A Message of Art
Author(s): Matthew Sanderson
Appears in: Nameless Horrors (Supplement)
Paris, 1893. The second salon hosted by the Salon de la Rose + Croix has just come to a close. The Parisian elite have gathered to celebrate the arts show that its creators hoped would revolutionize the art scene across Europe, and possibly the world. Some of the most prominent artists of the Symbolist movement are present, along with critics and supporters of the salon. Here, art and religion have become one in a dangerous fusion. The investigators, as members of the artistic elite, are about to uncover that such talent was never intended to be part of the design of man.
- (review needed)
Spoilers - Keepers Eyes Only
Players should not read any further.
Describe the adventure in detail; no bias allowed.
Spoiler Section (Highlight to Read)
Among the artists of the Salon - in fact, its organizer - is a Martinist Rosicrucian who has been dabbling in the occult with the aim of manifesting "beatific visions" through artistic inspiration, successfully manifesting a mythos being in the form of a living sculpture which in turn whispers similar inspiration to other artists who create further living works of art, in the process spreading an artistic infection among the artists in the scene; they must paint inspired works which come to life and transmit the infection of inspiration, or sicken and die. The investigators are the only ones who can stop the spread of inspiration, before it is too late.
- maps, charts, and tables:
- chart: Relationship Map (for Keeper use?)
- map: Operatic Heart of Paris
- map: Peladan's apartment
- chart: list of pre-gen character overviews (for Keeper use?)
- list: Bathsheba's inspirations for NPCs and the investigators
- Poster for Salon de la Rose + Croix
- The Absinthe House
- Dramatis Personae (NPC portraits, probably suitable for use as hand-outs to the players)
- Bathsheba inspires Prideaux
- La Rush and Péladan's Occult Library
- The Man and The Bull
- The Butler finds Pinot
- Aimée Prideaux in her cell
- Handout 1 "Setting the Scene" (background info & hooks)
- Handout 2 (Évocations du Dieu intérieur)
- Handout 3 (optional) De Vermis Mysteriis
- 6 pre-gen characters
- Paris, France
- The Absinthe House
- Salon de la Rose et Croix at Peladan's Residence
- Durand-Ruel Gallery
- Thoiry, France
- La Rush's House
- the Martinist "Inner God" (mentioned but does not directly make an appearance)
- Human Cultists (generally well-meaning Rosicrucians and Parisian artists)
- Muse from Beyond
- Manifestation of Inspiration
Tomes and Artifacts:
- Évocations du Dieu intérieur ("Evocations of the Inner God"); a book on theurgy of the early Martinists (a sect who believed in seeking "beatific visions" by way of "reillumination from God" by way of the "Inner God", an aspect of God that manifests from within everyone); contains:
- De Vermiis Mysteriis (contains clues)
- Books and Tomes that might be found in Peladan's Occult Library:
- Occult Books such as The Key of Solomon, Malleus Maleficarum, The Zohar, etc.
- Cultes de Goules
- De Vermiis Mysteriis
- The Pnakotic Manuscripts
Campaigns / Scenarios:
- (none); effectively a one-shot scenario with pre-gen characters, though with some work it might be inserted into an artistic-themed campaign
- Mystic Order of the Rose & Croix
- The Parisian Salon Art Community
List dedication, trivia, images, anything else of note.
Comments to Keepers about this scenario; Possibly how to run it successfully. Keep general DISCUSSION on the talk page.
Setting: Pretty firmly planted in Gaslight Paris, France, with a set of pre-gen characters built specifically for the scenario, but with some work, pre-existing characters might be worked into the story instead; the scenario's essential premise could probably be reworked into a different art scene with perhaps a bit more work.
Special Notes: A Message of Art typically runs over one or two sessions, with the natural breakpoint being the transition between Act One and Act Two. It is also very much a social, sandbox environment game. A large part of the action within is the interaction between the investigators and the non-player characters (NPCs), as opposed to traditional investigative scenarios. As such, it is best to make sure that this style of play suits your group before proceeding. Keepers wishing to run the scenario over one session are encouraged to have the discovery of Pinot's body in Act One occur sooner rather than later, heralding the close of the party and the beginning of Act Two. This may be a complicated scenario for an inexperienced role-playing group to pull off, being set in an unusual setting, with a high concept threat and subtle character interactions with a lot of interpersonal moving parts to keep track of.
Sequel Plot Hooks: none, by default, though keepers may note the following opportunities:
- Joséphin Péladan, host of the Salon, actually has some mystical, occult, and even Mythos knowledge, and is willing to work with the investigators; this character might become a recurring character offering help and advice to investigators in later scenarios in a Parisian art-themed campaign.
- The setting is closely related to the Belle Epoque Parisian art scene that inspired Robert W. Chambers' The King in Yellow (fiction), and might be used as a tie-in to that setting and/or the Hastur Mythos.