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

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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.