With Malice Aforethought

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Pages: 37

Author(s): Andrew Leman and Jamie Anderson

Artist(s): John t. Snyder (illustrations), Tom Kalichack (maps)

Setting: Salem, Arkham Lovecraft Country 1920s

Appears in: Adventures in Arkham Country


The investigators, asked to solve mystery of a death at Arkham Sanitarium, become embroiled in a mass murder investigation, unaware that someone at the institution, drawn to the sanitarium seeking great power and the help of the mental patients, is not who he seems, while creatures from the Dreamlands watch from the shadows. A scenario in three parts.


Spoilers - Keepers Eyes Only

Players should not read any further.


 Spoiler Section (Highlight to Read)

A sorcerer from the Dreamlands from the booming port city of Dylath-Leen, devoted to the Great Old Ones seeking from them gifts and forbidden knowledge in exchange for his devotion and his sacrifices, finds his ambition frustrated at home, and travels by magical means to the waking world to open for his lords a gate for the Great Old Ones to conquer the waking world in exchange for power in the Dreamlands. Drawn to Arkham, Massachusetts and attracted by a mysterious but unmistakable source of power, he has located a group of human beings whom he can persuade to unwittingly participate in his gate-opening ritual: Mental patients, and using a powerful amulet, he put on the disguise of a staff psychiatrist at Arkham Sanitarium.


Player Handouts: maps of Arkham and Massachussetts, and of Arkham Sanitarium, along with Newspaper Headlines/Articles, and excepts from the tomes listed below.

Locations: Dreamlands, Dylath-Leen, Arkham, Massachusetts, Lovecraft Country, Arkham Sanitarium, Salem

Creatures: Mental Patients, Witch, "Dutch", Arkham Police, "Frenzy", The Man in Black, Ghostly warrior

Tomes and Artifacts: tome Daemonigraphia, tome Synarchobiblaron, new spells "Unmask Daemon" and "Circle of Nausea" and "Banishment of Yde' Etad" (the latter for expelling a visitor from the Dreamlands from waking reality), "Mind Dance Ritual" for restoring sanity, Misquat Figurines warding against the Great Old Ones, Bors' Amulet for masking and controlling Daemons

Keeper Comments

A sort of mini-campaign in three parts focusing on the Sanitarium murders ("The Crime"), a trial ("The Trial"), and a final confrontation with the villain ("The Sentence").

The centerpiece of this scenario is a detailed murder trial, with rules provided in the scenario for simulating the trial in detail from arrest, to arraignment and indictment, to hiring an attorney, to presenting evidence and testimony, to deliberation, judgment, and beyond. This trial subsystem could be reused for any other BRP gaming situation where a trial is conducted.

The scenario is nominally set in 1920s Arkham, and the length and complexity of the scenario as a mini-campaign, and the heavy reliance on a Court Trial mini=game using well-researched details of period police and court proceedings with plenty of detailed evidence and other moving parts, makes this a difficult scenario to move very far in time and spae from a 1920s Arkham setting.

The Dreamlands are referenced as a number of times in behind-the-scenes material for the Keeper, but not much of the scenario actually involves the Dreamlands or its creatures (beyond a reference to Ghouls, a couple of Dreamlands "Daemons" (the "Frenzy" and "The Man in Black"), and the witch antagonist.

Halloween Scenario: The first part of the scenario is set near Halloween and climaxes on that holiday; for that first part, keepers might optionally play this up as a spooky Halloween scenario by emphasizing the preparations and then actual celebration of the holiday when setting the scenes. Due to the length of the scenario, the other two parts might best be reserved for sessions scheduled after Halloween. The scenario itself only barely mentions Halloween itself, though, outside of that being the day of the killer's ritual, and even that element is unobtrusive, so groups with no interest in the Halloween kitsch can play the scenario as-is: the few Halloween elements there are will play no important part in the scenario.