In Masks of Nyarlathotep London is the TRUE beginning of your campaign. While things do kick off in New York with the (spoilers) murder of Jackson Elias, London is almost inevitably the next stop and your campaign, and in my opinion, the part of the game where you realize the danger and breadth of the adventure (if that wasn’t clear from the size of the rulebook).
When I ran Masks, it was the place where I realized just how wide a range of things I had to prepare – even looking back, there were whole sections my players did not skip (the sections involving the alien-enslaved artist and the werewolf), for example. And as a player, well, let us just say there was a very ill fated visit to the Penhew compound.
As I’ve mentioned before, the Masks of Nyarlathotep companion is ideal for drilling down on your Masks of Nyarlathotep London campaign – the information in there is absolutely essential.
Looking to Spice up London?
That said, if paying for the companion PDF is too rich for your blood, there are plenty of alternatives on the vast recesses of the Internet.
Atlas Obscura – Secret Libraries of London – Looking for someplace for your players to investigate those eldritch horrors? Here’s some inspiration from adventure travel blog Atlas Obscura.
In that same vein, Lovecraftian London 01: The Atlantis Bookshop from Yog-Sothoth previews a bookshelf built in the twenties that seems like the sort of place invesigators might stumble into.
Trail of Cthulhu: Bookhounds of London is a supplement by Ken Hite that fits very well in with a grittier, less pulpy campaign – this blog has recently done a whole series of posts on the subject of Bookhounds and the London universe they inhabit.
For research, there are many worthwhile things you could check out. You could watch Werewolf of London, or Downton Abbey, or Bulldog Drummond. For whatever reason, the Freund/Karloff film the Mummy always reminds me on the London section of Masks (not the Egypt). The English people in that movie seem like exactly the sort of character one runs into at the Penhew foundation.
Stay tuned. I’m going to write a whole series of articles on the different locations in Masks, including at least one more on London where we’ll get further and further into the mechanics and challenges of running this particular part of the game.