"Mysterium: Part 1" is the first of two episodes of the Mysterium run of Wildcards: Interludes. GM'd by Meghan Caves, this episode aired live on July 24, 2020 on the Saving Throw Twitch channel, and is archived on the YouTube channel. Of note, this episode was streamed remotely due to precautions taken during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Michael, Ellsworth, Horace and Mesmero are brought in to investigate supernatural occurrences at a historic manor in New Orleans with a dark past.
Background: Leonard MacCarthy and Marie MacCarthy have built up a reputation traveling the world in search of run-down buildings to renovate and breathe life back into. In order to accomplish this, they hire the less fortunate, giving them access to a good job and a chance to practice and improve upon their skills, beefing up their resume, and thus helping them secure a good job once the renovations are done. The MacCarthy's latest project is the Gardette LePretre Manor on Dauphine Street in New Orleans' historic French Quarter.
The MacCarthys have called upon the services of Michael Wanderstock, Ellsworth Chant, Horace Duncombe III, and Archibold "The Amazing Mesmero" La Porte to investigate an apparent haunting in the Manor. While Horace has the farthest distance to travel, being all the way across the Atlantic in England, Michael is the closest at only a few blocks from the Manor in New Orleans. Once they are all together at the Manor, Marie greets them and leads them into the dining room where they enjoy a four-course meal. Marie continues answering questions from the group and offers wine. They had been joined by Mr. Fisher, who talks for a bit before taking his leave. The group then engages in conversation regarding what is referred to as the "extranatural". Afterwards, they begin to talk to Marie about the history of the house, and this is where the story of the Sultan's Palace comes up:
The story of the Sultan's Palace takes place at some point in the Gardette LePretre Manor's history. LePretre rented out the Manor to the brother of a sultan. The man moved in with riches and a harem with five veiled women. He also tended to hold nightly parties, much to the ire and suspicion of his neighbors. What was unknown by LePretre was that the Sultan's brother was a fugitive and had stolen what he had brought to New Orleans from the Sultan. Then one dark and stormy night, a group of assassins possibly linked to the Sultan cut down the brother and the harem, leaving behind a truly gruesome scene. Legend has it that the ghost of the Sultan's brother still roams around the Manor.
Despite listening to this story, Horace is skeptical of any supernatural occurrences in the house. Then, Marie mentions a slew of odd occurrences in and around the house, including: a specific set of keys always gone missing, birds flying into windows, and a bit of blood found everywhere.
Afterwards, Marie leads the group up the stairs and into a room on the third floor to begin their work. Mesmero takes a broom and uses the broomstick to tap things, all the while exclaiming out loud for the ghosts to come out. Michael gets to ask Marie a couple of questions that could aid the group in their investigation:
- When did the supernatural occurrences begin? There weren't any occurrences at first, but they started as soon as renovations began on the house.
- When renovating, did anyone in the house come across anything unusual? There were several secret passageways.
- Anything that was obscured or hidden? In the basement, a wall came away and revealed a passage.
Ellsworth sets up a desk, takes out his journal, turns it to a blank page, and asks a question, holding it in his mind which he emptied of every other thought. Meanwhile, Mesmero notices there's one place where his tapping feels denser, and observes that there might be air coming out. He tries to rip a piece of rotten wood off, and when he does, bones fall out of the now-exposed wall. Ellsworth goes to read the bones, and he doesn't see much except for the fact they seem fresher than you would think coming from a dusty wall. The bones also look human, with a mix of both small bones and some larger ones. At this point Marie is observing what the group is doing, to which they insist that it is best for Marie to leave them to the task at hand.
The group notice there are marks on some of the bones, and suspect there might be a hidden message there. To this effect, Ellsworth tries to line up the bones while everyone else also continue to investigate the bones. Then, Mesmero notices blood on his hand, spilling out from the wall and seeping out from some of the wood paneling. He takes off one of the boards and finds some shredded clothing seeped in blood. Soon after, the group hears thumping noises, when suddenly books and furniture start flying out and the walls start shaking with ever-growing intensity, prompting the group to retreat from the room into the hallway. Ellsworth says that the spirits want to communicate, and goes back into the room to ask a question, "Why do you hold such anger in your heart?" while Mesmero uses his telekinesis ability to keep books from hitting Ellsworth. Once the question is asked, Ellsworth heads out of the room, and the group is joined by Marie. At this point, Ellsworth urges everyone to get a writing utensil and let the spirits write out an answer to a question. One such question is "Is what's angering you in this house right now?" to which the spirits reply with a Yes. At this reponse, Ellsworth demands that no one be let out of the Manor until they find out who's angering the spirits. Marie notes that there can be anywhere between 20 to 50 people in the house at one time, but this doesn't deter Ellsworth from wanting to interview everyone. Before heading off to bed, Marie shows everyone to their rooms on the second floor.
The group is split on their suspicions for who can be angering the spirits, with Mesmero and Ellsworth suspecting Leonard, while Horace and Michael suspect Marie. The group is also in different states of mind. Mesmero sees this as a standard haunt. Michael, currently living in New Orleans, knows Marie is a huge socialite and knows not of many hauntings. Horace sees these events as unreal and formulaic, which confuse him. Ellsworth thinks the readings are real but still has a weird feeling about them.
Ellsworth commences his interviews. A worker says she's heard yells at night. A nervous young man has also heard yells, but thought they were coming from people outside the Manor. Ellsworth plans to continue the interviews into the night. Meanwhile, Michael and Horace make a plan to get into Marie and Leonard's room. Mesmero knocks on their door, which is opened by Marie. She has a long conversation with Mesmero, during which Michael was able to slip in and slip out.
Once this is done, everyone heads to bed in their rooms. Before the episode concludes, each member of the group has a haunting experience.
- Ellsworth sees a young woman standing by the bed, holding papers. She's not entirely there, has a wound on her head, and her skin is beginning to peel off. Suddenly, she flies at Ellsworth, screaming, then disappears, throwing the papers at Ellsworth, which are the ones Ellsworth wrote earlier, including a new one with names.
- Michael has the experience as Ellsworth, except he gets a paper with a list of dates.
- Horace sleeps lightly, so he is startled awake when he notices a young woman on the ceiling. Papers fall from her mouth, one of them having a comparative list with names.
- Mesmero rolls over to find someone in bed with him. The spirit says, "Find Lulu White. Don't trust Marie."
- Gardette LePretre Manor - Historic building on Dauphine Street in the French Quarter of New Orleans
Character & Cast Appearances
- Michael Wanderstock, played by Jordan Caves-Callarman
- Ellsworth Chant, played by Gaurav Gulati
- Horace Duncombe III, played by Jordan Pridgen
- Archibold "The Amazing Mesmero" LaPorte, played by Dom Zook
- Leonard MacCarthy - Married to Marie MacCarthy. An architect by trade. Comes from a lower class family, and is content to follow Marie around the world as her immense wealth permits him to build and design whatever he pleases. Prefers books and buildings.
- Marie MacCarthy - Married to Leonard MacCarthy. Philanthropist and socialite. Comes from an upper class family. Decided to use her wealth to help those in most need. Enjoys New Orleans and can be found there at least once a year.