Blood Ties: d20 Modern Arkham

In the small town of Arkham, Massachusetts, tucked away from the main routes to Boston or New York, life is calm and predictable. Families that have lived there for a century have Sunday brunch together and picnics in the summer. Life is happy, if not particularly prosperous, and the changing leaves in the fall are often the most exciting thing to happen all year. Small wonder that when distant relatives come to town following a letter from the odd “Uncle Silas” they expect a quiet, even boring weekend. Unfortunately for them, this trip has a much darker character, and it is only the beginning.

It is a cold autumn following a hot summer in Arkham and the trees are hurrying to change color as if racing each other. Around the house of Silas Wilmarth, to the north of town in the forests between the Miskatonic River and Beck Pond, the leaves are still mostly green but with yellows, oranges, and reds mixed in as well. The clutch of thin birches leaning over the porch have changed sooner than most and are now shedding yellow leaves over the steps, where they gather with the yellow police tape across the doorway. No police are visible but the scene is definitely marked off and inaccessible.

Searchers after horror haunt strange, far places. For them are the catacombs of Ptolemais, and the carven mausolea of the nightmare countries. They climb to the moonlit towers of ruined Rhine castles, and falter down black cobwebed steps beneath the scattered stones of forgotten cities in Asia. The haunted wood and the desolate mountain are their shrines, and they linger around the sinister monoliths on uninhabited islands. But the true epicure in the terrible, to whom a new thrill of unutterable ghastliness is the chief end and justification of existence, esteems most of all the ancient, lonely farmhouses of backwoods New England; for there the dark elements of strength, solitude, grotesqueness and ignorance combine to form the perfection of the hideous

- The Picture in the House, H. P. Lovecraft

Wilmarth Family

The Wilmarth family of Arkham Massachusetts traces its roots back to before the Revolutionary War in Eastern Massachusetts. It's most famous recent member, however, is Albert Wilmarth (1892-1975) a folklorist, professor of English at Miskatonic University, and the first of the family to live in Arkham. He had a long career at Misk U and ended up as Department Chair, despite his outlandish reputation. He married Cassandra Mirasse (?-1942) in June of 1936 and the two had three sons together: Richard, David, and Jonathan. Cassandra died in a terrible boating accident on Chebacco Lake during a storm in September 1942. Her body was never recovered.

The Wilmarth Branch

Though they have had many surnames and branchings, the part of the family who remained in Massachusetts cannot help but be intimately tied to their ancestor Albert Wilmarth and his famous legacy in Arkham. The leadership of this part of the family has unofficially belonged to Silas Wilmarth since Albert Wilmarth's death in 1975, though Silas Wilmarth's recent death has passed the mantle again to Henry Wilmarth, Silas' nephew.

  • Richard (1937-1962): The couple's eldest son followed his father into academics and became a biologist working for the government in eastern Massachusetts, southern Maine, and southeastern Vermont. He never married and became somewhat of a recluse with his work in his later years, exchanging letters only with his father and taking long trips into the wilderness even aside from his work as a field biologist. He died during a home invasion in his home in Arkham, leaving his father bereaved.

The Farnsworth Branch

Before meeting his wife, Albert Wilmarth had a dalliance with a young Deliah Farnsworth, leading to a branch of the family estranged from the Arkham Wilmarths until Henry Jones contacted Silas Wilmarth in 1999.

  • Deliah Farnsworth (1910-1980): A young student at Miskatonic University, Deliah fell in love with her professor and the two conceived a child. By the time Samantha Farnsworth was born, however, they were not on speaking terms and it is unclear whether Albert Wilmarth ever knew about the child.
  • Samantha Farnsworth (1932-2009): Known as "Sammy" to friends and family,

The Brooks Branch

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Arkham, MA

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