The cults of the Old Ones have endured for thousands of years. They have hidden in the shadows of civilization. They have polluted themselves with vile practices: insane and ancient arts of magic; profane revels; and the worship of malignant gods that slumber beyond the world of man. Their obscene and degenerate rituals have not stopped, not even to this day.
It is the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and twenty two. For thousands of years providence has blessed humanity. Now and then the planets have aligned for some short period, or a gate opened for a brief interval between the Earth and some dismal world. Now and then, in short, the cults have had their day, have brought forth the vindictive glory of their ancient gods and rung down unholy ruin on the world. But between such inauspicious moments the monstrous deities of the cults have slept.
For thousands of years providence has blessed humanity.
It is the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and twenty two and the signs are right for the Old Ones to return. This time they will not engage in a few restless hours or days of horror before returning to their troubled sleep. This time they will linger on the Earth forever, rewarding their devout and discarding otherwise all the lives of the human race.
In this fatal hour a great sorcerer has emerged from the shadows. Centuries ago he exiled himself from the world of man, hid himself away from humanity’s prying eyes. Now he returns, a master of the mystic arts, the only man with the vision necessary to awaken and return the Old Ones to the world. To this end he wanders the Earth, seeking out the independent cults and covens of the Old Ones and coercing them into his service, banding them together into a single entity known as the Brotherhood.
The Brotherhood turns its rituals and its strength to a single purpose. They intend to collectively breach the veil that separates the human world from their slumbering and malevolent gods.
They are strong and they are cruel and the stars are right for their objective but the world is not yet lost.
For every power in this world there is a balancing power. The insane actions of the sorcerer and the rise of the Brotherhood have caught the attention of a small band of well-funded scholars and adventurers. They stumbled onto the trail of the Brotherhood—more by foolish luck than anything else—and in a short time have uncovered evidence of a conspiracy so mad, so perverse, and so unacceptable that no official power would believe them that it exists. They can hope for no aid or solace but there is a chance that they can stop the Brotherhood themselves.
It isn’t much of a chance, not really, but it’s all that humanity has.
They travel the world, these valiant men and women, in pursuit of the master sorcerer. They struggle to survive, facing danger at every turn, and to undermine the sorcerer’s actions when they can. They disrupt the collective work of the Brotherhood. They seek the keystone item whose destruction could put an end to the Brotherhood’s plans.
Time is running out.
They are learning the sorcerer’s secrets. They are beginning to understand what it is they will need to do. But time is running out.
If they cannot stop the Brotherhood soon the world will end.
Sorcerer Player: In Trail of the Brotherhood one devious player takes on the role of the ancient sorcerer. This character travels the globe unifying independent cults into the Brotherhood. The player must acquire enough Power through these cults to activate a magical item and summon forth a specific Old One (a malignant god chosen by the player before the game begins.) To succeed the Sorcerer Player must prevent the investigators that pursue the sorcerer from learning which Great Old One the sorcerer seeks to awaken. The sorcerer may achieve this end in a number of different ways, including misdirection, sending agents of the cults to attack the investigators directly, and summoning lesser creatures.
When the sorcerer earns sufficient power through binding cults to the Brotherhood, and acquires the magical item necessary to the ceremony, the sorcerer may summon the selected Old One. The world ends horrifically in the early twentieth century and the players’ existence becomes contingent on a transient bubble of malformed causality but, on the bright side, the Sorcerer Player wins the game.
Investigative Players: The other 1-3 players take the role of Investigative Teams. They must keep the Brotherhood from gathering enough power to summon an Old One into the world. Ultimately they must use Clues left in the wake of the Brotherhood’s activities to identify the magical item required for the summoning ceremony. They must then take that item from a cult or the Sorcerer and destroy it, thus condemning the Old Ones to continued slumber…at least, for now.
When the investigative teams have destroyed the item, the Investigative Players win the game. As an added bonus, the world does not end.
Trail of the Brotherhood is part adventure and part deductive strategy as the players enter the desperate world of H.P. Lovecraft.