Session 1 | New York | Room 410

WARNING! Contains spoilers!


“No one gets killed the first session, right…? Or…?”

Character generation

Dramatis personae
H.P Rennfarth | Forensics specialist | 27 yrs | Mats
Justin Case | NYPD Detective | 32 yrs | Djuro
Ulla Bengtsson | Professor (Chemistry) Columbia Uni | 48 yrs | Berndt
Carl Blackwater | Foreign correspondant | 31 yrs | Martin
Absent this session
Edward Foxworthy | Big game hunter | 34 yrs | Flan

Link to background stories and portraits

H.P Rennfarth is a policeman who works at the budding Forensics Department at NYPD. He recently inherited an antiques shop in Greenwich Village from his father who passed away recently. He has no idea of what to do with it at this point. He officially knows Justin Case from police work but also because the two of them has been involved in some highly suspicious activity concerning evidence (drugs) missing from the evidence department. He thinks that Justin Case holds the key to some secret/treasure/knowledge (drugs maybe?) that he covets.

Justin Case is a somewhat dirty cop that has done some dubious acts both in the past and in the line of duty. His connection is that he was once investigated by Internal affairs for suspected criminal activity, but was cleansed of suspicions by an article by Carl Blackwater, and so he owns Carl his freedom. Justin has also done some work “on the side” for a mysterious man called Daniel Zomb, who reputedly works for an organisation called The Wellcroft Foundation.

Ulla Bengtsson is a Swedish descendant who works at Columbia University in New York, specialising in chemistry related to explosives. She has a preference for other women, but to her dismay, she is secretly infatuated with her long time friend Carl Blackwater. As a result she is going through a rough time on the romantic level. Together with Carl she has also met with Jackson Elias on several occasions.

Carl Blackwater is a well-traveled journalist who has come in contact with mysterious and occult things in the line of duty. This is also how he met Jackson Elias many years ago. The two friends have kept contact over the years, despite them almost always being in different parts of the world. A few days ago, Elias contacted him via telegraph from a ship at sea, asking him to gather a good investigative team because he had sensational news about the infamous Carlyle Expedition that got massacred in Kenya some five years ago.

Edward Foxworthy is the eldest son of a wealthy owner of a coffee plantation in Kenya. The father wanted Edward to take over the family business, but after studies in both the UK and USA, Edward decided to pursue his dreams – a life of high adventure, hunting big game across the globe. Edward knows Carl from the African theatre of the Great War, where both were involved. There, they aquired a common enemy (to be determined) – someone that has done something very wrong and that wrong must be avenged. Edward and Carl has kept the contact since then, in hope of someday being able to avenge the wrong that happened. During his big game hunts, Edward has heard of strange unnatural beasts whispered from locals in the dark around the campfires. At first he dismissed this as hokum, but why are these stories so consistent in vastly different parts of the world? Somewhere, Edward suspects that there might be some substance to the campfire tales.

Top from left: Carl Blackwater, Justin Case & Ulla Bengtsson

Bottom from left: H.P Rennfarth & Edward Foxworthy

It starts…
New York, Thursday January 15th, 1925.
The PCs are gathered in the somewhat cramped kitchen area in H.P’s antiques shop, Rennfarth & Rennfarth Antiques, situated in Greenwich Village in Manhattan. The city outside is covered in snow, as the last weeks have been cold and it has been snowing profusely for days. Carl explains the situation to the others – that he received a phone call from his old friend Jackson Elias this morning, asking the team to meet up with him at the nearby Chelsea Hotel, room 410, at 8 p.m. Apparently, Elias has sensational news about the Carlyle Expedition that went dead/missing back in 1920. Everyone has heard about that sad event, but the details are blurry. The team decides to split up to do some research on the details of the expedition. Ulla goes to the library, Carl to the newspapers to check the morgue files. Justin and H.P decides to check their law enforcement contacts to see if they can dig up something of interest. They are to meet up in the bar at the Chelsea some time before 8 p.m. After some chatting, tea and beers the team decides to split up to do some research:

  • Ulla – researches the expedition members in the N.Y Public Library
  • Carl – finds a lot of old news clippings in the newspaper morgue files
  • H.P – nothing new discovered
  • Justin – contacts Mr. Zomb in Boston. Tries to contact the police in Kenya about the Carlyle murders, but with no result.

Left: The Chelsea. Right: NY Public Library in the snow

Ulla goes to the Chelsea at 4 p.m. Elias in not there according to Serge the concièrge. She sits down in the bar to keep an eye open for Mr. Elias, but sees nothing.
After doing their separate research, the others arrive at the bar. Ulla talks to the concièrge, Serge, and checks the key board if Mr Elias is in and the adjacent hotel rooms if the neighbours are present. Case shows his police badge and demands to see the hotel ledger for names:

  • Room 410 – Jackson Elias – in
  • Room 409 – Clark Gruber – in
  • Room 411 – Claudio Cochone – in

A few minutes before 8 p.m, they go to Mr Elias room using the art-filled stairs as the elevator is out of order.
They knock at the door, but no reply.
They listen.
Justin hears muffled sounds from within. He picks the lock, draws his trusty .38 and swings the door open…
Mr Elias is sprawled on the bed, an african man standing over him. A pale, sick-looking caucasian man is by the half-open window, letting cold wind and snow into the room. Both wear ill-fitting black suits and strange headdresses with a sickly red tentacle thing protruding from the forehead. At the sound of the door opening, both men swing around, brandishing long mean pranga knives.

Kneeling, Justin tells them to drop the weapons, but they do not heed his call. Suddenly, a hidden third man (african descent, same outfit as the other two) emerges from behind the door and makes a machete swing for Justin’s arm. He misses and Justin shoots him point-blank, hitting in the crotch (special success), sending the man falling back, bleeding profusely. He is dead before he hits the floor. The man besides the bed starts moving towards the door and the detective pulls the trigger a second time, hitting the man in the head (point blank, special success again). The man topples over on the bed, blood and brain matter splattered everywhere. The last man tries to make a run for the window and the fire escape, but H.P fires his .45 from the door, hitting the man in the thigh, taking out a large chunk of flesh. Screaming and cursing, the man tries to crawl out on the fire escape, never letting go of the jungle knife.

The PCs run into the room, covering the corners and closing the door, but before they manage to do that, a fat Clark Gable-stashed man dressed in socks, boxer underpants and a slimy gagball hanging around his neck emerges from room 409, followed by a young woman dressed in a kinky leather outfit, complete with riding crop and all. Ulla says that it’s “police business” and ushers them into their room before closing the door to room 410.

Carl hustles over to the bed and throws the dead killer off the bed. Jackson Elias is very dead, his chest cut open, entrails hanging out. In his forehead the crazy killers have carved a strange symbol. The sight is very disturbing, especially for Ulla who feels her sanity threatened by the scene.

Meanwhile, Justin tries to keep the killer inside the room, grappling with him, but he manages to keep the knife arm free and chops at Justin. Justin drags down the window, trapping the man at the waist and then he handcuffs his leg to the radiator. The man struggles, cursing, but cannot break free. From the window, Justin spots a somewhat beat up black sedan standing across the street, below the fire escape, a man staring at them. He manages to get the license plate before the man dashes and jumps into the car. As it is speeding away through the snow, H.P takes a shot with his .45, but the range is too great for a hit.

Realizing that he will be caught, the trapped killer screams something unintelligble and cuts his own throat with the razor sharp pranga. He dies convulsing, hanging out on the fire escape. Searching the body, the PCs find needle marks on his arms and a case with a glass syringe and needle. Dope fiend it seems…

Now, people are gathering in the corridor. Serge is knocking at the door asking Mr. Elias how he is. In the distance, police sirens can be heard.

Hastily, the PCs search the bodies of the killers as well as Mr. Elias. Elias has nothing of interest on him, but the killers carry many items that they have clearly stolen from Elias. In Elias luggage they find a passport with stamps from many exotic locations around the globe.

Outside the door a throng of people has gathered – staff and hotel guests, eager to see what is going on, banging on the door, demanding that someone opens it. Realizing that they look quite suspicious, the two non-police PCs decide to flee the scene before the cops arrive.
Detective Case opens the door and orders the onlookers away. Serge is sent to the reception to guide the police to the proper room.

In the ensuing chaos, Ulla and Carl sneak out, farily confident that they haven’t been observed. In the lobby they leave the hotel as the uniforms come storming in. As they move down the dark and snowy street they catch a glimpse of someone in the reception pointing their way…

The real police arrive, a team of three uniformed officers with weapons drawn, led by a Lt. Martin Poole. Glad to find fellow police officers already on the scene, the Lt. talks to Justin and H.P. Apparently this is the 9th ritual killing under similar circumstances. Lt. Poole says that they have investigated the afroamerican woodoo cults in Harlem, but no one seems to be willing to talk to the cops. And they have found no connection between the victims either – rich, poor, men, women, caucasians and africans – it seems these killers will murder anyone, but the reason why is unknown.

Poole wants Justin and H.P to come to the police station the next day with a written report and to discuss more. The PCs leave the room as the police starts investigating and documenting the scene.

After the debacle at the hotel, Ulla and Carl hurry to New York University, where Professor Anthony Cowles is having a lecture at 8 pm, as the pamphlet found in Elias’s room inform. Despite being late, they manage to hear most of the lecture and even get to talk a few words with the professor afterwards. Apparently, Cowles and Elias knew each others works and was fans of each others scholarly pursuits, but they had never met. Being dragged away by other lecture attenders, Prof. Cowles even invites the investigators to visit him at Miskatonic University in Arkham if they want to discuss more. Suddenly a jolly “Hello, old chap” is heard – Carl turns around and spots his old comrade in arms – Edward Foxworthy – the south african big game hunter!

And here we had to stop for today…

For the players: Clues, maps, photos and other game materials are in the shared Dropbox. Study them closely, as if your lives depended in it.

Come to think of it, actually, they do…

Session 17 – The Stoneheart Dungeon VIII (Lost Lands)


Rusty the Rust Monster

Game System | Blood & Treasure Complete (1st ed)

Setting/World | The Lost Lands by Frog God Games

Dramatis Personae

Blitz Dunkelsturm | Mountain Dwarf Cleric of Jamboor 6 [Death domain] | Berndt

Haxxl Rosethorne | Wild Elf Duelist 5 | Berndt

Angelina d’Monica III | Human Assassin 5 [Acrobat variant] | Djuro

Alba Dayanite | Half Elf Psychic/Magic-User 3  | Djuro

Hoder | Ogre Fighter 4 [Brute variant] | Flan

Fenrir the Vain | Human Barbarian 4 [Thane variant] | Flan

The Old Sleaze | Human Sorcerer 5 | Martin

Make Me | Human Paladin 4 | Martin

Meatshields & NPCs

Man-At-Arms | Garfield

Absent this session

Rektolas | High Elf Fighter 4 | Mats

Nitrolas | High Elf Magic-User 4 | Mats

Session Seventeen – Spiders and shit

Level-ups this session: Alba Psy/M-U 4, Hoder Ftr 5, Fenrir Bbn 5 and Make Me Pal 5.

Obituaries (Gallery of Honor)

The preivious session ended with a bang, followed by a massive assault by the flying vermin known as stirges. This happened as the PCs tried to traverse the great wall in the main cavern on level 2. We started this session with the PCs tired, bleeding and in Blitz’s case toasted by the green fiery blast of some arcane fire trap. After some rest and healing, using up a lot of the party’s healing reserves, our reluctant heroes decided to press on.

The natural wall seemed to divide the cavern in two parts as they had seen from the top, with a steep drop on the other side as well. It also acted as a ledge/path, with two dark cave openings on each side, leading into the rock. Above each entrance, an eerie runic pattern was glowing faintly. After some bickering on who was going in there, Angelina D’Monica the assassin went into the right (south east) opening. Almost immediately, the pathway started sloping down leading to a stair cut from the rock and turning straight east. The stairs ended in a corridor, tapering up to become a narrow but high ceilinged cavern with several smaller side corridors to the north and south. The most striking thing though was the thick spider-web like structures walling off passage to the east, north and south. Dead end it seemed. Angelina (being a human) tried to set the nets on fire, but they wouldn’t burn. After trying to cut them end getting the sword stuck she tried to shove the torch under the webs to see further, noticing dead stirges trapped in the nets. It seemed the eastern approach (the main cave) was all impenetrable, but the side corridor going south wasn’t that thick. After gathering the rest of the party, Alba the psychic wizard used her Ray of Frost spell to insta-freeze the web strands, which made them easy to break. After som intensive spell casting and hard work they moved south, finding themselves in a new corridor going east-west, but walled-off to the east by more webs.

They PCs carefully snuck west, finding themselves in a small circular 3-room cave system. One room contains several corpses. Some desiccated and some fresh. The desiccated ones seem devoid of content, like a “skin costume” with no innards. Pretty gross.

The floor of the other room is littered with shiny things, mostly coins. As the PCs are moving about investigating, a huge 8-feet spiky spider suddenly manifests in their midst and attacks! There is a frantic fight, with the spider mysteriously disappearing and re-appearing in another place, but they manage to slay it without any casualties and continue to loot the area, finding some jewelry, a magic sword and a ring of invisibility (which the assassin takes).

Since they now are wounded and loaded down with loot (which they transport by means of a Floating Disc spell by Alba) they decide to head back to the hidden Temple of Law, which has become their sanctuary and loot collection place while in the dungeon, to take a longer rest and tend their wounds. However, while in the Temple, settling down to rest, Make Me the paladin hears a scuttling noise in the corridor outside. Angelina and Haxxel goes out to scout, Angelina taking point with her invisibility ring. What they find is most disturbing. A huge spider (like the one they slew earlier) has apparently followed them into their hiding place! Maybe it’s not as safe as they thought it would be…? The PCs attack and with joined forces they manage to put down the evil creature. And finally, they get some rest.

Well rested and recuperated, the PCs decide to check the right (north west) corridor upon the ledge. Angelina D’Monica puts on the ring of invisibility and ventures into the dark opening. After but a few feet, everything turns black. Like really, really black. She has to feel herself back to the opening. It seems that even darkvision cannot pierce this ungodly darkness. Hoder the Ogre warrior decides to brave the danger. The dark corridor slopes down, turning right (west) as he goes. After some 50 feet, a stairway leads down, ending up in a non-black corridor leading west. Hoder fetches the rest of the crew and they continue exploration, moving into a small cavern, where they catch a faint purring sound. On a heap of old fabric scraps, a strange creature is resting, a rune-engarved dog collar around it’s neck. It has an armadillo-like body with a long tail ending in a fishtail-like shape and it’s head is adorned with twin feather-like long antennae (like a night-moth). Upon spotting the PCs, the creature gives up a yelp and jumps up like a happy dog, approaching the PCs.

(GM note: The players immediately recognize the creature, but the characters have never encountered anything like it so we play out their ignorance, supported by a few botched intelligence and monster lore checks, resulting in a very fun encounter).

After a few rounds of battle (and a few destroyed metal items) some of the players suspect that the monster has something to do with their rapidly decaying weapons and armor, but they keep attacking as they can’t do anything else. The creature is eventually slain, but at the cost of armor details, weapons and even one mighty magic sword. The PCs realizes that the rust-bringing antennae can be usable and cut them off (one more dagger gone). Then Blitz casts Gentle Repose* on them to keep them from going sour. They then decide to try the antennae on the bronze door they couldn’t force in the partially flooded area on level 1. Without searching more where they are, they hurry to the bronze door (to ensure that the antennae doesn’t lose their ability to digest metal). And yes – touching an antenna on the previously impenetrable bronze door makes it rust and crumble in an instant*, revealing a steep staircase leading down into the bowels of the Earth. The first stop is a small room (10×20 ft) with no apparent exits, and a stairway going even further down. They decide to follow the stairs.

*= I don’t know if Rust Monster antennae are supposed to work after death, but this was good and creative thinking so of course it worked 🙂

After a long climb down, they end up in a man-made corridor making a 90° turn toward the right (west). Faint cries of agony (or ecstasy?) can be heard echoing… They peak around the corner, Miami Vice style, and see two rotting zombie-like undead with swords and shields and three of the blood soaked, red eyed skeletal abominations like they encountered at the diabolic blood-fountain up above. One of the zombies is also carrying a filthy skin drum around its decayed neck. The dwarven cleric jumps around the corner, trying to turn the abominations, but he fails miserably, as does the paladin. The only option now is to fight, bu the cramped corridor only allows a two-man front. Haxxel suspects that the drum might be an alarm device and manages to put an arrow through the drum skin, muffling the sound and nailing the drum to the chest of the zombie. And here we leave our heroes, weapons drawn, facing a group of unrelenting undead…

Actually a good cliffhanger and the end of Season 1 of our adventures in the Lost Lands.

Next session we will create characters for the 1920s Call of Cthulhu mega adventure Masks of Nyarlahotep. And of course, play reports will be posted here as usual.

Stay tuned for more tabletop RPG action from A Fistful of d20s!