Friday Game Notes: Goliard Town of Bouclans

 

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Bouclans is a small walled town built at the edge of a small lake. Two gates protect it from an overshadowing hill, the houses cascading into the hollow of its tall towered walls. A large church towers over the smaller buildings its chapel facing out into the water.

The town has little interesting trade, making and exporting barrels as part of the cooper guild, the oak barrels either getting filled with fish from the lake or shipped empty to nearby breweries. The cooper’s guild keeps a wealthy guild house by the small docks where they sample some of the oldest ale vintages from their favourite breweries.

The church is famous for housing the body and treasure of Sir Goliath, a supposed giant who sacked an entire heretic city in the crusades himself. His body, still in his personally made iron armour lies in a hidden crypt far underground. Myth says that he was buried with three chests of gold, all that remained of his plunder after indulging in every tavern on the way home.

The town, being built on a lake, has many passages under the town to let streams flow off the hill under the streets. These are just big enough to get small row boats underneath and smugglers until recently used to use them to smuggle whisky across the lake. Bouclans being perfect because if they were caught they could pour out the ale and claim to be selling empting casks from the Cooper Guild.

The walls circle the entire town, including most of the water side, but small passages have been made to allow fishermen out to their boats on the lake. The lake mostly serves up eel which the locals eat with abandon but most neighbouring towns disdain.

There is no Ordo Vagus already here. The bishop of the church is notoriously fickle and uncaring while the smugglers who sometimes use the tunnels are unkind to thieves. Occasionally vagus will come to try their hand at finding Sir Goliath but most give up in sheer frustration.


Gate House

Architecture

Bouclan is surprisingly well defended though it has never been attacked. Two gate houses mark the bottom and top of a tall hill that separates the lake side town from the rest of the world.

Free – The walls are easily climbable and there are probably passages to let fishermen in and out.

Easy (2)  rolls to climb wall or find a secret passage.

Guards

The soldiers in the gate houses are paid for by the king and therefore are more rigorous than if they were local men. This is perhaps to stop the smugglers that used to use Bouclans as a hideout.

Day

Guards in both towers make sure to keep track of the wagons going in and out of the city and inquire after each strange traveller entering the town.

Night

At night the gates are shut. Guards patrol the walls and man the towers but the heavy wooden gates are kept shut.

Militaria – The soldiers in the gate houses don’t look like they ever relax and their insignia show them to be king’s men. They are probably more rigorous than local men.

Lore of Thievery – Bouclans used to be a well known smugglers hideout for getting whiskey barrels around royal tax collectors. Perhaps that’s why foreign men man the gates.

Commerce – It looks like only wagons are being stopped and searched, peasants and travellers on foot are free to pass.

Hard (6) rolls to bluff or sneak past the guards without suspicion.


Coopers Guild

Info Gathering

Tavern

Whispers in all the pubs about town all confirm it, the guild is not doing well ever since the Guild Master got in an argument with the owner of the closest brewery. Supposedly he agreed to marry the owner’s daughter but then went back on the deal when he saw her for the first time. No one really blames him but he’s kept the dowry.

Now that the brewery wont buy Bouclans barrels other coopers are undercutting them from elsewhere but the Guild Master refuses to give any of the dowry back, a large sum in gold and a precious cask of whisky, and he wont sell to any of the fishermen whose eels could fill the growing surplus of barrels.

Commerce/Accounting – Many wagons are leaving Bouclans only partially full and most heading along routes to distant towns. There are a lot of richer places they could be selling to.

History/Research – Bouclans is famous for its well crafted barrels which it would sell to breweries all around the country. Famously Bouclans is the only town where they made more money moving empty barrels than full ones. There once was a lot of money in the business.

High Society – The rich in the city, especially the guild members are getting more and more angry as their market fails. They think they could sell off the huge amount of surplus barrels to the fishermen if the Guild Master would let them.

Fanny Boisselot – Disdained Bride to Be

Stays day and night in a house across the street from the Guild House.

After being left at the altar by Manuel Fanny was not put off, rather stubborn she made her father’s servant hire her a house near the Guild House and now she is camped out waiting to get another chance to marry the Guild Master. She is very business minded after working with her father at the brewery and already has plenty of ideas on how to save the failing Cooper Guild.

Negotiation – Fanny will be happy to leave well enough alone if Manuel gives up the dowry or agrees to marry her. She thinks she can work out something with her father once she’s in charge of the guild. She’ll trade the famous cask of whiskey with any noble person who manages to get Manuel agree.

Omer – the Villainous Paymaster

During the day in the Paymasters office keeping accounts and handing out cash to coopers or wagon drivers. During the night he sneaks out to a gambling den near the Guild House. He sneaks back early at night.

In charge of the Guild’s accounts and paying merchants is Omer, a small dark haired man. Omer likes sticking his long sharp nose in every business he can. Largely in debt to the local gambling den he steels cash from the Guild Coffers correcting the accounts the next day.

Accounts – The account books in the guild are carefully changed to hide a small amount being stolen every couple of weeks.

Streetwise – a gambling den meets every week near the Guild House and a short cloaked man is seen sneaking inside every night. He seems to lose every game.

Intimidation – Omer is an easily dominated man. He will happily give up his keys to the coffers or the Guild House if pressed.

Exterior

The building is a large wooden three story building, filled with meeting rooms, dining rooms, and bed rooms for guests. There is a small private chapel as well. A well stocked stable houses horses and wagons connected to a wagon yard at the back to load barrels for sale.

The area around the guild house are the cooper workshops and homes. Interspersed with these are hoopers shops where blacksmiths pound out hoops for the barrels.

Architecture – The ground floors of the Guild House are filled with a dining room and large kitchen. Below must be a cellar where they keep the drink their barrels are famously filled with. Upstairs are guest rooms and probably the Guild Master’s private quarters.

  • 1 point spend: The second story flares out from the base of the building but the stables lean against the back and the loading crane make easy ways to sneak into the upper two stories of the building. Of course the neighbouring workshops and houses all overlook the Guild House.

Common Touch – The loading yard at the back is constantly filled with wagons loading up newly made wagons even with decreased business. A lot of strangers go in and out to the paymasters office.

  • 2 point spend: One of the smugglers tunnels goes directly underneath the building and there is a secret trapdoor into the kitchen.

Normal (4) rolls  to climb up to the upper stories.

Easy (2) rolls to sneak amidst the wagon drivers without suspicion.

  • But any suspicious action will alert people to a strangers presence.

Guards

Lightly armed men hired from the pool of waiting wagon drivers. They are ordered around by Mathis Polvo, a seasoned hand and soldier.

Mathis Polvo – Guard and Horsemaster

During the day wrangles the wagon drivers and their horses. At night camps out in the dining room trying to catch Omer stealing money.

The organizer of the guards and horses around the guild house Mathis is a hardened ex-soldier who fought with Manuel’s father in the crusades.

He even remembers seeing Sir Goliath collapse in the streets when he was a child. He suspects it was one of the town whores who had enough who poisoned the giant in the end.

Day

During the day the guards work as wagon drivers. Mathis Polvo works with the horses in the yard during the day.

Night

Three guards patrol around the outside of the building. Two more sleep next to the door of the Young Master’s room upstairs.

Mathis Polvo sleeps next to his sword in the dining room.

Militaria – At least five guards patrol the guild house at night. During the day there are a lot of armed men in the yard to guard the wagons as well.

  • The guards are clearly inexperienced. If in a group they may be dangerous.
  • 2 point spend: Three of the guards guard the bottom of the Guild House, the other two must patrol the upper floors.

Camaraderie – Money has been going missing so Mathis has had to hire more guards and with the Young Master keeping so much money upstairs he’s had to put guards up there as well.

  • 1 point spend: He thinks Omer is robbing the Guild for everything he can but he can’t prove it. He thinks Omer takes the money at night and so stays in the guild at night trying to catch him red handed.

Normal (4) rolls to sneak past the guards around or inside the guard house.

Near Impossible (7) rolls to sneak past Mathis Polvo.

Interior

The kitchen, stables, and Paymaster’s office both open onto the loading court. A locked door in the Paymaster’s office hides the coffers of the Guild House. The doors of the Guild House are locked up at night while three guards patrol outside. A stable boy tends the horses in the stables. Bruno, Manuel and Roselyne all have rooms inside. Mathis has been sleeping in the Guild House dining room hoping to catch Omer red handed.

Bruno – Cook

During the day working in the kitchen and serving the Guild Members in the dinning room. At night sleeping on a cot in the storage room.

A polite but quiet man Bruno enjoys cooking for the guild but he preferred it when they did a better business with the breweries. He enjoys talking to other people who enjoy good food and happily shares food with the wagon drivers and guards who come through the yard. He keeps the key to the cellars.

Flattery – Complementing his food will get Bruno to open up about his young employer. He thinks Manuel is just nervous about getting married, Bruno goes and brings Manuel food, the only time Manuel unlocks his doors. He knows the money and the cask are all still up there untouched.

Guild Members – The Coopers

During the day they feast in the house during the evening. During the night they sleep at their houses.

The coopers in town are well to do but are quickly becoming annoyed with the surplus of barrels not being sold by the guild. At least five turn up each night to eat dinner and discuss what is to be done but without Manuel’s seal they can’t do anything.

Performance – The guild members could do with a break from worrying and will happily pay some performers to entertain them with song and dance in the Guild House.

Roselyne Auguste – The Guild Master’s Sister

Stays the night in the Guild House, but during the day does business around town.

Roselyne is the sensible one, canny and straightforward she knows how to run a business and just wishes her brother would understand. She thinks he’s being childish that he wont marry Fanny Boisselot. She knows Fanny worked quite closely in her father’s business and should be an excellent spouse to help her brother run the Guild. The only thing she wants to do is move away from all of these eels and have an adventure somewhere else.

Flirting – Roselyne is very keen to get away from Bouclans and its many eels. If she can just get her brother to stop sulking and marry Fanny she can leave.

Reassurance – If someone can promise to get Manuel to marry Fanny she will happily let people inside as guests to talk to him. Of course she can’t promise he’ll come out of his room.

Normal (4) rolls to engage with any of the people who live in the Guild House.

Guild Master’s Room

The Guild Master’s room is on the third floor and Manuel keeps the door locked. He has the dowry in a chest as well as the small and ancient cask of whisky. He keeps his keys in his pocket and his seal in his desk. He keeps the windows locked most the day and only opens it to dispose of his chamber pot.

Manuel Auguste – The Guild Master

Locked up in the tower all the time.

The Guild Master has locked himself up in the Guild House sulking after his ruined betrothal. He is quite young, only twenty three and wishes his father had bothered to make his will out to his business minded sister. However he had been looking forward to getting married but chickened out at the last minute. After the scolding of a lifetime from his sister he’s locked himself away and refuses to sign any of the forms she brings him.

High Society 1 point spend – The Guild Master has locked himself in the Guild House ever since that silly marriage thing. Everyone knew that the owner’s daughter was a troll he should have accepted it.

Common Touch/Carouse – According to many of the fisher men and carousers in the pubs the Guild Master was to marry the daughter of one of the breweries in Marchenoir but refused her even after taking her dowry, a precious cask of ale and a heap of gold besides! They say he has it all in the guild house and refuses to let anyone near it.

Bullshit Detector – While rumours are spreading that Manuel refused to marry Fanny because of her looks in reality Manuel never even saw the poor girl and never showed up to the chapel.

Hard (6) rolls to sneak into the room without Manuel noticing.

Targets

Fanny’s Dowry

A small chest of gold and gems and a cask of expensive ale.

Guild Coffers

A large store of gold.


Church

Architecture

A large and towering church with a large and towering bishop.  The largest building in town it’s wide doors open onto the central square better sculpted even than the Mayor’s House diagonal to it.

The Church was built by the Freemasons ten years ago. It follows the standard design of most catholic churches but the masons carefully constructed the windows at irregular angles to create a crisscrossed space of light and shadow.

The altar is fairly bare, missing a normal cloth covering and topped by a large iron cross. The only valuables are the silver candlesticks.

The iron cross is actually Sir Goliath’s sword re-forged after his death. The Freemasons set the sword as part of a lever and if twisted the niche where the epitaph is carved opens to reveal a narrow stair case downwards into Sir Goliath’s tomb.

Notice – In the late evening the light perfectly light up a small alcove at the back of the altar. In the hollow a stone is slightly offset with a carved epitaph:

Slayer of men in battle,

But held up by many men,

He turned from battle,

To hold up Christ himself.

Research – Sir Goliath was a giant knight famous for sacking an entire town on his own. He supposedly killed three hundred infidels himself with his giant bastard sword. When he returned he used his massive wealth to keep himself in ale and whores across Europe until he arrived in Bouclans where he settled down. One day he fell dead in the street and was buried in the church. Supposedly the last three chests of treasure were buried with him.

  • Document Restoration – A mostly destroyed finance account mentions that after Sir Goliath’s death his sword was melted down by a blacksmith and sold to the church.

Occult Studies – The Freemasons built the building, famous for secret passages and occultism they almost always left secret marks for other members to find.

  • 1 point spend: One such mark is the poem meant as a riddle, the answer usually would refer to some other part of the building which would be the entrance upon pushing on a nearby secret button.

No rolls  needed to talk or sneak past the priests.

Inhabitants

Bishop Cyril

Bishop Cyril is immovable, worthy of sainthood being so stubborn it almost accounts for a miracle. He refuses entrance to any beggar or clerk who comes to his door. When he gives sermons he reads flatly from the Bible without a single shift in tone. He is yet to wonder why attendance drops. The Bishop Cyril runs a tight ship over his  own priests and would never allow them to live like the Ordo clerks.

Bishop Cyril tries to supress the stories of Sir Goliath but many of the towns people are proud of the gigantic city icon. To make maters worse a monk living at the church has vanished and the people say he found the secret entrance to Sir Goliath’s tomb and was killed by the traps inside.

He tells people that the missing Priest ran off and that he is too busy with his duties to God to worry about it. However the Bishop knows well where the brother is hidden. Wanting to swell trade during the cooper’s crisis he began to ask smugglers to work in the town. However now that the King’s Guard have moved in he is being threatened and is paying them their lost profits.

Bullshit Detector – The good Bishop is austere, but perhaps not so good. He certainly is hiding something.

Surveillance – The Bishop leaves lights on in his house at night. However careful observation notices no movement within.

Hard (6) rolls to trick the Bishop.

Priest Durand

A more kind hearted clergy man but constantly in tears, Priest Durand is worried about his friend Priest Périer who has been missing for a week. He knows that Priest Périer was obsessed with finding Sir Goliath’s tomb so he suspects that the towns people may be right. However after a traumatic attempt at begging Bishop Cyril to help him search Durand has forgotten anything Périer told him.

Interrogation – Durand just needs a firm questioning to remind him to think clearly. Once he’s shaken off his tears he remembers that Périer told him there was a strange cubby at the back of the altar. He said there was a strange saying carved above it that he thinks was about Sir Goliath.

No rolls to talk to Priest Durand.

The Tomb

The stairs from the church descend to a hinged stone door into a small vaulted chamber. Once a whole chamber, walls on either side have been knocked away to connect it to the Smuggler’s Tunnels. Trash and rubble cover the floor where the walls were destroyed. No further tomb is obvious.

Father Périer managed to get this far but had the misfortune to be kidnapped by the smugglers who are hiding out inside the tunnels.

Notice – Scuff marks show a struggle happened above the shaft. A pry bar and some rope are lying in the corner.

 Antiquary – A close examination of the floor reveals that one corner of the room has rougher flagons than the others, perhaps they were laid later by less experienced masons.

Underneath the stone is a shaft down into a water filled passage way. There are small footholds where stones have come loose over the years. Marks on the walls makes it obvious that the water has raised during heavier rains flooding the passages below.

As befitting a tomb there are two traps inside the passage. Built under the water line of the lake the flow of water from a stream above works against grave robbers. First of all there are two stone locked doors featureless on the inside easy to unlock from the outside but not the inside. Both open inwards forming an small section. Once inside the water pushes the door shut locking the thief inside.

Infiltration will easily get the doors open and Athletics or a good stone block will prevent the door from opening. Sense Trouble will tip them off that something is wrong. A permanent wedge is needed to keep one open while they figure out how to get the other one open. It can be smashed with a ram or chiselled open.

The final trap is a door. The door is completely flush with the ceiling and sticks as it swings open. Once opened a flat stone falls letting the stream above into the chamber hopefully drowning anyone inside.

Behind the final door is Sir Goliath’s resting place. A large stone casket holds his bones and shield emblazoned with a picture of a white giant on a green field covered by a massive sword. Three iron chests are set high up in alcoves on the back wall. All three are badly rusted from the wet air and practically come apart as they are lowered down.

The contents are:

  1. A waterproof leather package containing an original Liber Abaci.
  2. A set of lead soldier figurines with the inscription on the biggest one “For my son”
  3. The third one has three gold coins in it and an iron cross.

Of course the gold was really melted down into the cross and covered in iron.

Normal (4) rolls to notice or avoid traps before water starts flowing.

Nearly Impossible (7) rolls to reopen or avoid traps once the water starts flowing.

Target

Sir Golaith’s Treasure

An original Liber Abaci, a lead soldier “for my son” and three gold coins.

Cross of Sir Golaith

The iron cross of the church is in fact mostly gold. If the thieves can figure out how to steal it…


Smuggler’s Tunnels

Underneath Bouclans are small arched channels for the streams to flow out into the lake. Not long ago these were used by a gang of smugglers using it to get whiskey barrels across the lake and past tax collectors. Now however the king’s guard have come to town to try to stop the smuggling and the criminals are laying low.

Secret trap doors open into several houses, including the Mayor’s and the Guild House. A camp of king’s guards are staying in the Sultan’s Head and are making inquiries but no one has opened up to them.

Law – The King’s Guard are allowed to search buildings when they want. Clearly their presence has been doing enough to stop the smugglers since they haven’t bothered to do more than ask around.

Easy (2) rolls to find and enter the tunnels.

Bishop’s House

If the king’s guard explored the tunnels extensively they would find a hidden entrance into the Bishop’s House. It happens the Bishop was quite keen on extra business in town and helped the smugglers himself. He has told the criminals that he will try to get rid of the guard and meanwhile the thugs are extorting him paying for all their lost profits. They threaten that they’ll tell the guards that he’s involved if they get arrested.

Each night the Bishop buys food as the market closes and takes it through the tunnels to the hideout. He can be followed with Surveillance.

Hard (6) rolls to sneak into the house.

Hidden Boats

A small hidden dock underneath the town wall is only accessible from the tunnels or by a low boat. Five small sleek sailing boats are kept, masts lashed down, wait to ferry casks of whisky across the lake. Three smuggler guards are kept here on shifts to make sure no one steals the boats.

Streetwise – Fishermen use a secret gate in the wall to get out to the other side of the wall.

Camaraderie – The fishermen know that smuggler boats sometimes slip from under the town. They do so pretty rarely now that the King’s Guard are on look out for them.

  • 1 point spend – There is some smuggling going on outside the town ever since Coubron was locked down.

Hard (6) rolls to sneak past the smugglers.

Hideout

Far in the tunnels beyond the broken into tomb is a chamber, once a cellar, now being used as the smuggler’s hideout. A staircase climbs up into a house right at the edge of the city walls where the smugglers sleep and keep the casks of ale that would have been brought into town by wagon. Nine thugs are staying inside. They also have Father Périer tied up since they figure he’ll tell on them. His weeping and screams they’ve stifled with a rag in his mouth.

Inside the house is the trussed Father Périer and a chest filled with gold stolen from the Mayor.

Streetwise/Commerce – A house up against the wall seems to have no one go in or out even though lights burn inside at night.

Taunt – Anyone being annoying enough outside the house will be received by two large men. They’ll come out with clubs and try to scare the offending party off but will not stoop to kidnapping them off the street if necessary.

Hard (6) rolls to sneak past or trick the smugglers.

Target

Smuggler’s Ransom

A chest of gold extorted from the Mayor. He’ll be happy to see it again…

Father Périer’s Return

The reward money for saving the good Father from the smugglers.

Saturday Session Prep: Flames Engulf 21

Saturday Session Prep are notes directly from my game sessions. They are completely unedited, sloppy, and unorganized, enjoy! They include both before and after session notes. 

SESSION 21

Leslie wrote note to Father – sent communicator – and mentioned that they would come see him soon

Got passports for them and recommendations for universities in Europe

Benoit wrote letters to his children and Diana to be sent if he dies

Ben has letters locked in his desk and has copy on person

Sam wrote will, and sent letters to family and aunts if he dies

Malcolm has written notes to Papa and Liam

 

NEW RULE: PLAYERS MAY NOT SPEAK TO EACH OTHER AND MAY ONLY SPEAK TO THE KEEPER.

  1. They can’t make noise with their mouths at all.
  2. Magic doesn’t work. It simply seems to have stopped existing. (Later they will find out that magic read straight out of books does work but no where else)
  3. Any written notes are passed to the Keeper and then given to recipient.
  4. Any time a player does talk to other PCs or NPCs they lose 1D10 sanity. This simulates the frustration of the complete inability to communicate.

No sound?

All passed notecards are handed to GM and switched for a random card (collected over the entire campaign) and given to the recipient.


Well well well. Not to gloat, but they completed the spell. You know what that means?

Apocalypse

Nyarlathotep, agreeing to leave makes one final quip: “If you need me back there is a nice spell to summon me in those Archives of yours!”

He vanishes in a melodramatic cloud of black smoke.

Setting:

It is the dark of the moon around midnight and it was a black out before the spell went into effect. Now the city is pitch black while everyone goes crazy.

Spell Site

Lavinia and Mitsuko panicked ran off. Mitsuko, unable to speak in panic killed Lavinia by strangulation and slamming her head against a head stone. Maddened with fear she rips strips of flesh from Lavinia’s face.

She will flee from the site of other humans. If cornered she will attack trying to strangle them.

From the top of the hill the town can be seen below, the lights are going off in many places and against the dark sky some smoke can be seen.

As you struggle to make sound issue from your lips, as you look around at complete strangers you’ve known well for the past five years and complete silence falls on the world around you your mind races through the possibilities. A wave of cold dread floods your body making you shiver uncontrollably. You realize all too quickly what has happened. Just like matter and energy, that thing that just left is us. The communication, the thoughts, interaction, literature, speech, sound, the senses, they are it. It has done you a kindness by leaving you your minds, for it is that too, and it could have taken that as well. Or… perhaps it wasn’t so kind after all.\


Zone 1 Encounters

Shell shocked people in a huge crowd walking in a group while Trevor (now just a crazy old man) tries to rob them and runs through them.

  • A chase scene
  • More horror as Trevor can’t communicate
  1. Bottom of the hill – smoke can be seen from the hospital (goal)
  2. Smoke is also coming from the university. (goal)
  3. People are walking around in the street. (mystery – obvious assumption – zombies)
    1. People are dazed and don’t respond to anything
  4. Someone is weaving through the crowd (mystery – Sam recognizes Trevor – goal)
  5. Trevor runs away (challenge)
    1. Pushes shell shocked people in the way
    2. Abandoned car is in the way
    3. Larger crowd of people to weave through
    4. Climbs over fence
  6. Trevor can’t speak and is terrified of people.

Shell Shocked: Camellia Addison, Mona O’Hare, Marilyn O’Hare

Looter: Trevor

The Hospital

Three aunts and a collection of eyes from the hospital – Truly Mad

  1. The front doors have been smashed open from the inside by a stampede of people, corpses lie trampled and bloody glass lies everywhere. Several people must have jumped from the higher windows. (horror)
  2. The doctors and nurses at the desks are missing their eyes. (mystery)
  3. Papa Warrell’s room is empty. (mystery)
  4. Patricia’s room is empty but there is a lot of blood on the floor and a drag mark out the door (mystery and horror)
  5. The aunts are wandering around collecting eyes. They act passive around people then inject them – a hard Con roll is needed to stay awake – a botch results in HP loss as well from whatever they injected them with. Once asleep they will remove the eyes and sew up the holes and any other wounds. Each round they have a 25% chance to do something new:
1 Wander off
2 Eat an eye ball before dancing on the spot
3 Pretending to heal the person like a doctor

The University

Papa Warrel has gone to University to have fun with his explosives

  1. A lot of smoke can be seen from the university (mystery)
  2. As they enter the quad there is an explosion from one of the buildings (danger)
  3. Papa Warrel is running around in the quad with a box of grenades (danger and goal)

Looters are attacking shops and trying to take whatever they can.

  1. Along an area with shops a burning car rolls into the street and crashes in front of the party/party’s car (danger)
  2. A half dozen men are looting the shops – they shoot at the party (danger)
  3. They attempt to steal the truck and kill anyone in their way (danger)

Looters: Harlow St. John, Liam Arriguccius

Truly Mad: Brid O’Hare

Orne Library beset by Ferals. Ferals roaming around.

  1. The doors and windows of the Orne Library are smashed up (mystery and goal)
  2. Ferals are running from inside the building with old looking books – they are the only thing so far that makes sounds (mystery)
  3. Ferals are running inside the building hunting anyone who enters (danger – horror)
  4. The Necronomicon inside the Orne has been picked up by one of the Ferals (goal  and danger)
  5. The feral attempts to escape from them (goal)
    1. Pushes over a book case to escape
    2. Other ferals attack
    3. Jumps over desks
    4. Smashes through window
  6. He has a ripped up Necronomicon – the spells in a lot of the books are readable and when spoken aloud still make sounds. They are completely random and generally summon things.

Ferals: Dr. Henry Armitage, Donald O’Hare, Aileen O’Hare, Philip Treval, Carol, Angelica Christie, Norm Ainsworth

Zone 2 Encounters

Chadwick, Bradwick, Chadley truly mad and making human pyramid.

  1. The ground shakes as they weave through a street packed with abandoned cars (mystery)
  2. A great silhouette rises above the streets (horror)
  3. The tower is a pile of humans all holding on to each other making a human like shape the head is made up of Chadwick Bradwick and Chadley. (horror)
  4. The thing takes a step – people at the base being squished as it goes (horror and danger)
  5. The thing tries to chase
    1. Crashed cars behind slow escape
    2. The creature falls apart as it follows
    3. It collapses into a horrific field of bodies

Houses

Haruto dragged his mother home

  1. The neighborhood around the PCs houses is filled with people dancing – they are not in sync with each other but do varieties of dancing from the ecstatic to the graceful ballet. They are close on the street and can’t be driven through without ploughing through them. If moved they will start dancing elsewhere (horror)
  2. An ambulance has been abandoned on Ben’s lawn (mystery)
  3. Blood can be seen on the porch and in the hall all the way up the stairs to one of the bed rooms (horror and mystery)
  4. Haruto is lying hugging his mothers body which is just barely still alive. The bandages have come loose and she has lost a lot of blood. She needs a blood transplant fast (horror – goal)
    1. There are a few tins of dried plasma and water in the ambulance
    2. All the necessary implements are also there – this counts as a hp to hp swap. She needs at least 5 hp of blood from someone to survive. If not done by one of her children there is a 30% chance she reacts badly to it.

Zone 3 Encounters

Cultist summons a bull like thing that kills plenty of shell shocked people.

  1. If the feral with the Necronomicon escaped from earlier the cultist here can be using the book
  2. Blood and bodies have been turned into totems and symbols along the walls of the houses up French Hill (mystery – horror)
    1. More and more shell shocked people are wandering around here as well
  3. At an intersection a man in a tattered suit Esmerelda Ocana is holding out an old book and is pulling out the guts of a man with his ribcage torn open in front of him (danger – horror)
  4. Esmerelda utters strange guttural sounds as she rips the guts out.
    1. In 1 round the body starts to shake and rise in the air.
    2. Black ooze seems to pop out of the body’s back and forms into a huge roughly bipedal creature the size of a rhino with the corpse as a head ridge.
    3. It gores Esmerelda and begins to charge through the crowds of shell shocked people

Shell shocked people: Elizabet Doulat, Bill Philips, Moreen, Sloane Foster

The Archive of Misery

Agatha/Diana/Channel happily comes out of her hideaway and begins wrecking havoc in the Lower South Side

The house is intact and not burning unlike much of the city. From the top of the hill Downtown can be seen burning.

Ferals: Fiona Salesman

Truly Mad: Lucy and Evana Salesman

Saturday Session Prep: Flames Engulf 20

Saturday Session Prep are notes directly from my game sessions. They are completely unedited, sloppy, and unorganized, enjoy! They include both before and after session notes. 

SESSION 20

Recap

  • Time spent in hospital
  • The many funerals
  • Law is gone overlooking many things
  • Water from reservoir is poisoned and people have to start using well or river water
  • People think the fires were caused by German bombing setting off plans to do blackouts at night across the East Coast
  • HOPE
    • Lavinia reveals that she thinks getting rid of Nyarly would help everyone stop suffering, all she wanted when she helped Silas
      • She asks Leslie what they think the ceremony will do and admits she hopes it will help people.
    • One of Sam’s aunt’s has had a dream about a Black Demon being defeated and wonderful things happening. Dead people coming back to their families, Sam getting to see his family again, being forgiven by his wife.
    • Malcolm is reminded of Mallady and Radcliffe’s interaction with Butwan Noire
    • Hestia goes to Benoit and apologizes for attacking him. She admits that Rastapopulus has vanished with all the church funds and that the church was a fake. She realizes she was brainwashed into believing it all. That they found a strange warren like hole in the back of the church with Rastapopulus’s white suit coat caught on the branches.

Prof. Rice Pays Vogel a Visit

(Note: I used Angry GM’s InterACTION! system here. The simple rundown is several objections have been thought out and if the player argues against them or comes up with other incentives a number is reduced until the conflict is resolved.)

  • Rice’s voices know about Vogel trying to stop the ceremony
  • Rice stabs Patricia and then uses the mind shot stone to send Ben into the brain space
  • In the Brain Space Ben meets the three lloigor who drove his wife mad, they force him to raise up and face Nyarlathotep so he can’t stop others from doing the ceremony.
  • He must talk his way out of the bargain in time to save his wife and himself. (Set actual Timer)

Challenge: Talking his way out of the bargain.

Objection: Wife is better off dead. -4

Talking to his wife who relives each horrible thing that has happened to her:

  1. Cave at Postumia and invasion of her brain. The way she alleviated her pain by painting but Ben kept on trying to stop her.
  2. Ben agreed to flute lessons and Agatha took over Patricia’s mind distorting it even worse.
  3. Her son going into a coma because of Ben. The death of her two eldest children.
  4. The taunting of Ben (homunculus) messing with her and driving her to paranoia.

Objection: Ben with perfect free will agreed to the deal multiple times. -4

Diana/Agatha/Channel sitting huge and monstrous inside a house/cave gloating about how she ensnared him.

  1. He so easily agreed to flute lessons
  2. When he had a chance to refuse service to Nyarlathotep in the library he didn’t.
  3. He took the flute from the hands of Nyarlathotep himself.
  4. He even handed the baby to Diana/Channel for a sacrifice.

Objection: Azathoth must be entertained and Ben has already volunteered. -4

He flies to and enters the homunculus’s body in space and sees Azathoth in the center of the universe and Nyarlathotep shows him what will happen if the Pipers do not entertain it.

  1. New horrible things will be formed.
  2. Azathoth will grow ever bigger and will consume everything.
  3. The universe will end leaving nothingness.

Objection: Why should Nyarlathotep care about him? -4

  1. Nyarly already has full control over AJ. He is part of everyone, that little voice in your head, always thinking ticking away processing.
  2. Humans couldn’t exist without Nyarly so why shouldn’t he control AJ too?

The Ceremony

  • Everyone (surviving) gathers to do the ceremony
  • Ink appears. Laughs, gloats, and happily departs.
  • BAD SHIT HAPPENS

 

NEW RULE

  • No one can communicate to anyone except the GM. No signing, writing, texting, etc.

Friday Game Notes 20: The Book of Excruciating Knowledge

Friday Game Notes are a weekly post of the random and essentially unedited setting and character notes I wrote before the game. This was written for my home group and was never meant to be seen online. BE WARNED!

Hello, my name is Ink and I am the spirit of an ancient dead sorcerer and I am writing this book that you hold in your hands, or at least are looking at. I’m am writing it through the hands of Leslie Middleton, another sorcerer of some power whom I inhabit. The topics I shall write down are the true nature of the universe in as close as a way as you can understand as I am able to put down, almost as I explained it to Leslie.

First I shall give a short and modest account of myself. I am, or really was (I was annihilated for what I knew and perhaps impiously commented on) a massively powerful entity that humans would describe as a sorcerer. Whether I was a human or not is rather immaterial at this point, since my consciousness soon eclipsed the potential for my possibly human brain. All you need to know is that I was around in Hyperborea, I even knew Ibon before his heyday and before the inquisition chased him off to Saturn. Later I kept my head low until after the Hyborian Age. The ancient cults began springing back up in the wake of that mess, so I scuttled back out and joined up with some of them. But I got zapped a little bit later and got all tangled up with some scrolls and then buried in a lead box. Rather inconvenient. But eventually I got dug up and I showed a young man some interesting spells.

Then Leslie & co. found me and I hopped to Leslie for a bit of change of scenery.


Azathoth Explodes

You know, that theory about an egg of all matter and energy exploding into the universe you guys have is pretty close. Though so are pretty much every myth cycle starting “first there was nothing and then there was something.” You guys have the gist. First there was nothing, then there was Azathoth. He/it/whatever is sort of like… a big ball of nuclear explosions. Some books say he is daemon sultan sitting on a massive throne in the center of all chaos. Imagine there suddenly is a giant explosion but that explosion keeps on exploding and Azathoth (not his real name btw) is at the center with all of these universes and dimensions folding and orbiting outwards from him. At the same time there was the Nameless Mist and Darkness. You know all that stuff you guys can’t find? Yeah, that’s them. Dark energy and dark matter respectively. But you can’t have anti-something without the something right? Though really it’s the other way round. So from Nameless Mist we get Yog-Sothoth and from Darkness we get Shub-Niggurath. (Sort of their real names, so much as things like them can have names. Also they don’t really have gender but I’m going to call YS a he and SN a she just to make the sexy parts later make more sense to you.)

Your mystical people, and even Ibon, who I guess got it all wrong when he was listening to Tsathoggua, seem to think that YS and SN are actual gods or something, but really they just are. Like I said Azathoth is the center of chaos, all the other stuff (but not the Nameless Mist and Darkness, you guys don’t need to worry about them)  is SN and all the overlaps between all the dimensions and layers and galaxies and things are YS. And when I say everything and all I mean it. SN is  all matter and YS is all energy and the gate and the key and the always etc. etc. bla bla bla.

Here comes the fun bit though, while YS is sort of chilling out being a hole in everything and SN is filling up everything with stuff well the two of them get chatting and out pops Nyarlathotep. (I’ll use “he” again, but again isn’t really applicable, honestly if it didn’t confuse you all so much I would just use “entity” or “constant” or something, but I guess personification does work alright) Nyarly, the old boy, is the stuff that SN and YS do to each other. It’s pretty gross at first but soon there’s more high brow stuff forming, like sounds. Nyarly really has to pull to get stuff into high culture and he just keeps trying the poor guy. He’s gotten it so there are some pretty intelligent life forms, and even you apes can put 2 and 2 together even if occasionally it doesn’t. You should really think about any consciousness as Nyarly, though again you guys like to make out he’s some special god.

So there we go, matter is Shub-Niggurath, energy is Yog-Sothoth and the interplay between them all is Nyarlathotep, all leading off from the stupid center of it all, Azathoth, hogger of all glory. Funny how you guys are scared of the dark, really you should be scared of the light, it’s Azathoth after all that keeps on making things brighter and he is far scarier than whatever would happen if he went away. He’s that trend towards everything getting more chaotic and simple. But in the process sometimes his bits rub together and we get more stuff. Imagine if that all went away and everything got all ordered, all long lines and piles each perfectly lined up. Perish the thought. It’s only because Azathoth is so horrible that you humans have gained that weird proclivity for organizing stuff. Like this book, all in chapters and words all linear down the page.


Stuff Actually Starts to Happen

So anyway, that’s how all matter and energy and thought were created. But YS and SN weren’t done. While bits of old Shub were everywhere most of her was trapped in one particular fold of Yog-Sothoth, his cosmic puncture wounds just weren’t large enough to let her fill everything at once. So she grew and grew and grew. You can’t really say it was all one entity. Like I said SN is all matter, so I guess you should just say it filled up, but she does have a sort of mindedness. How could so much stuff not have a mind. Maybe we should say there are tons of little Shub-Nigguraths who keep on making more and more Shub-Nigguraths, and more and more. And all of these start squishing together and that just gets them horny and they make more and more. You get the whole picture. Poor Nyarly is stuck being the contact between them all. It must have been a pretty humiliating process, what with him making music happen and all elsewhere. He’d been rigging up flute players around Azathoth to get the old mad guy at the right rhythm so he would stop making things like SN and YS again when old Shub fills up every part of her dimension.

It’s still there, all squishy with lots of eyes and teeth and other things not at all like eyes or teeth. If you ever feel a wave of dread wash over you, you probably have just walked through SN in a dimensional point close to her. Or maybe not, there are a lot of reasons to feel waves of dread. Maybe a goose walked over your grave in the future. Speaking of which, oops. I guess I’ve made this sound all linear. Don’t forget that isn’t super true all the time (ha). Imagine that Azathoth’s existence is one of those approaching infinity things except not really at all. Think about a mobius strip but worse and then melt it into a single point and feed it to a dog. That’s what time is like for Azathoth and family. (I’m a distant cousin 100,000 times removed)

With SN all filling up a whole dimension (which is super hard to do btw) everything becomes quite a bother. Traveling through hyperspace gets a bit dodgy. You’re ripping past the local groaning polyhedron arabesque and find yourself in amongst SN and when that happens you’ve just put a little bit more stuff where there already is infinite stuff. It makes every thing stretch a bit. That’s why Yog-Sothoth has holes in him. Every time that happens a little bit of true SN leaks out, and that can be bad for whoever finds it in their backyard. Have you heard of the things Druids were supposed to ride? There was only one real one and it made more. Luckily Cthulhu (he’s a cousin, I’ll explain later) squished it.

So SN and YS are dependent on each other. SN can’t survive without YS letting bits of her out and YS can’t be the stuff between everything if there is no stuff and that stuff is SN. And bits of one shoots through the other and eventually we get Nug and Yeb. Nug and Yeb are just names, (not that you guys care, just stick an altar down and you’ll worship anything) they’re just names for all the physical stuff that exists, the stuff in atoms basically. Nyarly feeds a bit of stuff into some of it so that everyone has something to watch on the tely and bang we have existence.


Shub-Niggurath Fills All Space

But filling up her own space isn’t the only thing Shub-Niggurath does. She likes to fill other people’s space too, forgive the obvious joke. (She is a fertility goddess in a lot of cultures) But she can’t do it completely alone, ever since she first began spurting matter everywhere life has begun to go hay wire. Like on Earth the protoplasmic sludge of existence. Well actually that only happened when the Elder Things created Ubbo-Sathla on Earth and she created shoggoths there and that was the sludge. There were a couple of people hanging out on Terra for a while before that. Anyway after life had gotten away from SN on its own. (So remember that all matter is SN anyway, this is why it’s really confusing, just think about the SN in the filled dimension as one SN and all other matter as new SNs.) For SN to spawn more of herself out of her filled space she needs new stuff. When you have filled infinite space you’ve created all possible outcomes of yourself in that space. So if you can give SN some new stuff she can create a new iteration and can spit out some of her old stuff in its place. That’s what Ibon named Dark Young. Or what Blake thought might be shoggoths. They are pretty much the same thing, but like I said they’re a bit different. The ones that come from her dimension have had an infinity getting squished, so they’re a little nuts and pretty simple.

Most of SN’s worship on any planet or plane or in any dimension is just a way to give her more new stuff. She’s like the most materialistic being in existence except the matter is alive and conscious. Think about all of the DNA you give her every time you spill some blood, each strand is a new pattern for her to weave in herself. Maybe she’s hoping to find just the right combination to turn herself back the other way. For all the hard work people do to help her, she doesn’t really do anything back. You might get a nifty servant from whatever she “spawns” off at the time, but your just as likely to get horribly consumed by a slobbering Yaght or whatever other random thing comes out of there. So really most Black Goat With a Thousand Young  worshippers get the short end of the stick, all pain and no gain.

Old Shuby can push into other dimensions when she needs to. In yours she often appears as a black fog typically near goats of some kind, giving her the nickname. Sometimes she’ll make deals, I think she likes to pretend to care. She’ll promise people children or will protect them herself. Some of the oldest cults deal with her one way or another. All fertility goddesses come from her, and Pan as well. Though Dionysos was Yog-Sothoth’s brat.

Her children don’t really live that long. They are horrible masses of vaginas and dicks and teeth. Multiply that image by three and make all of those things gnash. These things are bad. Often they are just mistaken for Shub-Niggurath in person. These children give off smaller children. These are a little more predictable and usually look like a tree. No one really knows why they do. Her main children and these other dark young are pretty versatile and good at getting new DNA for their mum too. Dark young, which despite their tree forms are often confused for shoggoths, suck the genes out of the people who have the misfortune to get caught. Usually the other children have too much of themselves stuck in other dimensions to do their own catching, so instead they let sex starved kids and cultists bring them sacrifices.


Yog-Sothoth Gate and Key and Massive Bore

Nothing could work without Yog-Sothoth being the energy and the fabric of space and time and other dimensions you don’t need to hurt your head about. But if you imagine all that stuff coming off of Azathoth and sort of forming big folds and overlaps Yog-Sothoth is both those things and the overlaps, gate and key as the Arab wrote. (I knew him too, he tried to read me, and boy was he surprised by what happened.) Some of the Greeks had a crazy notion that the only provable thing was existence and so everything was one big immovable existing thing. They would be right if it weren’t for Yog-Sothoth. Yog-Sothoth is the ability to move for any spot to any other spot. And I do mean any. If you figure out how to get to a hyperspace you have traveled through him.

Most of the time Yog-Sothoth is happy to hang out, but his massive power does mean he gets yanked around a lot by jerks. Really it’s all Nyarlathotep’s fault. The big N. went and told people about Yog-Sothoth and how he could make time travel happen and other powers too, immortality, bringing back the dead, second and third chances at your failure of a life. A whole race took him up on it and decided to express mail their entire species of minds. Took over another planet and another and another. Stuff like that isn’t that healthy and it generated its own problems later on. Luckily because he is the lines and folds between all dimensions YS isn’t in any of them. So when people call on him it can strain everything a lot.

You know how a lot of people say there are holes in time and space and stuff, well they’re right, this is where YS has pushed closer to an actual physical dimension. These are the times when people can see YS properly. YS doesn’t really have a consciousness  as such, not like SN. It’s only when he’s popping into to check on people that he can be said to have any mind. He also can be seen in people’s unconscious a lot. Typically people can’t help but be aware of him being there. If they notice him they often will start obsessing. More than one so called wizard has let themselves be sucked into him and spat back out the other side.

Depending on where someone sees YS he will look a couple of different ways. If you see him in your dreams he might look like a man standing behind a veil. (The veil is to keep you safe, ignore the man behind the veil.) If he’s in physical space his dimensionality is perceived as a reflection of however many dimensions you can see at once. In your 3D space he looks like a whole bunch of soap bubbles. I guess I should explain how this sort of stuff works. I can’t really give you the true run down, honestly you just wouldn’t be able to take it. So Azathoth is the center point, Yog-Sothoth is a whole bunch of lines shooting off into space and time. Some of you humans like explaining dimensions with right angles. You take a point add some lines add a right angle and get a square, add more right angles and get a cube. By then you’ve run out places to put right angles, so you guys stick some right angles in there anyway and get a hyper cube, etc. etc. The easiest way to think of layered dimensions is more like color tints in an ascending order. If like me you’ve learned to actually use all of your senses you can flick through the tints adding a dimension at a time. Another good example is what would happen if an apple moved through a two dimensional space. First a point is visible that grows to a line and then shrinks again. In higher dimensions, lets say tinted red you can see a larger slice. If you flipped quickly from a lower dimension to a higher dimension you would see some beings that appear as a small bird here but gets bigger and bigger and bigger until it’s a tentacle covered monstrosity. Looks kind of like a cone.

This makes Shub-Niggurath even scarier if you think about it. She is all matter (including you) so when you start looking in higher and higher dimensions the connection to her gets more and more visible, everything starts looking like it has strands stretching off into space which eventually gets thicker and thicker and thicker until we see her wholeness. If you ever have the misfortune to visit the higher dimension which SN has filled you would be able to find the portion that is your mother in lower dimensions. That’s why it’s so bad to add more stuff to her.

You probably shouldn’t think about YS as a person or god or anything, just use his name to describe the stuff between. That between stuff is potent as anything that has been squished into an infinite small place. It tends to have a pretty bad effect on any normal matter it touches. That’s why YS made Nug and Yeb with SN and why some wizards have gotten YS to make babies with their wives. YS is a subtle one since he’s just always there. Every time anything else shows up YS is there a little bit, as the gate that they traveled through or the hole they ripped in the universe.

You can actually travel through YS if you want. If you think about how your three dimensioned space is made up of an infinite amounts of two dimension planes and how much quicker it is for you to move through those than something that was stuck at 2D. Well travelling through YS is like that, a lot quicker moving through space and time than you can do under your own power. We can call this hyperspace for ease of use.

Of course hyperspace is pretty weird for lower dimensioned creatures like you so it can be pretty disorienting. Everything appears like an abyss of twilight color filled with sound. There isn’t really any of that grey infinite plane you guys always describe, instead it’s a sort of colored space filled with objects, organic and inorganic. You move through it, pushed and pulled and only partly under your own motivation. Your physical shape you don’t want to see. Like I explained how you might look at a higher dimension, now you’ve been projected into a sideways dimension.

A lot of other things are visible in hyperspace. This will be both objects and living entities. The objects will mostly appear as masses of shapes and crazy buildings. The living things are usually more abstract, like weird collages of other animals or art work. Your own perception has a lot to do with it. As stuff moves through hyperspace they appear and disappear, and you can pretty easily enter and exit if you know how to do it, what angles to use and such. But knowing where you will exit is usually the problem. You might end up on a planet with twice your normal gravity or you might end up squished into Sub-Niggurath.

What a lot of artists miss is the sound of hyperspace. It’s filled with the sound of Azathoth, all pounding rhythmically, in tune with Nyarly’s pipers. Shub-Niggurath hums along in her own dimension and over all it all sounds like a constant roaring. Don’t be in hyperspace close to important moments when Azathoth or someone else is especially close to it because you will be made deaf.

Entering Yog-Sothoth is can be done several different ways. If you know the angles closest to the angles of YS near you and can imitate the lines and curves there you can simply step through it. These can look like all sorts of things, an intersection of three lines one place, a complicated pentagram elsewhere. Stone towers are a useful place to make these since YS is often simplest the closer to the edge of a bubble you are.

Once you’ve learnt to get to Yog-Sothoth you can either enter him or use him yourself. You can learn a lot talking to hyperspace, whispers of other places and distant entities. Not to mention rocking out to the tunes of Azathoth and company.

Because of his usefulness a lot of more powerful wizards like to use YS and call on him. Unlike SN where most of his worshipers get the short end of the stick those who make use of YS telephone system tend to get more out of it than he does. Of course you have to be more willed than your average pest or you can be sucked into hyperspace and never return.

Ibon made use by traveling to Saturn to escape the inquisition, and quite a few people like to call him to rid places of harmful matter. This will eventually happen to Earth, wiping all the humans away. Since YS is made up of infinitely small infinitely big weird matter when he pokes through into other spaces things tend to disappear and go haywire. Recently he had a son with some degenerate people on Earth. These abominations soon collapsed in on themselves, but were close to ending humanity as you know it. Lucky for you all of that culture and writing that Nyarly instils in species let some lucky people know how to stop those abhorations.

YS having kids is actually pretty common and it happens a lot when you have young newly pregnant women around gates into hyperspace. Children in general are very susceptible to Yog-Sothoth’s radiation. Just getting close to our dimension causes his radiation to infect kids.


Nyarly brings the Culture

You may have notices that the entities so far are all pretty dumb. Yog-Sothoth abides and Shub-Niggurath just spits out babies constantly. Well, they aren’t entirely stupid, because when they bothered rubbing together communication was born. And communication is Nyarlathotep. Every thought, every word, ever time some sees some other creature move and processes it that is Nyarlathotep. He both invents sentience and is sentience. You humans seem to think you are the epitome of an intelligent creature. Really everything alive has some level of though, some level of this electron makes this electron move in a complex fashion.  But you can thank Nyarly for high culture and all the good novels you’ve read recently.

Nyarly is also pretty at fault for plenty of other stuff too. Frivolously letting things think can be pretty bad. SN and YS “think” in the sense that they just do what they do. But if it wasn’t for Nyarlathotep the living things SN throws up actually can’t do anything. At his base level Nyarly is the need for sex that SN’s brood started with. But Nyarly is by nature always bored and soon wanted more. His first deed was to take some of SN’s Young and stick a flute in their mouth. It keeps Azathoth busy to watch their music and dancing. That way Azathoth will keep this little merry explosion going and won’t make more YS or SN than we already have. Can you imagine what would happen if we had two dimensions filled with fleshy SN blobs? And then they met?

Then Nyarly set about giving his newly created “thinking” to other things, some of SN’s more independent dingle berries and soon we had species of creatures that weren’t always mutating as soon as they moved. Cthulhu and the star spawn formed, much later the Elder Things and the Mi-Go were born. Somewhere the original minds of the Yithians tried out time travel for the first time.

Time didn’t exist as a concept until Nyarly made things think. Turns out time doesn’t matter if you can’t die, but if you’re thinking time slowly runs out it turns out you get an awful sense of linearity.

Nyarly is pretty wide spread then. You could probably say he is the closest thing to a God this existence has. Ironically he is usually coterminous with whatever the culture’s concept of evil is. Ungrateful things. He probably thinks that’s pretty funny. He did invent humor after all. He also invented the concept of evil. Again I can’t stress enough that he isn’t simply the “god” of communication and thought, but that he is communication and thought. If you could see him you would see him everywhere, black strings attached to everyone’s minds.

The whole concept may seem a little mystical. I guess it kinda is. I guess the only other thing remotely like him is Yog-Sothoth, in the sense that he connects all minds together like YS connects all space and time together.

The others let Nyarly pretty much run the show since he’s shut up Azathoth. YS and SN just want to exist, Nyarly is permanently bored so he wants to see new stuff happen. He likes to set upon a society and let it run into the ground. He experiments and tinkers. Why do you think humanity invented electricity or the nuclear bomb? Ever heard of Tesla? Or Dr. Dexter? Since Nyarly is culture he can look like whoever or whatever he wants. He can look like anything people believes him to look like.

Nyarly isn’t all fun and bombs, he has a pretty major job to do keeping Azathoth from destroying everything. He scoops up willing subjects to make them into flute players. He has a couple cults that do that for him.  The flute players are probably the most important entities in the continued existence of… well all of this. Nyarly likes his sand pit, so he keeps them playing. Azathoth hums along, reverberating through the universes but keeping everything solid. It keeps YS and SN going and it keeps entropy in check. Without Azathoth continuing his explosiveness we wouldn’t get the complex energy systems that result in things like human bodies. Without him everything would die and line up in rows.

Like I said Nyarly has a sense of humor. Part of that is the cosmic joke he has played on SN and YS. By being communication he is the reason anyone calls on the pair. They get dragged around and poked and prodded because of him. A lot of Nyarly worshipers also worship elements of the other two. This is why Nyarly is often likened to a messenger of the gods. Some of you fools have the silly idea he might be some rebellious servant. Bah. No rebellion, more like a man with a plan who can harness chaos itself. Speaking of which if you have ever wondered why Nyarly has bee called the crawling chaos, think about what your local film culture is like. Crawling? Chaos? Yup.

Also unlike YS and SN Nyarly likes to get personal, he goes and meets his creation in a way that YS and SN don’t like to do. Being constantly bored is something I am not a stranger too, so I really get where old Nick is coming from. I think his only frustration must be that no one else gets the ultimate joke all of creation’s existence. Ever think about those pleasant moments you are relaxing somewhere feeling warm and good and then imagine how horrible that recent earthquake or war must be, how someone somewhere is screaming in pain and hunger or someone is dying slowly crushed under rubble. That’s why wizards happen. People who want to break away from it all, grow bigger, learn more. Nyarly humors them, shows them the places they can get close to YS or find some of the great great great great… great great… great grandkids of SN to summon.

These people begin using understanding to build themselves up and make themselves immortal. Several clever ones have checked out how the future goes and one of them painted it in big Mobius strip of an underground tunnel. Of course Nyarly likes setting these guys up and pushing them down, promising great power and then letting some underdog stab them in the back. I’m not bitter at all.

He also has countless cults all worshipping him in different forms. They understand how important he is, just not how he’s important. There are savage cults of murderers, cults of surgeons who want to live forever, and witch cults worshiping the Black Man.

He must sound pretty cool, but Nyarly isn’t all powerful. Like YS doesn’t have big enough holes to let much of SN through, Nyarly just can’t fit enough of himself into certain dimensions. You should be glad the important parts of you exist in such a low dimension. It keeps Nyarly from just blowing Earth’s dust away wholesale. Instead he has to finagle work arounds. The other day he tried to get his cults to work together to bring him enough DNA to build an earthly body, but then he lost interest and set some humans up to knock it apart again. I think Earth has become a bit of a pet project for him.

Saturday Session Prep: Flames Engulf 19

Saturday Session Prep are notes directly from my game sessions. They are completely unedited, sloppy, and unorganized, enjoy! They include both before and after session notes.

SESSION 19

State each scene as:

  1. What the conflict is and what it will resolve.
  2. What stakes the conflict has, what will happen if they win or lose.
  3. What elements will and could be at play.

How to decide what these are:

  1. Some are predetermined.
    1. Silas fight.
    2. The ceremony
    3. Lavinia & Leslie’s chat
    4. Philo getting revenge
  2. The players can decide what and where to engage with them:
    1. What story elements they want to conclude.
    2. NPCs they want to find out about.
    3. Mysteries they want solved.

Arriving on the edge of the reservoir the investigators face Silas and Lavinia.

Leslie teleports Lavinia over to them to talk while Silas attacks the others.

Having defeated Silas the world goes back to normal. Chunks of the city have been destroyed.

The players get free reign for what to do now. However certain things lay in wait:

  • Agatha has vanished. Diana has defeated Agatha and is even more powerful and inhuman.
  • Trevor has vanished. Used by Diana he has been abandoned weak in the city.
  • Rice has all the ingredients except the “heart” of the city. He has kidnapped Trevor after Diana throwing him off. Once they find him they find Trevor. He explains about the ceremony and promises all the good it will do.
  • Philo goes and lays in wait at Mama and Papa’s hospital room waiting for revenge.

Friday Game Notes 19: Finale Maddness

Friday Game Notes are a weekly post of the random and essentially unedited setting and character notes I wrote before the game. This was written for my home group and was never meant to be seen online. BE WARNED!

People without Nyarlathotep:

  1. No communication – there is not way to communicate with people at all.
  2. No morals – no good or bad. Killing someone? Fine. Eating their eyeballs? Fine!
  3. No ownership – everyone just takes what they want.

Types:

Feral Humans

Maddened by the inability to think strait or communicate these humans go back to their animal routes. Crawling on all fours, running hunched over, and jumping around they attack viciously when they think they have the advantage but flee if overpowered.

Cultists

Minds blasted by the absence of power they try to invent new gods amidst the chaos. They freely draw new symbols out of their own blood or the blood of those they slay and try to summon new things. These monsters rip them apart.

Shell Shocked

Communication and all thought are gone from these humans. They walk absently and vacantly. Often they end up in groups walking along empty streets to be preyed upon by the more violent predators.

The Looters

Unconstrained by human interaction some simply fall pray to their normal human desires taking what they want. They almost seem normal in the way they act but they are cunning and devious and take whatever they want. They will sometimes work together in basic ways communicating through shows of strength like animals.

The Truly Mad

Some have snapped so completely their behavior becomes unfathomable. They build structures out of bodies, living or dead, act out normal scenes before doing unthinkable deeds, try to eat themselves, or madly run into the walls over and over again.

1 Try to eat something nearby.
2 Try to run as fast as possible into something.
3 Try to build something out of the nearest objects.
4 Try to kill themselves.
5 Act out a normal scene from their lives. Roll again to see what they do to interrupt it.
6 Take off or put on whatever clothes are around.
7 Pretend to be an animal.
8 Imitate an object or person nearby.

The City

To break the story into coherent chunks the city is broken up into zones. The general goal will be to get from Hangman’s hill on the west side of town to the Archive of Misery on French Hill then down to Agatha’s house in the Lower South Side. However players may attempt to get to other places on the North Side.

Zone 1

The first two blocks below Hangman’s Hill including the Hospital and University. Also across the bridge. Where the Investigators first encounter people.

Contains: Looters and Shell Shocked humans.

The Hospital contains Truly Mad

University has Feral Humans

Zone 2

The middle of town, and the rest of the North Side including Central Square, the Burial Ground, the Grotto and other places. A harrowing experience travelling through this area.

Contains: Feral humans, Truly Mad and Shell Shocked Humans.

Houses may contain the Truly Mad.

Zone 3

A band starting from the North river side of French Hill and the area south of it.

Contains: Cultists, and the Truly Mad and Feral humans.

The Archive contain Ferals, Truly Mad, and Shell Shocked. Diana/Channel/Agatha attacks here.

Zone 4

The Lower South side warren of streets, more maze like and illogical. Run more like a dungeon crawl than random encounters.

Contains: Cultists and the Truly Mad. Shell Shocked Humans may make good cannon fodder for whatever mad things the Cultists might accidentally summon.

Try Something New: Magic System

Try Something New is an occasional series of articles about new things… to try! New game mechanics, play styles, or food! 

The Flames Engulf was a mix of new ideas and techniques, some worked other did not. One of the major ones was creating a new magic system for Call of Cthulhu that fit the in game ideas about the Cthulhu Mythos. If you go read the Book of Excruciating Knowledge (Friday Game Notes 20) you can read more about that. Read Friday Game Notes 21 to read about the magic system in full.

The main mechanic of the magic is descriptive. Battling magicians simultaneously reveal how many magic points they are spending on their attack or defense. If the attacker spends more than the defender they do damage equal to a number of 1d6s equal to the number of magic points spent. Both parties can also describe their magical attack adding extra dice to the attack through narrative descriptions.


What Worked

This system was fairly effective for a pretty pulpy magical feel. The back and forth worked best on one on one combat or in small groups. The mechanics fell apart a little as more people got involved.

The players were infinitely creative with magical descriptions. Since magic was consigned to three categories, Power, Matter, and Interaction the players had varied camps to pull from. All being scientists of various sorts they ran circles around me describing the way they would melt bones or brainwash their victims.


What Didn’t

The dreaded words of “power creep” entered Flames with the magic system. Early on, before the magic system was completely added into the game, it had been established that magicians could remove power from other living creatures. Before I knew it players were murdering poor animals, and in a couple of cases humans and stealing their power. Soon their POW scores were through the roof and I had to boost the villains in response. The players without magic started to feel like they were falling behind.

The idea that players could so drastically improve their power both left non-magic using players in the lurch and ruined the theme of helplessness in Call of Cthulhu.


Next Time

I think they had a lot of fun with the magic and I would use it again in a pulpy game. I would even use it in a classic Call of Cthulhu game but I would seriously enforce the horrible consequences from using such power.

Players in future would also not be able to increase their POW scores by more than a few points.

Saturday Session Prep: Flames Engulf 18

Saturday Session Prep are notes directly from my game sessions. They are completely unedited, sloppy, and unorganized, enjoy! They include both before and after session notes.

SESSION 18

Remind everyone about the new magic rules.

Silas and Lavinia are doing their magic and the city starts swirling. With the city swirling around them the party must reunite, survive and make their way to the middle.

The city is swirling in a whirlpool effect emanating from the center where the river is reforming itself into the reservoir where Silas is doing the magic. The city streams away from this point

The magic floors Sam and Benoit. Everyone can feel the magic like a kick in the groin, but Benoit and Sam feel it like a metal hook has been thrust into their ribcage before someone yanks it upwards hard. Falling to their hands and knees both can feel the nature of the magic strongly.

Benoit feels it through his hands. He knows the Greek atomists were right through his hands he can feel that there are parts of matter that can’t be divided. As he feels it he has moments of victory and horror equally as he realizes the implications while simultaneously realizing he can control all of it. Of course he could never see these things, sight is not good enough, but touch… But he sees the way the magic flows through the structure of the very atoms:

  • The magic is making the city push everything away from the center while simultaneously pulling something to it.
  • That someone is using matter magic mixed with a magic much like Sam’s to do this.
  • That with Sam’s help you can work together to drag yourselves closer to the that center.

Sam feels the city swirling around clearly in huge pain. Whatever is doing this it is ripping the city apart.

  • While the city is swirling certain areas become eddies of stability.
  • Whatever is doing this is causing extreme pain in the city. Huge wounds spewing guts, organs and blood form out buildings.
  • Sam can lead the way through the torrent of buildings to different stable parts.

Hospital

The party climb off the roof and Sam is still unconscious. People coming to themselves after Channel is carried off are streaming towards the hospital to deal with their burns.

  • Monty has been killed in the boiling water and Hestia attacks Benoit in a rage
  • Selma is badly burnt as well but alive.
  • Sam wakes slowly.
  • Prof. Rice bumps into them and acts very confused. He says he doesn’t know why he is there or what has been happening and wanders off.

There is the sound of an explosion somewhere in the East and then the whole building shakes. The city has started swirling about. Buildings seem to race by in contracting bands. Many of them can’t take the strain and collapse in clouds of dust.

  • The hospital starts collapsing.
    • The windows all shatter inwards.
    • The floor splits in the hallway
    • The stairs collapse
    • Beams fall through the ceiling
  • Once they get outside the hospital seems to rush away from them and they are in a maze of constantly shifting streets.

The Streets

BEN PART

Ben is thrown to the floor when the magic starts up. He finds himself alone in the building. Running outside he is on a ruined street. A three story brick building has slumped down into a mass in the middle of the block crushing a car with three passengers. The driver is sprawled out of the car. He sees something moving about behind it.

  • This is a part of Cohen who has been split by the magic.
  • Cohen is a powerful mind magician as well as very dangerous in his physical manifestation
  • Ben is encouraged to run the fuck away

PARTY PART

The Party hear a roar from one of the outer rings and see a huge form rise up. A huge humanoid giant woman with long scraggly hair rises out of the explosion and starts walking against the stream.

Stumbling onwards they find themselves in an area of small wooden houses built along a hill. At the bottom is the small Catholic Church that Daville was always visiting and at the top a menacing low stucco house with long dark windows.

  • A scream echoes from the church and a strange mechanical sound of three bell tolls.
  • Inside the body of Daville is splayed out with strange crushing wounds. Small white maggots crawl all over him digging into his skin.
  • The side of the church wall is stood strangely perched on the pews. In the small walled yard outside the hole is Patricia holding a horrifying looking device. She points it at the fence and with another three clangs a chunk of the fence disappears and reappears behind her. She walks through away from them. The fence promptly starts to fall towards them.
  • The side of the church and several other places have huge wounds with guts and organs of indeterminate type fallen out of them. Blood from the buildings themselves gush into the street and make obstacles to them chasing after Patricia immediately.
  • She will also shoot at them if they get too close.
  • Following they see she is making her way in a swathe of destruction towards the menacing house.

Getting to the house Patricia seems to have used the front door like a normal person but the walls inside are all extracted and make weird maze like rooms split into mismatched areas.

  • Patricia has left the house intact.
  • It is very cold inside and breath condenses in the air.
  • The rooms are all covered in newspaper making the rooms appear to be filled with grey nothingness
  • A room is filled with melting bags of ice and two ice chests are filled with organs
  • Nearby is a lab of sorts with various experiments that appear to be trying to preserve human organs. Above the lab station are hundreds of covertly taken photos of everyone in GPS.
  • Finally there is a stair case leading to a hall and balcony where Patricia is.
    • Patricia is completely mad. And determined to use her weapon on anyone that tries to talk to her other than one of her family.

BEN PART

Ben stumbles away from the monster and into a series of narrower and narrower alleys that he begins to think might crush him alive. But he immerges in a small scrappy yard raised above the street and ringed with an old iron fence that has half collapsed. A small door in the house next to him leads inside into a largish room with a balcony above it.

  • Patricia is above on the balcony. She will likely be attacking the party. Ben can try to talk her down or play his flute which will cure her madness.
  • Once dealt with they must determine what to do with her before moving on. If she’s still mad she may be able to lead them onwards. Her gun can act as a way for them to create paths to the next part.

The Cemetery

They move on. Using the gun to carve a path, having the still mad Patricia lead them, or simply walking onwards. They find themselves alone again near the Burying Ground the main cemetery of Arkham and a place where bodies are kept before burial. (Emmerson’s body is here).

Walking out of the high walled Burying Ground is Prof. Rice.

  • He has lost his hat and glasses and has a bandage around his right ear.
  •  If stopped he is evasive and doesn’t seem to remember talking to them before but tries to hide it.
  • He wanders away.

Inside the burying ground Emmerson’s body has been desecrated. Either dug up or removed from the storage room his eyes have been torn out.

  • By now Prof Rice is gone
  • One of the shops across the street has bright lights on. The sign reads ACC.

What Butwan will reveal:

  • That a great magical working has been done to summon and capture the city’s avatar.
  • They will use the avatar to chain the city to their will. Destroying it or reshaping it however they want.
  • He helps people who come to him when they are in trouble.
  • Most recently the magician came into his shop fearful of GPS hunting him and Butwan showed him how to control the avatar.
  • He also was the one who gave Huey the idea to write the prophesy.

Once he has been angered or has grown tired of the game he reveals more:

  • He is the crawling chaos. (This is accompanied by the banging of millions of claws against the back wall of the office.
  • Butwan is just a lure within the shop and is connected by strands to something in the back shop.
  • He knocks the walls of the shop down to reveal the mass of limbs all curled together behind the shop. And he attacks.

The Black Angler is fast, far faster than any human can run and its huge body forms a cylinder of ungainly limbs, chomping maws, and peering eyes that rolls, a foot or hand seemingly randomly catching its weight as it does. It gets in front of the party no matter where they run finally chasing them into the Burying Ground.

  • Malcolm knows there is a tunnel there into the ghoul dens. (If he doesn’t remember he can have a hint if they seem unlikely to figure it out.)
  • The thing can’t fit into the hole and they escape into the dark.

The Tunnels

Dark paths leading deeper and deeper. At one point it climbs slightly and a hole above them reveals the sky.

The tunnels lead under the river where  a huge underwater lake has formed after years of condensation leaking from above. There is a boat on the far side and no path across. They must swim or magically get over the water.

  • It is immediately obvious to Sam that his city magic doesn’t work down here so he can’t just form a door from one side to the other.
  • Leslie can teleport across but can’t do so with others.

As an added danger Cohen is trying to reform under here bringing his many disjointed parts together. These start attacking the party. If they manage to get the boat one can drop down amongst them to overturn it. (It would die in the water but that doesn’t matter.)

The tunnels end in a refuge camp where a few last dying ghouls lie wounded from their battle. They don’t bother fighting. Half the camp is destroyed where the ground has given way and sky shines through from the ruins of the Baptist church above.


The Docks

Climbing out the hole they find themselves near the Docks where Radcliffe went to face Mallady and his goons.

In a swirling eddy of buildings a large dock building supported by large pillars is stranded away from the water. A large multi storied warehouse out of a custom officers fever dreams stands towering with crisscrossed piers over a canyon of streaming buildings. Across it is a line of nice town houses built on a grassy hill. Radcliffe stands outside taking a glowing tommy gun out of violin case.

The three piers are connected to various warehouse sections and suspended buildings. The front warehouse is filled with gangsters who Radcliffe cuts down instantly.

Friday Game Notes 18: Prequel Kingsport Cult

Friday Game Notes are a weekly post of the random and essentially unedited setting and character notes I wrote before the game. This was written for my home group and was never meant to be seen online. BE WARNED!

This short one shot was designed to be played before Flames Engulf. 

We cut to May 31 1935,

everyone (except Leslie) is sitting in the Grotto, chatting. Huey comes in, holding a letter and calls the group around, explaining that he received the letter from a friend he met at Brown University.

May 25, 1935

Dear Huey,

I’m sure you don’t remember me but we used to pall around in school. I was the one with my head in the genealogical books. As you may recall my ancestor was infamously a sorcerer in Europe who immigrated or fled to Kingsport. I’ve recently finished restoring the old Somme House and moved in only to find one of the builders, a dour chap from Boston, left the enclosed pamphlet in the dining room. I caught him as he left and he explained a tramp had dropped it as he was walking up the hill.

The pamphlet has a worrying tone and recalling your interest in modern occult matters I wondered if you could gain something from this. There have been many bums men around Kingsport with similar papers.

Yours respectfully,

Osric Somme

Daville reacts, saying it sounds like a Cthulhu cult, people who worship a great alien trapped under the sea, the old saying attributed to the mad arab “that which is not dead which can eternal lie” refers to it. He advises the group to go to Arkham. Huey mentions that his friend would probably be happy to put them up In Kingsport if they want to take the bus and stay the weekend in the port town.

Leslie is at dinner with her father. Her father is chatting with Dr. d’Poe a nice man. Dr. Middleton her father recounts that he received a letter from one of their old school friends in Kingsport who wants him to look at a cadaver as a second opinion. Dr. d’Poe mentions Kingsport is a good place for children and that the sea air might do Leslie some good.

Malcolm is called into his Mother’s office, there Radcliffe waits to offer him a new job. A man has been trying to stir up unions at the Bolton Mills and Radcliffe wants him gotten rid of. He has decided to sent Robert Cohen, his killer to do it and needs Malcolm to pick Cohen at the edge of town, bring him to the union leader’s house, wait and then drive him to a safe house just outside of Arkham.

Kingsport – not creepy until they see Osric

It is sunny and cloudless as they bus South East, and they arrive in the ancient port. A church bell tolls.

Play up the effects of the ocean, swirl of sea, shell motif, carved octopus, buoy bells, fog rolling in after meeting Osric, Salt wind blowing constantly, House on hill with no door.

Seeing the people meeting on the street and in shops. Always odd combinations: the mousy house wife and a beautiful socialite, maid and a banker, paper boy and a police man, priest and a gardener. They whisper together and seem to turn their heads to watch the group. When with a local the local tugs their lapel as if some secret sign, the pair turn away.


Osric Somme

 

Always smiling.

Osric is a tan and large eyed man

who seems to always be smiling.

He greets the group and invites them in smiling.

He seems to have forgotten about the vagrants that left the pamphlet, stating that they all disappeared just after he sent the note smiling.

His house is pleasant.

The group notice some odd pairs of people around town chatting at odd times. Osric ignores them smiling.

Bangs

  • Osric tries to justify the killing
  • The limbs attack
  • Always smiling

Long ago Osric Somme heard the tale of a long distant ancestor who was accused by Copenhagen merchant competitors of “abhorrent behavior and sorcery.” The ancestor fled to America and became part of the founders of the small fishing village of Kingsport in the 1700s. Osric is proud of his genealogy even with such dark shadows over his line. Accordingly he spent a greater part of his young life seeking to find information on his ancestors and the original site of his family home.

Now Osric lives in a brand new modern home exactly on the site he believes his ancestor lived. Sadly he is mistaken, the plot is actually the ancient destroyed site of Robert Cohen’s home. This evil sorcerer terrorized the growing village with his arcane experiments and his very existence was erased after he departed for more interesting sites. When Osric began digging the foundations of his new home he uncovered a box of scrolls sealed for ever in a lead casket. Breaking it open he believed that they were proof of his ancestors sorcerous life style.

When Cthulhu cultists arrived in town Osric knew trouble when he saw it. Opening one of the scrolls he belived the spell there would aid him in destroying this threat to the perceived threat. Perhaps the cult like councils of Kingsport helped push him to action. Sadly the spell was a double edged sword, for it helped him destroy the cultists it also killed his fiance, ripping her veins and heart straight from her body.

Osric has wide eyes and his face is rather tan, a bit of premature aging his skin looks a bit leathery. Very thin eyebrows and he always looks like he’s smiling. Wide mouth but thin lips. Very well controlled hair. His ear has a scar on it from a fishing accident as a kid when a hook got caught on it.

He listens attentively to everything the investigators do. He is perfectly open if they ask about the cellar and shows them it. He will also demonstrate the scrolls if they ask. He claims that they must be left over from his ancestor.

When they hear them discussing whoever killed the cultists he will try to argue that they might have done the right thing, that possibly it saved the town a lot of trouble. If they don’t agree he will attack them that night.

Somme House

Osric’s home is a modern white stucco affair of curves and bulbous windows. Everyone can’t help but feel it might look like an arcane symbol from above.

While the investigators are searching for clues around Kingsport Osric is perfectly friendly at home. He feeds them well and makes sure they are comfortable. He continues to insist that there is nothing to find in Kingsport and that he is simply sad that Teresa is dead but he appreciates the company as long as they want to stay. Later in the investigation the investigators should have realized Osric is hiding something.

If they mention the “monster” that murdered the cultist he will act surprised but unabashedly explain that it wasn’t necessarily for the worse. The homeless in Kingsport were a problem, and probably would have done more harm if they had been allowed. He says whatever the “monster” did was evil, but was done for the right reason.

If they confront him about the box found in his cellar he will laugh and agree to show them. His cellar is large and mostly empty, six pillars stand along the walls and a large all too even boulder sits between two of them to the side. Opposite the boulder is a small rough stoned opening, clearly much older than the smoothly carved cellar, Osric explains that this was the original cellar under the ruined Somme House. On a table beside it Osric has a large lead box, featuring a broken seal like the one the Captain draws, and three scrolls, each with a similar seal. One of the scrolls has been opened and on it is a lengthy spell in Aklo. The other two are still sealed.

If anyone tries to open the two remaining scrolls they suffer from dizziness and a massive head pain as they reach for it. The pain gets so bad they have to steady themselves, forgetting that they were trying to open the scroll. Any attempt to break it open in other ways similarly fails. Osric mentions that he has tried often but can’t seem to open it, the three scrolls were in the box in the old cellar.

Chopped up Cultists

There is a secret room in his cellar hidden between a fake wall. A short flight of stairs goes down to a dirt floor where there are two tables laid out. On the two tables are the bodies of three cultists, each severed into multiple parts and spread out together. If anyone notices the room, Osric doesn’t go down here often but may have forgotten to extinguish a lamp the last time, then he will panic trying to get everyone upstairs.

The Bodies

Osric turns off the power to the building, animates the limbs, and then locks himself in his room. He takes a sleeping draught to give himself a sort of alibi if they try to find him and wake him. Otherwise he wakes up in the morning and greets them, or finds their bodies.

First there is a thumping noise from the stairs. – they can’t be heard while coming up the stairs.

Then a flopping noise and a rolling noise. A charnel smell seems to invade the place.

If anyone looks into the hall they “don’t see anyone”

– describe the hall as dark and shadowy, the floor should be indistinct so that the limbs on the ground can’t be made out.

-perhaps describe and indistinct side board with a strange vase on top and beside it, the head and the torso?

Finally a thumping comes at the door, and slowly the handle turns in the door. Investigators will notice that there is no key in their room. The door will slide open but no one will enter, they will have to have a flashlight nearby to see the limbs roll into the room.

The torso will attack whoever is the largest in the group.

Teresa Brown

Like the Somme’s the Brown family is old money in Kingsport. Sadly Teresa has died as the spell used by Osric to get rid of the Cthulhu cultists removed and teleported her heart and entire circulatory system out of her body. She died immediately in her home and was rushed to Dr. Gardener’s office. Dr. Gardener still doesn’t know what to make of the body.

She enjoys quite tall hairstyles almost like a pharaoh cap with a couple braids snaking around the bottom of it.. She has very dark brown eyes, but normal sized surrounded by long dark eyelashes. Narrow face with thin and slightly too pointed nose. She has rather full lips and enjoys pastel colors.

Sadly Teresa is no more. Her entire circulatory system has vanished from her body without so much as a wound. This is the result of Osric Somme’s spell.

Her chest is deflated slightly, showing the ribs very clearly. Her skin is much paler, nearly white, than it should be. Her entire body looks like someone has gouged out canals of skin where the veins would have been.


Channel Delapore

Channel Delapore is responsible for the Cthulhu Cult pamphlets. She considers it her little joke. Accordingly she allowed herself to be seen by several Kingsport locals. They report seeing a red headed woman handing out the pamphlets to several of the local hobos. She was wearing a silver moon necklace.

Note, the map doesn’t agree with descriptions of Kingsport. The Miskatonic normally is shown running North of the town, but here it is through. To fit with the trip back from England passing through Kingsport keep this detail the same.


Cthulhu Cultists

R’lyeh rose in 1925 accompanied by madness and portents world wide. But in an accident of fate Cthulhu was not freed trapping for another long cycle. Shattered by this failure the Cthulhu Cult has become sluggish of late. Several of its chief members have disappeared for a better moment. Consequently the many degenerated worshippers have become easy to manipulate. Kingsport, being a city filled with secret worshippers of Nodens and less known things below the earth was a thorn in the Witch-Cult’s side and Channel Delapore hoped the Cthulhu Cultists and Nodens Cultists might clash, killing two birds with one stone.

But Channel was partially foiled. Osric’s spell let him murder every Cthulhu cultist in one fell swoop, leaving many bodies floating in the icy water of the Eye of the Sea. Three cultists were also taken up to Osric’s house in the dead of the night since he hopes to practice necromancy on them.


Eye of the Sea

Molding woods, gloomy paths, smell of moss. The ancient stones of the circle look eroded by the sea, the pillars are encrusted with sea creatures, whether they are stone or real no one can tell. The pillars might be twisted tentacles. The bodies don’t stink, but the salt has stained the bodies badly. Claw marks run from into the woods around the Eye and scrape down the outer side of the Eye in white lines.

It is perfectly likely that investigators will wish to go to the Eye of the Sea straight away. Let them. Instead make the information above slightly more difficult to obtain. Kingsport people are a naturally suspicious lot, and strangers arriving in town to head out and visit strange stone circles in the woods tend to excite mistrust.

The Eye of the Sea is simply a hole in the ground. Rough rocks create a ring around the hole and a staircase outside it winds a spiral down to the bottom. Arches around the rim let people on the stairs see the inky black water below. Candles and rags of blue and green cloth have been left all along the stairs. Many of the candles have been knocked over as if several people were trying to rush down the steps. At the very bottom the steps simply disappear into the water. The water is salty. At the bottom are about 24 bodies all savagely mutilated as if by claws floating in the sea water. The days of exposure have left many of them bloated and fly blown.

Well versed trackers in the party will notice clear strangely circular foot prints that came to the top of the stairs north from a small copse of trees. There is an eight pointed star painted in blood and in the center is a human heart and an entire circulatory system. This is from Teresa Brown. Osric didn’t realize the sacrifice needed for the spell would take itself, he assumed it would accept his own blood which he used for the star.


Kingsport Cultists

The Kingsport cultists are not active agents in this campaign, instead they should serve as a background of horror for the investigation. Hint that someone or something influenced Osric into using the spell, or give the investigators glimpses of the strange house on the hill overlooking Kingsport. Remember that singing can be heard from that house, and mist and the northern lights all appear more frequently since that man braved the hill. The old terrible man should also be a nice subtle hint to the darker side of the town. Perhaps you want to make the cult even more prominent, they walk openly in the street in hooded cloaks bearing symbols. Or instead people seem to huddle oddly in every shop and on the corners muttering. Dr. Gardener and Osric seem to make a strange hand signal every time they see one of these groups.


Kingsport Dive

Several patrons mutter darkly about the group. They stare until the group have drunken the toe drink.

Kingsport is a town for sailors by sailors and it has a bar to match. It has no sign except for a large iron anchor leaned against the wall outside. The floor is sticky, the smoke assaults the senses, and the patrons are non-responsive. The bar seems to be half a tree trunk laid from one wall to the other, beer is offered but if the investigators ask for information the bartender grunts noncommittally. A helpful patron leans over and explains that if they want to gossip they should talk to the Captain in the corner. As they go the patron nearly falls off his chair and quickly tells them that they can’t do that yet. When asked why he points at a sign on the bar. “$5 l’orteil” Ordering this from the bartender he sets down as many tall glasses with a clear liquid about an inch deep at the bottom. Before they drink it the patron again exclaims, they need to see the captain for that.

This strange maze of social interaction reaching a climax the investigators are allowed near the Captain. Lacking a peg-leg this man is nearly the perfect image of a sea captain, sporting a skippers cap and a thick beard. When they ask him about the drink he splits a grin and pulls a slightly dirty handkerchief from his pocket. “Ah, the toe then! He he!” He goes into a lengthy tale of how three men had gone out fishing in Kingsport harbor back in the 1700s. They were out for so long one winter night one of the men lost his toe to frostbite. When they reached the pub the three men challenged each other to drink from a glass with the toe in it, to win the honor of always winning bar arguments. Meanwhile he has uncovered a blackened and slimy toe in his handkerchief. The nail is discolored and chipped and black flakes cover the cloth. With much aplomb the Captain drops it into the first drink. He nods encouragingly as investigators raise their glasses. As one the bar turns to watch chanting:

“You can drink it fast,

you can drink it slow-

but the lips have gotta

touch the toe!”

Once each investigator has finished this slightly disturbing practice the Captain grins again and the bar bursts out laughing, clapping them on the backs he asks them what they want to know. The Captain hears a lot of gossip and sees much from his corner.

-Nearly two dozen bums invaded town at the beginning of June all wielding a pamphlet of sorts. The Captain himself saw a red headed woman with them handing the pamphlet’s out to a couple newcomers. One of the homeless came into the bar to ask where the “Eye of the Sea” was. No one knew. A week later all of the homeless vanished.

-The Captain also spoke to several of the Bostonian builders Osric hired. Apparently they had mainly worked on a large cellar room. While digging they discovered another old cellar which contained a sealed lead box. The builder had drawn the symbol for the Captain and he can reproduce it. It looks like an eye of Horus combined with two ankhs. Investigators may recognize this as the Eye of Light and Darkness, an ancient seal of protection.

-The Captain will also relate how Teresa Brown Osric’s fiancé had been shopping for flowers in town when she had suddenly clutched her chest and fell to the ground. By the time someone went to help she was dead. Dr. Gardener, Kingsport only medical expert is keeping her body at the morgue.


Kingsport Historical Society

The lady running the archive tugs on her lapel when she sees the glued together page they found.

Any investigator interested in Somme’s background in Kingsport will do well to check the Kingsport Historical Society housed in one of the oldest houses in town peacefully shaded by two willow trees. The Society is manned by two old ladies who bicker constantly. The Society both proudly keeps a huge amount of genealogical data of the first Kingsport kin but also land records.

  • Genealogical records connect Osric Somme through several generations to Balthazar Somme in the 1700s. Like Osric claims Balthazar was one of the 13  founding fathers of Kingsport. It is interesting to note that two massive gaps in data exist, the origin of all 18 men and women who founded Kingsport and what any of them did up to the 1800s when a dangerous religious sect was uncovered following a huge earthquake.
  • Land records tell a slightly different story. Most of the earliest records have been written down in the 1800s after the raid based on older books. The Somme House is recorded at the bottom of one page and wraps to the next. But investigators will notice that two sheets have been glued carefully together hiding something in-between. If they are careful they can pry them apart, the glue long since losing its potency. Inside are two address, one for the Somme House, actually several houses away from where Osric built and the house of Casper Cohen built exactly where Somme House now stands. On the back page someone carefully added the Cohen address as Somme’s address.

Some investigators may have heard of Robert Cohen, the famed killer in the employ of the Bitter Servants. If they have they become curious about the connection to Casper Cohen. If they search in Arkham they discover that Casper was recorded moving to Arkham in 1718 and building a house ten minutes out of town. In 1722 a law suit was filed by Casper when allegedly a neighbor tried to burn down his house. An obituary for a Mr. C. Cohen is dated in 1730 and mentions a son Robert tending to his funeral.


Dr. Gardener

Dr. gardener is a small weedy man, with a thin pale face. His eyes, behind round spectacles, seem to water constantly, and he has a high pitched cough which he stifles with a balled up fist. He is also the head coroner and a private practice doctor in Kingsport. He has a small vine covered house in the lee of a old decrepit church that overlooks the ocean. Every so often the bell in the tower tolls, strangely at odds with the hour.

Constantly nervous and slightly pouting Dr. Gardener answers questions in short clipped phrases and is easily persuaded to do things. He is used to turning a blind eye to a lot of Kingsport doings.

Dr. Gardener used to work at the Arkham Orphanarium before it was burned to the ground in 1928. Dr. Gardener has a history of abusing children and his son aged six shows the marks of this in bruises on his back and arms.

Dr. Gardener is as bad at medicine as he is at taking care of children. Luckily most of the denizens of Kingsport don’t need his services. When Teresa Brown was carried into his office he panicked and called on Douglas Middleton for help. The Brown’s are refusing to do an autopsy but Dr. Gardener hopes that Dr. Middleton will help him do one in secret.

Dr. Gardener’s Office

Teresa Brown, Osric’s fiancé, died almost to the day people remember the homeless disappearing, though no one has made any connections. Her body is being kept in the tiny one room morgue by Dr. Gardener Kingsport solitary physician. On the death certificate the doctor has ruled she died of sudden cardiac arrest. Her mother saw her keel over suddenly at home and grow incredibly pale.

Dr. Gardener has been completely stumped as to why she died. She is incredibly pale, and her chest seems unusually hollow. The Brown family have so far refused an autopsy so he can’t investigate further. Dr. Gardener is curious enough to consider doing an autopsy without familial consent and wants Dr. Middleton’s approval to prove that what they found was useful. Dr. Middleton is far less accepting of cutting open a dead girl on such criteria.

Dr. Gardener’s coroner’s office is a tiny broom closet off of the town hall. Teresa’s body barely fits lying down on a small table. In contrast Dr. Gardener’s practice is in a much larger building up town. It is white and spot less.

George has a bed room upstairs across the hall from the guest room. Dr. Gardener sleeps downstairs, creepily near Teresa’s body. While Leslie and Dr. Middleton are staying Leslie will sleep in George’s room. Dr. Gardener insists that George give up the bed for Leslie.


George Gardener

George, Dr. Gardener’s son from Ms. Rosiare, who he met in 1928. Ms. Rosiare, who was not ready to have another child after the events of 1928, died during the birth.

Dr. Gardener in not a small way takes out this sorrow on his son and hits him with a length of surgical tubing. He carries bruises on his shoulders and back. A rather rough lad, George spends as much time out of the house as possible playing soccer with local kids. The other children stay away from the house since they believe Dr. Gardener has a ghost in a jar. His son, George, told them this story claiming that he had bottled the ghost who lived in the closet of a young child who had died there while being punished.


Al Pitman

Al Pitman is a man of the unions and traveled to Bolton, MA from his home town of Chicago to help workers there join the Steel Workers Union. Al hung around the yards for a couple of days before he got wise to the dangerous climate there. While many of the Puerto Rican workers were dissatisfied but many of them were also part of a dangerous gang, a gang quickly catching up with Al. He managed to get in contact with a Señor Castilla who was open to signing on with the Union along with another two dozen workers. But Castilla couldn’t sign for another week. That same night someone tried to shoot Al.

Realizing the danger he was in Al decided to leave Bolton. He wants to stay in the area until he can get Castilla and his men’s signatures. Knowing a family in Kingsport Al took the bus and is staying there. The family, a married couple with two kids, do not know anything about the matter.

Sadly for Al Pitman and his friends Castilla was not the altruistic man Al thought he was. Instead he was a Bitter Servant man and he quickly told Mr. Mallady where he was to visit Pitman. Mallady reported to Mr. Radcliffe and Radliffe decided to let Robert Cohen clean the matter up.

Waiting Outside Unionist House

It starts to get dark and the ocean sounds get louder. Bells toll, a sea gull mourns the dead. Several people in dark clothes gather on an opposite corner and watch the car. Another one joins them and seems to hand out objects to the waiting people. There are at least half a dozen now. A coppery scent is in the air.

Going in to find Cohen he sees him literally lying with his face in the guts of a dead man, chewing. A liver sits on a handkerchief next to him. Cohen rises on all fours and stares. He gathers up the liver and starts towards Malcolm. Assuming he stays staunch they get in the car, the people across the street advance on them. If Malcolm drives quickly they run after the car, if he goes slowly they follow slowly until they reach the edge of town where they disperse.