Eternal Lies FAQ

This is a FAQ for people who already have Eternal Lies and want to run it. If this is not you, please do not read it as it contains buckets of spoilers.

[spoiler title=”Eternal Lies Frequently Asked Questions”]

Next, let’s reiterate: every adaptation of Eternal Lies is different and distinct. One adaptation may flow from chapter to chapter with ease, happily revealing information and bravely combating threats in some relative synchronicity to how they’re presented in the book. The next adaptation may call for the Keeper to reveal information in one chapter while another chapter is unfolding at the table. This is a fair play.

In a way, then, our “official” position on certain events is just one more opinion about how to best adapt this particular story to your table. We know things about the intent of the campaign, it’s true, but you know things about your table’s play style that we don’t. Don’t be shy about overriding our position for the sake of your adaptation. Some situations require judgment calls and that’s just the way that goes.

Still, some of the questions that have come in are about outright errors on our part — errors of omission, poorly phrased language, or just plumb mistakes. We’re sorry about those.

Here are answers to a few of the questions that have come up since the release of Eternal Lies.

Q: Can you paint a more clear picture about the relationship to each other of the campaign clues in Mexico City, Bangkok, and Malta?

A: In order to successfully enter the Devouring Ravine in the Himalayas, the Investigators must get to a specific place at a specific time.

  • In Mexico City, the Investigators learn where in the world they need to go: To Mount Kailash, in Thibet.
  • In Bangkok, the Investigaotrs learn where — specifically — on Mount Kailash they must go.
  • In Malta, the Investigators learn when they can fruitfully go there. That is, when the Devouring Ravine will open to allow them access to the Thing’s guts.

Q: How are the campaign clues in Mexico City and Bangkok different from each other?

A: The map the Investigators can find in Bangkok is concerned with the topology of a particular mountain, but does not have any clues about where in the world that topology is located. Other than being labeled the “Devouring Mountain,” the map gives no clues about what particular geography it is describing.

The information the Investigators can get in Mexico City suggests that “Mount Kailash” and “the Devouring Mountain” are one and the same place. However, it contains no specific information about where on Mount Kailash the access point to the Thing’s stomach is located.

It’s tempting to imagine that the map would suffice without the name for Investigators willing to spend a monumental amount of time poring over maps at one of the world’s best-stocked departments of cartography. And if you think it’s dramatically expedient in your campaign for things to work out that way, you could rule that it is. However, in the ‘30s, there’s no satellite data to provide accurate information about the topology of the world’s mightiest mountain ranges, so it’s very easy to imagine that there’s simply no way to connect the dots in a library. (There’s also nothing in Savitree Sirikhan’s library to suggest that this particular map contains information that’s of such key importance to the Investigators. One imagines, after all, that half of the materials she’s collect claims to contain the most monumental secrets in the history of mankind, if not the universe.)

It’s also not preposterous to imagine that the name of the mountain would suffice without the Bangkok clue. However, without the detailed “neighborhood map” that the Bangkok map provides, the Investigators could spend years if not decades camping at different locations across the geography near the peak of Mount Kailash on the nights when the stars come right. Again, if you think it’s dramatically correct for the Investigators to find the location this way, without the details provided in Bangkok, that’s fine, especially if it’s exciting and dramatic for them to wonder —as the sun sets— if they’ve picked the right place, if you force them to make a very clever plan to narrow down the options, or something similar.

By analogy, imagine that the Investigators are trying to find a particular room in all of Chicago. They need to know both whose house they’re going to, and which room they need to be in. The Mexico City clue says it’s Cliff Smith’s house. The Bangkok clue says it’s the master bedroom.

Q: What exactly happened to Edgar Job in the aftermath of the massacre in 1924? How can the massacre crime have gone unsolved (as described in Los Angeles Scene 11, “The Police Report”) if Edgar Job was apprehended and plead to manslaughter (as described in Savannah Scene 2, “Arrival at Joy Grove”)?

A: There is a clear contradiction between Job pleading to manslaughter and the lack mention of Job in the police report. This is an error.

The “official” explanation that respects all of the existing facts runs like this:

Edgar escaped the scene of the massacre without being apprehended, in extremely tenuous mental and physical health. He made his way into unincorporated Los Angeles County, where he managed to elude capture for several days before collapsing outside a hobo camp. Brought to a hospital by Good Samaritans, he remained unconscious for several more days.

During this time, the city and county authorities were locked in a bureaucratic battle, each trying to force the other to bear responsibility for the massacre investigation. (This is described in Los Angeles Scene 11.)

When Edgar finally regained consciousness, he made a statement wherein he copped to stabbing someone who was trying to kill him — in self defense — at the crazy orgy. He assumed that’s why there was a sheriff in his hospital room.

The leadership in the sheriff’s department was not very enthusiastic about bringing Edgar to the attention of their counterparts with the city out of fear that it would push the investigation back to them. After satisfying themselves that Job hadn’t been any kind of mastermind in the depraved events (covering something like that up would have been an entirely different order of malfeasance) and having also learned that Job was wanted for a pair of prior armed robberies (as described in Savannah Scene 2), Job was charged with the three crimes and locked up where he wouldn’t come to anyone’s further attention.

Later that year, when correspondence from Dr. Keating arrived in Los Angeles, it found its way to the county rather than the city. In continued furtherance of their soft-pedaled “cover-up,” (not to mention that it would save the prison system money to offload Job to another state), the sheriff’s office arranged to have Job shipped to Georgia.

Q: Wouldn’t Dr. Keaton know more about the massacre given how many people died and how much information the police report contains?

A: It’s possible that he would. However, keep in mind that:

  • Keaton is more interested in the men than the events, and is not inclined to believe in supernatural explanations for their stories.
  • Keaton’s interest in Henslowe and Job must take a back seat to his official duties and functions. He can’t travel to Los Angeles over a period of weeks to do his own primary research, and he has not Internet fora to turn to for information.

Keaton is not an Investigator. He doesn’t have the drive or ambition to get at the truth. At worst, he regards Job and Henslowe as curios that often lie to him—even when they are telling the truth about supernatural events.

That said, there is no downside to the Investigators learning any of the clues from the 1924 police file while they’re in Savannah, if you think that having Keaton know more would improve your campaign’s verisimilitude.

Q: In Thibet Scene 5, “Into the Eye of the Storm,” the text says that “acute angles have become physically dangerous.” But then it talks about “[w]alls that come together at angles greater than 90 degrees.” What’s up?

A: The latter should refer to walls coming together at angles less than 90 degrees. Our apologies.

Q: In the boxed text on page 32, “Drive: Sudden Shock,” can you clarify which languages the Investigator can speak?

A: During the period of the Investigator’s addiction, she could speak only the Tongue of Lies. However, the Thing has eaten both the Investigator’s memories of that time, as well as the capability to speak the Tongue of Lies. The Investigator no longer knows the Tongue of Lies, and can, in the current time, speak all of the languages she could speak before the period she has forgotten.

Q: p. 112: What are Genial Brooker’s Three Things (Los Angeles 21, “The Gardener Next Door”)?

  • Closes one eye when looking more closely at something.
  • Constantly toys with a handkerchief when not holding a garden implement.
  • Laughs in loud, single syllables. (“Ha!”)

Q: How complete is the list of Samson Trammel’s books (Los Angeles 11, “Trammel’s Mantion) on pp. 116–117 intended to be? Isn’t the connection between the name of the painting in Trammel’s study (“The Gazer’s Perspective”) and the name of the book “The Gaze of Azathoth” too obvious a clue?

A: This list is a random sampling of the names of some books, less than 5% of the collection as a whole. The list of sample books shouldn’t be presented to the players. It’s meant as a quick list of titles the Keeper can roll off if the players ask what some of the books are called.

The key things to keep in mind as the Investigators poke around Trammel’s study are that (a) it would take a great deal of time spent digesting the study’s contents to draw a connection between the painting, the book (given how many books there are in the library), and what’s known about the Los Angeles cult’s history, (b) the Investigators are likely to be more more interested in the Testament than the rest of the library as something to spend their time looking at, and (c) the Investigators are almost certainly going to be time-pressured in the study, given what’s going on in the basement.

If it seems to you like an unfair obfuscation to hide the connection between the painting and the book from the Investigators when they search Trammel’s study, assume that the painting does not have a plaque. If it becomes necessary, later, to connect the painting with its name, assume that one of the books in Savitree Sirkhan’s library either reproduces or describes the painting, and also names it.

Q: Is there any Locale where there is actually a street network of Nectar distributors?

A: None of the capital-L Locales demonstrates the kind of street trade that is presumed to exist in other cities and markets throughout the world. The implication is meant to be that the capital-L Locales with Major Mouths are the hubs to which any street investigations would ultimately lead back to anyway. As Nectar flows out of the Major Mouths, the local cult chapters quickly become distracted by their own vices and twisted motives, perhaps from their own exposure to the stuff. Every Nectar hub has either become involved in its own sordid business or, in the case of Malta, has tried to keep Nectar off its own streets so that it can actually function.

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