation never came right again. To this day there is something queer and unholy about the growths on and around that fearsome hill. Curtis Whateley was only just regaining consciousness when the Arkham men came slowly down the mountain in the beams of a sunlight once more brilliant and untainted. They were grave and quiet, and seemed shaken by memories and reflections even more terrible than those which had reduced the group of natives to a state of cowed quivering. In reply to a jumble of questions they only shook their heads and reaffirmed one vital fact. “The thing has gone forever,” Armitage said. “It has been split up into what it was originally made of, and can never exist again. It was an impossibility in a normal world. Only the least fraction was really matter in any sense we know. It was like its father—and most of it has gone back to him in some vague realm or dimension outside our material universe; some vague abyss out of which only the most accursed rites of human blasphemy could ever have called him for a moment on the hills.” There was a brief silence, and in that pause the scattered senses of poor Curtis Whateley began to knit back into a sort of continuity; so that he put his hands to his head with a

moan. Memory seemed to pick itself up where it had left off, and the horror of the sight that had prostrated him burst in upon him again. “Oh, oh, my Gawd, that haff face—that haff face on top of it . . . that face with the red eyes an’ crinkly albino hair, an’ no chin, like the Whateleys . . . It was a octopus, centipede, spider kind o’ thing, but they was a haff-shaped man’s face on top of it, an’ it looked like Wizard Whateley’s, only it was yards an’ yards acrost. . . .” He paused exhausted, as the whole group of natives stared in a bewilderment not quite crystallised into fresh terror. Only old Zebulon Whateley, who wanderingly remembered ancient things but who had been silent heretofore, spoke aloud. “Fifteen year’ gone,” he rambled, “I heerd Ol’ Whateley say as haow some day we’d hear a child o’ Lavinny’s a-callin’ its father’s name on the top o’ Sentinel Hill. . . .” But Joe Osborn interrupted him to question the Arkham men anew. “What was it anyhaow, an’ haowever did young Wizard Whateley call it aout o’ the air it come from?” Armitage chose his words very carefully. “It was—well, it was mostly a kind of force that doesn’t belong in our part of space; a kind of force that acts and grows and shapes itself by other laws than those of our sort of Nature. We have no business calling in such things from outside, and only very wicked people and very wicked cults ever try to. There was some of it in Wilbur Whateley himself—enough to make a devil and a precocious monster of him, and to make his passing out a pretty terrible sight. I’m going to burn his accursed diary, and if you men are wise you’ll dynamite that altar-stone up there, and pull down all the rings of standing stones on the other hills. Things like that brought down the beings those Whateleys were so fond of—the beings they were going to let in tangibly to wipe out the human race and drag the earth off to some nameless place for some nameless purpose. “But as to this thing we’ve just sent back—the Whateleys raised it for a terrible part in the doings that were to come. It grew fast and big from the same reason that Wilbur grew fast and big—but it beat him because it had a greater share of the outsideness in it. You needn’t ask how Wilbur called it out of the air. He didn’t call it out. It was his twin brother, but it looked more like the father than he did.”


investigator handbook

About This Chapter

n Call of Cthulhu, each player takes the role of an investigator, someone whose mission is to unearth hidden secrets, discover forgotten places and, armed with knowledge which man was not meant to know, stand against the bloodcurdling horrors of the Cthulhu Mythos. Working as a team, investigators can come from disparate backgrounds and be of varied occupations—each bringing certain expertise to the group. Together, joined in comradeship and common purpose, you will stand steadfast against the coming darkness. This chapter provides the rules for creating investigator player characters. At the end of this chapter you’ll also find some alternative methods for creating investigators. A two-page spread that provides a handy summary for quick reference can be found on pages 64-65.

Before You Roll the Dice Behind every investigator’s characteristics and skills lies your imagination. Before you begin rolling dice you should talk to the Keeper and ask for guidance on creating a suitable investigator for the scenario that you are going to play. The Keeper may stipulate strict guidelines, such as which professions you can chose from, or may leave it completely open to you.

Key aspects you should note include: Y Y Y Y Y

The period or date when the scenario takes place. The location or country in which the game is set. The scenario’s initial premise or set-up. Does the Keeper recommend any occupations? Suggestions for how the investigators might know each other.

The Keeper may tell you a great deal or very little about the scenario. Listen to what is said and ask any questions you may have. Once you have an idea for an investigator, run it past your Keeper for approval. Unless the Keeper states otherwise, it’s a good idea to chat with the other players and bounce ideas around. This conversation can serve to stimulate imagination and create links between the investigators, helping to create a suitable mix of player characters. The more strongly you can tie your investigator to the Keeper’s initial game premise the better. Consider it your responsibility to embed your investigator into the Keeper’s scenario or campaign premise. If the Keeper says the investigators are going to be hired for an investigation, think about making an investigator who needs the money.


Investigator Creation Creating your own investigator from scratch is great fun. The rules detail rolling your investigator’s statistics, choosing an occupation and skills, and developing a personal history. When beginning a game of Call of Cthulhu, it is recommended that all the players "roll-up" their investigators together in the company of the person who will be taking on the role of Keeper— this ensures that everyone helps to form the group, with each investigator taking an agreed role, ensuring that a balance of skills and occupations is found.

Alternatively, the Keeper might say that the game begins as a murder investigation, thus you could ask if the victim could be your investigator’s brother or close friend. If the premise asks that your investigator be part of an academic team attending a conference, perhaps your character could be one of the speakers. Giving your investigator more relevance to the story and making the "hook" stronger will make the game better. The Keeper will provide an interesting plot, but he or she doesn’t necessarily know what’s going to grab your attention and push your buttons as a player. Any connections that you create between your investigator and the plot are likely to hold greater emotional resonance for you than anything the Keeper supplies. If the Keeper is unable to give much of a premise you can still create some interesting facets to your investigator without knowing how they will come into play. The Keeper may pick up on some of these facets and incorporate them into the scenario.

Creating Your Investigator There is more than one approach to creating an investigator.

Some people prefer to have an idea about the type of investigator they wish to create before rolling any dice, while others prefer to let the dice rolls guide their choices. What follows are the standard rules for creating investigators, with further options at the end of this chapter.

chapter 3: creating investigators

The Steps Here are the five steps to creating an investigator:


Step One: Generate Characteristics


Step Four: Create backstory

Step Two: Determine Occupation Step Three: Decide Skills and allocate Skill Points Step Five: Equip investigator

Investigators may come from all walks of life and social backgrounds

Step One: Generate Characteristics A characteristic is one of eight numbers that create the foundations for an investigator. In the game each characteristic represents an aspect of an investigator—intelligence, dexterity, and so on. These identified quantities determine the relative capability of investigators and suggest ways for them to act and react during play. Characteristic values are generated randomly by rolling two or more six-sided dice. Each rolled result is then multiplied by 5 to generate a percentage number that may range between 15% and 90%.

Rolling Characteristics

Initially, write your results on a piece of scrap paper before writing them onto the investigator sheet as they may be modified by the age of your investigator.

Enhancing Your Character's Background The Keeper has presented an initial premise for the game, which involves an expedition team from the Miskatonic University traveling into the wilds in search of a missing colleague. Amy asks if her investigator might work in the same department as the missing person. The Keeper agrees. Amy takes it a step further: “This missing colleague and I were in competition, both seeking to publish a paper on the same topic.” Amy is pushing to find out more. The Keeper informs her that she knows little about the true aims of her colleague’s expedition—perhaps if she can find out more then she could potentially take the credit! Amy’s investigator now has a strong motivation and the Keeper has a new element to introduce into the plot.

STR (Strength): Roll 3D6 and Multiply by 5 to generate the Strength Characteristic.

Strength measures the muscle power of an investigator. The higher it is, the more the investigator can lift or tightly cling to something. This characteristic determines the damage an investigator inflicts in hand-to-hand combat. Reduced to STR 0, an investigator is an invalid, unable to get out of bed.

CON (Constitution): Roll 3D6 and Multiply by 5 to generate the Constitution Characteristic.

Constitution represents health, vigor, and vitality. Poisons and diseases may directly challenge an investigator’s constitution. Investigators with a high constitution often have more hit points—the better to resist injury and attack. Serious physical injury or magical attack might lower the statistic, and if Constitution reaches zero the investigator dies.


investigator handbook DEX (Dexterity): Roll 3D6 and Multiply by 5 to generate a Dexterity Characteristic.

Introducing Harvey Walters To help illustrate the various rules of Call of Cthulhu, we are pleased to introduce you to Harvey Walters, the noted 1920s New York journalist and investigator of the supernatural. We use Harvey to demonstrate how character creation works. To differentiate between the person playing Harvey and the actual character of Harvey, the investigator in the game, the player is female and her investigator is male. For a walk-through of Harvey's character creation see page 47.

Investigators with higher Dexterity scores are quicker, nimbler, and more physically flexible. A DEX roll might be made to grab a support to keep from falling, to move faster than an opponent, or to accomplish some delicate task. An investigator with zero DEX is uncoordinated and unable to perform physical tasks. In combat, the character with the highest DEX acts first.

APP (Appearance): Roll 3D6 and Multiply by 5 to generate an Appearance Characteristic.

Appearance measures both physical attractiveness and personality. A person with high APP is charming and likeable, but may lack conventional good looks. An investigator with APP of 0 is appallingly ugly or someone with a wholly detestable demeanor, provoking comment and shock everywhere. APP may be useful in social encounters or when trying to make a good impression.

INT (Intelligence): Roll 2D6+6 and Multiply by 5 to generate an Intelligence Characteristic.

Intelligence represents how well investigators learn, remember, analyze information, and solve complex puzzles. An investigator with zero INT is a babbling, drooling idiot. Intelligence determines the number of Personal Interest skill points (multiply INT × 2) allotted to a new investigator

Do Low Characteristics Make Poor Investigators?

SIZ (Size): Roll 2D6+6 and Multiply by 5 to generate a Size Characteristic.

Size averages both height and weight into a single number. To see over a wall, to squeeze through a small opening, or even to judge whose head might be sticking up out of the grass, use size. Size helps determine hit points, damage bonus, and build. One might decrease SIZ to indicate the loss of a limb, though lowering DEX is more often the solution. Presumably if investigators lose all SIZ points they disappear—goodness knows to where!


Often in roleplaying games, the higher the player character’s characteristics, the better the chances for that character’s success in the game. However, in Call of Cthulhu, low characteristic scores do not always mean that the investigator will be hindered and unable to perform as part of the investigator’s group. Often one or two low characteristic scores can help to bring the investigator "to life" and feel more real—as opposed to some incredible superhuman! Rather than rejecting a low roll, try to incorporate it into the overall makeup of your investigator. Perhaps a low dexterity means that the investigator has suffered some form of leg or hand injury while in the armed forces, or a low education is the result of never attending school and being forced to grow up on the streets.

chapter 3: creating investigators (see Personal Interests,, page 50). INT also acts as the value for both Idea rolls and Intelligence rolls. If the amount of INT seems to contradict another characteristic, that’s another chance for roleplaying and further defining your investigator. For example, an investigator with high EDU and low INT might be a pedantic teacher or a sideshow performer, someone who knows facts but not their meanings. Conversely, high INT and low EDU might mean ignorance—such as an uneducated farm boy, new to the Big City—however this person would not be dullwitted.

POW (Power): Roll 3D6 and Multiply by 5 to generate a Power Characteristic.

with some college years. Those with an EDU greater than 80 have most likely conducted graduate level work and have a degree, as expected of a person who has been to a university of some kind. Note that sometimes rs Writing Numbe or Sheet a person with a high Education igat on the Invest may not necessarily be schooled stic the characteri ng ri te en n in the traditional sense, but rather Whe t, you vestigator shee in e th on es lu may be self-taught and possess a va the raw lpful to enter highly studious and observant e may find it he th ith w d mber rolle " nature. scores (the nu fth "fi e th d dice) in original six-side EDU is a factor in determining by r be m nu tiply this e box, then mul how many Occupational skill th in r be that num e five and enter lv points (see Occupation Skills, ha lly na box, and fi d characteristic an page 49) an investigator begins r be m teristic nu the full charac ng di with, and represents the un ro x, "half" bo r enter it in the be m investigator’s starting percentage nu le arest who t down to the ne bi a for the Own Language skill (see ds un hile it so if necessary. W ay m page 109). EDU is also used u yo e in practic d back-to-front, ee sp when making Know rolls. n ca sense and find it makes e the Note: From here on, any ternatively, us Al . things up. 59 ge references to a characteristic pa on ce Chart Quick Referen are to the full value (dice roll multiplied by five). Any adjustments are made to that value.

Power indicates force of will: the higher the POW, the higher the aptitude for, and resistance to, magic. An investigator with zero POW is zombie-like and without purpose, as well as being unable to use magic. Unless stated otherwise, POW that is lost during the game is lost permanently. Sanity points (SAN) begin the game equal to the character’s POW. POW also dictates the character’s number of "magic points," which, unlike POW, can be spent and regenerated during play. Magic points are equal to one-fifth of POW. The POW of ordinary characters and investigators rarely changes. However, those adroit in the mysteries of the magic of the Cthulhu Mythos may be able to increase their personal POW.

EDU (Education): Roll 2D6+6 and Multiply by 5 to generate an Education Characteristic.

Education is a measure of the formal and factual knowledge possessed by the investigator, as well as indicating the time the investigator has spent in full-time education. EDU measures retained information, not the intelligent application of that information (see Intelligence). An investigator without EDU would be like a newborn baby or an amnesiac—without knowledge of the world, probably very curious and credulous. An EDU of 60 suggests the investigator is a high school graduate, while a score of around 70 indicates a person

Luck: Roll 3D6 and Multiply by 5

When creating an investigator roll 3D6 and multiply by 5 for a Luck score. Luck rolls are often called for by the Keeper when circumstances external to an investigator are in question, and when determining the fickle hand of fate.


A player can choose any age between 15 and 90 for their investigator. If you wish to create an investigator outside this age range, it is up to the Keeper to adjudicate. Use the appropriate modifiers for your chosen age only (they are not cumulative). Age Modifiers: 15 to 19: Deduct 5 points among STR and SIZ. Deduct 5 points from EDU. Roll twice to generate a Luck score and use the higher value. 20s or 30s (20-39 years of age): Make an improvement check for EDU. 40s: Make 2 improvement checks for EDU and deduct 5 points among STR, CON or DEX, and reduce APP by 5. 50s: Make 3 improvement checks for EDU and deduct 10 points among STR, CON or DEX, and reduce APP by 10. Continued on page 48


investigator handbook

What The Numbers Mean Strength 0 15 50 90 99

Enfeebled: unable to even stand up or lift a cup of tea. Puny, weak. Average human strength. One of the strongest people you’ve ever met. World-class (Olympic weightlifter). Human maximum. 140 Beyond human strength (gorilla or horse).

Constitution 0 1

Dead. Sickly, prone to prolonged illness and probably unable to operate without assistance. 15 Weak health, prone to bouts of ill health, great propensity for feeling pain. 50 Average healthy human. 90 Shrugs off colds, hardy and hale. 99 Iron constitution, able to withstand great amounts of pain. Human maximum. 140 Beyond human constitution (e.g. elephant).

Size 1 15 65

A baby (1 to 12 pounds). Child, very short in stature (dwarf) (33 pounds / 15 kg). Average human size (moderate height and weight) (170 pounds / 75 kg). 80 Very tall, strongly built, or obese. (240 pounds / 110 kg). 99 Oversize in some respect (330 pounds / 150 kg). 150 Horse or cow (960 pounds / 436 kg). 180 Heaviest human ever recorded (1400 pounds / 634 kg). Note: Some humans may exceed SIZ 99.

Dexterity 0 15

Unable to move without assistance. Slow, clumsy with poor motor skills for fine manipulation. 50 Average human dexterity. 90 Fast, nimble and able to perform feats of fine manipulation (e.g. acrobat, great dancer). 99 World-class athlete (e.g. Olympic standard). Human maximum. 120 Beyond human dexterity (e.g. tiger).


Appearance 0

So unsightly that others are affected by fear, revulsion, or pity. 15 Ugly, possibly disfigured due to injury or at birth. 50 Average human appearance. 90 One of the most charming people you could meet, natural magnetism. 99* The height of glamour and cool (supermodel or world renowned film star). Human maximum. Note: *APP is used only for humans, and does not exceed 99.

Intelligence 0

15 50 90 99

No intellect, unable to comprehend the world around them. Slow learner, able to undertake only the most basic math, or read beginner-level books. Average human intellect. Quick-witted, probably able to comprehend multiple languages or theorems. Genius (Einstein, Da Vinci, Tesla, etc.). Human maximum.

Power 0

Enfeebled mind, no willpower or drive, no magical potential. 15 Weak-willed, easily dominated by those with a greater intellect or willpower. 50 Average human. 90 Strong willed, driven, a high potential to connect with the unseen and magical. 100 Iron will, strong connection to the spiritual “realm” or unseen world. 140 Beyond human, possibly alien. Note: Human POW can exceed 100, but this is exceptional.

Education 0 15 60 70 80 90 96 99

A newborn baby. Completely uneducated in every way. High school graduate. College graduate (Bachelor degree). Degree level graduate (Master's degree). Doctorate, professor. World-class authority in their field of study. Human maximum.

chapter 3: creating investigators

Example of Investigator Creation

To start, we need to roll-up Harvey’s characteristics. Let’s roll some dice and see his scores. The player takes up a fresh investigator sheet and a pencil, and then she rolls some six-sided dice. We rolled a 4 for Harvey, which when multiplied by 5, gives him a Strength of 20%. This is abysmal. Harvey is exceptionally puny and weak, but the player is not dismayed—Call of Cthulhu is an unusual game and all kinds of investigators are needed. Luckily for Harvey, the player next rolled a 14, which makes a CON of 70%. This is good, and Harvey will be fairly hardy. This may help make up for his low STR. Harvey’s other characteristics work out as: SIZ of 80% (all that time sitting reading and having no exercise means that it is likely that he is overweight); DEX 60% (a high average); APP 85% (whatever his other flaws, Harvey has a sparkling personality); INT 85% (an excellent score); POW 45% (which gives him 9 magic points but a low starting Sanity—he begins with 45 SAN); EDU 80% (Harvey can be assumed to have graduated from college). Harvey’s player rolls 9 to determine his Luck value, so Harvey begins the game with Luck 45. His player wants Harvey to be 42 year old, with some experience under his belt. She makes two experience checks for Education. Harvey’s EDU is 80. Her first roll of 86 earns a reward of 4 points (1D10). Harvey’s Education is now 84. Her second roll of 82 fails to earn any reward. She then reduces his DEX by 5 to 55 and APP by 5 to 80; he’s not as spritely as he once was but he’s still a handsome chap. With all of the characteristics done, his player can now write in the half and fifth values for each of them. Harvey’s EDU 84 is divided by 2, giving a Half value of 42%. Then divided by 5 for the Fifth value (84 divided by 5, rounded down, equaling 16%). Harvey’s player writes these scores on the investigator sheet in the boxes provided and repeats the exercise for all the other characteristics. Now Harvey’s Damage Bonus and Build are determined. Harvey Walters has no damage bonus and 0 build, as his STR and SIZ add up to a total of 100. With CON 70 and SIZ 80 totaling 150, Harvey has 15 hit points (150 divided by 10 = 15). Harvey Walters has STR 20, SIZ 80, and DEX 55. His STR and DEX are each less than his SIZ so Harvey’s MOV is 7. He is 42 years of age, and so this is reduced by a further point to MOV 6. Harvey will not be winning many chases. It's decided that Harvey will be a journalist, working for Enigma Magazine. Journalists use EDU × 4 to calculate their occupation skill points. Harvey’s EDU 84 (multiplied by 4) yields 336 points to add to the skills listed for the Journalist occupation, as well as for his Credit Rating value. His present skill in Own Language (English) is already 84% (EDU), so Harvey’s player decides not to add further

points to that skill. She decides that Harvey would know Latin; it has a base chance of 01%, and she adds 65 of her 336 points to make a skill total of Latin 66%. Now he is at home in a language often encountered in Mythos researches. 271 occupation skill points remain to be spent. Next, she adds 60 to his Persuade rating, raising it to 70%. To evaluate the people he questions, his player adds 55 to make a 65% Psychology. As an investigative reporter, Harvey is well equipped to ask questions and get honest answers. Now 156 occupation skill points remain. Every reporter needs to collect evidence, so his player puts 20 points into Art/Craft (choosing Photography) for 25% total, since seeing is believing in the 1920s. Now 136 occupation points are left. While the Journalist occupation gives a Credit Rating range of 9–30, the player asks to invest more points as Harvey comes from a wealthy family—the Keeper agrees to this request. Journalists are permitted two skills as personal specialties: she chooses Archaeology, and adds 38 points to that for 39% and 57 points for Law, for a total of 62% in that skill. Harvey’s player has spent all the Journalist occupation points. Harvey has good communication skills, useful for a reporter, and a Mythos-related skill, Archaeology. Harvey’s INT is 85, so his personal interest skill point total is 170 points (85 × 2 = 170). These points can be spent as the player desires. Harvey’s player spends 49 points for Pilot Aircraft 50% (“because it sounds exciting”) and, since she figures that Harvey could spend much time researching mysterious events and facts, she adds 35 points to Library Use, raising it to 55%. There are 86 personal interest skill points left and she splits these up to round out Harvey’s more general (but useful) skills: adding 20 for Listen 45%, 25 for Occult 30% (this low score shows that while Harvey has some knowledge of the occult, he still has much to learn), and the remaining 41 to Archaeology, a personal favourite, raising it to 80%. Since Harvey’s pen is mightier than the sword, she decides not to increase his Fighting or Firearms skills above their base chance. With all of his points spent, his player writes down the half and fifth values for each of the skills on the investigator sheet. Harvey's player allocated 41 occupation skill points for Credit Rating, which means that he has an Average living standard. He may stay in moderately priced hotels, eat out (economically), and take the occasional taxi. For his backstory, Harvey’s player choses "handsome, well-dressed and a little overweight" for his personal description. She then uses the random tables for the rest of Harvey’s background. First a 4 is rolled for beliefs: “fate”. This seems to fit with Harvey; he is perhaps superstitious. Next a 2 for significant people: “grandparent”. Harvey’s


investigator handbook

player prefers the idea of an uncle and so goes with that instead; but why is he important to Harvey? A 9 is rolled for ‘Why?’ indicating that Harvey wishes to prove himself better than his uncle. Meaningful Locations is next. A roll of 4 yields, “a place for quiet contemplation”. Harvey is a studious fellow, perhaps he enjoys sitting in his study as he ponders his writings. Next, with a roll of 1, we have an item connected with his highest skill. Harvey has 80% in Archaeology, so the Keeper suggests that perhaps Harvey’s uncle was a keen archaeologist and passed the knowledge and passion onto Harvey as a child. This ties in with his uncle. The idea clicks with the player, and she states how Harvey’s uncle was obsessed with Archaeology, but is now a shell of a man. While this has been attributed to dementia, perhaps there is another cause; perhaps there is something hidden among those old artifacts he collected that led him down the path of madness? These archaeological finds now reside in Harvey’s study. Harvey

60s: Make 4 improvement checks for EDU and deduct 20 points among STR, CON or DEX, and reduce APP by 15. 70s: Make 4 improvement checks for EDU and deduct 40 points among STR, CON or DEX, and reduce APP by 20.

Table I: D a m ag e B o n u s STR + SIZ

2 — 64 65 — 84 85 — 124 125 — 164

165 — 204

To make an EDU improvement check, simply roll percentage dice. If the result is greater than your present EDU add 1D10 percentage points to your EDU characteristic (note that EDU cannot go above 99).

Half and Fifth Characteristic Values

and Build

Damage Bonus

80s: Make 4 improvement checks for EDU and deduct 80 points among STR, CON or DEX, and reduce APP by 25.

Once the percentage values for each characteristic have been determined, the next step is to write in the half and fifth values for each characteristic on the investigator sheet (each characteristic has three boxes: a large box for the full value and two smaller ones for the half and fifth values). Divide the percentage value by two, rounding down, and write in the “half ” percentage value. Divide the percentage value by five, rounding down, and enter the "fifth" value after the half value. When a "characteristic value" is referred to in the text, this means the full value (highest number). Where half or


believes he is more determined and of stronger mind than his uncle, and that he will triumph where his uncle failed. Last of all we roll a 7 for Harvey’s trait: “Ladies’ man”. This fits perfectly well; Harvey is a good-looking fellow. Harvey doesn’t need anything else to begin play, just a notebook, pen, and a lucky penny. If he were to list a car among his starting gear, this would have to come out of his assets, as a car is not listed within the 1920s Average Income bracket. Harvey is now ready to begin his adventures!

–2 –1 None +1D4 +1D6

Build –2 –1

0 +1

bined Someone with a com uld wo STR and SIZ of 134 and o-h add 1D4 to hand-t ing damage rolls, while a weakl ed bin investigator whose com uct ded value is only 70 would . 1 point from melee damage


fifth values are required, this will be clearly stated, normally called Hard (half value) and Extreme (fifth value) rolls. Half and fifth are the only fractions used in relation to characteristics and skills in the game and all the numbers are calculated up front so that play is not hindered by mental calculations. A Quick Reference Chart for Half and Fifth Values can be found on page 59.

Other Attributes Damage Bonus and Build [STR & SIZ]

All investigators have attributes known as "Damage Bonus" (DB) and Build. Larger and stronger creatures and humans do more physical damage than their lesser brethren. To determine damage bonus, add STR to SIZ and look up the total on Table I: Damage Bonus and Build (see opposite), reading across to find the damage bonus. Each

chapter 3: creating investigators range of results correlates with a die modifier or dice roll. Build is determined using the same figures. In hand-to-hand combat, add the indicated modifier or roll to all the character’s blows, whether using a natural weapon, such as a fist, or a melee weapon, such as a club or knife. Build is used in fighting maneuvers and also to give a sense of scale. Note: Damage bonus is not applied to firearms attacks.

Hit Points [CON & SIZ]

Hit points are used to track the cumulative damage inflicted upon an investigator, non-player character, or monster during the game and indicates how long he or she can stay in the action before collapsing from pain, exhaustion, or death. Figure out the character’s hit point total by adding CON and SIZ, then dividing the total by ten (rounding down any fractions). The investigator sheet is designed to help the player keep track of hit points and wounds. Enter the investigator’s Hit Point Total in the box marked "Hit Points".

Movement Rate (MOV)

An investigator can move a number of yards (or meters) up to five times their MOV value in one round. If both DEX and STR are each less than SIZ:


If either STR or DEX is equal to or greater than SIZ, or if all three are equal:


If both STR and DEX are each greater than SIZ:


If age is in the 40s:

deduct 1 from MOV

If age is in the 50s:

deduct 2 from MOV

If age is in the 60s:

deduct 3 from MOV

If age is in the 70s:

deduct 4 from MOV

If age is in the 80s:

deduct 5 from MOV

Step Two: Determine Occupation An occupation shows how an investigator makes a living, be it as a doctor, student, or lowlife fraudster. An occupation also reflects a particular investigator’s field of expertise and so dictates which of their skills should be higher. The actual occupation of your investigator will have limited effect during the game; it is simply a basis for your investigator’s starting skills and helps to define his or her backstory. Some occupations are typically Lovecraftian: Antiquarian, Author, Dilettante, Doctor

of Medicine, Journalist, Police Detective, and Professor. Other occupations are not those you would normally find in a Lovecraft story; however, they may interest particular players and be fun to play in a Call of Cthulhu game. An occupation ties together a cluster of skills. For instance, in the sample occupations, Antiquarian encompasses: Appraise, Art/Craft, History, Library Use, Other Language, one interpersonal skill (Charm, Fast Talk, Intimidate, or Persuade), Spot Hidden, and one other skill of the player’s choice (to reflect something special or relevant about the investigator’s past). Some occupations include no free choices; others may have two or more. Chapter 4: Occupations provides a wide range of possible investigator occupations. Most occupations can be applied to pretty much any historical setting in which games might take place. However, some occupations, like Hacker, exist only in specific settings, such as the modern-day. You should choose only those skills appropriate to the time period in which your game is taking place. If you’re unsure about this, talk to your Keeper. Once you have chosen the occupation for your investigator, write it down on the investigator sheet and then make a note of the occupational skills. Skill definitions can be found in Chapter 5: Skills.

Step Three: Decide Skills and Allocate Skill Points Occupation Skills

After you have chosen an occupation, calculate your occupation skill points using the characteristics specified alongside the occupation. Allocate the resulting total as percentage points among those skills listed for the occupation—your investigator’s professional skills. Points should also be allocated to Credit Rating within the range indicated for the occupation. Not all the skills need to have points allotted to them; however, points left undistributed are lost. Note that each skill has a number in parenthesis next to it on the investigator sheet: this is the base chance of success in that skill, and any points allocated to that skill are added to this base number. Write down the total points for each skill on the investigator sheet (the points you’ve allocated plus the base chance printed on the investigator sheet). The sheet also has space to write in the half and fifth values for each skill, allowing you to reference them quickly in the middle of a game. A Quick Reference Chart for Half and Fifth Values can be found on page 59. It is advised that you allocate occupation skill points and then personal interest skill points before writing in the half and fifth values alongside the full value for each skill, as personal interest skill points can be used to bolster occupation skills, as well as other non-occupation skills (see Personal Interests following).


investigator handbook

Personal Interests

Investigators also draw upon experience and knowledge gained from hobbies and other non-professional activities, called personal interests. Multiply the investigator’s INT × 2 and allot the points to any skills (which can include adding further points to occupation skills), except Cthulhu Mythos (unless otherwise agreed with the Keeper). Write down the total points for each skill on the investigator sheet (the points you’ve allocated plus the base chance printed on the investigator sheet). The sheet also has space to write in the half and fifth values for each skill, allowing you to reference them quickly in the middle of a game. A Quick Reference Chart for Half and Fifth Values can be found on page 59.

Weapons and Firearm Skills

Fighting and Firearms skills, and their various specializations, allow an investigator to use weapons. Personal interest or occupation skill points (if applicable) may be spent to raise any of these skills. When an occupation includes the skill of Fighting or Firearms, and no specialization is specified, it is up to the player to choose one or more specializations of that skill (see Chapter 5: Skills).

Credit Rating

An investigator’s starting Credit Rating (CR) is determined during character creation, based upon the investigator’s chosen profession (see Chapter 4: Occupations). In play, Credit Rating determines the amount of money a character has available. Credit Rating also indicates the general living standards a person can afford, as well indicating the character’s relative status in society (see Credit Rating in Chapter 5: Skills page 102). Your investigator’s Credit Rating skill begins at zero. The range of starting levels for each profession can be broad, and the level chosen should reflect the investigator’s rank in that profession. For example, criminal could be used as a profession for a poor lone pickpocket (Credit Rating 09) or for a wealthy gang boss (Credit Rating 90). Any number of skill points can be invested in Credit Rating within the recommended limits for that profession. There are six living standards: penniless, poor, average, wealthy, rich, and super rich. Each one determines the lifestyle, type of accommodation, travel, and expenses that a person can comfortably afford on a day-to-day basis. See the box nearby for more information about the different living standard based upon Credit Rating.

Step Four: Create a Backstory


Not one man who participated in that terrible raid could ever be induced to say a word concerning it, and every fragment of the vague data which survives comes from those outside the final fighting party. There is something frightful

Choosing an Occupation When choosing an occupation, there are some things to consider: Try to have a picture in your mind about who and what your investigator is—your character concept. Look for occupations that suit this concept and add color to it. Remember, rolling up an investigator is all about building up a story of who you want to play in the game. Your characteristics, occupation, sex, and age all help to establish a fully-rounded, breathing investigator. Look through the skills associated with each occupation and see which of these you like the most. Certain skills are likely to appeal to you more. Perhaps you want your investigator to be a man or woman of action, leading you to choose an occupation with skills like Fighting, Climb, and Throw. Alternatively you might decide to create a more studious investigator, with skill in Library Use, Spot Hidden, and Psychology. Also, you might want to consider your investigator’s occupation and skill set in relation to the other players and what kind of investigators they will be playing. Creating a balance of occupations means that the group has a good mix of skills that will benefit everyone. Depending on the style of game and scenario you will be playing, your Keeper might have certain occupations in mind for you to play; perhaps he or she mentioned this when they described the initial premise of the scenario. Discuss your ideas with the other players in order to build the most appropriate group of investigators for your game. After all, it will be somewhat strange for everyone to turn up with musicians when the scenario is set in the Antarctic! If the game is to be ongoing (a campaign), the investigators are going to need a reason to stay together (see Chapter 6: Investigator Organizations for more ideas). Remember, it’s not what your investigator can or can’t do—it’s how you decide to "play" your character that is really important, and that, above all, will often determine your enjoyment of the game!

in the care with which these actual raiders destroyed each scrap which bore the least allusion to the matter. —H. P. Lovecraft, The Case Of Charles Dexter Ward Most of the ideas and abilities that make an investigator interesting and fun to play are a matter of choice—not necessarily dice roll results. Think about what personal history, friends, enemies, and achievements could have led

chapter 3: creating investigators your investigator to delve into the secrets of the Cthulhu Mythos. There are ten Living Standards categories listed on the back of the investigator Accommodation: a substantial residence, Credit Rating 0: Penniless sheet; try to write down perhaps with some domestic help (butler, at least one entry for A person who cannot even afford the level of housekeeper, cleaner, gardener, etc.) Possibly a the first six: Personal ‘poor‘ is considered penniless. second home in the country or abroad. Stays in Description, Ideology/ Accommodation: such a person would be expensive hotels. Beliefs, Significant People, living on the street. Meaningful Locations, Travel: first class. This person would own an Travel: walking, hitchhiking, or stowing away expensive car or equivalent. Treasured Possessions, on a train or ship. and Traits. It’s not essential to have an entry for each Credit Rating 90+: Rich Credit Rating 1-9: Poor category, but the more This level of wealth affords great luxury and you are able to define, the Able to afford the bare minimum of a roof over comfort. more your investigator their head and at least one meager meal each Accommodation: a plush residence or estate comes to life. Further day. with abundant domestic help (butler, servants, entries may be added, Accommodation: restricted to the cheapest cleaner, gardener, etc.). Second homes in the or existing ones altered, rental housing or fl eabag hotel. country and abroad. Stays in top hotels. during play. The categories of Travel: public transport of the cheapest sort. Travel: first class. In the modern day this Injuries & Scars, Phobias Any transport possessed will be cheap and person would own numerous luxury cars. & Manias, Arcane Tomes, unreliable. There is no requirement to make any account Spells & Artifacts, and for accommodation, food or incidental Encounters with Strange Credit Rating 10-49: Average travel expenses so long as an investigator’s Entities may be written A reasonable level of comfort, three meals a spending falls within the bounds of his or her in during play. Of course, day and occasional treats. living standard. Refer to Table II: Cash and some investigators might Accommodation: an average home or Assets if the investigator wishes to make more start the game with a apartment, either rented or privately owned. significant purchases. significant injury or Expect to stay in moderately priced hotels. scar if implied by your Credit Rating 99: Super Rich investigator’s history—if Travel: standard forms of travel can be used, so, write it in. but not first class. In a modern-day period, this As Rich, but money is really no object. Individuals in this category are among the An investigator’s person would be likely to own a reliable car. richest in the world. background serves three functions in the game: Credit Rating 50-89: Wealthy First, as a set of pithy statements that serve as This level of wealth affords luxury and comfort. a guide to roleplaying, helping to define your investigator and remind you how he or she relates to the world. When Crafting Background Entries, Second, it can be called upon during the investigator be Specific, Emotional, and Emphatic development phase for the recovery of Sanity points. Try to phrase each entry to emphasize its personal nature. Third, and perhaps most importantly of all, the corruption For example, "my wife" identifies the subject, but tells us of the investigator’s background mirrors their loss of sanity nothing about the nature of the relationship. and growing knowledge of the Mythos, as all that was once held dear becomes meaningless. During episodes of insanity, G Specify a name. Name the person or place, identify or as a result of major wounds, the Keeper may add or the item or concept. amend a background entry. Ultimately the investigator’s only connections to the world are madness and pain. G Attach a feeling. Start with positive or negative and build from there.

G Make it intense, use love instead of like, use despise instead of dislike.


investigator handbook

Tips for Creating a Backstory

Most of the ideas and abilities that make an investigator interesting and fun to play are a matter of choice, not necessarily dice roll results. Look at your investigator’s characteristics and skills. What are they good or bad at? Why is this? Does a high skill in shooting mean they grew up in the country and regularly went hunting with their father and brothers, or perhaps the investigator bought a handgun when they moved to the big city? Someone very skilled in mechanics might be trained because that’s their job; equally they could be an enthusiastic amateur inventor in their spare time. Try to present a reason why your investigator is adept at certain things, whether through their work, hobbies, or upbringing. Note down your ideas on some paper. Think about their education. What level of education does their EDU characteristic determine? Have they been to college or university? Have they learned their skills in the "school of life?" If they went to college, were they a member of any clubs or societies? If EDU is low or average, did the investigator drop out of school for some reason?

G Try phrasing it in a way that makes it personal and meaningful.

Think about historic events and whether your investigator was a part of them. Perhaps he or she was one of the few who escaped with their lives from the sinking Titanic, served as a police officer in New York City on September 11 2001, or stood on the front lines of the Boer War? Weaving in an historic event can greatly define your character’s outlook and beliefs, helping you to build a specific and rich backstory. A timeline of historic events can be found in Chapter 10: References, as well as the chronology found in Chapter 8: The Roaring Twenties.


Sometimes coming up with background details on the fly can be difficult. The following random tables provide a way to quickly determine some background details—you can roll on the tables, simply pick ones that seem suitable, or just use the lists for inspiration. As appropriate, roll 1D10 on each of the following charts to select an entry for each category. Each option has some examples to get you started. Don’t feel constrained to use what you roll; if it doesn’t mesh with your character concept then roll again or choose a different option. However, don’t dismiss it out of hand; sometimes something that is at first incongruous will add an unexpected but welcome twist to a character. Above all, be clear that the random tables are there as a springboard for your imagination. Each dice roll will give you something from that realm of life to react to; embrace it or reject it, but be sure to react to it and use it to help fuel your imagination. Weave the background together to make a credible all-round character. For example: You might be creating a male investigator in his twenties, with no thought of any family. Rolling for significant people indicates a child. You may not have considered that your character has a child, but why not? Becoming a father may not have been intentional. Consider the options; you may have had an affair with a married woman, your wife may have died and your child fostered, or you may be happily married with a family.

What about your investigator’s profession? How did they come to this line of work? Have they always done this? Perhaps they have changed careers (high points in skills unrelated to their current profession could point the way here). It’s not essential to create an elaborate family tree with detailed histories for everyone. Just note down any significant family members and their relationship with your investigator. You never know—if your investigator dies or is injured during their encounters with the Mythos, it may be their brother or sister who picks up the baton in the future. Don’t write too much—just a few sentences or bullet points are fine. You may find that too much background constrains your creativity in play, requiring you to constantly refer to the investigator sheet to check you are complying with the written description. You may discover more about your investigator’s history during play, either by the Keeper suggesting things or by ideas that are drawn out from play. Add these things to your notes. Your character should begin to come to life in the course of the game, so leave room for them to stretch and breathe.

G Be emphatic; use must in place of would prefer.

Using Random Tables for Inspiration

Personal Description

Think of a distinct look that sums up your investigator’s appearance (APP). Whether your appearance and your personality match is another question; a person may look stuffy but actually be personable and open.

Here are some possibilities (choose rather than roll): Rugged Pretty Smart

Handsome Glamorous Untidy

Ungainly Baby-faced Dull

chapter 3: creating investigators

Crafting a Backstory Consider "wife" as a starting point. Now give her a name, "My wife, Annabel". Now be emotional, “My beloved wife, Annabel". Now be emphatic, "My beloved wife, Annabel. I couldn’t live without her." That short journey delivers a lot more information and context. Of course it could have been developed differently, consider: "My wife Annabel, who makes my life a misery," "My poor wife Annabel; if only we could have a child together."

Consider the backstory for this drifter...

Dirty Youthful Stout Elegant Pale Rosy Stuffy Brawny Strapping

Dazzler Weary Hairy Scruffy Sullen Tanned Mousy Dainty Gawky

Bookish Plump Slim Stocky Ordinary Wrinkled Sharp Muscular Frail


Roll 1D10 or pick one of the following. Take the result and make it specific and personal to your investigator.


There is evil in society that should be rooted out. What is this evil? (e.g. drugs, violence, racism).


The occult (e.g. astrology, spiritualism, tarot).


Politics (e.g. conservative, socialist, liberal).


“Money is power, and I’m going to get all I can” (e.g. greedy, enterprising, ruthless).


Campaigner/Activist (e.g. feminism, gay rights, union power).

Significant People

Roll 1D10 or pick one from each of the two lists below. Take the result and make it specific and personal to your investigator. Think of a name for these people.

First, who? 1.

Parent (e.g. mother, father, stepmother).


There is a higher power that you worship and pray to (e.g. Vishnu, Jesus Christ, Haile Selassie I).


Grandparent (e.g. maternal grandmother, paternal grandfather).


Mankind can do fine without religions (e.g. staunch atheist, humanist, secularist).


Sibling (e.g. brother, half-brother, stepsister).


Science has all the answers. Pick a particular aspect of interest (e.g. evolution, cryogenics, space exploration).


Child (e.g. son or daughter).


Partner (e.g. spouse, fiancé, lover).


Person who taught you your highest occupational skill. Identify the skill and consider who taught you (e.g. a schoolteacher, the person you apprenticed with, your father).


Childhood Friend (e.g. classmate, neighbor, imaginary friend).


A belief in fate (e.g. karma, the class system, superstitious).


Member of a society or secret society (e.g. Freemason, Women’s Institute, Anonymous).


investigator handbook

Period Names

Choose or roll 1D100 twice: First roll for either a male or female first name, then a second roll for a last name.

Male Names Female Names Surnames 1





































































































































































































They give your life meaning. How? (e.g. you aspire to be like them, you seek to be with them, you seek to make them happy).


You wronged them and seek reconciliation. What did you do? (e.g. stole money from them, informed the police about them, refused to help when they were desperate).


Shared experience. What? (e.g. you lived through hard times together, you grew up together, you served in the war together).


You seek to prove yourself to them. How? (e.g. by getting a good job, by finding a good spouse, by getting an education).


You idolize them (e.g. for their fame, their beauty, their work).


A feeling of regret (e.g. you should have died in their place, you fell out over something you said,


A famous person. Your idol or hero. You may never have even met (e.g. film star, politician, musician).


A fellow investigator in your game. Pick one or choose randomly.


A non-player character (NPC) in the game. Ask the Keeper to pick one for you.

Next, roll to determine why that person is so significant to you. Not all of these options will mesh with every person, so you may have to roll more than once or simply pick something that feels appropriate. 1.



Male Names Female Names Surnames

You are indebted to them. How did they help you? (e.g. financially, they protected you through hard times, got you your first job). They taught you something. What? (e.g. a skill, to love, to be a man).

chapter 3: creating investigators

Period Names, Continued

Male Names Female Names Surnames

Male Names Female Names Surnames













































































































































































































you didn’t step up and help them when you had the chance).


Your hometown (e.g. rural village, market town, busy city).


You wish to prove yourself better than them. What was their flaw? (e.g. lazy, drunk, unloving).


The place you met your first love (e.g. a music concert, on holiday, a bomb shelter).


They have crossed you and you seek revenge. For what do you blame them? (e.g. death of a loved one, your financial ruin, marital breakup).


A place for quiet contemplation (e.g. the library, country walks on your estate, fishing).


A place for socializing (e.g. gentlemen’s club, local bar, uncle’s house).


A place connected with your ideology/belief (e.g. parish church, Mecca, Stonehenge).


The grave of a significant person. Who? (e.g. a parent, a child, a lover).


Your family home (e.g. a country estate, a rented flat, the orphanage in which you were raised).

Meaningful Locations

Roll 1D10 or pick one of the following. Take the result and make it specific and personal to your investigator. Think of a name for these places. 1.

Your seat of learning (e.g. school, university, apprenticeship).


investigator handbook 9.

The place you were happiest in your life (e.g. the park bench where you first kissed, your university, your grandmother’s home).


Your workplace (e.g. the office, library, bank).

Treasured Possessions

Roll 1D10 or pick one of the following. Take the result and make it specific and personal to your investigator. 1.

An item connected with your highest skill (e.g. expensive suit, false ID, brass knuckles).


An essential item for your occupation (e.g. doctor’s bag, car, lock picks).


A memento from your childhood (e.g. comics, pocketknife, lucky coin).


A memento of a departed person (e.g. jewelry, a photograph in your wallet, a letter).


Something given to you by your Significant Person (e.g. a ring, a diary, a map).


Your collection. What is it? (e.g. bus tickets, stuffed animals, records).


Something you found but you don’t know what it is—you seek answers (e.g. a letter you found in a cupboard written in an unknown language, a curious pipe of unknown origin found among your late father’s effects, a strange silver ball you dug up in your garden).


A sporting item (e.g. cricket bat, a signed baseball, a fishing rod).


A weapon (e.g. service revolver, your old hunting rifle, the hidden knife in your boot).


A pet (e.g. a dog, a cat, a tortoise).


Roll 1D10 or pick one of the following. Take the result and make it specific and personal to your investigator.



Generous (e.g. generous tipper, always helps out a person in need, philanthropist).


Good with Animals (e.g. loves cats, grew up on a farm, good with horses).


Dreamer (e.g. given to flights of fancy, visionary, highly creative).


Hedonist (e.g. life and soul of the party, entertaining drunk, "live fast and die young").


Gambler and a risk-taker (e.g. poker-faced, try anything once, lives on the edge).


Good Cook (e.g. bakes wonderful cakes, can make a meal from almost nothing, refined palate).


Ladies’ man/seductress (e.g. suave, charming voice, enchanting eyes).


Loyal (e.g. stands by his or her friends, never breaks a promise, would die for his or her beliefs).


A good reputation (e.g. the best after-dinner speaker in the country, the most pious of men, fearless in the face of danger).


Ambitious (e.g. to achieve a goal, to become the boss, to have it all).

Key Backstory Connection

Consider your investigator’s backstory and pick the one entry that you feel is most important to them. This is their key connection: the one thing above all else that gives meaning to their life. Mark it with star or underline it on the investigator sheet. This connection can aid your investigator in regaining Sanity points. Everything in the story is open to the Keeper to do with as he or she desires, except for the investigator’s key connection. The key connection cannot be destroyed, killed, or taken away by the Keeper without first allowing you the opportunity to roll dice to, in some way, save that key connection. This immunity is quite limited: the key connection can be killed, removed or destroyed by the Keeper, but the investigator to whom they are connected must be involved, or given the option to become involved. In game play this means that the player must be presented with the opportunity to make at least one dice roll to save the connection. Losing one’s key connection during play requires a Sanity roll (1/1D6 Sanity point loss). For example: Harvey’s player chooses the key connection, “Uncle Theodore’s archaeological artifacts”. Harvey wakes one night to find his house on fire, and wishes to save the artifacts. The Keeper must allow him a dice roll to do so. Harvey must find his way through the smoke and flames, and the Keeper asks for a CON roll at Hard difficulty level to manage to carry the trunk of artifacts to safety.

Additional Details

Fill in the following details on the investigator sheet.


Most of Lovecraft’s stories take place in New England. You can choose to start there if you wish; however your investigator could originate from anywhere in the world. No game penalty or advantage exists for one country or culture over another. The choice can lead to other deductions: for instance, while an investigator born in the United States of America or Canada has a good chance of English as his or her own language, an investigator born in Quebec might learn French at infancy, while one born in Arizona might have Spanish or Navajo, and one born in San Francisco might speak Cantonese.

chapter 3: creating investigators

Table II: Cash and Assets Modern Day:

1920s: Credit Rating



Spending Level

Penniless $0.50 (CR 0 or less)



Poor (CR 1-9)

CR x 1 ($1 - $9)

CR x 10 ($10 - $90)


Average (CR 10-49)

CR x 2 ($20 - $98)

CR x 50 ($500 - $2450)


Wealthy (CR 50-89)

CR x 5 ($250 - $445)

CR x 500 ($25,000 - $44,500)


Rich (CR 90-98)

CR x 20 ($1800 - $1960)

CR x 2000 $250 ($180,000 - $196,000)

Super Rich (CR 99)




Credit Rating



Spending Level

Penniless $10 (CR 0 or less)



Poor (CR 1-9)

CR x 20 ($20 - $180)

CR x 200 ($200 - $1,800)


Average (CR 10-49)

CR x 40 ($400 - $1,960)

CR x 1,000 ($10,000 - $49,000)


Wealthy (CR 50-89)

CR x 100 ($5,000 - $8,900)

CR x 10,000 ($500,000 - $890,000)


Rich (CR 90-98)

CR x 400 CR x 40,000 ($36,000 - $39,200) ($3.6M - $3.92M)


Super Rich (CR 99)




Notes: Cash: Not necessarily carried on the person. The Keeper may ask where it is being kept. For example, if the investigator is traveling abroad, are they keeping it in a money belt or is there someone back home who can wire money to them when requested? This will have an impact if the investigator is robbed or loses their gear. Spending Level: This is an arbitrary amount below which, for ease of play, no record keeping is required. A character can spend up to his or her spending level with no expenditure of cash. In theory an investigator could spend an amount just below their spending level every day, but in practice it should be used only occasionally—if the Keeper feels a player is exploiting this financial abstraction, a use of assets may be called for. The spending levels exist purely to ease the flow of the game; no one wants to track every penny. Assets: Assets are the things that your investigator owns at the start of play and the dollar amount on the chart is the total value of those things. The player should note down the dollar amount

Gender of the Investigator

The investigator can be male or female. No game rule distinguishes between male and female; neither sex has an advantage over the other. Players are encouraged to play either sex based upon their preference rather than tactial considerations. Some published scenarios may consider the effect of gender in specific societies and historical periods.


The name of the investigator is whatever the player finds entertaining or evocative. Fashions in names change over the decades, and certain names may fit one historical period and setting better than others. Deciding on an investigator name isn’t always easy, so for inspiration see Period Names (pages 54-55). The names

and decide the form it takes, usually property or investments, or perhaps shares in a business. The standard list of possessions is included within the various brackets of living standards. If your living standard includes a house and car, those things constitute a part of your asset value. Harvey begins the game with a Credit Rating of 41 (Average). This affords him an average living standard; he may stay in moderately priced hotels, eat out (economically) and take the occasional taxi. In addition he may spend up to $10 per day, all with no loss of Credit Rating or bookkeeping on the player’s part. His cash is $82 (41 x 2) and he has $2,050 (41 x 50) worth of assets. The average 1920s Living Standard indicates Harvey might own his home, or at least part of it. Thus by default, his $2050 is tied up in his home.

shown were all popular in America in the early part of the twentieth century.


A space exists on the investigator sheet for you to draw a picture of your investigator. If you prefer, you could cut out a suitable portrait from a magazine or print one from the Internet. It’s a useful way to introduce your investigator to the other players. Even a small picture can say a lot.


investigator handbook

Step Five: Equip the Investigator Your investigator’s day-to-day living standards are dictated by the Credit Rating score. The likelihood of owning major possessions, such as a house and a car, are also indicated by the Credit Rating score. The Keeper will advise on what other equipment an investigator may start out with. A player may buy additional items, if available for purchase.

Cash and Assets

Look at Table II: Cash and Assets (page 57) to determine your investigator's cash and assets. Cash is readily available to the investigator, whereas wealth that is tied up in assets can only be spent if time is taken to realize the capital. Cross-reference the investigator’s Credit Rating with the period to determine the investigator’s available cash, assets, and spending level.


The final step is to write down any important items, weapons, or equipment your investigator possesses. There’s no need to write a detailed list of everything your character owns—just list the notable items. In many cases, starting investigators don’t

really have anything exceptional or worth writing down in the way of equipment—that’s fine as you’ll soon be uncovering all manner of strange and remarkable items during the game. Items that fit the profile of your investigator’s living standard do not need to be paid for—you simply own those. Even if your investigator takes no weapons, he or she may still use them. Perhaps your investigator served in a war, or gained some familiarity with knives or guns while growing up on a farm. Few people in any era are expert with weapons, though often they have passing acquaintance with them. Except for a few occupations like Soldier, additional skill points for Fighting and Firearms normally come out of personal interest skill points. Refer to the Equipment and Weapons Tables (see pages 238-249 and 250-255).

Optional Rules — Other Ways of Creating Investigators

The bottom line in creating an investigator is that you generate a set of characteristics that fit within the appropriate range of values. The method you use is secondary to this, and different groups will agree on different methods. Some prefer a random approach; others prefer varying degrees of freedom to exchange or modify the values, perhaps with a view to fitting the characteristics to a preconceived character template, or to fit their perception of game balance. For these reasons, a selection of alternative methods of creating investigators are listed on the following pages. The Keeper should discuss and decide which method or combination of methods for creating investigators best suits his or her group.

Option 1: Start Over

Use the default method. If you don’t like your dice rolls then scrap them and start again. The Keeper may allow the use of this option whenever a player rolls three or more characteristics that begin below 50.

Guns are among the equipment a gangster investigator will have


Option 2: Modifying Low Rolls

Use the default method. If you feel there are too many low rolls (perhaps three or more under 10), roll an additional 1D6 and distribute the extra points among the lowest dice rolls before multiplying by 5.

Option 3: Choosing Where to Place Rolled Characteristics

Roll and record five rolls of 3D6 and three rolls of 2D6+6. Multiply each of these eight results by 5. Allocate the characteristic values as you wish among the eight characteristics. There is a recommended minimum value of 40 for INT and SIZ, although this may be lower, with the Keeper’s agreement.

chapter 3: creating investigators

Quick Reference Chart for Half and Fifth Values Half Fifth Half Fifth Half Fifth Half Fifth Base Value Value Base Value Value Base Value Value Base Value Value Number (½) (1⁄5) Number (½) (1⁄5) Number (½) (1⁄5) Number (½) (1⁄5) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25

0 1

26 0

30 31 1

34 35


36 2

39 40 41 3

44 45



42 43



37 38

7 8

32 33



28 29

2 3


46 4

47 48 49




13 5 14

55 56 6

59 60 61 7

64 65


66 8

69 70 71 9

72 73

24 25

67 68

22 23

62 63



57 58

17 18

53 54

15 16


74 10


25 26

76 10

80 81 11

84 85


86 12

89 90 91 13

94 95



92 93



87 88

32 33

82 83



78 79

27 28


96 14

97 98 99



38 15 39 40 41


42 43


44 45 46


47 48


49 50


Find the characteristic or skill value under the Base Number columns and read across to determine the half and fifth values.


investigator handbook

Option 4: Point Buy Characteristics

Share 460 points among the eight characteristics as you wish (within the 15 to 90 range). There is a recommended minimum value of 40 for INT and SIZ, although this may be lower, with the Keeper’s agreement.

Option 5: Quick Fire Method

This method is recommended if you wish to get up and running quickly. 1. Allocate 40, 50, 50, 50, 60, 60, 70, 80 where you like among your characteristics.



Apply age and EDU modifiers (see page 48).


Figure Damage Bonus and Build (see page 49).


Figure Hit Points (CON+SIZ divided by 10) and Luck (3D6 × 5).


Decide an occupation and select eight appropriate occupation skills.


Allocate the following values among the eight occupation skills and Credit Rating: one at 70%, two at 60%, three at 50%, and three at 40% (assign the skills directly to these values and ignore the skill base values). If your chosen profession states a lower Credit Rating skill than 40%, you should set an appropriate Credit Rating skill value and distribute the excess points elsewhere.


Pick four non-occupation skills and boost them by 20% (adding 20 to the skill base values).


Roll for backstory details then elaborate upon them later, during play.


Start Playing.


Fill in half and fifth values during play.


Sort out money if and when you need it.

Option 6: Reaching the Heights of Human Potential

You may have noticed that many characteristics have a maximum of 99, but the dice rolls only allow for a maximum score of 90. To allow for truly exceptional investigators, the Keeper may allow an extra 1D10 percentage points to distribute as the players wish among the characteristics. That way, an investigator with INT 90 can boost it to 99 with a roll of 9 on the die. This option can be used in combination with any other method.

Optional Rule: Capped Starting Skill Values Investigators having high skills should not unbalance the game, given that some skill rolls will require them to roll under a half or a fifth of their skill. Likewise, even a 99% Fighting skill can be dodged or fought back against (and a roll of 100 is always a failure). The Keeper may apply an upper limit to starting skills, such as 75%.

chapter 3: creating investigators

Optional Rule: Experienced Investigators Investigators can begin uncovering dark secrets at any age, and with age comes experience. The allocation of skill points derived from the EDU characteristic reflects the fact that older people tend to know more. However, certain life experiences may also benefit or hinder investigators. Where one of the following experience packages requires an increase in a character’s age you should assign any additional skill points arising from an increase in EDU prior to allocating the bonus skill points granted by the package. These experience packages are optional and a player may only take one with their Keeper’s permission.

War Experience Package

The investigator has served in one of the Armed Forces during a war—probably the Great War of 1914 to 1918 for 1920s investigators. While benefitting from their experience, they also bear its scars. Adjust the following for the investigator:


Adjust age according to period of war and starting year of the scenario.


Deduct 1D10+5 from SAN.


Add 70 bonus skill points divided among any of the following skills:

Add one of the following to the investigator’s backstory: Injury/Scar or a Phobia/Mania associated with the war.

Rank and file soldiers choose from: Climb, Fighting (Brawl), Firearms (Rifle/Shotgun), First Aid, Intimidate, Listen, Stealth, Throw, Sleight of Hand, Spot Hidden, Survival. Officers choose from: Climb, Firearms (Handgun), First Aid, Listen, Navigate, one interpersonal skill (Charm, Persuade, or Intimidate), Stealth, Spot Hidden, Throw.


Note on the investigator sheet: Immune to sanity losses resulting from viewing a corpse or gross injury.


Add 60 bonus skill points divided among any of the following skills: Climb, Drive Auto, Fighting (Brawl), Firearms (Handgun or Rifle/Shotgun), First Aid, Intimidate, Law, Listen, Other Language, any two interpersonal skills (Charm, Fast Talk, Persuade, or Intimidate), Track.


Note on the investigator sheet: Immune to sanity losses resulting from viewing a corpse.

Organized Crime Experience Package

The investigator has spent most, if not all, of their life involved in organized crime. Adjust the following for the investigator:


Choose a starting age of 20 or over.


Add 60 bonus skill points divided among any of the following skills: Climb, Drive Auto, Fighting (any), Firearms (any), any one interpersonal skill (Charm, Fast Talk, Persuade, or Intimidate), Law, Listen, Locksmith, Psychology, Sleight of Hand, Stealth, Spot Hidden.


Note on the investigator sheet: Immune to sanity losses resulting from viewing a corpse, witnessing or performing a murder, or seeing violence perpetrated against a human being.


Add one of the following to the investigator’s backstory: Injury/Scar or a Phobia/Mania associated with criminal experience.

Medical Experience Package

The investigator is a long-serving physician, nurse, or forensic examiner. Adjust the following for the investigator:


Choose a starting age of 30 or over.


Add 60 bonus skill points divided among any of the following skills: First Aid, Law, Listen, Medicine, Psychology, Spot Hidden, Science (any two).


Note on the investigator sheet: Immune to sanity losses resulting from viewing a corpse or gross injury.

Police Experience Package

The investigator has served for a number of years on a police force or has retired from this profession. Adjust the following for the investigator:

Deduct 1D10 from SAN.

Deduct 1D10 from SAN. Add a Phobia/Mania associated with medical experience to the investigator’s backstory.

Choose a starting age of 25 or over. Deduct 1D10 from SAN. Add one of the following to the investigator’s backstory: Injury/Scar or a Phobia/Mania associated with their experiences as a police officer.


investigator handbook

Mythos Experience Package

The investigator has knowledge of the Cthulhu Mythos, either in an academic sense or through tangible experience. Discuss with the Keeper how the investigator is aware of the Cthulhu Mythos—through reading books or experience—and write this into the investigator’s backstory. If the knowledge has been gained through reading books, decide whether the investigator is a "believer" or not (see Becoming a Believer, page 103). Adjust the following for the investigator:



Increase Cthulhu Mythos skill to level agreed with Keeper (suggested 1D10+5).


Reduce maximum Sanity in line with Cthulhu Mythos skill.


If a believer, deduct SAN equal to amount of Cthulhu Mythos skill gained.


Add two of the following to the investigator’s backstory: Injury/Scar, Phobia/Mania or Encounter with Strange Entity associated with Mythos experience.


Spells (only if a believer) with the Keeper’s permission—the Keeper will determine what spell(s) the investigator has access to.

ages that may A photographer may capture im ll—and may add to her Cthulhu Mythos ski end up driving her mad!

chapter 3: creating investigators


investigator handbook

Quick Reference: Investigator Generation


Determine Characteristics

Roll 3D6 multiplied by 5 for the characteristics STR, CON, DEX, APP, and POW. Roll 2D6+6 multiplied by 5 for SIZ, INT, and EDU. Before writing these results onto the sheet, decide the age of the investigator:




Deduct 5 points from STR or SIZ, and also from EDU. Roll twice for Luck and use the higher value.

20s or 30s

Make an improvement check for EDU.


Deduct 5 points from STR, CON, or DEX (split across one, two, or all three), and reduce APP by 5 points. Make 2 improvement checks for EDU.


Deduct 10 points from STR, CON, or DEX (split across one, two, or all three), and reduce APP by 10 points. Make 3 improvement checks for EDU.


Deduct 20 points from STR, CON, or DEX (split across one, two, or all three), and reduce APP by 15 points. Make 4 improvement checks for EDU.


Deduct 40 points from STR, CON, or DEX (split across one, two, or all three), and reduce APP by 20 points. Make 4 improvement checks for EDU.


Additional Background & Portrait

Give your investigator a name and write in his or her age, sex, occupation, current residence, and where they grew-up. The blank box provides a space for your investigator’s portrait (if you are using a PDF investigator sheet then you can drop a digital image in here).


Deduct 80 points from STR, CON, or DEX (split across one, two, or all three), and reduce APP by 25 points. Make 4 improvement checks for EDU. EDU improvement check: roll 1D100. If result is greater than your present EDU, add 1D10 percentage points to EDU (EDU cannot go above 99). Now write in the full, half, and fifth values for each characteristic in the boxes on the sheet.


Derived Attributes

Sanity Points equals the POW characteristic. Magic Points equal one fifth of POW. Roll 3D6 multiplied by 5 for Luck. Hit Points equal SIZ + CON divided by 10 (round down). Circle the results in the boxes in this section.

3 64

Determine Move Rate Both DEX and STR are each less than SIZ: MOV 7 Either STR or DEX is equal to or greater than SIZ, or if all are equal: MOV 8 Both STR and DEX are each greater than SIZ: MOV 9 If age is in the 40s: deduct 1 from MOV If age is in the 50s: deduct 2 from MOV If age is in the 60s: deduct 3 from MOV If age is in the 70s: deduct 4 from MOV If age is in the 80s: deduct 5 from MOV


Decide Occupation & Allot Points to Skills Choose an occupation (Chapter 4) and note the occupation skills and Credit Rating. Calculate occupation skill points using the characteristics specified by the occupation. Allot these points across the occupation skills, not forgetting to put points into Credit Rating. Add points to the base chances written next to each skill on the sheet. Information on each skill can be found starting in Chapter 5.

chapter 3: creating investigators


Create a Backstory

Think about your investigator and write in a few pithy entries for three to six for: Personal Description, Ideology/Beliefs, Significant People, Meaningful Locations, Treasured Possessions, and Traits. It’s not essential to have an entry for each category, but the more you are able to define, the more your investigator comes to life. Use the tables on pages 52–56 for inspiration. Pick one entry and underline or star it (*) to show that it is your investigator’s key connection (see page 56). Note that the entries for the other categories are filled in during play.


Determine Finances

Look up your investigator’s Credit Rating on Table II: Cash and Assets (page 57) to deterimine Spending Level, Cash on Hand, and Assetts, and write these in.

10 11 6

Gear & Equipment

Write down any important items, weapons, or equipment your investigator possesses. Consider useful tems that would normally go with your investigator’s occupation. Speak to the Keeper if you are unsure. Equipment lists can be found from page 238. Weapon lists can be found from page 250.

Your Fellow Investigators

Write the names of the other investigators and their player’s names in here as a handy reminder of who’s who. There’s even a space under each person for a brief word or two to sum up their occupaton or personality.

Combat Values


Personal Interest Skills

Calculate personal interest points by multiplying INT by 2. Allot these points to any skills to round out the investigator (not forgetting fighting and firearms skills, if appropriate). The number for unarmed combat is your investigator’s Fighting (Brawl) skill. Points not allotted are lost!

Determine Damage Bonus & Build by adding STR + SIZ and looking up the result:





2 to 64



65 to 84



85 to 124

125 to 164



165 to 204






205 to 284*



285 to 364



365 to 444



445 to 524



*for each +80 points or fraction thereof, +1D6 DB and +1 Build Copy your skill points into the Dodge box so that all your combat skills are in one place for handy reference.


investigator handbook our investigator’s occupation determines the skills they are most proficient with, their income level, and who they are likely to know. An occupation also, in part, helps define the investigator’s character, their motivations, and view of the world around them.

Sample Occupations

(skills) quickly becomes pointless. These skills should be an essential concentration of the knowledge and abilities required for the occupation you are developing. In some cases you may not need all eight skills to adequately represent the occupation; if there are free skills then these may be taken as player choices, i.e. the player can choose any skill befitting their occupation, era, or character concept. An appropriate Credit Rating range for the profession should also be assigned.

The occupations listed are just a sample of the possibilities. Most occupations can be applied to pretty much any historical setting in which games might take place. However, some occupations, like Hacker for example, exist only in specific settings like the modern-day. You should choose only those skills appropriate to the historical setting in which your game is taking place. If you’re unsure about this, talk to your Keeper.

List of Occupations

Creating Occupations

Alienist [Classic]

Use the listed occupations as a guide when creating ones not listed here. If creating a new occupation, confine the number of skills to eight, otherwise the notion of an occupation being a concentration of knowledge and ability

Accountant Acrobat Actor Agency Detective Animal Trainer Antiquarian [Lovecraftian] Antique Dealer Archaeologist [Lovecraftian] Architect


Occupations are listed alphabetically. Some entries group related occupations; for example, Bank Robber, Bootlegger, Burglar, Conman, Forger/Counterfeiter, and Assassin are all listed under the Criminal occupation. [Lovecraftian] Occupations important in Lovecraft’s stories.

Artist Asylum Attendant Assassin – see Criminal Athlete Author [Lovecraftian] Aviator [Classic] – see Pilot

[Classic] Occupations only available in the Classic 1920s period. [Modern] Occupations only available for modern-day game settings. Occupation Skill Points: Determines which Characteristics are used to derive the investigator’s occupation skills.

Bank Robber – see Criminal

Credit Rating: Determines the number of occupation skill points that must be spent on Credit Rating. Each entry is a range, and any number within this range may be chosen and that amount of occupation skill points spent. Suggested Contacts: Suggestions of the type of people and/or society that a member of this occupation might know in their day-to-day pursuits. These may serve as ideas for the investigator’s backstory. Skills: The eight skills that define this occupation. Occupation skill points are spent on these skills; Personal Interest skill points may also be used to further top-up these skills if wished. Add such points to the base skill value noted by each skill on the investigator sheet.


Bartender Big Game Hunter Book Dealer Bootlegger – see Criminal Bounty Hunter Burglar – see Criminal Butler/Valet/Maid Chauffeur – see Driver Clergy, Member of the Computer Programmer/Technician/Hacker [Modern] Conman – see Criminal Cowboy/girl Craftsperson Criminal – also Gangster Cult Leader Deprogrammer [Modern] Designer


chapter 4: occupations Dilettante [Lovecraft ian]

Pilot – also see Aviator


Police Detective/Officer [Lovecraftian]

Doctor of Medicine [Lovecraft ian] – also see Psychiatrist

Private Investigator


Professor [Lovecraftian]





Elected Official





Reporter – see Journalist

Explorer [Classic]




Federal Agent


Fence – see Criminal




Foreign Correspondent


Forensic Surgeon

Smuggler – see Criminal

Forger/Counterfeiter – see Criminal





Street Punk – see Criminal

Gun Moll [Classic] – see Criminal




Hacker – see Computer Programmer

Taxi Driver – see Driver


Thug – see Criminal

Hospital Orderly

Tribe Member

Journalist [Lovecraft ian]



Union Activist

Laboratory Assistant

Valet – see Butler




White-collar Worker

Librarian [Lovecraft ian]


Lumberjack – see Laborer


Maid – see Butler Mechanic (and Skilled Trades) Military Officer Miner – see Laborer Missionary Mountain Climber Museum Curator Musician Nurse Occultist [Lovecraft ian] Outdoorsman/Outdoorswoman Parapsychologist Pharmacist Photographer Photojournalist – see Photographer


investigator handbook


Either employed within a business or working as a freelance consultant with a portfolio of self-employed clients or businesses. Diligence and an attention to detail means that most accountants can make good researchers, being able to support investigations through the careful analysis of personal and business transactions, financial statements, and other records. Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 4 Credit Rating: 30–70 Suggested Contacts: Business associates, legal professions, financial sector (bankers, other accountants). Skills: Accounting, Law, Library Use, Listen, Persuade, Spot Hidden, any two other skills as personal or era specialties ((e.g. Computer Use).


Acrobats may be either amateur-athletes competing in staged meets—possibly even the Olympics—or professionals employed with the entertainment sector ((e.g. circuses, carnivals, theatrical performances). Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 2 + DEX × 2

This acrobat can swing on just about anything!

Credit Rating: 9–20 Suggested Contacts: Amateur athletic circles, sports writers, circuses, carnivals.

Skills: Climb, Dodge, Jump, Throw, Spot Hidden, Swim, any two other skills as personal or era specialties.


Usually a stage or film actor. Many stage actors have a background in the classics and, considering themselves “legitimate,” have a tendency to look down upon the commercial efforts of the film industry. By the late twentieth century this is diminished, with film actors able to command greater respect and higher fees. Movie stars and the film industry have long captured the interest of people across the world. Many stars are made overnight and most of them lead flashy, high profile lives, ever in the media spotlight. In the 1920s, the theatrical center of the U.S. is in New York City, although there are major stages in most cities across the country. A similar situation exists in England, with touring repertory companies traveling the counties, with London the heart of theatrical shows. Touring companies travel by train, presenting new plays, as well as classics by Shakespeare and others. Some companies spend considerable amounts of time


touring foreign parts, such as Canada, Hawaii, Australia, and Europe. With the introduction of "talkies" in the latter part of the 1920s, many stars of the silent films era cannot cope with the transition to sound. The arm-waving histrionics of silent actors give way to more subtle characterizations. John Garfield and Francis Bushman are forgotten for new stars, such as Gary Cooper and Joan Crawford.

Stage Actor Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 2 + APP × 2 Credit Rating: 9–40 Suggested Contacts: Theatre industry, newspaper arts critics, actor’s guild or union. Skills: Art/Craft (Acting), Disguise, Fighting, History, two interpersonal skills (Charm, Fast Talk, Intimidate, or Persuade), Psychology, any one other skill as a personal or era specialty.

Film Star Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 2 + APP × 2 Credit Rating: 20–90 Suggested Contacts: Film industry, media critics, writers. Skills: Art/Craft (Acting), Disguise, Drive Auto, two interpersonal skills (Charm, Fast Talk, Intimidate, or Persuade), Psychology, any two other skills as personal or era specialties (e.g. Ride or Fighting).

Agency Detective

Numerous well-known detective agencies exist around the world, with probably the most famous being the Pinkerton and Burns agencies (merged into one in modern times). Large agencies employ two types of agents: security guards and operatives. Guards are uniformed patrolmen, hired by companies and individuals to protect property and people against burglars, assassins, and kidnappers. Use the Uniformed Police Officer’s (page 87) description for these characters. Company Operatives are plainclothes detectives, sent out on cases requiring them to solve mysteries, prevent murders, locate missing people, and so on. Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 2 + (STR × 2 or DEX × 2) Credit Rating: 20–45 Suggested Contacts: Local law enforcement, clients. Skills: One interpersonal skill (Charm, Fast Talk, Intimidate or Persuade), Fighting (Brawl), Firearms, Law, Library Use, Psychology, Stealth, Track.

chapter 4: occupations

Alienist [Classic]

In the 1920s, "alienist" is the term given for those who treat mental illness (early psychiatrists). Psychoanalysis is barely known in the U.S., and its basis in sexual life and toilet training is felt to be indecent. Psychiatry, a standard medical education augmented by behaviorism, is more common. Intellectual wars rage between alienists, psychiatrists, and neurologists. Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 4 Credit Rating: 10–60 Suggested Contacts: Others in the field of mental illness, medical doctors, and occasionally detectives in law enforcement. Skills: Law, Listen, Medicine, Other Language, Psychoanalysis, Psychology, Science (Biology), (Chemistry).

Animal Trainer

May be employed by film studios, a traveling circus, a horse stable, or possibly working freelance. Whether training guide dogs for the blind or teaching a lion to jump through a flaming hoop, the animal trainer usually works alone, spending long hours in close proximity with the animals in their care. Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 2 + (APP × 2 or POW × 2) Credit Rating: 10–40 Suggested Contacts: Zoos, circus folk, patrons, actors. Skills: Animal Handling, Jump, Listen, Natural World, Science (Zoology), Stealth, Track, any one other skill as a personal or era specialty.

Antiquarian [Lovecraftian]

A person who delights in the timeless excellence of design and execution, and in the power of ancient lore. Probably the most Lovecraft-like occupation available to an investigator. An independent income allows the antiquarian to explore things old and obscure, perhaps sharpening their focus down particular lines of enquiry based on personal preference and interest. Usually a person with an appreciative eye and a swift mind, who frequently finds mordant or contemptuous humor in the foolishness of the ignorant, the pompous, and the greedy. Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 4 Credit Rating: 30–70 Suggested Contacts: Booksellers, antique collectors, historical societies. Skills: Appraise, Art/Craft (any), History, Library Use, Other Language, one interpersonal skill (Charm, Fast Talk, Intimidate, or Persuade), Spot Hidden, any one other skill as a personal or era specialty.

Antique Dealer

Antique dealers usually own their own shop, retail items out of their homes, or go on extended buying trips, making a profit on reselling to urban stores. Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 4 Credit Rating: 30–50 Suggested Contacts: Local historians, other antique dealers, possibly criminal fences. Skills: Accounting, Appraise, Drive Auto, two interpersonal skills (Charm, Fast Talk, Intimidate, or Persuade), History, Library Use, Navigate.

Archaeologist [Lovecraftian]

The study and exploration of the past. Primarily the identification, examination, and analysis of recovered materials relating to human history. The work involves painstaking research and meticulous study, not to mention a willing attitude to getting one’s hands dirty. In the 1920s, successful archaeologists became celebrities, seen as explorers and adventurers. While some used scientific methods, many were happy to apply brute force when unveiling the secrets of the past— a few less reputable types even used dynamite. Such bullish behavior would be frowned upon in modern times. Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 4 Credit Rating: 10–40 Suggested Contacts: Patrons, museums, universities. Skills: Appraise, Archaeology, History, Other Language (any), Library Use, Spot Hidden, Mechanical Repair, Navigate or Science (e.g. chemistry, physics, geology, etc.)


Architects are trained to design and plan buildings, whether a small conversion to a private house or a multi-million dollar construction project. Archaeologists may discover ancient occult artifacts! The architect will work closely with the project manager and oversee the construction. Architects must be aware of local planning laws, health and safety regulation, and general public safety. Some may work for large firms or work freelance. A lot will depend on reputation. In the 1920s, many try and go


investigator handbook it alone, working out of their house or a small office. Few manage to sell the grandiose designs they all nurse. Architecture may also encompass specialist areas like naval architecture and landscape architecture. Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 4 Credit Rating: 30–70 Suggested Contacts: Local building and city engineering departments, construction firms. Skills: Accounting, Art/Craft (Technical Drawing), Law, Own Language, Computer Use or Library Use, Persuade, Psychology, Science (Mathematics).


May be a painter, sculptor, etc. Sometimes self-absorbed and driven with a particular vision, sometimes blessed with a great talent that is able to inspire passion and understanding. Talented or not, the artist’s ego must be hardy and strong to surmount initial obstacles and critical appraisal, and to keep them working if success arrives. Some artists care not for material enrichment, while others have a keen entrepreneurial streak. Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 2 + (DEX × 2 or POW × 2) Credit Rating: 9–50 Suggested Contacts: Art galleries, critics, wealthy patrons, the advertising industry. Skills: Art/Craft (any), History or Natural World, one interpersonal skill (Charm, Fast Talk, Intimidate, or Persuade), Other Language, Psychology, Spot Hidden, any two other skills as personal or era specialties.

Asylum Attendant

Although there are private sanitariums for those few who can afford them, the vast bulk of the mentally ill are housed in state and county facilities. Aside from a few doctors and nurses, they employ a large number of attendants, often chosen more for their strength and size rather than medical learning. Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 2 + (STR × 2 or DEX × 2) Credit Rating: 8–20 Suggested Contacts: Medical staff, patients, and relatives of patients. Access to medical records, as well as drugs and other medical supplies. Skills: Dodge, Fighting (Brawl), First Aid, two interpersonal skills (Charm, Fast Talk, Intimidate, or Persuade), Listen, Psychology, Stealth.


Probably plays in a professional baseball, football, cricket, or basketball team. This may be a major league team with a regular salary and national attention or—particularly in the case of 1920s baseball—one of many minor league teams, some of them owned and operated by major league owners. The latter pay barely enough to keep players fed and on the team. Successful professional athletes will enjoy a certain amount of celebrity within the arena of their expertise— more so in the present day where sporting heroes stand side by side with film stars on red carpets around the world. Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 2 + (DEX × 2 or STR × 2) Credit Rating: 9–70 Suggested Contacts: Sports personalities, sports writers, other media stars. Skills: Climb, Jump, Fighting (Brawl), Ride, one interpersonal skill (Charm, Fast Talk, Intimidate, or Persuade), Swim, Throw, any one other skill as a personal or era specialty.

Author [Lovecraftian]

As distinct from the journalist, the author uses words to define and explore the human condition, especially the range of human emotions. Their labors are solitary and the rewards solipsistic: only a relative handful make much money in the present day, though in previous eras the trade once provided a regular living wage. The work habits of authors vary widely. Typically an author might spend months or years researching in preparation for a book, then withdrawing for periods of intense creation. Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 4 Credit Rating: 9–30 Suggested Contacts: publishers, critics, historians, etc. Skills: Art (Literature), History, Library Use, Natural World or Occult, Other Language, Own Language, Psychology, any one other skill as a personal or era specialty.


Normally not the owner of the bar, the bartender is everyone’s friend. For some it’s a career or their business, for many it's a means to an end. In the 1920s the profession is made illegal by the Prohibition Act; however, there’s no shortage of work for a bartender, as someone has to serve the drinks in the speakeasies and secret gin joints. Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 2 + APP × 2 Credit Rating: 8–25


chapter 4: occupations Suggested Contacts: Regular customers, possibly organized crime. Skills: Accounting, two interpersonal skills (Charm, Fast Talk, Intimidate, or Persuade), Fighting (Brawl), Listen, Psychology, Spot Hidden, any one other skill as a personal or era specialty.

Big Game Hunter

Big game hunters are skilled trackers and hunters who usually earn their living leading safaris for wealthy clients. Most are specialized in one part of the world, such as the Canadian woods, African plains, and other locales. Some hunters may work for the black market, capturing live exotic species for private collectors, or trading in illegal or morally objectionable animal products like skins, ivory, and the like—although in the 1920s such activities were more common and were permissible under most countries’ laws. Although the "great white hunter" is the quintessential type, others may be simply local indigenous people who escort hunters through the backwoods of the Yukon in search of moose or bear. Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 2 + (DEX × 2 or STR × 2) Credit Rating: 20–50 Suggested Contacts: Foreign government officials, game wardens, past (usually wealthy) clients, blackmarket gangs and traders, zoo owners. Skills: Firearms, Listen or Spot Hidden, Natural World, Navigate, Other Language or Survival (any), Science (Biology, Botany, or Zoology), Stealth, Track.

Book Dealer

A book dealer may be the owner of a retail outlet or niche mail order service, or specialize in buying trips across the country and even overseas. Many will have wealthy or regular clients, who provide lists of sought-after and rare works. Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 4 Credit Rating: 20–40. Suggested Contacts: Bibliographers, book dealers, libraries and universities, clients. Skills: Accounting, Appraise, Drive Auto, History, Library Use, Own Language, Other Language, one interpersonal skill (Charm, Fast Talk, Intimidate, or Persuade).

Bounty Hunter

Bounty hunters track down and return fugitives to justice. Most often, freelancers are employed by Bail Bondsmen to track down bail jumpers. Bounty hunters may freely cross state lines in pursuit of their quarry and may show little regard for civil rights and other technicalities when

capturing their prey. Breaking and entering, threats, and physical abuse are all part of the successful bounty hunter’s bag of tricks. In modern times this may stem to illegal phone taps, computer hacking, and other covert surveillance. Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 2 + (DEX × 2 or STR × 2) Credit Rating: 9–30 Suggested Contacts: Bail bondsmen, local police, criminal informants. Skills: Drive Auto, Electronic or Electrical Repair, Fighting or Firearms, one interpersonal skill (Fast Talk, Charm, Intimidate, or Persuade), Law, Psychology, Track, Stealth.


Professional boxers and wrestlers are managed by individuals (promoters) possibly backed by outside interests, and usually locked into contracts. Professional boxers and wrestlers work and train full-time. Amateur boxing competitions abound; a training ground for those aspiring to professional status. In addition, amateur and post-professional boxers and wrestlers can sometimes be found making a living from illegal bareknuckle fights, usually arranged by organized crime gangs or entrepreneurial locals. Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 2 + STR × 2 Credit Rating: 9–60 Suggested Contacts: Sports promoters, journalists, organized crime, professional trainers. Skills: Dodge, Fighting (Brawl), Intimidate, Jump, Psychology, Spot Hidden, any two other skills as personal or era specialties.


This occupation covers those who are employed in a servant capacity and includes butler, valet, and lady’s maid. A butler is usually employed as a domestic servant for a large household. Traditionally the butler is charge of the dining room, wine cellar and pantry, and ranks as the highest male servant. Usually male—a housekeeper would be the female equivalent—the butler is responsible for male servants within the household. The duties of the butler will vary according to the requirements of his employer. Butlers do more than A valet or lady’s maid fetch tea and hang up provides personal services, such



investigator handbook as maintaining her employer's clothes, running baths, and effectively acting as a personal assistant. The work might include making travel arrangements, managing their employer’s diary, and organizing household finances. Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 4 Credit Rating: 9–40 (dependent on their employer’s status and credit rating). Suggested Contacts: Waiting staff of other households, local businesses and household suppliers. Skills: Accounting or Appraise, Art/Craft (any, e.g. Cook, Tailor, Barber), First Aid, Listen, Psychology, Spot Hidden, any two other skills as personal or era specialties.

Clergy, Member of the

The hierarchy of the Church usually assigns clergy to their respective parishes or sends them on evangelical missions, most often to a foreign country (see Missionary page 84). Different churches have different priorities and hierarchies: for example, in the Catholic Church a priest may rise through the ranks of bishop, archbishop, and cardinal, while a Methodist pastor may in turn rise to district superintendent and bishop. Many clergy (not just Catholic priests) bear witness to confessions and, though they are not at liberty to divulge such secrets, they are free to act upon them. Some who work in the church are trained in professional skills, acting as doctors, lawyers, and scholars—as appropriate, use the occupation template which best describes the nature of the investigator’s work. Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 4 Credit Rating: 9–60 Suggested Contacts: Church hierarchy, local congregations, community leaders. Skills: Accounting, History, Library Use, Listen, Other Language, one interpersonal skill (Charm, Fast Talk, Intimidate, or Persuade), Psychology, any one other skill.

Computer Programmer/ Technician/Hacker [Modern]


Usually designing, writing, testing, debugging, and/or maintaining the source code of computer programs, the computer programmer is an expert in many different subjects, including formal logic and application platforms. May work freelance or within the confines of a software development house.

The computer technician is tasked with the development and maintenance of computer systems and networks, often working alongside other office staff (such as project managers) to ensure systems maintain integrity and provide desired functionality. Similar occupations may include: Database Administrator, IT Systems Manager, Multimedia Developer, Network Administrator, Software Engineer, Webmaster, etc. The computer hacker uses computers and computer networks as a means of protest to promote political ends (sometimes referred to as "hacktivists") or for criminal gain. Illegally breaking into computers and other user accounts is required, the outcome of which could be anything from defacing web pages, doxing, and swatting, to email bombing designed to enact denials of service.

Computer Programmer/Technician Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 4 Credit Rating: 10–70 Suggested Contacts: Other IT workers, corporate workers and managers, specialized Internet web communities. Skills: Computer Use, Electrical Repair, Electronics, Library Use, Science (Mathematics), Spot Hidden, any two other skills as personal or era specialties.

Hacker Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 4 Credit Rating: 10–70 Suggested Contacts: IT workers, specialized Internet web communities, political groups, criminal enterprises. Skills: Computer Use, Electrical Repair, Electronics, Library Use, Spot Hidden, one interpersonal skill (Charm, Fast Talk, Intimidate, or Persuade), any two other skills.


Cowboys work the ranges and ranches of the West. Some own their own ranches, but many are simply hired where and when work is available. Good money can also be made by those willing to risk life and limb on the rodeo circuit, traveling between events for fame and glory. During the 1920s, a few found employment in Hollywood as stuntmen and extras in westerns; for example, Wyatt Earp worked as a A hacker fights the occult through technical advisor to the film industry. In modern times some ranches have use of technology

chapter 4: occupations opened their gates to holidaymakers wishing to experience life as a cowboy. Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 2 + (DEX × 2 or STR × 2) Credit Rating: 9–20 Suggested Contacts: Local businesspeople, state agricultural departments, rodeo promoters, and entertainers. Skills: Dodge, Fighting or Firearms, First Aid or Natural World, Jump, Ride, Survival (any), Throw, Track.


May be equally termed an artisan or master craftsperson. The craftsperson is essentially skilled in the manual production of items or materials. Normally quite talented individuals, some gaining a high reputation for works of art, while others provide a needed community service. Possible trades include: furniture, jewelry, watchmaker, potter, blacksmith, textiles, calligraphy, sewing, carpentry, book binding, glassblowing, toy maker, stained glass, and so on. Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 2 + DEX × 2 Credit Rating: 10–40 Suggested Contacts: Local business people, other craftspersons and artists. Skills: Accounting, Art/Craft (any two), Mechanical Repair, Natural World, Spot Hidden, any two other skills as personal specialties.


Criminals come in all shapes, sizes, and shades of grey. Some are merely opportunistic jacks of all trades, such as pickpockets and thugs, while others are highly specialized, spending time researching and planning focused criminal enterprises. This latter group could include bank robbers, cat burglars, forgers, and confidence tricksters. The criminal either works for someone, usually an organized "mob" or crime family, or works solo, perhaps occasionally teaming up with others when the reward is worth the effort and risk. Freelance thugs might work as muggers, stickup men, and armed robbers. Whether bootleggers, corner-boys, or thugs, these are the soldiers of organized crime. They are supported by criminal organizations and they are the ones usually expected to take the fall for the gangsters above them. Their silence and loyalty is expected and rewarded. Confidence tricksters are usually smooth talkers. Working alone or in a team, they descend on wealthy individuals or communities, fleecing their targets of their hard-earned savings. Some schemes are elaborate, involving teams of scam men and rented buildings; others are simple affairs, transactions requiring only one con man and no more than a few minutes.

A fence is someone who trades in stolen property, usually taking in stolen goods and then selling them to other criminals or (unwitting) legitimate customers. Principally a middleman between thieves and buyers, the fence either takes a cut of the profit or, more usually, buys the stolen goods at a very low price. Forgers are the artists of the criminal world, specializing in forging official documents, deeds and transfers, and providing phony signatures. Beginners work manufacturing fake ID's for petty criminals, while the best engrave plates for counterfeiting currency. Hit men are the cold-blooded killers of the underworld. Usually hired from somewhere out of town, they arrive, do their work, then quickly disappear. It’s strictly business. Often sociopaths, who seem to lack the ability to empathize with other human beings. Many follow strict codes of behavior. In spite of this, many marry, raise children, and in all other ways behave like model citizens. Smuggling is always a lucrative and high-risk business. The smuggler usually has a public profession, such as boat captain, pilot, or businessman, allowing them to transport illicit products to a needy market. Street punks are typically young street hoods, possibly looking for a chance to hook-up with real gangsters. Experience is probably limited to stealing cars, shoplifting, mugging, and burglary.

Assassin Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 2 + (DEX × 2 or STR × 2) Credit Rating: 30–60 Suggested Contacts: Few, mostly underworld; people prefer not to know them too well. The best will have earned a formidable reputation on the street. Skills: Disguise, Electrical Repair, Fighting, Firearms, Locksmith, Mechanical Repair, Stealth, Psychology.

Bank Robber Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 2 + (STR × 2 or DEX × 2) Credit Rating: 5–75 Suggested Contacts: Other gang members (current and retired), criminal freelancers, organized crime. Skills: Drive Auto, Electrical or Mechanical Repair, Fighting, Firearms, Intimidate, Locksmith, Operate Heavy Machinery, any one other skill as personal or era specialty.

Bootlegger/Thug Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 2 + STR × 2 Credit Rating: 5–30 Suggested Contacts: Organized crime, street-level law enforcement, local traders.


investigator handbook Skills: Drive Auto, Fighting, Firearms, two interpersonal skills (Charm, Fast Talk, Intimidate, or Persuade), Psychology, Stealth, Spot Hidden.

Burglar Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 2 + DEX × 2 Credit Rating: 5–40 Suggested Contacts: Fences, other burglars. Skills: Appraise, Climb, Electrical or Mechanical Repair, Listen, Locksmith, Sleight of Hand, Stealth, Spot Hidden.

Conman Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 2 + APP × 2 Credit Rating: 10–65 Suggested Contacts: Other confidence artists, freelance criminals. Skills: Appraise, Art/Craft (Acting), Law or Other Language, Listen, two interpersonal skills (Charm, Fast Talk, Intimidate, or Persuade), Psychology, Sleight of Hand.

Criminal (freelance/solo) Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 2 + (DEX × 2 or APP × 2) Credit Rating: 5–65 Suggested Contacts: Other petty criminals, street-level law enforcement. Skills: Art/Craft (Acting) or Disguise, Appraise, one interpersonal skill (Charm, Fast Talk, or Intimidate), Fighting or Firearms, Locksmith or Mechanical Repair, Stealth, Psychology, Spot Hidden.

Gun Moll [Classic]

A female professional criminal. While many are fiercely independent, some are at the beck and call of mobster boyfriends—however, in reality this could easily be the other way around, with the moll working her boyfriend for all she can before skedaddling with all the cash and furs she can carry. Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 2 + APP × 2 Credit Rating: 10–80 (income is usually dependent on boyfriend’s income) Suggested Contacts: Gangsters, law enforcement, local businesses.


Skills: Art/Craft (any), two interpersonal skills (Charm, Fast Talk, Intimidate, or Persuade), Fighting (Brawl) or Firearms (Handgun), Drive Auto, Listen, Stealth, any one other skill as personal or era specialty.

Fence Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 2 + APP× 2 Credit Rating: 20–40 Suggested Contacts: Organized crime, trade contacts, black market and legitimate buyers. Skills: Accounting, Appraise, Art/Craft (Forgery), History, one interpersonal skill (Charm, Fast Talk, Intimidate, or Persuade), Library Use, Spot Hidden, any one other skill.

Forger/Counterfeiter Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 4 Credit Rating: 20–60 Suggested Contacts: Organized crime, businesspeople. Skills: Accounting, Appraise, Art/Craft (Forgery), History, Library Use, Spot Hidden, Sleight of Hand, any one other skill as personal or era specialty (e.g. Computer Use).

Smuggler Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 2 + (APP × 2 or DEX × 2) Credit Rating: 20–60 Suggested Contacts: Organized crime, Coast Guard, U.S. Customs officials. Skills: Firearms, Listen, Navigate, one interpersonal skill (Charm, Fast Talk, Intimidate, or Persuade), Drive Auto or Pilot (Aircraft or Boat), Psychology, Sleight of Hand, Spot Hidden.

Bootleggers have to protect their livelihoods

Street Punk Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 2 + (DEX × 2 or STR × 2) Credit Rating: 3–10 Suggested Contacts: Petty criminals, other punks, the local fence, maybe the local gangster, certainly the local police. Skills: Climb, one interpersonal skill (Charm, Fast Talk, Intimidate, or Persuade), Fighting, Firearms, Jump, Sleight of Hand, Stealth, Throw. Also, see Gangster.

chapter 4: occupations

Cult Leader

America has always generated new religions, from the New England Transcendentalists to the Children of God, as well as many others, right up to modern times. The leader is either a firm believer in the dogma they impart to the cult’s members or simply in it for the money and power. During the 1920s, any number of charismatic cult leaders emerge. Some espouse forms of Christianity while others incorporate Eastern mysticism and occult practices. These groups are particularly familiar to America’s West Coast but are found all around the country in different forms. The southern Bible Belt supports many traveling tent shows featuring song, dance, and gospel revival. Other countries also see such fringe religions springing up wherever there are those in need of something to believe in. Occupation Skill Points: EDU x 2 + APP x 2 Credit Rating: 30–60 Suggested Contacts: While the majority of followers will be regular people, the more charismatic the leader, the greater the possibility of celebrity followers, such as movie stars and rich widows. Skills: Accounting, two interpersonal skills (Charm, Fast Talk, Intimidate, or Persuade), Occult, Psychology, Spot Hidden, any two other skills as specialties.

Deprogrammer [Modern]

Deprogramming is the act of persuading (or forcing) a person to abandon their belief or allegiance to a religious or social community. Normally, the deprogrammer is hired by relatives of an individual, who has joined some form of cult, in order to break them free (usually by kidnapping) and then subject them to psychological techniques to free them of their association ("conditioning") with the cult. Less extreme deprogrammers exist, who work with those who have voluntarily left a cult. In such cases the deprogrammer effectively acts as an exit counselor. Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 4 Credit Rating: 20–50 Suggested Contacts: Local and federal law enforcement, criminals, religious community. Skills: Two interpersonal skills (Charm, Fast Talk, Intimidate, or Persuade), Drive Auto, Fighting (Brawl) or Firearms, History, Occult, Psychology, Stealth. Note: With the Keeper’s agreement, the Hypnosis skill may be substituted for one of the listed skills.


Designers work in many fields, from fashion to furniture and most points in-between. The designer may work freelance, for a design house or for a business designing consumer products, processes, laws, games, graphics, and so on. The investigator’s particular design specialty might influence the choice of skills—adjust the skills as appropriate. Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 4 Credit Rating: 20–60 Suggested Contacts: Advertising, media, furnishings, architectural, other. Skills: Accounting, Art (Photography), Art/Craft (any), Computer Use or Library Use, Mechanical Repair, Psychology, Spot Hidden, any one other skill as personal specialty.

Dilettante [Lovecraftian]

Dilettantes are self-supporting, living off an inheritance, trust fund, or some other source of income that does not require them to work. Usually the dilettante has enough money that specialist financial advisers are needed to take care of it. Probably well educated, though not necessarily accomplished in anything. Money frees the dilettante to be eccentric and outspoken. In the 1920s, some diettantes might be "flappers" or "sheiks"—as per the parlance of the time—of course, one didn't need to be rich to be a "party" person. In modern times, "hipster" might also be an appropriate term. The dilettante has had plenty of time to learn how to be charming and sophisticated; what else has been done with that free time is likely to betray the dilettante’s true character and interests. Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 2 + APP × 2 Credit Rating: 50–99 Suggested Contacts: Variable, but usually people of a similar background and tastes, fraternal organizations, bohemian circles, high society at large. Skills: Art/Craft (Any), Firearms, Other Language, Ride, one interpersonal skill (Charm, Fast Talk, Intimidate, or Persuade), any three other skills as personal or era specialties.


Divers could work in the military, law enforcement, or in civilian occupations like sponge gathering, salvage, conservation, or even treasure hunting. Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 2 + DEX × 2 Credit Rating: 9–30


investigator handbook Suggested Contacts: Coast guard, ship captains, military, law enforcement, smugglers. Skills: Diving, First Aid, Mechanical Repair, Pilot (Boat), Science (Biology), Spot Hidden, Swim, any one other skill as personal or era specialty.

Doctor of Medicine [Lovecraftian]

Most likely a general practitioner, surgeon, or other specialist, such as a psychiatrist or an independent medical researcher. Apart from personal goals, three aims—helping patients, gaining money and prestige, and promoting a more rational and wiser society—are common to the profession. If a general practitioner, the doctor will be based in a rural or neighborhood practice in or near a small town or city. Many physicians are employed by large urban hospitals, allowing them to specialize in areas like pathology, toxicology, orthopedics, and brain surgery. Doctors may also serve as part- or full-time medical examiners, conducting autopsies and signing death certificates for the city, county, or state. In the U.S., physicians are licensed by individual states, most requiring a minimum of two years’ attendance at an accredited medical school. These requirements, however, are but a relatively recent development. During the 1920s, many older physicians first obtained their licenses long before such strict regulations were in effect, despite never attending medical school. Occupation Skill Points: EDU x 4 Credit Rating: 30–80 Suggested Contacts: Other physicians, medical workers, patients and ex-patients. Skills: First Aid, Medicine, Other Language (Latin), Psychology, Science (Biology and Pharmacy), any two other skills as academic or personal specialties.



The cause of death is...unusual!

As opposed to someone who is poverty-stricken, the drifter’s wandering life is chosen, perhaps compensating for a social, philosophical, or economic lack, or perhaps due to a desire to break free of societal constraints. The drifter takes jobs, sometimes for days or months; however, he or she is disposed to solve problems with the answer

of mobility and isolation, not comfort and intimacy. The life of the road might seem especially American, but can be chosen wherever travel itself is not systematically dangerous. Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 2 + (APP× 2 or DEX × 2 or STR × 2) Credit Rating: 0–5 Suggested Contacts: Other hobos, a few friendly railroad guards, soft touches in numerous towns. Skills: Climb, Jump, Listen, Navigate, one interpersonal skill (Charm, Fast Talk, Intimidate, or Persuade), Stealth, any two other skills as personal or era specialties.


Professional drivers may work for a company, private individual, or possibly have their own cab or rig. Taxi drivers may work for large or small companies, or possibly have their own cab and license (medallion in the U.S.). Cab companies are usually set up so that drivers rent cabs and a dispatcher service from the company, technically making the drivers freelance operators. Taxis are required to be fitted with approved meters, periodically checked by the city’s taxi board. Drivers are usually required to obtain a special license that includes a background check by the police detective bureau. A chauffeur is either directly employed by an individual or firm, or works for an agency that hires both car and chauffeur out for single engagements or on a retainer basis.

Chauffeur Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 2 + DEX × 2 Credit Rating: 10–40 Suggested Contacts: Successful business people (criminals included), political representatives. Skills: Drive Auto, two interpersonal skills (Charm, Fast Talk, Intimidate, or Persuade), Listen, Mechanical Repair, Navigate, Spot Hidden, any one other skill as a personal or era specialty.

Driver Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 2 + (DEX × 2 or STR × 2) Credit Rating: 9–20 Suggested Contacts: Customers, businesses, law enforcement and general street level life. Skills: Accounting, Drive Auto, Listen, one interpersonal skill (Charm, Fast Talk, Intimidate, or Persuade), Mechanical Repair, Navigate, Psychology, any one other skill as personal or era specialty.

chapter 4: occupations Taxi Driver Occupation Skill Points: EDU x 2 + DEX x 2 Credit Rating: 9–30 Suggested Contacts: Street scene, possibly a notable customer now and then. Skills: Accounting, Drive Auto, Electrical Repair, Fast Talk, Mechanical Repair, Navigate, Spot Hidden, any one other skill as a personal or era specialty.


Editors work assigning stories to reporters, writing newspaper and magazine editorials, dealing with crises, and meeting deadlines. Occasionally they edit. Large newspapers have many editors, including managing editors who are more involved with business operations than news. Other editors specialize in fashion, sports, or some other area. Small newspapers may have only a single editor who, in fact, may also be the owner, as well as the only full-time employee.

In the United Kingdom, Members of Parliament are popularly elected every four to five years. Representatives in the House of Lords are unelected, receiving their memberships through either birth or appointment. Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 2 + APP × 2 Credit Rating: 50–90 Suggested Contacts: Political operatives, government, news media, business, foreign governments, possibly organized crime. Skills: Charm, History, Intimidate, Fast Talk, Listen, Own Language, Persuade, Psychology.


A specialist in mechanical or electrical devices, employed in a civilian business or in the military, but also including inventors. The engineer applies scientific knowledge, mathematics, and a liberal amount of ingenuity to design solutions for technical problems.

Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 4

Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 4

Credit Rating: 10–30

Credit Rating: 30–60

Suggested Contacts: News industry, local government, specialists (e.g. fashion designers, sports, business), publishers.

Suggested Contacts: Business or military workers, local government, architects.

Skills: Accounting, History, Own Language, two interpersonal skills (Charm, Fast Talk, Intimidate, or Persuade), Psychology, Spot Hidden, any one other skill as personal or era specialty.

Elected Official

Popularly-elected officials enjoy prestige commensurate with their position. Small-town mayors and township supervisors find their influence extends little beyond their municipality’s borders. Often these jobs are part-time, paying but small compensation. The mayors of big cities are well paid, however, often ruling their cities like little kingdoms and wielding more influence and power than the governor of their respective state. Local Representatives and Senators elected to state houses enjoy a fair amount of respect, particularly with the business community and often at a statewide level. Governors are responsible for entire states and have connections across the country. Federal positions carry the most clout. States send a number of Representatives to Congress based upon population count, and the House seats over 400 members, each elected to a two-year term. Each state, regardless of size, also sends two Senators to Washington. Elected to six-year terms and numbering less than a hundred, Senators hold considerably more influence than Representatives, and some elder Senators receive nearly as much respect as the President.

Skills: Art/Craft (Technical Drawing), Electrical Repair, Library Use, Mechanical Repair, Operate Heavy Machine, Science (Engineering and Physics), any one other skill as personal or era specialty.


This occupation might include clown, singer, dancer, comedian, juggler, musician, or anyone else who earns a living in front of an audience. These people love to be seen, love to show what they do best, and love the consequent applause. Previously to the 1920s, this profession lacked respect. The money that Hollywood stars can make in the 1920s changes most minds, and by the present day such a background is generally felt to be an advantage. Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 2 + APP × 2 Credit Rating: 9–70 Suggested Contacts: Vaudeville, theater, film industry, entertainment critics, organized crime, and television (for modern-day). Skills: Art/Craft (e.g. Acting, Singer, Comedian, etc.), Disguise, two interpersonal skills (Charm, Fast Talk, Intimidate, or Persuade), Listen, Psychology, any two other skills as personal or era specialties.


investigator handbook

Explorer [Classic]

In the early twentieth century there are still unknown areas of the world that some people can make a career of exploring. Scientific grants, private donations, and museum contracts, combined with newspaper, magazine, book, and film rights often generate enough money to support the adventurer and this exciting lifestyle. Much of darkest Africa is still unexplored, as are great portions of the Matto Grosso in South America, the great Australian desert, the Sahara and Arabian deserts, and much of the Asian interior. Although expeditions have reached both the North and South Poles, much of the surrounding territory is still unknown. Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 2 + (APP × 2 or DEX × 2 or STR × 2) Credit Rating: 55–80 Suggested Contacts: Major libraries, universities, museums, wealthy patrons, other explorers, publishers, foreign government officials, local tribes people. Skills: Climb or Swim, Firearms, History, Jump, Natural World, Navigate, Other Language, Survival.


An agricultural worker who might own the land on which they raise crops or livestock, or who is employed to do the same. Rigorous and demanding, the life of the farmer is suited to those who enjoy manual labor and outdoor activities. The 1920s are the first decade where the urban population of the U.S. outnumbers the rural population. Independent farmers find themselves squeezed between competition from corporate-controlled farms and fluctuating commodity markets—a situation still common in contemporary times. Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 2 + (DEX × 2 or STR × 2) Credit Rating: 9–30 Suggested Contacts: Local bank, local politicians, state agricultural department. Skills: Art/Craft (Farming), Drive Auto (or Wagon), one interpersonal skill (Charm, Fast Talk, Intimidate, or Persuade), Mechanical Repair, Natural World, Operate Heavy Machinery, Track, any one other skill as a personal or era specialty.

Federal Agent

There are a vast variety of federal law enforcement agencies and agents. Some are uniformed, such as the U.S. Marshals, while others, like the Federal Bureau of Investigation, are plainclothes and operate similar to detectives. Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 4 Credit Rating: 20–40


Suggested Contacts: Federal agencies, law enforcement, organized crime. Skills: Drive Auto, Fighting (Brawl), Firearms, Law, Persuade, Stealth, Spot Hidden, any one other skill as a personal or era specialty.


Firefighters are civil servants, employed by the communities they serve. They work around the clock, on shifts lasting several days, eating, sleeping, and entertaining themselves within the confines of the fire station. Organized along military lines, promotion through lieutenant, captain, and chief is possible. Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 2 + (DEX × 2 or STR × 2) Credit Rating: 9–30 Suggested Contacts: Civic workers, medical workers, law enforcement. Skills: Climb, Dodge, Drive Auto, First Aid, Jump, Mechanical Repair, Operate Heavy Machinery, Throw.

Foreign Correspondent

Foreign correspondents are the elite of news reporters. They work on salary, enjoy expense accounts, and travel the globe. In the 1920s, the correspondent may work for a large newspaper, a radio network, or a national newsgroup. Modern-day reporters might also work freelance or be employed to file reports for a television network, an Internet news provider, or international news agency. The work can be varied, often exciting, and sometimes hazardous as natural disasters, political upheaval, and war are the primary focus of the foreign correspondent. Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 4 Credit Rating: 10–40 Suggested Contacts: National or worldwide news industry, foreign governments, military. Skills: History, Other Language, Own Language, Listen, two interpersonal skills (Charm, Fast Talk, Intimidate, or Persuade), Psychology, any one other skill as a personal or era specialty.

Forensic Surgeon

A highly specialized occupation, most forensic surgeons are employed by a city, county, or state to conduct autopsies, determine causes of death, and make recommendations to the prosecutor’s office. Forensic surgeons are often called to give testimony at criminal proceedings. Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 4 Credit Rating: 40–60.

chapter 4: occupations Suggested Contacts: Laboratories, law enforcement, medical profession. Skills: Other Language (Latin), Library Use, Medicine, Persuade, Science (Biology), (Forensics), (Pharmacy), Spot Hidden.


Gamblers are the dandies of the criminal world. Sharp dressers, they usually possess bags of charm, either earthy or sophisticated. Whether frequenting the racetrack, card table, or casino, such individuals often base their life upon chance. More sophisticated gamblers probably frequent the illegal casinos operated by organized crime. A few are known as poker players and are often involved in lengthy, high-stakes games where they may even be backed by outside investors. The lowest frequent alleys and dives, playing craps with loaded dice, or hustling in pool halls.

Aside from illegal liquor and narcotics, organized crime deals in prostitution, protection, gambling, and many other forms of corruption.

Gangster Boss Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 2 + APP × 2 Credit Rating: 60–95 Suggested Contacts: Organized crime, street-level crime, police, city government, politicians, judges, unions, lawyers, businesses, and residents of the same ethnic community. Skills: Fighting, Firearms, Law, Listen, two interpersonal skills (Charm, Fast Talk, Intimidate, or Persuade), Psychology, Spot Hidden.

Gangster Underling Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 2 + (DEX × 2 or STR × 2)

Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 2 + (APP × 2 or DEX × 2)

Credit Rating: 9–20

Credit Rating: 8–50

Suggested Contacts: Street-level crime, police, businesses and residents of the same ethnic community.

Suggested Contacts: Bookies, organized crime, street scene. Skills: Accounting, Art/Craft (Acting), two interpersonal skills (Charm, Fast Talk, Intimidate, or Persuade), Listen, Psychology, Sleight of Hand, Spot Hidden.


A gangster could be the boss of a whole city, part of a city, or merely an underling who works for the boss. Underlings usually have specific areas of responsibility, such as overseeing illicit shipments, collecting protection money, and so on. The boss oversees the business, makes deals, and determines how to solve problems. For the most part, the gangster boss is untouchable, able to field a small army of underlings to do his or her bidding, and so is unlikely to get their hands dirty. Gangsterism rose to prominence in the 1920s. Neighborhood ethnic gangs, who had heretofore limited their activities to local protection schemes and small gambling rackets, discovered the immense profits to be made in the illegal beer and liquor industry. Before long they controlled whole sections of cities and warred with one another in the streets. Though most gangs are of ethnic origin—Irish, Italian, African-American, and Jewish— gangsters of nearly all nationalities are found within the ranks. In modern times, the drug trade has overtaken other forms of organized crime to be the most lucrative route for many. Operating on very similar lines to their 1920s counterparts, the contemporary gangster boss also needs a range of underlings to promote, secure, and trade their business on the streets.

Skills: Drive Auto, Fighting, Firearms, two interpersonal skills (Charm, Fast Talk, Intimidate, or Persuade), Psychology, any two other skills as personal or era specialties. Also see Criminal: Bootlegger/Thug.


A man or woman of good breeding, courteous behavior, and good conduct. Usually the term is applied to a member of the upper class who is independently wealthy (either by inheritance or regular allowance). In the 1920s, such a person would certainly have had at least one servant (butler, valet, maid, chauffer) and probably a country and city residence. One does not necessarily have to be rich, as often family status is more important than family wealth in terms of the highest society. Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 2 + APP × 2 Credit Rating: 40–90 Suggested Contacts: Upper classes and landed gentry, politics, servants and agricultural workers. Skills: Art/Craft (any), two interpersonal skills (Charm, Fast Talk, Intimidate, or Persuade), Firearms (Rifle/ Shotgun), History, Other Language (any), Navigate, Ride.


Although there are people out of work and, as always, alcoholics lying in the gutters, the true hobo forms a separate breed. While drifters tend to only work when forced to, hobos are essentially workers who wander.


investigator handbook Riding the rails continually, on the move from one town to another, they are penniless poets and vagabonds— explorers of the road, adventurers, and thieves. However, life on the road or rails is dangerous. Aside of the problems of being poor and having no home, the hobo faces hostility from the police, close-knit communities, and railroad staff. Jumping trains in the dark is no easy feat and many a hobo has lost a foot or hand from getting caught between train cars. Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 2 + (APP × 2 or DEX × 2) Credit Rating: 0–5 Suggested Contacts: Other hobos, a few friendly railroad guards, soft touches in numerous towns. Skills: Art/Craft (any), Climb, Jump, Listen, Locksmith or Sleight of Hobos are workers who Hand, Navigate, Stealth, any one other skill as a personal or era wander. specialty.

Hospital Orderly

The typical hospital orderly is in charge of emptying waste, cleaning rooms, taxiing patients, and any other odd job requiring slightly more skill than that of a janitor. Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 2 + STR × 2 Credit Rating: 6–15 Suggested Contacts: Hospital and medical workers, patients. Access to drugs, medical records, etc. Skills: Electrical Repair, one interpersonal skill (Charm, Fast Talk, Intimidate, or Persuade), Fighting (Brawl), First Aid, Listen, Mechanical Repair, Psychology, Stealth.

Journalist [Lovecraftian]

Uses words to report and comment upon topics and incidents of the day, writing as many words in a day as an author may in a week. Journalists work for newspapers, magazines, radio, television, and Internet news services. The best investigative journalists report, but keep themselves independent of the corruption and self-serving they witness. That reality overwhelms the worst, who eventually forfeit any sensibility except the power of their words. Reporters work in the news and media industries, either freelance or for a newspaper, magazine, website, or news agency. Most work outside of the office, interviewing


witnesses, checking records, and gathering stories. Some are assigned to specific beats like the police station, the sports scene, or business. Others cover social events and garden club meetings. Reporters carry press passes, but these are of little value other than to identify an individual as employed by their respective employer (usually a newspaper). The real work is similar to that of a private detective, and some reporters may resort to subterfuge to gain the information they want.

Investigative Journalist Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 4 Credit Rating: 9–30 Suggested Contacts: News industry, street-level crime or law enforcement.


Skills: Art/Craft (Art or Photography), one interpersonal skill (Charm, Fast Talk, Intimidate, or Persuade), History, Library Use, Own Language, Psychology, any two other skills as personal or era specialties.

Reporter Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 4 Credit Rating: 9–30 Suggested Contacts: News and media industries, political organizations and government, business, law enforcement, street criminals, high society. Skills: Art/Craft (Acting), History, Listen, Own Language, one interpersonal skill (Charm, Fast Talk, Intimidate, or Persuade), Psychology, Stealth, Spot Hidden.

Judge An official who presides over court legal proceedings, either alone or within a group of peers. Judges are either appointed or elected, sometimes for a term of specified length, other times for life. While some are appointed without ever having practiced law, most judges are licensed attorneys whether they sit on the smallest bench in a far-off Western town, or on the bench of the Federal Supreme Court. Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 4 Credit Rating: 50–80 Suggested Contacts: Legal connections, possibly organized crime. Skills: History, Intimidate, Law, Library Use, Listen, Own Language, Persuade, Psychology.

chapter 4: occupations

Laboratory Assistant Working in a scientific environment, the assistant (or technician) performs laboratory and administrative tasks under the supervision of a lead scientist. Tasks are varied and dependent on the scientific discipline of the lead scientist or laboratory, but could include: sampling, testing, recording and analyzing results, setting up or performing experiments, preparing specimens and samples, administering the day-to-day work of the laboratory, and ensuring health and safety polices are adhered to. Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 4 Credit Rating: 10–30 Suggested Contacts: Universities, scientists, librarians. Skills: Computer Use or Library Use, Electrical Repair, Other Language, Science (Chemistry and two others), Spot Hidden, any one other skill as a personal specialty.

Laborer Laborers include factory workers, mill hands, stevedores, road crews, miners, construction, and so on. Laborers fall into two camps: skilled and unskilled. While technically unskilled, the average laborer is often an expert in the use of power tools, lifting gear, and other equipment to be found on site.

Laborer, Unskilled Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 2 + (DEX × 2 or STR × 2) Credit Rating: 9–30 Suggested Contacts: Other workers and supervisors within their industry. Skills: Drive Auto, Electrical Repair, Fighting, First Aid, Mechanical Repair, Operate Heavy Machinery, Throw, any one other skill as a personal or era specialty.

Lumberjack Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 2 + (DEX × 2 or STR × 2) Credit Rating: 9–30 Suggested Contacts: Forestry workers, wilderness guides and conservationists. Skills: Climb, Dodge, Fighting (Chainsaw), First Aid, Jump, Mechanical Repair, Natural World or Science (Biology or Botany), Throw.

Miner Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 2 + (DEX × 2 or STR × 2) Credit Rating: 9–30 Suggested Contacts: Union officials, political organizations.

Skills: Climb, Geology, Jump, Mechanical Repair, Operate Heavy Machinery, Stealth, Spot Hidden, any one other skill as a personal or era specialty.


Learned in the law of the state in which they serve, the lawyer acts as an attorney, counsel, or solicitor, able to relate abstract legal theories and knowledge to present solutions for their clients. May be hired or appointed by a court on an individual basis or may be privately retained by a wealthy client or business firm. In the U.S., a lawyer tends to mean an attorney, while in England the term loosely refers to a variety of professions including barristers, solicitors, and legal executives. With the right client, a lawyer could become a celebrity in his or her own right, and a small number do enjoy the media attention for political or financial gain. Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 4 Credit Rating: 30–80 Suggested Contacts: Organized crime, financiers, district attorneys and judges. Skills: Accounting, Law, Library use, two interpersonal skills (Charm, Fast Talk, Intimidate, or Persuade), Psychology, any two other skills.

Librarian [Lovecraftian]

Librarians are most often employed by public institutions or universities, responsible for cataloging and maintaining stock, as well as dealing with lender enquiries. In modern times, the librarian is also a keeper of electronic media and databases. Some large businesses might employ a librarian to manage a large collection, and occasionally opportunities appear to take over custodial care of a private library for a wealthy collector. Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 4 Credit Rating: 9–35 Suggested Contacts: Booksellers, community groups, specialist researchers. Skills: Accounting, Library use, Other Language, Own Language, any four other skills as personal specialties or specialist reading topics.

Mechanic (and Skilled Trades)

This occupation includes all types of trades requiring specialized training, time on the job as an apprentice or trainee, etc. Carpenters, stonemasons, plumbers, electricians, millwrights, mechanics, and others all qualify as skilled trades. Usually they have their own unions— almost guilds—that bargain with contractors and corporate employers.


investigator handbook Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 4 Credit Rating: 9–40 Suggested Contacts: Union members, trade-relevant specialists. Skills: Art/Craft (Carpentry, Welding, Plumbing, etc.), Climb, Drive Auto, Electrical Repair, Mechanical Repair, Operate Heavy Machinery, any two other skills as personal, era or trade specialties.

Military Officer

Officers are command rank and most commissions demand some form of higher education. All armed services have established officer training programs that may include university education—in the U.S., most major universities provide cadet training programs, allowing simultaneous training for the military while attending school. Upon graduation the cadet is promoted to the rank of Army or Marine Second Lieutenant or Naval Ensign, and assigned to a station. Usually such recruits owe the Government four years’ active service, after which time they may return to civilian life. Many of the officers trained this way hold professional commissions and serve as doctors, lawyers, or engineers. Those looking for a career in the military may try to get themselves appointed to one of the military academies: the U.S. Army’s West Point or the Navy’s Annapolis, for example. Graduating from one of these schools earns the officer respect. Once out of school, some officers opt for special training, such as air pilot. Occasionally, an experienced and exceptionally worthy enlisted person is promoted to Warrant Officer. Although technically at the bottom of the officers’ list of ranks, the time and experience required to achieve this promotion carries a respect and reverence far exceeding that of any junior or middle-grade officer. Most commissions are for life. Even a long-retired officer has the right to call himself Captain or General. Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 2 + (DEX × 2 or STR × 2) Credit Rating: 20–70 Suggested Contacts: Military, federal government. Skills: Accounting, Firearms, Navigate, First Aid, two interpersonal skill (Charm, Fast Talk, Intimidate, or Persuade), Psychology, any one other skills as personal or era specialties.


Missionaries visit remote corners of the globe dispensing the word of God to “unfortunate primitives” or "lost souls" in more civilized locales. May be Catholic, Protestant, Islamic, or from another branch of faith, such as the Church of the Latter-Day Saints, who specialize in two-year proselytizing missions to urban areas, including parts of the U.S. and Europe.


Sometimes a missionary may be independent of all except his or her own vision, or may be backed by some organization other than a church. Christian and Islamic proselytizers, as well as Buddhist, and Hindu teachers can be encountered worldwide in all eras. Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 2 + APP × 2 Credit Rating: 0–30 Suggested Contacts: Church hierarchy, foreign officials. Skills: Art/Craft (any), First Aid, Mechanical Repair, Medicine, Natural World, one interpersonal skill (Charm, Fast Talk, Intimidate, or Persuade), any two other skills as personal or era specialties.

Mountain Climber

Mountain climbing as a sport became popular in the 19th century. Most climbers are weekend and vacation sportsmen and women; only a few have the reputations needed to attract the financing and sponsorship required for major climbs. By the 1920s, all the major American and Alpine peaks have been conquered. After lengthy negotiations with the Tibetans, climbers were finally granted access to the highest peaks of the Himalayas. Regular assaults on Mt. Everest, the last unconquered peak in the world, were routinely covered by radio and newspapers. Expeditions in 1921, 1922, and 1924 all failed to reach the summit and resulted in the deaths of thirteen people. In the modern-day, mountaineering (or Alpinism, as often termed by Europeans), may be sport, recreation, or a profession. If a profession, this could include climbing instructors, guides, athletes, or rescue services. Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 2 + (DEX × 2 or STR × 2) Credit Rating: 30–60 Suggested Contacts: Other climbers, environmentalists, patrons, sponsors, local rescue or law enforcement, park rangers, sports clubs. Skills: Climb, First Aid, Jump, Listen, Navigate, Other Language, Survival (Alpine or as appropriate), Track.

Museum Curator

A museum curator can be responsible for a large facility like a university or other publicly funded institution, or any sort of smaller museum, often specializing in local geology or other such topics. Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 4 Credit Rating: 10–30 Suggested Contacts: Local universities and scholars, publishers, museum patrons. Skills: Accounting, Appraise, Archaeology, History, Library Use, Occult, Other Language, Spot Hidden.

chapter 4: occupations


May perform in an orchestra, group, or solo, with any instrument you care to think of. Getting noticed is hard and then getting a recording contract is difficult. Most musicians are poor and do not get noticed, eking a living by playing small venues as often as they can. A fortunate few might get regular work, such as playing a piano in a bar or hotel or within a city orchestra. For the minority, great success and wealth can be found by being in the right place at the right time, plus having a modicum of talent. The 1920s is, of course, the Jazz Age, and musicians work in small combos and dance orchestras in large and mediumsized cities and towns across America. A few musicians living in large cities, like Chicago or New York, find steady work in their hometown, but most spend significant amounts of time on the road, touring either by bus, automobile, or by train. Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 2 + (APP × 2 or DEX × 2) Credit Rating: 9–30 Suggested Contacts: Club owners, musicians’ union, organized crime, street-level criminals. Skills: Art/Craft (Instrument), one interpersonal skill (Charm, Fast Talk, Intimidate, or Persuade), Listen, Psychology, any four other skills.


Nurses are trained healthcare assistants, usually working in hospitals, nursing homes, or with General Practitioners. Generally, a nurse will assist an individual, sick or well, with activities contributing to health or recovery (or to a peaceful death) that a person might perform unaided if they had the necessary strength, will, or knowledge.


Occultists are students of esoteric secrets and arcane magic. They fully believe in paranormal abilities and actively attempt to learn about and discover these powers within themselves. Most are familiar with a broad range of different philosophies and magical theories, some believing that they can actually perform feats of magic—the veracity of such abilities is left to the Keeper to determine. It should be noted that, in the main, occultists are familiar with "earthly magic"—the secrets of Mythos magic are unknown to them, save in tantalizing hints referenced in ancient books. Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 4 Credit Rating: 9–65 Suggested Contacts: Libraries, occult societies or fraternities, other occultists. Skills: Anthropology, History, Library Use, one interpersonal skill (Charm, Fast Talk, Intimidate, or Persuade), Occult, Other Language, Science (Astronomy), any one* other skill as a personal or era specialty. *With the Keeper’s agreement, may include Cthulhu Mythos (with an advised starting maximum of 10%).


The outdoor enthusiast spends much of his or her time living in the wilderness, often alone for long periods. Commonly skilled in hunting and fishing, and able to be self-sufficient in all but the harshest of environments. May be specialized in hiking, fishing, cross-country skiing, canoeing, climbing, and camping. The outsdoorsman might work as a wilderness guide or ranger for a national park or outward bound center, or they may be financially independent, allowing them enjoy such a lifestyle without regard for paid employment, perhaps living as a hermit and only returning to civilization when the need arises.

Some jazz-era musicians used illegal substances for Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 2 + (DEX × 2 or STR × 2) "inspiration." Credit Rating: 5–20

Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 4 Credit Rating: 9–30 Suggested Contacts: Hospital workers, physicians, community workers. Skills: First Aid, Listen, Medicine, one interpersonal skill (Charm, Fast Talk, Intimidate, or Persuade), Psychology, Science (Biology) and (Chemistry), Spot Hidden.

Suggested Contacts: Local people and native folk, traders. Skills: Firearms, First Aid, Listen, Natural World, Navigate, Spot Hidden, Survival (any), Track.


Parapsychologists do not pretend to enjoy extraordinary powers, but instead spend their efforts attempting to observe, record, and study such instances. Sometimes nicknamed “ghost hunters,” they make use of technology to try to capture hard evidence of paranormal activity that may be centered on a person or a location. A major portion of


investigator handbook their time is spent debunking fake mediums and mistaken phenomena rather than recording actual evidence. Some parapsychologists will specialize in the study of particular phenomenon, such as extra sensory perception, telekinesis, hauntings, and others. Prestigious universities grant no degrees for parapsychology. Standards in the field are based entirely upon personal reputation, and so the most acceptable representatives tend to hold degrees in related areas— physics, psychology, or medicine. Those who choose this path are unusually sympathetic to the notion of invisible mystical powers and in validating that belief to the satisfaction of physical scientists. This would represent an unusual cohabitation of faith and doubt— the parapsychologist may have difficulty separating the conflicting desires. A person uninterested in observation, experimentation, and proof is not a scientist, though he or she may be an occultist. Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 4 Credit Rating: 9–30 Suggested Contacts: Universities, parapsychological Publications. Skills: Anthropology, Art/Craft (Photography), History, Library Use, Occult, Other Language, Psychology, any one other skill as a personal or era specialty.


Pharmacists have long been more closely regulated than physicians. They are licensed by individual states, most of them requiring a high school education and three years of pharmacy school. A pharmacist may be employed in a hospital or a drug store, or perhaps they own a dispensary. Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 4 Credit Rating: 35–75 Suggested Contacts: Local community, local physicians, hospitals and patients. Access to all manner of chemicals and drugs. Skills: Accounting, First Aid, Other Language (Latin), Library Use, one interpersonal skill (Charm, Fast Talk, Intimidate, or Persuade), Psychology, Science (Pharmacy), (Chemistry).


Photography as an art form has been around a long time, with most photographers working freelance, for an advertising firm, or in a portrait studio taking pictures of families. Others are employed in the newspaper, media, and film industries. The elite of photographers are drawn from the worlds of art, journalism, and wildlife conservation. In each of these arenas a photographer may find fame, recognition, and financial reward.


Photojournalists are essentially reporters who use cameras, but who are also expected to write prose to accompany an image. In the 1920s, newsreels came into being; heavy, bulky 35mm film equipment was hauled around the globe in search of exciting news stories, sporting events, and bathing beauty pageants. A newsreel team usually numbers three: one of them an actual reporter who writes the copy, while the other two handle the camera, lights, etc. Voiceovers are done at a home studio, based on the written copy.

Photographer Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 4 Credit Rating: 9–30 Suggested Contacts: Advertising industry, local clients (including political organizations and newspapers). Skills: Art/Craft (Photography), one interpersonal skill (Charm, Fast Talk, Intimidate, or Persuade), Psychology, Science (Chemistry), Stealth, Spot Hidden, any two other skills as personal or era specialties.

Photojournalist Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 4 Credit Rating: 10–30 Suggested Contacts: News industry, film industry (1920s), foreign governments and authorities. Skills: Art/Craft (Photography), Climb, one interpersonal skill (Charm, Fast Talk, Intimidate, or Persuade), Other Language, Psychology, Science (Chemistry), any two other skills as personal or era specialties.


Professional aviators may be employed by business, for example the U.S. Mail, or work as pilots for a large or small commercial passenger line. In the U.S. there was no national regulation of pilots until the passing of the Air Commerce Act of 1926, after which time pilots’ licenses were required. Thus, many in this period work at carnivals, stunting, selling rides, or offering local air-taxi services in and out of small airports. Some pilots actively serve in the military. Many aviators learned to fly during their service and, as a result, still hold commissions as officers in the Armed Forces.

Aviator [Classic]

An aviator is a stunt pilot, working at carnivals or offering daring leisure rides for those willing to pay. Often fame could be won by competing in organized air races, either cross-country or on fixed courses. During the twenties, Hollywood makes fair use of stunt pilots. A few aviators even find work as test pilots for aircraft manufacturers. Many aviators learned to fly during the Great War and, as a result, still hold commissions as officers in the Army,

chapter 4: occupations Navy, Marines, or Coast Guard. Younger pilots have either received military training during peacetime or learned on their own. American flying aces of the World War still in the public limelight include: Eddie Rickenbacker, presently employed by Chrysler Corporation; Tommy Hitchcock, Jr., now a star on the polo fields; Reed Landis, son of Baseball Commissioner, Kenesaw Mountain Landis.

Pilot Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 2 + DEX × 2 Credit Rating: 20–70 Suggested Contacts: Old military contacts, cabin crew, mechanics, airfield staff, carnival entertainers. Skills: Electrical Repair, Mechanical Repair, Navigate, Operate Heavy Machine, Pilot (Aircraft), Science (Astronomy), any two other skills as personal or era specialties.

Aviator Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 4 Credit Rating: 30–60 Suggested Contacts: Old military contacts, other pilots, airfield mechanics, businessmen. Skills: Accounting, Electrical Repair, Listen, Mechanical Repair, Navigate, Pilot (Aircraft), Spot Hidden, any one other skill as a personal or era specialty.

Police Detective/Officer [Lovecraftian]

The plainclothes branch of police agencies, detectives examine crime scenes, gather evidence, conduct interviews, and try to solve homicides, major burglaries, and other felonies. They work the streets, often in close cooperation with a uniformed patrol. The police detective may be a manager who coordinates staff in some important investigation, but rarely has the luxury of concentrating on a single case. In the U.S., his or her responsibilities at any one time may number in the dozens or hundreds of open cases. The detective’s crucial function is to marshal enough evidence to allow an arrest, in turn leading to a successful criminal prosecution. Detectives everywhere sort truth from lies by evidence and reconstruction. The offices of detective and prosecutor are separate, so that the evidence may be weighed independently before trial. Though present day detectives may attend police science classes, take a degree, and undergo special training and civil service exams, police detectives of every era are grounded in their experiences as junior officers and ordinary patrolmen. The uniformed police officer is employed by cities and towns, by County sheriffs’ departments, and state or regional police forces. The job may be on foot, behind the wheel of a patrol car, or sitting at a desk.

Police Detective Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 2 + (DEX × 2 or STR × 2) Credit Rating: 20–50 Suggested Contacts: Law enforcement, street level crime, coroner’s office, judiciary, organized crime. Skills: Art/Craft (Acting) or Disguise, Firearms, Law, Listen, one interpersonal skill (Charm, Fast Talk, Intimidate, or Persuade), Psychology, Spot Hidden, any one other skill.

Uniformed Police Officer

Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 2 + (DEX × 2 or STR × 2) Credit Rating: 9–30 Suggested Contacts: Law enforcement, local businesses and residents, street level crime, organized crime. Skills: Fighting (Brawl), Firearms, First Aid, one interpersonal skill (Charm, Fast Talk, Intimidate, or Persuade), Law, Psychology, Spot Hidden and one of the following as a personal specialty: Drive Automobile or Ride.

Private Investigator

The private eye usually acts in non-police situations, gathering information and evidence for private clients in impending civil cases, tracking down fleeing spouses or business partners, or acting as an agent for private defense attorneys in criminal cases. Like any professional, the private eye separates his or her personal feelings from the job at hand, and cheerfully works for the guilty and innocent alike, as long as the fee is paid. The private investigator may have been a member of a police force in the past, using those connections to his or her advantage in the present; however, this is not always the case. In most locales, the private investigator must be licensed and, if later proven to be guilty of illegal activity, the license may be revoked—effectively ending the detective’s career. Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 2 + (DEX × 2 or STR × 2) Credit Rating: 9–30 Suggested Contacts: Law enforcement, clients. Skills: Art/Craft (photography), Disguise, Law, Library Use, one interpersonal skill (Charm, Fast Talk, Intimidate, or Persuade), Psychology, Spot Hidden and any one other skill as personal or era specialty (e.g. Computer Use, Locksmith, Fighting, Firearms).


investigator handbook

Professor [Lovecraftian]

Professors are academics employed by colleges and universities. Larger corporations may also employ such academics for research and product development. Independent scholars sometimes help support themselves by teaching part-time courses. For the most part, the occupation indicates a Ph.D.—a rank that can earn tenure at universities around the world. The professor is qualified to teach and to perform competent research, and may have a discernible academic reputation in his or her area of expertise. Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 4 Credit Rating: 20–70 Suggested Contacts: Scholars, universities, libraries. Skills: Library Use, Other Language, Own Language, Psychology, any four other skills as academic, era, or personal specialties.


Though the days of the California Gold Rush and the Nevada Comstock Lode are long gone, the independent prospector is still a feature of the American West. Roaming the mountains, they endlessly search for the big strike that will make them rich. In these days, oil may be as good as gold. Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 2 + (DEX × 2 or STR × 2) Credit Rating: 0–10 Suggested Contacts: Local businesses and residents. Skills: Climb, First Aid, History, Mechanical Repair, Navigate, Science (Geology), Spot Hidden, any one other skill as a personal or era specialty.


Depending on circumstance, breeding, and background, a prostitute may be a high-rolling expensive call girl, male gigolo, or streetwalker. Often driven by circumstance, many dream of a way out. A few work completely independently; however, for most, they are lured and kept in the business by ruthless pimps whose only concern is cash. Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 2 + APP × 2 Credit Rating: 5–50 Suggested Contacts: Street scene, police, possibly organized crime, personal clientele. Skills: Art/Craft (any), two interpersonal skills (Charm, Fast Talk, Intimidate, or Persuade), Dodge, Psychology, Sleight of Hand, Stealth, any one other skill as a personal or era specialty.



In the modern era a psychiatrist is a physician specialized in the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders. Psychiatrists are trained in psychopharmacological treatments and are authorized to prescribe psychiatric medication, as well as order electroencephalograms, and computed brain-imaging studies. At the turn of the twentieth century, psychoanalytic theories were still relatively new and aimed at attempting to explain phenomena that until recently had been considered to be biological in nature. As such, psychiatrists sought to establish their medical credentials, and differing perspectives of diagnosing and treating mental disorders began to be introduced. Until the 1930s, any physician could request being listed in the Directory of the American Medical Association as a specialist in psychiatry. Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 4 Credit Rating: 30–80 Suggested Contacts: Others in the field of mental illness, physicians and possibly legal professions. Skills: Other Language, Listen, Medicine, Persuade, Psychoanalysis, Psychology, Science (Biology) and (Chemistry). See Alienist.

Psychologist/Psychoanalyst While commonly known for the fields of psychotherapy and counseling, this is just one branch of psychology. Other specialists include organizational psychologists who work with businesses and governments, as well as academics conducting research or teaching psychology. Clinical psychologists may work with patients, using a range of therapeutic tools. Note the distinction between a psychologist and a psychiatrist who is a physician specialist. In the 1920s, the study of human behavior was a rather new field and primarily focused on Freudian analysis. Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 4 Credit Rating: 10–40 Suggested Contacts: Psychological community, patients. Skills: Accounting, Library Use, Listen, Persuade, Psychoanalysis, Psychology, any two other skills as academic, era or personal specialties.

Some psychiatrists use hypnosis to help relieve psychological stress.

chapter 4: occupations


The academic world sponsors a good deal of research, particularly in the fields of astronomy, physics, and other theoretical sciences. The private sector employs thousands of researchers, especially chemists, pharmacists, and engineers. Oil companies hire many trained geologists. Researchers spend most of their time indoors, working and writing, but some go onto become field researchers. Field researchers are usually highly experienced, independent, and resourceful, possibly employed by private interests or undertaking academic research for a university. Oil companies send geologists into the field to explore potential petroleum fields, anthropologists study primitive tribes in forgotten corners of the globe, and archaeologists spend years of their lives unearthing treasures in deserts and jungles, bargaining with native workers and local governments. Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 4 Credit Rating: 9–30 Suggested Contacts: Scholars and academics, large businesses and corporations, foreign governments and individuals. Skills: History, Library Use, one interpersonal skill (Charm, Fast Talk Intimidate, or Persuade), Other Language, Spot Hidden, any three fields of study.


Sailors may be military or commercial. Naval sailors, like their counterparts in the Army, go through an initial period of basic training. Upon graduation they are assigned rates and stations. Although many sailors serve in the traditional roles of Boatswain’s Mate or Fireman rating (ship’s engine man), the Navy also has a need for technically trained mechanics, radio operators, air controllers, etc. The highest enlisted rank is Chief Petty Officer, which carries with it a prestige respected by even high-ranking officers. Enlistments are for a fixed number of years—in the U.S. Navy this is usually four years of active duty followed by two years of inactive reserve commitment, during which time the sailor can be called to serve in times of national emergency. Commercial sailors may work aboard a fishing vessel, charter boat, or haulage tankers, carrying oil or commodities. In the U.S., charter boats work both coasts, as well as on the Great Lakes, catering to sport fisherman and vacationers. By far the greatest number of charter boats are found in Florida, on both the Gulf and ocean coasts. During Prohibition, many a charter boat captain found a lucrative trade in ferrying thirsty customers to the 3-mile limit, where foreign ships could sell alcohol. Likewise, smuggling for the bootleggers could pay well; however, the risks were high.

Sailor, Naval Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 2 + (DEX × 2 or STR × 2) Credit Rating: 9–30 Suggested Contacts: Military, veterans’ associations. Skills: Electrical or Mechanical Repair, Fighting, Firearms, First Aid, Navigate, Pilot (Boat), Survival (Sea), Swim.

Sailor, Commercial Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 2 + (DEX × 2 or STR × 2) Credit Rating: 20–40 Suggested Contacts: Coast Guard, smugglers, organized crime. Skills: First Aid, Mechanical Repair, Natural World, Navigate, one interpersonal skill (Charm, Fast Talk, Intimidate, or Persuade), Pilot (Boat), Spot Hidden, Swim.


An integral part of many businesses, salespeople work to promote and sell their employer’s goods or services. Most spend much of their time traveling, meeting, and entertaining clients (as much as their expenses account will allow). Some are mainly office-based, working telephones to contact potential clients, while others travel between communities to sell their wares door-to-door. The 1920s is the decade of the entrepreneur and the traveling salesperson is a part of everyday life. Some work directly for companies and others on consignment, but most live and die by commission, using hard sales tactics to gain the confidence of a potential buyer and not caring whether their sale is affordable or not. Some are restricted to certain territories, while others are free to roam and seek out prospects wherever they might be found. Brushes, vacuum cleaners, and encyclopedias are only a few of the many items that be offered door-to-door. Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 2 + APP × 2 Credit Rating: 9–40 Suggested Contacts: Businesses within the same sector, favored customers. Skills: Accounting, two interpersonal skills (Charm, Fast Talk, Intimidate, or Persuade), Drive Auto, Listen, Psychology, Stealth or Sleight of Hand, any one other skill.


investigator handbook


Natural philosophers who delve reality in the pursuit of knowledge. Where science is applied to creating useful items, one might employ an engineer, but if one wishes to expand the bounds of what is possible, one will require scientists. Scientists are employed by businesses and universities to carry out research. Although specializing in one field of science, any scientist worth his or her salt will be well-versed in several branches of science. A scientist will also have a good command of their own language, having completed higher degrees and probably a Ph.D. Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 4 Credit Rating: 9–50 Suggested Contacts: Other scientists and academics, universities, their employers and former employers. Skills: Any three science specialisms, Computer Use or Library Use, Other Language, Own Language, one interpersonal skill (Charm, Fast Talk, Intimidate, or Persuade), Spot Hidden.


A position that ranges from highly-paid private executive assistants to those in the typing pool. The work concerns supporting executives and managers with a range of communication and organizational skills. Being at the hub of the business, most secretaries know more about the inner workings and operations of the business than their bosses do. During the 1920s, secretarial work was mainly concerned with correspondence, such as typing dictated letters, organizing document filing systems, and arranging meetings for their bosses. In some cases, the secretary pretty much ran their manager’s lives, organizing their vacations, buying presents for their children and wives, and generally covering their bosses’ back. Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 2 + (DEX × 2 or APP × 2) Credit Rating: 9–30 Suggested Contacts: Other office workers, senior executives in client firms. Skills: Accounting, Art/Craft (Typing or Short Hand), two interpersonal skills (Charm, Fast Talk, Intimidate, or Persuade), Own Language, Library Use or Computer Use, Psychology, any one other skill as a personal or era specialty.



The owner of a small shop, market stall, or perhaps restaurant. Usually self-employed, but may be the manager running the shop on behalf of the owner. Possibly familyrun, with relations also working on the premises, with normally few, if any, employees. The 1920s saw many women opening their own hairdressing and millinery shops. Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 2 + (APP × 2 or DEX × 2) Credit Rating: 20–40 Suggested Contacts: Local residents and businesses, local police, local government, customers. Skills: Accounting, two interpersonal skills (Charm, Fast Talk, Intimidate, or Persuade), Electrical Repair, Listen, Mechanical Repair, Psychology, Spot Hidden.


This refers to the enlisted ranks of the Army and Marines and includes the lowest ranks of Private up through Gunnery Sergeant (in U.S. terms). Although technically outranked by even the freshest of Second Lieutenants, Veteran Sergeants are respected by even the highest-ranking officers. In the U.S., standard enlistment is for six years, including four years’ active duty and two in standby (inactive) reserve. All enlisted persons receive basic training—“boot camp”— where raw recruits are taught how to march, shoot, and salute. Upon graduation from basic training, most are assigned to the infantry, although the Army also needs soldiers for artillery and the tank corps. A few are trained for non-combat roles, such as air controller, mechanic, clerk, or even officer’s steward. Marines, while technically part of the Navy, are similar to soldiers in background, training, and skills. Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 2 + (DEX × 2 or STR × 2) Credit Rating: 9–30 Suggested Contacts: Military, veterans associations. Skills: Climb or Swim, Dodge, Fighting, Firearms, Stealth, Survival and two of the following: First Aid, Mechanical Repair or Other Language.


Spies work for the intelligence community of a political state or organization. They may appear in any form of occupation, from ambassador to kitchen cleaner, in order to obtain the information they require. Some work deep cover for many years, while others change their identity at the drop of a hat. While spies may be posted within their own country, they can more usually be found working abroad. While information gathering and counter intelligence comprise the key work of a spy, other tasks may be performed, such as recruiting moles or carrying out statesanctioned assassinations.

chapter 4: occupations Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 2 + (APP × 2 or DEX × 2) Credit Rating: 20–60 Suggested Contacts: Generally only the person the spy reports to, possibly other connections developed while under cover. Skills: Art/Craft (Acting) or Disguise, Firearms, Listen, Other Language, one interpersonal skill (Charm, Fast Talk, Intimidate, or Persuade), Psychology, Sleight of Hand, Stealth.


May be a student enrolled at a college or university, or the employee of a company receiving minimal compensation for valuable on-the-job training. Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 4 Credit Rating: 5–10 Suggested Contacts: Academics and other students, while interns may also know business people. Skills: Language (Own or Other), Library Use, Listen, three fields of study and any two other skills as personal or era specialties.


The film and television industry employs stuntmen and women to simulate falls from buildings, car crashes, and other catastrophes. Stunt performers will usually be trained in fighting techniques and stage combat. There is always risk in the performance of all stunt work, and health and safety is a key element.

In modern times, stunt performers will largely be members of a union where they have had to prove their credentials (such as advanced driver’s license, diver’s license, and so on). All television and film work will be supervised by a stunt director. However in the 1920s, there are no equivalent organizations nor any regulation of the industry. Accidents and fatalities are frequent. Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 2 + (DEX × 2 or STR × 2) Credit Rating: 10–50 Suggested Contacts: The film and television industries, various explosive and pyrotechnic firms, actors and directors. Skills: Climb, Dodge, Electrical Repair or Mechanical Repair, Fighting, First Aid, Jump, Swim, plus one from either Diving, Drive Automobile, Pilot (any), Ride.

Tribe Member

In the sense of family allegiance, at least, tribalism is everywhere. In a tribe, the primacy of kinship and custom is self-evident. A tribal group is nominally relatively small. In place of a blanket of law and general individual rights, the tribal personality defers to personal honor. Praise, vengeance, gifts, and glory—all must be personal to the tribe member, and if leaders or enemies are to be treated as men of honor, they too must be personally known in some way. The notion of exile has real power in such a setting. Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 2 + (STR × 2 or DEX × 2) Credit Rating: 0–15 Suggested Contacts: Fellow tribe members. Skills: Climb, Fighting or Throw, Listen, Natural World, Occult, Spot Hidden, Swim, Survival (any).


Undertakers, also known as morticians or funeral directors, manage the business of funeral rites. This work includes the burial or cremation of the dead. With burials, the undertaker will perform embalming, as well as dressing, casketing, and cosmetizing the appearance of the deceased. Undertakers are licensed by the state. They either own their own funeral parlors or work for someone who does. Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 4 Credit Rating: 20–40 Suggested Contacts: Few. Skills: Accounting, Drive Auto, one interpersonal skill (Charm, Fast Talk, Intimidate, or Persuade), History, Occult, Psychology, Science (Biology) and (Chemistry).

Students tend to be younger characters


chapter 4: occupations

Union Activist

Union activists are organizers, leaders, and sometimes either visionaries or malcontents with an axe to grind. Normally a friend to the workers and an enemy of the bosses. Unions exist in all walk of life, be it stevedores, construction workers, miners, or actors. During the early twentieth century, union officials find themselves caught between big business wishing to destroy them, politicians alternately befriending and condemning them, communists and socialists trying to infiltrate their ranks, and criminal mobs trying to take them over. Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 4 Credit Rating: 5–30 Suggested Contacts: Other labor leaders and activists, political friends, possibly organized crime. In the 1920s, also socialists, communists, and subversive anarchists. Skills: Accounting, two interpersonal skills (Charm, Fast Talk, Intimidate, or Persuade), Fighting (Brawl), Law, Listen, Operate Heavy Machinery, Psychology.


Serves customers and clients within a hotel, bar, or other drinking or eating establishment. Traditionally low-paid, the waitress earns tips from clients by providing good service and trying to establish a rapport. A technically illegal profession during Prohibition (in the case of serving liquor), many job opportunities exist working in the illegal speakeasies owned by the mob. Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 2 + (APP × 2 or DEX × 2) Credit Rating: 9–20 Suggested Contacts: Customers, organized crime. Skills: Accounting, Art/Craft (any), Dodge, Listen, two interpersonal skills (Charm, Fast Talk, Intimidate, or Persuade), Psychology, any one skill as a personal or era specialty.

White-Collar Worker

This could range from the lowest-level white-collar position of a clerk to a middle or senior manager. The employer could be a small to medium-sized locally-owned business, up to a large national, or multinational corporation. Clerks are habitually underpaid and the work is drudgery, with those recognized as having talent being earmarked for promotion someday. Middle and senior managers attract higher salaries, with greater responsibilities and say in how the business is managed day-to-day. Although unmarried white-collar workers are not infrequent, most executive types are family-oriented, with a spouse at home and children—it is often expected of them.

Clerk/Executive Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 4 Credit Rating: 9–20 Suggested Contacts: Other office workers. Skills: Accounting, Language (Own or Other), Law, Library Use or Computer Use, Listen, one interpersonal skill (Charm, Fast Talk, Intimidate, or Persuade), any two other skills as personal or era specialties.

Middle/Senior Manager Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 4 Credit Rating: 20–80 Suggested Contacts: Old college connections, Masons or other fraternal groups, local and federal government, media and marketing. Skills: Accounting, Other Language, Law, two interpersonal skills (Charm, Fast Talk, Intimidate, or Persuade), Psychology, any two other skills as personal or era specialties.


Intense and vision-driven, scorning an easy life, the zealot agitates for a better life for humanity, or for some advantage for the group imagined to be the most worthwhile part of humanity. Some fanatics promote their beliefs through violence; however, the peaceable majority may be just as implacable. All dream of the vindication of their beliefs. Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 2 + (APP × 2 or POW × 2) Credit Rating: 0–30 Suggested Contacts: Religious or fraternal groups, news media. Skills: History, two interpersonal skills (Charm, Fast Talk, Intimidate, or Persuade), Psychology, Stealth, and any three other skills as personal or era specialties.


Zookeepers are responsible for the feeding and care of the animals in their charge; groundskeepers and attendants take care of other chores. Often the zookeeper is specialized in a particular breed of animal. The Zookeeper is able to use the Medicine skill on animals. Occupation Skill Points: EDU × 4 Credit Rating: 9–40 Suggested Contacts: Scientists, environmentalists. Skills: Animal Handling, Accounting, Dodge, First Aid, Natural World, Medicine, Science (Pharmacy), (Zoology).


investigator handbook his chapter looks at skills in detail, providing definitions of their use and scope within the game. Each category of skill encompasses a range of possibilities and, to ensure brevity, descriptions have to be general summaries of intent and coverage.

Skill Definitions Skills represent what is known within a certain era, and some skills are tagged [Modern] to denote that they can only be used in modern-day settings. Some skills are given a generic name which may not be appropriate for some settings; for example, Drive Auto would not be suitable for a game set in Victorian London and should be reworded appropriately— in this case as Drive Carriage. Skill percentages are not proportions of what is hypothetically knowable. If they were able to stack their respective knowledge on a table like poker chips and measure the difference, a physicist of 60% in the modern day knows much more than a physicist of 90% skill in 1910. Equally, some skills would be affected by location. A Japanese investigator might have a Law skill of 75% in Japan; however, if the same investigator were tested on Spanish law then the Keeper would probably increase the level of difficulty for the roll. A skill level of 50% is high enough to let a character eke out a living from it. If an investigator rises high in a skill unrelated to their profession, player and Keeper could confer about changing the investigator to a new profession. Certain skills embody a wide range of knowledge, such as Art and Craft, Fighting, Firearms, and Science, allowing investigators to specialize in narrower avenues of learning. Some of the skills detailed below are termed [Uncommon] and are not included on the standard investigator sheet (Artillery, Demolitions, Hypnosis, Read Lips, etc.). If the Keeper wishes to include these extra skills in the game, or if you wish to take one, this should be made clear. The Keeper may introduce other skills depending on the setting and period; for example, if one were to set a game in the far future on an alien planet then various new skills might be devised.

Skill Specializations Some broad skills are broken into specializations. A player may spend skill points to purchase any skill specialization. The generic skill cannot be purchased. Thus a player may spend points in Fighting (Brawl) or Fighting (Spear) but not simply Fighting. In the case of Art and Craft, Science, and Survival, these skills encompass a wide diversity of specializations. Your Keeper will decide on the applicability of a particular specialization to the situation in hand. Depending on the specific situation, the Keeper may allow the use of an alternate


Skill Points: What Do They Mean? Look at the following to gauge a person’s standard of ability with a skill: 01%–05%

Novice: Complete amateur.


Neophyte: Beginner with a small amount of knowledge.


Amateur: Possesses some talent or rudimentary training (hobby level).


Professional: Allows a character to eke out a living from the skill. Equivalent to a bachelor’s degree in a specific subject.


Expert: Advanced expertise. Corresponds with a master’s degree or Ph.D.


Master: Among the world’s best in the skill.

specialization at an increased level of difficulty if the Keeper agrees that there is sufficient overlap with that specialization. Among the specializations there are often transferable skills and knowledge. At the end of this chapter you will find an optional rule for transferable skill benefit.

Skill Specialization

a numerical The investigators are trying to crack aphy skill code. The Keeper calls for a Cryptogr asks if they roll. A player lacking Cryptography ad. The can use their Mathematics skill inste level of d Keeper allows the roll at an increase when ired difficulty. A Regular success was requ er the und or using Cryptography (a roll equal to under or to skill), so a Hard success (a roll equal atics hem half the skill) is required when using Mat in its place.

Pushing Skills

When a skill roll is failed a player may attempt the roll again as a pushed roll, but only if they can justify to the Keeper what their investigator is doing to gain a second and final attempt (see Call of Cthulhu Rulebook).

chapter 5: Skills For each skill, a number of examples are provided for what might constitute a "pushed roll," and also some of the possible consequences for failing a pushed roll. The suggestions given should be viewed as simply that—suggestions. The latitude for what could justify a pushed roll is wide and should be best determined by actions, motivations, and events within the game. Likewise, the consequences of a failed pushed roll will be best served if inspiration is drawn from current game events, non-player characters, and the game world. Where appropriate, an example is provided for a possible consequence of an investigator pushing a skill roll while insane. The very fact that the investigator is insane while performing a task heightens the stakes for the roll, as the consequences of a pushed failure will often be all the more extreme (or bizarre). The examples merely provide ideas and it is intended that both players and Keepers fashion their own justifications and consequences as appropriate to their games and playing styles.

Combined Skill Rolls

In some situations the Keeper may ask you to roll against more than one skill. Only one dice roll is made and the result is then compared with each of the skills named. The Keeper will specify whether a success is required for both skills or if only one of the skills need be successful.

Skill List Key:

Base skill values are noted in parenthesis; Occupation and Personal Interest skill points are added to these base values. [Modern] denotes a skill only available in Modern Era games. [Uncommon] denotes an uncommon skill not written on the standard investigator sheet. [Specializations] denotes a skill that is broken up into various separate skills. Accounting (05%) Acting (05%)—see Art/Craft Animal Handling (05%) [Uncommon] Anthropology (01%) Appraise (05%)

Combined Skill Roll

A deranged cultist suddenly draws a gun on Harvey. The Keeper asks for either a Spot Hidden roll or a Psychology roll from Harvey. A success on either will allow Harvey to anticipate the attacker’s action, and perhaps give Harvey a chance to act first. A successful Spot Hidden would allow him to see the gun being drawn by the cultist, while a successful Psychology would allow Harvey to anticipate the cultist’s aggressive intent. Later, Harvey attempts to repair an electric turbine. The item is both mechanical and electrical, so the Keeper asks for a combined Mechanical Repair and Electrical Repair roll. One roll is made, and the result is compared to both skills—in this case both must be successful to achieve the task. Note the importance of using a single dice roll in the latter example. Harvey has only 10% skill in both Mechanical Repair and Electrical Repair. His chance of success when making one dice roll and comparing it to both skills simultaneously is 10%. If he were to make two successive rolls, first against Mechanical Repair and then against Electrical Repair, his chance of succeeding both would be reduced to 1%.

Bow (15%)—see Firearms Brawl (25%)—see Fighting Chainsaw (10%)—see Fighting Charm (15%) Chemistry (01%)—see Science Climb (20%)

Archaeology (01%)

Computer Use (05%) [Modern]

Art and Craft (05%) [Specializations]

Credit Rating (00%)

Artillery (01%) [Uncommon]

Cryptography (01%)—see Science

Astronomy (01%)—see Science

Cthulhu Mythos (00%)

Axe (15%)—see Fighting

Demolitions (01%) [Uncommon]

Biology (01%)—see Science

Disguise (05%)

Botany (01%)—see Science

Diving (01%) [Uncommon]


investigator handbook Dodge (half DEX)

Pharmacy (01%)—see Science

Drive Auto (20%)

Photography (05%)—see Art and Craft

Electrical Repair (10%)

Physics (01%)—see Science

Electronics (01%) [Modern]

Pilot (01%) [Specializations]

Engineering (01%)—see Science

Psychoanalysis (01%)

Fast Talk (05%)

Psychology (10%)

Fighting (varies) [Specializations]

Read Lips (01%) [Uncommon]

Fine Art (05%)—see Art and Craft

Ride (05%)

Firearms (varies) [Specializations]

Rifle (25%)—see Firearms

First Aid (30%)

Science (01%) [Specializations]

Flail (10%)—see Fighting

Shotgun (25%)—see Firearms (Rifle/Shotgun)

Flamethrower (10%)—see Firearms

Sleight of Hand (10%)

Forensics (05%)—see Science

Spear (20%)—see Fighting (or Throw)

Forgery (01%)—see Art and Craft

Spot Hidden (25%)

Garrote (15%)—see Fighting

Stealth (20%)

Geology (01%)—see Science

Submachine Gun (15%)—see Firearms

Handgun (20%)—see Firearms

Survival (10%) [Specializations]

Heavy Weapons (10%)—see Firearms

Sword (20%)—see Fighting

History (05%)

Swim (20%)

Hypnosis (01%) [Uncommon]

Throw (20%)

Intimidate (15%)

Track (10%)

Jump (20%)

Whip (05%)—see Fighting

Language (Other) (01%) [Specializations]

Zoology (01%)—see Science

Language (Own) (EDU) Law (05%) Library Use (20%) Listen (20%) Locksmith (01%) Lore (01%) [Uncommon, Specializations] Machine Gun (10%)—see Firearms Mathematics (10%)—see Science Mechanical Repair (10%) Medicine (01%) Meteorology (01%)—see Science Natural World (10%) Navigate (10%) Occult (05%) Operate Heavy Machinery (01%) Persuade (10%)


Accounting (05%)

Grants understanding of accountancy procedures and reveals the financial functioning of a business or person. Inspecting the books, one might detect cheated employees, siphonedoff funds, payment of bribes or blackmail, and whether the financial condition is better or worse than claimed. Looking through old accounts, one could see how money was gained or lost in the past (grain, slave-trading, whiskey-running, etc.) and to whom and for what payment was made. Pushing examples: taking more time to review documents; visiting banks or businesses to validate findings; double checking the math and data. Sample Consequences of failing a Pushed roll: discussions between investigators and third parties alert some enemy faction to the investigators’ intentions; a vital part of the accounts is destroyed or lost (perhaps in their tired state the investigator spills coffee over them). If an insane investigator fails a pushed roll, he or she might be found having partially eaten the accounts.

chapter 5: Skills

1920s Anthropology By the 1920s, anthropology has clearly divided itself into two disciplines: cultural anthropology and physical anthropology, each subdivided differently in the U.S. and in Europe. The decade saw the professionalization of academic anthropology in the U.S. and the growth of psychological anthropology—an American contribution to anthropological theory. This school was rooted in the concept of culture as a mental phenomenon. Early psychological anthropologists undertook research into how individuals contribute to culture and how culture shapes the individual.

Animal Handling (05%) [Uncommon]

The ability to command and train domesticated animals to perform simple tasks. The skill is most commonly applied to dogs but may include birds, cats, monkeys, and so on (at the Keeper’s discretion). For riding animals, such as horses or camels, the Ride skill is used for breaking-in and controlling such mounts. Pushing examples: taking greater personal risk, in terms of getting closer to, or directly handling the animal. Sample Consequences of failing a Pushed roll: the animal attacks the trainer or someone else nearby, most likely causing damage; the animal escapes. If an insane investigator fails a pushed roll, he or she might be found behaving like the animal they were trying to control.

Anthropology (01%)

Enables the user to identify and understand an individual’s way of life through observation. If the skill-user observes another culture from within for a time, or works from accurate records concerning an extinct culture, then simple predictions can be made about that culture’s ways and morals, even though the evidence may be incomplete. Studying the culture for a month or more, the anthropologist begins to understand how the culture functions and, in combination with Psychology, may predict the actions and beliefs of those being studied. Pushing examples: taking more time to study the target/s; going “native” for a period; taking an active role in a ceremony, rite, etc.

1920s Archaeology Numerous archaeological societies existed, most publishing the ir own journals. Some of the oldest and best known are: the Hellenic Soc iety, the Egypt Exploration Society, and the Palestine Exploration Fund. Although a long-standing archaeological interest in Egypt has been further spu rred by the discovery of Tutankhamen’s tomb in 1922, other parts of the wor ld are now seeing scrutiny. Hiram Bingham discovered the Incan city of Machu Picchu in 1911, while in the ear ly 1920s excavations at Mohenjo-Da ro and Harappa lead to the discove ry of the ancient Indus civilization. Sto nehenge is dated for the first time, to 4,000 years ago, and by the end of the decade the remains of the prehistoric Shang civilization are discovered at An-Yang in eastern China.

Sample Consequences of failing a Pushed roll: being attacked or imprisoned by the people studied, due to some perceived transgression of their laws or social mores; suffering severe side-effects as the result of being involved in a ceremony which involved ingesting psychotropic plants. If an insane investigator fails a pushed roll, he or she will be lost among the culture being studied, for example like Dennis Hopper’s photojournalist character in the film Apocalypse Now.

Appraise (05%)

Used to estimate the value of a particular item, including the quality, material used, and workmanship. Where relevant, the skill-user could pinpoint the age of the item, assess its historical relevance, and detect forgeries. Pushing examples: checking an item’s validity with another expert; conducting testing; researching an item. Sample Consequences of failing a Pushed roll: accidentally ruining the item in question; bringing the item to the attention of other people, leading to its theft; activating whatever function the item might serve. If an insane investigator fails a pushed roll, he or she could destroy the item, believing it to be cursed; alternatively they regard the item as their personal salvation and refuse to give it up to anyone else.


investigator handbook

Archaeology (01%)

Allows dating and identification of artifacts from past cultures, and the detection of fakes. Ensures expertise in setting up and excavating a dig site. On inspecting a site, the user might deduce the purposes and way of life of those who left the remains. Anthropology might aid in this. Archaeology also helps identify written forms of extinct human languages. Pushing examples: taking more time to study the site or item; conducting further research; consulting another expert. Sample Consequences of failing a Pushed roll: the site is spoiled, with finds ruined through incompetence, vandalism, or theft; some higher authority seizes the site or the finds from your control; publicity leads to the finds being stolen. If an insane investigator fails a pushed roll, he or she keeps digging deeper, ever deeper—the truth is down there somewhere.

Art and Craft (Specializations) (05%) The investigator sheet contains blank specializations of this skill, for example: Acting Cobbler Fine Art Opera Singer Potter Woodwork

Barber Cook Forgery Painter & Decorator Sculptor


Carpenter Dancer Morris Dancer Photographer Writer


Pushing examples: reworking the object, piece or composition from scratch; conducting further research; checking with another expert. Sample Consequences of failing a Pushed roll: a vast amount of time and money is wasted in creating a failed attempt; the audience or customer is highly offended or physically injured by some aspect of your work; the critics slam your work and no one desires your services any longer. If an insane investigator fails a pushed roll, he or she creates a transgressive work that shocks and causes violent reactions in the viewer—perhaps only the most decadent could appreciate it.

Examples of Art and Craft Specializations Acting (05%): The performer is trained in theatrical and/ or film acting (in the modern era, this may also include television), able to adopt a persona, memorize scripts, and utilize stage/movie make-up to alter their appearance. See Disguise skill. Fine Art (05%): The artist is accomplished in the art of painting (oils, acrylic, watercolor), as well as sketching in pencil, crayon, or pastels. While serious works of art might take many days or months to complete, the artist may quickly sketch accurate impressions, objects, and people. The skill also denotes a familiarity with the art world, and the artist may be able to determine a particular artist’s work, their school, and known history.

Many of these examples are skills directly linked to a profession, but the skill may just be a leisure pursuit. You may spend skill points to purchase any skill specialization. The generic Art and Craft skill cannot be purchased. Ability with this skill may enable the making or Forgery (05%): Adept at fine detail, repair of an item—something typically requiring the user can produce high quality fake equipment and time, to be determined by the Keeper documents, be it a person’s handwriting, if necessary. In a situation where graduations of a bureaucratic form or permit, or a success might be appropriate, a higher level of duplicate of a tome. The forger will success indicates the item made is of high quality require suitable materials (inks, grades and/or precision. of paper, etc.) as well as an original An art or craft skill might also be used to make from which to copy. a duplicate or fake item. In such a case, the difficulty A successful roll indicates the level would depend on the intricacy and forgery will pass a normal, cursory distinctiveness of the original to be copied. inspection. Someone spending In the case of faking documentation, a time and thoroughly specific specialization (Forgery) is used. examining the forgery A successful roll might provide would use the Appraise information about an item, such as skill (opposed by the where or when it might have been original forger’s skill) 1920s Art made, some point of history or when determining if the Max Ernst technique concerning it, or who is the leadin fake can be spotted. g Dadaist painter and might have made it. The holder of a Photography (05%): sculptor. Po litically outspoken M specialization would have a breadth of exican pain Covers both still and ter, Diego Rivera, has knowledge within a particular field— a showing in motion photography. Th is New York, while Picass knowledge of the subject, its history, o explores skill allows one to take Cubism. Béla Bartók and contemporary practitioners, as visits the U.S clear pictures, develop them . in Classical gu 1927. well as the ability to perform it. itarist Andr properly, and enhance halfé Segovia debuts in Pa ris. Arturo hidden detail. Toscanini picks up th e conductor ’s baton at the New York Philharmonic 100 in 1928. Pablo Casals is the world ’s leading cellist.

chapter 5: Skills In the 1920s, the user is able to prepare the necessary chemicals to make flashpowder (see Dangerous Photography, page 173). In the present day, the skill extends to cover video cameras, video playback equipment, digital photography, and digital editing, where the user is adept at the manipulation of digital images. Radically different versions can be created from an original source, such as changing the location of a person in a photograph, who they are with, and what they are doing. Those proficient may also be able to detect when an image has been manipulated. Regular snapshots do not require a skill roll. Rolls would be required to achieve effective candid photographs, or shots that capture fine detail—especially at long range, at speed, or in low light. This skill can also allow the investigator to determine if a photograph has been tampered with or fabricated, as well as the angle and position from which a photograph was taken.

Artillery (01%) [Uncommon]

This skill assumes some form of military training and experience. The user is experienced in the operation of field weapons in warfare, able to work in a crew or detachment to operate the projection of munitions beyond the range of personal weapons. Many weapons of this nature are too large for a single person to operate, and either an individual cannot use the weapon without a crew or the difficulty level should be raised (at the Keeper’s discretion, dependent on the type of weapon employed). Various specializations exist, depending on the period setting of the game, including cannon, howitzer, mortar, and rocket launcher. Note: as a combat skill, this cannot be pushed.

Charm (15%)

Charm takes many forms, including physical attraction, seduction, flattery, or simply warmth of personality. Charm may be used to compel someone to act in a certain way, but not in a manner completely contrary to that person’s normal behavior. Charm is opposed by the Charm or Psychology skills. Charm may be used for bargaining, to haggle the price of an item or service down. If successful, the seller is won over and they may well reduce the price a little. Pushing examples: overtly flattering the target with affection; presenting an expensive gift; building trust by imparting a secret. Remember this is about being charming: if the investigator begins to take an alternative approach, the Keeper may ask for a different skill to be used; if threats are used, it may become Intimidation; or if a protracted discussion ensues, it may become Persuasion. Switching from one to the other to gain a second roll still constitutes a pushed roll.

Persuade, Fast Talk, Intimidate, and Charm: Disambiguation

The relative values in these skills serve to define a character and how they interact with people. It is not for the player to nominate which one of these four skills they are using in a given situat ion. Instead the player should describe what their investigator is doing and saying, and it is then up to the Keeper to decide which of the four skills is appropriate.

E If the investigator is threatening violence or

acting aggressively, the skill is Intimidate. E If the investigator is attempting to befriend or seduce, the skill is Charm. E If the investigator is using rational arguments and debate over a prolonged time, the skill is Persuade. E If the investigator is acting quickly to deceive, con, or trick, the skill is Fast Talk.

When Used on Player Characters

Each player (normally) has only one investigator throu gh which they act in the game; it would therefore not be fair to allow one player to dictate the actions of anoth er player’s investigator. However, if one player wishe s to put pressure on another player’s investigator to do their bidding, they might use violence (combat rules) or their investigator’s social skills. The former could infl ict damage and ultimately death; the latter is subtler. When one of these four skills is successfully used on an investigator (either by a non-player character or another investigator), the player is not compelled to follow the wishes of the other party. If the player refuse s to act in accordance with the wishes of the chara cter who is coercing them, the latter can inflict one penal ty die on one dice roll (of the coercer’s choice) made by the player of the coerced investigator. This penalty die need not be applied to the very next dice roll, but does not last indefinitely. Only one penalty die can be held by one character against any other single character at a time.


investigator handbook Sample Consequences of failing a Pushed roll: the target takes offence and will have nothing further to do with you; the target is associated in some way with your enemies and, while they may play along with you, they also inform on you; a third party intercedes to prevent you from chatting up their girl. If an insane investigator fails a pushed roll, he or she falls head over heels in love with their target and will act as if the target had successfully used a Dominate spell (see Call of Cthulhu Rulebook) upon them.

Climb (20%)

Living Standards

There are six living standards: penniless, poor, average, wealthy, rich, and super rich. Each one determines the lifestyle, type of accommodation, travel and expenses that a person can comfortably afford on a dayto-day basis.

Credit Rating 0: Penniless

Travel: Standard forms of travel can be used, but not first class. In modern-day period would be likely to own a reliable car.

Credit Rating 50-89: Wealthy

This level of wealth affords luxury and comfort.

Accommodation: Such a person would be living on the street.

Accommodation: A substantial residence, perhaps with some domestic help (housekeeper, cleaner, gardener, etc.). Possibly a second home in the country or abroad. Stays in expensive hotels.

Travel: Walking, hitchhiking or stowing away on a train or ship.

Travel: First class. This person would own an expensive car or equivalent.

A person that cannot even afford the level of ‘poor‘ is considered penniless.

Credit Rating 1-9: Poor

Able to afford the bare minimum of a roof over their head and at least one meager meal each day.

Credit Rating 90+: Rich

This level of wealth affords great luxury and comfort.

Accommodation: A plush residence This skill allows a Accommodation: Restricted to the or estate with abundant domestic help character to climb trees, cheapest rental housing or fleabag hotel. (butler, servants, cleaner, gardener, etc.). walls and other vertical Second surfaces with or without homes in the country and abroad. Travel: Public transport of the cheapest Stays ropes and climbing gear. in top hotels. sort. Any transport possessed will be cheap The skill also encompasses and unreliable. Travel: First class. In the modern-day this rappelling. Credit Rating 10-49: Average person would own numerous luxury cars Conditions, such A reasonable level of comfort, three meals a Credit Rating 99: Super Rich as firmness of surface, day and occasional treats. available handholds, wind, As Rich, but money is really no object. Accommodation: An average home or Individual visibility, rain, etc., may all s in this category are among the apartment, either rented or privately owned. richest affect the difficulty level. in the world. Expect to stay in moderately priced hotels. Failing this skill on the first roll indicates that the climb is perhaps beyond the investigator’s capability. Failing a pushed roll is likely to indicate a fall Computer Use (05%) [Modern] with resultant damage. One successful Climb roll should This skill allows the investigator to program in various allow the investigator to complete the climb in almost all computer languages, retrieve and analyze obscure data, break cases (rather than requiring repeated rolls). A challenging into a secured system, explore a complicated network, and or longer climb should have an increased difficulty level. detect or exploit intrusions, back doors, and viruses. Special Pushing examples: reassessing the climb; taking a longer manipulation of a computer system may require this roll. route; straining one’s reach. The Internet places a wealth of information at the fi ngertips of an investigator. Use of the Internet to find highly Sample Consequences of failing a Pushed roll: fall and specifi c or obscure information may require a combined suffer damage (1D6 damage per ten feet onto grass, or 1D10 dice roll for Computer Use and Library Use. damage per 10 feet onto concrete); lose a valuable possesTh is skill is not needed to use computers when surfing sion as it falls from your pocket (you may not notice this the Internet, collecting email, or to run regular commercially until later); become stranded, unable to go up or down. available software. If an insane investigator fails a pushed roll, he or she Pushing examples: taking longer to develop a program; holds on for dear life and screams at the top of their lungs using another’s code as a shortcut; using untested software for as long as they can. (e.g. a virus) to exploit a system.


chapter 5: Skills Sample Consequences of failing a Pushed roll: accidentally erasing the sought-after files, or even corrupting the whole system; leaving evidence or alerting others through your actions; infesting your own computer/network with a virus. If an insane investigator fails a pushed roll, he or she is lost in cyberspace, and it will require physical intervention to get the person to stop using the computer or look away from the screen.

Credit Rating (00%)

A measure of how prosperous and financially confident the investigator appears to be. Money opens doors; if the investigator is attempting to use his or her financial status to achieve a goal then use of the Credit Rating skill may be appropriate. Credit Rating can be used in place of APP to gauge first impressions. (i.e. wealthier people tend to dress in more expensive clothing). Credit Rating is not so much a skill as a gauge of financial wealth, and should not be ticked as other skills are. A high Credit Rating can be a useful resource in play, and so should be paid for with skill points when creating an investigator. Each occupation has a starting range for Credit Rating, and skill points should be spent to achieve a rating therein. Call of Cthulhu is not a game that requires money to be carefully tracked; however, it is useful to know the bounds of an investigator’s financial reach—for example, can the investigator afford to employ a team of archaeologists and workers to excavate an Egyptian tomb? An investigator’s Credit Rating can change over time. Investigators of the Cthulhu Mythos are prone to insanity, and this may lead to loss of employment and thus a lowering of the investigator’s Credit Rating score. Pushing examples: you offer your house and/or other valuables to secure money from a loan shark; you attempt to pressure the bank manager into giving you a loan. Sample Consequences of failing a Pushed roll: the loan shark turns nasty and directs his boys to teach you lesson; the bank manager calls the police; you are loaned the money, but it is a ploy to put you in deeper debt with a mobster who plans to buy out your debt and later call on you for a favor. If an insane investigator fails a pushed roll, he or she loses all faith in capitalism and begins freely handing out his or her money to passersby.

Cthulhu Mythos (00%)

This skill reflects understanding of the inhuman (Lovecraftian) Cthulhu Mythos. It is not founded on the accumulation of knowledge as academic skills are. Rather, it represents the opening and tuning of the human mind to the Cthulhu Mythos. Thus, Cthulhu Mythos skill derived from encountering Deep Ones (for example) is transferable to other situations and entities. Also referred to as "That which man should not know," the Cthulhu Mythos is antithetical

to human understanding, and exposure to it undermines human sanity. No starting investigator may take points in Cthulhu Mythos as a starting skill (unless agreed with the Keeper). There is no tick-box for Cthulhu Mythos on the investigator sheet, as successful use of the skill does not offer an increase in the investigator’s percentiles in the skill. Instead, points in Cthulhu Mythos are gained by encounters with the Mythos that result in insanity, by insane insights into the true nature of the universe, and by reading forbidden books and other Mythos writings. A character’s Sanity may never be higher than 99 minus his or her Cthulhu Mythos skill. As Cthulhu Mythos points proliferate, they crowd out Sanity points, and leave the investigator vulnerable. Whenever spoor or other evidence of Mythos monsters is found, a successful roll against this skill allows the investigator to identify the entity, deduce

Becoming a Believer

Reading an ancient book of horrific and terrible secrets while safe in an apartment with the lights on, you might dismiss the contents as a work of fantasy. This is your prerogative, but disbelief has its perils. If your investigator chooses not to believe what they have read, then the Cthulhu Mythos knowledge granted by the book is added to your investigator’s skill (maximum Sanity is reduced by the corresponding amount), but no Sanity points are lost. In this way, your investigator can accumulate considerable knowledge of the Cthulhu Mythos without losing any Sanity at all. However, when encountering evidence of the Mythos firsthand, your investigator will realize that those accursed books held the truth! At that point your investigator becomes a believer and immediately loses Sanity points equal to his or her Cthulhu Mythos score. Your investigator can choose to remain a nonbeliever until forced to lose Sanity points for encountering the Mythos firsthand. Viewing human corpses or torture may cause Sanity loss, but such loss does not lead to belief in the Mythos. As a nonbeliever, you may read Mythos books and learn (but not cast) spells. Firsthand experience of the Mythos always calls for a Sanity roll, and the loss of even one point of Sanity compels your investigator to believe in the Mythos thereafter (and immediately lose Sanity equal to your Cthulhu Mythos skill). You can choose for your investigator to become a believer at any point you wish (and take the Sanity loss).


investigator handbook something about its behavior, or guess at some property it may possess. A successful Cthulhu Mythos roll might also allow an investigator to remember some fact concerning the Mythos, identify a spell by seeing it cast, remember that a particular spell or piece of information may be found in a particular Mythos tome, or achieve some other task. The Cthulhu Mythos skill may also be used to manifest magical spell-like effects. Pushing examples: getting closer to the creature for a better view; consulting dread tomes, or lore of humans (or otherwise) possessing specialist knowledge; conducting an autopsy to learn more; reading aloud as you retrace the strange cryptograms. Sample Consequences of failing a Pushed roll: get too close, exposing oneself to harm or suspicion; unwittingly read aloud a passage from a tome that activates a summoning spell; accidentally corrupt or destroy the evidence being studied. If an insane investigator fails a pushed roll, he or she experiences a vision or revelation that reveals new truths about the Cthulhu Mythos.

Demolitions (01%) [Uncommon]

With this skill the user is familiar in the safe use of demolitions, including setting and defusing explosive charges. Mines and similar devices are designed to be easy to set (no roll required) and more difficult to remove or defuse. This skill also encompasses military-grade demolitions (anti-personnel mines, plastique, etc.) Given enough time and resources, those proficient may rig charges to demolish a building, clear a blocked tunnel, and repurpose explosive devises (such as constructing lowyield charges, booby-traps, and so on). Pushing examples: taking until the very last second to defuse the bomb; double-checking all the circuits/connections by hand. Sample Consequences of failing a Pushed roll: if defusing or removing an explosive device, the consequence of failing a pushed roll is clear—it explodes! If using the Demolitions skill to place charges, the consequence of failing a pushed roll may be a failure to detonate at the right time (or at all), or that the detonation fails to have the desired effect (either too great or too little). If an insane investigator fails a pushed roll, he or she devises the most bizarre method of delivering the explosive, such as strapping it to a cat or to themselves.

Disguise (05%)

To be used whenever you wish to appear to be someone other than whom you are. The user changes posture, costume, and/or voice to enact a disguise, posing as another person or another sort of person. Theatrical makeup may help, as will fake ID.


Note that to pass as a specific person in a face-to-face meeting with someone who knows the person being imitated is beyond the scope of this skill, and may well indicate the need for a combined skill roll at a higher difficulty (with Persuade, Charm, or Fast Talk). Pushing examples: undergoing a fully immersive and intensive preparation (losing oneself in the role); stealing personal items and utilizing them in the disguise; overt exaggeration to confound the target; feigning a sudden attack of illness to disorientate the observer. Sample Consequences of failing a Pushed roll: Being arrested; causing offence, leading to violence or criminal charges; finding that the person being imitated is wanted by a criminal gang who come looking for vengeance. If an insane investigator fails a pushed roll, the investigator no longer recognizes his or her own face in the mirror, even when the disguise is removed.

Diving (01%) [Uncommon]

The user is trained in the use and maintenance of diving equipment for swimming underwater, including underwater navigation, proper weighting, and emergency procedures. Prior to the invention of the Aqua-Lung in 1942, rigid diving suits were worn with air pumped from the surface through a connecting tube. In the modern age, a scuba diver will be familiar with the physics of diving, air pressure, and the physiological processes that occur when breathing with pressurized air. Pushing examples: pushing the limits of the equipment; methodically double-checking equipment; gaining professional assistance. Sample Consequences of failing a Pushed roll: become trapped underwater; attacked by sea creatures; suffer the bends. If an insane investigator fails a pushed roll, he or she begins to understand whale-song; all you have to do is follow their instructions.

Dodge (half DEX%)

Allows an investigator to instinctively evade blows, thrown missiles, and so forth. A character may attempt to use dodge any number of times in a combat round (but only once per attack). Dodge can increase through experience, like other skills. If an attack can be seen, a character can try to dodge it. It is impossible to dodge bullets because they cannot be seen when in motion; the best a character can do is to take evasive action that results in being harder to hit (see Diving for Cover in the Call of Cthulhu Rulebook). Note: as a combat skill, this cannot be pushed.

chapter 5: Skills 1920s Drive Automobile In the U.S. drivers are licensed by individual states. Most require a minimum age of 16, although there are exceptions, especially regarding the use of farm vehicles by underage persons in conjunction with the work of the farm. To obtain a license, a short, simple written test must first be passed, followed by a brief road test in the presence of a police officer. Passing both tests and the payment of a fee results in a license, usually good for one to two years before needing renewal. Driver’s licenses are valid in other states but can be revoked by a judge if the driver is repeatedly ticketed for unsafe practices. In Great Britain, the Motor Car Act of 1903 introduced the driving license, as well as registration numbers for vehicles, and a speed limit of 20mph. The Roads Act of 1920 required councils to register all vehicles at the time of licensing. Driving tests, however, were not necessary or compulsory until 1935.

Drive Auto (20%)

Anyone with this skill can drive a car or light truck, make ordinary maneuvers, and cope with ordinary vehicle problems. If the investigator wants to lose a pursuer or tail someone, a Drive roll would be appropriate. Some other cultures might replace this skill with a comparative one: the Inuit might use Drive Dogsled, or a Victorian might use Drive Carriage. Pushing examples: driving the vehicle to its limit; not slowing down, regardless of the risk. Sample Consequences of failing a Pushed roll: Crashing; skidding to a halt, unable to proceed; being seen and pursued by the police. If an insane investigator fails a pushed roll, he or she will be found behind the wheel of a stationary vehicle making "brum-brum" noises.

Electrical Repair (10%)

Enables the investigator to repair or reconfigure electrical equipment, such as auto ignitions, electric motors, fuse boxes, and burglar alarms. In the present day, this skill has little to do with the Electronics skill. Fixing an electrical device may require special parts or tools. Jobs in the 1920s may call for this skill and for Mechanical Repair in combination.

ical Repair 1920s Electr early 1920s bs in the

jo Most repair motors and knowledge of ly on e ir qu re ting systems, hting and hea lig s, of or at er n ge ple circuitry paratively sim m e co es e Th th d s. an alarm and burglar s ile ed dl ob m an to h au lly be s could logica is sorts of task skill, and it r ai anical Rep h r ec fo M d e se th u by ill be at the one sk th al d ic te tr es ec gg el su ple ical and sim both mechan the decade, of d the en y B s. ir pa re s is booming radio busines e th , er ev ow h its infancy. is already in on si e vi le te d an calls for th ese devices ls oo h sc s Repairing th erou air skill. Num Electrical Rep es abound, rs u co ndence s.” and correspo ital new skill ach these “v e. bl la ai av offering to te are on television cs ni ro ct le E Even courses ern ce and Mod Popular Scien 08) are both 19 in unded ew (the latter fo voted to n riodicals de monthly pe in technology. developments

Electrical Repair may also be used in conjunction with modern explosives, such as blasting caps, C-4 plastic explosives, and mines. These weapons are designed to be easy to deploy; only a fumble result will lead to misfire (remember the roll can be pushed). Defusing explosives is far trickier, as they may be fitted with anti-tamper mechanisms; raise the level of difficulty when disarming explosives—see Demolitions skill. Pushing examples: taking longer to repair or reconfigure the equipment; taking a risky short-cut. Sample Consequences of failing a Pushed roll: take damage from an electric shock; blow the fuses and plunge the building into darkness; wreck the thing you are working on beyond repair. If an insane investigator fails a pushed roll, he or she attempts to harness the electrical power of living organisms into the device.

Electronics (01%) [Modern]

For troubleshooting and repairing electronic equipment. Allows simple electronic devices to be made. This is a skill for the present day—use Physics and Electrical Repair for electronic developments of the 1920s.


investigator handbook Unlike the Electrical Repair skill, parts needed for electronics work often cannot be jury-rigged: they are designed for precise jobs. Often without the right microchip or circuit board, the skill user is out of luck unless they can contrive some form of workaround. Pushing examples: taking longer to construct or repair a device; researching new or other methodologies. Sample Consequences of failing a Pushed roll: fry circuitry or other delicate parts; take damage from electric shock; create a device that does something other than what was intended. If an insane investigator fails a pushed roll, he or she becomes paranoid, convinced that every item they come across contains electronic bugging devices: the telephone, the television, the refrigerator.

Fast Talk (05%)

Fast Talk is specifically limited to verbal trickery, deception, and misdirection, such as bamboozling a bouncer to let you inside a club, getting someone to sign a form they haven’t read, making a policeman look the other way, and so on. The skill is opposed by Psychology or Fast Talk. After a brief period (usually after the fast talker has left the scene) the target will realize that they have been conned. The effect of Fast Talk is always temporary, though it will last longer if a Hard success is achieved. Fast Talk may be used to haggle the price of an item or service down. If successful, the seller momentarily thinks that they have struck a good deal; however, if the buyer returns and attempts to purchase another item, the seller may well refuse further haggling and even increase the price in order to recoup what they lost on the previous sale! Pushing examples: getting up close and personal to the target; talking outlandishly, aiming to confuse the target. Remember this is Fast Talk, so if the investigator begins to take an alternative approach, the Keeper may ask for a different skill to be used; if threats are used, it may become Intimidate, or if a protracted discussion ensues, it may become Persuade. Switching from one to the other to gain a second roll still constitutes a pushed roll. Sample Consequences of failing a Pushed roll: cause great offence leading to violence, outrage, or criminal proceedings. If an insane investigator fails a pushed roll, he or she begins hurling random abusive phrases at people.

Fighting (Specializations) (varies %)

The Fighting skill denotes a character’s skill in melee combat. You may spend skill points to purchase any skill specialization. The generic Fighting skill cannot be purchased. Choose fighting specializations appropriate to your investigator’s occupation and history. Those starting the game with a Fighting (Brawl) skill of 50% or higher may wish to choose some type of formal


training as part of their background to account for his or her skill level. A myriad of fighting styles exist, each with its own pros and cons. Martial arts are simply a way of developing a person’s Fighting skill. Decide how the character learned to fight, whether it be formal military training, martial arts classes, or learned the hard way as a result of street-fighting. The term "brawl" might feel too crude for a skilled martial artist and could be replaced (with Karate for example) if a player so wished. Note: as a combat skill, this cannot be pushed.

Fighting Specializations: Axe (15%): use this skill for larger wood axes. A small hatchet can be used with basic brawling skill. If thrown, use the Throw skill. Brawl (25%): includes all unarmed fighting and basic weapons that anyone could pick up and make use of, such as clubs (up to cricket bats or baseball bats), knives, and many improvised weapons, such as bottles and chair legs. To determine the damage done with an improvised weapon, the Keeper should refer to the weapons list and pick something comparable. Chainsaw (10%): the first gasoline-powered, mass-produced chainsaw appeared in 1927, however earlier versions existed. Flail (10%): nunchaku, morning stars, and similar medieval weapons. Garrote (15%): any length of material used to strangle. Requires the victim to make a Fighting Maneuver to escape, or suffer 1D6 damage per round. Spear (20%): lances and spears. If thrown, use Throw skill. Sword (20%): all blades over two feet in length. Whip (05%): bolas and whips. Weapons and their skill categories are listed in the Weapons Table (see pages 250-255). The above specializations may not cover all weapons, but where possible try to fit other weapons into one of the above categories. Chainsaw is included as a weapon because of its use in numerous films, but players should note that the chance of a fumble is doubled and that they risk killing their investigator (or removing a limb) should this happen.

Firearms (Specializations) (varies %)

Covers all manner of firearms, as well as bows and crossbows. You may spend skill points to purchase any skill specialization. The generic Firearms skill cannot be purchased. Choose specializations appropriate to your investigator’s occupation and history. Note: as a combat skill, this cannot be pushed.

chapter 5: Skills Firearms Specializations: Bow (15%): use of bows and crossbows, ranging from medieval longbows to modern, high-powered compound bows. Handgun (20%): use for all pistol-like firearms when firing discrete shots. For machine pistols (MAC-11, Uzi, etc.) in modern era games, use the Submachine Gun skill when firing bursts. Heavy Weapons (10%): use for grenade launchers, anti-tank rockets, etc. Flamethrower (10%): weapons projecting a stream of ignited flammable liquid or gas. May either be carried by the operator or mounted on a vehicle. Machine Gun (10%): weapons firing bursts from bipods, tripods, and mounted weapons. If single shots are fired from a bipod, use Rifle skill. The differences between assault rifle, submachine gun, and light machine gun are tenuous today. Rifle/Shotgun (25%): with this skill any type of rifle (whether lever-action, bolt-action, or semi-automatic) or scatter-gun can be fired. Since the load from a shotgun expands in a spreading pattern, the user’s chance to hit does not decrease with range, but the damage dealt does. When an assault rifle fires a single shot (or multiple singles) use this skill. Submachine Gun (15%): use this skill when firing any machine pistol or submachine gun; also for assault rifles set on burst or full automatic fire. Firearms are listed in the Weapons Table (see pages 250-255).

First Aid (30%)

The user is able to provide emergency medical care. This might encompass: applying a splint to a broken leg, stemming bleeding, treating a burn, resuscitating a drowning victim, dressing and cleaning a wound, etc. First Aid cannot be used to treat diseases (where the Medicine skill is required). To be effective, First Aid must be delivered within one hour, in which case it grants 1 hit point. It may be attempted once, with subsequent attempts constituting a pushed roll. Two people can work together to administer First Aid, with a success granted if either one of them rolls a success. Successful use of First Aid can rouse an unconscious person to consciousness. A character is limited to one successful treatment of First Aid and Medicine until further damage is taken. When treating a dying character, successful First Aid stabilizes him or her for one hour and grants 1 temporary hit point. At the end of the hour, and each hour thereafter, the character must make a successful CON roll to remain stabilized, otherwise (with a failed CON roll) the character is dying and loses the temporary hit point, and must now make a CON roll per round thereafter to stave-off death. If the character survives until the following round, First Aid can be attempted again (by up to two individuals).

This can be continued (without constituting a pushed roll) until stabilization or death. First Aid (and only First Aid) can save the life of a dying character, after which they must receive a successful Medicine roll, or be hospitalized. Thus, First Aid is an important skill to have, alongside Medicine, if you wish to be an effective medic.

1920s First Aid

First Aid ki ts of the ti me typically incl ude: bandage s, gauze, scisso rs, needle an d thread, olive oil, Epsom sa lts, powdered m ustard, Wit ch Hazel, oil of cloves, syrup of ipecac, collo dion, and lim ewater. Iodin e is the be st topical antise ptic. Note th at snakebite an tivenins are not yet available.

Pushing examples: taking longer to treat the patient; employing high risk methods to stabilize the wound. Sample Consequences of failing a Pushed roll: make things worse, causing an additional point of damage. If an insane investigator fails a pushed roll, he or she feels compelled to "heal" the person, even if it means amputation or worse. In effect their endeavors constitute physical attacks that may lead to murder if they are not stopped.

History (05%)

Enables an investigator to remember the significance of a country, city, region, or person, as pertinent. A successful roll might be used to help identify tools, techniques, or ideas familiar to ancestors, but little known today. Pushing examples: taking more time to examine; conducting further research; consulting another expert; hiring assistants to conduct detailed research, taking months, and at a huge cost. Sample Consequences of failing a Pushed roll: consultations alert your adversaries, who become aware of your intent; your facts are erroneous and lead you into danger; much time and money is wasted on fruitless research. If an insane investigator fails a pushed roll, he or she is convinced that they are somehow displaced in time, or perhaps they start believing they are living in a historic period, dressing and speaking in an archaic manner.

Hypnosis (01%) [Uncommon]

The user is able to induce a trancelike state in a willing target who experiences heightened suggestibility, relaxation, and possible recall of forgotten memories. The limits of hypnotism should be decided by the Keeper to fit their game; it may be that only willing subjects can be hypnotized, or the Keeper may allow it to be used on unwilling targets in a more aggressive manner. Using


investigator handbook hypnosis is usually an opposed roll (opposed by the POW or Psychology skill of the target). This skill may be utilized as hypnotherapy on those suffering mental trauma, reducing the effects of a phobia or mania in a patient: successful use means that the patient overcomes the phobia or mania on one occasion. Note that a series of successful hypnotherapy sessions may be needed to fully cure someone of a phobia (minimum of 1D6 sessions, at the Keeper’s discretion). Pushing examples: increasing your influence on the target by ensuring their full and undivided attention; assaulting the target’s senses with confusing lights or props; the use of drugs to make the target more susceptible to suggestion. Sample Consequences of failing a Pushed roll: some past memory or trauma is bought to the surface, causing the target 1D6 Sanity loss; the target falls into a trance, causing them to walk in front of a bus at a later time; the target’s mind (or the investigator’s mind) is temporarily emptied, allowing possession by a malevolent entity. If an insane investigator fails a pushed roll, his or her mind regresses to a childlike state until treatment is administered.

Intimidate (15%)

Intimidation can take many forms, including physical force, psychological manipulation, and threats. It is used to frighten or compel a person to act in a certain way. Intimidate is opposed by Intimidate or Psychology. Backing up intimidation with a weapon or some other powerful threat or incentive may reduce the difficulty level. When pushing an Intimidation roll, one possible consequence of failure is carrying out one’s threat, perhaps beyond the level of that which was intended. Intimidate may be used to force down the price of an item or service. If successful, the seller is may reduce the price, or hand the item over free of charge—depending on the situation, they may later report the incident to the police or to members of the local organized crime gang. Pushing examples: Causing actual physical harm to the target or to something or someone that the target cares about. Remember that this is Intimidation; if the investigator begins to take an alternative approach, the Keeper may ask for a different skill to be used. If the threats are retracted and the investigator then tries to befriend the target, it may become Charm; or if a protracted and unthreatening discussion ensues, it may become Persuade. Switching from one to the other to gain a second roll still constitutes a pushed roll. Sample Consequences of failing a Pushed roll: accidentally pulling the trigger of the gun you’re waving in the target’s face; the target’s mind snaps, resulting in violence or inane babbling, after which no more can be gained; the target simply laughs in your face and won’t break no matter what you do; the target somehow turns the tables and intimidates the intimidator.


It is important to note that Pushing an Intimidate roll means taking things to the limit. This could involve days of interrogation, or an ultimatum with a gun to the head. Either way, a pushed roll either gains the required information or renders some kind of end to the situation. If an insane investigator fails a pushed roll, he or she becomes intensely fearful of the target and does their bidding.

Jump (20%)

With success, the investigator may leap up or down vertically, or jump horizontally from a standing or running start. When falling, Jump may be used to lessen the potential fall damage. Judgment must be exercised as to what constitutes a regular jump, a hard jump, or an extreme jump (respectively requiring Regular success, Hard success, and Extreme success). As a guide, a Regular success would be required for an investigator to safely leap down vertically to his or her own height, jump horizontally from a standing start across a gap for a distance equal to the jumper’s own height, or run and then jump horizontally to a distance of twice the jumper’s own height. One might achieve double this distance with an Extreme success, although bear in mind the world record for the long jump is around 29 feet. If falling from a height, a successful Jump prepares for the fall, reducing resultant damage by half. Pushing examples: delaying and taking time to assess the jump; throwing all your weight and force behind the jump— really stretching for it. In some instances a pushed roll is not possible; if one leaps across an abyss one cannot have a second attempt. However, if one is trapped in a pit and jumping to escape, one could have any number of attempts, which would then be summarized by one pushed skill roll. Sample Consequences of failing a Pushed roll: fall and suffer physical harm; achieve the jump but a valuable possession (of the Keeper’s choice) is dropped in the process. If an insane investigator fails a pushed roll, he or she will become convinced that they can fly.

Language, Other (Specializations) (01%)

When choosing this skill, the exact language must be specified and written next to the skill. An individual can know any number of languages. The skill represents the user’s chance to understand, speak, read, and write in a language other than his or her own. Ancient or unknown languages (such as Aklo, Hyperborean, etc.) should not be chosen (unless agreed with the Keeper,) but ordinary Earthly languages may be. The Keeper may raise the difficulty level if archaic speech or writing in that language is encountered. A single successful Other Language roll normally allows comprehension of an entire book. Suggestions regarding the Other Languages skill:


At 5% skill a language can be correctly identified without need for a roll.

chapter 5: Skills E E E E

At 10% skill simple ideas can be communicated.


To identify a present-day human language (unknown to the investigator), use an EDU roll.


To identify an extinct human language, use an Archaeology or History roll.


To identify an alien language, use a Cthulhu Mythos or possibly an Occult roll.

At 30% transactional requests can be understood. At 50% skill a person is fluent. At 75% skill in a character can pass for a native speaker of a foreign language.

Pushing examples: taking longer to think through the words you want to say; taking long pauses to answer what you have been told; referencing other books to make a translation. Sample Consequences of failing a Pushed roll: exaggerated or loud discussions between investigators and third parties alert some enemy faction to the investigators’ intentions; a word or phrase is misunderstood (perhaps the meaning is reversed); the listener takes offense to an unintentional slur, and they respond with their fists, or turn everyone in the neighborhood against you. If an insane investigator fails a pushed roll, he or she begins to speak in tongues, or imagines that they are using the Enochian language.

Language (Own) (EDU%)

When choosing this skill, the exact language must be specified and written next to the skill. In infancy and early childhood, most humans use a single language. The tongue chosen by the player for the Own Language automatically starts as equal to the investigator’s EDU characteristic; thereafter, the investigator understands, speaks, reads, and writes at that percentage or higher (if further skill points are added during investigator creation). Pushing examples: see Language (Other) skill.

Law (05%)

Represents the chance of knowing pertinent law, precedent, legal maneuvers, or court procedure. The practice of law as a profession can lead to great rewards and political office, but it requires intense application over many years—a high Credit Rating is also usually crucial in this regard. In the United States, the State Bar of a particular commonwealth or state must sanction one’s practice of law. When in a foreign country, it is suggested that the level of difficulty be increased when using this skill, unless the character has spent many months studying that nation’s legal system.

Pushing examples: delaying to consider your argument; explaining in high detail the nuances of the case/situation; taking significant time to conduct research; bending the letter of the law to drive your argument. Sample Consequences of failing a Pushed roll: misinterpreting a law or stepping outside of the accepted legal procedure leads you to break the law and draws police attention; wasting valuable time and money on research and legal fees; you are held in contempt of court and thrown in the cells for at least 24 hours. If a pushed roll is failed, an insane investigator will now believe that he or she is above the law.

Library Use (20%)

Library Use enables an investigator to find a piece of information, such as a certain book, newspaper, or reference in a library, collection of documents, or database, assuming the item is there. Use of this skill marks several hours of continuous search. This skill can locate a locked case or rare-book special collection, but Persuade, Fast Talk, Charm, Intimidate, Credit Rating, or special credentials may have to be used to get access to the books or information in question.

Lore (01%) (Specializations) [Uncommon] This skill represents a character’s expert understanding of a subject that falls outside the normal bounds of human knowledge. Specializations of Lore should be specific and unusual, such as: • Dream Lore

• Necronomicon (History of) Lore

• UFO Lore

• Vampire Lore

• Werewolf Lore • Yaddithian Lore Where the Keeper wishes to test an investigator’s knowledge of something that falls within the bounds of one of these fields of Lore, but the investigator lacks the relevant Lore specialization, the Keeper may for allow for another (more general) skill to be used but require a higher level of success. For example, if the Keeper were testing a modern-day investigator’s knowledge of alien abductions in the 1980s, he or she could ask for either a Regular success using UFO Lore or an Extreme success using History. Lore skills are also used as a shorthand method of communicating the knowledge of a non-player character to the Keeper. In the main, knowledge is represented by the EDU characteristic and specific skills, such as History or Cthulhu Mythos. The Keeper should decide when the Lore skill should be incorporated into the game—usually only when a particular area of specialist knowledge is central to the scenario being played.


investigator handbook

1920s Library Use Public libraries abound in the 1920s, even in small towns, where many of them were funded by the Carnegie Institute and other organizations. Although readily available, their resources are limited. Most large American cities have creditable public collections, particularly New York and Boston. Universities maintain large libraries, some of them with renowned collections. Although borrowing is limited, most offer access to the public, whether enrolled in the school or not.

ith 1920s Locksm

nation eaper combi Although ch "felt" be metimes locks can so her ig h , lly ccessfu and opened su on d n u fo nations quality combi us io rv pe im lts are safes and vau ethod . The usual m to this method king ta , fe sa entire is to steal the here t" location w it to a "quie g" it spent "peelin time can be and , crowbars, with torches often rge vaults are hammers. La ugh entered thro more easily ugh ro th an alls th one of the w . or do locked the securely

Pushing examples: pressing the librarian for extensive assistance; taking longer to systematically work through the stacks. Sample Consequences of failing a Pushed roll: finding a similar book, containing misleading information, which will lead the investigators into danger; entanglement with an adversary—perhaps they are alerted to your research and act against you, or they check out the book you are searching for (or simply tear out the pages in question); getting into an argument with the librarian, resulting in your library membership being revoked. If an insane investigator fails a pushed roll, he or she hoards books, cutting out pages to stick to their bedroom wall, making copious bizarre notes, linking the pages with threads of cotton and pins. Alternatively, the investigator is obsessed with finding the "correct" book or piece of information, spending all of their time pilfering and poring over books.

Listen (20%)

Measures the ability of an investigator to interpret and understand sound, including overheard conversations, mutters behind a closed door, and whispered words in a cafe. The Keeper may use it to determine the course of an impending encounter: was your investigator awakened by that cracking twig? By extension, a high Listen skill can indicate a good level of general awareness in a character. Pushing examples: stopping dead still and listening; getting closer to the presumed source (e.g. putting your ear to the train track or the door); telling everyone to be quiet (making a noise yourself) and then listening.


1920s Mechanical Repair A wide variety of employment opportunities for mechanics exist, from automobiles to home appliances, to industry. Inexpensive correspondence courses and periodicals, such as Popular Mechanics, can keep a mechanic abreast of new developments. In the 1920s, basic electrical repair jobs can often be handled with Mechanical Repair (see Electrical Repair).

Sample Consequences of failing a Pushed roll: the "thing" has caught you unawares; you misheard the conversation and get the facts mixed up; you are caught trying to eavesdrop, and find yourself in a very embarrassing predicament. If an insane investigator fails a pushed roll, he or she becomes overly sensitive to all sounds and is unable to operate without earplugs or similar.

Locksmith (01%)

A locksmith can open car doors, hot-wire autos, jimmy library windows, figure out Chinese puzzle boxes, and penetrate ordinary commercial alarm systems. The user may repair locks, make keys, or open locks with the aid of skeleton keys, picks, and other tools. Especially difficult locks may require a higher difficulty level. Pushing examples: completely dismantling the lock; taking longer; using force to pry the mechanism. Sample Consequences of failing a Pushed roll: the lock is damaged beyond repair (perhaps your lock pick has snapped off inside the lock); you break the puzzle box (perhaps only smashing it will open it now); you trip an alarm, or make enough noise for someone or something to come looking. If an insane investigator fails a pushed roll, he or she gives up on the lock in question and realizes the higher purpose of unlocking their own mind; a veil has been lifted from their eyes, and they see the world in a new way that makes complete sense to them, but no sense to anyone of sound mind.

chapter 5: Skills

Mechanical Repair (10%)

This skill allows the investigator to repair a broken machine or to create a new one. Basic carpentry and plumbing projects can be performed, as well as constructing items (such as a pulley system) and repairing items (such as a steam pump). Special tools or parts may be required. This skill can be used to open common household locks, but nothing more advanced—see the Locksmith skill for more complex locks. Mechanical Repair is a companion skill to Electrical Repair, and both may be necessary to fix complex devices, such as a car or an aircraft. Pushing examples: completely dismantling the device; taking longer; risk using excessive force to knock the device into action (e.g. hitting the thing till it works). Sample Consequences of failing a Pushed roll: you have broken the device beyond repair; you hurt yourself while working on the device (perhaps cutting your hand, etc.); you become obsessed with the device and find you have spent the whole day and night working on it. If an insane investigator fails a pushed roll, he or she fills a telephone directory-sized notepad with scribbled designs, culminating in the creation of a bizarre device using organic matter and household appliances.

Medicine (01%)

The user diagnoses and treats accidents, injuries, diseases, poisonings, etc., and makes public health recommendations. If an era has no good treatment for a malady, the effort is limited, uncertain, or inconclusive. The Medicine skill grants knowledge of a wide variety of drugs and potions, natural and man-made, and understanding of the side effects and contraindications. Treatment using the Medicine skill takes a minimum of one hour and can be delivered any time after damage is taken, but if this is not performed on the same day, the difficulty level is increased (requiring a Hard success). A person treated successfully with Medicine recovers 1D3 hit points (in addition to any First Aid they have received), except in the case of a dying character, who must initially receive successful First Aid to stabilized them before a Medicine roll is made. A character is limited to one treatment of First Aid and Medicine until further damage is taken (except in the case of a dying character who may require stabilizing with First Aid multiple times). Successful use of Medicine can rouse an unconscious person to consciousness. In treating Major Wounds, successful use of the Medicine skill provides the patient a Bonus die on their weekly recovery roll. The Keeper may grant automatic success for medical treatment in a contemporary, well-equipped hospital. Pushing examples: consulting with colleagues; conducting further research; trying something experimental or more risky; performing some form of clinical experiment.

1920s Medicine The Great War results in X-ray machines that are fast and portable. Insulin is isolated in 1922. Sir Alexander Fleming discovers penicillin in 1928. By the end of the decade, radiation therapy is being administered to cancer patients. Nitrous Oxide is still the best general anesthetic, despite tests with ethylene and acetylene. Cocaine is still the best topical anesthetic, although it is quickly being replaced by synthetic Novocaine. Morphine, although regulated by the Federal Government, is the best massive painkiller and, despite its addictive quality, has still not completely lost its early wonder-drug image. Antibiotics are non-existent, and quinine is still used to treat such things as malaria and yellow fever. State-mandated vaccinations have nearly eliminated smallpox as a threat, and successes have been obtained against typhoid-type diseases; however, many others such as cholera and tuberculosis have proved resistant and remain virulent. A worldwide influenza epidemic in 1918-1919 infected twenty million in the U.S., resulting in 850,000 fatalities. It is estimated that the pandemic killed twenty million people.

Sample Consequences of failing a Pushed roll: you misdiagnose the ailment and you worsen the patient’s condition (perhaps even killing them); your good standing comes into question and you are investigated for malpractice. In the case of a dying character, if a pushed Medicine roll is failed, the patient dies. If an insane investigator fails a pushed roll, the results will be disturbing in the extreme, perhaps involving amputation or blood poisoning as a result of failed attempts to graft animal parts to the person.

Natural World (10%)

Originally the study of plant and animal life in its environment. By the nineteenth century, this study had long separated into a range of academic disciplines (Biology, Botany, etc.) As a skill, Natural World represents the traditional (unscientific) knowledge and personal observation of farmers, fishermen, inspired amateurs, and hobbyists. It can identify species, habits, and habitats in a general way, and identify tracks, spoors, and calls, as well as


investigator handbook allowing guesses as to what may be important to a particular species. For a scientific understanding of the natural world, one should look to the Biology, Botany, and Zoology skills. Natural World may or may not be accurate—this is the region of appreciation, judgment, folk tradition, and enthusiasm. Use Natural World to judge horseflesh at the county fair, or decide whether a butterfly collection is excellent or just excellently framed. Pushing examples: spending much longer (forgetful of the time) examining the habitat; tasting the unknown mushroom or plant to get a better idea what it is; consulting with the old woman in the village about the local wildlife. Sample Consequences of failing a Pushed roll: you spend long hours obsessively poring over books to identify the species; you get the facts wrong, and instead of the wasps being repelled by your concoction of swamp mud and herbs, they are drawn to you (with painful results); you picked the wrong mushroom and find yourself, hours later, walking naked towards a policeman.

1920s Occult In 1920, Aleister Cr owley founds the Abbey of Thele ma in Sicily; he is expelled in 19 23, after the death of one of the members. In 1925, Sir Arthur Co nan Doyle is nominated Honora ry President of the International Spirit Congress. In the sa me year Col. Percy Fawcett disap pears in the jungles of Brazil wh ile searching for evidence of At lantis. The mystic Gurdjieff sets up a littlepublicized institute ne ar Paris.

If an insane investigator fails a pushed roll, he or she goes native and will be lost in the wilderness until friends come to their aid.

Navigate (10%)

Occult (05%)

Pushing examples: getting the map out and delaying while you attempt to work out where you are; going back to where you started from and trying again.

Pushing examples: taking more time to study the site or item; conducting further research; consulting another expert; purging oneself and undertaking extreme personal preparation in advance of ritual performance.

Allows the user to find his or her way in storms or clear weather, in day or at night. Those of higher skill are familiar with astronomical tables, charts, instruments, and satellite location gear as they exist in the era of play. One could also use this skill to measure and map an area (cartography), whether an island of many square miles or the interior of a single room—use of modern technology may lower or negate the difficultly level. Rolls for this skill may be made as concealed rolls by the Keeper—a matter for the investigators to attempt, and later witness the results. If the character is familiar with the area, a bonus die should be granted to the roll.

Sample Consequences of failing a Pushed roll: you get lost and find yourself being watched or ambushed by a bear; you go round and round in circles, and your companions stop following you (you’re on your own now…); you mistake the stars, and rather than getting away from the cultists' search parties, you end up back at the cult’s hidden base. If an insane investigator fails a pushed roll, he or she throws away the map (as happens in The Blair Witch Project) and follows their intuition. Their intuition does not work.


The user recognizes occult paraphernalia, words, and concepts, as well as folk traditions, and can identify grimoires of magic and occult codes. The occultist is familiar with the families of secret knowledge passed down from Egypt and Sumer, from the Medieval and Renaissance West, and perhaps from Asia and Africa as well. Comprehending certain books may provide skill points of Occult. This skill does not apply to spells, books, and the magic of the Cthulhu Mythos, although occult ideas are often adopted by worshipers of the Great Old Ones. Whether non-Mythos magic is real or fraudulent in your game is for the Keeper to determine.

Sample Consequences of failing a Pushed roll: information is misremembered, and the ritual is performed incorrectly with disastrous consequences (perhaps the house is burned to the ground); in preparing the circle of protection, you use the wrong ingredients, and rather than ward off the spirits you genuinely summon something malevolent; your research has uncovered a hitherto unknown Mythos link, and your realization shatters your mind (SAN loss). If an insane investigator fails a pushed roll, this is likely to manifest in some form on obsession: perhaps the investigator tattoos occult symbols upon his or her cheeks and palms, or cannot act without first using a scrying crystal to divine their future.

chapter 5: Skills

Operate Heavy Machinery (01%)

Required to drive and operate a tank, backhoe, steam shovel, or other large-scale construction machine. For very different sorts of machines, the Keeper may decide to raise the difficulty level if the problems encountered are mostly unfamiliar ones; someone used to running a bulldozer, for instance, will not be quickly competent with the steam turbines in a ship’s engine room. Pushing examples: going step-by-step with the operating manual; taking time to practice; seeking a teacher. Sample Consequences of failing a Pushed roll: you’re driving the bulldozer, but get overconfident, and lose control so it veers into a brick wall (the wall comes down on you, or perhaps worse). If an insane investigator fails a pushed roll, he or she may believe they are tasked with unearthing or building a temple to the old ones.

Persuade (10%)

Use Persuade to convince a target about a particular idea, concept, or belief through reasoned argument, debate, and discussion. Persuade may be employed without reference to truth. The successful application of Persuade takes time: at least half an hour. If you want to persuade someone quickly, you should use Fast Talk. Depending on the goal expressed by the player, if the investigator takes sufficient time, the effect may linger indefinitely and insidiously; for years perhaps, until events or another Persuade turn the target’s mind in another direction. Persuade may be used for bargaining, to haggle the price of an item or service down. If successful, the seller is thoroughly convinced that they have struck a good deal. Pushing examples: getting close and personal to advance your argument or appeal to the target’s reason; demonstrating through logical reasoning and examples, in detail; using carefully preplanned suggestion techniques (possibly also subliminal messages) to make the target as receptive as possible; putting on a grand show (staging, fireworks, free gifts, free drinks, bribes, etc.) in order to really push your point of view front-and-center for a group of people. Remember that this is Persuade; if the investigator begins to take an alternative approach, the Keeper may ask for a different skill to be used. If threats are used, it may become Intimidate; or if the investigator is relying on befriending the target, it may become Charm. Switching from one to the other to gain a second roll still constitutes a pushed roll. Sample Consequences of failing a Pushed roll: the target takes great offence and refuses to have any more to do with you; your bribe worked and the target signed the forms—however in the cold light of morning they feel they have been duped, and now their solicitor has employed a private eye to find out what you're up to, or is suing you for malpractice; the target doesn’t like your big talk and, from

out of nowhere, they pull a knife on you; you persuaded the security guard to turn a blind eye to your robbery—however they lose their job and, wracked with guilt, they commit suicide (the full implications of your actions hit you and you lose Sanity for causing the death of an innocent). If an insane investigator fails a pushed roll, they may be found later on a street corner trying to convince passersby of their argument or bizarre point of view.

Pilot (Specializations) (01%)

The air or water equivalent of Drive Automobile, this is the maneuver skill for flying or floating craft. You may spend skill points to purchase any skill specialization. The generic Pilot skill cannot be purchased. An investigator might have several versions of this skill in the spaces on the investigator sheet (such as Pilot Aircraft, Pilot Dirigible, etc.). Each starts at 01%. Anyone with modest skill can sail or fly on a calm day with good visibility, although skill rolls are required for storms, navigation by instrument, low visibility, and other difficult situations. Bad weather, poor visibility, and damage may raise the difficulty level of skill rolls to pilot air and watercraft. Pushing examples: pulling the aircraft up and making a second and final attempt at landing; pushing the vehicle to its limit; making a risky maneuver to lose a pursuer. Sample Consequences of failing a Pushed roll: the results of a failed roll should fit the situation. It may be that the craft is somehow damaged, and repairs will have to be made before it can be used again (which may prove impossible in remote locations); passengers are injured during the maneuver or accident; you emergency-landed the plane in the jungle, and awake tied to large stones that circle a huge, bubbling cooking pot. Reserve burning wrecks for exceptional circumstances, such as when the pilot is insane, or when taking a crazy risk at high speed. If an insane investigator fails a pushed roll, he or she will believe that they are capable of death-defying stunts. They are not.

Piloting Specializations: Pilot (Aircraft): understands and is increasingly competent with a general class of aircraft named below. Upon any landing, even under the best conditions, a Pilot roll must be made. The consequence of failure is situation-dependent. Failing a pushed skill roll to land in a flat, grassy field on a calm summer’s day may simply indicate a bumpy landing, perhaps deterring more delicate passengers from flying ever again. At the other extreme, failing a pushed skill roll to land on icy tundra during a storm may well result in the destruction of the airplane and death or injury of all involved. Failure commonly represents damage to the craft, which must be repaired before the next take-off. A result of "100" is a memorable disaster.


investigator handbook

is choanalys he 1920s Psy is field. T U.S. in th e ol o th h c s s d a ing e le

train Europ rtly clinic and c li b u p llowed sho t firs in 1921, fo gle in in s rl e e B . Th opens in in Vienna y it he il c T fa is r a h nglis by a simil ilable in E a is. v s a l ly a a n rn ycho A s P major jou f o l a the al Journ d is still u Internation re F d n neral Sigmu ting A Ge ri Although w , ty ri 916) autho sis (1915-1 ly recognized a n a o ch his n to Psy ), many of Introductio e Id (1923 th ith d w n a n o e g k ave bro h and The E s e u g a e nd coll . students a n theories g their ow in is v e d irth, im h ncept of "b o c e th s p e develo Myth of th Otto Rank shes The li f b o u a p m u d n ra The T d n anxiety" a a ) 9 0 9 e e Hero (1 s about th Birth of th Adler talk d re lf A uman ). 4 tanding H rs Birth (192 e d n U "will ower" in escribes a d g "will to p n u J rl of the 18). Ca existence e Nature (19 th s te la gy of postu h Psycholo it to life" and w s u io c logical uncons nd Psycho a collective ) 6 1 9 (1 scious the Uncon 3). 2 Types (19

Each class of aircraft counts as a different skill and should be listed independently, or as the Keeper sees fit.


1920s: Pilot Balloon/Dirigible/Civil Prop only. Present day: Pilot Civil Prop, Pilot Civil Jet, Pilot Airliner, Pilot Jet Fighter, Pilot Helicopter.

Piloting skill may be transferred to an alternative form of aircraft, but the level of difficulty should be increased. Pilot (Boat): understands the behavior of small motor and sailing craft in wind, storms, and tides, and can read wave and wind action to suggest hidden obstacles and approaching storms. In a wind, novice sailors will find docking a rowboat difficult.

Psychoanalysis (01%)

The skill refers to the range of emotional therapies, not just to Freudian procedures. Formal psychotherapy was still in its infancy in the 1890s, though some procedures are as old as humanity. Sometimes it was looked on as a fraudulent study, even in the 1920s. The common term then for an analyst or scholar of emotional disorders was "alienist". In


1920s Psyc hology

Although n atural psy chology ha been emp s long loyed by shamans, fortunetelle healers, rs, and co nmen, it since the m is only id-19th cen tury, as a b of philosoph ranch y, that it ha s been the su of study by bject academics. In America, and Binet Simon develop th e first IQ 1908, and tests in Watson lau nches the of “behavio concept rism” in 1 913. Catell the Psycho forms logical Corp oration in to promote 1921 the use o f psycholo industry. M gy in eanwhile, in the Soviet U Stalin initia nion, tes investig ations into telekinesis, ESP, and other p aranormal Duke Univ events. ersity, in the U.S., the Russia follows n lead in the early The curren 1930s. t leading p ublication American J is The ournal of P sychology, 1887. founded

the present day, a combination of therapies has evolved, and this skill now could be justly named Psychiatric Treatment. Intensive psychoanalysis can return Sanity points to an investigator patient. Once per game month, to learn the progress of the therapy, make a 1D100 roll against the analyst or doctor’s Psychoanalysis skill. If the roll succeeds, the patient gains 1D3 Sanity points. If the roll fails, add no points. If the roll is fumbled, then the patient loses 1D6 Sanity points, and treatment by that analyst concludes: there has been some sort of serious incident or dramatic setback in the therapy, and the relationship between patient and therapist has broken down beyond saving. In the game, psychoanalysis alone does not speed recovery from indefinite insanity, which requires 1D6 months of institutional (or similar) care, of which psychotherapy may form a part. Successful use of this skill can allow a character to cope with the subject of a phobia or mania for a short time, or to see delusions for what they are. In play, this would allow for an insane investigator to ignore the effects of a phobia or mania for a brief period, allowing a claustrophobe to hide in a broom cupboard for ten minutes, for example. Equally a person might make a Psychoanalysis roll to help a delusional investigator see through their hallucination for a brief period.

chapter 5: Skills Treatment by a psychotherapist can add Sanity points during indefinite insanity. Psychoanalysis cannot increase a person’s Sanity points above 99–Cthulhu Mythos. Pushing examples: this is a skill that can be attempted month after month without requiring a pushed skill roll. However, if one failed the skill roll in a given month, one might choose to push a roll during a single session on the following day with some form of radical intervention (if a quick result was required). For example: forcing a patient to face their fear by actively forcing them to confront its physical reality; getting the patient’s friends and close colleagues to actively participate in the therapy. Sample Consequences of failing a Pushed roll: curing the patient’s fear of spiders by locking them in a room full of tarantulas backfires as the patient goes berserk (possible damage to self and to others) and now thinks they are the "spider king" (the patient now has a new mania and has lost additional Sanity points—the therapist should make a Sanity roll too, as their actions caused this!) Much like the blind leading the blind, it is possible for an insane character to practice psychoanalysis. An insane character who fails a pushed roll could seek to become a cult leader, with his or her patients as recruits.

Psychology (10%)

A perception skill common to all humans, it allows the user to study an individual and form an idea of another person’s motives and character. The Keeper may choose to make concealed Psychology skill rolls on the player’s behalf, announcing only the information, true or false, that the user gained by employing it. Pushing examples: being very unsubtle and asking highly personal, intimate, or downright direct questions of the target; immersing yourself in data regarding a specific person (the target of your study) in order to think like them and understand their motivations. Sample Consequences of failing a Pushed roll: you somehow reveal your own motivations to the target; the target is offended by your prying questions or curious stare, and refuses to speak with you further, or takes action against you (perhaps violence or a call to the police); unknown to you, the target is connected with your adversaries, and you unwittingly reveal your own agenda to them; spending all week locked in your room in order to build the profile has left you a physical and mental wreck (Penalty die to all rolls until you recover). If an insane investigator fails a pushed roll, he or she believes that they hear the target’s evil thoughts, and launches a physical attack upon them.

Read Lips (01%) [Uncommon]

This skill allows the inquisitive investigator to listen-in on a conversation, without requiring them to hear the speakers. Line of sight is necessary, and if only one speaker’s lips can be seen (the other presumably with their back to the lip reader) then only half of the conversation can be deciphered. Read Lips may also be used to silently communicate with another person (if both are proficient), allowing for relatively complex phrasing and meaning. Pushing examples: putting yourself in an obvious position and staring unsubtly at the target(s); filming the target (and thus likely to be observed filming the target). Sample Consequences of failing a Pushed roll: the target becomes aware that you are watching them intently, and takes offense and confronts you; the drunken man across the bar is angered, mistakenly thinking that you are looking at him, and punches you; you are so intent on the target that you miss what is happening in your close proximity (someone steals your case, or you walk into a lamp post). If an insane investigator fails a pushed roll, there is plenty of scope for imagining all manner of strange and bizarre things being said.

Ride (05%)

This skill is intended to apply to saddle horses, donkeys, and mules, granting knowledge of basic care of the riding animal, riding gear, and how to handle the steed at a gallop or on difficult terrain. Should a steed unexpectedly rear or stumble, the rider’s chance of remaining mounted equals his or her Ride skill. Riding sidesaddle increases the level of difficulty by one level. An unfamiliar mount (such as a camel) might be ridden successfully, but the level of difficulty would be higher. If an investigator falls from a mount, either because the animal has collapsed, fallen, or died (or because a pushed Ride roll failed), at least 1D6 hit points are lost in the accident—although a Jump roll can negate this loss. Pushing examples: whipping or pushing the mount aggressively—perhaps forcing a horse to jump a ravine or high ditch; taking the risk of keeping your mount rather than jumping clear as trouble approaches. Sample Consequences of failing a Pushed roll: the rider is thrown from mount and takes falling damage; mount is injured; rider’s foot is entangled in the mount’s bridle and the rider ends up being dragged for some distance. If an insane investigator fails a pushed roll, he or she becomes obsessed with the animal.


investigator handbook

omy 1920s Astron

omer ading astron America’s le 2219 in le who, is Edwin Hubb are e la bu that ne 24, discovers ing ly es xi rate gala actually sepa is H . ay W e Milky far beyond th s” ift sh ed 29 of “r discovery in 19 an ries about eo th leads to ic am yn -d d ever expanding an de ly C er Astronom universe. ninth scovers the di Tombaugh fied) si as cl as then planet (as it w 31, 19 in system of our solar est rg la e uto. Th naming it Pl e th e ar ld the wor telescopes in on ils W t. M tor on 100-inch reflec a California and , na near Pasade r, ve ou nc Va tor in 72-inch reflec ber bia. A num m u ol British C societies astronomical of als and rn u ng jo exist, publishi The ng includi : newsletters, Society Astronomical Royal mical ritish Astrono (1820); The B ican er m A e ; Th Society (1869) 9); 89 (1 y Societ Astronomical the ical Society of The Astronom ican and The Amer Pacific (1880); Star e bl ia of Var Association the e m co el w 1). All Observers (191 omer. amateur astron

1920s Geology 1920s Biology

vision of roles By the 1920s, a di ecular biology, has occurred: mol hemistry, and microbiology, bioc only a few biophysics being y. The Science among the man the Organism and Philosophy of Driesch is an (1929) by Hans ce. The Lister up-to-date referen by Irish "beer Institute, funded Guinness, Edward baron" rary of over establishes a lib res, including 2,000 living cultu , and fungi. bacteria, protozoa

A Note About Forensics

In 1921, John Larson and Leonard Keeler design the portable polygraph; however by 1924, polygraph test results are ruled inadmissible in court. Also in 1924, Philip O. Gravelle develops the comparison microscope for the identification of fired bullets and cartridge cases. The technique is used to examine shell casings from the Thompson machine guns used in the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, eventually leading police to raid the home of Al "Scarface" Capone, where two of the murder weapons are found.

Science (Specializations) (01%)


The theory of floating continents (tectonics) gains credence as favorable evidence continues to accumulate. A group of American geologists puts forth the theory that periodic flooding in parts of the world may have been the result of ocean levels rising and falling due to periodic ice ages, rather than a lifting and settling of the continents as previously believed. The world’s two bestknown societies are The Geological Society of London (1807) and The Geology Society of America (1888) in New York.

Practical and theoretical ability with a science specialty would suggest some degree of formalized education and training, although a well-read amateur scientist may also be a possibility. Understanding and scope is limited by the era of play. You may spend skill points to purchase any skill specialization. The generic Science skill cannot be purchased. Each specialty covers a particular discipline and the list given is not exhaustive. Many specialties cross and overlap in knowledge, for example Mathematics and Cryptography, Botany and Biology, Chemistry and Pharmacy. When a character does not have the obvious discipline specialty, they may roll against an allied specialty with the level of difficulty increased (or a Penalty die) at the Keeper’s discretion.

Sample Consequences of failing a Pushed roll: the experiment goes completely awry, causing unforeseen damage (explosion, fire, electrical shock, expulsion to the sixth dimension, etc.); you misinterpret the information and so incorrectly prepare the formulae for the magical powder, with disastrous results.

Pushing examples: taking more time for study; conducting further research (perhaps in a better-equipped laboratory); consulting another expert; taking risks.

Astronomy (01%): The user knows how to find out which stars and planets are overhead, when eclipses and meteor showers occur, and the names of important stars. The skill also provides knowledge of current perceptions about life

If an insane investigator fails a pushed roll, he or she begins to explore an aspect of weird science related to their specialization. This may ultimately lead to actual developments akin to those of Crawford Tillinghast (from Lovecraft’s story From Beyond).

Science Specializations:

chapter 5: Skills

1920s Chemistry Chemistry has become an essential part of most sciences from medicine and pharmacy, to physics and biology. Synthetic substances like Bakelite (the first plastic) are being developed, while chemistry also helps to explain the role of vitamins and hormones. Synthetic replacement medicines, such as Novocaine for cocaine, are being developed, as well as faster film emulsions and stronger alloys. Currently there are 92 elements listed on the Periodic Table.

1920s Botany History of Cryptography Cryptography has a long history, as there have always been people keen to keep information secret. Notable use of cryptography in the period include the ciphers used in the plotting which led to the execution of Mata Hari—an exotic dancer and accused spy who was executed by firing squad in France under charges of espionage for Germany during World War I. Perhaps the most significant event in the run-up to the 1920s was the decryption of the Zimmermann Telegram (a message from the German Foreign Office sent to the German ambassador in Mexico) which played a major part in leading America into the Great War.

on other worlds, the existence or the formation of galaxies, and so on. An academic might be able to calculate orbits, discuss stellar life cycles, and (in the modern-day), have knowledge of infrared astronomy, or long-baseline interferometry. Biology (01%): The study of life and living organisms, including cytology, ecology, genetics, histology, microbiology, physiology, and so on. With this skill one might develop a vaccine against some hideous Mythos bacterium, isolate the hallucinogenic properties of some jungle plant, or perform analysis of blood and organic matter. Botany (01%): The study of plant life, including classification of species, structure, growth, reproduction, chemical properties, evolutionary principles, diseases, and microscopy. Sub-disciplines of botany include agronomy, forestry, horticulture, and paleobotany. With this skill one might identify the properties of a particular plant (whether poisonous, edible, or psychotropic for example) and its particular uses. Chemistry (01%): A study of the composition of substances, the effects of temperature, energy, and pressure upon them, as well as how they affect one another. With chemistry, one might create or extract complex chemical compounds, including simple explosives, poisons, gases, and acids, requiring at least a day or so with the proper equipment and chemicals. The user could also analyze an unknown substance, given proper equipment and reagents.

By the 1920s, botanists had an awarenes s of the composition of biological structure and func tions at a cellular and bioc hemical level. Advances were closely associated with the knowledge gained through other sciences, lik e physics and chemistry. During this period, botanists begin tracing th e central metabolic pathwa ys of life.

1920s Physics In 1921, Albert Einstein is awarded the No bel Prize in Physics. Later in the decade, Neils Bohr, the Da nish physicist, discovers the properties of the atom. In 1925 Werner Heisenberg, Max Born, and Erwin Schrödinge r formulate quantum mecha nics, which leads to the th eory behind atomic and nucle ar science— perhaps the mos t significant scientific event in the 20th century.

Cryptography (01%): The study of secret codes and languages developed by one or more persons to conceal the contents of a conversation or message. A specialized branch of mathematics, this skill enables the identification, creation and deciphering of a code. Codes are usually written, but may take other forms, such as a message hidden within a musical composition, graphic art, or computer coding (in modern- day settings). Cracking a code can be painstaking work, often requiring lengthy research and number crunching.

Engineering (01%): While technically not a science, it is grouped here for convenience. Science is about identifying certain phenomena (observing and recording), where as engineering takes such findings to produce practical applications, such as machines, structures, and materials.


investigator handbook Forensics (01%): The analysis and identification of evidence. Normally associated with crime scene investigation (examination of fingerprints, DNA, hair, and body fluids) and laboratory work in order to determine fact and provide expert witness and evidence for legal disputes. Geology (01%): Used to determine the approximate age of rock strata, recognize fossil types, distinguish minerals and crystals, locate promising sites for drilling or mining, evaluate soils, anticipate volcanism, seismic events, avalanches, and other such phenomena. Mathematics (10%): The study of numbers and logic, including mathematical theories and applied and theoretical solution design and development. The skill might allow the identification of non-Euclidian geometries, solve puzzling formulae, and decrypt complex patterns or codes (see Cryptography for specialized study of codes). Meteorology (01%): The scientific study of the atmosphere, including weather systems and patterns, and atmospheric phenomena. Use this skill to determine long-range weather patterns and to forecast effects like rain, snow, and fog. Pharmacy (01%): The study of chemical compounds and their effect on living organisms. Traditionally this has involved the formulation, creation, and dispensing of medications (whether a witch-doctor using combination of herbs or a modern pharmacist operating in a laboratory). The application of this skill ensures the safe and effective use of pharmaceutical drugs, including synthesizing ingredients, identification of toxins, and knowledge of possible side effects. Physics (01%): Grants theoretical understanding of pressure, materials, motion, magnetism, electricity, optics, radioactivity, and related phenomena, and some ability to construct experimental devices to test ideas. The degree of knowledge depends on the era of use. Practical devices, such as automobiles, are not the province of physicists, however experimental devices may be, perhaps in conjunction with Electronics or Mechanical Repair. Zoology (01%): The study of biology that relates specifically to the animal kingdom, including the structure, evolution, classification, behavioral habits, and distribution of animals, both living and extinct. Use this skill to identify animal species from interaction with the environment (tracks, droppings, marks, etc.), likely behaviors, and territorial traits.

Sleight of Hand (10%)

Allows the visual covering-up, secreting, or masking of an object or objects, perhaps with debris, cloth, or other intervening or illusion-promoting materials, perhaps by using a secret panel or false compartment. Larger objects of any sort should be increasingly hard to conceal. Sleight of hand includes pick-pocketing, palming a card, and clandestine use of a cell phone.


Pushing examples: taking more time to study the target and their behaviors; physically touching or bumping into the target; setting up an elaborate rig inside one’s jacket to conceal a card or loaded dice; having someone cause a distraction. Sample Consequences of failing a Pushed roll: you feel a policeman’s hand on your shoulder; while no one can prove you pick-pocketed the priceless diamond, someone has their suspicions and you begin to notice that for the last week you have been tailed by a mysterious dark figure; you’re caught red-handed and the mobster doesn't take kindly to thieves! You’re taken out back and shown the business end of a couple of baseball bats. If an insane investigator fails a pushed roll, he or she acts like a kleptomaniac.

Spot Hidden (25%)

This skill allows the user to spot a secret door or compartment, notice a hidden intruder, find an inconspicuous clue, recognize a repainted automobile, become aware of ambushers, notice a bulging pocket, or anything similar. This is an important skill in the armory of an investigator. When an investigator is searching for a character who is hiding, the opponent’s Stealth skill is used to set the difficulty level for the roll. If a character has only a fleeting chance to spot something, perhaps while running past it, the Keeper may raise the level of difficulty. If the character is conducting a thorough search, the Keeper might award an automatic success. The difficulty level might also be adapted to reflect the environment, it being harder to spot something is a cluttered room. Pushing examples: taking more time to observe the area; pulling the place apart; dismantling the furniture and smashing the porcelain statuettes. Sample Consequences of failing a Pushed roll: inadvertently drop something of your own while searching, which will make it clear that you have been there (the investigator will not realize this at the time); you fail to the spot the paw print in the mud and are surprised when the red-eyed beast leaps at you from the trees; while you managed to find a clue, you didn’t notice the cultists arriving home. If an insane investigator fails a pushed roll, he or she is convinced that something is there and that they will find it under the wallpaper, hidden in the plaster, or beneath the floorboards.

Stealth (20%)

The art of moving quietly and hiding without alerting those who might hear or see. When attempting to avoid detection, use a Stealth skill roll. Ability with the skill suggests either that the character is adept at moving quietly (light-footed) or skilled in camouflage techniques. The skill might also suggest that the character can maintain a level of patience and coolheadedness to remain still and unseen for long periods.

chapter 5: Skills

ming 1920s Swim

called derle was E e d u tr er by G girl'' best s a' ic er m ''A ge in alvin Coolid C t en d si re P the she became r te af , 6 2 9 1 ss the to swim acro an om w t rs fi ng the annel, beati English Ch ho had e five men w records of th from ade the swim previously m the ed ag an 3. She m 1875 to 192 inutes, hours, 31 m swim in 14 miles; istance of 35 traveling a d istance gh sea, the d due to a rou the longer than was actually fine distance in minimum miles). weather (21

1920s Throw During the 1920s, the World Record for throwing the discus is 157 feet, 1 5/8 inches, while the record for the javelin is 222 feet, 9 inches. For those who like throwing heavy rocks, the shotput (16 lbs.) record is 52 feet, 1/16 inch.

Pushing examples: taking more time to study the area; removing your shoes; causing a distraction; sitting tight until the coast appears clear.

Sample Consequences of failing a Pushed roll: the cave you found is inhabited by an angry bear; having burned all of your clothes to make a signal fire, you have given away your position to your pursuers— will your rescuers reach before the pursuers do? If an insane investigator fails a pushed roll, he or she believes themselves to be impervious to the elements and able to exist as a breatharian (able to exist without food and water).

Swim (20%)

The ability to float and to move through water or other liquid. Only roll Swim in times of crisis or danger, or when the Keeper judges it appropriate. Failing a pushed Swim roll can result in loss of hit points. It may also lead to the person being washed away downstream, partially or completely drowned. Pushing examples: taking a big breath and really "going for it" with all your remaining strength; pushing your physical limits.

Sample Consequences of failing a Pushed roll: unbeknown to you, you have been spotted and rather than approach you directly, the cultists decide to summon "something" to get you; you hear the cupboard door behind which you are hiding being locked then nailed shut.

Sample Consequences of failing a Pushed roll: the current pulls you under and you lose consciousness, awaking on an unknown beach; you are pulled under and are injured by being dashed against rocks; you strive for the lifeboat and, just as you make it, you feel something cold and slimy grab your ankle.

If an insane investigator fails a pushed roll the investigator may believe he or she is invisible, when in fact everyone can see them.

If an insane investigator fails a pushed roll, he or she keeps on swimming and probably considers dry ground dangerous for some reason.

Survival (Specializations) (10%)

Throw (20%)

Knowledge of this skill provides the expertise required to survive in extreme environments, such as in desert or arctic conditions, as well as upon the sea or in wilderness terrain. Inherent is the knowledge of hunting, building shelters, hazards (such as the avoidance of poisonous plants), etc., according to the given environment. You may spend skill points to purchase any skill specialization. The generic Survival skill cannot be purchased. An environment specialism should be determined when this skill is chosen, for example: Survival (Desert), (Sea), (Arctic), etc. When a character does not have the obvious survival specialty, they may roll against an allied specialty with the level of difficulty increased (or Penalty die) at the Keeper’s discretion. Pushing examples: trying something risky (e.g. drinking the water without purifying it first; eating unidentified berries); using all of one’s clothing to improve a shelter; burning every possession to make a signal fire.

Use Throw to hit a target with an object. A palm-sized object can be hurled up to STR divided by 5 in yards. The effective range can be extended up to STR divided by 2 in yards, but a penalty die is applied to the Throw roll. If the Throw roll fails, the object lands at a random distance from the target. The Keeper should compare the closeness of the die roll result to the highest number which would have indicated success and choose a distance between the target and object that feels comparable. The Throw skill is used in combat when throwing rocks, spears, grenades, or boomerangs. Once an item has been thrown, it is quite literally out of the investigator’s hands and therefore there is nothing the player can do to justify a pushed roll. If multiple missiles are available, there is no risk connected with failure, and it is only a matter of time until the investigator is successful, don’t roll dice. If multiple missiles are available and there is a distinct risk connected with failure then the Keeper might ask for a Pushed roll.


investigator handbook


chapter 5: Skills Pushing examples: taking more time to assess the distance or waiting some time for more favorable conditions; putting every ounce of strength into the throw and throwing yourself as you launch the item; throwing a lot of items in quick succession hoping one will hit the target; taking a massive run-up and risking your momentum taking you over the ravine. Sample Consequences of failing a Pushed roll: you send the object flying to your companion as you stumble and fall, hitting your head against the jagged rocks; you throw too hard and the object flies over the high church wall into the graveyard; the dynamite stick slips from your hand—you look for it in vain but fail to see it in your hood, and only then do you smell the burning fuse. If an insane investigator fails a pushed roll, he or she will refuse to let go of the item to be thrown.

Track (10%)

With Track, an investigator can follow a person, vehicle, or animal over earth, and through plants/leaves. Factors such as time passed since the tracks were made, rain, and the type of ground covered may affect the difficulty level. Pushing examples: backtracking and taking more time to study the area; walking in increasing spirals to locate the tracks (taking longer, possibly making more noise and making oneself more visible). Sample Consequences of failing a Pushed roll: the tracks you are following lead you directly into the path of a hungry bear/lion/cannibal; you find yourself going round and round in circles, and night is falling as you realize you are now totally lost; you follow the tracks, only to be ambushed or caught in a trap laid by the thing you are following. If an insane investigator fails a pushed roll, he or she will compulsively follow any tracks (convinced they are the right ones) until they are physically restrained or convinced otherwise.

Optional Rules Specializations: Transferable Skill Benefit Specializations are dealt with in one of two ways: i) Art and Craft, and Science skills are addressed under Skill Specializations on page 96. ii) In the case of Fighting, Firearms, Languages (by grouping), and Survival, the specializations contain much that is common and transferable from one specialization to another. For example, in learning to aim and maintain a firearm, there are more similarities than differences between the subdivisions of firearms. In the case of fighting,

there are a lot of transferable skills that any fighter will use (reaction times, judging range, evasions, feints, timing, spotting openings, knowing where to hit, etc.). Contrast those comparisons with Astronomy and Pharmacy (in the case of Science) or Actor and Vacuum Tube Blower (in the case of Art and Craft). Thus within Fighting, Firearms, Languages (by grouping), and Survival, the improvement of one specialization has a transferable benefit to all other closely related specialisms. When a character first raises a specialization within one of these skills to 50% or over, all other related skill specializations are raised by 10 percentage points (but not higher than 50%). This may happen only once more: when a character first raises a specialization to 90% or over, all other related specializations are again raised by 10 percentage points (but not higher than 90%). During investigator creation the player may boost a specialization and gain the additional 10 points in each of the others prior to spending further points in those other specializations. For example: When creating his investigator, Matthew spends 25 skill points to raise his Fighting (Brawl) skill to 50%. Any other Fighting specializations will gain a 10% point bonus to their base values. Fighting (Sword) now starts at 30% instead of 20%. He then spends 5 skill points to raise his Fighting (Sword) skill to 35%. In play, Matthew’s investigator picks up an axe. Matthew did not put any skill points in the axe specialization, but since he has one Fighting specialization of 50%, his base chance with an axe is elevated by 10 percentage points to 30%. Brian put 20 points in his Fighting (Brawl) specialization, 25 points into Fighting (Axe) and 12 points into Fighting (Sword), thus these now stand at: Brawl 45%, Axe 45%, Sword 32%. In play, he gains a tick in Fighting (Brawl) and gains 7 points, raising the skill to 52%. This allows him to raise his other specializations by 10 points (but not above 50%), so his skills now stand at: Brawl 50%, Axe 50%, Sword 42% (note that his Axe skill only rose by 5%).


When a character first raises a language (other than Own Language) to 50% all other related language families are raised by 10 percentage points (but not higher than 50%). This may happen only once more: when a character first raises a language (other than Own Language) to 90%, all other related language families are raised by 10 percentage points (but not higher than 90%). For example, related family categories include Germanic (English, German, Dutch), Slavic (Russian, Czech, Polish, etc.), Niger-Congo (Swahili, Zulu, Yoruba, etc.) Note this is in no way an exhaustive list of the possible language families, and Keepers opting to use this rule are recommended to refer to standard encyclopedia entries for “language families”.


investigator handbook riven by circumstance, investigators often come together because they happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, forced to work together to survive and overcome the machinations of the Mythos. While the premise of random investigators thrown together works well for some one-shot scenarios, it stretches believability for most campaigns. In a campaign, the investigators are required to work together for extended periods, and may be traveling around the world to seek out information or people, finding clues, and fighting Mythos threats as they go. The question of income is also an issue. How do investigators pay their bills if all their time is taken up combating the Mythos? Surely their professional life will suffer and any former employment could soon cease. This is where investigator organizations come in. Investigator organizations provide players with a framework on which to construct meaningful, long-term groups. An organization can take any shape, and there is a wide spectrum of reasons as to why such groups might exist and what their ultimate purposes might be. The essential ingredient is that such a group gives players a concept in which they can create groups of investigators who have a reason to work and stay together to defeat the Mythos.

Group Concept Players should take responsibility for designing a group concept. The Keeper should be able to supply an initial premise for the scenario or campaign you will be playing. Note down what the Keeper says and think about different organizations that your investigators could belong to. Agree upon a group concept for your organization. An organization is any group that distributes tasks for a collective goal. In this case, tackling the diabolical plans of evil cults, combating unearthly monsters, and uncovering long-forgotten secrets. Discuss your ideas with the other players and the Keeper. If your ideas start to go a little off-track, the Keeper will advise you and probably suggest how you can adapt an idea to better fit with the scenario or campaign. One organization might be small and closeknit, with membership granted only by invitation. Another might be quite expansive, with teams and departments working around the world. Whatever the size, such organizations will share a common agenda for secrecy. The threat of the Mythos and its agents is not a concept to be shared with the public at large. Faced with such mind-bending truths, society could crumble as the public struggles to come to terms with their insignificance in the face of the cosmic reality of the Mythos's indifference. Better that such truths are keep hidden by those best able to stand up and defend humanity—cue the investigators!


Externally an organization may seem quite mundane and recruit members openly through some means that lack any connection with the Cthulhu Mythos. New members are subtly tested for various qualities of loyalty, determination, and potential. Those whom the society judge worthy are invited to become involved with higher levels of the organization and, step-by-step, are introduced to the inner workings and secrets of the group. Such organizations may appear to outsiders to be charitable, religious, new age, and so on. Essentially these are benign cults that seek to counter Mythos cults. Each organization should have a purpose. In most cases this might simply be "to defend humanity," or "to find out the truth behind all those stories from the Vermont hills." Sometimes the purpose of an organization, such as "discover and collect historic artifacts of great significance," might bring it into continued conflict with agents of the Mythos. Other times an organization’s mission might be specific to the Mythos, such as "stop the cult of fish men from raising their drowned god." One organization might know a lot about the Mythos, while another might know very little or nothing at all. An organization not only bonds the investigators together, it also supplies you with a fresh stock of replacement investigators. Rather than having to contrive a reason for why your new investigator has shown up to replace the one that unfortunately died in last week’s game, the organization

Investigator Connections The nature and type of investigator organization can vary depending on the period in which the scenario or campaign is set. However, here are some ideas that transcend timeperiods: Related by blood—the investigators are all members of the same extended family or share ancestry. Society of mutual interest—the investigators belong to an association wherein they meet to discuss matters of interest (amateur archaeology, the Freemasons, folklore enthusiasts, etc.) Working together—the investigators are all employed by the same organization or by organizations that regularly work together (a university, law enforcement, a criminal gang, the media, the government, etc.) Shared experience—the investigators all share a common experience that draws them together. Perhaps this event is long in the past or more recent (e.g. they are the only survivors of a crash, were in the same platoon, they were all near Sentinel Hill on the date of the lunar eclipse...) Acquaintances—the investigators know each other from former jobs, experiences, or relationships. Perhaps they are all connected through a mutual friend.

chapter 6: Investigator Organizations has simply sent in a replacement. Thus the new investigator can start the game running, and there is no need to think up an elaborate explanation for how the new investigator knows everyone, or why they are allied with the group’s mission. One approach is to generate a stable of investigators, all of whom are members of the same organization. Players may start out with one investigator each, but some might create new investigators for subsequent adventures if specialists are required or when existing investigators require convalescence. Continuity and reincorporation of characters is a key element to building enjoyable stories.

Example Organizations

Organization Adaptations

detailed example—The Society for the Exploration of the Unexplained— and includes some ready-to-play investigators.

example the of Most ns can tio iza an investigator org ferent dif it su be adapted to Pals rs pe Wi e Th time periods. post a m fro d could be move time y an to d rio Great War pe ict nfl co d me ar following an r, Wa lf Gu , am (WWII, Vietn , ise ew Lik .) etc Afghanistan, ted en es pr is ! ue Strange but Tr per but as a 1920s newspa d to be ge an ch could easily be evision tel t ne ter a cable or In bsite we ws ne a show, or even or blog.

Outlines for some possible investigator organizations follow. These can be used as they are, fleshed out and adapted as required, or used as inspiration for you to create your own investigator organizations. At the end of the chapter is a more

The "Wipers" Pals

On 21 July to 6 November 1917, just across the border from France, the Third Battle of Ypres took place in a small Flemish market town. The conflict (also known as the Battle of Passchendaele) saw British, Canadian, ANZAC, and French forces recapture the ridge east of the town from the German army. Known as one of the bloodiest battles of the Great War, it resulted in half a million casualties on both sides. Despite being virtually obliterated by artillery fire, Ypres— nicknamed “Wipers” by the British soldiers—was to hold an even greater horror for a small collection of Allied soldiers who chanced upon an old, iron door hidden in the cellar of what once was one of the larger houses in the town. On inspection, the soldiers found ancient stone steps

The "Wipers" Pals


investigator handbook to those on the inside, the circus hides a darker secret. Many years ago Mr. Wrath was a successful businessman with a loving wife and family. Life was good until the day when the dark shadow of the Mythos changed Cecil Wrath forever. In undisclosed circumstances, Wrath’s wife and children were taken by the Cult of the Blue Petal and sacrificed to a malevolent alien god. His life broken, Wrath vowed to wreak revenge on the cult. In the years that followed, Wrath gathered about him people who had also suffered at the hands of strange cults, many of whom carried the visible scars of their experiences. Together they travel the country, outwardly entertaining the paying customers, while secretly gathering information, and infiltrating weird cults and societies in order to find the location of the Cult of the Blue Petal, and so enable Wrath’s desire for revenge. Suggested investigator professions: clown (entertainer), strong man (athlete or boxer), trapeze artist (athlete), animal tamer (animal trainer), laborer (laborer or criminal), musician, circus freak (drifter), magician (conman/entertainer).

Strange but True!

leading down into a foul-smelling, dank cavern. Already reeling from the horrors of the war, the soldiers were to discover that evil also dwells in the dark corners of the Earth. Ten men went down into the cavern and six returned with their sanity and health intact. On that day the “Wipers Pals” were formed. The six men agreed that if they should survive the war then they would work together to rid the world of such evil as they had found in that ghastly cave in Belgium. In the years since, the six recruited others to their cause, each working to remove Mythos evil wherever it could be uncovered. Well-trained and reasonably equipped, the Wipers Pals work covertly wherever they receive word of strange occurrences and mysterious deaths. In spite of questions and appeals by those recruited into the Wipers Pals, none of the original six have ever revealed just what it was that they encountered in that cave. Suggested investigator professions: soldier, engineer, military officer, doctor of medicine, drifter, clergy.

“We print only the truth!” So claims the masthead on the weekly newspaper Strange but True! Each edition brings a plethora of unusual news concerning ghosts, monsters, aliens, and mysterious events. A small but dedicated team of editors work tirelessly to root-out print-worthy stories to satisfy the interests of their readership. Occasionally one or more of the full-time editorial staff gets their hands dirty with fieldwork; however, the majority of real investigation is conducted by the newspaper’s army of ad-hoc

Wrath’s Circus of Wonders

Traveling from town to town, Wrath’s Circus of Wonders is a collection of misfits who perform feats and tricks for amusement. The troupe is made up of clowns, trapeze artists, fire eaters, animal trainers, and circus freaks, as well as the proprietor, Mr. Cecil Wrath, who has been managing things for over twenty years. Each member of the circus has their own reasons for staying; however, most have discovered that normal life outside of the circus isn’t for them and so elect to make the troupe their home. To the outsider, the circus is another traveling show, earning a living by entertaining a dwindling audience with gaudy sights, jokes, and feats of strength or skill. However,


Strange, but True!

chapter 6: Investigator Organizations journalists. Comprised of both amateurs and professionals, this cadre of investigators work solo or in small teams to uncover grisly murders, nefarious plots, and generally spooky stuff. Those in the more mainstream media tend to regard the stories printed in Strange but True! as nothing more than idle gossip and downright lies. In most cases this view is not far from the truth, however to those in the know, the paper does occasionally reveal some dark truth hidden among the outlandish features and articles. Chief Editor and Publisher, Elijah Cleaver, likes it this way. From his years of publishing news of the weird and wonderful, he has begun to see patterns. Cleaver knows that the world is not as it appears to be and wants to warn his readership that mankind isn’t the only intelligent species on the planet (or in the galaxy!) However, he also knows that truth comes at a price. Some years ago he ran a story concerning the Church of Starry Wisdom that landed him in hot water when the newspaper’s office was firebombed and his life (and those of his team) was threatened. Since then he has played it cool, but harbors a desire to find out just what is going in these strange cults that seem to be poppingup all over the country. To this end, he works from a distance, employing freelance investigative teams and supplementing them with his own staff to conduct field research into dark dealings and unnatural events. While real tangible truth is elusive, the teams return with enough bizarre stories to keep the newspaper columns filled and the readership happy. Suggested investigator professions: journalist, photographer, author, parapsychologist, private investigator, professor, traveling salesperson.

The South 13th

As a beat cop you have the ear of the streets, you see the underside of the city and, if you’re very unlucky, you get to see what’s really going on down those dark alleys and basements. Last summer, four New York cops from the South Manhattan 13th Precinct responded to a call that led them into the basement of a tenement block off East 14th Street. What they discovered inside was so shocking that it changed them forever. Soon after, the four cops got to talking with one another about their experience and decided that enough was enough. They were sick of wasting their time on petty larcenies, of never getting to the heart of the disease, of feeling powerless to do anything useful. They agreed that what they had found in that basement couldn’t be allowed to continue, and that wherever they found evidence pointing to similar diabolical practices, they would take matters into their own hands. Day-to-day, the cops are just like any other police, walking their beats, dealing with the usual street issues, and low-level hoods. However, if one of them catches the foul stench of unnatural rituals, blood sacrifice, or other weirdness, they bring the others in and work as a team. They have limited resources and time. Their police badge

The South 13th gets them through doors not usually open to the man on the street. Never mind if they can’t always bring an arrest to bear—they are doing what they can to quell the tide of damnation that seems to be infecting the city. After all, what their bosses don’t know can’t hurt them. Suggested investigator professions: police officer, police detective, informant (criminal or drifter).

SKT Research Division

SKT (aka Seeking Knowledge and Truth) is a multinational corporation with offices around the world. The company has numerous divisions and is a major player in both the pharmaceutical and high-end technology industries, as well as having its fingers in all manner of "other" pies. Despite its reach and wealth, SKT had humble beginnings, being established by Walter Marsh Snr. in 1934. Back then, the company was called New Age Technologies, and talk at the time hinted that Walter Marsh’s financing came from the old Marshes of Innsmouth. The company did well, particularly during WWII, growing in stature and diversifying to become one of today’s leading multinationals. The quest for new technologies and pharmacological breakthroughs is central to SKT’s mission, and in order to support and supply this incessant demand, the company has numerous research units (called Path Finder Units— PFUs) dotted around the world. Each PFU works under the direction of a department chief, who has free rein to hire and


investigator handbook fire teams of researchers and field workers. No two units look alike, as each is recruited to serve the particular direction of the department boss. Currently, a survey of those working in some of the PFUs would include such diverse professions as: scientist, botanist, pilot, camera operator, diver, software engineer, artist, doctor of medicine, engineer, ex-soldier, parapsychologist, anthropologist, local guide, big game hunter, and physicist. With access to the latest equipment, unlimited expenses, and the relative freedom to explore areas of interest, it’s not surprising that some PFUs follow bizarre areas of research and investigation. What the company does with the information these teams send back is anyone’s guess, but someone high up in the company must see some value in it as PFU funding continues and, if stock market rumours are to be believed, is expected to increase over the next three years. Suggested investigator professions: doctor, engineer, scientist (biology, chemistry, physics, etc.), software consultant (anything from engineer to hacker), bodyguard (often former military or police), parapsychologist, native guide (tribe member), nurse, video journalist, big game hunter, psychologist, and ecologist (farmer or scientist).

Novem Angelus

With great wealth comes great responsibility. Money can open many doors and buy access to all manner of knowledge. Unfortunately, once opened, some doors cannot be closed. The Nine Angels, or to give the organization its proper Latin title, "Novem Angelus," is a New England philanthropic society comprised of some very rich, very powerful individuals. Founded in 1784 in the wake of the Revolutionary War, the society was set up with the mission to “Nourish, develop, and enhance all good men,” providing support, introductions, and sponsorship to the well-to-do families of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Maine. Their name “the Nine,” represents the “nine choirs”—the nine individuals who founded the organization, who were said to include noted French and British (turned American) aristocrats. Over the last two centuries, Novem Angelus has continued its good works, establishing numerous educational foundations and charities. The society shuns publicity and expects its members to do the same, as expressed in the motto, “We seek only truth without glory.” Nine powerful and secretive individuals still manage and run the society. Only one is publicly known: Mr. Luc Villiers, who represents the group whenever required. The Nine have long known of "terrible truths" too awful for the populace, and sought ways to minimize and contain such information; wielding both money and hidden influence to help their agents "save the world" while keeping themselves solidly out of the limelight (and any possible scandal). Working through intermediaries, the Nine hires personnel to undertake delicate assignments, such as acquiring ancient tomes and artefacts, investigating individuals and other organizations, as well


as funding expeditions. With such a secretive organization, rumours abound about the Nine, and they are often linked to all manner of weird and wonderful conspiracy theories. As for the truth, the Nine aren’t saying a word. Suggested investigator professions: investigators may be of any profession.

Ratched’s Children

Those who have encountered the Mythos are forever changed. No longer is the world around them the safe and secure realm they thought they grew up in. Instead, they see shadows in the darkness, pale faces at the window, and when they look up at the stars they see only a thousand mocking eyes staring back at them. For many it is the start of a descent into outright madness from which only the comfort of oblivion exists. For some lucky individuals the madness is temporary, allowing them to regain (to a greater or lesser degree) their former lives. How Ratched’s Children came to be in the care of Arkham Sanatorium is not clear, for each arrived independently and each was displaying unrelated psychological conditions. However, all soon developed a firm friendship and, whenever opportunity allowed, they would gather quietly and recount their experiences to one another in hushed tones. Each saw in the others a reflection of themselves: someone touched in inexplicable ways by the Mythos. Although each had encountered the Mythos in a different way, there were common aspects to their experiences. Their worlds had been changed irrevocably and they sought each other’s company.

SKT Research Division

chapter 6: Investigator Organizations Over a period of months and years, each one was deemed "cured" and released back into the world. Once back home, they contacted one another and began to work together in accordance with the plan they had set in motion when they were in the asylum. Knowing that no one would ever believe their stories of unearthly creatures and wicked cults, Ratched’s Children had agreed that on their release they would join forces and work together to rid the world of alien horrors. They smiled at the doctors and nurses, palmed their pills, and waited. With a somewhat dark humour, they call themselves "Ratched’s Children," an in-joke referencing the character from Ken Kesey’s 1962 novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. While each ekes out a living with mundane day jobs, they watch for signs of the Mythos. When one believes a cult to be operating in a particular vicinity, or hears inexplicable tales of unusual beasts, he or she calls the others and together they set about uncovering the truth. Shying away from the spotlight, they prefer to work in the shadows, often inventing false identities to ensure their anonymity when dealing with the authorities. One or two work as recruiters, traveling state to state, visiting psychiatric facilities to spot those who bear the invisible and visible scars of encounters with alien monsters and gods. In spite of minimal resources, Ratched’s Children can bring to bear a diverse set of skills, knowledge, and experience, although their capacity for mental fortitude can sometimes be like smoke on the breeze. Suggested investigator professions: investigators may be of any profession and should take the Mythos Experience Package (see page 62).

The Resurrectionists

In 1926, a group of people were drawn together through their interest in the occult. They pooled their resources into research and sought-out forgotten lore in mouldering old books hidden away in diverse libraries and private collections. Over time, the group, calling themselves "the Seekers," began to amass a collection of papers and books describing unearthly magics and strange denizens of other worlds. It was not long before the group split. Some members wanted to experiment with the knowledge contained in the books by casting spells and attempting summonings, while the rest of the Seekers saw this as foolish, believing that the books should not be taken at face value and that a more theoretical approach was required. Sick of the endless debating, those wishing to take the practical path took matters into their own hands and enacted a summoning rite. All but three involved in the summoning died or went insane. While the rest of the Seekers (who had not taken part) were recovering from the news, the three survivors stole away with the majority of the group's library. The summoning had caused the three survivors to change—they were now vessels of the being that they had summoned and they had a newfound task: to pave the way for the return of the Old Ones. It didn’t take long for the Seekers to put the pieces together and realise what they had, unwittingly, helped to unleash upon the world. There was only one solution: they would need to track down the three survivors and put an end to their

schemes. Thus began the task of investigating all potential Mythos activity in the hope that it would lead back to one or all of the "three". Over many years, the Seekers have discovered and dealt with numerous Mythos threats but the toll has been great, with only five of the original members surviving, and each of them close to death. Unable to give-up and end their task, the remaining five Seekers made a pact to utilize one of the few remaining spells they had at their disposal—the resurrection spell. By careful use of the spell, the group has become effectively immortal and able to continue their work long past their normal lifespans. Today they work in the shadows, recruiting new members to the Seekers to assist in "the great task" of combating the Mythos. Few know the full truth of the Seekers. Those that survive long enough and who demonstrate the correct mindset might be lucky enough to have some secrets whispered to them. The Resurrectionists (the name adopted by the five original Seekers) work through intermediaries, recruiting and funding teams on both short- and long-term basis. The teams can comprise people of a wide range of skills and experience. Common to most is a desire to confront and confound evil; some simply love the danger and adventure of it all, while a few join in to satisfy their craving for strange books and exotic knowledge. Suggested investigator professions: nurse, dilettante, doctor, engineer, hacker, librarian, smuggler (bootlegger), criminal, journalist, parapsychologist, pilot, police detective, occultist, private investigator, professor, soldier, tribe member.

The Society for the Exploration of the Unexplained

The Society for the Exploration of the Unexplained (SEU) is an informal academic group based at the Miskatonic University in Arkham. The society was founded in 1889 by a small group of professors who had a mutual interest in unexplained phenomena. Since that time, the group has continued, with some founding members having retired, and recruits invited to join. The society has gained public notoriety through their assistance in a number of police investigations that came to the attention of the local press. The collected wisdom of the society is often called upon and sought out by the authorities, as well as individuals, who are in need of help with all manner of strange mysteries. Nowadays, the society meets once a month in the Private Reading Room of the Orne Library, where tales are told and mysteries are conjectured upon. When an interesting case is presented, the society chooses the most suitable investigators from among its members to tackle the mystery.


investigator handbook

Pierre LeBlanc, age 41, journalist Born in Montreal, Pierre is French-Canadian. As a young man he left Canada to work in Europe as a journalist, spending time in both France and Switzerland. During 1903, Pierre met a man who would become his best friend, Alex Delacroix, a pioneering photojournalist working for Le Journal de Genève. Alex introduced Pierre to his sister, Marie, and the two soon fell in love, eventually getting married in 1906. The couple settled in Lausanne, Switzerland. From this union, Pierre and Marie had two children: Audrey born in 1909, and Quentin born in 1913. Then came the war. While Switzerland was neutral, Pierre could not stand idly by while others were being slaughtered. During 1915, as the 1st Canadian Division reached France, Pierre was recruited by British intelligence to use his local knowledge and language skills to pose as a Swiss journalist covering the German side of the conflict. In reality, Pierre was spying for the Allies. By 1917, Pierre was at the front lines in Belgium. After acquiring documents detailing a secret German weapon, he arranged to meet with Allied forces at Ypres. Taking heavy fire, Pierre and the squad sent to rendezvous with him, took shelter in a cellar. It was Pierre who first noticed the iron door, inscribed with strange letters and symbols, and the stone steps behind the door, which led down into darkness. Down in that charnel pit, Pierre’s war melted away, only to be replaced with an even greater horror. STR 40 INT 80 SAN 63 Move 7 Brawl

Backstory Personal Description: 5’10”, with chestnut hair and green eyes behind wire-rimmed spectacles. Significant People: Alex, his best friend and brother-in-law; Audrey and Quentin, his daughter and son; Marie, his wife; Ernest Kedderidge, British Army Intelligence. Meaningful Locations: Montreal, Canada, where he was born and raised; Lausanne, Switzerland; Ypres, Belgium. Treasured Possessions: A Swiss made pocketwatch handcrafted by his wife’s grandfather; a wedding gift from his in-laws, the watch’s casing holds a photograph of his wife and children. A model 1890 Swiss Army knife. Traits: Very persistent, tenacious, and patient.

CON 50 SIZ 50 DEX 75 APP 65 POW 75 EDU 70 Luck 35 DB 0 Build 0 HP 10 55% (27/11), damage 1D3, or by weapon type


45% (22/9), damage 2D6+4 (Lee Enfield)


37% (18/7)

Skills: Art/Craft (Acting) 60%, Credit Rating 27%, Cthulhu Mythos 7%, History 60%, Library Use 30%, Persuade 30%, Psychology 35%, Spot Hidden 40%. Languages: French (Own) 75%, English 70%, German 45%, Schwyzerdütsch (Swiss-German) 55%.


The "Wipers" Pals

Pierre LeBlanc The "Wipers" Pals

chapter 6: Investigator Organizations

Duane Haven, age 40, lion tamer In his youth, Haven lived in Africa, where he developed a lifelong love of wild animals. It was also during this time in Africa that Haven became aware of dark cults that worshipped foul gods— when one of these cults kidnapped his sister, Antin. Unfortunately, his father, working with the authorities, was unable to save Antin; however, they did manage to capture and bring the cult’s leaders to justice. Coming to France, Haven was haunted by the loss of his sister and ran away from what promised to be a successful career in politics to join a traveling circus, so that he might forget his sorrows. His natural affinity with animals made him an ideal candidate to become a lion tamer. While touring Europe, Wilminster Hackentoth, a talent spotter for Cecil Wrath, approached Haven to offer him a job—and a mission. Filled with dreams of America, the chance to see his name on the billing, and a chance to seek out the kind of devils who had taken his sister from him, Haven jumped at the chance to journey across the Atlantic and join Wrath’s Circus of Wonders. STR 60 INT 75 SAN 56 Move 8

CON 75 APP 70 Luck 45 HP 12

SIZ 50 POW 60 DB 0

Wrath's Circus of Wonders Backstory Personal Description: A small, thin man, with black hair. His dark eyes give an impression of seriousness; sometimes a glimmer of madness can be perceived. Significant People: His father, who disowned him when Haven left for the circus. Meaningful Locations: New Orleans and Central Africa. Treasured Possessions: A set of four, native African statuettes he was given by an African witch doctor. Traits: Danger seeker, with a strong sense of moral courage. Marks or Scars: Numerous scars from “playing” with the lions.

DEX 65 EDU 85 Build 0


45% (22/5), damage 1D3, or by weapon type


40% (20/6)

Skills: Art/Craft (Acting) 60%, Animal Handling

(Lion) 80%, Charm 55%, Credit Rating 24%, First Aid 55%, History 45%, Intimidate 30%, Listen 35%, Natural World 45%, Psychology 20%, Ride 50%, Spot Hidden 35%, Stealth 45%, Throw 40%, Track 55%. Languages: French (Own) 85%, Afrikaans 10%, English 60%, Swahili 20%.

Duane Haven

Wrath’s Circus of Wonders


investigator handbook

Strange But True!

Robert Andersson, age 44, journalist

In his youth, Robert studied at the Miskatonic University in Arkham. With his knack for writing, he worked at the student newspaper and dreamed that one day he would return to Sweden as a Nobel Prize-winning author. His dream was never to be realized. With rejections from publishers piling-up beside his typewriter, Robert found he was able to make ends meet by writing for newspapers and magazines. The more lurid and colorful the story, the more attention it received, and the better he was paid. It wasn’t long before he began a productive relationship with Strange but True! magazine. Nowadays, Robert works pretty much exclusively for Strange but True! He travels the forgotten parts of America, seeking out bizarre and tall tales for the magazine’s readership. Known equally as a friend and a nuisance, Robert has built an extensive web of contacts that supply him with the very latest gossip and whispers. STR 40 INT 75 SAN 58 Move 6 Brawl Dodge

CON 55 SIZ 65 DEX 60 APP 55 POW 60 EDU 80 Luck 6 DB 0 Build 0 HP 12 35% (17/7), damage 1D3, or by weapon type 30% (15/6)

Skills: Art (Literature) 70%, Art/Craft (Photography)

25%, Charm 65%, Credit Rating 40%, Drive Auto 40%, Fast Talk 50%, History 50%, Library Use 50%, Occult 40%, Persuade 30%, Psychology 60%. Languages: Swedish (Own) 80%, English 60%.


Robert Anderss on Strange but Tr ue!

Backstory Personal Description: Slim build, somewhat frail looking, with a receding hairline and spectacles, kind eyes, and a warm smile. Treasured Possessions: His trusty Remington Portable typewriter, and an old, battered but loved, Ford. Traits: Quick-witted, with an active imagination, and a very useful ability to make friends with nearly anyone.

chapter 6: Investigator Organizations

South 13th Jo Van Bordde, age 45,

uniformed police officer and dog handler Jo Van Bordde has patrolled the streets of New York City since he joined the force as a fresh faced recruit. To many he is a familiar sight; patrolling with Max, his dog. He is known by all as a “fair cop,” respected and liked. Yet, behind the smile, Van Bordde hides a dark secret. Recently, he was approached by some of his colleagues and asked if he was ready to “make a difference." His colleagues told him about what they found in a basement off East 14th Street, and how they had decided to take action to clear their streets of such horrors. Van Bordde agreed and was accepted into the conspiracy. Nowadays, Van Bordde and Max don’t just keep an eye out for pickpockets, they also lurk around the dark alleys, abandoned buildings, and the less desirable areas of the 13th Precinct, dealing with those things that would give the rest of mankind nightmares. STR 45 INT 75 SAN 54 Move 6 Brawl

Backstory Personal Description: Tall and slim, with blue eyes, dark brown hair showing some grey, and a moustache. Significant People: Manon, his devoted wife who wishes she could move back to Belgium. Meaningful Locations: Namur in Belgium, where he and his family originate. Treasured Possessions: His dog and companion, Max, a Border Collie. Traits: Enjoys drinking Belgian beer (when he can get hold of it).

CON 50 SIZ 65 DEX 60 APP 55 POW 60 EDU 80 Luck 60 DB 0 Build 0 HP 11 55% (27/11), damage 1D3, or by weapon type


45% (22/9), damage 1D8 (.32 auto)


30% (15/6)

Skills: Animal Handling (Dog) 65%, Climb 40%, Credit Rating 26%, Drive Auto 45%, First Aid 50%, Fast Talk 60%, Intimidate 45%, Law 30%, Listen 35%, Occult 45%, Psychology 50%, Spot Hidden 50%, Stealth 65%, Throw 40%, Track 35%. Languages: English (Own) 90%, Dutch 65%.

Jo Van Bordde South 13th


investigator handbook

SKT Research

Henry Talotap,

age 39, anthropologist Raised in Boston, Talotap moved to Arkham to study at the Miskatonic University. With a Ph.D. in anthropology, he remained in Arkham upon graduation, while he sought employment. Following a string of low paying jobs, Talotap managed to secure a place on a field expedition to East Africa, funded by Miskatonic University, to study native rites of passage. Unbeknown to Talotap, the expedition was jointly funded by SKT, who wished to identify and obtain the ingredients of certain “medicines” used by tribal elders that historical reports claimed to have unusually beneficial properties. During the mission, Talotap was instrumental in not only gaining the trust of the tribal elders but also in procuring the list of ingredients required to brew the medicine. On returning to Arkham, Talotap was approached by SKT and offered a role within one of its new-concept Path Finder Units. Talotap jumped at the chance to join the organization and become one of the first to work in the experimental PFUs. STR 55 INT 80 SAN 43 Move 7 Brawl Dodge

Backstory Personal Description: 6’2” tall, with blond hair (some grey beginning to show), pale complexion, and small, thick glasses. Meaningful Locations: Rift Valley, East Africa, and Boston, New England. Treasured Possessions: A strangely deformed, skull found in North Africa, defying any known scientific identification—Talotap is convinced this represents mankind’s “missing link”. Traits: Approaches life in a methodical and logical manner, and dislikes chaos and mess.

CON 60 SIZ 75 DEX 50 APP 55 POW 60 EDU 90 Luck 50 DB +1D4 Build 1 HP 13 25% (12/5), damage 1D3 + 1D4, or by weapon type 30% (15/6)

Skills: Anthropology 80%, Archaeology 30%, Art/

Craft (Photography) 40%, Charm 40%, Credit Rating 25%, History 50%, Library Use 35%, Occult 20%, Persuade 30%, Psychology 60%, Science (Astronomy) 20%, Science (Biology) 20%, Science (Chemistry) 20%, Science (Zoology) 15%, Spot Hidden 55%, Track 40%. Languages: English (Own) 90%, French 30%, Greek 20%, Latin 40%.


henry talotap skt research

chapter 6: Investigator Organizations

SKT Research Sean “the” Wolfe, age 39, field technical support and archivist Sean Wolfe has worked for SKT for fifteen years. Starting in a data services department, Wolfe's natural aptitude for problem-solving, as well as his extensive technical know-how, brought him to the attention of the Research Division. Internally transferred to a PFU, Wolfe now works alongside a range of field experts, supplying on-the-ground technical support and archival management of rare texts (including retrieval, duplication, and storage). Wolfe has gained a reputation within SKT as a man who can be replied upon. His knowledge and ability to work calmly under pressure are useful commodities, such that other PRU teams regularly request his skills. As such, Wolfe has good relations with a number of PFUs across SKT—he probably knows much more about current PFU operations than his bosses would like. During his last field assignment, two team members disappeared while exploring a cave system in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina. Despite a rescue attempt, the pair were not recovered. Subsequently, Wolfe has become distant and suspicious; confiding to a few colleagues that he does not believe the official version of events and suspects foul play. Wolfe is beginning to doubt that SKT has its employees’ interests at heart. STR 30 INT 75 SAN 43 Move 7 Brawl Dodge

CON 40 SIZ 60 DEX 40 APP 70 POW 50 EDU 80 Luck 60 DB 0 Build 0 HP 10 25% (12/5), damage 1D3, or by weapon type 20% (10/4)

Skills: Accounting 45%, Art/Craft (Photography)

wolfe sean “the” ch skt resear

Backstory Personal Description: 5’ 10” tall, with brown hair and trimmed beard, medium build. Meaningful Locations: The hills of New Hampshire. Treasured Possessions: Lucky pocket watch, given to him by his father. Traits: Quiet and reserved, hardworking and industrious. Has recently grown suspicious of his employer. Marks or Scars: Scar across the palm of the right hand.

55%, Computer Use 80%, Credit Rating 49%, Cthulhu Mythos 5%, Electrical Repair 60%, Electronics 40%, Fast Talk 50%, History 40%, Library Use 70%, Mechanical Repair 45%, Occult 40%, Persuade 35%, Psychology 30%. Languages: English (Own) 80%, German 30%, Spanish 10%.


investigator handbook

Novem Angelus

Sveinung Svea, age 42, author

At first sight, Svea appears to be nothing more than a geeky Norwegian writer, obsessed with computer games, comics, and horror books; however, this front disguises a very shrewd and driven intellect. Svea’s real work, when not churning-out another sensationalist horror novel, is the collection, analysis, and destruction of ancient texts concerning the true nature of the cosmos. How he came to the attention of Novus Angelus is unknown, and neither Svea nor his handler are willing to speak on the matter, as his employment by the Nine is a well-held secret. Svea uses his minor celebrity status to travel the world for research and to attend numerous fan conventions. In reality, Svea plans such journeys carefully, using them as a cover for his true work. Once he has obtained a “red” text, he records its contents and then destroys the original. Svea knows little about his employers—all roads lead to Mr. Villiers and no further. Despite this, Svea is committed to cause, seeing his work as necessary for the protection of humanity and society in general.

STR 60 INT 90 SAN 64 Move 6 Brawl

CON 50 SIZ 70 DEX 40 APP 45 POW 75 EDU 95 Luck 50 DB +1D4 Build 1 HP 12 25% (12/5), damage 1D3+ DB, or by weapon type


65% (32/13), damage 1D10 (Glock 17, 9mm)


20% (10/4)

Skills: Art/Craft (Horror Writer) 50%, Archaeology

17%, Computer Use 85%, Credit Rating 66%, Cthulhu Mythos 12%, Fast Talk 25%, History 55%, Library Use 75%, Occult 70%, Persuade 40%, Psychology 20%, Science (Astronomy) 15%, Science (Biology) 10%, Science (Chemistry) 9%, Science (Physics) 10%, Spot Hidden 39%. Languages: Norwegian (Own) 90%, Arabic 7%, English 80%, German 25%, Greek 20%, Latin 66%.

Backstory Personal Description: Heavy set, bald, with a ruddy complexion, and blue eyes. Ideology/Beliefs: Ancient wisdom must be protected from the ignorant masses; wisdom should only reside in the hands of the intellectually superior. Significant People: Wednesday, his black cat. Treasured Possessions: A fake copy of the Book of Eibon, two pages (alleged) to have been taken from a copy of Al Azif. Traits: Jovial and witty.

Sveinung Svea Novem Angelus


chapter 6: Investigator Organizations

Novem Angelus STR 55 INT 80 SAN 54 Move 7 Brawl

Dr. Daniel S komorowsk i Novem Ang elus

Dr. Daniel Skomorowski, age 35, archaeologist

Count Daniel Skomorowski was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. His forbears were of the old blood of Prussian Poland, who immigrated to Denmark. He wanted for nothing. When the time came, Skomorowski chose to cross the sea to study at Miskatonic University in Arkham. Before returning to Europe, Skomorowski was approached by an associate of Luc Villiers with a tantalizing proposition; namely to join an expedition to study the history of the tribes of Western Greenland. All went well until, during an excavation, disaster struck. When a rescue team finally arrived at the expedition camp, all were dead save for Skomorowski, who could remember nothing of what had taken place. The only clue lay in the object clutched by Skomorowski when the rescue team found his unconscious body—a tupilaq, carved from bone, which depicted an evil-looking, twisted creature. Following his recovery, Skomorowski has been employed to investigate and research native practices and religious artifacts around the world. Whether he is aware that such work is funded by Novus Angelus is uncertain.

CON 75 SIZ 65 DEX 50 APP 55 POW 60 EDU 90 Luck 55 DB 0 Build 0 HP 14 35% (17/7), damage 1D3, or by weapon type


45% (22/9), damage 1D6+1 (medium)


30% (15/6), damage by weapon type


50% (25/10), damage by weapon type


30% (15/6)

Skills: Archaeology 80%, Credit Rating 93%, Charm

25%, Drive Auto 40%, History 65%, Library Use 26%, Natural World 25%, Occult 25%, Persuade 35%, Science (Geology) 20%, Science (Mathematics) 25%, Spot Hidden 55%, Survival (Arctic) 35%. Languages: Danish (Own) 90%, English 80%, Greenlandic 15%, Latin 20%.

Backstory Personal Description: Average height and muscular build, a cherubic face, and blue eyes. Significant People: His family, comprising a great grandmother, grandmother, mother, father, and sister. Meaningful Locations: Denmark, his birthplace and family seat. Treasured Possessions: Signet ring bearing the Skomorowski family crest, and his German Shepherd, Santo. Traits: Highly disdainful of incompetence and stupidity.


investigator handbook

Ratched's Children

Douglas Lee Haxton, age 52, postal clerk (who has seen too much)

Haxton loved his job with the Arkham Post Office, walking the delivery routes, meeting people, and providing a service, yet he always felt there was something missing in his life. Shortly before his 50th birthday, he saw something strange, while walking past a disused warehouse. On taking a closer look, Haxton was accosted and barely survived an encounter with pack of savage beast-like men. While the physical trauma healed quickly, it took much longer for his mind to recover. After spending seven months in Arkham Sanatorium Haxton was released; the doctors recording that he had made a “full recovery”. In truth, he had simply learned to tell the doctors what they wanted to hear. His time in the sanatorium was not spent in vain; there were others who had survived their own encounters with things that man was not meant to know. These people listened to Haxton’s tale and nodded; they knew he was telling the truth. They called themselves Ratched’s Children and they said they worked to protect mankind from the horrors of the night. After being released, Haxton kept in contact with Ratched’s Children. Eventually, he was offered membership in the fight for mankind’s salvation. Haxton had found what he had been looking for all of his life and a way he could make a difference. He now devotes his time to “the project,” searching the internet and newspapers for incidents that could be related to the work of the Old Ones. He is vigilant and ready to answer the call when it comes. STR 60 INT 90 SAN 55

Move 5

CON 45 APP 50 Luck 60

HP 11

SIZ 70 POW 65

DEX 45 EDU 85

DB +1D4 Build 1


25% (12/5), damage 1D3 + DB, or by weapon type


40% (20/8), damage by weapon type


70% (35/14), damage by weapon type


22% (11/4)

Douglas Lee Haxton Ratched’s Children

Skills: Accounting 50%, Art/Craft (Acting) 35%, Art/

Craft (Singing) 25%, Computer Use 50%, Credit Rating 24%, Cthulhu Mythos 4%, Disguise 25%, History 25%, Library Use 60%, Listen 40%, Occult 50%, Persuade 60%, Science (Astronomy) 40%, Science (Physics) 20%, Stealth 40%, Spot Hidden 45%, Throw 50%. Languages: English (Own) 85%, French 20%.

Backstory Personal Description: Average height, balding, heavyset, with dark-ringed, and haunted eyes. Significant People: Single; while he has become distant from his friends, he still cares for his elderly parents. Treasured Possessions: His books; his cuddly, Mossberg 590 12-gauge Shotgun (with bayonet); and loveable, Colt 1911A1 .45 ACP Pistol. Traits: Something of a gun enthusiast; since his incident he keeps a firearm nearby, despite not having a permit to do so. Liable to extreme bursts of nervous energy. Marks or Scars: Scar on right side of his torso where a beast-like man raked him with its claws. Phobias & Manias: Claustrophobia.


chapter 6: Investigator Organizations

Luke Atkinson, age 28, teacher Luke Atkinson Ratched’s Children

Ratched's Children time that Atkinson befriended a hospital visitor called Anton, who had also experienced strange visions. Anton said there were others who had experienced strange things and that they belonged to a secret group called Ratched’s Children. The group were committed to preventing the return of the Old Ones. Since his release, Anton drops by now and again, and the two disappear for weeks at a time. His family believes the two are out, roving the outback. In reality, they are combating the Mythos. STR 75 INT 60 SAN 28 Move 8 Brawl

Spurning the harsh Australian lifestyle of his parents, Atkinson moved away and studied at the University of Australia to become a teacher. After receiving his degree, Atkinson moved back to his hometown to teach, where he married and had two children; however, his life was soon to change again. Atkinson liked to explore. On one such visit to Blue Lake, something horrible and unexplainable happened. A foul and alien thing emerged from the water, its hideous appendages grabbing Atkinson and pulling him beyond this world. Whether it lasted seconds, hours, or days, Atkinson cannot tell; all that remains of the experience is a series of nightmarish visions in which Atkinson saw the return of the Old Ones and the eventual fate of humanity. At some point, Atkinson awoke on the edge of Cuicocha, a crater lake in the Imbabura Province of Ecuador. He was found raving and taken to the nearest hospital. Finding his wallet, the locals believed that Atkinson was a traveler who had come into difficulty. Eventually the authorities were able to contact his family and arrangements were made to return him to Australia. On his return, it was clear that his mind was unhinged—plus there was no real explanation for how he came to be in Ecuador. He was in the care of the Thomas Brentwood Hospital. It was during this

CON 60 SIZ 60 DEX 60 APP 60 POW 40 EDU 75 Luck 45 DB +1D4 Build 1 HP 12 45% (22/9), damage 1D3 + DB, or by weapon type (hockey stick)


40% (20/8), damage by weapon type


30% (15/6)

Skills: Art/Craft (Fine Art) 30%, Art/Craft (History of

Art) 45%, Charm 20%, Credit Rating 35%, Cthulhu Mythos 6%, Fast Talk 50%, History 40%, Natural World 30%, Occult 20%, Persuade 45%, Ride 30%, Science (Astronomy) 10%, Science (Biology) 35%, Science (Chemistry) 40%, Spot Hidden 35%, Track 25%, Survival (Outback) 40%. Languages: English (Own) 80%, Spanish 10%.

Backstory Personal Description: Average height, with brown scrappy hair, green eyes, and a crooked smile. Significant People: Married to Elyse, with two children: Jack and Isabella. His father, Keith, and mother, Jane, run the family farm with the help of his brother, Ryan, and sister, Teagan. Ideology/Beliefs: Will do anything to protect his family from the horrors he has seen in mankind’s future. Treasured Possessions: A hockey stick given to him by his father. Traits: Honest and open, quick-witted. Marks or Scars: Scars across his right knee, lower right abdomen, and the top of his stomach—has no memory of how these wounds were inflicted.


investigator handbook

Resurrectionists Daniel Laufer,

age 39, cryptographer STR 45 INT 80 SAN 42 Move 8 Brawl

CON 45 SIZ 60 DEX 60 APP 65 POW 75 EDU 75 Luck 45 DB 0 Build 0 HP 10 25% (12/5), damage 1D3, or by weapon type


30% (15/6)

Skills: Accounting 40%, Credit Rating 47%,

daniel laufer resurrectionists

Having worked as a code breaker for the British Directorate of Military Intelligence, Laufer came to the attention of the Seekers while investigating a series of unusual transmissions, intercepted during the Great War. Fascinated by the strange ciphers shown to him by the Seekers, he was an eager recruit, seemingly just at home decoding the ramblings of medieval occultists as the secret messages of enemy nations. Laufer has worked for the Seekers since the end of the war. His obsession with finding meaning behind eldritch ciphers has brought him close to insanity. He is increasingly haunted by nightmares. Those who know him speak of his growing nervousness and habit for biting his nails. Eschewing the bustle of London for the restorative effects of Brighton's sea air, Laufer can be found pacing the promenade, casting furtive glances towards the horizon.


Cthulhu Mythos 9%, Fast Talk 30%, Library Use 70%, Natural World 35%, Occult 35%, Persuade 45%, Science (Cryptography) 80%, Science (Mathematics) 75%, Spot Hidden 75%. Languages: English (Own) 90%, Latin 25%.

Backstory Personal Description: Average height and build, studious looking, with black hair, and a ruddy complexion. Meaningful Locations: Brighton’s refreshing seafront. Treasured Possessions: Odin and Sif, his pet cats. Traits: Tendency to smirk without realizing he is doing so.

chapter 6: Investigator Organizations


Erik Ellström, age 24, dilettante

Erik is the only child of Henry Ellström, owner of Ellström Textiles. Following the death of his mother, Erik and his father moved to the U.S. Erik’s father ensured that his son had the best of everything, from private tutors to the finest clothes and toys. As Erik grew, so did his social circle. Now in his early twenties, Erik is a known figure about town. A year ago, Erik was contacted by a Mr. Lancing, representing a group of intellectuals calling themselves “the Seekers”. Mr. Lancing said that the group were inviting a few handpicked individuals of the right standing to join the organization. Particularly, Mr. Lancing said the group was interested in utilizing Erik’s knowledge of Latin. Erik jumped at the chance, as it seemed like a route to adventure, or at least a few japes. With a shake of hands, Mr. Lancing said he would be in touch soon. Erik knows the group is more interested in his money than anything else, yet his excitement has been at fever pitch ever since the meeting. He awaits the call, certain that he soon will be on the adventure of a lifetime. STR 55 INT 70 SAN 25 Move 9 Brawl

CON 50 SIZ 40 DEX 85 APP 55 POW 25 EDU 85 Luck 65 DB 0 Build 0 HP 9 35% (17/7), damage 1D3, or by weapon type


45% (22/9), damage by weapon type


42% (21/8)

Skills: Art/Craft (Violin) 60%, Charm 60%, Credit

Rating 93%, Fast Talk 45%, History 50%, Library Use 45%, Listen 60%, Psychology 45%, Ride 55%, Spot Hidden 35%, Throw 35%. Languages: English (Own) 85%, Swedish 60%, Latin 70%.

erik ellstrÖm resurrectionists

Backstory Personal Description: 5’ 7 “ tall, heavy set (the life of luxury having had an impact). Short blond hair, and bright blue eyes. Significant People: His father, Henry Ellström, owner of Ellström Textiles. Meaningful Locations: His father’s mansion in Kingsport, where the sea breeze takes all his cares away. Treasured Possessions: His violin, a priceless del Gesù. Traits: Adventure and thrill seeker. Generous with his wealth.


investigator handbook

Members of The Society for the Exploration of the Unexplained The following investigators (as well as the ones on the previous pages) can be used as inspiration when creating your own investigators, or as ready-to-play characters.

"Lucky" Sam Marsh,

Undergraduate Student of Biology (Ordinary Member), Age 20 "Lucky" Marsh is a man of action. Often sent out to lead any fieldwork conducted by the society, it is Lucky who is on good terms with the local police, shop owners, and residents of Arkham. Stunningly handsome, he is something of a charmer, able to wrest information out of all but the most reserved. Devoted to sports, Lucky is a member of the university athletics team and is a potential Olympic contender. His nickname was given to him by Dr. Chen, as he appears to have the nine lives of a cat—although, by now, he probably only has about five of them left. While Sam is a student, his actual profession is that of athlete. STR 55 INT 65 SAN 50 DB +1D4

CON 70 APP 90 HP 12 Build 1

SIZ 55 POW 50 Move 9

Backstory: Personal Description: Handsome, with messy hair, and shining eyes. Ideology/Beliefs: Exercise focuses the mind and provides strength for life’s challenges. I will win an Olympic gold. Significant People: I owe my life to Doctor Chen and would do anything for him. Traits: I carry my lucky dime wherever I go.

DEX 65 EDU 60 Luck 90

Skills: Climb 40%, Credit Rating 10%, Dodge 42%,

Fighting (Brawl) 50%, History 39%, Jump 55%, Languages: (English) 60%, (Latin) 15%, Library Use 40%, Natural World 50%, Navigate 30%, Sciences: (Biology) 40%, (Chemistry) 45%, Survival 30%, Swim 40%, Throw 30%.


"Lucky" Sam Marsh

chapter 6: Investigator Organizations

Wentworth Avebury,

Professor of Archaeology (Society Chairman), Age 58 Prof. Avebury was born in Arkham. Growing up surrounded by the local folklore has given him his lifelong interest in myths. He takes a meticulous approach to investigation and prefers conducting research rather than getting his hands "messy" with fieldwork.

Backstory: Personal Description: Long beard, and an enormous moustache. Significant People: My late wife, Martha; I think there was something she wanted to tell me before she died. Meaningful Locations: Kingsport and the smell of the sea. Treasured Possessions: My father's shotgun.

STR 55 INT 75 SAN 43 DB 0

CON 60 APP 55 HP 12 Build 0

SIZ 60 POW 45 Move 5

DEX 50 EDU 96 Luck 55

Traits: I love to hear, learn, and tell stories.

Skills: Appraise 30%, Archaeology 85%, Charm 30%, Credit Rating: 68%, Dodge 25%, Firearms (Rifle/Shotgun) 60%, Geology 60%, History 54%, Languages: (Arabic) 30%, (English) 96%, Library Use 80%, Occult 46%, Persuade 60%, Psychology 50%, Spot Hidden 40%.

Simon Chen, Doctor of Medicine (Secretary to the Society), Age 43

Dr. Chen moved to Arkham five years ago, having been an attending physician at Boston University School of Medicine before that. He has experienced many unusual occurrences during his lifetime and, since coming to Arkham, has begun to develop a fascination with unexplained phenomena. He particularly enjoys the challenges presented by crosswords and investigating grisly murders. STR 45 INT 80 SAN 60 DB –1

CON 55 APP 75 HP 10 Build –1

SIZ 45 POW 60 Move: 7


Wentwor Aveburyv

Backstory: Personal Description: A very trim physique. Ideology/Beliefs: Mysteries are obstacles to be solved with dedication and hard work. Treasured Possessions: Without my diary I am lost. Traits: I love a good puzzle, especially the daily crossword.

DEX 55 EDU 96 Luck 50

Skills: Credit Rating 60%, Charm 75%, Dodge

27%, Drive Auto 36%, First Aid 50%, History 19%, Law 25%, Listen 45%, Medicine 80%, Natural World 30%, Languages: (English) 96%, (Latin) 60%, Persuade 40%, Psychology 40%, Sciences: (Biology) 46%, (Chemistry) 50%, Spot Hidden 35%.

Simon Chen


investigator handbook

Reggie Wyness, Postgraduate

Student of History (Treasurer to the Society), Age 25

Reggie is a conscientious young man, diligent with money, and has an eye for detail. He is researching legends of New England, particularly the witch legends of both Arkham and Salem. He is often called upon to lend his eye to reviewing paperwork and accounts, as well as tomes of forgotten lore. STR 55 INT 70 SAN 55 DB 0

CON 75 APP 50 HP 13 Build 0

SIZ 60 POW 55 Move: 7

Backstory: Personal Description: Youthful face with the eyes of an old man. Ideology/Beliefs: I pride myself on keeping a balanced chequebook. Significant People: My grandfather; I think he may have married a witch. Traits: I love deciphering old tomes, often forgetting to eat and sleep.

DEX 40 EDU 75 Luck 65

Reggie Wyness

Skills: Accounting 40%, Art/Craft (Fine Art)

20%, Credit Rating 40%, Dodge 20%, History 80%, Law 30%, Library Use 40%, Navigate 26%, Occult 57%, Languages: (English) 75%, (Greek) 50%, (German) 50%, (Latin) 11%, Persuade 30%, Science (Astronomy) 30%, Spot Hidden 30%.

Victoria Knight,

Under-Librarian, Orne Library (Ordinary Member), Age 32 Victoria has worked at the Orne Library for nearly ten years, starting out as a lending assistant and rising to the heady heights of Under-Librarian, meaning that she has unrestricted access to all areas of the library. This, combined with her keen attitude and photographic memory, has proved to be a valuable asset in the society’s arsenal. Her favourite author is Arthur Conan Doyle and she fancies herself as a female Sherlock Holmes, solving crimes and putting the world to rights. STR 55 INT 80 SAN 80 DB 0

CON 50 APP 55 HP 11 Build 0

SIZ 60 POW 80 Move 8

Backstory: Personal Description: Prim and proper dress; business-like. Ideology/Beliefs: I hate injustice. Significant People: I will find the man responsible for my father's murder. Meaningful Locations: I’m most at home in the Orne Library. Treasured Possessions: My collection of first editions.

DEX 75 EDU 60 Luck 60

Skills: Accounting 35%, Credit Rating 20%,

Dodge 57%, Electrical Repair 40%, Fighting (Brawl) 34%, History 30%, Languages: (English) 85%, (French) 35%, Library Use 65%, Listen 37%, Locksmith 40%, Occult 45%, Persuade 21%, Psychology 40%, Sleight of Hand 20%, Spot Hidden 60%, Stealth 40%.


Victoria Knight

chapter 6: Investigator Organizations

Franklyn Dakota,

Undergraduate Student of Mathematics (Ordinary Member), Age 20 Franklyn, when not studying mathematics, is an amateur journalist who writes for the university student newspaper. He dreams of one day being a famous science fiction author. He is charged with writing up the society’s investigations, often having to leave out the more macabre and bizarre events in which he and his friends find themselves—public sensibilities being what they are. STR 80 INT 60 SAN 55 DB +1D4

CON 90 APP 45 HP 16 Build 1

SIZ 70 POW 55 Move 8

Backstory: Personal Description: Studious-looking, clipped beard. Ideology/Beliefs: I will rival H.G. Wells as a famous author. Significant People: My mother; I call her every day. Treasured Possessions: I never go anywhere without my trusty ink pen and notepad. Traits: Loves to gossip.

DEX 55 EDU 65 Luck 60

Skills: Art/Craft (Acting) 25%, Art/Craft

(Creative Writing) 50%, Charm 25%, Credit Rating 30%, Dodge 37%, Fighting (Brawl) 40%, History 20%, Languages: (English) 75%, (Greek) 20%, Library Use 45%, Persuade 40%, Psychology 30%, Sciences: (Astronomy) 36%, (Mathematics) 53%, (Physics) 45%.

Astrid Chantal,

Visiting Professor of Languages (Ordinary Member), Age 36 Prof. Chantal originates from Paris, and is in Arkham on a two-year visiting professorship. Her field of expertise is languages and she has proved herself extremely useful to the society by helping to decipher many tomes, and in interviewing people whose grasp of the English language is limited or non-existent. She is passionate about solving crimes and has, from time to time, assisted the gendarmerie in Paris. STR 45 INT 90 SAN 50 DB 0

CON 60 APP 70 HP 10 Build 0

SIZ 40 POW 50 Move 9

DEX 50 EDU 90 Luck 45

Franklyn Dakota

Backstory: Personal Description: Louise Brooks style dark hair, heavy mascara, and ruby red lips. Ideology/Beliefs: Dark forces work within our midst; we must fight to uncover them. Meaningful Locations: Paris… Of course! Traits: I am happiest with a drink in my hand and a handsome man on my arm.

Astrid Chantal

Skills: Art & Craft (Dancing) 30%, Credit Rating 51%, Dodge 25%, Fighting (Sword) 45%, Library Use 70%, Languages: (German) 51%, (Serbian) 30%, (English) 80%, (French) 90%, (Italian) 25%, (Japanese) 30%, (Latin) 40%, (Russian) 70%, Spanish (40%), (Sumerian) 20%, Persuade 30%, Psychology 50%.


investigator handbook hile each investigation brings its own unique challenges, the following guidance illustrates some tried-andtested techniques that investigators would do well to heed.

Investigative Procedures

Common to the majority of investigations, the following steps could be considered the essence of good investigative technique: G 1. Gather information.


2. Talk to and/or watch those involved. 3. Determine a motive or purpose. 4. Make a plan. 5. Carry out the plan.

Be warned—never expect an investigation to go by the book! Red herrings, deviating plots, and dastardly villains are all common elements that can thwart even the most meticulous investigator.

The Westley Isynwill Foundation Not much is known of Westley Isynwill before his appearance in Arkham, Massachusetts, early in 1920. But within a few short years, and with the help of a few steadfast companions, Isynwill built a group of parttime, low-rent occult investigators into an organization, which boasted such well-known investigators as Tobias Lang (died 1923), Mortimer Blake Jr. (died 1923), Jack Bligh (died 1923), Alfonse Ellis French (died 1924), August Hall (died 1924), Marcus Denham (died 1924) and Eddie Gump (died 1924). Throughout this chapter, excerpts taken from the notes of Peotr McLean, a member of the Westley Isynwill Foundation, are provided for illustration—to give like-minded investigators information and possible tactics that may make the difference between a rewarding investigation, and death or madness. Peotr McLean’s notes contain useful observations and helpful hints about personnel, equipment, weapons, standard investigative procedures, and tactics to fit a variety of situations into which the investigator of the unknown may be thrown.


“One must seek out as much information about a phenomenon before confronting it. Westley Isynwill’s usual method was to split the team. I was usually assigned, along with Eddie Gump or August Hall, to cover libraries, town records, newspapers, witnesses, as well as other places and people where background information could be found.” —Peotr McLean

Gather Information "You handle the books; I’ll handle the speakeasies." —Eddie Gump Before rushing off to destroy unnatural and blasphemous horrors, an investigative team must learn all it can about its enemy; whatever form that enemy might take, from available sources of information. Researching the history behind any family, place, or sequence of events related to an investigative target can produce real insights that will help to determine the course of action for the investigators. First, your investigator should determine what they are up against. This may involve going to the library, speaking with local residents or interested parties, trying to obtain the journals and diaries of those involved, and weighing reports of the problem, perhaps with the help of arcane books. Though it is folly to split up a party in a tactical situation, investigative tasks can be divided with relative safety among smaller groups when speed is necessary. Often newspapers and personal diaries have pertinent information. Libraries, newspaper files, state and local records of births and deaths, historical societies, hospitals and schools, individual doctors and lawyers, ministers and priests, and private organizations like chambers of commerce (among others) may offer information which proves lifesaving in retrospect.


The public library is usually a team's first source of background information on a phenomenon. If a town is too small to have its own library, check the county library or the library in the nearest large town. Search by subject, name, and title for key persons, places, events, sequences of events, deaths, or disappearances. Search the index for anything written by key persons. Search for any books about local legends or folklore, either by the indigenes or the latter-day inhabitants of an area. Libraries usually contain local newspaper files and possibly also have copies of old newspapers that are no longer in circulation, or even newspapers from other towns, states, or countries.

chapter 7: Life as an Investigator If an investigative team manages to get themselves in someone's home or office, either as part of a background research or part of a primary investigation of the target itself, they should take time to search any desks, libraries, or collections of books they come across—if safe and prudent to do so.

Clipping Services

ping ser vice may be The use of a professional clip tors wishing to keep desired by those investiga h companies maintain abreast of the news. Suc many newspapers and multiple subscriptions to clip articles of interest magazines and, for a fee, are small, ranging from to their clients. Initial fees sing with the number $1.50 to $4.00 a week, increa list. Outlets in places of topics added to the client’s e ser vices for foreignlike New York City provid ploying a batter y of language newspapers, em iodicals for information translators to search the per sonal correspondents desired by their clients. Per countr y or world are living in other parts of the sting clippings. also a good source of intere


Many published scenarios include quotations, excerpts, statements, or letters that are given to the players to study and interpret. These materials always contain clues or potentially useful information—or they would not be handed out. Likewise, some Keepers like to prepare authentic-looking player handouts for their players’ enjoyment and to add a tangible quality to the game experience. Often many hours of labor and love go into creating a gaming prop, and players should always handle such items with due respect.


For contemporary investigations, access to the Internet will expedite research, with much of the information found in libraries, newspapers, and governmental records easily accessible. Blogs and social networks can also provide insight into individuals, as well as identifying social and business connections. In most cases such information is provided free of charge, although more focused lines of enquiry (for example, researching family trees or details of financial statements) may require payment per request. Personal banking information and private business accounts will be restricted, requiring investigators to consider acquiring such data illegally, and thus both suitable expertise and care should be employed. The wealth of information available on the Internet comes at a price. Ill-informed opinion and inaccuracy plague the material to be found online. Beware of false identities and fake information, particularly on social networks. Remember to check your facts before taking action.

The second-best source of information is the local newspaper morgue. If a town is too small to have a newspaper, or if the local paper is now defunct, check in the nearest large town's library. Search for key family names, events, sequences of events, dates, places, marriages, deaths, births, injuries, crimes, and so on. Always look over the obituaries. Keep the search category narrow enough to get the required information but broad enough not to miss fringe items. Look for articles covering deaths or disappearances; Cemeteries and Churches especially unusual or strange deaths. Try to determine Before local authorities began record-keeping, churches when a phenomenon began. Chronologies of events, kept records of births, deaths, and deaths, births, and marriages, marriages. If civic records do not can often reveal useful stretch back far enough, check local information, such as whether churches, as well as local cemeteries the phenomenon was brought Splitting Up for tombstones of key persons or to the area or originated there. “When splitting your team to visit families. Keep in mind that many different locations, it’s essential that you wealthy families have private plots. all remember to establish, in advance, Civic Records rendezvous places and times. Rendezvous Onsite Investigation Usually located at city halls Once at the primary site of the can take place at hotels, where telegrams or county seats, these contain phenomenon, continue to investigate birth, death and marriage and telephone calls can be made and also the physical surroundings for clues. certificates, property records, received. Book rooms and wire money If the site is a house, perform a and police records. These ahead of time to cover expenses.” — systematic search of each room, documents are all public, and Peotr McLean looking for letters, diaries, books, should, in most cases, be freely journals, newspapers, maps, and available for inspection. other objects which might be hidden


investigator handbook in desks, closets, boxes, dressers, under beds, under rugs, in walls, the attic, or in the basement. Check the fireplace and the ashes. Don’t forget old houses may have forgotten boarded-up rooms and secret passageways.

Be Careful!

“Be extremely careful when copying out the inscriptions you find! One time, Spencer Watkins, an up-and-coming recruit, was set to copying some drawings found in a sea-front cave while the rest of us went ahead to explore a series of dark tunnels. On our return there was nothing left of poor old Watkins, just a pile of ashes and a red crayon.” —Peotr McLean


Take photographs to preserve transient phenomena and evidence that cannot be removed from the site. Photographs (or video for modern era types) provide opportunities for examination of an object or site at a safe remove. Photographs also lessen the often painstaking task of copying down inscriptions and arcane sigils, and reduce the chance for errors in transcription.

Talk to Those Involved Reading people isn’t the same as reading books. Just like old-time gold prospectors had


takes poker ranged a high-s ar p um G ie dd “E r to l mobster in orde game with a loca t the Selby formation abou in r fo m hi p m pu ved in town. ew, recently arri Gang—a rival cr from the die got distracted Ed , ly te na tu or nf U when he osed to be doing job he was supp Guns were ss was cheating! bo ob m e th d re figu lucky sued. Eddie was en t gh fi re fi a d drawn an issed out on Of course, he m e! iv al t ou t ge to y Gang, g about the Selb in th e gl sin a g discoverin s pocket!” with $6,000 in hi e av le d di he t n bu —Peotr McLea

sieving pans to separate the gold from rock, the investigator needs to perceptually sieve the information they obtain from interviews. Apart from what’s actually said, listen to the tone and rhythm of the voice, look at the speaker’s eyes and face. Are they sweating? Is their breathing strained? Are they talking fast in a high-pitched squeal? All of these are indicators that someone could not be telling you the whole truth. What is their body language telling you? Try to befriend the people you meet during an investigation. Consider what they have to say. Even if they know nothing now, they may be of help in the future. As detectives of the supernatural, investigators should proceed cautiously and try to make allies. You never know when you will need a friend.


Those closely involved may be reluctant to talk about their experiences. Such witnesses need to be handled carefully. Going in heavy-handed might scare a valuable witness away, while being too soft might give the person the opportunity to mislead you. Use discretion and don't take people or things on face value.


It is often said that an investigator is only as good as his or her contacts. A good network of useful contacts defines how quickly you can gather information, as well as how useful that information will be. Whether doctor, bartender, taxi driver, garbage collector, hobo, or criminal lowlife, these are the people who have an “ear to the street,” and who can be turned to for advice, or pumped for information. A clerk at City Hall or a drinking buddy from the local police force can often provide the inside track on information not publicly known. Sometimes it’s about give and take—perhaps what your investigator knows can help them close an open case—share and share alike. Equally, criminal connections can be useful, particularly if snooping around other people’s business. Staying on the right side of a contact can be very important—offending the mob, for example, is never a clever thing to do. Treat your contacts right and they will usually extend you the same courtesy.


Westley Isynwill

chapter 7: Life as an Investigator

When talking to witnesses and other characters, try to roleplay through the conversations rather than just simply rolling Charm, Intimidate, or Persuade skills to determine the information received. You’ll enjoy it all the more—after all, roleplaying is at the heart of the game.

If importan t informatio n is to be foun d, the Keeper will be patie nt with playe r queries an d rolls. If nothing is to be found, then the Keeper w ill advise the players. How ever, the way that such qu estions and responses are phrase d may be sign ificant. Push rolls if you believe ther e is something to be found; however, w eigh up th e potential co nsequences if you push too far.


Investigators can find themselves in all manner of tricky situations, whether with the law, a diligent hotel manager, or a rough-and-ready criminal. Sometimes a bribe might work to extricate the unfortunate investigator from the mess they have gotten into. However, be careful! Most things run smoother if appreciation is shown for “services rendered.” Some people get antsy at the notion of anything resembling a bribe, so remember that goods, services, information, and thanks “in kind” are all good alternatives to cash.

Other Sources

Check local watering holes or hobo communities for talk around town. The inhabitants of a town might be suspicious of strangers, and some of them might be outright hostile, so it pays to tread carefully. However, the town drunk is usually a safe, though unpredictable, person to ply for information, so don’t forget to pack a bottle.

At the Scene Where investigations lead to a specific location—for example the bad guy’s hideout or monster’s lair—it is best to be forewarned by ensuring appropriate research has been conducted before rushing in. Once on site, it’s good advice to examine the physical surroundings. Comb the area for clues, inspecting the belongings of victims or suspects. All this may help to arrive at a realistic picture of what has happened. Take precautions and stay together where danger is likely. Bad things have a habit of returning. If that something does return, and there is no easy way to handle it, do not hesitate to run. Your feet are your friends. Your investigator

Remain Alive


“While at a site of strange phenom enon, the primary task is to remain alive and sane! Beyond that, yo u must discover as quickly and safely as possible the nature of th e phenomenon. Our experience has shown that it is safe to assume that on any given missio n, at least one member of the te am may be kille d or go mad (or worse). The life of an investig ator is often short, but is alw ays exciting! A w el l-prepared investigator arm s themselves with good equipment and a good pair of ru nning shoes.” —Peotr McLea n

can always return later when the danger is passed. Dead investigators rarely solve cases.


Setting a watch over someone or a location can often prove valuable. Observing who visits a particular location can throw up new lines of enquiry, as well as confirming possible suspects. Suspicious behavior should be monitored, and if your investigators are lucky enough to catch someone red-handed, they should be ready to take action—especially if innocent people are in danger. Contemporary investigators might seek to employ sophisticated surveillance technology, like spy cameras, vehicle tracking, audio capture, and so on. Such devices can be tremendously helpful, particularly in high-risk investigations; however, any suspect worthy of this kind of equipment is probably able to utilize counter-surveillance tactics to avoid their dealings being spied upon. For over one hundred years, people have been trying to record strange phenomena on film—to little avail. Investigators expecting to set up a time-lapse video or a hidden, reactive camera in order to capture some neverbefore-seen monster or weird singularity may be in for both a long wait and disappointment. Investigators using hi-tech devices and techniques are advised to remain on the right side of the law. Evidence gained illegally is worthless in a court of law. Equally, those employing illegal techniques, covert data monitoring, phone taps, etc., are liable to one day find themselves in court facing harsh penalties if they are found guilty. Sometimes, good old-fashioned techniques are far cheaper, don’t require a high level of technical skill, and aren’t likely to land you in jail!


investigator handbook sometimes, it will only be your investigators who can make the difference, and they must stand alone against the darkness. It’s at times like these when your game becomes truly memorable! Ideally your plan should involve all the investigators and make use of their differing skills and expertise. Everyone has a part to play. If you can’t rely on your colleagues and friends, then who is going to watch your back?

Carry Out the Plan "Don’t look back! Run! Run for your lives!" —Westley Isynwill

Determine a Motive or Purpose Once the facts have been collected, it’s time to piece the accumulated information and evidence together to come up with a reason why the events you are investigating took place. Is this a single event or is something larger going on behind the scenes? Who is pulling the strings? Is there anyone you’ve met during your enquiries who is likely to gain from the situation?

Make a Plan "On all accounts and in all matters, do not split the party." —Westley Isynwill

The cheapest and safest way to emerge victorious is to use brainpower. In many published scenarios, a way exists for the investigators to solve or dispel the problem without always resorting to physical combat, though sanity may need risking. As a rule of thumb, only pursue physical combat against creatures that have already made physical attacks. Otherwise, rely on repeating the words from the manuscript, breaking the mirror that the tracks lead through, melting down the dire statuette, and so on. If you find out that a grisly demon inhabits the old, rickety mine shaft, you may not need to climb down it again and get eaten or struck permanently insane. You could set fire to the mine supports, dynamite the shaft, or pour concrete into the opening, thus burying the threat, perhaps forever. Remain cool and calm. Rushing into decisions in the heat of the moment is often when disaster strikes and insanity and death ensue! If things go wrong, try to backtrack and buy some time in order to come up with an alternative plan. A plan is always better than no plan. If disaster occurs and eldritch horrors overwhelm the team, those who can should flee and leave the scenario as “a story better left untold!” If the Keeper consents, the players might attempt the same scenario later on, when they feel more confident and their investigators are better able to handle themselves. But beware, for the horror will have had that much more time to grow!

Tactical Considerations

When you understand the situation (or at least think you do), make a plan to deal with the problem. Don’t assume that the danger is too much to face—consider the akes, holy "Wooden st options and resources available , and a sack to you. Perhaps taking down the water, a hose don't tell me. entire cult is going to be difficult to of salt? No, ot want to achieve with just your small group of I really do n investigators; perhaps there are some know." allies you can call upon? Who else has Blake Jr. —Mortimer a stake in “cleaning up the town?” Do something meaningful and remember,


Standing Watches

Always stand watches when spending the night on an investigation. A two-man watch is best, but a luxury. Divide the number of hours in the night by the number of team members and draw straws. Be on guard for piping, overhead shadows, lights, and apparitions. Never investigate alone if you can at all help it. If something appears, wake the other investigators immediately. This may save your life.

chapter 7: Life as an Investigator


Violence is the last line of defense. Whenever preparing to enter a potential tactical situation, clean, repair, and load weapons. Carry spare ammunition and flares. After firing a weapon, as soon as it is safe, reload. Carry rope, water, and food in a pack. Never put anything in a pack that cannot be abandoned should the pack be dropped to expedite flight. Don’t bury flares and light sources in your pack—have them at the ready. When exploring underground sites and cellars, smell first for foul, overwhelming stenches. Although sometimes an odor yields information, it can also have adverse effects on your health. Elect a scout and send them down first.


yellow robe works wonders when infiltrating a cult hideout. But do your homework. It’s no use turning up to the cult ritual in wrong colors! Good preparation can pay dividends. For those times when close scrutiny of a disguise is likely, make-up and theatrical prosthetics can be called upon to add weight and veracity. Ideally employ a professional to apply your prosthetics (or at least get some training beforehand) as the last thing you want is for your false nose to melt and fall off when standing next to the cult’s sacrificial fire. Stage actors are often out of work and at a loose end, so are usually very happy to utilize their skills for a few bucks. Such willingness means that you could potentially recruit them to the team, getting them to play whatever roles are required in the course of an investigation.

Note that spells take time to cast. The caster can easily bring forth death and madness in the amount of time it takes to cast a single spell. If it is not possible to anticipate the effects of a spell, at least get the designated caster to a safe place (usually well away from everyone else) while the spell is being cast. Few spells can be employed surreptitiously, with minimal unusual behavior on the part of the practitioner. Many spells require formal rituals, wild gesticulations, loud incantations in strange languages, animal sacrifices, and other bizarre and socially abhorrent acts to be successfully cast. In other words, it is impossible to successfully cast spells in busy public places like Times Square. Take care not to be observed or overheard, as spell casting often upsets bystanders and local police.


The only real tactical use of dynamite is to destroy things that cannot be destroyed with small arms. The use of dynamite in tactical situations is limited by several factors. It is difficult to use underground, anywhere populous, or in an expensive or structurally unsound building, or if there is a need to preserve certain artifacts or information. Its use is strongly discouraged.


Passing yourself off as another person can sometimes be of particular value when attempting to gather hard to find information. The use of a disguise to blend into what would otherwise be a dangerous or difficult environment means that the investigator can gain access to places and people they would not otherwise be able to. Some disguises are more difficult to obtain, such as police, firefighter, and military uniforms. Being discovered and accused of impersonating such professions can lead to unwelcome attention from the law. A well-tailored dark suit can usually provide suitable attire when acting as a government agent, and often a simple black or


“Listen to me—spells are notoriously unreliable. Hester Green, a former NWI intelligence officer, joined the team and spent weeks poring over some of the old tomes in the Foundation’s collection. Soo n after, we were together in a life-threaten ing situation and, as I was preparing to flee, He ster shouted out, "I can handle this!" She then clutched her head, let out a piercing scream and, apparently having seriously miscast whatever spell she had attempted, dropped dea d.” —Peotr McLean


“Dynamite stands as the ultimate confession of failure. Many Westley Isynwill Foundation members have died using it. One thing that everyone remembers about Westley is that he always smoked a large cigar. Never a cigarette. “A cigar is more practical—it stays lit longer," he used to say. He carried his cigar clenched in his teeth so that he could shoot with one hand and light a stick of dynamite with the other. Westley died near the Apache Trail, Arizona. We were facing a pack of unknown, indescribable creatures and Westley covered our escape by raining dynamite down on the beasts. Just as we got clear, he mishandled a stick and it landed close by. Without a word, Westley threw himself over the blast to save the rest of us. The creatures pounced on Westley and all of the dynamite he was carrying went off. Needless to say, there was nothing left to reanimate.” —Peotr McLean


investigator handbook Such types have a tendency to be "highly strung" and if not carefully tended to, can "act up" at the most inopportune times. Ensure your actors understand the gravity of the situations you are asking them to enter.

Coded Communications "More hose, man! More hose!" —Professor Daniel Herbert Occasionally, an investigator is forced to use a telephone or carry on a conversation where there is no privacy, and discretion must be exercised in what is said. An eavesdropper could raise far more than inconvenient questions should he or she overhear plans for a break-in, a demolitions blast, or something even darker. It is recommended that investigative teams agree beforehand to the existence and use of a code, and use the code whenever needed. Every member of a team should memorize the team's standard cypher. It is not advisable for team members to carry written keys to valuable codes, as these can easily fall into the wrong hands.

Cell Phones

Muscle and Mental Fortitude

Team Composition

ected from “Any muscle should be sel priate mental those who display an appro it. The last fortitude—they will need tors wants person a team of investiga h all the to go berserk is the man wit weapons.” —Peotr McLean

"You wouldn’t believe what Eddie Gump could do with his hands.” —Westley Isynwill The investigative team should, ideally, contain a range of skills and experience. The following are suggested categories of expertise that each team member can bring to bear.

L a n g u ag e s

“Latin, Arabic, G reek and ancient Egyptian hierogly phics are all usef ul to know. Having someone who spea ks some European la nguages can also be a big help. If po ssible, try to recrui t members of differ ing nationalities.” —Peotr McLean

Found Devices

“Avoid touching or attempting to use devices that you find. Once, when we were exploring some ruins in the Australian Outback, Jimmy Partridge came across what he thought was an old box camera. Before we knew what had happened, Jimmy was pointing the device toward us, shouting, “Say cheese!” Luckily the majority of us were familiar with such situations and we dived for cover. The same could not be said for Professor Herbert, who disappeared when the "camera" flashed, and who has never been seen since.” —Peotr McLean

Contemporary investigators are advised to not rely on cell (mobile) phones. While such devices are useful in the big city, there are still huge swathes of countryside and remote locations where cell phone signal is either very limited or non-existent. If carrying a cell phone, a spare (fully charged) battery is advised, as is an impact-resistant case. Operating near bodies of water, such as sewers, rivers, lakes, and the ocean, runs the risk of investigators accidentally dropping their phones in water, thus watertight phone cases are a necessity.

Communications Specialists

A charismatic team member can usually gain more information with a smile and a kind word than some thug using strong-arm tactics. A person who can converse with a wide range of people is often useful to assuage the worries of local authorities or to gain the confidence of unwilling or fearful informants.


The goal of all investigations should be to uncover information, books, objects, letters, and nefarious plots. Unfortunately, sometimes information, books and the like are guarded. The task of a fighter or tactician is to get their fellow investigators through to their goal and out alive with the goods or information. Ex-military personnel are good potential recruits for this job because of their skills with weapons and tactics. In addition, sometimes despite best efforts to avoid a fight, a conflict ensues. Having someone around who can handle themselves while protecting the rest of the team can be invaluable.


A successful team needs a good researcher and "the knowledge." Investigators skilled in fields of expertise like history, archaeology, medical science, the occult, astronomy, geology, and zoology, can sometimes prove to be worth their weight in gold. Likewise, anyone with a facility with languages, both modern and ancient, can prove to be a real boon.


chapter 7: Life as an Investigator


Never underestimate the value of a handyman. A mechanic can drive vehicles, open doors, pick locks, repair hinges, fix weapons, devise gadgets, care for crumbling books, operate a winch, run heavy or unfamiliar machinery, and otherwise save the day when things go wrong.

Other Equipment


“A sawn-off shotgun. I never leave home without one.” —Eddie Gump

“Never mind the screams! Get the generator, quick!” —Westley Isynwill

Lanterns and Lighting

It is foolish to enter strange and dark places without the benefit of a strong and sturdy source of light. A steady source of bright light acts Clean Clothes as an invaluable weapon, bringing Archivist “After a long night spent breaking up some comfort and courage to the One team member should dark cult’s ritual, investigators are usually investigators, and fear and dismay be designated the archivist, to their foes. quite tired and perhaps covered with gore whose job is to keep a and filth, and so changing into some clean running record of the team's Automobiles clothes makes for a more comfortable activities, making notes of Every investigative team should ride home. The last thing anyone wants various clues, and keeping have an automobile with a large track of information gleaned is having to explain their blood-soaked trunk or passenger capacity to carry from the team's findings. If appearance to inquisitive policemen.” all the team’s equipment. It should necessary, this job can be be equipped with a winch and with —Peotr McLean passed around on rotation. such essential equipment as a jack, The archivist may also act as a spare tire, a complete tool kit, librarian of the team's books, etc. A winch is an invaluable piece keeping track of which books of equipment. If the vehicle mires the investigators possess. itself, use the winch to pull it out. If a large object must be moved, use Understudies the winch with block-and-tackle New recruits who are not sent on investigations, but stay as a hoist. Use of a winch is limited only by the investigative at the team's base and study books or otherwise hone their team's imagination. skills. This pool of fresh blood (so to speak) helps maintain the continuity of an ongoing investigation. A full stable of Clothing Investigators should wear leather gloves, especially if understudies ensures that despite the high mortality and exploring in foreign places; these protect the hands against insanity rate among full-time investigators, a complete team insects and other bites. Leather boots also provide valuable can always be fielded. protection. If a descent into a sewer or even more foul


An excellent method of preserving clues for future examination is photography. A team member whose hobby is photography is a valuable asset, especially if this person also knows how to develop pictures and regularly carries around the massive stack of supplies required to do so. The team photographer should carry a camera at ready (rather than a weapon).

Automobiles are an important asset!


investigator handbook underground location is planned, investigators should consider investing in hip boots or waders. Not only do these offer greater protection, but wearing them may prevent an investigator from contracting a horrible disease.

Other Equipment

Picks, shovels, axes, jacks, crowbars, spare clothes, tool kits, spare tires, photographic and darkroom equipment, and rope can all be extremely useful at times. Most of this stuff can be left in the vehicle; however, each investigator should think carefully about what to pack in their backpack or briefcase.

Planning for the Future “Leaving a legacy is perhaps the most important thing each of us can do. Our notes, books, and memories will be forgotten unless there is someone to take up the struggle against those from Outside. Just as it is our task to fight the horrors of the night, it’s also our job to recruit the next generation of steadfast heroes. If we, who know, don’t do this, then who will?” —Westley Isynwill Whether playing in a series of one-off scenarios with the same investigator or immersing oneself in a long-running campaign game, players are likely to lose investigators due to deadly combat, accident, or insanity, and are advised to think about how their next investigator might enter the game. Often it can be more rewarding if the new investigator can be slotted into the game because there is an existing tie between them and the retired character or their investigative group.

splintered, with different characters heading in different directions. For example, in the middle of an investigation taking place in New York City, it becomes apparent to the investigators that some clues relating to New Orleans require following-up. Thus the investigators, rather than suspending their investigations in New York, send their protégés to New Orleans instead (this could take the form of a separate, one-off, gaming session where the players take on the roles of the protégés).


An investigator’s existing contact, used frequently for information on a series of cases, might conceivably grow to become a player character in their own right. Perhaps they get dragged into the action because of their particular skills; perhaps they happen to be in the wrong place at the right time. If their investigator friend suddenly dies or disappears, they might come looking for answers—leading them to the door of the other investigators.

Making a Will

Before getting too deeply involved in the pursuit of dark crimes and nefarious plots, an investigator might be advised by a close friend or colleague to draw-up a will. A professional lawyer can be called upon to assist the investigator to ensure their wishes are bound in law. In the 1920s, a simple will


A protégé could be a nephew or niece, a former student or pupil, a business associate, even a police detective who perhaps once helped the investigator back onto the straight and narrow. However a protégé might be introduced into the game, they provide the investigator with a loyal and helpful friend who can often be the first contact for an investigator who needs a certain expertise, which neither the investigator nor any of his or her party possesses. This could be a specific skill like piloting an airplane, in-depth knowledge like astronomy or geology, or a facility with a foreign language. Protégés may also be groomed to take over an investigation, following-up lines of enquiry begun by their old friend who may feel that they can no longer continue due to ill-health, mental fatigue, or worse. Once drawn into the mysteries already known to the investigator, the protégé may find it hard to resist becoming an investigator in their own right. Protégés also provide players with alternative investigators to play in situations where the group becomes


Eddie Gump

chapter 7: Life as an Investigator should cost no more than $10-20, while in the modern era a will is likely to cost $100-200. The investigator may wish to leave property and money to family and/or close friends, who may well include a fellow investigator or protégé, as well as material research, acquired tomes, and artifacts. In some cases, the investigator may prefer to leave valuable antiquities to a local museum, ensuring that the materials in question remain accessible for future generations.


Many investigators don't live long enough to retire, and those that do tend to carry with them the scars of their investigations. Some know when to call it quits and pass on their secrets and research to another who will take up the mantle and bring fresh vigor to the fight. Even in retirement, those who have left the horrors of the Mythos behind them to seek solace in a quieter life may still provide wisdom from the comfort of an armchair when asked via a telegram, telephone call, or personal visit. Sometimes, in the direst circumstances, a retired investigator might heed the call and find themselves back in the thick of the action.


Just stick with the plan!

“Despite the losses, horrors and unpleasant places we find ourselves in, we few men brought together in comradeship are all that stands in the way of the end of civilization as we know it. There will be hard times ahead and some of you will fall, but never for one second doubt your resolve. We work together and we fall together!” —Westley Isynwill When fighting dark cults and unspeakable monsters, keep in mind that each investigator possesses a monster of their own which is also capable of wreaking great havoc. This monster is made of moist grey convoluted flesh, has thousands of tentacles called nerves and hides within a cavern called a cranium. This monster, called "Brain," is marvelously equipped with eyes, ears, a nose, and common sense. Brains can save an investigator's life when summoned in advance and used wisely. Every investigator should look before he leaps, think before he acts, stay alert, sane, and instead of working hard, work smart.

Peotr McLean

ssia, 1897 in St. Petersburg, Ru Peotr Mashir was born in . McLean minor Russian noble. Mr the black-sheep son of a il war. t for the Whites in the civ was an officer and fough Mclean, a, changed his name to Later, he came to Americ m there of Westley Isynwill. Fro and came across the path exploits many of the Foundation’s he played a major role in China, ly throughout Europe, and traveled extensive e other the Middle East, and som Australia, South America, less well-known locales. the of the original members of It is believed he was last ereabouts ation; however, his wh Westley Isynwill Found stery. his passing remain a my and the circumstances of ed for excerpts have been select His diary, from which mine covered in an abandoned presentation here, was dis rest a ry reads, “I think I’ve earned in California. The last ent now.”—The Editor


investigator handbook


chapter 7: Life as an Investigator


investigator handbook


investigator handbook his chapter provides an overview of the history of the 1920s, as well as key information that may be useful to investigators operating in this era. The 1920s was a time of economic growth and prosperity. Financially and culturally a new dawn beckoned, where the horrors of the Great War could be left behind. Jazz music blossomed, artistic pursuits could be enjoyed, and people’s desire for a better life could be fulfilled. Beginning in metropolitan areas, such as New York, Chicago, and New Orleans in North America, as well as London, Paris, and Berlin in Europe, the era was embodied by a break with the traditions of the past. A new modernity called, born out of the Great War. Automobiles, cinema, and radio were tangible examples of how new technology was starting to affect the daily life of the population.

Prohibition and the Rise of the Anti-Hero

In the Unites States, on January 16, 1920, the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution came into effect. The era of Prohibition was born. Despite referendums in such places as Chicago showing opposition to the ban by as many as three to one, Congress posed little opposition when the measure was introduced. Before long the Amendment had been ratified by the minimum two-thirds of the states. The Volstead Act put teeth in Prohibition, allowing for the arrest and prosecution of those who violated the law. While the Amendment banned the production of alcoholic beverages, it did nothing to diminish the demand for liquor and there were many who saw the supply of illegal alcohol as a business opportunity. Alcohol production and distribution went underground as criminal syndicates set about Al Capone quenching the thirst of Prohibition America. Alphonse Capone arrived in Chicago in 1920. Formerly a thug with New York City's The U.S.'s thousands of miles of vicious Five Points gang, Capone was invited to Chicago by his old friend Johnny international borders were impossible Torrio. Capone proved a worthy lieutenant, forming an allianc e with the Sicilian to guard and liquor flowed in from Genna brothers and working out a truce with the North Side gang, led by Irishman Canada, the Caribbean, and Mexico, Dion O'Banion. The truce proved a shaky one and in 1925 O'Ban ion was assassinated while small "alky cookers" and illegal in his flower shop. War soon broke out as Hymie Weiss, taking over for O'Banion, stills fired up all over the country. attacked Johnny Torrio in front of his home, almost killing him. Three of the six Most big cities, particularly in the Genna brothers met death within the following few months before Weiss was finally north and east, did little to check the gunned down in the streets. Capone, following the retirem ent of a suddenly fearful flow of illegal alcohol—most of the Torrio, took over and became the most well-known gangster boss in history. members of government and police The gang wars reached a peak on St. Valentine's Day, 1929, when eight members preferring to either ignore, or actively of the North Side gang, led by George "Bugs" Moran, were lined up against a garage participate in the unlawful production wall and executed. The public’s initial affection for gangst ers waned as the wars and distribution. escalated and more and more innocent citizens became caugh t in the crossfire. Near While illegal distilleries could be the end of the decade, the federal government took steps to shut down the mobs, found around the U.S., the real money sending men like Eliot Ness to clean up places like Chicago. came from importing good-quality In 1931, Capone was convicted of income tax evasion and violations of the booze from the Caribbean, Canada, Volstead Act, and sentenced to prison. His incarceration includ ed a term at the new and Europe, with much coming from Alcatraz federal prison. British vessels anchored just outside of the American three-mile limit. While motorboats brought in liquor from the high seas, trucks also smuggled huge quantities of alcohol down the East Coast from Canada. Word-of-mouth "speakeasies" grew in every major city, where the distributors could sell directly to the paying customer. Supposedly secret places where patrons could drink, speakeasies were often quite well known. The most famous in New York was undoubtedly Jack and Charlie's, at 21 W. 52nd Street, known then and now as “21.”


chapter 8: The Roaring Twenties

Illegal hooch was simply poured down the drain.

In 1925, Variety, the entertainment magazine, estimated that Harlem alone had eleven high-class, white-trade nightclubs, and at least five hundred lesser, low-down speakeasies. Despite police raids and crackdowns, the authorities couldn’t control the illegal activity and corruption was rife. Prior to prohibition, alcohol had been cheap; a highball might cost as little as 15 cents in 1914. In 1920, the cost could be twenty times that ($3) for a top-of-the-line whiskey—a low-end glass would still be as much as fifty cents. Supplying illegal alcohol to a thirsty citizenry was big business and went hand-in-hand with the rise of gangsterism in America. Previously little more than hoods and muggers running small, local protection rackets, the burgeoning black market in alcohol provided gangsters the opportunity for huge profits. Running into the hundreds of millions of dollars, such profits meant that criminal syndicates were able to capitalize and diversify their business, with gambling, loansharking, prostitution, and large-scale protection rackets being just some of the ventures vigorously pursued by the "mob." Gangsters often used their ill-gotten gains to buy protection from police and judges. Rum-running was estimated to be a two-billion-dollar-a-year industry, employing some half-million workers. Competition was fierce and gangland killings spread across the nation from city to city, with various small-time hoods fighting for control of local business. In New York, Dutch Schultz and Legs Diamond warred with Meyer Lansky and Lucky Luciano, while the Purple Gang ran Detroit. Cleveland, Philadelphia, Boston, and Baltimore all came under control of well-financed and increasingly organized gangsters. However, it is in Chicago where the problem was most evident.

The syndicates did not have outright ownership of all criminal ventures however. Individuals such as Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, John Dillinger, and Charles "Pretty Boy" Floyd demonstrated that it only took cunning and guts to pull-off daring bank raids and robberies. Such populist outlaws quickly became media sensations. On the 20th February 1933, the 21st Amendment came into effect and prohibition was finally repealed, but not before organized crime had gotten a solid foothold that effectively was never lost.

The New Freedom Post-war America saw a change in the attitude towards women and work. While the men were away fighting the war, women worked in factories, offices, and wherever they were needed (often on much lower wages than the men had enjoyed). Women's suffrage was gained in 1920; however, the symbol of the times was the "flapper," a young woman who seemed more interested in personal freedom than political activism. A shock to prewar morals, flappers discarded brassieres and corsets in favor of lightweight dresses, bobbed hair, rolled-down stockings, and cigarettes. Sometimes called "jazz babies," flappers were a symbol of the era—the party girl who wore lipstick and rouge, and rode in a rumble seat sharing a hip flask—a "Sheba" to her boyfriend's "Sheik." By 1928, five times as many women were working in jobs as in 1918. Black and white America found some common ground with the latter's discovery of the Cotton Club in New York's Harlem; Louis Armstrong and Bessie Smith became recording stars and went on to win international acclaim. The “Harlem Stride Style” of jazz was characterized by musical improvisation and up-tempo rhythms, garnering not only success within the African-American community but also among white audiences eager for something


investigator handbook new and different. Indeed, the Harlem Renaissance had a significant cultural effect upon racial pride; intellectual pursuits, including literature, art, and music challenged racial stereotypes and led to greater numbers of AfricanAmerican writers becoming published and gaining attention at a national and international level. The twenties saw the final transition from rural to industrial. By 1920, less than half of the U.S. population still lived on farms or in rural communities. The vast majority of American families lived off an annual income of approximately $2,500 (considered to be the minimum standard living wage); just about half of these (largely immigrants) lived on much less, around $1,500 per year. New York City became the financial capital of the world, its Stock Exchange the heart of American investment. In 1920, a seat on the Exchange sold for $60,000; by 1929 the price had soared to a half-million dollars or more. Millionaires abounded: names like Mellon, Rockefeller and DuPont become known round the world, and men like Henry Ford are living proof that—with a little effort—even the commonest man can rise to great heights. By the end of the decade it seems that everybody has an investment, from housewife to chauffeur.

A Grand Party Dominating all other forms, dance music became the music of choice in the 1920s. Dance music got America up on its feet every weekend. Dance clubs started up across the country, where fame and fortune could be found in a sponsored dance competition, with competitors either inventing new steps in order to impress the judges or slogging it out in dance marathons that could literally go on for days and days.

Bessie Smith


Back in 1914, no self-respecting female would have entered a saloon; however, six-plus years later, the situation had changed. Illicit drinking was considered exciting and speakeasies where the destination for those wishing to socialize. The consumption of cocktails grew as they became the fashionable drink. Much bootleg liquor was composed of downright venomous ingredients, so cocktails with sweet and flavorsome additives (orange juice, sugar syrup, egg white, etc.) essentially masked the taste of the cheap booze. Many novelty dances grew in popularity, with the Charleston becoming the most well known of all.


Before World War I, cars were a luxury item, affordable only to the rich. During the twenties, the means of massproduction meant that automobiles became common throughout America and Canada. Over 23 million vehicles were registered by the end of the decade. To serve the growing population of car owners, the U.S. government embarked upon the greatest highway building program in history, criss-crossing the continent with a network of poured concrete roads. Dial telephones became the norm, eliminating the need to contact an operator in order to place a call. New electric appliances appeared nearly every day, including washing machines, toasters, curling irons, and corn poppers—even blow dryers for hair. As houses were not yet wired for outlets, most appliances had screw-in plugs that fitted a standard light-bulb socket. New electric refrigerators quickly replaced the venerable icebox. Radio quickly established itself as the first mass medium. Popular entertainment broadcasts birthed the advertising industry. By 1925, phonographs became commercially available to the public and brought with them the rise of the dance band.

chapter 8: The Roaring Twenties

Social Unrest Not everyone believed in the dream and many felt shut out of the game—or disagreed In 1920, the percentage with it. Factory and foundry of American homes with workers, coal miners, and electricity was 35%. By street car operators, police 1929 this figure had almost and telephone operators, doubled to 68%. However, all at one time or another for those living outside of found wages inadequate in the big cities the rate of the face of rising infl ation. change was much slower, Industrialists and owners with only 2% of farms conspired to keep wages down having electricity in 1920, and unions appeared among this rising to 9% by 1929. the ranks. The International Workers of the World—"the Wobblies"—called for One Big Union. But to the minds of many, unions were associated with Anarchists, Socialists, and foreign influence peddlers. In Russia, the new Bolshevik leaders called for a "world revolution of workers," and many labor unions in the U.S. heeded the call, inciting the violent, revolutionary overthrow of the government. In response, Attorney The era of silent movies was at its peak, and people flocked General A. Mitchell Palmer, the "Fighting Quaker," to cinema palaces each week to see the latest Hollywood ordered raids on the headquarters of various Socialist and offerings. Films were cranked out by the hundreds, making Communist organizations, arresting their ringleaders and stars of Buster Keaton, Lillian Gish, Douglas Fairbanks, deporting many to Russia. Charlie Chaplin, and Clara Bow. From 1927 onwards, silent The early 1920s saw numerous strikes, mob violence, films were quickly replaced with "talkies" where sound is and even murder. Anarchists sent bombs through the U.S. synchronized with the motion picture. mail and Mayday paraders were viciously attacked in the Commercial aviation became a reality, with ex-military streets by gangs of "patriots." and mail pilots touring the country, performing aeronautical Intolerance was also on the rise. The Ku Klux Klan feats and stunts, and selling rides in their open-cockpit flying (KKK) reemerged on the American scene in 1915, inspired machines to nervous first-time aeronauts. By 1927, the public by D.W. Griffi th's classic film Birth of a Nation. Small at saw that the future was in the skies when Charles Lindbergh fi rst, the KKK hit upon the idea of selling membership in found fame with the first solo non-stop transatlantic flight. 1920, a portion of the fee being kicked back to the salesman Interest in aviation grew. Applications for pilots’ licenses and those above him in a classic pyramid scheme. went up by 300 percent. New airfields were created and the By 1924 the Klan's numbers were estimated at 4,500,000 manufacture of aircraft soared. By the close of the decade there and public marches were held in Washington D.C. and were 61 U.S. passenger airlines and 47 airmail companies. other cities. Garbed in white robes, their identities Growth and development happened everywhere. The hidden by tall, peaked hats, the Klan vilified blacks, Jews, city skyscraper became the symbol of the times—a truly and Catholics, and were accused of numerous violent American architectural form. The low city skylines of the assaults and murders. In July 1923 the Klan’s rally, held in early century gave way to the spires and towers of capitalism Indianapolis, saw 100,000 people attend. rising everywhere from New York and Detroit, to Chicago, while architects and investors vied for the honor of building the tallest structure. In 1925, New York boasted over 500 buildings of ten stories or more, and by 1929 there were 78 buildings with twenty-plus stories and 19 with forty stories The Roaring Twenties died on October 29, 1929. On this or more. When New York City's Empire State Building was day stock prices on Wall Street collapsed. A sequence of constructed in 1930, soaring 102 stories and 1250 feet into financial events led to the Great Depression that would the air, it remained unchallenged as the tallest building in the stretch far in the 1930s, put millions of people out of work world and the defining symbol of the era. across the globe, and eventually give rise to the conditions that would lead to World War II.


Black Tuesday


investigator handbook

Chronology of the Roaring Twenties 1918: November 11—Armistice signed and the Great

War ends. 1919: April 28—the first in a series of mail bombs are discovered. Sent to government officials and industrialists, they spark the first post-war Red Scare riots. June 26— America's first tabloid newspaper, the New York Daily News, appears. True Stories is launched, taking advantage of the market for sex and scandal magazines. July 1—the Wartime Prohibition Act takes effect. Summer race riots rock Chicago for days after the drowning of a black youth who ventured too near the "white" beach. September 9—the Boston police strike results in riots, and is followed by national steel and coal strikes. November 19—Congress rejects Wilson's League of Nations. The Volstead Act is passed, allowing for legal enforcement of the Prohibition amendment. The ZR-3 dirigible (later named the R-34 Los Angeles) makes the first airship crossing of the Atlantic from England to Long Island, piloted by famed German airship pilot, Hugo Eckener. New York gambler Arnold Rothstein fixes baseball's World Series, paying members of the Chicago White Sox to throw the championship. By year's end an estimated one-to-two million American workers are on strike. Government raids, organized by 24-year-old J. Edgar Hoover, net hundreds of suspected communists; many are deported to Russia. 1920: August 8—Woman's Suffrage. September 16—a bomb rocks Wall Street in New York, killing forty people outright. November 3—KDKA radio in Pittsburgh broadcasts the returns of the Harding-Cox presidential election; Harding defeats Cox and takes office the following spring. Babe Ruth takes the batting title from Ty Cobb. The Ku Klux Klan, revived in 1915, begins selling memberships across the country, swelling its ranks. Man o' War is the racehorse of the year, and probably the decade. Eskimo Pie ice cream bars are introduced. In the wake of the World Series betting scandal, Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis is named the first Baseball Commissioner. Sacco and Vanzetti are accused of robbing an armored car and murdering the guards. Al Capone comes to Chicago from New York at the invitation of gangster Johnny Torrio. 1921: July 2—peace is signed with Germany. The first Miss America "bathing beauty" contest is held in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Lionel sells its one-millionth electric train set. White people "discover" Harlem and the famous Cotton Club. Sardi's restaurant opens in New York's theatre district. Jack Dempsey defeats the Frenchmen Carpentier to retain the heavyweight boxing title. Babe


Ruth hits fifty-nine home runs. Film star Fatty Arbuckle's career is ruined by a scandal involving the death of a young actress in San Francisco's St. Francis Hotel. 1922: February 22—President Harding has a radio installed in his office. September 16—the Halls-Mill homicide case involving a minister and his married choir leader is called "the murder of the decade" by the tabloids. By September, Mahjong sets are being imported by the thousands; some costing as much as $500. Radio sales top $60 million. The treasures of King Tut's tomb are revealed to the world, sparking an interest in Egyptian art and style that lasts the rest of the decade. 1923: August 2—Warren G. Harding dies in office— Vice-president Calvin Coolidge takes over. The Charleston dance craze, condemned by many as immoral, sweeps the nation. H.L. Mencken's American Mercury magazine makes its first appearance near the end of the year. Dance marathons become popular, followed by rocking-chair marathons and talking marathons called "Verb-andNoun Derbies." 1924: Simon & Schuster publish their first crossword puzzle book, setting off a nationwide craze. Turtleneck sweaters are popularized by playwright Noel Coward. Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue premieres at New York's Aeolian theatre to mixed reviews. Membership in the Ku Klux Klan reaches a peak with an estimated 4.5 million members. Young Leopold and Loeb, accused of brutally murdering fourteen-year-old Bobby Franks, are defended by Clarence Darrow. Time magazine honors Leo Bakeland, the inventor of Bakelite and, citing the recent inventions of cellophane, vinyl, and others, titles the era "The Plastic Age." Alvin "Shipwreck" Kelly starts a flagpole sitting craze. Clarence Birdseye founds General Seafoods Inc., and perfects his fast-freezing process. International Business Machines (IBM) is founded. 1925: The Scopes Monkey Trial in Dayton, Tennessee, pits Clarence Darrow and evolution against William Jennings Bryan and creationism. Darrow loses the case, but his defense is generally viewed as a victory for science and evolution. The exhausted Bryan dies a few days later. The plight of Kentuckian Floyd Collins, trapped in a cave, is carefully followed by millions of newspaper readers and radio listeners across the country. An early instance of mass media interest, the hapless Collins dies on the eighteenth day. The U.S. Navy dirigible Shenandoah is wrecked and all aboard killed. The Florida land boom reaches its peak. Golf is a half-billion dollar a year industry. Red Grange quits college in his senior year to play professional football with first the Chicago Bears,

chapter 8: The Roaring Twenties

and then the New York Giants. Gene Tunney defeats Jack Dempsey in Philadelphia. 1926: Western Air Service (later TWA) begins regular passenger service. Hollywood hits a peak, producing over 750 feature films this year. Rudolph Valentino dies of a ruptured appendix, his funeral in New York City touching off a near-riot that leaves the funeral parlor looted by souvenir seekers. Contract bridge is introduced to America and is an immediate hit. Richard Byrd successfully flies over the North Pole. California evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson "disappears" from a beach, causing a sensation before miraculously reappearing several days later. A giant hurricane rakes Florida's Gold Coast, killing 400 people and putting an end to the Florida land boom. Hymie Weiss leads a convoy of ten cars past Al Capone's headquarters in the Hawthorne Hotel, raking the building with over a thousand rounds of automatic gunfire in a blatant, daylight drive-by shooting; Capone is uninjured. 1927: Charles Lindbergh flies solo across the Atlantic to France, returning home a national and international hero. Jolson's talkie The Jazz Singer grosses 3.5 million dollars at the box office, reshaping the Hollywood film industry. Records now sell in the millions. New York theatres hit an all-time peak, with 268 openings covered by twenty-four daily newspapers. In August, Sacco and Vanzetti finally go to the electric chair. The Ford Model "A" is released, replacing the old Model "T." Babe Ruth hits sixty home runs. Jack Dempsey loses his bid to regain the title, falling to Gene Tunney in Chicago while an estimated forty million listen in on the radio. Aimee Semple McPherson founds the Church of the Foursquare Gospel near Los Angeles. David Sarnoff founds NBC (the National Broadcasting Corporation). 1928: March 3—the Stock Market begins to rise, beginning what is called its "sensational" phase. June 18—polar explorer Roald Amundsen dies in an Arctic

air crash while attempting to locate the missing airship Italia. November—Herbert Hoover is elected president. Mickey Mouse makes his debut. Sir Alexander Fleming discovers penicillin. NBC experiments with the first television broadcasts. Johannes Geiger invents the Geiger counter. The highly touted Transcontinental Foot Race, called by some "The Bunion Derby" goes off on schedule but proves a promotional and financial bust. Lynn Willis celebrates twenty-first birthday with wild, all-night Charleston party in Oregon. 1929: Transcontinental Air Transport, "Lindbergh's line," begins offering coast-to-coast flights. Hugo Eckener pilots a dirigible around the world. February 14—the St. Valentine's Day Massacre in a Chicago warehouse eliminates the last of Capone's rivals. Popeye makes his first appearance in the Thimble Theater comic strip. Radio sales pass $850 million. October 29—“Black Tuesday,” the Great Stock Market Crash. 1930: First stewardesses hired to attend passengers on the Chicago to San Francisco run. Astronomer Clyde Tombaugh discovers Pluto.

Lindbe rgh


investigator handbook

Useful Information for 1920s Investigators Transport Electric Trolley Cars

Electric trolleys, powered by either overhead wires or rails in the ground, have been around since before the turn of the century and replace horse-drawn omnibuses in almost every city. Termed a "light-rail" system, surface-route trolleys are, in turn, beginning to be replaced by more efficient and flexible gasoline-powered buses. Despite this, the cities of Boston, Chicago, New York, and Philadelphia all retain extensive trolley systems featuring high-speed routes on elevated tracks or through underground tunnels. Most American buses are single-deck models, although larger cities like New York are making use of double-deck versions. Hours of operation are dictated by the needs of the community. Small towns often suspend operation in early evening after the close of business hours. Larger communities might maintain reduced service until 10 P.M. or midnight. The largest cities run their transit systems round the clock, increasing and decreasing the number of runs as needs dictate.


Taxi cabs are common to all American towns, large and small. Even communities with as few as 2,000 people often have one or two independent operators. Large cities, such as New York, have several cab companies fielding competing fleets. Cab stands with waiting taxis are usually found in front of hotels, railway stations, and other such locations. Radios are not yet common to taxicabs and drivers must contact their dispatchers by phone or in person. Special telephones, usable by both drivers and customers, linked directly to the cab company can be found at cab stands, bus stations, and other high-traffic places.

Interurban Trolleys

An extension of city systems, these electrically powered light rail trains are most common in the Eastern States. Linking major cities at central terminals, they allow a passenger to transfer from one to another, touring up and down the East Coast, and as far inland as Cleveland or Detroit. The interurbans generally run 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Expanding bus lines have rendered this form of transportation nearly obsolete, and by the start of the 1930s many lines are discontinued. The interurbans are smooth, quiet, and feature scenic routes along the coast and Great Lakes. With good connections, a traveler can often make as many as 250 miles a day. Rates vary, but the average cost of travel is approximately 6 cents a mile.

Bus Lines

The rapidly improving highway system made commercial long-distance bus services a viable alternative to rail. By 1926 there are bus lines linking all major cities. By 1928, passengers can travel from New York to San Francisco. Greyhound is already emerging as a major force in the industry. Early in the decade, bus travel is bumpy, often crowded and decidedly less pleasant than rail travel. However, by the end of the decade, bus lines have responded with larger, more comfortable coaches, featuring curtained windows, reclining seats, and onboard toilet facilities. Slower than either rail or the interurbans, bus lines offer markedly cheaper rates, as well as service to many areas not accessed by rail. The smallest cities usually feature a bus terminal or at least an official stop in front of a downtown restaurant or hotel. Despite improvements, bus travel is still less reliable than rail, suffering more frequently from mechanical breakdowns, accidents, and bad weather conditions.

Rail Travel


The U.S. rail system is operating at or near its peak. With nearly a quarter-million miles of rail, U.S. rail companies operate nearly half the world's total rail mileage. The steam locomotive is king and seems likely to remain so. A few electric locomotives are in operation and some light-duty

chapter 8: The Roaring Twenties oil-electric models do service in rail yards, but experiments with both diesel compressed air and diesel-electric locomotives have so far shown little promise. Pullman coaches are the most popular type of passenger coach in America, comprising nearly one-quarter of all the passenger rolling stock in the country. The latest Pullman model, the "Overnight Car," features 14 individual rooms, each with fold-down bed and private toilet. The company also leases business coaches for corporations or individuals. Aside from the Pullman cars, a long-distance passenger train might also include an Observation Car with open compartments and a rear, open-air deck with chairs, Club Cars with card tables, reading material and attendants, and dining, buffet, and cafe cars. Overnight and longer journeys require Pullman cars, along with the necessary attendants, conductors, and porters, all increasing the cost. Stops are infrequent and a fast Special can make from 850 to 1100 miles a day, traveling from New York to San Francisco in just three days. A few very rich individuals own private rail cars. A standard 70-foot Pullman coach can be purchased for $27,000 to $33,000. Custom outfitting and furnishings are, of course, additional.

Driving in America

At the beginning of the decade speed limits are generally low. Typically, Illinois set limits of 15 mph in residential areas, 10 mph in built-up areas, and 6 mph on curves. On country roads limits were generally 20 mph, though New York and California allowed 30 mph. By 1931 top speed limits are generally 35 to 40 mph. The rapidly growing popularity of the automobile urged the federal government to organize an interstate highway system. Seventeen routes now span the country, comprising over 96,000 miles of improved roads. By 1924, over 31,000 miles are already paved with concrete, the rest at least graded and drained, if not paved with macadam. By the end of the decade, nearly 80% of the system is complete. The system claims that 90% of the U.S. population is now within ten miles of a federal highway. Regardless, this still leaves nearly three million miles of roads in the hands of state and county agencies. The quality and condition of these roads varies depending on local finances and the amount of use the road receives. Many roads are sorely neglected.


Automobiles must be registered in the state of the owner’s residence. A metal license plate is issued at the time of registration. Operators must have a valid driver's license issued by the state.

Auto Touring

By 1926, over fifteen million vehicles visit U.S. national forests; by comparison, fewer than two million people visit by other means. The popularity has given rise to a camping equipment industry and the "auto camp."

Long-distance auto touring often requires Supply overnight stays. and demand Hotels are often too Even though expensive and usually Tommy gu ns could be inconveniently legally sold to anyone located in a on the open market, downtown area near in the ga ngster unde rail and bus lines. rworld they Auto camps are commanded exorbitant found right along prices, ra nging from $1 the highway, often ,000 to $2,000 apiece near city limits . (but outside them, where business regulations are less stringent). They offer easy access to the highway, gasoline, and other necessities. First appearing around 1910, auto camps were originally no more than marked-off areas of ground with room for a tent and automobile. Later, small sheds replaced open ground. At 50 cents a night per head, auto tourers were expected to provide their own lights, stove, furniture, etc. After 1925, most auto camp cabins charged $1 a night per person, a fee that includes an iron bed with straw mattress, benches, running water, and a gas hot plate. Towels, sheets, and blankets are available at additional cost. By the mid-20s, over 5,000 of these establishments are found across the country. Auto camps soon gained a seedy reputation. Usually located on the outskirts of a city, they often become havens for bootleggers and prostitutes. Add to this the rumor that some camps rent "by the hour" and their reputation is further sullied. In the 1930s, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover unsuccessfully campaigns for the closing of all auto camps.


Handguns, rifles, and shotguns may be purchased over the counter in most parts of the U.S. without license or registration. Restrictions are few and such things as fully automatic weapons and sawed-off shotguns are often perfectly legal. For example, a Thompson submachine gun (“Tommy gun”) could be purchased from a hardware or sporting goods store.

Firearms in the U.S.

During the 1920s, the Federal Government did little to regulate firearms, other than in 1927 to prohibit the shipping of handguns through the U.S. mail. Local communities, however, passed their own laws. Discharging a firearm within village or city limits without just cause is usually prohibited. In the long-established Eastern states, particularly along the coast, restrictions on gun use are greater, and carrying a concealed firearm is generally a felony. Laws are generally more lax in rural areas, where firearms conceivably serve a more useful purpose; parts of the rural Midwest and South are generally more lenient than the East.


investigator handbook felonies), a small fee is paid and the permit issued. Some authorities may also call for a background check, taking as long as six months in some cases. Note that once issued, the individual is required to carry the permit whenever carrying the weapon.

Firearms in the UK

Fingerprinting of female clerical employees in Los Angeles, 1928 In parts of the West, private citizens and corporations may accumulate arsenals containing machine guns and other heavy weapons. In Texas, Oklahoma, Arizona, New Mexico, and other parts, carrying a holstered sidearm in public is not at all uncommon. Concealed firearms are generally closely regulated. Most communities are willing to license certain individuals to carry concealed weapons: usually professionals (detective, bodyguard, etc.), or because the person routinely moves valuables (banker, jeweler, shopkeeper). If the applicant passes the check (usually requiring a clean record—no


The Firearms Act of 1920 brought about greater control of weapons and ammunition, partly in response to growing fears of the availability of guns from the Great War getting into criminal hands and into the hands of the working classes (the fear of social unrest a constant in British politics throughout the ages). The Act required anyone wishing to own a firearm or ammunition to obtain a firearm certificate. The certificate was issued for three years and specified not only the firearm but also the amount of ammunition the holder was legally able to buy and possess. Local police forces had the authority to decide who could hold a certificate and also had the power to exclude people on the grounds of an "unsound mind" or "intemperate habits," which included anyone thought to be unfit. Applicants had to convince the police that they had a good reason for wanting a certificate (self-defense was a viable reason). Note that smoothbore firearms (e.g. shotguns) were exempt from the law and did not require any paperwork. Those violating the Act could be fined up to £50 or imprisoned (with or without hard labor) for up to three months. The law was strengthened in 1933, increasing punishment to 14 years’ imprisonment for using a gun in the pursuit of illegal and/or criminal activity—this included those using imitation firearms.

chapter 8: The Roaring Twenties

Forensics Fingerprints

Fingerprints were first discovered to be unique in the 18th century; the idea that they could be used to identify criminals did not come about until the 19th century. The first official fingerprint department was set up in Argentina in 1891, with New Scotland Yard in London, England, establishing a fingerprint bureau in 1901. In the U.S. the procedure was acknowledged by 1903 and adopted by the military in 1908. By the 1920s, the concept of fingerprints as a positive method of identification had been almost universally accepted by law enforcement agencies around the world. Prior to the U.S. Bureau of Investigation’s creation of a national fingerprint records collection in 1924, criminal fingerprint files can be found in most state and local police agencies, although their relative completeness, filing systems, and general condition are greatly influenced by local budgets and the priorities of those in power.


By 1922, the work of Charles E. Waite (who was the first to collate ballistics data and analyze guns), resulted in the formation of the New York Bureau of Forensic Ballistics. Accurate identification depends on the condition of the slug retrieved. Usually the weapon’s caliber can be determined by size and weight. By using the pattern of microscopic grooves left on the slug by the rifling of the pistol or rifle, the specific make of gun could be identified. However, in many cases a slug would be so damaged as to make accurate identification very difficult. Spent shells provide the most accurate way of identifying the weapon. Minute marks and scratches left by firing pins and ejection mechanisms can be matched to those made on shells test-fired from the weapon. With regard to shotguns, slugs and pellets bear no specific marks; however, shotgun casings may present marks from the weapon’s firing and ejection mechanism, allowing for a match to be made. Analysis of a wound would also reveal the distance of the shooter, which could help in determining whether the death was suicide or murder. For example, a star-shaped burst in the skin around the wound indicates that the weapon’s muzzle was held directly against the body when fired. Soot smudges, easily wiped away, are usually found when the weapon was discharged less than twelve inches from the victim. At longer distances, sometimes up to three feet, the skin is "tattooed" by small powder burns than do not wash or wipe away.

Blood Typing

Reliable tests to distinguish human blood from animal have existed since the late 19th Century, although the four

Mental Health Treatment in the Early Twentieth Century

Extreme medical practices exist. In the 1920s, controversial psychiatrist Henry Cotton (operating at Trenton State Hospital in New Jersey) was convinced that insanity was fundamentally a toxic disorder, and he pursued a regime of surgically removing body parts in order to improve the mental health of his patients. Incarceration to a mental (“lunatic”) asylum was the norm on both sides of the Atlantic. It was not uncommon for tramps and hobos to become “patients” of an asylum when the weather got cold (free shelter and food), and then to slip away when the good weather returned. Families might submit elderly relatives because they lacked the resources or time to deal with them appropriately. Unmarried mothers might also be committed as they might be considered to have “low morals” as a consequence of poor mental health. Treatment and care within an asylum differed greatly between institutions. While the rich and “well-to-do” might enjoy good care in modern facilities, the less well-off and destitute were more likely to suffer cruel and harsh treatments, as well as overcrowded wards. Note that electroshock therapy (ECT—electroconvulsive therapy) was not introduced until the 1930s, and only became widespread in the 1950s.

major blood types (A, B, O, and AB) were not used by law enforcement until 1923. In America, it is not until 1934 that the first major police chemical and toxicological laboratory is established in New York.


A full autopsy includes: identification and tagging of the body; measuring and weighing; an external examination, noting all wounds and other marks; dissection and examination of the internal organs; toxicological examination of body fluids and organs, and examination of the stomach’s contents; an opinion is rendered, and a cause of death noted on the death certificate. While rates vary due to temperature and other factors, the following can be used as rough guide in determining how long someone has been dead. Thirty minutes after death the skin becomes purplish, taking on a waxy look, while the lips turn pale. Blood begins to settle in the lower parts of the body and extremities turn blue. Rigor mortis begins about four hours after death, beginning with the smallest muscles and then spreading to the larger. It disappears in the same manner and after thirty hours all traces of rigor are usually gone. By twenty-four hours, the body has cooled to the temperature of its environment and discoloration begins. The head and neck turn a greenish-red that spreads through the rest of the corpse over the next few days. Decomposition sets in, features become unrecognizable, and the odor of rotting meat is now noticeable.


investigator handbook Three days later, the corpse bloats and gas blisters may form on the surface of the skin. Body fluids leak from orifices. After three weeks, nails separate and fall out. The skin bursts open, revealing muscles and fat. In warm temperatures, the body is reduced to a skeleton in three to four weeks.

Outfitting the 1920s Investigator

Following are a range of items of particular use to investigators. The 1920s Equipment List (pages 238–247) also provide a wide range of goods, services, and equipment for investigators.

A Light in the Dark Flares

Available in disposable cardboard tubes, flares are ignited by twisting off their caps. Held aloft, they throw a reasonably bright light and are of particular use when illuminating large chambers. Some come with spikes for mounting in the ground. Often used as emergency devices, they are available in a variety of colors. Price: 27 cents each

Kerosene Lanterns

These lamps have been around for years. They throw a soft yellow light in all directions and burn from 4-8 hours on a single filling. Risky devices, they may explode if dropped or turned upside down. If submerged they must be disassembled, cleaned, and dried, and both wick and fuel must be replaced. Price: $1.39

Gas Lanterns

These lanterns burn white gasoline, pressurized by a hand pump. They produce a brilliant, white light. Larger units, holding as much as a quart of gasoline, burn for 8-12 hours between refills—although they occasionally have to be pumped to maintain pressure. Although safer than kerosene lamps, gas lanterns are still quite fragile. Dropping one almost certainly means breaking either the mantles (wicks) or the surrounding globe. If dropped in water, the lantern is useless until disassembled, dried, and cleaned—a process taking at least a couple of hours. Price: $5.48 with separate pump, $6.59 with built-in pump. Mantles cost 35 cents per half-dozen; extra mica globes 63 cents each.

Electric Torches

These lights are powered by electric dry cells and come in a variety of styles. Their light is


weaker than gas-powered lanterns and usually thrown in a direct beam. A fresh set of batteries keeps these devices burning for 2-4 hours, although the light tends to grow dimmer as the batteries expend themselves. The filament in the bulb is likely to break if the torch is dropped. If a spare is handy, replacement takes only a couple minutes. If dropped in water, the flashlight must be taken apart, cleaned, dried, and reassembled, taking 5-10 minutes. Price: A single-cell flashlight costs $1.35; a double cell model $2.25. Extra batteries are 30 cents each, and bulbs 21 cents.

Carbide Lamps

These are the lights used by miners and other professionals. They come in a wide variety of styles including lantern, bulls-eye lantern, flashlight, and mounted atop headgear. They generate a brilliant white light by burning acetylene gas produced by chemical cartridges. Carbide lights are the brightest of all and burn from 2-4 hours on a small cartridge, far longer on a large, belt-hung cartridge. If dropped, they are usually extinguished but easily relit, even if submerged in water. There is some danger from the open flame. Price: A small reflector lantern costs 89 cents, the better model with self-igniting apparatus, $1.55. A large lantern that throws a beam for 300 feet costs $2.59. The long-distance Hunters model, with cap and belt-hung cartridge, costs $5.95. Two-pound carbide cans cost 27 cents, ten-pound containers $1.25.

Keeping a Lookout Achromatic Telescope

With 10x magnification and 30-yard width of field at 1,000 yards. Not a perfect tool for concealment—even with the telescope closed it still measures five to eight inches long— however it is easily slipped into a coat pocket. Reasonably robust, although if used as an impromptu club the lenses are likely to break or fall out of alignment. Price: $3.45. For 20x power, with 22-yard width of field, $5.95

chapter 8: The Roaring Twenties Field Glasses

Binoculars with powers of 3x to 6x and width of fields from 40 to 75 yards (at 1,000 yards) provide a good combination of range and portability. Price: from $6.00-$23.00

Prism Binoculars

Imported, high-quality and top of the range, providing magnification of 8x and a superior width of field of 115 yards at 1,000 yards. Price: from $28.50

Capturing Evidence Photography

All film is black and white. Flashbulbs are not available and shooting indoors usually requires special lighting or flashpowder. Light meters, tripods, lenses, and filters are also available. Carrying cases of imitation leather cost anywhere from $1.80 to $2.25. Film costs 21 to 50 cents a roll, most with six exposures. Developing runs 5 to 9 cents a print.

Dangerous Photography

Taking photographs indoors or in low-light conditions requires the photographer to use flashpowder to create a burst of light. The camera is mounted on a tripod and the shutter opened, while the photographer ignites the prepared flash powder in a special tray mechanism. Flashpowder is effectively an explosive, with almost twice the power of gunpowder, and accidents are common. The flashgun is basically a metal tray with a handle and some form of ignition, such as a hammer (like that of a shotgun) which when released, falls on an explosive cap. The flashpowder is poured into the tray and held above the photographer’s head. When the photographer takes the picture, the trigger is pulled and the flash ignited. If all goes well, the flash produces a 6" to 12’’ tall sheet of white flame. Photographers normally prepare flashpowder by grinding the components in a mortar and pestle. There are risks, including the loss of fingers and hands, as well as death in a few cases. In humid weather or if the flashpowder is allowed to become damp, the powder can "cake" and instead of a flash there may be an explosion— similar to that of a small hand grenade!

Kodak Brownie

Cheap and available in four models. Produces grainy, slightly blurred prints, sized between 2 1/4 x 3 1/4 inches and 2 7/8 x 4 7/8 inches.


Price: from $2.29 to $4.49

Cine-Kodak 16mm MotionPicture Camera

Kodak Folding No.1

A roll-film autographic camera. Folding cameras used a system where a hatch door is manually hinged down until locking to form the lens bed. The lens board is then pulled forward on a set of rails on the bed until it aligned with a focus scale or locked into a preset position. Price: from $4.25 to $28.00 for the top-of-the-line model.

Eastman Commercial

Designed for commercial work, the 8x10 camera is remarkably adaptable with a wide range of uses, from close-ups to extreme wide-angle scenic shots. Designed with 30-inch bellows, spring-orientated support and rigid locking bed. Price: $140.00

Introduced in 1923, the Cine-Kodak is a rectangular castaluminum box approximately 8-inches square. Operated by hand-cranking at two turns per second to achieve the necessary 16 frames per second. Hand-turning means that a tripod is essential, allowing varying speeds and single frames to be taken. Film needs to be processed by a Kodak laboratory through the mail, and then viewed through a Kodascope projector. Price: Cine-Kodak and Kodascope 16 mm projector $335.00

Audio Recording

Recording tape has not yet been invented. Records are made by recording directly to a master disc. The only portable recording machines available are dictating machines, like those made by Dictaphone Inc. The recording medium is a wax cylinder, rotated by a hand-cranked spring mechanism similar to a record player. The operator speaks into a horn and the signal is recorded onto the cylinder. Playback is handled in a similar manner. Cylinders can be reused. A special device shaves them smooth, erasing past recordings and leaving a fresh surface for the next recording. A typical Dictaphone costs $39.95.


investigator handbook Magnetic recording is in its infancy. Recording directly onto a spooled wire, the system is expensive. One interesting model, the Telegraphone (invented 1910), is attached to a telephone where it automatically records conversations. Wire recorders are powered by large batteries, recharged off house current. A wire recorder costs $129.95; $149.95 for the Telegraphone.


Fiat 514 Sedan

Two-way radios are far too delicate and heavy for most fieldwork, even if the problem of power supply could be overcome. Field telephones, connected by cables and driven by either batteries or a hand-cranked generator, provide the best system available. Cable is stored on a reel, ready to be quickly deployed as needed. Radio receivers can be taken to the field. Most radios are powered by large rechargeable batteries, good for four to six hours. Note that field telephones are hard to come by, being primarily used by the military. The first American airmail service starts in 1918 (between New York and Washington) and, by 1923, the Post Office begins contracting out deliveries to private businesses. From 1924, letters can travel across the continent; however, the service is extremely expensive until 1928, when the cost is lowered to a flat rate of five cents a letter.

Vehicles Automobiles Ford Model T (The "Tin Lizzie")

Packard Twin Six

The Model T was an "everyman's car," capable of carrying as many as six passengers. Possessed of excellent handling (for its day), the car is easily maintained; most repairs can be performed by the amateur mechanic. The Model T can be ordered as a delivery vehicle, ambulance, or cargo carrier. Speedster and Roadster models were also produced. With its sometimes-dangerous hand crank, and inefficient speed-dependent lighting system, the Model T is finally forced out of production in 1927. First introduced in 1908, price ranges from $900 to as low as $280

Ford Model A

Cadillac Sedan


When it is unveiled in 1927, over a million people jam Ford Motor Company headquarters in New York trying to see the new Ford, which is intended to replace the venerable Model T. With four doors, an open top, and a three-speed transmission, the Model A is a manifest improvement over its predecessor. Introduced in 1927, its price tag is $450.

chapter 8: The Roaring Twenties Chevrolet Capitol

Chevrolet is part of General Motors and a direct competitor to Ford. The Capitol is available in two-door and four-door models. First introduced in 1927, its price is $695

from $500 or less for a small truck to $6,000 and more for a tractor and trailer. Buses capable of hauling as many forty people are available. They are equipped with air brakes and special, electrical transmissions. Cost is $2,500 to $3,500

Studebaker Dictator

Chevrolet International Model AC Truck

Studebaker, formerly a carriage maker, now switched to automobiles. The Dictator features standard spare tire lock, speedometer, windshield washer, and shock absorbers, and is available in closed-top or open-top versions. Introduced in 1928, its price ranges from $900 to $1,195

Packard Twin Six

The Twin Six is noted for its superb acceleration and speed. Prices begin at $2,600 for the two-seat runabout, higher for the five-passenger versions, and topping at $4,440 for the seven-seat limousine. Available in closed-top or open models, standard equipment includes a Warner speedometer, a Waltham clock, complete tool kit, and power tire pump. First introduced in 1916, it costs $2950.

Duesenberg J

A vehicle for the truly discriminating. Like all Duesenbergs it is handmade by skilled craftsmen using only the finest materials. Aside from the usual instrumentation, the Duesenberg can be ordered with an altimeter, barometer, and gauges to monitor tire pressure, oil changes, radiator water level, and brake-fluid levels. Coachwork is custom, often done by craftsmen outside Duesenberg. Introduced in 1929, a Duesenberg costs $20,000 or more.

Mercedes-Benz SS

The SS is an expensive sport and racing car produced by Daimler-Benz of Stuttgart, Germany. Normally a fourdoor, open-top car, the specially produced two-seater won a number of races in Europe and South America. Carefully handcrafted, fewer than 300 of the entire series are manufactured by 1934. First appearing in 1928, the Mercedes has a price tag of $7,750

Rolls-Royce Model 40/50 Silver Ghost

Rolls Royce features autos manufactured individually, rather than mass-produced. The Silver Ghost, fast for it time, is also noted for its exceptional quietness and comfort. From 1907-1925, 6,173 Silver Ghosts were produced with an average price tag of $6,750

Trucks and Buses

Design improvements made during the Great War resulted in larger and more manageable trucks. Most are equipped with power brakes, while experiments with power steering systems promised that even larger designs would soon hit the road. Aside from typical open or closed cargo trucks, flatbeds and tanker styles are also available. Prices range

Four versions of this widely used light truck are offered for sale: the Sedan Delivery, the Pickup, the Canopy or Screen, and the Panel version. The roadster pickup is fitted with a slip-in pickup box or cargo carrier. From 1918 onwards, a typical Chevrolet truck costs $495 to $695.

On the Water Folding Boats

Folding boats, made of canvas with wooden frames, cost $29.95 or more. They are not particularly strong, nor seaworthy; however, with a total weight of less than thirty pounds (which can be divided among bearers) and an unobtrusive size when folded, they are particularly useful when space and weight are prime considerations. Usually rowed or paddled, some may be fitted with a small outboard motor.

Outboard Designs

Particularly favored in America, the original outboard motor was designed in 1910. Quickly mounted or detached, outboard motors offer a flexibility and ease of repair unheard of with inboard designs. Small, two-cycle outboard motors come in more or less standard sizes of 2, 4, and 8 horsepower. The smallest weighs fifty pounds and can propel a small rowboat to a speed of 6-8 mph (MOV 8). The price is $97.50. The two larger models ($189.50, and $279.50) are recommended for mounting only on specially designed craft.

Open Launches

Powered by one or more inboard engines, open launches are generally high-speed craft. Taking advantage of hydroplane designs, they are used for patrol and rescue operations, and also by bootleggers and smugglers. Generally 16-35 feet long, they are equipped with engines providing 6-30 horsepower and can usually reach speeds of 25-35 knots (30-40 mph, MOV 12)—with some as high as 55 knots (63 mph, MOV 13). Launches are not intended for extended periods at sea. Powerful engines devour fuel at a frightful rate and the high-speed hydroplane design is at a disadvantage in rough waters. Canvas covers can be mounted to protect crew and passengers from sun and rain. Cost for a launch is generally $75 per foot.

Cabin Cruisers

Cabin cruisers are intended for extended traveling. V-shaped displacement hulls are more stable in rough seas, and lower-


investigator handbook

Period Cars and Trucks Make/Model



Buick Model D-45







Cadillac Type 55







Chevrolet Capitol













Chrysler Model F-58 Dodge Model S/1

Seating Build MOV

Armor for Passengers







Duesenberg J







Ford Model T







Ford Model A







Hudson Super Six Series J







Oldsmobile 43-AT







Packard Twin Six Touring














Pontiac 6-28 Sedan







Studebaker Stnd./ Dictator

























Bentley 3-Litre England







BMW Dixi Germany













Hispano-Suiza Alfonso Spain







Lancia Lambda 214 Italy







Mercedes-Benz SS Germany







Renault AX France







Silver Ghost







Phantom I







LIGHT TRUCKS Chevrolet Int. AC Pickup Dodge 1/2 ton Model 1919 Ford Model TT Truck IMPORTS

Citroen C3 France

Rolls-Royce England


chapter 8: The Roaring Twenties powered engines consume less fuel, increasing cruising ranges. Usually 20 feet or longer, cruisers are powered by 10-20 horsepower engines and have top speeds of 8-10 knots (9-11 mph, MOV 9). American-style “Express” cruisers are 25-50 feet long and, taking advantage of increased fuel capacity, use high-powered engines to reach speeds of 20-25 knots (22-30 mph, MOV 11). In addition, cabin cruisers are fitted with below-decks cabins, galleys, and heads. A 25-foot cruiser can easily sleep six, more if conditions allow sleeping on deck. Cabin cruisers are considerably more expensive than simple open launches, costing about $125 dollars per foot.

cents a mile for a medium-sized plane capable of carrying three people in addition to the pilot. The selling-off of the Postal Service airmail routes gave rise to new companies, like National Air Transport and Boeing Air Transport. Mergers later create companies called TWA, Eastern Airlines, and American Airlines. Although amenities such as stewards, on-board lavatories, seat belts, and in-flight meals are not introduced until the thirties, the traveler who does not mind the noise, cold, and general risk will find small airlines are often the quickest way to get from one place to another.


Private Aircraft

Yachts are defined as any large craft powered primarily by sail. They may be fitted with one, two, or more masts. Sailing craft are much more delicate and finely tuned vessels, relying on their shape and design, rather than the brute horsepower of internal combustion engines. They are more expensive to build and require a delicate hand to manage. A minimum Pilot (Boat) skill of 20% is required to properly handle a yacht. The handling of multiple sails, masts, rudder, and crew calls for far more skill than coasting a dory. Note that it is becoming more and more common to fit yachts with small auxiliary engines for use in emergencies and in harbors. They are rarely powerful enough to make more than 4-6 knots (5-7 mph, MOV 7). The best American yachts come from New England shipyards, particularly around Essex, and are constructed by families long in the trade. A custom-made yacht, with all sails and rigging, costs $200 to $250 per foot—or more— depending on the materials and fittings.

Up in the Air Commercial Air Travel

After establishing the system, the U.S. Post Office sold its airmail routes to 32 private contractors who haul not only mail, but express freight, and passengers as well. In addition to the normal mail routes, commercial companies have chartered a number of other routes, particularly across the American South and Southwest. Air travel is not prohibitively expensive: 10 cents a mile is about the average rate, and speeds average about 100 mph (MOV 14), including refueling time. In 1929 "Lindbergh’s Line" offers the first cross-country package. Passenger flight is not yet carried out at night, and in the evening the passengers are set down and transported by bus to make rail connections. Traveling by rail overnight, the following morning the passengers disembark and are transported to the nearest airfield. Price is $335 one-way.

Air Taxis

Air-Taxi service is also available. Private pilots with their own aircraft often offer a charter aircraft service to destinations not on regular commercial routes. Rates are generally 25

A privately owned aircraft might be thought a luxury; however, it is not out of reach of the wealthier investigator’s wallet. War surplus trainers can be had for as little as $300. Hangar fees, fuel, maintenance, and takeoff and landing fees add only a little to the total cost. The decade sees great advances in design. At the end of the Great War, most airplanes are simple open-cockpit biplanes constructed of wood, wire, and silk. By 1930, fully enclosed, multi-engine monoplanes, capable of carrying 10 or more people hundreds of miles non-stop in relative comfort are being constructed wholly of metal. However, U.S. aircraft production lags far behind many European countries. In 1928 America produced only 5,000 planes, nearly half of these inexpensive, open-cockpit biplanes. Of the remainder, a mere eighty-five were advanced design closed-cockpit monoplanes and only sixty were of transport size. A typical airplane is capable of cruising at speeds from 70-100 mph (MOV 14), with a range of 250-400 miles. Airplanes can be customized to suit the user’s needs. Larger, more powerful engines can be fitted to increase speed, and additional fuel tanks installed to improve cruising range. The weight of additional fuel means less passenger and cargo capacity, and may also drastically alter the flight characteristics of the aircraft. All these must be taken into account when making modifications.


Seaplanes and flying boats can take off and land on water; they are not limited by normal-length landing strips. Seaplanes are among the largest and most powerful aircraft available. Float type seaplanes appear as typically small or medium aircraft (up to 10,000 pounds) fitted with pontoons instead of wheels. These floats decrease both cargo capacity and top speed by 10%. A world speed record of 281.669 mph (MOV 17) is set in October 1927 by a British built seaplane. Flying boats are larger aircraft whose hulls ride directly in the water. One of the largest weighs over 33,000 pounds and has over 2,600 horsepower. Reasonably seaworthy, flying boats can set down in bad weather to ride out the storm, then take off again.


Thousands of this two-seater biplane were manufactured between 1916 and 1918. After the war, many found their way


investigator handbook into the hands of barnstormers and other performers. The Avro saw service all over the world, including Japan, Australia, Europe, and South America, as well as the U.S. A versatile aircraft, the 504 can be fitted with both skiand float-type landing devices in addition to the normal gear. Military versions carried a single, synchronized machine gun. The standard factory price in England is approximately £868 ($3,900 U.S.) without engine, £907 ($4,300 U.S.) with a 130 horsepower Clerget powerplant; slightly cheaper with the 110 horsepower LeRhone. Civilians could often buy them as cheaply as £650 ($2,900 U.S.)—engine included. Powered by the Clerget, the Avro can hit a top speed of 95 mph (MOV 14), and has a cruising range of 250 miles.

Curtiss JN-4 “Flying Jenny”

An open-cockpit biplane, the Jenny features tandem seating for two, with dual controls. The JN-4 biplane is the most common aircraft in the U.S. military during the early part of the decade. Thousands of pilots trained in the Jenny during the Great War and in the years after. A reliable aircraft, it is the first mass-produced aircraft in the U.S. Beginning in 1916, approximately 7,280 are manufactured, 4,800 for the U.S. Army alone. After the War, second-hand Jennys could be purchased for as little as $500-$600 and were the commonly used by barnstormers in their traveling shows. Powered by a Curtiss engine, developing 90 horsepower, the Jenny has a top speed of 75 mph (MOV 13) and a cruising range of 150 miles.

retained by the RAF and used as a trainer until 1 9 2 6 . Occasionally available as military surplus, its usefulness is limited by its single seat and minimal cargo capacity. Military fighter versions were typically outfitted with a pair of synchronized Vickers machine guns, mounted above the engine. Powered by a 230 horsepower Bentley engine, the Snipe has a top speed of 121 mph (MOV 15) and a cruising range of 300 miles.

Farman F.60 Goliath

Junkers F13

First designed in 1919, the French Goliath was the first truly commercial airliner. With a crew of two and seating for twelve passengers, this twin-engine biplane began regular air service between Paris and London in 1920, sporting a perfect safety record. The Goliath is powered by twin Salmson engines that develop a combined 520 horsepower. It can cruise at 75 mph (MOV 13) and has a cruising range of 248 miles.

Felixstowe F.2A

A central hull seaplane designed for maritime patrol and antisubmarine warfare in 1917, the F.2A biplane was responsible for the destruction of several German submarines, and a few zeppelins as well. Standard military armament included four to seven Lewis guns plus racks holding two 230-pound bombs. These aircraft, sans armament, can be picked up for reasonable prices as military surplus. They make effective cargo or passenger carriers. The F.2A seats six and is powered by twin Rolls-Royce engines developing a combined 690 horsepower. It has a top speed of 95 mph (MOV 14) and a cruising range of 500 miles.

Sopwith 7F.1 Snipe

The successor to the famous Sopwith Camel, the Snipe biplane fighter first saw service in 1917. After the war it was


Avro 504K

This all-metal, single-engine monoplane is a design well ahead of its time. Although the cockpit is open, the passenger compartment is enclosed and well-upholstered. Designed specifically for the civilian market, 322 are built between 1919 and 1932. Some are employed by national air forces as cargo carriers. The F13 is the first aircraft of its type to be equipped with safety belts and can employ wheel, float, or ski-type landing gear. Seating four, in addition to two crew, the Junkers is powered by a 185 horsepower BMW engine. Cruising speed is 87 mph (MOV14) and cruising range 435 miles.

De Havilland Moth

This immensely successful biplane is a low-cost sporting aircraft that benefited from numerous improvements over its production run. Later versions, with improved engines, are dubbed the Gypsy Moth and Tiger Moth. A Gypsy Moth piloted by Amy Johnson accomplishes the first England to Australia solo flight made by a woman. Thousands of these aircraft are destined to see service as basic trainers in the early days of the Second World War. Seating two and usually powered by a 60 horsepower Cirrus engine, the Moth reaches a top speed of 90 mph (MOV 14) and has a cruising range of 150 miles.

chapter 8: The Roaring Twenties


Colt Single Action Army Revolver M1873

Handguns Remington Double Derringer M95

A classic double-barrel derringer design, the M95 possesses a pair of round, over-and-under barrels, each firing a .41 rimfire short round. Although the two barrels cannot be fired simultaneously, they are easily both discharged in the space of a single round. Rather inaccurate, base range is 3 yards. 1866 onwards, cost $60 (1920s price). Range 3 yards, 1 (2 max) shots per round, capacity 2, damage 1D10, malfunction 100.

Double Derringer

Called "the Peacemaker" or the "Frontier Six-Shooter," the single-action Colt is an Old West classic. The classic caliber is a .45, but the weapon was also made in a wide variety ranging from .22 rimfire on up. The most common barrel lengths are the 4.75-inch Civilian, and the 7.5-inch Cavalry models, but the famous "Buntline Special" featured a custommade 12-inch barrel. In production until 1940, this sidearm was used extensively in the military, law enforcement, and civilian sectors. 1872 onwards, cost $30 (1920s price). Range 15 yards, 1 (3 max) shots per round, capacity 6, damage 1D10+2 (.45) or 1D6 (.22), malfunction 100.

Colt Revolver

Parachutes Parachutes come into general use around 1921, although German pilots made use of them in the last days of the War. The seat pack, developed by the U.S. Army in 1919, has proven the most popular. Weighing 18 lbs., it is worn across the buttocks and serves as a seat cushion when flying. Backpack models and lap models are also available, sometimes preferred by airman whose duties require them to move around. Made almost entirely of silk, parachutes cost $35.95 to $45.95. They consist of a main chute, 2228 feet in diameter, and a small pilot chute, three feet in diameter, which emerges first and pulls the main chute free. Parachutes are properly packed when purchased. Repacking a chute must be done properly (Pilot (Airplane) skill) in order to ensure that it fits back into its canvas pack, and can deploy properly when next used. Military surplus also made available parachute flares. Normal, fast-burning flares attached to parachutes can be dropped from a plane and used to illuminate large areas, making possible the search for suspects or the taking of photographs. Parachute flares cost $1.95 each. Anyone can be taught the fundamentals of using a parachute in just a few minutes. Making sure that the straps are cinched tight (especially between the legs) and knowing how to pull the ripcord is all that is necessary for the novice to make an emergency parachute leap. The two prescribed ways of safe jumping are “lift off” and “free fall.” Both require the parachutist to climb out on a wing until he or she is sure to clear the tail section of the aircraft. With the lift off method, the jumper holds onto the plane while pulling the ripcord, allowing the drag of the emerging chute to pull them free. Free fall parachuting involves jumping from the aircraft and falling a certain distance before pulling the ripcord and

deploying the chute. Although there is concern about the effects of extended free fall, 4,000 foot falls have been made without any apparent ill effects. Parachutes require a minimum of 150 feet to fully deploy and become effective; 250 feet is considered the safe minimum altitude. Parachute jumps as high as 25,000 feet have been made successfully. Proper and safe parachuting calls for no specific skill (at the Keeper's discretion). A falling parachute sometimes begins oscillating. If unchecked, the chute can rock too far and collapse. Oscillation can be controlled by pulling the shroud lines in a way that dampens the inertia of the rocking chute. Parachutes can be steered to a degree. By pulling the shroud lines down on a particular side, the chute tends to sideslip in that direction. Note that this method increases the rate of descent and should be avoided when nearing the ground. This method can allow a parachutist to avoid trees, tall buildings, or power lines. Smooth landings ensure an uninjured jumper. A parachutist falls at a rate of 16 to 24 feet per second, depending on his or her weight, the impact the equivalent of a jump from a height of 4 to 9 feet. The natural tendency is to underestimate the distance to the ground, resulting in the jumper pulling his or her legs up too soon and landing in a bad position. Sudden crosswinds at ground level can yank a chute sideways and turn an ankle if the touchdown is rough. Parachuting into water is most safely done by unstrapping oneself when low over the water and then jumping clear of the chute when six to ten feet above the water’s surface. Lastly, once on the ground, a strong wind can billow out a chute and possibly drag a jumper across the ground. A Keeper may require a DEX or Jump roll for some of these situations.


investigator handbook Colt .45 Automatic M1911

First adopted by the military in 1911, this popular handgun saw service in numerous wars, law enforcement, and in civilian sectors. Using the powerful .45 ACP round, this gun has excellent stopping power. It has a seven-round detachable box magazine that loads into the grip. It is extremely reliable even under adverse conditions. 1911 onwards, cost $40. Range 15 yards, 1 (3 max) shots per round, capacity 7, damage 1D10+2, malfunction 100.

Webley-Fosbery Automatic Revolver

A unique weapon, the Webley uses the force of its recoil to rotate the chamber rather than trigger-pull, making it the only semiautomatic revolver on the market. Despite rejection by the British military, it is manufactured until 1939 in both .38 and .455 calibers. The Webley-Fosbery is prone to jams unless kept clean but, unlike most revolvers, it features a safety. 1901 onwards, cost $30-40 Range 15 yards, 1 (3 max) shots per round, capacity 6 (.455) or 8 (.38), damage 1D10 (.38) or 1D10+2 (.455), malfunction 97-100.


Colt Automatic

Rifles Winchester M1895 Rifle

Mauser "Broomhandle" Pistol M1912

One of the most distinctive handguns ever produced, the semiautomatic "Broomhandle" takes its name from its narrow wooden grip. The Mauser first appeared in 1896 and has been constantly updated since. It is available in a range of calibers, including 9mm parabellum, and a Chinese version that accepts .45 ACP rounds. A Spanish version, the Astra M900, appears in 1928. Most models accept a shoulder stock. The slender grip is too small to house a magazine, which is instead mounted in front of the trigger guard. Clumsy to handle and expensive to manufacture, by the time of the Second World War the Broomhandle was relegated to secondary troops. In the 1920s they are used mostly by law enforcement personnel and security troops. 1896 onwards, cost $50 (1920s price). Range 15 yards, 1 (3 max) shots per round, capacity 10, damage 1D10+2 (.45) or 1D10 (9mm), malfunction 100.

This popular model was produced between 1895 and 1931, one of several Winchesters taken by Theodore Roosevelt on his hunting trip to Africa. Of lever-action design, it differs from the usual tubular magazine below the barrel, instead using a non-detachable box forward of the trigger guard. This reduces the rifle's capacity to four rounds, five in the .303 British version. Other calibers manufactured include a 7.62mm Spitzer made for the Russian government during the Great War, the only version incorporating stripper clips. Barrel lengths include the standard 30, 28, and 24-inch rifle lengths, as well as a cumbersome 36-inch long range version, and a 22-inch carbine model. The latter is available only in .30-30, .30-06, and .303 British calibers. Most military versions feature lugs for an 8-inch bayonet. 1895 onwards, cost $80 (1920s price). Range 110 yards, 1 shot per round, capacity 4, damage 2D6+4 (.30-30, 30-06 or 7.62mm), malfunction 99-100.


Mauser M1898 Rifle Mauser


Available in both rifle and carbine versions, this successor to the M1888 is perhaps the ultimate in bolt-action design. Using the powerful 7.92mm Mauser round, a fiveround stripper clip permits quick reloading. The M1898 accommodates any one of several types of bayonets, including the notorious saw-backed "butcher blade." This weapon was produced in massive quantities and proved as capable of bringing down big game as well as waging war. 1898 onwards, cost $80 (1920s price). Range 110 yards, 1 shot per round, capacity 5, damage 2D6+4, malfunction 99-100.

chapter 8: The Roaring Twenties



Springfield M1903 Rifle

This rugged, bolt-action rifle, regular issue for U.S. troops during the Great War, was a close copy of the Mauser M1898. Standard caliber after 1906 was the .30-06 cartridge in a five-round clip. Barrel length is a short 24 inches. These models are still prized by serious marksmen. 1903 onwards, cost $80 (1920s price). Range 110 yards, 1 shot per round, capacity 5, damage 2D6+4, malfunction 99-100.


Winchester M1887 Shotgun and M1901 Shotgun

This distinctive, lever-action, hammer shotgun was popular despite its strange, even ugly appearance. Two models were produced: the M1887 in 10- and 12-gauge black powder, and the M1901 in 10-gauge smokeless powder. Both feature five-round, tubular magazines. In 1898, both versions became available in short-barrel riot versions. Non-riot barrel lengths are 30 and 32 inches. Over 75,000 of these shotguns were produced before production ceased in 1920. They are the only 10-gauge Winchesters ever made. 1897 and 1901 onwards, cost $50 Range 50 yards, 1 shot per round, capacity 5, damage 1D10+6 (12-gauge slug) or 1D10+7 (10-gauge slug) or 4D6/2D6/1D6 (buckshot at 10/20/50 yards), malfunction 100.

Lee-Enfield Mark III Rifle

A replacement for the outdated Lee-Metford series, this British rifle uses the .303 British cartridge. Features a smooth bolt-action design, but takes advantage of a tenround magazine for longer firing. The Mark III was the most common Lee-Enfield of the Great War. 1907 onwards, cost $50 Range 110 yards, 1 shot per round, capacity 10, damage 2D6+4, malfunction 100.


Shotguns Remington M1889

The last in a series that began with the M1883, this doublebarrel shotgun with exposed hammers is available in 10, 12, and 16-gauge, with barrel lengths ranging between 28 and 32 inches. When production ceased in 1909, over 37,500 of these firearms had been produced. 1889 onwards, cost $35-40 Range 50 yards, 1 or 2 shots per round, capacity 2, damage 1D10+5 (16-gauge slug) or 1D10+6 (12-gauge slug) or 1D10+7 (10-gauge slug) or 4D6+2/2D6+1/1D6 (10-gauge buckshot at 10/20/50 yards) or 4D6/2D6/1D6 (12-gauge buckshot at 10/20/50 yards) or 2D6+2/1D6+1/1D4 (16-gauge buckshot at 10/20/50 yards), malfunction 100.

Winchester M1887

Winchester M1897 Shotgun

Intended as a replacement for the trouble-plagued M1893, this shotgun was a tremendous success. Pump-action, with an exposed hammer, over a million were produced between 1897 and 1957. A popular hunting weapon, seeing great use in the civilian sector. Thousands of trench versions served the military, while a riot version was marketed to law enforcement agencies. Hunting versions sport barrel lengths between 26 and 30 inches, while the riot and trench versions are fitted with 20-inch barrels. The trench version features a protective, ventilated barrel jacket, and a bayonet lug. Available in 12 or 16-gauge, all M1897s feature 5-round tubular magazines beneath the barrel. 1897 onwards, cost $45 Range 50 yards, 1 shot per round, capacity 5, damage 1D10+6 (12-gauge slug) or 1D10+7 (10-gauge slug) or 4D6+2/2D6+1/1D6 (10-gauge buckshot at 10/20/50 yards) or 4D6/2D6/1D6 (12-gauge buckshot at 10/20/50 yards), malfunction 100.

Winchester M1897


investigator handbook Winchester M1912 Shotgun

This common firearm, a pump-action hammerless design, is available in 12, 16, and 20-gauge (28-gauge in 1934). Riot and trench versions were first produced in 1918. The riot gun is fairly common but after the end of the Great War the trench model must be special-ordered. 1912 onwards, cost $70 Range 50 yards, 1 shot per round, capacity 5, damage 1D10+5 (16-gauge slug) or 1D10+6 (12-gauge slug) or 1D10+7 (10-gauge slug) or 4D6+2/2D6+1/1D6 (10-gauge buckshot at 10/20/50 yards) or 4D6/2D6/1D6 (12-gauge buckshot at 10/20/50 yards) or 2D6+2/1D6+1/1D4 (16-gauge buckshot at 10/20/50 yards), malfunction 100.

1918 onwards, cost $1000+ (black market). Range 20 yards, 1 (2) shots per round or full auto, capacity 20/30/32, damage 1D10, malfunction 96-100.

Thompson M1921

M1921 is a modified version of the original model introduced in 1919. Chambered for the .45 ACP, the "Tommy gun" uses either 20 or 30-round box magazines, or the more cumbersome 50 or 100-round drums. It has a cyclic firing rate of 800 rounds per minute. The 1928 model features a horizontal forward grip (in place of the original pistol-grip) and a reduced firing rate of 650 rounds per minute. 1921 onwards, cost $200+ ($1000+ black market) Range 20 yards, 1 shot per round or full auto, capacity 20/30/50/100, damage 1D10+2, malfunction 96-100.

Winchester M1912 Thompson

Submachine Guns Bergmann MP18I

This weapon was developed near the end of the Great War. Chambered for 9mm Parabellum, it fired automatic only at a cyclic rate of 350-400 rounds per minute from a 20-round drum magazine. The MP28II is a later version, developed in secret in violation of Germany's surrender conditions. It features minor internal modifications, better sights, and a choice of 20 or 30-round box magazines, or a 32-round snail drum. A selector switch allows a choice of semiautomatic or fully automatic fire.

Machine Guns Mark I Lewis Gun

The Lewis gun debuted in Belgium in 1913, soon after making its way into the arsenals of England, the U.S., and Japan. Chambered in either .303 British or .30-06 calibers, the fully automatic Lewis gun is fed by a circular drum holding 97 rounds mounted horizontally atop the gun. Although it has a shoulder stock, the Lewis gun's loaded weight of 47 pounds makes its short bipod and a prone firing position almost essential. Lewis Guns are particularly prone to jams.



Girls' rifle team at Central High, Washington, DC. November 1922.

chapter 8: The Roaring Twenties Lewis Guns were routinely fitted to aircraft, mounted on a swivel, and fired by a passenger. These usually dispense with the shoulder stock and opt for the larger, 97-round drum. They fire at a cyclic rate of 450-500 rounds per minute. 1912 onwards, cost $3000+ (black market). Range 110 yards, full auto, capacity 27 (shoulder) or 97 (drum), damage 2D6+4, malfunction 96-100.

1920s Biographies Adventurers Charles Lindbergh, Aviator, 1902-1974

Lewis Gun

Browning M1918 Automatic Rifle

The famed BAR debuted in 1918. Chambered for the .30-06 round, it weighs an imposing 16 pounds but with the aid of its sling can still be supported and fired from a standing position. A selector switch allows a choice of semiautomatic or full automatic. It carries a 20-round box magazine. 1918 onwards, cost $800+ (black market). Range 90 yards, 1 (2) or full auto, capacity 20, damage 2D6+4, malfunction 100.


Vickers .303 Caliber Machine Gun

Belt-fed and mounted on a heavy tripod, the British Vickers was first introduced in 1912. Firing a .303 cartridge, it has a cyclic rate of 450-500 rounds per minute. Water-cooled, the early models had a problem with steam rising from the barrel, obscuring the shooter's vision. Later models corrected this. This weapon features dual spade-handle handgrips, the trigger is depressed by the thumbs. A special, air-cooled version is suitable for aircraft only. 1912 onwards, cost $5000+ (black market). Range 110 yards, full auto, capacity 250, damage 2D6+4, malfunction 99-100.

Lindbergh was most famous as an aviator, but also dabbled in invention and, later, the anti-war movement as well. Lindbergh was born in Detroit, Michigan, but grew up in Minnesota. His father, Charles Augustus Lindbergh, Sr., was a Minnesota Congressman from 1907-1917. Charles Jr. briefly attended the University of Wisconsin, and then enrolled in a flying course. In 1923 he made his first solo flight, and a year later became a cadet in the U.S. Air Service Reserve. In 1927, while employed flying a mail route between Chicago and St. Louis, Lindbergh decided to try and win a $25,000 reward offered by a New York businessman for the first person to fly nonstop across the Atlantic. Before attempting the feat, however, Lindbergh first set a coast-tocoast record of 21 hours and 20 minutes, with only a brief stop in St. Louis. On May 21, 1927, Lindbergh landed in Paris, where he was mobbed by spectators. He went onto win awards and acclaim from all of Europe and the U.S., the New York Times paying him $250,000 for his story. Lindbergh wrote a book about the flight. He and his plane, The Spirit of St. Louis, toured the U.S. upon their return and he became a national hero. Lindbergh later married writer Anne Morrow in 1929, but in 1932 they suffered tragedy when their first child was


Charles Lind bergh


investigator handbook

Roald Amundsen

kidnapped and killed. This eventually led to the development of what are now known as the “Lindbergh Laws,” whereby interstate kidnapping is considered a federal crime. The Lindberghs then moved to Europe, where Charles helped a French surgeon invent an artificial heart. Returning to the U.S., Lindbergh served as an advisor to many aeronautical organizations and committees. During World War II, his anti-war sentiments brought him into conflict with President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. After the war, he continued his consultancy work, and won numerous aviation awards and the Pulitzer Prize for his autobiography, The Spirit of St. Louis.

Frank Buck, Big-Game Hunter, 1884-1950

Buck was the archetypal big-game hunter. Born in Gainesville, Texas, his first expedition, in 1911, took him to Malaya and Singapore. Later safaris carried him around the world in search of wild animals, which he captured alive and then sold to zoos and circuses. All told, he captured more than 25,000 specimens in his career, including a man-eating tiger, and the largest king cobra on record. He wrote of his experiences in books, such as Bring ‘Em Back Alive (1931), and later went onto make feature films.

Roald Amundsen, Explorer, 1872-1928

Amundsen was a polar explorer, famous for discovering the South Pole in 1911, and the Northwest Passage in 1906. Later, from 1918 to 1920, he navigated the Northeast Passage. Amundsen was born in Oslo, Norway, and later joined the army. An expert navigator, he made many sea and air voyages between 1897 and 1928. In 1910 he had planned to be the first to reach the North Pole, but upon learning that Admiral Robert Peary had just reached it, turned his attention to the South Pole instead. He and his companions reached the Pole in December of 1911, beating British explorer Robert F. Scott’s team by four weeks. Scott’s bad


Earnest Shackleton

luck turned to tragedy when his team froze to death during their return. Amundsen made a dirigible flight over the North Pole with American Lincoln Ellsworth, and the Italian General, Umberto Nobile, in 1926, mere days after Admiral Richard E. Byrd’s solo flight. Amundsen perished in 1928, after setting out in a plane to search for Nobile, whose north polar expedition had been lost for several weeks. Nobile was later rescued.

Earnest Shackleton, Explorer 1874-1922

A principal figure in the history of Antarctic exploration. In 1901-1904 he was a member of the Scott Discovery Expedition; however, he had to be sent home on health grounds. He returned to the Antarctic as the leader of the Nimrod Expedition in 1907, where he and three companions marched south to establish a record for the most southerly latitude from the South Pole. On his return, King Edward VII bestowed a knighthood upon Shackleton. Once Amundsen had made the South Pole in 1911, Shackleton sought to achieve the one remaining goal of Antarctic adventure: to cross the continent from sea to sea, via the pole. He gathered funding and support for the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition (1914-17), but fate would stand in the way of achieving this goal. His ship, the Endurance, became trapped in pack-ice and eventually sunk. He and his men were forced to camp on the ice floe and brave the cruel icy seas to reach the inhospitable Elephant Island (they had not stood on solid ground for 497 days). With no chance of rescue, Shackleton and five men struck out in an open lifeboat to seek help, leaving the rest of the company on the island. They sailed 800 nautical miles to South Georgia, only

chapter 8: The Roaring Twenties to arrive on the wrong side of the island, meaning that they had to cross a mountain range to reach the nearest point of civilization—a whaling station. Shackleton immediately set about organizing a rescue of the men still trapped on Elephant Island. It would take four attempts to rescue the men and get them home. Unbelievably, Shackleton lost not a single man. He would have one more, final, expedition to the South Pole in 1921. The Shackleton-Rowett Expedition was formed to conduct scientific experiments and surveys. Shackleton did not return home. He died of a heart attack while onboard ship in South Georgia, before the expedition could begin its work. At his wife’s request, Shackleton was buried in the Antarctic.

Art and Design Frank Lloyd Wright, Architect, 1869-1959

In a career spanning more than sixty years, Frank Lloyd Wright designed over six hundred buildings and was hailed as one of the world’s greatest architects. He was born in Wisconsin, and attended, but did not graduate from, the University of Wisconsin. In 1887, Wright secured a job as a draftsman and designer in the Chicago office of the famed architect Louis Sullivan. After six years as Sullivan’s pupil, Wright went out on his own, designing many homes in and around Chicago. Here he developed what he termed “Prairie Style” homes: long, single story buildings, with interior rooms freely connected to each other without restricting doorways between. In 1911 he built his own home, Taliesin (Welsh for Shining Brow), in Spring Green, Wisconsin. In the 1930s, he continued to experiment with new building styles, inventing such modern staples as the

Salvador Dali

carport. In 1932 Wright founded The Taliesin Fellowship, an architectural school in Spring Green. He built a second home, Taliesin West, in Phoenix, Arizona, in 1938. Among the many public buildings designed by Wright is the Guggenheim Museum in New York City. He wrote a number of books and magazines on architecture, as well as an autobiography in 1943.

Salvador Dali, Painter, 1904-1989

Dali was born in Spain and given the name Salvador Felipe y Jacinto Dali y Domenech. The son of a prominent lawyer, he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Madrid intermittently from 1921 to 1926. Always a flamboyant figure, he was expelled from the academy and later briefly imprisoned under suspicion of being an anarchist. His first one-man show was held in Barcelona in 1925. His earlier works were influenced by the Futurist and Cubist painters, but in 1927 he moved to Paris, where he met Picasso. In 1929 he turned to the style for which he became most famous: Surrealism. Dali also contributed to the screenplays of the bizarre surrealistic film maker, Luis Bunuel: Un Chien Andalou (1929) and L’Age d’Or (1931).

Ernest Hemingway, Author, 1899-1961

Ernest Hemingway was an immensely popular writer of novels and stories dealing with men and women driven to despair by a violent and uncaring world. He was born in Illinois, but grew up in nearby Michigan. An ambulance driver in the Great War, he was badly wounded in Italy when only eighteen. After the war he moved to Paris, where his war and post-war experiences with other expatriate Americans serve as the basis for his novels The Sun Also Rises (1926) and A Farewell to Arms (1929). These novels help to define “the lost generation” that was currently coming of age in the post-war years.

Ernest Hemingway


investigator handbook

Books of the 20s 1920:

The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie (her first Hercule Poirot novel), The Man of the Forest by Zane Grey, This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald.


Outline of History by H.G. Wells, Mainstreet by Sinclair Lewis, The Mysterious Rider by Zane Grey, The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton, The Sheik by Edith Hull.


Babbitt, Diet and Health by Sinclair Lewis introduces calorie-counting and remains a best seller for five years, The Story of Mankind by Van Loof, Showboat by Edna Ferber, The Outline of Science by J. Arthur Thomson, Ulysses by James Joyce.



Self Mastery Through Conscious Auto Suggestion by Emile Coué’ prompts a mental health and self-improvement fad. Etiquette: The Blue Book of Social Usage by Emily Post.


Call of the Canyon by Zane Grey.


Arrowsmith by Sinclair Lewis, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf, An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser, and House Without a Key by Earl Bigger debuts Charlie Chan.


The Murder of Roger Ackroyd brings fame to Agatha Christie, The Story of Philosophy by Will Durant sells two million copies, The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway, and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes by Anita Loos.


Elmer Gantry by Sinclair Lewis, To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf.


Point Counter Point by Aldous Huxley, Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence is widely banned, The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thorton Wilder goes on to win a Pulitzer.


Steppenwolf (1927) by Herman Hesse appears in English translation, Dodsworth by Sinclair Lewis, A Farewell to Arms by Hemingway, Look Homeward Angel by Thomas Wolfe, All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque recalls the Great War, The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner, The Dain Curse by Dashiell Hammett, and Believe It, or Not! by Robert Ripley.

aney Lon Ch

John Barrymore

Two collections of Hemingway’s stories appeared during the 1920s: In Our Time (1925) and Men Without Women (1927). Hemingway went to Africa in the 1930s where he hunted big game. He later visited Spain and immersed himself in bull fighting, and later still covered the Spanish Civil War as a war correspondent. His post 1920s works were not received with as much critical acclaim as his earlier works, with the exceptions of For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940) and The Old Man and the Sea (1952). The latter won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954. Seven years later, in poor health, Hemingway committed suicide.

Lon Chaney, Film Star, 1883-1930

Lon Chaney made a legendary career out of playing deformed villains and monsters in silent films. Born in Colorado Springs, Chaney learned to communicate with his deaf-mute parents using gestures, a practice that proved useful in his later film career. He quit school in the fifth grade to become a tour guide at Pikes Peak, later working as a stage hand in the theater. He appeared in productions of Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, and on the vaudeville stage in Chicago, where he was enough of a success that he was able to join Universal Studios as a bit player. The Miracle Man (1919) was the first in a series of roles that would make Lon Chaney famous. In this film Chaney appeared as the twisted Frog, a horribly crippled man who nonetheless captured the audience’s sympathy. In subsequent roles like The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923) and The Phantom of the Opera (1925) he delighted and terrified audiences with his horribly deformed, yet sympathetic, characters. He became known as “The Man of a Thousand Faces,” creating his own unique and often painful makeup devices. He later wrote the Encyclopedia Britannica entry on the subject of film makeup.

chapter 8: The Roaring Twenties In 1930 his only talkie feature was released; a remake of his earlier silent hit, The Unholy Three. Chaney played three roles in this film, including a man masquerading as an old woman. The film and its star received critical acclaim, but a month later Chaney was dead from throat cancer. His son, born Creighton Chaney, later changed his name to Lon Chaney Jr. and made his own career in horror films.

Béla Bartók, Composer, 1881-1945

Bartók, a Hungarian, was destined to become one of the most important composers of the 20th century. His works include six string quartets, the opera Duke Bluebeard’s Castle (1911), numerous concertos for piano and orchestra, and the incredible Mikrokosmos (1926-1937). Bartók began studying music at the age of five and soon became an accomplished pianist and composer, eventually teaching piano at the Royal Hungarian Academy of Music in Budapest. Bartók later toured as a concert pianist, visiting the U.S. in 1927 and in 1928. During World War II, he moved to New York City and joined the staff of Columbia University.

John Barrymore, Actor, 1882-1942

Born John Sydney Blythe, Barrymore was the younger brother of his acting siblings, Ethel and Lionel, and descended from one of America’s most famous theatrical families. By the 1920s, Barrymore was the most highly regarded Shakespearean actor of his time, well known for his stage portrayal of Hamlet. Barrymore carried his successful stage presence to motion pictures making, among others, a silent version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1920), a talkie version of Moby Dick (1930), and a chilling turn as the title character in Svengali (1931). He later became a popular radio actor as well.

later appeared in motion pictures, including A Connecticut Yankee (1931) and State Fair (1933). Rogers’ newspaper column, where he told down-to-earth stories and dispensed philosophy, was also enormously popular (on stage, this patter was accompanied by elaborate rope tricks). Over three hundred newspapers carried his column, where he wittily commented on current events. In 1926, President Calvin Coolidge sent Rogers to Europe as America’s “Ambassador of Good Will,” which Rogers drily commented on in Letters of a Self-Made Diplomat to His President (1927). Other books included The Cowboy Philosopher on Prohibition (1919) and There’s Not a Bathing Suit in Russia (1927). Rogers was married to an Arkansas schoolteacher and had four children. He was killed in 1935 in a plane crash near Point Barrow, Alaska, along with famed pilot Wiley Post.

William Seabrook, Traveler, Author, 1884-1945

A popular author of stories and articles about witchcraft and kindred subjects, Seabrook contributed to many American magazines, as well as the New York Times. In 1915 he joined the American Field Service of the French Army (he was later awarded the Croix de Guerre). In 1924 he was in and out of the U.S., traveling extensively in Arabia, Kurdistan, Tripoli, Haiti, and West Africa, studying unusual rituals and beliefs. While living with the Guere tribe in West Africa, he asked the chief to descibe the taste of human meat, this later led Seabrook to actually try some for himself (he said it tasted like "veal"). He described his experiences in several books published in the 1930s. When in the U.S., Seabrook lived in the New York area. He committed suicide by drug overdose in 1945.

Will Rogers, Entertainer, 1879-1935

Will Rogers was a cowboy, a star of stage and screen, a writer, and a homespun philosopher. Born in Native American territory in Oklahoma, to parents of partial Native American descent, Rogers briefly attended military school in Missouri before heading to Texas in 1898, seeking work as a cowhand. His wanderlust later led him to Argentina and South Africa, where he worked in a Wild West show. Rogers first performed on an American stage in New York City in 1905, but gained real fame as part of the Ziegfeld Follies in 1916. He

Harry Houdini

Harry Houdini, Showman, Escape Artist, 1874-1926

Harry Houdini was one of the bestknown stage acts in the world. Born Erich Weiss in Budapest, he immigrated to America as a baby. Taking the stage name of Houdini (after the famous French magician of the early 19th century, Jean Eugene Robert Houdin), his first act consisted of traditional card tricks, sleight of hand, and feats of mentalism. He soon abandoned these in favor of escape routines. Wriggling free of manacles and straitjackets, escaping unharmed from sealed milk cans, water-filled boxes, coffins, and even maximum-security cells in


investigator handbook local jails, Houdini soon gained a reputation that made him a headliner on American vaudeville circuits and in European dance halls. Houdini’s mother died in 1913 and the devoted son took up an interest in spiritualism that lasted until his death. Encountering fraudulent mediums at every turn, he used his illusionist’s talents to expose fakes and hustlers, all the while never abandoning his belief in spiritualism. In 1926, in Detroit, Michigan, he suffered a blow to the stomach from an over-eager fan and died shortly after, on Halloween, a victim of peritonitis. Survived by his wife and assistant of many years, Bess, he had sworn that if at all possible, he would return from the “other side” on a future Halloween night.

Woodie Guthrie, Hobo, 1912-1967

Woodrow Wilson Guthrie’s fame does not come until the 1940s and afterward, but his experiences during the late 1920s and throughout the Depression era fuelled the songs that made him famous. Woodie Guthrie was born in Oklahoma; his father was a sometime musician and professional boxer. Woodie left home at the age of sixteen and, in 1929, while visiting an uncle in Texas, he learned to play the guitar. When the depression hit, he rode the rails, living as a hobo and eking out a little money playing his songs. Guthrie’s songs were part folk song, part social commentary. In 1937 he took a job at a radio station in Los Angeles. His music had been recorded only casually in the 1940s, but his songs grew in popularity; Guthrie even recorded with legendary bluesmen such as Leadbelly. He moved to New York just before the Second World War, where he met up with other folk musicians, and where he became a Communist for a short time. During the war Guthrie served in the merchant marines. After the war, Guthrie was mistakenly diagnosed as an alcoholic. His true malady was a nervous disorder that kept him institutionalized for much of the last fifteen years of his life. Guthrie’s autobiography, Bound for Glory, was published in 1943.

Isadora Duncan, Dancer, 1878-1927

Isadora Duncan was a pioneer in the development of modern dance. Born in San Francisco, she eschewed traditional ballet disciplines, preferring natural movements in her dances, which she performed barefoot, dressed in a Greek tunic. She became popular in the U.S. and abroad, and started many dance schools, all of them short-lived. Duncan wrote an autobiography, My Life and later, a collection of essays, The Art of the Dance. She was killed in a freak automobile accident in France in 1927.

attended Catholic school. A teacher noted his baseball skills and helped him begin his career. In 1914, Ruth joined the Boston Red Sox as a pitcher, a position where he earned some success. When the Sox traded him to the New York Yankees, he played mostly in the outfield. In New York, Ruth honed his slugging skills, hitting a record-setting sixty home runs in 1927. When the Yankees built a new stadium, it quickly became known as “The House That Ruth Built.” He played in ten World Series and twice (in 1926 and 1928) hit three home runs in a single World Series game. Ruth’s personality and slugging skill made him the most popular player in baseball. In 1934 Ruth left the Yankees and played with the Boston Braves for one year before retiring from baseball. He was elected into the Hall of Fame in 1936, and died of cancer twelve years later. His record of 714 career home runs stood for over forty years.

Kenesaw Mountain Landis, Baseball Commissioner and Judge, 1866-1944

Landis, born in Millville, Ohio, was an Illinois judge who later became the first commissioner of professional baseball. He was a well-respected U.S. District Court judge in northern Illinois for several years. One of his most famous cases resulted in fines levied on the Standard Oil Company totaling over twenty-nine million dollars. His fairness and incorruptibility led to his appointment as baseball commissioner. This followed hot on the heels of the 1919 “Black Sox” scandal, in which the World Series was fixed by gamblers, allowing the Cincinnati Reds to defeat the Chicago White Sox. Landis steered the game away from further scandals, and was eventually elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1944.

Jack Dempsey, Boxer, 1895-1983

Born in Manassa, Colorado, Dempsey started boxing in mining camps in 1912, earning himself the nickname of the “Manassa Mauler.” Dempsey gained the heavyweight title in 1918 by knocking out Jess Willard, and successfully defended it three times before losing it to Gene Tunney in 1926. In a rematch with Tunney in 1927, Dempsey knocked Tunney down but failed to go to a neutral corner. The ensuing “long count” became infamous in boxing circles, as upwards of fifteen seconds passed before the referee reached

Athletics Babe Ruth, Baseball Player, 1895-1948 George Herman Ruth, better known as “The Babe,” “Bambino,” or “The Sultan of Swat,” was baseball’s first and greatest slugger. He was born in Baltimore, where he


Babe Ruth and the Red Socks

chapter 8: The Roaring Twenties the count of “Nine.” Tunney got up and went onto win a much-disputed ten-round decision.

Johnny Weismuller, Swimmer, 19041984

Johnny Weismuller set over sixty American and world swimming records in the 1920s, breaking the 100-yard freestyle record five times between 1922 and 1927. He won five Olympic gold medals, three in 1924, and two in 1928. In the 1930s Weismuller went onto play the lead role in a dozen Tarzan films for MGM and RKO, beginning with Tarzan the Ape Man (1932) and ending with Tarzan and the Mermaids (1948). For many, Weismuller’s depiction of the Lord of the Apes was the definitive one. Weismuller was born in Windber, Pennsylvania.

Business William Randolph Hearst, Newspaper Tycoon, 1882-1945

Hearst was born and raised in San Francisco, California, the only son of George Hearst, gold mine owner and U.S. Senator from California (1886-1891). Hearst was educated at Harvard, eventually deciding on a career in journalism. Following the example of Joseph Pulitzer and his New York World, Hearst in 1897 took control of the struggling San Francisco Examiner and within two years showed a profit. He then moved into the New York market, purchasing the struggling Morning Journal, hiring such writers as Stephen Crane and Julian Hawthorne, and raiding Pulitzer’s staff for people like Richard F. Outcault, the inventor of color comics. Renamed the Journal American, Hearst dropped the price to one cent, added illustrations, and made good use of sensational headlines. Hearst used his papers to excoriate Britain during the 1895 Venezuela British Guiana border dispute, and was also accused of using his newspapers to stir up the Spanish-American War in an effort to increase sales. Hearst supported presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan in the elections of 1896 and 1900. A Hearst editorial in early 1901, advocating assassination as a political tool, caused considerable embarrassment when President McKinley was assassinated five months later. Hearst served in Congress from 1903-07, but was unsuccessful in his 1904 presidential nomination bid. In 1905 he barely lost the New York City mayoral race, in 1906 failed to gain the New York governor’s seat, and in 1909 again lost the mayoral

Songs of the 20s 1920:

I’ll Be With You in Apple Blossom Time; Jerome Kern’s Look for the Silver Lining; When My Baby Smiles at Me.


Sheik of Araby; I’m Just Wild About Harry; Ain’t We Got Fun.


Chicago (That Toddlin’ Town); Toot, Toot, Tootsie Goodbye; Way Down Yonder in New Orleans; I Wish I Could Shimmy Like Sister Kate; Carolina in the Morning.


Yes! We Have No Bananas!; Who’s Sorry Now?; That Old Gang of Mine; Bessie Smith records Down Hearted Blues.


Indian Love Call; Gershwin’s Fascinatin’ Rhythm; It Had To Be You; Tea for Two; California Here I Come.


I’m Sittin’ On Top of the World; Alabamy Bound; If You Knew Susie Like I Know Susie; Sweet Georgia Brown; Yes Sir; That’s My Baby; Fats Waller’s Squeeze Me.


Are You Lonesome Tonight; Bye, Bye, Blackbird; When the Red, Red Robin Comes Bob, Bob, Bobbin’ Along; Tip Toe Through the Tulips.


Lucky Lindy; My Blue Heaven; Swonderful; Side by Side; Ain’t She Sweet; Me and My Shadow.


I Can’t Give You Anything But Love; You’re the Cream in My Coffee; Makin’ Whoopee; and I Wanna Be Loved by You eventually gives birth to the Betty Boop character.


Puttin’ On the Ritz; Ain’t Misbehavin’; Star Dust, Singin’ in the Rain; With a Song in My Heart; Those Wedding Bells are Breaking Up that Old Gang of Mine.


I Got Rhythm; Embraceable You; Sunny Side of the Street.

election, finally ending his political career. A strict isolationist, Hearst opposed U.S. entry into the World War and, later, membership in the League of Nations. His attacks against Britain and France led to these two nations refusing to allow his newspapers access to their communication systems. By 1925 Hearst owned newspapers all over the country, as well as


investigator handbook several magazines. Later he turned to film, producing several movies, some starring his mistress, actress Marion Davies. He began construction of Hearst Castle in San Simeon, California, and furnished it with extravagant antiques and works of art purchased on a lavish scale. The depression of the 1930s took its toll on the Hearst empire, but he maintained his influence in the Democratic Party, contributing heavily to the nomination of Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1932. Hearst was fond of sensational news stories and had no qualms about publicizing the efforts of a single, crusading journalist. Hearst was also a philanthropist, donating large sums of money to charities and scientific endeavors. He was also in the market for works of art and other exotica with which to furnish Hearst Castle.

Howard Hughes, Businessman, 1905-1976

Howard Hughes was a success in a number of business ventures, ranging from aviation and motion picture production to tool manufacturing. Hughes was born in Houston, Texas. Orphaned at the age of seventeen, he quit school to take over his father’s Hughes Tool Company in Houston. In the early 1930s, Hughes began producing motion pictures, among them Hell’s Angels (1930), The Front Page (1931), and Scarface (1932). His films introduced such cinematic legends as Jean Harlow, Paul Muni, and Jane Russell. An avid flyer, he set several aviation speed records in the late 1930s, and started Hughes Aircraft Company in Culver City, California. In the 1940s he became involved with RKO Pictures, buying a controlling interest and then the company itself. Later he sold, repurchased, and finally sold the company again in 1954. He stayed on RKO’s board of directors until 1957. Always a recluse, Hughes disappeared from the public eye in the 1950s. After his death in 1976 it was revealed that Hughes had been in terrible health for many years due to the poor diet and living conditions he had forced upon himself.

Henry Ford, Auto Tycoon, 1863-1947

Born on a farm in Michigan, Henry Ford was a pioneer of American manufacturing. He worked as a machinist in Detroit while experimenting with engines, and in 1896 completed his first crude automobile. In 1903 he started the Ford Motor Company, at first producing slow and expensive models. Developing mass-production techniques allowed Ford to lower the cost of his cars, and by 1927 he had sold over fifteen million of his Model T. Ford was generous with his success, and in 1914 began sharing profits with his employees. He also lowered working hours and raised the minimum wage considerably. These and other practices brought friction from his stockholders, so Ford bought them out in 1919, ensuring that his family would control the company unimpeded even after his death. Though initially opposed to U.S. involvement in the Great War, Ford later turned his factories to aiding the war effort. He developed the V8 engine, and became involved in many philanthropic interests, including the Ford Foundation; established in 1936, it was the world’s largest philanthropic organization.

Religion Patrick J. Hayes, Priest, 1867-1938

Hayes was a cardinal in the Roman Catholic Church in New York City, where he was born. He was ordained in 1892 and in 1919 was appointed archbishop of New York. He helped create many New York Catholic charities, for which he developed a loyal following, both in the church and among the people. Hayes was made a cardinal in 1924.

Joseph Kennedy, Investor, 1888-1969

Joseph Patrick Kennedy was one of the richest and most powerful businessmen in America. Kennedy was born in Boston and graduated from Harvard. In 1913, at the age of twenty five, Kennedy took control of a Boston bank and thus became the youngest bank president in the country. A year later, he married Rose Fitzgerald, the daughter of Boston’s mayor. The Kennedys had four sons, one of whom died in World War II, while the others went onto become senators and a president. Joe Kennedy himself became embroiled in politics in 1934, when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt appointed him to the Securities and Exchange Commission. He later served as chairman of that organization, and also of the U.S. Maritime Commission (1937), and was ambassador to Great Britain from 1937 to 1940. Much of Joe Kennedy’s fortune was made via shrewd investments, but illegal bootlegging activities are also said to have helped fill the Kennedy coffers.


Aimee McPherson

chapter 8: The Roaring Twenties

Aimee McPherson, Sister, 1890-1944

Aimee Semple McPherson was born in Canada and was destined to become one of the most popular evangelists of her day. Early in her career, McPherson worked as a missionary in Hong Kong with her husband, an evangelist named Robert Semple. When he died, she and her daughter returned to the U.S., where she toured the country performing very theatrical revival services, eventually becoming known as “Sister Aimee.” A popular and vivacious figure, her services (performed both in person and on the radio) stressed salvation, the Second Coming of Christ, and divine healing. McPherson built a radio station, edited a magazine, founded the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel (1927), and the Lighthouse of International Foursquare Evangelism Bible College. She built the Angelus Temple in Los Angeles in 1922. At the height of her career in the 1930s, Aimee Semple McPherson’s gospel was taught in over two hundred missions across the country. She died from an overdose of barbiturates in 1944.

Crime Bonnie Parker, 1910-1934, and Clyde Barrow, 1909-1934, Bank Robbers

Bonnie and Clyde were infamous even among their fellow thieves. Their reputation for needless bloodshed and murder, and their tendency to abandon wounded or surrounded gang members make them among the most hated and feared of the depression era bank robbers. Clyde Barrow was born to a poor family in rural Texas. His older brother, Buck, was a thief as well, and led Clyde into a life of crime while he was still in his teens. Clyde already had a reputation as a robber when he met the thrillseeking Bonnie Parker in 1930. Shortly afterward Clyde was caught and jailed for almost two years. When paroled in 1932, Bonnie joined him in a life of crime. The pair committed a string of robberies through Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, and New Mexico. They preferred small pickings: gas stations, restaurants, and small-town banks, and businesses. Their most lucrative robbery yielded only $1,500. Despite their small-time targets, Bonnie and Clyde seemed enamored of senseless violence. Clyde once killed a sheriff and a deputy at a dance, and Bonnie shot a traffic cop for no particular reason. These were needless crimes, indicative of the carefree way in which they and their gang lived. Clyde’s brother, Buck, and his wife, Blanche, joined their gang for a while, as did other minor thugs. They lived on the road, camping out in the wilderness, or forcing themselves on farm families. In 1933 Clyde abandoned Buck and Blanche in Louisiana when a posse surprised them. The following year Bonnie and Clyde were betrayed by an accomplice and gunned down in a shootout with police near Gibsland, Louisiana.

Bonnie and Clyde

Journalism Walter Winchell, Columnist, 1897-1972

Winchell worked his way up from playing vaudeville to become a popular newspaper columnist and radio and television commentator. He was born in New York City and attended public schools before entering vaudeville. In 1920 he started writing articles for The Vaudeville News and later moved on to writing for other papers. Winchell’s gossip columns were the first of their type to become staples in daily newspapers. His often scandalous gossiping made him many enemies in political and entertainment circles, but the public clamored for this “dirt.” Other writers imitated his column, which gained national circulation in 1929 through the New York Daily Mirror. Winchell’s writing made use of a number of unique words he himself coined, such as “middle aisled” for married.

Richard Harding Davis, Correspondent, 1864-1916

Davis was an adventurous war correspondent for the New York Herald and the London Times. He was born in Philadelphia, the son of novelist Rebecca Harding Davis and Philadelphia newspaperman L. Clark Davis. Davis covered the revolution in Cuba in 1895, the Spanish-American War, the Second Boer War, and the Russo-Japanese Wars, in addition to the First World War. In times of peace he traveled the world, writing magazine articles about his journeys. He also wrote a number of short stories, plays, and novels. His style of writing and reporting was dramatic and sensational, occasionally to the point of exaggeration of the facts.


investigator handbook

Melville Elijah Stone, Editor, 1848-1929

Melville Stone founded the Chicago Daily News in 1876 and was general manager of the Associated Press from 1893 to 1921. Born in Illinois, Stone’s first newspaper assignment was with the Chicago Tribune in 1875. In 1881, he and a partner bought the Chicago Morning News, which he renamed the Chicago Record. Stone left the U.S. to spend time in Europe, and when he returned in 1891 he organized the Globe National Bank, of which he was president for seven years. Later, while manager of the Associated Press, he helped smooth out treaty negotiations which led to the end of the Russo-Japanese War in 1905. His autobiography, Fifty Years a Journalist, was published in 1921.

Robert Ripley, Cartoonist, Columnist, 1893-1949

Ripley began his career in 1910 as a sports cartoonist working for several newspapers. In 1918 he created the “Believe It or Not!” series of columns, soon after syndicated to newspapers all over the country. Ripley published his first collection of columns in Ripley’s “Believe It or Not!” in 1930. Ripley already had accumulated a large collection of strange objects from all over the globe. He received many unsolicited objects, and may have had specimens for comparison, or special knowledge of particular odd items or artifacts. Ripley resided in Santa Rosa, California.

Labor Samuel Gompers, Union Activist, 1850-1924

Law Enforcement William John Burns, Detective, 1861-1932

Burns was one of the most successful lawmen of the time. As an investigator for the U.S. Attorney General during Teddy Roosevelt’s administration, Burns exposed the involvement of several Oregon congressmen in a land-fraud scheme. He later served as director of the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Investigation (from 1921 to 1924) prior to J. Edgar Hoover. He also headed the highly respected William J. Burns International Detective Agency.

Eliot Ness, Federal Agent, 1903-1957

Eliot Ness was a federal agent in the city of Chicago during the late 1920s and 1930s. Ness and his men gained fame for their dogged pursuit of Chicago gang leader, Al Capone. Ness was born in Chicago and graduated from the University of Chicago. At the age of twenty six he was made a special agent of the U.S. Department of Justice and assigned to head the prohibition bureau for Chicago. More specifically, his assignment was to topple Capone’s criminal organization. For this task Ness assembled a band of eight young agents whom he felt were incorruptible: “The Untouchables.” Ness and his men raided speakeasies, breweries, and other examples of Capone’s illegal operations. The resultant headlines brought fame to both Ness and Capone, though Ness’s inability to gain a conviction against Capone made him a target of ridicule. Capone’s luck ran out in 1931 when, with Ness’s aid, he was convicted of federal tax evasion. From 1933 to 1935, Ness led the Alcohol Tax

Samuel Gompers was born in London and moved to the U.S. when he was thirteen. A year later he was registered as the first member of the Cigar Makers’ International Union, an organization which he later made one of the most successful trade unions. Gompers became the first president of the American Federation of Labor in 1886, a post he would be reelected to every year until his death, with the exception of 1895. Gompers’ influence kept the labor unions from allying with established political parties, and instead urged them to bargain with employers. He argued against the labor injunctions, which the legal system used to break strikes, and lobbied for provisions to the Clayton Antitrust Act of 1914. He also lobbied to regulate working hours and conditions for women and children. Gompers’ influence helped to shape the reformation of the U.S. Department of Labor in 1913. Samuel Gompers


chapter 8: The Roaring Twenties Unit of the U.S. Treasury Department. He then became the Director of Public Safety in Cleveland from 1935-1941, and did more security work for the federal government during the Second World War.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Judge, 1841-1935

Holmes served on the U.S. Supreme Court for nearly 30 years. Born in Boston, his father was a famous writer, physician, and wit. Holmes Jr. served in the Union Army during the Civil War, was wounded three times, and retired with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. After the war, he enrolled in Harvard law school, and eventually co-edited the American Law Review. He wrote The Common Law in 1881, and the following year became a professor of Law

at Harvard and also won an appointment to the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts. In 1899 he became Chief Justice of Massachusetts, and in 1902 President Teddy Roosevelt made him an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. There Holmes left an enduring mark on the American judicial system. Holmes’ frequent dissenting opinions earned him the epithet “The Great Dissenter.” His belief in a legal system tempered to fit the changing social climate of the nation met with early resistance, but was soon accepted and continues to this day. He also felt that the individual states should have more control over their own legislation and judicial decisions, stances which also brought resistance from others on the high court. Nevertheless, Holmes was popular among the citizenry as a down-to-earth jurist.

Movies of the 20s 1919: 1920:






Theda Bara, the “Vamp,” stars in Salome. D.W. Griffith directs Broken Blossoms.


Lon Chaney stars in The Penalty, Lillian Gish in Orphans of the Storm, John Barrymore in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Mary Pickford in Pollyana, and Douglas Fairbanks (Sr.) in The Mark of Zorro. United Artists film company is formed by Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, and legendary producer and director D.W. Griffith.

Joan Crawford debuts in Pretty Ladies, Greta Garbo stars in The Torrent, Fritz Lang directs the classic Metropolis, John Barrymore stars in first non-musical talkie, Don Juan, Buster Keaton in The General, Francis X. Bushman stars in Ben Hur. Valentino’s funeral touches off mob hysteria in Manhattan that leaves the funeral parlor looted by souvenir seekers.


Lon Chaney in London After Midnight, Cecil B. DeMille produces King of Kings, Greta Garbo in Flesh and the Devil and, with John Gilbert, in Love, Al Jolson stars in the first full-length talking picture The Jazz Singer, William Fox introduces Movietone Newsreels, and Clara Bow becomes the “It” girl, the quintessential flapper when she stars in It. Joan Crawford stars in Our Dancing Daughters, Charlie Chaplin in The Circus, Victor McGlaglen in A Girl in Every Port, Mickey Mouse in Steamboat Willie, Clara Bow in Red Hair, Three Weekends, and The Fleet’s In, Howard Hughes produces Two Arabian Nights. Gary Cooper stars in The Virginian, Greta Garbo in Wild Orchids, The Marx Brothers in The Cocoanuts, Ronald Coleman in Bulldog Drummond, Douglas Fairbanks in The Man in the Iron Mask, Lionel Barrymore in Mysterious Island, and Alfred Hitchcock directs Blackmail.

Rudolph Valentino becomes an overnight sensation with The Sheik and The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Mack Sennett makes A Small Town Idol, Charlie Chaplin stars in The Kid, Douglas Fairbanks in The Three Musketeers. Henry Hull and Carol Dempster co-star in One Exciting Night, Douglas Fairbanks in Robin Hood, and F.W. Murnau directs Nosferatu in Germany. Nanook of the North by American explorer Robert Flaherty defines the film documentary. Lon Chaney stars in The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Cecil B. DeMille produces The Ten Commandments, William S. Hart stars in Wild Bill Hickok, comedian Harold Lloyd wows them in Safety Last, and comedy director Mack Sennett produces the spoof, The Shriek of Araby. Harold Lloyd in Girl Shy, Buster Keaton in The Navigator, Douglas Fairbanks in The Thief of Baghdad, John Ford directs The Iron Horse. Lon Chaney stars in The Phantom of the Opera, William S. Hart in Tumbleweeds, Harold Lloyd in The Freshman, Adolphe Menjou in The Sorrows of Satan, Buster Keaton in Seven Chances, Charlie Chaplin in The Gold Rush, and Willis O’Brien brings prehistoric creatures to life in The Lost World.




Greta Garbo stars in Eugene O’Neill’s Anna Christie, the Marx Brothers in Animal Crackers, Josef Sternberg directs Marlene Dietrich in The Blue Angel, Howard Hughes produces Hell’s Angels, Walter Huston plays Abraham Lincoln while John Barrymore portrays Ahab in Moby Dick.


investigator handbook

J. Edgar Hoover, Director of the FBI, 1895-1972

Hoover was born in Washington, D.C. He graduated from Washington Central High in 1913 and began studying law in night school, eventually receiving a Bachelor of Laws in 1916, and a Master of Laws in 1917. Later in 1917, he began work for the Department of Justice, employed as a file reviewer. Two years later he was promoted to the post of special assistant to A. Mitchell Palmer, then Attorney General. Hoover is given credit for organizing the raids and mass arrests of suspected Socialists and Communists in the early 1920s. In May of 1924 Hoover was named Acting Director of the Bureau of Investigation (renamed the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 1927), and was awarded the permanent position seven months later. Finding the agency in disrepute due to the scandals of the Harding administration, Hoover went about refurbishing the Bureau. Rigorous qualifications were put into effect, requiring agents to have a squeaky-clean record, and an intensive training program was established. Hoover also instituted a national fingerprint file and a scientific crime detection laboratory. Recognizing the value of publicity, Hoover turned it to his own ends, establishing the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted List” and other promotional devices. “If there is going to be publicity,” Hoover declared, “let it be on the side of law and order.” Under Hoover’s leadership the FBI became known for its integrity and freedom from political control. It was the 1930s before Hoover and the FBI became nationally recognized, following the pursuit and arrests of John Dillinger, Ma Barker’s Gang, and Baby Face Nelson, along with involvement in such high profile crimes as the Lindbergh kidnaping. Hoover was a patriotic American who feared infiltration by Communists, Socialists, Anarchists, Fascists, and radicals. He actively garnered intelligence about labor unions and other political groups. His secret surveillance extended to politicians, celebrities, and other national figures.

Charles Mayo’s most famous contribution to surgical treatments was a reduction of the hazards associated with goiter surgery. Charles served alongside his brother William during the War and received similar awards. Charles taught surgery at the Mayo Foundation from 1915 to 1936 and at the University of Minnesota from 1919 to 1936, and served as the health officer of Rochester from 1912 to 1937. In conjunction with the Mayo Clinic, the Mayos also founded the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, contributing millions of dollars to the project. The Foundation became one of the most important centers of medical research in the world.

Military Alvin York, Sergeant, 1887-1964

York was an American soldier who fought heroically in France during the Great War. York was a simple, gentle man, born in the mountains of Tennessee, where he became a crack marksman. York was deeply religious and a pacifist, and balked at entering the service, but his local priest urged him to do his duty for his country. He is famous for singlehandedly killing twenty German soldiers and forcing a German officer to order his men to surrender, capturing another 130 men and over thirty machine guns. For this act of bravery York was awarded the U.S. Medal of Honor and the French Croix de Guerre. After the war, York set up a foundation for the education of mountain children and also spoke out in support of prohibition and world peace. His story was filmed as Sergeant York in 1941, with Gary Cooper in the title role.

Medical William James Mayo Jr., 1861-1939, and Charles Horace Mayo, 1865-1939, Physicians

William and Charles were the sons of William Worrall Mayo, one of the leading physicians of his day. The Mayo family practiced medicine in Minnesota, and started the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota in 1889 (though it would not be officially named so until 1903). William Mayo, Jr., the older of the two sons, was famous for his surgical treatments of cancer, gallstones, and intestinal operations. He graduated from the University of Michigan medical school in 1883. William was an Army Medical Corps volunteer in the Great War, and in 1921 was made a Brigadier General in the medical reserve.


Eddie Rickenbacker

chapter 8: The Roaring Twenties

Eddie Rickenbacker, Flying Ace, 1890-1973

In the Great War, Eddie Rickenbacker shot down twenty two planes and four balloons, thus becoming America’s leading air ace. Rickenbacker was born in Columbus, Ohio, and left school at the age of twelve to support his family after his father died. He completed his education by taking correspondence courses, and eventually became an auto mechanic and an internationally known race car driver. In 1917 he enlisted in the army, where he initially worked as a driver and engineering officer before becoming a pilot. After the war, Rickenbacker worked for various automobile manufacturers and became the owner of the Indianapolis Speedway. In 1938 he became president of Eastern Airlines, a post he held for over twenty years.

Richard E. Byrd, Military Officer, Pilot, Polar Explorer, 1888-1957

An acclaimed naval officer and polar explorer, Byrd was a member of a prominent Virginia family (his brother was governor in the late 1920s). He attended the Virginia Military Institute, the University of Virginia, and the US. Naval Academy. He later trained as a pilot, commanding aviation units in Canada, navigating the Navy’s first transatlantic flight in 1919, and commanding the aviation unit of the MacMillan polar expedition in Greenland in 1925. On May 9, 1926, accompanied by copilot Floyd Bennett, Byrd flew over the north pole, covering 1,360 miles in a fifteen-hour flight. In 1928 Byrd led a lengthy expedition to the Antarctic, where he established a base camp called Little America. In late November, 1929, he and three companions flew over the South Pole. He returned to America a national hero and published a memoir titled Little America. Byrd later made other expeditions to the south polar regions.

Politics Carrie Chapman Catt, Suffrage Leader, 1859-1947

Catt was a campaigner for international women’s suffrage. She was born in Wisconsin and attended Iowa State College. She became a school teacher, and later the first woman superintendent of schools in Mason City, Iowa. Carrie Chapman Catt began her crusade for women’s suffrage in 1887, and gave many lectures on the subject. She was president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association from 1900-1904 and 1915-1920, and president of the International Woman Suffrage Alliance from 19041923. Catt founded the National League of Women Voters in 1919 to teach women about public affairs so that they could vote responsibly. She campaigned vigorously for a woman's right to vote, leading a "army of voteless women" to pressure Congress. Such work led in 1920 to the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. which finally granted women the right to vote. Carrie Chapman Catt also founded the National

Carrie Chapman Catt (on left) Committee on the Cause and Cure of War in 1925, an organization which later became the Women’s Action Committee for Victory and a Lasting Peace.

James Curley, Mayor, 1874-1958

Born in Boston, Curley served as a Democratic state legislator, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, and as Governor of Massachusetts. He also served as Mayor of Boston from 1914-1918, 1922-1926, 1930-1934, and 19461950. Curley was constantly under investigation for various charges of corruption. He was found guilty of fraud in 1938 and fined $30,000, but the citizens of Boston donated money to pay the fine. Nevertheless, he was reelected several times, and was popular with the poorer citizens of Boston. Curley was convicted of mail fraud in 1947 and sent to prison, but President Harry Truman gave him a full pardon in 1950.

Eugene V. Debs, Socialist, 1855-1926

Debs was born in Indiana and began working on the railroad at the age of fifteen. He became a locomotive fireman and eventually served as the national secretary and treasurer of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen from 1880-1893. He was also in the Indiana state legislature from 1885-1892. He started the American Railway Union in 1893. In support of a strike by workers at the Pullman manufacturing plant, the ARU members refused to pull any Pullman cars. President Grover Cleveland sent federal troops to break up the strike and Debs was imprisoned. While in prison he became a Socialist, and ran for the U.S. presidency as a Socialist in 1904, 1908, 1912, and 1920. After making a speech condemning the war in 1918, Debs was imprisoned under the Espionage Act and sentenced to ten years. Nevertheless he again ran


investigator handbook for the presidency in 1920, garnering nearly a million votes. While in prison he wrote Walls and Bars, a book about prison conditions. In 1921 Debs’ sentence was commuted by President Warren G. Harding.

Scholar George Washington Carver, Researcher, 1859?-1943

Carver was born to slave parents in Missouri, going on to become an internationally famous agricultural researcher. He attended Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa, earning his way by working various menial jobs. Carver later graduated from Iowa State College in 1894, where he took a post as assistant botanist. He started a fungus collection that eventually boasted 20,000 separate species. Carver transferred to Alabama’s Tuskegee Institute in 1896 at the invitation of Booker T. Washington. There, he revolutionized Southern agriculture, urging farmers to grow peanuts, sweet potatoes, and other crops, in place of cotton. Carver derived over three hundred products from the peanut, including peanut butter, ink, and instant coffee. Sweet potatoes yielded another hundred-plus products, and pecans over seventy more. He invented a number of other ingenious products from unlikely sources. In 1916 Carver was made a Fellow in the Royal Society of Arts in London, an accomplishment few Americans could boast. By the time of his death, eighteen schools had been named in his honor.

Margaret Murray, Anthropologist, 1863-1963

Margaret Murray was a British anthropologist whose primary fields of study were Egyptology and the history of witchcraft. Her best known book, The Witch Cult in Western Europe (1921), relates her findings and theories on the latter subject. In it, Dr. Murray claimed that witchcraft is actually an ancient fertility cult that worships a god possessed of two forms: one a horned male figure, the other a female huntress a la the Greek Artemis and the Roman Diana. According to Murray, this cult originated in Western Europe thousands of years before Christ, with a race of dwarves who were driven underground with the coming of mankind. These creatures survived as the faeries and elves of European folklore. The surviving witch cults were not evil, spell-casting hags, but followers of their spiritual leader, the earth goddess/ huntress Diana/Artemis. When first published, Murray’s findings gained little acceptance in academic circles, but the book spurred a Pagan revival in England and Europe. She later published two other books of a similar nature.

Howard Carter, Archaeologist, 1873-1939

Carter was a British archaeologist whose fame was made certain by his discovery of the tomb of the Pharaoh Tutankhamun in 1922. Carter led many expeditions to Egypt’s


Howard Carter

Valley of the Kings, and for a time directed Egypt’s program to preserve its ancient artifacts. His father, an artist, taught him draftsmanship, and in 1891 he went to Egypt as a draftsman on an archaeological survey. A year later he received his first formal training in archaeology at Tell el Amarna, under the tutelage of the prominent British archaeologist Sir Flinders Petrie. Carter’s discoveries over the next thirty years included the tombs of Thutmose IV, Queen Hashepsut, and Amenhotep I. Among Carter’s many books on his discoveries is the three volume The Tomb of Tutankhamun. Proponents of the “curse of King Tut’s tomb” neglect to note that Carter, the man truly responsible for the tomb’s “looting,” lived for seventeen years after the invoking of the “curse.”

Occult and Parapsychology A.E. Waite, Occultist, 1857-1942

Arthur Edward Waite was one of the most famous and studious turn-of-the-century occultists. Waite was born in Brooklyn, the son of a ship’s captain. His father died when he was two years old, the family then moved to England to be with his mother’s family. Brought up Catholic, Waite turned to spiritualism in 1874, when his sister died. When he found the spiritualists wanting, he joined H.P. Blavatsky’s Theosophical Society, studying alchemy and the mysticism of the French occultist Eliphas Levi. His first book, The Mysteries of Magic (1886), dealt with Levi’s writings. A year later, while researching in the British Museum, Waite met fellow author and mystic Arthur Machen, who would be his friend and occasional co-author until Waite’s death. In 1891 Waite joined a new society of occultists, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. He would be involved in the Dawn’s various incarnations off and on until 1914; Waite would in fact lead one faction of the Golden Dawn from 1903-1914, reorganizing its magical curriculum along more Christian lines.

chapter 8: The Roaring Twenties Though he himself claimed to be skeptical of its usefulness, Waite designed what is still the most widely used Tarot deck, the Rider-Waite or Rider Tarot Deck; he wrote The Pictorial Key to the Tarot as a companion to this deck. This work likens the four Tarot suits to elements of the Grail legend, a topic about which he and his friend Machen frequently corresponded and published. Waite became a Freemason in 1901, and was in the Rosicrucian Society from 1902-1914. His autobiography, Shadows of Life and Thought, was published in 1938.

Aleister Crowley, Occultist, 1875-1947

Born into a wealthy middle-class English family who were members of the Plymouth Brethren, a conservative Christian church. Following education at Cambridge, Crowley joined the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. His time there was brief, as personal feuds and internal schism tore the Order apart. As a young man, Crowley lived off his inheritance until that ran out, and he became increasingly reliant on the income from his writings and gifts from his followers. He traveled extensively (Mexico, USA, Japan, Ceylon, Europe—Crowley was a good mountaineer and climbed some of the world’s highest peaks; he might justifiably have become famous for these endeavors). In 1904 he arrived in Egypt and encountered the Egyptian god Horus in a magical rite. Soon after he was contacted by a being he called Aiwass, his guardian angel, who recited to Crowley what would become The Book of the Law, wherein it is explained that a new aeon for mankind has begun, with Crowley as its prophet. The supreme moral law being, “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole the law.” Crowley spent most of the war years in exile in America—he had offered his services as spy to the British government but was turned down. He grew bitter and wrote pro-German propaganda. During the early 1920s, Crowley moved from New York to Palermo, Sicily, where he founded the Abbey of Thelema. During the latter half of the twenties, Crowley turned once more to writing, selling his book, Diary of a Drug Fiend to Collins publishers. In September 1930, he faked his own death in Lisbon, on the shore called Boca do Inferno (Mouth of Hell), only to turn up alive and well three weeks later in Berlin. Towards the end of the 1930s, Crowley appeared to settle down in England and supported himself by publishing his magical writings (including The Book of Thoth) and an autobiography until his death in 1947.

Charles Fort, Author, 1874-1932

Fort was a collector and chronicler of all things strange and bizarre. His penchant for collecting clippings and noting odd occurrences from all over the world resulted in his first book, The Book of the Damned, published in 1919. Within its pages are tales of frogs, stones, and blood raining from the sky, of unexplained daytime darknesses, mysterious flying craft, and inexplicable shadows. An amateur naturalist and professional news reporter, Fort hoped that his books would make scientists pay attention to the many odd and

uncorrelated events continually occurring around the globe. A second book, New Lands, appeared in 1923. Fort was a solitary soul, living in an apartment in the Bronx of New York with his wife, Anna. Heavyset, and with poor eyesight, Fort had few friends, although novelist Theodore Dreiser was a frequent visitor. The cramped apartment was filled with Fort’s cryptically labeled notes and clippings, along with his collections of insect specimens and various odd objects gathered from all over the world. Intolerant of science’s disregard for the weird and unexplained, he nonetheless sported a quick sense of humor, illegally brewed his own beer, and found time to create a maddeningly difficult game called Super Checkers.

Edgar Cayce, Mystic, Prophet, Healer, 1878?-1945

A Kentucky-born mystic and psychic healer, Cayce’s background was rural, his education limited, and his demeanor unassuming. He claimed he first became aware of his powers in 1890 when a ghostly woman approached him and offered to grant him a single wish. Answering that he only wished to help others, he afterward began to exhibit psychic powers. Known as “the sleeping prophet,” Cayce was a devout Christian who never seemed at ease with his gifts. Cayce provided his patients with thousands of psychic readings in the early part of the 20th century. Entering a self-induced trance, he dictated prophecies and medical diagnoses for afflicted persons, sometimes at great distance from the supplicants. Although his recommendations frequently called for bizarre home remedies, many of his patients reported miraculous cures. His explorations of people’s psyches claimed to provided evidence of the existence of past lives. He disliked accepting money for his services, but many of his patients were generous. In 1923 he abandoned his career in photography to make a living with his psychic talents. Cayce claimed his knowledge came from “the Akashic records,” a psychic storehouse of knowledge not dissimilar to Carl Jung’s theory of the collective unconscious. Cayce called this storehouse, “God’s book of remembrance,” or “the universal unconscious.” He often refered to Atlantis, and claimed a storehouse of Atlantean knowledge was contained in secret libraries beneath the Egyptian pyramids. Cayce accepted personal appointments and could also be contacted by letter.

Harry Price, Parapsychologist, 1881-1948

Price was a tireless British parapsychologist. A member of the British Society for Psychical Research (founded in 1882), Price formed his own similar organization, the National Laboratory of Psychical Research, in 1926. Price’s interest in the occult started early—he is said to have investigated his first paranormal case (a poltergeist) at the age of fifteen. He had no scientific background or academic credentials to speak of, but he was a skilled magician, and used this talent to spot frauds. He was adept at generating publicity for his experiments


investigator handbook and findings, and his outspokenness made him many enemies among psychics, mediums, and academics. Whatever his faults, Price was a meticulous researcher, always making careful preparations to spot frauds at séances and at sites of alleged paranormal activity. He used cameras with infrared film, motiondetecting devices, and a well-stocked “ghost-hunter’s kit” in his investigations. Price conducted many séances in the 1920s and investigated instances Evangeline Adams of poltergeist activity, ghostly hauntings, and psychokinesis. In 1929 Harry Price he became engaged in his most famous case: the haunting of Borley Rectory, northeast of London. Price devoted more than seventeen years to his study of this apparently genuine haunting, and Nikola Tesla, Inventor, 1865-1935 wrote two books about it. All told, he wrote seventeen books An American inventor, born and educated in Europe, Tesla throughout his career. is rarely recognized for his vast contributions to the sciences.


Professor J.B. Rhine, Parapsychologist, 1895-1980

Rhine quit his post at West Virginia University in 1927 to study psychical research under William McDougall at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. Rhine conducted carefully controlled experiments in telepathy, telekinesis, and clairvoyance, and investigated psychic phenomena in everyday life and religion. He coined the term “parapsychology” and invented the standard deck of 25 cards marked with five different symbols used to test ESP. In 1930 he was named Director of the Parapsychology Laboratory at Duke. Rhine lived in Durham, near the campus.

Evangeline Adams, Astrologer, 1865-1932

The leading astrologer in the U.S., Adams resided in a New York City apartment above Carnegie Hall. Her reputation was made in 1899 when she accurately prophesied the burning of New York’s Windsor Hotel. Prosecuted for fortune telling in 1914, she so impressed the judge with the accuracy of her readings that he dropped the charges. Author of the best seller, Astrology: Your Place Among the Stars, she began a popular radio program in 1930. Adams regularly accepted appointments for astrological readings.


Immigrating to America in 1884, he patented an electric motor in 1888 that he soon sold to the George Westinghouse Company. In 1891 he developed the Tesla coil, and in 1893 a system for wireless communication. Briefly associated with Thomas Edison, he soon went his own way, establishing a laboratory in New York City. Tesla’s inventive genius was more theoretical than practical, and he often abandoned designs before they were fully developed, leaving others to reap the rewards. Such a situation led to a long court battle over the rights to basic radio patents. He spent his later years attempting to transmit electricity without wires, growing increasingly reclusive and eccentric. Many publicity photos issued by the inventor have been shown to be fakes, and wild claims made in the 1930s, including the announcement of a “death ray,” did little to improve his reputation

Roy Chapman Andrews, Explorer, Naturalist, Paleontologist, 1884-1960

Andrews was born in Wisconsin and graduated from Beloit College in 1906. He immediately went to work for the American Museum of Natural History in New York, securing whale specimens, and soon became a leading world expert on these great sea mammals. Andrews also took part in expeditions to the northwest coast of North America in 1908, to Indonesia in 1909-1910, and Korea

chapter 8: The Roaring Twenties such as the phonograph and electrical storage battery were invented and refined. Edison’s creativity was matched only by his capacity for work. Twelve- and fourteen-hour days were the norm, and he never trusted his results until they had been proven time and time again. He was close friends with auto tycoon and philanthropist, Henry Ford, who once worked for the inventor. Edison resided near West Orange, New Jersey.

Robert Goddard, Scientist, Inventor, 1882-1945

Nikola Tesla

An early pioneer of rocket science, Goddard’s first experiments date to 1909 in his hometown of Worcester, Massachusetts. Goddard attended Worcester Polytechnic Institute and Clark University, later teaching physics at Clark. His ongoing experiments with rocketry, at first funded with his own money, were eventually granted funds by the Smithsonian Institute and the Guggenheim. In 1919 Goddard published A Method of Reaching Extreme Altitudes, outlining a rocket design intended to reach the moon. The book was met with scorn, but he continued his studies undismayed. On March 16, 1926, at Auburn, Massachusetts, he successfully launched his first liquid-fuel rocket. Goddard was employed as a physics professor at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts.

in 1911. He trekked through northern Korea in 1911-1912, Alaska in 1912, southwestern China and Burma in 1916, northern China and Outer Mongolia in 1919, and spent most of the decade between 1920 and 1930 in central Asia. It was during his stay in China in 1918 that Andrews also worked for the U.S. Intelligence Bureau in an unspecified capacity. Among the many discoveries he has made are the first fossil dinosaur eggs ever found. Andrews had many books published including: Whale Hunting with Gun and Camera (1916), Camps and Trails in China (1918), Across Mongolian Plains (1921), On the Trail of Ancient Man (1926), and Ends of the Earth (1929). In and out of the country, Andrews could usually be contacted through the American Natural History Museum in New York. Andrews was in regular contact by radio and through mail drops.

Thomas Edison, Inventor, Scientist, 1847-1931

Edison, best known for his invention of the incandescent light bulb and the motion picture, was the foremost American inventor of the late 19th century. Holder of hundreds of patents, Edison was awarded numerous international honors. In 1928, he received an American Congressional Gold Medal. As a youth, he worked at various railroad occupations before starting his own small newspaper, and was later employed as a telegraph operator. Lacking formal schooling, Edison nonetheless made many improvements to the telegraph system, and to the stock ticker-tape system. Eventually he set up laboratories in the New Jersey cities of Newark, Menlo Park, and West Orange, where devices


investigator handbook

Notable Libraries and Museums National Geographic Society, Washington, D.C.: Founded in 1888 by an eminent group of explorers and scientists “for the increase and diffusion of geographic knowledge.” In the same year it commenced publication of National Geographic magazine. The Society has supported numerous expeditions, often in cooperation with the Smithsonian Institute. The first National Geographic expedition took place in 1890-1891 with the exploration and mapping of Mount St. Elias along the then-unknown border between Alaska and Canada. In conjunction with Yale, a Geographic-backed expedition discovered Machu Picchu in 1911 and, later, Pueblo Bonito in New Mexico. The society has also backed several polar expeditions. The Society maintains a select library of over 16,000 volumes maintained by a staff of four. Although public access is not normally allowed, a librarian may offer to help a dedicated researcher. Aside from books, the library contains many unpublished manuscripts and journals from different expeditions and a complete run of National Geographic magazine. Smithsonian Institute, Washington, D.C.: Boasts the largest museum and art collection in the world. The various museums and libraries are open to the public on a daily basis, 10 AM to 5 PM, but research facilities are only available to those authorized by the Institute. The Smithsonian Park covers nine city blocks and five different buildings. The Smithsonian was founded in 1829 when British scientist James Smithson died, leaving a proviso in his will to the effect that should his inheriting nephew die without heir, the fortune should go to the United States “to found an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge.” The U.S. government received the money in 1838, soon after establishing an act providing for a library and museum. The Institute’s displays include natural history, industry, art, technology and science, rare gems, history and ethnology. The large library is particularly complete in the areas of Far and Near Eastern art and literature. U.S. Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.: Established in 1800 to serve Congress, the first library was destroyed by invading British in 1814. Thomas Jefferson offered his personal library of 6,487 books as a replacement, a collection still intact and found in the Rare Book and Special Collection Division. Although a second fire in 1851 destroyed nearly two-thirds of the library’s collection, by 1927 the library holds 3,556,767 books and pamphlets, a collection only eclipsed by the British Museum in London, and the Bibliothèque nationale in Paris. In 1921 important State Department documents were transferred to the Library of Congress. Among its most valuable holdings are a 1455 Gutenberg Bible, a collection of early presidential manuscripts, and the world’s largest collection of miniature books. The library is strongest in bibliography, history, political and social sciences, law and


One of the Smithsonian's Halls legislation, fine arts, American local history, biography, and genealogy. During the 1920s the Library of Congress served as the nation’s archives. Open to the public Monday through Friday, from 8:30 AM till 9 PM, Saturday from 8:30 AM till 5 PM, and Sundays from 1 PM till 5 PM. Miskatonic University, Arkham, Massachusetts: Miskatonic University is rightly famed for its library. Its collection is comparatively small, holding about 400,000 titles, but has been carefully assembled and well chosen. The Miskatonic Library is particularly strong in the areas of Medieval History and Metaphysics, and has a fine collection of 17th and 18th century volumes. The university’s Exhibit Museum is open to the public. It boasts one of the region’s best collections of American Indian artifacts, early American handicrafts, and New England witchcraft-related items. Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard is America’s oldest and most prestigious university. Founded in 1636 as a Puritan college for the education of ministers, it was named after John Harvard who, in 1638, bequeathed his entire library and half his estate to the school. Harvard’s library is one of the finest collections in America, with over 2,785,000 books and pamphlets on catalogue. Although intended for the use of students and faculty, the permission of a librarian grants an individual access to the different collections. The university also features a botanical garden, an observatory, museums of European, Oriental and American art, the Semitic museum, and the German museum. The Peabody Museum of American Archaeology and Ethnology, founded 1866, was the first anthropological museum in the U.S. Although it originally focused on the New World, it has since expanded its interests to encompass the whole of the globe. Since 1891 the Peabody has conducted extensive explorations of Mayan ruins in Central America. On file is a complete collection of nearly every anthropological journal ever published—over 20,000 issues. In 1915 the Widener Library was added to help

chapter 8: The Roaring Twenties

Broadway Stage of the 20s 1920:

The Ziegfield Follies stars Fanny Brice in Rose of Washington Square.


Sardi’s restaurant opens in the theatre district of Manhattan. Fanny Brice follows up last year’s hit with Second Hand Rose.


Sam Harris produces Rain.


Josephine Baker stars in Shuffle Along, a Harlem review brought to Broadway. David Belasco produces Laugh, Clown, Laugh.


Noel Coward’s The Vortex, The Marx Brothers appear in I’ll Say She Is, black actor Paul Robeson stars in Eugene O’Neill’s Emperor Jones, Josephine Baker appears in Chocolate Dandies, then leaves America for Paris.


Noel Coward writes Hay Fever, Sam Harris produces The Jazz Singer featuring George Jessel, The Marx Brothers star in The Cocoanuts.


Mae West shocks them with Sex, David Belasco produces Lu Lu Belle.


Showboat begins a record-breaking run of over 500 performances. Broadway hits its peak with 268 opening nights this year.


Newspaperman Ben Hecht hits it big with The Front Page, the Marx Brothers star in Animal Crackers, Mae West appears in Diamond Lil, Bert Lahr in Hold Everything.


Noel Coward writes the musical Bittersweet, Billie Burke appears in Happy Husbands.


Ethel Merman stars in Gershwin’s Girl Crazy, Fanny Brice in Sweet and Low.

Sports of the 20s Baseball: Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis is named the first Commissioner of Baseball (1920) in the wake of the infamous World Series betting scandal. The undisputed star of the decade is Babe Ruth, whose salary at one time exceeds that of President Hoover. Other favorites are Ty Cobb, Rogers Hornsby, Branch Rickey, George Sisler, and Grover Cleveland Alexander. Baseball also features such colorful managers as John McGraw of the N.Y. Giants and Connie Mack of the Philadelphia Athletics. Basketball: Familiar teams exist like the Boston Celtics and New York Knickerbockers, but few remember the Cleveland Rosenblums. Joseph Lapchick, a center, is the biggest star. In the twenties, the baskets still have bottoms in them. Boxing: Professional boxing grows in popularity and legitimacy. Jack Dempsey rules as Heavyweight Champ for the first part of the decade, but loses the title to Gene Tunney in 1926. In 1927 American sportswriter Paul Gallico organizes the first amateur Golden Gloves contest. American Football: College football is more closely followed than the pro game, but that changes when college star Red Grange drops out of school in his senior year to play with first the Chicago Bears and then the New York Giants. Well-known college coaches include Notre Dame’s Knute Rockne, Pop Warner who in 1924 leaves the University of Pennsylvania to coach at California’s Stanford University, and John Heisman of Pennsylvania and Rice. Golf: Walter Hagen, Gene Sarazen, and Chick Evans are the best-known professional golfers of the decade, but rising youngster Bobby Jones poses a threat. Polo: Ex flying-ace Tommy Hitchcock, Jr., dominates the polo fields and is widely considered the best player of all time. Tennis: The most popular tennis celebrity is Bill Tilden but the Frenchman Jacques Brugnon captures the Davis Cup from 1927 to 1932.


investigator handbook house the university’s ever-growing collection. Named after Henry Widener, a Harvard student (and millionaire) who died aboard the Titanic, it contains rare volumes by Luther, Erasmus, and Machiavelli. Harvard also maintains an astronomical observatory in Arequipa, Peru, which, in 1927, was moved to South Africa.

Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: Features a library, fine arts, a museum, music, a library school, and displays of technology. The museum has a large collection of fossil vertebrates, South American birds, and butterflies, especially African. There is also a large collection of coins and medals.

American Museum of Natural History, New York City, New York: Located on Central Park West at 79th Street, the museum is housed in a red brick gothic structure built in 1877. It is open to the public from 10 AM to 5:45 PM every day, and until 9 PM on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. First established in 1869, the American is currently the world’s largest natural history museum, encompassing all areas of natural history and anthropology, save botany. The museum’s unique displays of mounted birds, mammals, fish, and reptiles were pioneered by Carl Akeley in the early part of the decade. The museum has a standing agreement with New York’s Central Park Zoo, accepting from them animal carcasses of all sorts. They also accept donations of rare animal carcasses from private parties. The basement taxidermy laboratory is often the source of strange odors that permeate the exhibition halls. The museum boasts more complete skeletons of extinct animals on display— particularly dinosaurs—than any museum in the world. The museum backs many expeditions, including the Arctic explorations of Robert Peary in the 1890s and early 1900s. A ten-year Asiatic expedition mounted between 1920 and 1930 was headquartered in Peking. An army of explorers, paleontologists, archaeologists, zoologists, geologists, and surgeons made trips into Mongolia, exploring the Gobi desert, surviving bandit attacks and hostile terrain. The first known fossil dinosaur eggs were discovered during this period by paleontologist Roy Chapman Andrews. Early reports that claimed to have discovered evidence of a prehistoric civilization on an Asian plateau were later refuted, although never satisfactorily explained. The museum receives many applications from people wanting to accompany expeditions. Such inquiries are answered with a standard form with the question: “Could you donate to the expedition a sum of money to help pay your expenses?” With enough money, almost anyone can join an expedition.

Chicago Field Museum, Chicago, Illinois: Specializes in birds of North and South America, and mammals of the Americas and Africa. The Field Museum has the largest collection of meteorites in the world and the best botany collection in the U.S.

Other Notable Libraries & Museums

Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, Maryland: Particularly strong in East Indian metal and Cypriote antiquities. Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences, Buffalo, New York: Strong in fossil invertebrates of the Devonian period. California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, California: Specializes in flora and fauna of the Pacific Coast and Western states. Very rich in reptiles, particularly Galapagos tortoises.


California, University of, Berkeley, California: 665,680 volumes.

Chicago, University of, Chicago, Illinois: 768,559 volumes. Cincinnati Museum Association, Cincinnati, Ohio: 30,000 specimens of American Indian archaeology and ethnology. Colorado Museum of Natural History, Denver, Colorado: Specializes in fossil vertebrates. Columbia University, New York, New York: 1,092,343 volumes. Cornell University, Ithaca, New York: 787,127 volumes. Crear Library, Chicago, Illinois: 820,000 volumes. Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore, Maryland. Illinois, University of, Champaign, Illinois: 708,850 volumes. Michigan, University of, Ann Arbor, Michigan: 649,912 volumes. Minnesota, University of, Minneapolis St. Paul, Minnesota: 501,507 volumes. Museum of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Zoology and paleontology. The largest collection of molluscs in the U.S. Museum of the American Indian, New York, New York: Has over two million exhibits, one quarter of them on display at any given time. Known for field work, publications, and monographs. New York Public Library, New York, New York: World’s largest public library with over 2,971,000 books and pamphlets. Formed from the Astor (1849), Lenox (1870), and Tilden (1892) libraries. New York State Museum, Albany, New York: Specializes in flora and fauna of the state, as well as extensive historical collections. Newberry Library, Chicago, Illinois: 443,757 books and pamphlets. Peabody Maritime Museum, Salem, Massachusetts: East India trade and whaling are specialties.

chapter 8: The Roaring Twenties Peabody Museum of Yale, New Haven, Connecticut: Very strong in fossil vertebrates, particularly dinosaurs. An outstanding collection of early, toothed birds, and primitive horses. Pennsylvania, University of, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 635,070 volumes. Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey: 594,195 volumes. Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, Ohio: The world’s largest collection of ancient glass, and a notable collection of early printed books. U.S. Natural History Museum, Washington, D.C.: Mineral and mollusk collections are first rate. Features a technology museum.

the reigns of Louis XIII and Louis XIV. Later, Napoleon took great interest in the library and ordered that all books in provincial libraries not possessed by the Bibliothèque Nationale should be forwarded to it. In 1896, the library was still the largest repository of books in the world. By 1920 the library's collection had grown to 4,050,000 volumes and 11,000 manuscripts. Vatican Apostolic Library, Vatican City, Italy: The library of the Holy See. It is among the oldest libraries in the world and contains significant collections of historical texts. Formally established in 1475, the library is in fact much older. Its most famous text is the Codex Vaticanus Graecus 1209, the oldest known (almost) complete manuscript of the Bible.

Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut: over 1,250,000 volumes and growing.

Overseas Libraries of Note

British Museum, London, England: Founded in 1759, the museum is unique in that it houses the national museum of antiquities as well as the national library. Famous exhibits include the Rosetta Stone (1802) and the Parthenon Sculptures (1816). The Museum has been involved in excavation abroad. Its Assyrian collections formed the basis for the understanding of cuneiform (ancient Middle Eastern script), in the same way that the Rosetta Stone had helped unlock Egyptian hieroglyphics. The Research Laboratory was founded in 1920, and saw the growth of British archaeological expeditions in Egypt and the Middle East in this period, including supporting the work of Howard Carter with the finds from the Tutankhamun dig. Bibliothèque nationale, Paris, France: Founded by King John, who bequeathed his collection of manuscripts to his successor, Charles V. The library grew rapidly during


investigator handbook

Newspapers of the Twenties

Louisiana: New Orleans Times-Picayune (1837).

United States

Maryland: Baltimore American; Baltimore News; Baltimore Post; Baltimore Sun (1837).

Alabama: Birmingham Post. Arizona: Phoenix Republic (1850). California: Los Angeles Examiner; Los Angeles Herald; Los Angeles Times (1881); Oakland Post-Enquirer; Orange County Register (1905); Sacramento Bee (1857); San Diego Sun; San Francisco Call; San Diego Union (1868); San Francisco Chronicle (1865); San Francisco Examiner; San Francisco News. Colorado: Denver Evening News; Denver Rocky Mountain News (1859). Florida: Miami Herald (1910); Orlando Sentinel (1876); Tampa Tribune (1893). Georgia: Atlanta Constitution (1868); Atlanta GeorgianAmerican. Illinois: Chicago Herald & Examiner; Chicago American; Chicago Tribune (1847); Evansville Press. Indiana: Indianapolis Times; Terre Haute Post. Kentucky: Covington Kentucky Post.


Massachusetts: Boston Advertiser; Boston American; Boston Globe (1872); Boston Herald (1892); Christian Science Monitor (1908).

Michigan: Detroit Times; Detroit News (1873); Detroit Free Press (1831). Minnesota: Minneapolis Star Tribune (1867). Missouri: Kansas City Star (1880); St. Louis Post-Dispatch (1878). New Jersey: Newark Star-Ledger (1832). New Mexico: Albuquerque New Mexico State Tribune. New York: Albany Times-Union; Buffalo News (1880); New York American; New York Daily Times (1919); New York Journal; New York Post (1801); New York Telegram; New York Times (1851); Rochester Journal; Syracuse Journal; The Wall Street Journal (1889).

chapter 8: The Roaring Twenties Ohio: Akron Times-Press; Cincinnati Post; Cleveland Plain Dealer (1842); Cleveland Press; Columbus Citizen; Columbus Dispatch (1871); Toledo News-Bee; Youngstown Telegram. Oklahoma: Oklahoma City News. Oregon: Portland Oregonian (1850). Pennsylvania: Philadelphia Inquirer (1829); Pittsburgh Press; Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph. Tennessee: Knoxville News-Sentinel; Memphis PressScimitar. Texas: Dallas Morning News (1882); El Paso Post; Fort Worth Press; Fort Worth Star-Telegram (1906); Houston Chronicle (1901); Houston Post (1885); Houston Press; San Antonio Light. Washington: Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Washington, D.C.: Washington Herald; Washington News; Washington Post (1877); Washington Times. Wisconsin: Milwaukee News; Milwaukee Sentinel (1837).

Newspapers From Around the Globe England

London: The Daily Chronicle (1877); The Daily Express (1900); The Daily Mail (1896); The Daily Mirror (1903); The Daily Telegraph (1855); The Financial Times (1880); The Evening Standard; The Guardian (1821); The Morning Post (1772); News of the World (1843); The Observer (1791); The People (1881); The Sunday Express; The Sunday News (1842); The Sunday Times (1822); The Times (1785). Other counties: Birmingham Evening Dispatch; Birmingham Gazette; Bradford Telegraph and Argus; Hull Daily Mail; Grimsby Telegraph; Lancashire Daily Post; Lincolnshire Chronicle; Liverpool Courier and Express; Liverpool Echo; Nottingham Evening News; Nottingham Journal; Northern Echo (Darlington); Sheffield Independent; Sheffield Mail; Yorkshire Evening News; Yorkshire Gazette; Yorkshire Observer.


investigator handbook


The Halifax Chronicle; La Press (Montreal, French); The Manitoba Free Press; The Montreal Star; The Montreal Gazette; The Toronto Globe; The Vancouver Daily Province.


Diario de Yucatán (Merida, 1918); El Correo del la Tarde (Mazatlan, 1885); El Excelsior (Mexico City, 1919); El Informador (Guadalajara, 1917); El Universal (Mexico City, 1916); El Universal Grafico (Mexico City, 1922); La Tribuna (Guaymas, 1926).


El Diario (Buenos Aires, 1881); La Nación (Buenos Aires, 1870); La Prensa (Buenos Aires, 1869); La Razón (Buenos Aires, 1905); The Herald (Buenos Aires, 1876 English); The Standard (Buenos Aires, 1861 English).


A Noite (Rio de Janeiro, 1910 evening); A Patria (Rio de Janeiro, 1920); Correio de Manha (Rio de Janeiro, 1902); Fanfulla (Sao Paulo, 1892 Italian); Journal do Commercio (Rio de Janeiro, 1827); O Diario de Pernambuco (1825); O Estado (Sao Paulo, 1876); O Paiz (Rio de Janeiro, 1884).


El Diario Ilustrado (Santiago); El Mercurio (Valparaiso/ Santiago/Antofagasta, 1827); La Unión (Valparaiso/Santiago, 1885); La Nación (Santiago, 1916).


El Comercio (Lima, 1839); La Crónica (Lima, 1912); La Prensa (Lima, 1903).


The Central China Post (Hankow, British); The China Mail (Hong Kong, British, evening); The China Press (Shanghai, American, daily); The Hong Kong Daily Express (British); The Hong Kong Telegraph (British, evening); Le Journal de Pekin (French, morning); L’Écho de Chine (Shanghai, French, morning); L’Écho de Tientsin (French, morning); The North China Daily Mail (Tientsin, British, evening); North China Daily News (Shanghai, 1864 British); The North China Star (Tientsin, American, morning); The Peking Leader (American, morning); The Peking and Tientsin Times (British); The Shanghai Mercury (British, evening); The Shanghai Times (British); The South China Morning Post (Hong Kong, British);


The Civil and Military Gazette (Lahore, British); The Englishman (Calcutta, 1821 British); The Madras Mail (British); The Pioneer (Allahabad British); The Statesman (Calcutta, British); The Times of India (Bombay, British).


The Japan Advertiser (American); The Japan Chronicle (British); The Japan Times (Japanese owned, printed in English); Osaka Asahi; Osaka Mainichi; Tokyo Asahi; Tokyo Nichinichi.


Izvestia (Moscow); Kranaya Gazeta (Leningrad); Pravda.

South Africa

Die Burger (Cape Town, Dutch); The Cape Argus; The Cape Times; The Johannesburg Star; Ons Land (Cape Town, Dutch); Volkstem (Pretoria, Dutch).


The Age (Melbourne, morning); The Argus (Melbourne, morning); The Daily Guardian (Sydney); The Sydney Morning Herald.


chapter 8: The Roaring Twenties

Press Associations Those wishing to pursue breaking national and international stories may do so directly through a press agency. There are two in the U.S.: Associated Press (AP) and United Press International (UPI). Both gather factual, up-to-the-minute news for newspapers and other media subscribers. The service is not usually offered to private parties, nor are agency files open to the public. However, investigators may be able to develop their own contacts within the organizations. Associated Press (AP) is a non-profit cooperative based in New York. It was founded in 1848 by six New York newspaper publishers wishing to share the costs of long-distance news gathering. Before the days of telegraph, radio, and ticker tapes, AP collected information by culling newspapers from overseas. United Press International is privately owned. Founded in 1907, it is also based in New York. The two major press agencies in Europe are Reuters, founded in Europe in 1849, now headquartered in London, and Agence Havas in Paris, founded 1832.

Other Press Agencies

ALD: Agencia Los Diarios; Buenos Aires, Argentina (1910). ANA: Athenagence; Athens, Greece (1896). AUP: Australian United Press; Melbourne, Australia (1928).


Jewish Telegraphic Agency; Jerusalem, Palestine (1919).

NTB: Norsk Telegrambyra; Oslo, Norway (1867).

BELGA: Agence Belga; Brussels, Belgium (1920).

NZPA: New Zealand Press Agency; Wellington, New Zealand (1879).

BTA: Bulgarska Telegrafitscheka; Sofia, Bulgaria (1898).

PA: Press Association; London, England (1868).

CNA: Central News Agency; Taipei (1924).

PS: Presse Service; Paris, France (1929).

CP: Canadian Press; Toronto, Canada (1917).

RB: Ritzaus Bureau; Copenhagen, Denmark (1866).

CTK: Ceskoslovenka Tiskova Kancelar; Prague, Czechoslovakia (1918).

SDA: Schweizerische Depeschenagentur; Berne, Switzerland (1894).

EXTEL: Exchange and Telegraph Company; London, England (1872).

TASS: Telegraph Agency of the Sovereign State; Moscow, Russia (1925).

FIDES: Agenzia Internationale Fides; Vatican City, Italy (1926).


I have always believed that such strange, inaccessible worlds exist at our very elbows, and now I believe I have found a way to break dawn the barriers. I am not joking. – H.P. Lovecraft, From Beyond

investigator handbook

Setting the Scene

s a player of Call of Cthulhu, you take the part of an investigator, a role so-called because much of the game consists of searching for and evaluating clues and evidence. It is an accident of alphabetization that the first skill on the character sheet is Accounting, yet it is also telling that this first skill is not something like Aikido or Attack. Investigators are not fighting machines. The single most extraordinary thing about most investigators is the knowledge they gain in the course of play. Beneath the surface appearance of the world, hiding under the normality of life, your investigator will find a truth of terrifying proportions. The world and universe are not as we know them to be and the spaces between the stars are very dark indeed. Unknown to common man, incredibly powerful beings live or sleep among us. Knowledge of such matters changes people, as your investigator will find when he or she journies down paths of forgotten knowledge. In substituting new truths for what they once believed, investigators, and the characters they meet within the game, begin a process that progressively corrupts their outlook, beliefs, and mental balance. Your investigator’s ultimate fate may be death or confinement in a sanatorium; however, an investigator’s ultimate goal is to make a stand against the encroachment of the Cthulhu Mythos upon the world of mankind. With only your investigator and their steadfast companions you will stand against the forces and corruption of the Old Ones and their minions—for if not you, who will save mankind?

Playing the Game Roleplaying

How you and your gaming group choose to roleplay your investigators is up to you. While some favor putting on the accents and mannerisms of their game characters, other players prefer a more low-key approach. There is no right or wrong way to play this game. As you become more confident with the game, you may find that expressing your investigator’s character through roleplay comes more easily. The more you engage with your character, the more convincing and real the character will become. It’s just like being an actor, except your audience is the other players and the Keeper. Try to develop your investigator’s personality well enough that other players can imagine what he or she would do in a specific situation: “Good old Al,” they’ll say, “we knew we could count on him to save the girl from the burning building.” Developing your investigator is also about playing that character consistently. Call of Cthulhu encourages roleplaying, especially when difficult choices have to be made: were you right, for


instance, to burn down that farmhouse full of cultists, when in the eyes of the law your actions were murderous? Is it right to sneak into the library to steal that ancient book, just because the librarian won’t allow you to look at it? The dilemmas faced by the investigators can be the heart of the game and whole gaming sessions can sometimes be spent discussing how to get out of the mess you’ve found yourselves in. When conducted "in-character," such discussions can be great fun and very memorable. The decisions you make for your investigator don’t have to be the same ones you would take if you were in a given situation— that’s part of the fun. Like anything else, roleplaying is easier when you have done it a few times. Always have some idea of your investigator’s personality before you start, and allow events to shape the character and the way you interact with the other players or Keeper-controlled non-player characters (NPCs). Allow the character to grow as a distinct individual as the game progresses. Thus, when your investigator leaves the game (probably due to insanity or death), you will have concluded one life-story and can create a new, but very different, investigator to continue with. Each investigator you create should, ideally, be different from the last.


While Call of Cthulhu can be played with a Keeper and a single player, most games involve a group of 3 to 6 players. The Keeper controls all of the non-player characters, and the players work together to solve mysteries and fight against the multitudinous threats of the Mythos. Players should aim to work together. For example, when your investigators go on an expedition into some ghoulhaunted Persian ruin, how long will they survive if the players are not willing to help one another, give each other first aid, and guard each other? That is not to say that you cannot play a backstabbing secret agent—but if everyone

Some scenarios begin in dramatic fashion

chapter 9: Advice for Players doesn’t mean that your investigator has an encyclopedic knowledge of Great Cthulhu and the Outer Gods. You have a duty to play your investigator within the known limits of the character. It’s simply more fun that way.

Expectations and Play

Call of Cthulhu differs in feel and motivation from most other roleplaying games. In many roleplaying games, player characters are virtually super-powered and can directly confront and attempt to destroy obstacles and opponents. This strategy typically leads to disaster in Call of Cthulhu. The majority of otherworld monstrosities are so terrible and often so invulnerable that choosing open combat almost guarantees a gruesome end for your investigator. Even the merest glimpse of some of the more macabre horrors can send an investigator into screaming insanity.

The Time is Now What your investigator learned in college might come in very handy

If you have a cool idea of something that your investigator could do, then do it; don’t hold it back for later. If it feels like a good idea, that’s probably because it would be a fun thing if it happened right now. And you know what? You’ll think of more equally good ideas later on anyway. The Keeper will expect you to come up with cool ideas that help to build the story.

always plays that way, there will be no incentive to play together and your adventures will be short-lived. Where would many of Lovecraft’s protagonists be without their friends, acquaintances, and colleagues assisting in their exploits against the horrors of the Mythos? Remember, this is a game and it’s meant to be fun for everyone playing. The Keeper and players need to work together to ensure that everyone plays their part in the group’s story. Think of Call of Cthulhu like an ensemble theatre company, with each player taking central stage at differing times, but all working together to build a cohesive and engaging story. There also needs to be cooperation between the players and the Keeper. Though the Keeper masterminds the world, sets up the scenario, and runs the details, it’s also true that the game remains a game for the Keeper and that he or she should be having fun too. As an investigator, you pit yourself against the Cthulhu Mythos—not the Keeper. The Keeper should not be afraid to ask others for their opinions on game matters, and if you’re unclear about something then debating rules questions or play opportunities with the Keeper can be very useful. However, Keeper rulings and decisions are final, and players must be willing to back down if the Keeper is adamant.

Character Knowledge

Just because you are a science major and know how to concoct subtle and potent compounds does not mean that your average 1922 New York street-cop investigator (without learning or training) could stroll to Yonkers and set up a pharmacy. Just because you have read all of Lovecraft’s stories

Sometimes fisticuffs cannot be avoided


investigator handbook G Ask the Keeper for suggestions. Consider the non-

player characters (NPCs) that have been encountered in the game; is it possible that one of these could become an investigator?

G Ask the other players for ideas. Playing a friend or

relative of another investigator can be a good way to create roleplaying bonds between players and investigators alike. The characters do not even have to be friends; this can work especially well if there is some friction or rivalry between the two player characters.

G Investigator organizations can be a source of new investigator blood—see Chapter 6: Investigator Organizations for more ideas.

Knowledge is often more important than guns.

Don’t Rely on Guns

Some powerful monsters cannot be harmed by gunfire or explosions—they are genuinely alien creatures from vaults of space-time very different from ours. If your plan is to shoot ’em until they die, that plan will rarely work. Try another plan first. Volleys of gunfire tend to attract police, the state militia, G-men, and everyone with a stake in law and order. If your investigator happens to assassinate the local priest of Yog-Sothoth without first convincing the police of the necessity, you will certainly be questioned and arrested, almost certainly be convicted, and probably end up on death row or eating prison food for a long time. Remember, your investigators inhabit a mirror of our own world with the same rules and society—crimes, such as murder and theft, usually instigate their own investigations. Players should be aware that their actions have consequences too. In Call of Cthulhu, as in the real world, guns are lethal. Be careful out there!

Multiple Investigators

One alternative way to play is for each player to take on more than one investigator. You may choose to do this for a number of reasons. For example, you discover clues that lead to England and others that go to Brazil. You decide that both are imperative and split the party so that two groups can move the investigation forward. Your main character goes to England and you create a new character to accompany the investigators that travel to Brazil. Everyone does likewise. Now each player has two characters, one in the steamy jungles of South America and one in the green and pleasant land of England. How this plays out is up to the Keeper, but in theory each gaming session could alternate between the two groups until events lead them back together.

Problems in Play Things go wrong sometimes; we’re only human after all. You may feel that you have been unfairly treated by the rules or by the Keeper, or that what is happening in the story is not correct in some manner. If someone is not enjoying the

Replacement Investigators

Given the threats that the investigators face, death and insanity are commonplace, so losing your investigator part way through a game is not unusual. When coming up with ideas for a replacement investigator, one must consider reasons why he or she would want to join a team of investigators. Sometimes the whole party is simultaneously wiped out—do you leave the scenario unfinished or introduce new investigators to continue where their erstwhile colleagues left off ? When incorporating new investigators into a continuing scenario, it can be difficult to come up with reasons why the new investigator has turned up. Here are some ideas:

G Have your investigator write a journal or correspond

with a friend, relative, or contact who might step into his or her shoes in the event of an untimely death.


Harvey is enjoying a cocktail at a garden party at Lord Foxton’s country residence. Lord Foxton (an NPC) persists in discussing his personal financial issues with various guests. Harvey’s player knows that discussing personal finance would be highly frowned upon in 1920s culture and picks the Keeper up on it. “Yes,” says the Keeper, “but nevertheless, Lord Foxton continues to discuss it.” The player now realizes that the Keeper is aware of the apparent mistake, but Lord Foxton is continuing to talk most inappropriately. Something is clearly wrong here, but it has been made apparent that this is a legitimate part of the story, rather than an inaccuracy to be fixed.

chapter 9: Advice for Players game, this may have a negative effect on everyone else. If you are having a problem you should Trudi’s investigator returns bedraggled voice your concerns as a player and attempt and bleeding from infiltrating a cult cere mony. She risked her life to upset the to sort the problem out. If you notice that evil rituals and has one of the cult’s books under her arm. Trudi has someone else is looking confused or is not intentions of reading the book and increasing her Cthulhu Mythos score. enjoying themselves, stop roleplaying for Chris, playing a religious zealot, sees the book and declares that he is burning a few moments and check to see if there it immediately. Trudi attempts to stop him and the Keeper calls for a fi is a problem—if there is, work together to ghting maneuver roll. Chris wins the roll, rendering Trudi’s investigator unc reach a solution. onscious in the process. Victoriously, Chri s says again that he wants to burn the You may be concerned that what book. Trudi slouches in her chair; her character risked her life for this is happening in the story defies the book, hoping to gain some Cthulhu Mythos knowledge and learn to cast conventions of the period. Some people spells. Chris notices Trudi’s expression. “Tru simply overlook this, while others di, do you really mind if I burn the book?” question it. Trudi, “Well, actually yes. I intended my If the problem is a rules issue, don’t be character to learn some spells. I was looking forward to that, especially as it afraid to step out of character and take this was me that rescued the book.” Chris, “OK, I don’t really see why up with the Keeper. You are encouraged to my character wouldn’t burn it, thou gh.” Chris can see that his actions are roleplay, but you are not compelled to act spoiling Trudi’s fun, but feels that he is acting in character. Chris asks in character throughout the whole game. the Keeper for ideas, suggesting that he’d like Trudi to get the book back Indeed, at times it is vital to speak in the somehow. The Keeper comes up with a solution role of a player, such as when discussing , informing them that, at this point, there’s a knock at the door. rules and making dice rolls. While Chris is answering it, Trudi’s investigator awakens enough to rescue Some gaming groups get into the the book from the fire, replacing it with another book, hoping no one will know habit of taking a few minutes at the the difference. Now ever yone is happy. Trudi is hap close of each gaming session to debrief, py that she has her fire-damaged book of arcane knowledge. Chris’ inve to mull over the game so far, and check stigator is happy, believing that he has destroyed an evil tome, and Chris is that everyone is enjoying it. This can happy that he acted in-character without upsetting Trudi. Chris (the play be a good time to raise concerns and er) knows that Trudi still has the book and both players are looking forw reach solutions. ard to a future conflict when the truth is revealed! The game is based upon roleplaying a fictional character, but above all else you are players and your enjoyment takes precedence over everything else it, player-to-player. Don’t feel restricted just because your in the game. Work together to find suitable compromises investigator would not know about the secret actions of the and everyone will have fun. Remember though, whatever other player’s investigator. the Keeper decides is final.

Problems with Other Players

Hogging the Limelight

Remember: G Your investigator is entirely under your control—not

Paying Attention

Would you expect two actors to hate each other just because the characters they portray are enemies on the stage? It should be likewise possible for two investigators to become fearsome enemies, double-cross, and cheat each other without causing any real-life animosity between the players. As a player you may feel that your investigator takes on an identity, and that’s a good thing as it shows how strong your roleplaying has become; however, do not seek to use this to justify a course of action that is so objectionable to another player that it ruins his or her enjoyment of the game.

an autonomous entity.

G Your investigator does not make decisions, you do. If another player pursues a course of action that really spoils your fun in some way, don’t be afraid to talk calmly about

In any group of people there is always one who is quietest and one who is loudest. If you are one of those loud ones then be aware of it—you are very important and probably contribute a lot to the game, but be sure to look around the table and share the limelight with your fellow players. Throw things their way sometimes, take a step back, be quiet and see how they do things. Sharing the spotlight during the game is an important part of roleplaying, ensuring that everyone has a chance to take center-stage and contribute to the story. It's just not fun when one player dominates the game to the disadvantage of everyone else. Sometimes the party will split up and your investigator won’t be in the present scene. You might want to take that moment to go get a drink or take a short break. However, for the most part, it’s nice if everyone is focusing on what’s happening in the game at all times. If you fiddle with your phone or read


investigator handbook a magazine while other people are roleplaying, this shows a lack of respect for your fellow players—and it should go without saying that talking over someone else is never polite. Instead, try being their audience—applaud jokes and share the horror. It can also be fun to throw comments and ideas at them, even though you are not present in the scene. Sometimes the Keeper may want to keep certain things secret from other players, such as when your investigator has been captured by the high cultist and the other players haven’t realized that your investigator in danger. In situations like these the Keeper may pass you a secret note or take you away from the gaming table so that the other players can’t hear. Respect the Keeper’s wishes and keep this secret knowledge to yourself until it is appropriate in the game to share the information. You’ll enjoy it all the more.


Roleplaying is a very social activity and to ensure you keep getting invited back to the game, here’s a quick check list of things to do for a gaming session:



Don’t be late for the start of the game—if you are unavoidably delayed, ring ahead and let the other players know to start without you.


Get your stuff together—dice, note paper, pen, pencil, and investigator sheet (if the Keeper isn’t looking after them).


Contribute—perhaps bring some snacks or a drink to share with everyone.


Tidy up afterwards.

Setting the Tone

As a group, you should discuss what sort of game you want to play. You can aim for tense, creeping horror, over-the-top schlock horror, or a pulp-action romp. Having said that, the default game mode is intended to be tense horror, with some action scenes thrown into the mix. The Westley Isynwill Foundation (see Chapter 7), for example, reads as if it could easily take a two-fisted pulp approach, given Eddie Gump’s twin sawn-off shotguns in shoulder holsters. You may prefer a grittier, more realistic approach to the stories you participate in, but unless everyone at the table is taking the same approach, the style of play will be inconsistent. This inconsistency can breed contempt and dissatisfaction among players who may feel that others are taking the game too seriously or too lightly. The only way to resolve this is with a brief discussion to gain a consensual approach. Comedy and horror are good bedfellows and the switch from one to the other is used to great effect in many movies. However, too much comedy and the horror is lessened. Shared jokes and laughing are important, but as the game draws to a climax, so too should the horror.

Sharing information is very important

chapter 9: Advice for Players Some groups use the first 30 minutes of a gaming session to share news, tell jokes, and relax—getting this all out of the way before the game begins. Try to draw a clear line between social time and game time. This is a horror game and you can expect players to enjoy being scared; however, people have differing views of what is acceptable and these limits should be discussed before play. Discuss with your fellow players if there is anything that they definitely do not want to see in the game. The answers can be quite unexpected; one player may be fine with everything except violence to animals, for example. Establish the level of their objection and either avoid the topic entirely or use the dramatic effect of "fading to black" when it occurs in play.

Distasteful Historical Themes

Distasteful issues may arise during the game. You may feel that your portrayal of prejudice and bigotry is worthy of an Oscar; however, another player may find it offensive. The world was a very different place in the 1920s compared to the present day. Behaviors most of us would find repugnant today were ordinary and acceptable then. Racism, xenophobia, religious bigotry, and sexual discrimination were then part of everyday life and often loudly espoused. Many laws systematically supported segregation and discrimination of every sort, and social forces of great power underwrote that legislation. Just because these were issues of the time, doesn't mean that you are obligated to represent them in your game. Some groups may be happier to subvert or ignore them completely. Ultimately, how you play it is up to you and your group, but if you are going to use themes of discrimination in the game, it is strongly recommended that you discuss the issue early on.

Playing in Period

Games of Call of Cthulhu can take place in any period, be it ancient Rome or some distant spaceport in the far-flung future. While we are naturally familiar with a modernday setting, our knowledge of the Roaring Twenties or Victorian England might not be so good. This is no cause for concern. Don’t be intimidated by the thought of playing in an unfamiliar period. Your Keeper will guide you, and before you know it, your investigator will be immersed in uncovering some dastardly plot, without worry for whether they are doing or saying things appropriate to the period. Try not to get bogged down in the minutiae of whether this or that had been invented yet, or whether such and such lived there, and so on. Obviously if your characters are driving around in a car during a game set in Imperial Rome then something has gone wrong! Discuss the setting as a group and work with what you know, fabricating the rest. Consistency is the key. If you are unsure if there were telephones in 1897, simply make a decision and stick with it. Remember, the aim is to create an enjoyable story, not to produce a factually accurate historical simulacrum. For those players wishing to learn more about historical settings, there is a wealth of information available on the internet

Pets make great "Treasured Possessions" and many free resources aimed at Call of Cthulhu players wanting to get a better understanding of the 1920s period. The equipment lists (pages 238–249) also provide useful guidance on what common items are available to investigators by historical setting.


Call of Cthulhu is a game that deals with dark themes: death and madness are two such themes. The game in no way aims to trivialize real-life mental illness. While the game borrows terms from psychiatric medicine to create a sense of verisimilitude, actual play is more influenced by what is portrayed in films and stories. This is no bad thing. Acting out realistic mental illness is not the objective. Many players derive enjoyment portraying their investigator’s descent into madness, sometimes in convincing, serious ways, or sometimes in over-the-top, even comical ways.

Rules Advice When to Roll Dice A roleplaying game is more than just a series of dice rolls. While rolling the dice to determine if your investigator has succeeded in something can be exciting, it can soon become dull if you have to roll for every little thing. Don’t be too quick to roll dice. The Keeper will decide when a roll is called for. Just because you’re sneaking or


investigator handbook taking a photograph doesn’t mean you have to roll dice. As a rule, if the task is routine, you don’t need to roll for it. Only roll dice when it is going to mean something important—such as trying to persuade the head cultist that you’re his long lost brother or, in the case of combat, where every roll could be a matter of life or death. The whole point of a roll is to add drama and tension to the game. The Keeper isn’t breaking any rules by letting you jump a chasm without making a roll, any more than when you drive to the shops without rolling. The Keeper will decide if a roll is required in any given situation.

Keeper asks you to re-roll the dice if you roll them before a difficulty level has been set. When setting a goal you al Why setting a go should aim to keep it simple is important and clear. The Keeper may on a goal or If you don’t agree disallow your goal if it’s judged fore rolling difficulty level be unacceptable or inappropriate find yourself the dice, you may to the situation. In that case you en awaiting rolling dice and th should negotiate until you reach terpretation the Keeper’s in an agreeable compromise. Your can lead to of the result. This goal should encapsulate what appointment frustration and dis will happen if you succeed in dissonance when there is your roll. Keeper’s the between Sometimes the Keeper may the player’s interpretation and be making a roll against you. expectation. If that is the case, the Keeper u a way yo es giv al should also be stating a goal— go a ng Setti tanding. ers nd isu m if the Keeper’s goal sounds Setting Goals ch su to avoid unreasonable you should say Rolling the dice before deciding on what so before the dice are rolled. you’re rolling for is like signing a contract Ideally, you and the Keeper without reading it first. Before you roll the can discuss the goal and reach dice you should seek to establish what a an agreement; however, (as in all matters) the Keeper’s success is going to mean. Sometimes this is obvious, but decision is final. not always. You should also wait for the Keeper to declare Be creative when setting goals, the Keeper will tell you the difficulty level so that everyone knows when those dice if you are asking for too much. You might state that your hit the table whether it’s pass or fail. Don’t be surprised if the


A woman resisting arrest

chapter 9: Advice for Players investigator is searching the New York Times for coded messages sent by the cult. The Keeper may not have given any thought to anyone passing coded messages through newspaper adverts, but may like the idea and be willing to incorporate it into the plot. If the goal is allowed it will probably be at an Extreme difficulty level, granting you a small chance of success. But if you succeed in your dice roll then your investigator will have found a useful clue.

You may have just successfully rolled against your Pilot skill with the goal of "making an emergency landing on the ice." Rather than simply saying, "We've landed," you are free to add some color. "There's crosswind. I can feel it pulling us to the right. The undercarriage is iced up. I hit the ground once with a jolt and bounce back up into the air. Somehow that jolt freed the wheels and I'm able to land."

Narrating Success

If you succeed in a skill roll you have the option to describe the resulting action and how it unfolds. This may be a few brief few words or an extended piece of narration, depending on the importance of the event and how inspired you feel. The difference between the descriptions given by you and those given by the Keeper is that the Keeper knows and controls the setting, whereas you only fully know your investigator. If you include something in your description that is inconsistent with the Keeper’s background and setting, the Keeper has the right to change this to something more suitable to the game. In some cases you won’t know what is going to happen as a result of your success and you will have to look to the Keeper. For example, when you successfully pick a door lock, you (the player) probably won’t know what lies beyond.

Accepting Failure

Don’t be disappointed when you don’t win every roll. Accept failure—it can take the story to unexpected places. Sometimes, in hindsight, you might be very grateful your investigator didn’t manage to open that cellar door.

Pushing the Roll

The option to push a roll is far from automatic—the onus is on you, the player, to justify a pushed roll, otherwise you don’t get one. You must declare what your investigator is doing above and beyond what was done for the initial roll. You must also declare your desire to push the roll immediately after the initial failed roll—other players and the Keeper should of course ensure you a have a moment to consider. These are some examples of how a roll might be pushed:


You fail a Climb roll. Your investigator cannot scale the wall to the upper window. The Keeper states that the drainpipe feels loose and may not bear your investigator’s weight. You decide to push the roll.

“I’m going to risk life and limb and scramble up the drainpipe as quickly as I can and hope my momentum takes me to the window ledge.”


After failing a Library Use roll to find reference to Edward Marsh in the Arkham Public Library, you decide to push the roll. “I’m going to spend as long as it takes and go through every newspaper and periodical with a fine-toothed comb.”


You fail a STR roll to break through a door. “I take a good run-up and throw myself at the door with no thought for my own safety.”

Each of the descriptions in Chapter 5: Skills provides some possible examples for how a skill might be pushed. Use these examples for inspiration. You may seek to achieve the same goal by a different method. That still counts as pushing the roll. Sometimes this can lead to grey areas, when it’s not clear if a roll is being pushed or if it should become a different goal, especially when you are rolling against a different skill. It’s up to the Keeper to adjudicate. The deciding factor is whether the goal is the same or not.

Foreshadowing Failure

If you fail the initial skill roll, your investigator should gain some idea of the risk involved in trying again. When a roll is pushed, the Keeper may choose to lay the consequence on the table to emphasize the risk your investigator is taking. If this doesn’t happen and you’re not sure what to expect, then ask the Keeper to describe the consequence of failing the pushed roll. Of course, if it’s something your investigator wouldn't be aware of, such as tripping a remote alarm, the Keeper might be vague about the consequence.

These are all situations that may require a pushed roll


investigator handbook

is to Harvey is trying to break into a house. His goal skill. mith Locks "pick the front door lock," using the d, Instea roll. the He fails and has the option to push open ws windo he decides to try forcing one of the He using his STR. He fails and has the option to push. it g statin time decides to change his goal again, this using w" windo as "trying to climb through an upstairs the Climb skill. The Keeper decides that the goal needs with to be clarified and insists that it must be replaced he time, this fails "gain entry to the house." If Harvey still he if roll d will have no option but to make a pushe ver wants to get into the house, regardless of whate next. with up s innovative form of entry the player come

Pushing a Perception Roll

Perception rolls include the skills Spot Hidden, Listen, and Psychology. The Keeper may require a successful roll before giving out a clue. If you fail a perception roll and no clue is forthcoming, you may attempt to push the roll. As always, it is your job to describe how your investigator’s actions justify a pushed roll. Some examples of how you might justify pushing a perception roll follow.

Spot Hidden Roll: i Standing still for a time and focusing your complete

as a player to get your investigator to do something that wouldn’t otherwise be done, that’s fine too. Just remember that if you push a perception roll, the Keeper will have something nasty lined up as a consequence if you fail!

Social Interaction

Combat, chases, and other physical conflicts obviously require dice to determine who wins, but some social interactions can be acted out and resolved through roleplaying—the

The investigators have follow ed a cultist into an old house. It’s getting dark and you only have one flashlight between you. The Keeper call s for a Spot Hidden roll, asking for a Hard success—eve ryone fails the roll. The tension is raised. You know you ’ve missed a clue. Are you going to search the house or leav e now, and maybe come back in daylight? Searching aro und carefully would allow you to push the Spot Hidden roll. This could develop in two possible ways: You successfully push the roll and find a trail of blood, allowing you to creep up on and perhaps surprise the hidden cultist. You fail the pushed roll and, as a consequence, the cultist’s ambush catches you r investigator on all fours, studying a smudge on the floor !



Leaving no stone unturned—completely searching a room, emptying every drawer, pulling down curtains, ripping up floorboards, etc.

Psychology Roll: i Studying (staring at) the person’s face carefully, without regard to anything else going on around you.


Asking very direct and prying questions.

Listen Roll: i Standing completely still and listening, perhaps putting your ear against a door or to the floor.



Calling out loudly and awaiting a response.

You may have some concern that your investigator would not be aware of having missed anything when you fail a perception roll, so why would you choose to search further? If the initial roll was at your behest then pushing the roll makes sense, but if you weren’t actively searching then how do you even know that you have missed something? The answer to this lies with you. If you want to ignore the fact the Keeper has asked you to make a perception roll, that’s fine. Equally, if you want to use the knowledge that you have

Think about how a pushed roll could be justified

chapter 9: Advice for Players

calls Harvey opens a linen cupboard and the Keeper y Harve fails. r playe the which roll, n for a Spot Hidde r playe his but ing, anyth d misse he’s doesn’t know that there so roll, n Hidde Spot a failed just knows that she must be a clue here somewhere. Either: d Harvey just walks away unaware that he has misse something. Or oard Harvey, acting on a hunch, searches the cupb false a has it g verin disco ps perha , more thoroughly safe. a back concealing

players and Keeper acting the roles of the various characters and speaking with their "voices." However, when the investigators engage in forms of social interaction that cannot be effectively carried-out at the table, such as intimidation, fast talk, interrogation, seduction, or charm, then dice will prove useful. While these things can be roleplayed, the actual effects cannot be wholly emulated. No one would expect you to actually intimidate (let alone seduce!) the Keeper as your investigator attempts to intimidate a non-player character. For this reason, Call of Cthulhu has rules for social interaction to back-up the roleplay. A number of skills form parts of social interactions: Charm: used to charm or seduce, to recognize it in others, and to oppose being charmed yourself.

Describe what your investigator is saying and doing. The Keeper will then declare the difficulty level based on the disposition of the non-player character towards your investigator; intimidating an innocent bystander is one thing, intimidating a hardened cultist quite another. You can fast talk, intimidate, charm, or persuade nonplayer characters, but what if one of them tries to fast talk, intimidate, charm, or persuade your investigator? Investigators differ from non-player characters, who are just so many "pawns" for the Keeper to control, whereas your investigator is your only "piece" in the game. If the rules allow someone else to decide the actions of your investigator then what is there left for you to do? Only drugs, insanity, magic (e.g. the Dominate spell), or other supernatural agents (e.g. "demonic possession") may override a player’s control of his or her investigator. If the Keeper or another player wishes to use a social interaction skill against your investigator, they can do so; however, your response to the outcome is up to you to roleplay. If you choose to act contrary to the influence of the other character, the Keeper may apply a penalty to one of your subsequent actions.

Skills and Contacts A skill in Call of Cthulhu is a somewhat arbitrary range of ability and comprehension whose very fuzziness of definition lends its use to a variety of situations. Someone with a doctorate in biology has good understanding of the biological sciences and, by extension, may also know of the leading theoreticians and experimenters in the field, in what journals they publish, and where they teach or work. You can establish

Fast Talk: used to confuse, deceive, or distract another person, and to oppose being fast talked yourself. Intimidate: used to intimidate, to recognize it in others, and to oppose being intimidated yourself. Persuade: used to persuade, to recognize it in others, and to oppose being persuaded yourself. Psychology skill: is primarily a perception skill in Call of Cthulhu and can be used to oppose Charm, Fast Talk, Intimidate, or Persuade. The situation and the roleplay should indicate which skill to use, for instance:

G If you are using threats, roll against the Intimidate skill. G If you are using negotiation, roll against the Persuade skill.

G If you are acting quickly to deceive, con, or trick, roll against the Fast Talk skill.

The Keeper succes sfully uses Doctor Lay’s Persuade skill to get the in vestigator to sign forms agreeing to participate in som e questionable m edical drug trial. Th player has a choice e and so decides to fight the decision, hurling the pen to the floor. The play er has not accepted the non-player ch aracter’s influenc e and the Keep may apply a pena er lty to one of the player’s subseque skill rolls. The do nt ctor tries to grab the investigator. opposed Fighting An roll is made, with the investigator having one penalty applied to his roll. If the doctor had successfully used spell on the inve the Dominate stigator, he wou ld then have be able to control th en e investigator’s ac tions for a round two—long enough or to have him sign the paperwork an probably submit to d the first experimen tal injection—and there would be no thing the player co uld do about it!

G If you are befriending the person (or pretending to), roll against the Charm skill.


investigator handbook

any biologists “Does my investigator know s the player. ask ?” sity at Miskatonic Univer a Biology for s call and The Keeper ponders s). ces suc roll (the player rolls a “you know “Yes,” the Keeper replies, ybe he can Ma . gist Miller—he’s a parasitolo ” nd. fou ’ve identify that creature you

contacts purely through roleplay or the Keeper may ask you to make a roll. Thus you can use the skills on your investigator sheet to test for existing contacts and establish new ones. If a named contact is listed in your investigator’s backstory then a roll is rarely required.

Idea Rolls (INT)

The Idea roll is a roll like no other. If you find that you have become stuck and you feel the game is flagging because you don’t know how to proceed, then you always have the option to call for an Idea roll. Perhaps you missed a vital clue altogether or you just haven’t figured things out fully. The Idea roll combines your investigator’s deductive powers, memory, and intuitive hunches, and grants that elusive clue that is guaranteed to get the game moving again. Be careful though—the more obvious the clue is, the more likely you are to find yourself in deep water just before your moment of realization.

Intelligence Rolls (INT)

While the Intelligence roll uses the same characteristic as an Idea roll (INT), the rolls are different in what they represent. An Idea roll is used when you are stuck and don't know which way to turn next in the investigation. An Intelligence roll is made when your investigator is attempting to solve an intellectual puzzle of some kind. This might include solving a crossword puzzle, answering a riddle, or decoding a cryptic message.

Know Rolls (EDU)

All people know bits of information about different topics. The Know roll represents what’s stored in the brain’s intellectual attic. The investigator might be able to identify a particular species of tree (without having studied Botany), remember the geography of Tibet (without a Navigate roll), or know how many legs arachnids have (and possess only a single skill point in Biology).

Luck Rolls

Luck rolls apply to external circumstances. If another skill or characteristic roll could be used then a Luck roll is not


appropriate. For example, you’re in the old house when the lights go out and you want to establish if there are any candles in the kitchen drawers—there’s no skill that can determine that. The Keeper could simply decide, or leave it to luck. As a player, you want good luck for your investigator, but as this is a horror game, expect the Keeper to be more than happy to dish out the bad luck. Luck can be also useful in combat when you want to come across a handy improvised weapon. The Keeper may allow a Luck roll to determine if there’s a length of lead pipe or a pool cue lying around. Luck is the one number that is never affected by penalty or bonus dice, and is only ever rolled at its current value.


An investigator may study or train for four* months and gain an experience check for a skill. This is then tested as for an investigator development phase (see page 94, Call of Cthulhu Rulebook). An experience check comes automatically upon successfully completing a segment of training. But, bear in mind, that too many adventures in a semester will invalidate classroom work or practice for that term. *Some training courses may be shorter than four months, some being only a few days or weeks of intensive training. In such cases, the Keeper may say that the training has been enough to justify a skill check.

Combat Fighting When your investigator successfully makes a fighting attack, you are encouraged to add description to it. Let the situation inform your description—if you are in a confined space, go for a head-butt; if you have plenty of room, then a roundhouse kick might be more appropriate. If you dodge, tell how you duck behind a desk or simply move a fraction of an inch to let the blow just miss you by a hair’s breadth. React to what just happened. If your opponent just dodged behind a desk, use it as an improvised weapon, pushing the desk over on top of your attacker or leap up on the desk and strike from above. When it comes to describing your attacks, you should make them suit your chosen fighting style. So a karate expert would use punches, a judo expert would use throws, and a kick-boxer would primarily use kicks. One dice roll does not have to represent only one action (one punch or one kick). It can be one blow or it can represent a flurry of blows. The dice will tell you how much damage you deliver—how you describe the attack is added color. But don’t think that color is unimportant—the color is what turns the numbers into a living story. Use your imagination to the full—3 hit points of damage might represent a solid punch or it might be that the opponent’s head bounced off a brick wall as you pushed him.

chapter 9: Advice for Players This all changes when your investigator is insane— encountering the subject of a phobia or mania is then a big deal. You retain control of your investigator’s actions, but you may be penalized depending on the phobia or mania. In the case of a phobia, should you attempt something requiring a dice roll and it isn’t directly related to fleeing from or fighting the source of the phobia, then you will get one penalty die on the action. The dice are only against you if you refuse to give into the fight or flight reaction! The Keeper may prompt you to indulge your mania—if your investigator is a dipsomaniac and a scene takes place in a bar, the Keeper may specify that you will suffer a penalty on rolls until your character takes a drink or two.

Tracking Sanity Points— Crossing the 20% Line

Not all opponents will fight fair! The rules don’t limit your options in combat. If you want to do something other than a straightforward attack with the goal of causing physical harm, you can do so—just describe your actions and intention to the Keeper.

Throwing Dust in Your Opponent's Eyes

Perhaps you are outmatched and want to use your wits to gain an advantage. Instead of making an attack on your turn, you have the option of setting a goal to achieve something else. Usually part of this goal would be to gain an advantage on your opponent—perhaps a bonus die on your next roll or a penalty for your opponent. What your investigator wishes to accomplish will determine the roll required—probably a skill or characteristic roll (the Keeper will decide, if it’s unclear what roll should be made).

Roleplaying Phobias and Manias When your investigator becomes insane the Keeper may add a specific phobia or mania to your investigator. Being sane or insane dictates a major distinction between how phobias affect your investigator. While sane, a phobia or mania is just part of your investigator’s backstory: a character trait that you can manifest however you wish in the game. If your investigator has a phobia of spiders, you can choose to either have them run screaming or overcome their fear when seeing a spider crawling in the bathtub.

The investigator sheet has a box for tracking Sanity points. The rules state that indefinite insanity is triggered if your investigator loses one-fifth (20%) of current Sanity points in one day. One way to track this 20% is to mark a line on your investigator’s sheet, which, if crossed, will trigger indefinite insanity. Of course the line will need reviewing each day, but will only change if your investigator’s Sanity points have changed since the last time it was done.

Roleplaying Insanity

When an investigator becomes temporarily or indefinitely insane, remember that there is a distinction between periods of madness and the character’s general underlying insanity. When Sanity loss leads to a bout of madness, the Keeper gets to control or direct your character, who is liable to act in a crazy or extreme manner. However, when not in the middle of a bout of madness, your character is still insane but their

“Standing up, I grasp a handful of the dusty gro und and throw it in the cultist ’s face.” The Keeper agr ees that doing so successfully will inflict a penalty on the cultist’s next action and asks if the player wants to use Sleight of Hand or DEX. Th e Keeper will use the cultist ’s Spot Hidden or DEX res pectively to set the diffi culty level. The player opts to use Sleight of Hand (40 %), and the Keeper opposes with the NPC’s Spot Hid den score. The NPC’s Spot Hid den skill is below 50% and so the difficulty level is Regular. The player rolls 39, a success. The player des cribes how the investiga tor waits for the cultist to ste p for ward with an attack and then throws the dust in his eyes. The Keeper will app ly a penalty die to the cultist ’s rolls until the end of the following round.


investigator handbook


chapter 9: Advice for Players actions and behavior will be more or less ordinary, able to act and function completely normally in everyday situations— but if they suffer a further Sanity point loss, then another bout of madness ensues and the character’s madness takes hold for the duration of the bout. Try to keep the distinction clear between portraying "madness" and your character's underlying "insanity."

Making Reality Checks

If you want to shake your head and come to your senses, striving to see through what might be an insane delusion, simply tell the Keeper you want to make a Reality Check roll. You always have the option to fight against the madness—but if you fail the reality check roll, the madness will fight back!

Maximum Sanity

Your investigator’s Sanity may rise and d n fall during play, but it may never rise Your investigator is prone to delusions 5a anity of 4 S a s f a o h above the character’s maximum Sanity while insane and can no longer trust his 20% Harvey res that u g fi . r e 6 y 3 rating. Each investigator has a maximum or her senses. In the game, the only way his pla om 45 is oints. 9 fr SAN, which begins at 99. Knowledge you know what your investigator is seeing this is 9 p er puts a pencil line lay 37. d of the Cthulhu Mythos always lowers and hearing is through what the Keeper is n a 6 Harvey’s p 3 e numbers an investigator’s maximum SAN. telling you. If you can’t trust your senses between th anity crosses this ’s S . Maximum sanity points equal 99 minus then, in effect, you can’t trust what the If Harvey indefinitely insane go current Cthulhu Mythos points (99– Keeper is saying you perceive. The Keeper line, he’ll Cthulhu Mythos skill). You can record may be telling you that a ghoul leaps out at this by permanently by crossing out the your insane investigator; however, this may highest numbers on your Sanity Track, one for each point in reality just be a homeless person asking of Cthulhu Mythos knowledge. For example, if you have a for spare change. Cthulhu Mythos skill of 5%, you should cross out 99, 98, 97, 96, and 95 on your investigator’s Sanity Track.


investigator handbook

A Hundred Years and More 1890 First entirely steel-framed building erected in Chicago; first electric tube railway in London; British cruiser, Serpent, wrecked in storm off coast of Spain, 167 lost; Sitting Bull killed in Sioux uprising; first ice-cream sundae; U.S. resident population is 62.9 million. 1891 Devastating quake levels 20,000 structures and kills 25,000 people in Japan; first practical hydroelectric station; electric torch adopted in England. 1892 Fire and flood create a human hell at Oil City, Pennsylvania, 130 dead; cholera vaccine; Cape-Johannesburg railroad completed; crown top for bottles developed; diesel engine patented. 1893 Floods pushed by hurricane winds devastate U.S. South Atlantic coast, 2000 dead; World Exposition in Chicago; first practical roll film; shredded wheat cereal.

1894 War between China and Japan; Minnesota forest fire kills 480; Captain Dreyfus exiled to Devil’s Island; first wireless. 1895 Roentgen discovers X-rays; cigarette-making machine invented; the Lumieres open their Cinematographie. 1896 Klondike gold rush begins; Addressograph patents confirmed; Ford’s first motorcar; periscopes for submarines; first modern Olympic Games held in Athens. 1897 Mimeo stencils are invented; first cathode ray tube. 1898 Tropical cyclone hits southern U.S., hundreds die; 2446 U.S. dead in Spanish-American War; disc recordings become practical; commercial aspirin appears; Kellogg’s Corn Flakes; tubular flashlight.

1899 Windsor Hotel in New York goes up in flames, millions in damage and 14 killed; Rutherford discovers alpha and beta particles; general adoption of typewriters underway. 1900 Pier fire, steamer Rio de Janeiro wrecked in San Francisco harbor, 128 lost; great Galveston hurricane kills 6,000; mine explosion kills 200 in Utah; Boxer Rebellion in China; Kodak “Brownie” camera; Count Zeppelin launches 420-foot airship; U.S. public debt is $1.263 billion; U.S. resident population is 76 million. 1901 President McKinley assassinated; two serious typhoid outbreaks in U.S; Queen Victoria dies; human blood groups classified; first transatlantic wireless. 1902 Boer War; Mt. Pelée eruption kills 40,000 on Martinique; first steam-turbine-driven passenger ship; modern macadam developed; first alum-dried powdered milk; puffed cereals; first Teddy bear; first Caruso gramophone recording; economical hydrogenated fats make fats for soap and cooking plentiful. 1903 Fire at Iroquois Theatre, Chicago, worst theater fire in U.S. history (602 dead); Wright Bros. fly first heavierthan-air powered aircraft; first fluorescent light; postal meter developed; center-frame motorcycle engine. 1904 Eden CO train derailed into flood, 96 killed; Broadway subway opens in NYC; thermos flask patented; tracks (as opposed to wheels) first appear on farm machinery; kapok life belts; Russo-Japanese War. 1905 Cullinan diamond (3,000 carats) found, largest to that date; steam turbines standard for British navy; abortive revolution in Russia; electric motor horn; chemical foam fire extinguisher; Special Theory of Relativity.

The assassination of President McKinley, drawn by T. Dart Walker


chapter 10: Reference 1906 Earthquake and fire devastate San Francisco, 28,818 houses destroyed and 700 announced killed; U.S. troops occupy Cuba till 1909; Lusitania and Mauretania launched; the jukebox; mass-production of marine outboard motors. 1907 West Virginian coal mine explosion kills 361; Rasputin great influence in Czarist Russia; animated cartoons; electric washing machine; household detergent; upright vacuum cleaner. 1908 Minkowski formulates his 4-dimensional geometry; paper cups for drinking. 1909 Robert E. Peary reaches the North Pole; hurricane in Louisiana and Mississippi kills 350; first powered flight across the English Channel; double-decker buses in U.K. 1910 Landslide buries workers in the Norman open-pit mine, in Virginia MN; Wellington WA trains swept away by avalanche, killing 96; Murray and Hjort undertake the first deep-sea research expedition; radio-direction finder; spring-operated mouse trap; incorporation of the Boy Scouts of America; U.S. resident population is 92 million. 1911 Forty tons of dynamite explode at Communipaw terminal, NJ, killing 30; Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City leaves 145 dead; Zapata arrives in Mexico City, but the battles have just begun; revolution in China leads to the republic under Sun Yat-sen; the electric frying pan; Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen reaches South Pole.

1912 Titanic rams iceberg, 1,517 passengers and crew are lost; Wilson’s cloud chamber leads to the detection of protons, electrons; cellophane patented; Saville Row creates what will be named the “trench coat” in WWI; Cadillac shows first electric self-starter for automobiles; two self-service grocery stores in California. 1913 The Balkan War begins; British steamer Calvadas lost in blizzard in the Sea of Marmara, 200 lost; Wilson inaugurated; electric starters for motorcycles; vitamin A; income tax and popular election of senators added to U.S. Constitution. 1914 The Great War begins; first air raids; first use of the Panama Canal; Canadian Pacific steamship Empress of India sunk in collision with the Storstad in the St. Lawrence River, 1,024 lost. 1915 Lusitania sunk by German submarine, 1,199 lost, consternation and anger follow in the United States; enormous and unprecedented casualties in the Great War; cereal flakes are marketed; chlorine gas used as weapon; gas mask; the zipper is patented. 1916 Some 700,000 die in the battle of Verdun; one million die in the battle of the Somme; U.S. polio epidemic kills 7,000 and leaves 27,000 youngsters paralyzed; Gallipoli; Easter uprising; Jutland; mechanical windshield wipers; General Theory of Relativity; Pershing’s raid in Mexico.

1917 United States enters WWI; the Russian Revolution unfolds and the Bolsheviks seize power; mustard gas; Ford mass-produces tractors; Steamer Castalia wrecked on Lake Superior, 22 men lost; Pennsylvania munitions plant explosion kills 133; 1,600 dead in ship collision and explosion in Halifax, Nova Scotia. 1918 WWI ends; Russian Civil War; regular U.S. airmail service; world influenza epidemic kills 21.6 million; U.S.S. Cyclops leaves Barbados and is never heard of again; powered flight reaches 150+ mph and 30,000+ feet; electric clocks. 1919 Prohibition enacted in U.S.; first transatlantic flight (1,880 miles in 16:12 hours); grease-guns; parachutes. 1920 Prohibition in effect in U.S.; the Bolsheviks win Russia; Earthquake in Gansu province, China, kills 200,000; first radio broadcasting station on the air; teabags; U.S. public debt is $24.3 billion; women’s suffrage ratified; U.S. resident population is 105.7 million. 1921 Rorschach devises his inkblot tests; inflation of the German Mark begins; KDKA broadcasts sports; Capek coins the word “robot.” 1922 Revival and growth of Ku Klux Klan; British dirigible AR-2 breaks in two, killing 62; insulin is isolated; first practical postal franking machine; Soviet May Day slogans omit “world revolution”; water-skiing; Mussolini marches on Rome.

1906 earthquake and fire in San Francisco, California


investigator handbook 1923 Teapot Dome scandal rocks Harding administration; big fire in Berkeley CA destroys 600 buildings, causes $10 million in damage, and 60 persons killed; German Mark stabilized; continuing Klan violence in Georgia; Nazi putsch in Munich fails; King Tut’s tomb opened; whooping-cough vaccine. 1924 Leopold and Loeb convicted of the kidnap slaying of Bobby Franks; paper egg cartons developed; Kleenex. 1925 W. Pauli formulates Exclusion Principle; I.G. Farben formed; Sun Yat-sen dies; in Midwest, 792 die from tornadoes in one day; U.S. dirigible Shenandoah breaks apart, killing 14; German SS formed; Scopes “Monkey Trial”; aerial commercial crop-dusting. 1926 Dr. Goddard fires his first liquid-fuel rocket; lightning starts a massive explosion at the U.S. Naval ammunition dump, Lake Denmark NJ—85 million in damages and 30 dead; hurricane through Florida and Alabama leaves 243 dead; Chiang KaiShek stages coup in Canton; Trotsky expelled from Politburo; Rolex waterproof watch. 1927 Charles A. Lindbergh flies solo and non-stop between NYC-Paris; The Jazz Singer first feature length sound film; first remote juke box; pop-up toaster; Sacco and Vanzetti executed, later cleared by proclamation in 1977.

1928 Television experiments; southern Florida hurricane kills 1,836; Byrd expedition sails to Antarctica; teletypes come into use; waterproof cellophane developed; Geiger counter; vitamin C. 1929 Great stock market crash, 24 Oct.; Graf Zeppelin circles the world; Russian passenger steamer Volga struck by remnant WWI mine in the Black Sea, 31 lost; 16mm color film developed; Scotch tape; tune-playing automobile horn. 1930 Technocracy movement at its highest; flash bulb ends flash powder explosions at press conferences; first frozen foods marketed; bathysphere; cyclotron; Pluto discovered; telescopic umbrella; U.S. public debt now $16.18 billion; U.S. resident population now 122.8 million. 1931 German millionaire support builds for Nazi Party; British Navy mutiny at Invergordon; Empire State Building formally opens; Al Capone imprisoned; Alka-Seltzer; electric razor; George Washington Bridge (3,500 feet) completed. 1932 Gandhi arrested; British submarine goes down in English Channel; Roosevelt elected President in landslide; Mussolini drains Pontine Marshes; Lindbergh baby kidnapped; first car radios; first Gallup Poll; Mars Bars; invention of zoom lens; Zippo lighter introduced. 1933 Hitler named Chancellor of Germany; Japan withdraws from League of Nations; U.S. abandons gold standard; Long Beach quake kills 123; hundreds die in Cuban rebellion; freed Gandhi weighs 90 pounds; first German concentration camp (Dachau) established; Day-Glo pigments; the game Monopoly published; fluorescent lights introduced commercially.

Opening the Mummy of King Tutankamun


1934 Economic depression deepens as starvation and unrest spread in U.S.; drought extends from New York State to California; Sandino assassinated by Somoza supporters; San Francisco general strike ends; Huey Long assumes dictatorship of Louisiana; first commercial launderette.

1935 Increasingly severe dust storms batter the High Plains and Midwest of the U.S; first Pan-Am Clipper departs San Francisco for China; Social Security system enacted; Huey Long assassinated; Mao’s Long March concludes in Yenan; first passenger flight for the DC-3; mass-market paperback books; Richter earthquake scale; tape recorder is retailed. 1936 Nazis enter Rhineland; Italy conquers Ethiopia; Spanish Civil War; U.S. heat wave kills 3,000; dust-bowl conditions continue; Jesse Owens wins 4 gold medals at Berlin Olympics; Axis powers sign pact; Boulder Dam in operation; first Volkswagen. 1937 Gas explosion kills 294 in Texas school; Hindenburg dirigible explodes with loss of 36; 8 Soviet generals die in Stalinist purges; DuPont patents nylon; Japanese sink U.S. gunboat Panay; Golden Gate Bridge (4,200 feet) completed; first supermarket carts; Buchenwald concentration camp opens. 1938 Mexico expropriates all foreign oil holdings; Germans enter Austria unopposed; Kristallnacht; electric steam iron with thermostat; instant coffee; nylon; ball-point pen is patented; prototype of photocopy machine; major German-American Bund rally at Madison Square Garden; arrests of Jews throughout Germany and Austria. 1939 Germany annexes the Czechs; Madrid falls to Franco; U.S. submarine Squalus sinks with loss of 26 hands; French submarine Phoenix sinks with loss of 63; two IRA bombs in London; cellophane wrappers first appear in stores; annexation of Baltic states; Germany invades Poland, and France and Britain declare war; Rockefeller Center opens; DDT; yellow-fever vaccine; radar. 1940 Finland surrenders to Soviets; Nazis strike at Denmark and Norway; Churchill becomes Prime Minister; Holland and Belgium fall; Dunkirk evacuation; thousands die in Russo-Finnish War; German blitzkrieg to Channel; bombings in Germany and England kill tens of thousands; Roosevelt elected for third term; automatic gearbox for

chapter 10: Reference automobiles; inflatable life vests; radar operational and deployed in Britain; artificial insemination developed; penicillin produced in quantity; U.S. public debt now $42.97 billion; U.S. resident population is now 131.7 million. 1941 Aerial battle of Britain joined; Lend-Lease; U.S. institutes military draft; about 2,500 die in Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor; Coconut Grove (Boston) nightclub fire kills 491; the Jeep adopted as general-purpose military vehicle; Germans invade Soviet Union. 1942 Singapore, Philippines fall; major carrier battle off Midway Island; German siege of Leningrad continues; Crimea falls; Doolittle raid on Tokyo; Battle of Stalingrad joined; U.S. lands on Guadalcanal; Allies land in North Africa; atomic fission succeeds; bazooka; napalm. 1943 Some 190,000 Germans and greater numbers of Soviet soldiers and

civilians die at Stalingrad; Germans surrender at Stalingrad; Warsaw Ghetto uprising; Germany defeated in the biggest tank battle (Kursk) in history; Allies land in Sicily; Mussolini deposed then reseated by Germans; Allies invade Italy; Soviets crack Dnieper River line; Marshall Islands falls; 29 die in Detroit race riots; ball-point pens gain first acceptance; aqualung; LSD. 1944 De Gaulle is Free-French commander-in-chief; continuing massive air raids on Germany; Crimea freed; Allies take Rome; D-Day landings in Normandy; Marianas under attack; Paris falls to Allies; Roosevelt re-elected for fourth term; mass killings in Nazi concentration camps revealed; V-1 and V-2 missiles hit London; MacArthur returns to Philippines; Battle of the Bulge; hurricane kills 46 along East Coast, and 344 more at sea; Ringling Bros. tent fire kills 168; ammunition explosion kills 322 at Port Chicago CA; nerve gas.

Landing in Normandy, D-Day

1945 Some 130,000 die in Dresden firebombing; 60,000 die from nuclear blast at Nagasaki, and other mass bombings kill hundreds of thousands more in Japan. Total casualties of WWII are estimated at 50 million people. Europe and Japan need 15 years to effect significant recovery. U.S. war-related dead total 405,399; Auschwitz liberated; Yalta conference; Iwo Jima falls; Remagen Bridge taken; Roosevelt dies; Mussolini executed; Hitler commits suicide; full extent of Nazi death camps revealed; Berlin falls; Churchill resigns; battle of Okinawa; United Nations formed; Potsdam conference; Japan surrenders; Korea partitioned; Jackie Robinson first modern African-American major leaguer; Nuremberg war-crime trials; Tupperware. 1946 Chicago hotel fire kills 58; ENIAC computer unveiled by War Department; Churchill proclaims Iron Curtain; violence continues in Palestine; labor strikes dot U.S.; Chinese Civil War


investigator handbook renewed; smoking said to cause lung cancer; uprising in Vietnam; Chester F. Carlson unveils “xerography”; bikini swimsuits; espresso coffee machines. 1947 U.S. gives up attempts to broker a peace in China; religious strife in India; Marshall Plan advanced; last New York streetcar retired; India and Pakistan independent; Polaroid Land Camera; House committee looks for subversives in films. 1948 Gandhi assassinated; Communist coup in Czechoslovakia; civil war continues in the Palestine Mandate; Berlin airlift starts; state of Israel recognized and war continues; 200-inch telescope at Mt. Palomar; New York subway fare doubles to ten cents; Kinsey Report on sex; Scrabble; solid-body electric guitar; Velcro invented; transistor developed at Bell Labs; 33 1/3 long-playing records introduced. 1949 Chinese Communists take Peking; NATO organized; Berlin blockade concludes; German Federal Republic created; Red scare continues in U.S.; USSR explodes nuclear device; Nationalist Chinese forces retreat to Taiwan; Indonesia achieves independence; cable television; color television tube; key-starting auto ignitions. 1950 One-piece windshield for Cadillacs; RCA announces color television; French appeal for aid against the Viet Minh; U.S. blizzards kill hundreds; thousands die as Korean War begins; Inchon landings; China enters the Korean War; Gussie Moran sports lace underwear at Wimbledon; Diners’ Club card; Xerox 914 commercial copier; U.S. public debt now $256 billion; U.S. resident population is now 150.7 million. 1951 MacArthur stripped of all commands; 50 die in U.S. plane crash; color television transmitted from Empire State Building; hydrogen bomb tests at Eniwetok; truce talks in Korea; Cinerama; Chrysler introduces power steering; 3-color stoplights for autos introduced. 1952 Queen Elizabeth II accedes to British throne; worst U.S. bus crash kills 28; French submarine La Sybille disappears in Mediterranean with 49


Dresden, after being firebombed aboard; U.S. polio epidemic kills 3,300 and affects 57,000 children; Walk/ Don’t Walk lighted pedestrian signs in New York City; GM offers built-in air conditioning in some 1953 cars; Eva Peron dies; transistorized hearing aid; hydrogen bomb announced; videotape. 1953 Joseph Stalin dies; Storms off North Sea kill 200 in Britain; DNA described as double helix in form; Pius XII approves of psychoanalysis in therapy; Rosenbergs executed; East Berlin up-

rising quashed; Korean armistice; U.S. flight to suburbs noted; Kennedy-Bouvier marriage; expedition searches for yeti; measles vaccine. 1954 Nautilus is first atomic-powered submarine; Army-McCarthy hearings; Murrow takes on McCarthy; Dien Bien Phu falls; first H-bomb exploded; Supreme Court orders school integration; North and South Vietnam established; retractable ball-point pen; silicon transistor.

chapter 10: Reference 1955 Missile with atomic warhead exploded in Nevada test; Hurricane Diane kills 184; Albert Einstein dies; Warsaw Pact treaty signed; rebellion in Algeria; Mickey Mouse Club debuts on television; air-to-air guided missile; Disneyland opens. 1956 Over 10,000 Mau-Mau rebels killed in 4 years; Bus boycott in Montgomery; suburbs boom in U.S.; Khrushchev denounces Stalin; Nasser seizes Suez Canal; Hungarian Revolt; Teflon Company formed; go-karts. 1957 Smoking shown to promote cancer; Nike Hercules atomic warheads to defend U.S. cities from enemy aircraft; Sputnik shocks U.S.; Mackinac Straits Bridge (3,800 feet) completed. 1958 Elvis Presley drafted; 90 die in Chicago school fire; Nautilus sails across North Pole under the ice; Faubus closes Little Rock’s high schools; Pan Am inaugurates first 707 jet service to Paris; Sabin polio vaccine; communications satellite; hula-hoop.

wave in U.S. kills 150; Hurricane Flora kills 7,000 in Haiti and Cuba; mob actions increasingly common in the South. 1964 Aswan Dam in service; Beatles enormously popular; U.S. accidentally releases a kilo of plutonium into atmosphere; Nehru dies; Verrazano-Narrows Bridge (4,260 feet) completed; LBJ signs Civil Rights Act; Tonkin Gulf resolution; 3-D laser-holography; Moog synthesizer; FTC requires health warning on cigarettes. 1965 Malcolm X assassinated; race riots in Watts; Pope disassociates Jews from guilt for the crucifixion of Jesus; great Northeastern states’ electrical blackout; Kevlar; radial tires; IBM word processor. 1966 Cultural Revolution in China; opposition to Vietnam War increases; sniper kills 12 at U. Texas; miniskirts; first black Senator elected by popular vote; Dolby-A; skateboards; body counts.

1967 The Six-Day War; the Summer of Love; first black Supreme Court justice; 3 astronauts die in Apollo fire; U.S. loses 500th plane over Vietnam; Newark race riots leave 26 dead in four days; 31 deaths in Detroit race riots; antiwar protests accelerate; body count now a regular feature of Vietnam reports; 209 pounds of heroin seized in Georgia; bell bottoms. 1968 Tet Offensive stuns civilian United States; Martin Luther King assassinated; black riots; student revolt in Paris; Robert Kennedy assassinated; B-52 carrying four H-bombs crashes in a Greenland bay; Soviets quash liberalizing Czech government; Spain voids 1492 law banning Jews; Democrats’ convention in Chicago battles protesters; Apollo 8 astronauts orbit the Moon. 1969 Skyjackings to Cuba continue; Barnard women integrate men’s dorm;

1959 Castro gains power in Cuba; Ford’s Edsel judged a failure; Volvo introduces safety belts. 1960 Unrest continues in Algeria; Hurricane Donna devastates U.S. East Coast and Puerto Rico, claiming 165 lives; artificial kidney introduced; lunch counter sit-ins begin; Brasilia (the first public-relations city) is open for business; birth control pill goes on sale in U.S.; first weather satellite; popularity of portable transistor radios begins; U.S. public debt now $284 billion; U.S. resident population is now 179.3 million. 1961 Eisenhower warns against military-industrial complex; the Leakeys find earliest human remains; Berlin Wall; Peace Corps established; Bay of Pigs landing in Cuba; Valium. 1962 Cuban missile crisis nearly brings nuclear war; gallium-arsenide semiconductor laser; first satellite link between the U.S. and the UK; Polaroid color film.

ashington, 1963 W n o h rc a M t The Grea

1963 Enormous civil rights demonstration in Washington; Kennedy assassinated; coup in Vietnam removes Diem; cold


investigator handbook 1980 An ounce of gold reaches $802 U.S.; U.S. inflation rate highest in 33 years; banking deregulated; Mt. St. Helens WA eruption kills 50+; hostage rescue fails in Iran; Solidarity recognized in Poland; gold rush in the Amazon; Dolby-C; U.S. public debt now $908 billion; U.S. resident population is now 226.5 million. 1981 Iran releases embassy hostages; millions in Poland on strike; U.S. public debt reaches one trillion dollars; Israeli raid destroys Iraqi nuclear reactor; Humber Bridge (4,626 feet) completed; widespread marches and rallies against nuclear weapons and arms in Europe; strange immune-system disease noted by CDC.

Patty Hearst, photographed after her arrest in 1975 first artificial heart implant; anti-Vietnam War demonstrations in more than 40 cities on same weekend; Woodstock; 250,000 protesters march on capital; Apollo 11 lands on the Moon; snowstorm of the decade closes New York City; My Lai massacre revealed to have taken place in 1968; Boeing 747 jumbo jet; oil spill fouls Santa Barbara beaches; first flight of Concorde Mach 2 jetliner. 1970 Radical chic; Palestinian group hijacks five planes; De Gaulle dies; 46 shot in Asbury Park riots; “Weathermen” arrested for bomb plot; tuna recalled as mercury-contaminated; bar codes; floppy disks; windsurfing; U.S. public debt now $370 billion; U.S. resident population is now 203.3 million. 1971 Quake in Los Angeles kills 51; reaction against drug use in armed forces at full tide; hot pants; Pentagon Papers printed; liquid crystal displays. 1972 Ten members in European Common Market; Nixon in China; burglars caught in Democrats’ Watergate headquarters; 11 Israelis massacred at Olympics;