The painter

An adventure for Call of Cthulhu

Introduction

This is a short adventure for Chaosium’s roleplayinggame of Lovecraftian horror, Call of Cthulhu. It is most likely best fitted for 2-3 characters of low to average experience. It is inspired of Lovecraft’s novel ”The Pickham Model”.

You are allowed to copy and redistribute this adventure as long as it is unchanged to content and layout and it is for personal use only. All commercial use of the content is forbidden. This adventure is copyright Jonas Steverud. If you want to publish this in any way - please contact the author.

The Story as the Characters Hear It

During the last three weeks a new painter has had an exhibition at the towns Museum of Modern Art, an exhibition that the critics has run out of words to praise and the public has queued for hours to get the chance to view his surreal and mind-breaking art. But there is also a darker side of the fame; the painter has made some very strange statements (neither the reporters from the local papers not the manager of the museum understood them so they aren’t printed but the gossip is around) and something even more devastating had happen: People has fainted, been seen running away screaming about ”those shapes in there!” and in two cases even needed professional help at a sanatorium outside the city. Is the speak about the new mind breaking art more then just empty words?

The Story as the Keeper Knows It

The painter, whose name is Johnatan Canvic, can be described in a very short and concise manner: Completely insane. For about one year ago two Mi-gos contacted the painter, who was just a mediocre painter at best then. Their mental communication and occasional appearance drove the painter completely insane and made him more easily to control. The creatures wanted the painter to create a portal unto Earth to they more easily could take control. They are close to the goal with the exhibition at the art-museum.

The Mi-gos helped the poor painter to become a praised artisan - but the price was his mental health (not that he cares anymore…). After about 10 month was the painter ”discovered” (the Mi-gos had something to do with it but the talent scout that found the paintings aren’t under the influence of the creatures) and soon was it decided that the painter should make an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Arts (also this was the work of the Mi-gos).

After three days after that the characters begun the investigation does the painter announce that he will the next-coming night paint ”his master-piece” and he will then have the museum entirely unto himself (and the Mi-gos). In the morning will the people be witnesses to a peace of art that they never before have seen. Although many people smile ironically at the cocksure painter - but they do also eagerly wait for the morning, what if he is speaking the truth! If the investigators don’t intervene the inhabitants of the town will witness something they never seen before - but it won’t be art, it will be thousands of Mi-gos!

The Night in the Museum Mr Canvic places all his Outerworld-paintings in a wide circle with the motive towards the middle in the largest room of the museum and then starts to paint the final piece. If one takes a good look at the paintings one will see that they fit nicely together and forms a panorama over some very strange world indeed. After about three hours of constant work one will see that the final painting is a strangely formed door. After additionally two hours an onlooker will make out shapes that are sitting on the very border of the eye inside the paintings. During the next hour additional shapes will appear and an observer will be able to make out the creatures on (or to be more accurate: in) the paintings. After a total time of six and half an hour the painter - entirely exhausted - falls unconscious to the floor and the creatures howls a unheard cry of victory and the all rush to the central painting. An observer sees the hideous creatures rush towards him but when they reach the circle of painting they vanish - one can not see what happens when the creatures are inside the circle but have not yet reached the door in the central painting. The last thing the observer will probably see is when the creatures walks (or whatever verb describes their movement more properly) through the door and into our own world - one every half of second. They will kill all humans in the museum and later that night all the inhabitants of the town and turn it into a town of their own kindred. They will spare the painter since it could be useful to have a human to communicate through. Once they starts to pour into our world it would be near to futile to try to stop them - one of the few things that will work is either strong magic or long-range, heavy artillery. The only way to stop the catastrophe is to realise in time what is about to happen and burn the paintings before that the final painting is finished. When the painter has locked himself into the museum in the evening (he will only accept the two night guards) he will arrange the paintings in a wide circle - possible with the help of one or two of the night guards - and will then climb to the roof. There he will open a large enough window to let the two Mi-gos that have accompanied him through the last year in. Those two creatures will then (without the knowing of the painter - he have already begun to paint) kill the two guards and will then buzz around the museum to fight off any intruders. The investigators will find one of the guards brutally killed (a Mythos-roll might reveal that it is killed by a Mi-go) and the other literally scared to death.

Clues the Characters Can Find

  1. Newspaper articles that mentions that people had been serious disturbed when taken to deep looks at the paintings. (This is true but the spokesmen for the museum have tried to quiet it down and some editors in chief agree with this.)
  2. Rumours that a number of people had been taken to a sanatorium outside the town. (The sanatorium has two persons in their care. They will not give away this information to anyone that comes up to the front door and starts to ask questions and will especially not give the journals to complete strangers. Let the players - and not the character - use their wits for a change. A simple Oratory-roll isn’t enough.)
  3. Common for the two clues above is that not-so-easily affected people have been seriously disturbed when they look at the paintings and a investigation at the museum and some Mythos-rolls might reveal that these paintings aren’t of an earthly nature. Witnesses have spoken about ”things in there, things that moves!” - this should give the characters some clues at least.
  4. A visit at the painter’s house in a valley outside the town reveals that something is out of place. They will find tracks of the two Mi-gos (even meet them?) but whether they understand the traces are left to the Keeper.
  5. Research should give some insights about how to stop the creatures - burning the pictures! Only destroying them by force only stops the creatures temporary. The only way to destroy the portal is to burn the pictures - and start with the central painting if the painter has started on it. Note that the museum isn’t very found of the idea to burn some great pieces of art just because some off-the-street persons say so.

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12th of April 2006