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.

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Author: Nicholathotep

I am a LEGO builder, writer, and traveler.

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