A scenario hook for Cthulhu Confidential
Hardboiled Los Angeles detective Dex Raymond opens his office door one morning to find an unpleasant surprise inside. A short, portly man lies dead on his carpet, face down on a piece of wrinkled packing paper.
Rolling the body over, Dex sees that both of its eyes have been burned out, taking portions of the brain with it.
After calling in the cops and dealing with their usual chops-busting, Dex can look into the obvious questions: who was the man, what object was wrapped up in that paper, and what happened to it?
Though he carried only patently phony identification, Dex can use them to trace their forger. He leans on this character, Lazlo the Shrimp, until he coughs up the name of his customer, Jacob Karsh.
Shoe leather and shady contacts reveal more of Karsh’s story. A longtime middleman in the antiquities smuggling trade, he created false provenances to clear the path for museums to pick up questionable artifacts.
Karsh had been dealing with Howell Hazlitt, a curator at The Museum of History, Science, and Art. Hazlitt gasps and sweats his way through an interview, his denials confirming that the two of them were cooking something up.
By digging deeper into Hazlitt, Dex discovers that he was trying to buy a strange idol that might have been from Mesoamerica or perhaps from Sumeria, but was definitely looted and formerly in the possession of notoriously crooked dealer Astrid Marion.
Marion tries to warn Dex off the case: that idol was bad news, and she’s glad to be rid of it. She takes off her dark sunglasses to reveal what happened when she took the briefest of glimpses of it. It burned out one of her eyes, and badly affected the vision in the other.
Where is the idol now? Asking around in the building where he keeps his offices, he learns that the usual cleaning lady left his office the night of Karsh’s death.
He finds sweet, grandmotherly Guadalupe Chavez in her small downtown apartment, a blissful expression on her face, never mind the burnt-out eye sockets. A new goddess has come back to the world, has always been in the world, created the world and will destroy it. She is Qotha-Nhur’rin, the destruction at the heart of creation, and naturally, sad as Guadalupe was to see her leave, she had to let the goddess go where she wanted to go.
Dex traces the trail of possession from a courier who retrieved the idol, to Hazlitt, to a ring of museum donors. Previous dabblings in the worship the Old Ones yielded nothing but a faint sense of foolishness. Now that they’ve heard of Qotha-Nhur’rin, maker and breaker, they’re sure she’s the only entity who can assist them. Their goal: to seize control of the city’s ley lines from Los Angeles Times publisher Harry Chandler and his cabal.
Can Dex grab the statue and run, disposing of it before the unseeing greed of these parvenus hands the city to the goddess no one should know about?
GUMSHOE One-2-One retunes, rebuilds and re-envisions the acclaimed GUMSHOE investigative rules set for one player, and one GM. Together, the two of you create a story that evokes the classic solo protagonist mystery format of classic detective fiction. Can’t find a group who can play when you can? Want an intense head-to-head gaming experience? Play face to face with GUMSHOE One-2-One—or take advantage of its superb fit with virtual tabletops and play online. Purchase Cthulhu Confidential and other GUMSHOE One-2-One products in print and PDF at the Pelgrane Shop.