Session 7 | New York | Stealer of Souls

shadow-of-azathoth

There is no life in the Void. Or…?

Game system: Call of Cthulhu 6th ed

Dramatis personae

Justin Case | NYPD Detective | 32 yrs | Djuro

H.P Rennfarth | NYPD Forensics specialist | 27 yrs | Mats

Carl Blackwater | Foreign correspondent | 31 yrs | Martin

Edward Foxworthy | Big game hunter | 34 yrs | Flan


New Character

Slim Shady | Attorney | 46 yrs | Djuro

Link to background stories and portraits


hercule-poirot

Slim Shady. Attorney-At-Law at your service.

Slim Shady is…(story to come)

Stealer of souls

New York, Sunday, January 18th, 1925 | about 9 p.m

I could sleep for a thousand years…

The session started with the PCs gathered in the dingy laundry-turned-makeshift-home on a Harlem backstreet. Patching up wounds, resting, some even resorting to booze to calm the nerves. Always interested Carl Blackwater sits down to keep up on the news. In the newspaper he spots an interesting article in the business section – it concerns a business deal involving the Carlyle Estate, mentioning Ms. Carlyle’s attorney, a certain Bradley Grey. Might be a lead.

The Black Sphinx

Meanwhile, Case, Foxworthy and Rennfarth discuss the black sphinx statue that they saw in the Ju Ju shop. It sticks out as odd, being the only Egyptian item in a shop full of African stuff. On a whim, they decide to check out the shop again to see if the statue’s still there.

Spotting no movement, the three amigos sneak out into the alley using the laundry’s back door. The door to the African shop is marked with a sign: “Crime Scene. Do not enter.” Case picks the lock, letting Rennfarth and Foxworthy into the shop. Rennfarth and Case stay near the exit while the big game hunter delves deeper into the shadows. The black sphinx sits just where it was last time. Suddenly, Foxworthy hears something, like someone sneaking or shuffling. The sound comes from behind the drapes behind the counter. Moving there quickly, Foxworthy finds himself face to face with a decomposed but still moving thing, dressed in fisherman’s attire, still sporting a rubber fisherman’s hat! Foxworthy stumbles back but quickly comes up with a fiendish plan, running on the outside of the counter to the opposite side, luring the zombie-thing behind the counter where it falls into the hole in the floor where the hatch down to the cult temple used to be!

Accompanied by the living dead’s wailings, the scurrilous companions grab the sphinx and head back to the laundry.

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The Black Sphinx

Poring over the statue, even Foxworthy*, who’s the most knowledgeable in things African cannot determine anything about its origins. Black, extremely smooth and dense stone with hieroglyphs carved around its base. Even to the untrained eye, the glyphs look crude and different from the ones commonly seen in museum exhibits. It’s obviously Egyptian, but other than that – nothing.

*Foxworthy’s player is actually a trained archaeologist with a special interest in Egyptology, so I knew they would go for the sphinx…

Teamwork and favors

Suddenly, there’s a bang on the door. Outside, Mr. Giuseppin stands outside wringing his greasy hands, accompanied by a distinguished man in a very expensive tailored suit, with a cashmere coat hanging over his shoulders. Behind them is three menacing looking men, also in fine suits, with telltale bulges under their jackets and one carrying a violin case.

The landlord introduces the obvious leader as Mr. Sangiovese, an associate of his. Upon request, the other men are presented as Mr. Sangiovese’s “uncles”, despite being younger than him. Mr. Sangiovese asks to come in as he has “an offer” for them. His dead fish eyes reveals nothing.

After som bickering at the door, Misters Sangiovese, Giuseppin and “uncle Frank” is let in while the rest takes post outside.

After commenting on the PCs interior decorator, Mr. Sangiovese sits down on one of the few chairs and lays out his case in a heavy New Yorker Italian accent. In short:

  • He knows that the police PCs are personae non grata in the police force at the moment. He knows the feeling. Pigs.
  • He knows that the PCs have been successful in combatting the Africans, his “business competitors”, and says that his enemy’s enemies are his friends. Teamwork, right?
  • He also now knows where the PCs are holing out, since Mr. Guiseppin works for him, and wouldn’t it be a shame if the address came out to, say, the Africans? Great shame.
  • In other words, he would like to propose a deal where the PCs help him out with some “domestic problems” in exchange for his silence.

After presenting his case, Mr. Sangiovese carefully wipes his hands as if having touched something very gross and bids his farewell, promising to be in touch about “that favor” shortly.

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Mr. Guiseppin

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Mr. Sangiovese and a few “uncles”

MSDUNTO EC020

Left to right: Luca “88 Magnum”, Mr. Sangiovese, “Vito the Sledgehammer”, “Handsome Frank” and “The Swede”

The Stealer of Souls

After the visit by the “Italian businessmen”, Detective Case wants to try the African mask a second time. He has now learned a new incantation, scribbled in the book “Africa’s Dark Sects” and he thinks those words are what the bearded being asked for last time he tried the mask. At last, the secrets of the mask will be revealed!

Not.

Case puts on the mask. Foxworthy and Blackwater see it fuse to his face and witness him convulse, still standing, staring wide-eyed into nothingness. After half a minute Case collapses to the floor, the mask falling off spontaneously. The brave police detective’s face is frozen in terror! Blood vessels in the eyes have burst, making the eyes all reddish and there’s a trickle of blood from his left nostril as well as a great deal of drool coming out of his mouth. He is mumbling something unintelligible sounding like: “Asha, asha, asha…”

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“It was just a dream. It must have been…”

Keeper note: Case’s player managed to roll really bad here, first rolling a bad result on what the mask did, then missing his San roll, thereby losing 65 SAN points in one go, instantly kicking him down to SAN zero!  I can’t discern what happened to poor Case here as my players read this, but his mind has been shaken to its very foundations, leaving him an empty shell of a human…

Not much left to do but to tuck poor Case in and finally get some sleep as everyone is dead tired after having been active for almost 24 hours. Although they do not sleep very well, hearing Case’s occasional screams: “Asha! Asha! Asha!”

New York, Monday 19th, 1925 | about 8.30 a.m

The Psych Ward

The first thing the next morning, Rennfarth notifies the Police Chief about what has happened to Case. It is decided that they should take Detective Case to the New York State Psychiatric Hospital, to Professor Hans Schmiedke whose assistance the police department usually relies on in cases where mental issues are involved.

At the hospital, another figure also turns up. The police chief has asked Slim Shady of the law firm “Shady Law Ltd.” to attend. Mr. Shady has been Case’s attorney on many occasions and is now there to ensure that Mr. Case’s rights are preserved.

After a cursory examination, Prof. Schmiedke quickly concludes that Case is in dire need of in-hospital treatment and the mad police detective is admitted into their care. It is decided that his affairs are to be overseen and monitored by his attorney. The attorney is immediately intrigued by what has befallen Case and volunteers (well for a nominal fee at least) to assist the PCs in legal matters in relation to the case, which they happily accept. He is, after all, a bit of a socialite in New York high society and knows some powerful people and he is well versed in the workings of the law.

Guns, guns, guns

Meanwhile, Foxworthy goes to his favorite arms dealer in New York to replace his lost elephant gun. He completes his purchase with extra boxes of ammunition.

Columbia University Department of Arts & Archaeology

Since they can’t figure out the Black Sphinx statuette, the PCs takes photographs of it and brings them (and the statuette, hidden in the car) to see Dr. Brantenberger at the archaeology department at Columbia University. The good archaeologist is known as one of the best Egyptologists in New York. Dr. Brantenberger is delighted over the photos and says that the sphinx is indeed an unusual one, as are the glyphs engraved on the base. However, he cannot tell any specifics before having time to consult his books and colleagues. It ends with the PCs leaving the statue at Columbia for 24 (48?) hours in order to have it properly examined.

Robert Huston’s medical files

Having promised to help with the case, Shady arranges a lunch meeting with Judge Carruthers in order to obtain a warrant for the release of Dr. Robert Huston’s files on Roger Carlyle. Carruthers is hesitant to open up the old case, but having heard Shady out, he agrees to Shady’s suggestions. The PCs pick up the papers and go straight to the Medical Board, where they get the files without much hassle.

After having studied the files, they conclude:

  • Huston treated Robert Carlyle on behalf of his sister Erica, who already knew the doctor.
  • Robert Carlyle had been having nightmares about an Egyptian-looking dark figure. As a consequence, he had been sleeping bad and his sister sent him to Huston.
  • The repeating dream involved said dark godlike figure and a strange asymmetric pyramid – again the Egyptian theme.
  • The files mention someone called M’Weru, Anastacia and My Priestess. These names appear to relate to the same person.
  • Carlyle did not consider the dream to be a dream, but rather a call from a god on the other side, which of course was refuted by Huston as a sign of psychic issues.
  • The files also suggest that Carlyle had a catch on Huston. Something secret that Carlyle knew about Huston, that Carlyle threatened to expose if Huston did not go with him.

Keeper note: Handout #24 – added  to Dropbox

The PCs conclude that they really must meet up with the elusive Erica Carlyle. Partly in order to present the idea that her brother isn’t dead (and maybe get her patronage for their investigations) and partly because they have indications that Robert Carlyle’s occult books are still in the Carlyle mansion library.

The attorney happens to know Erica’s lawyer, Mr. Bradley Grey, and sets up a lunch meeting at a fancy restaurant to try to get access to her upper-class party this very evening.

New York Library

While Shady is having lunch with Bradley Grey, Blackwater and Foxworthy goes to the New York Library to do some news clip research on M’Weru and what might have happened to Dr. Huston that Roger Carlyle was blackmailing him about.

The M’Weru trail gives nothing, but they find a short newspaper clipping that mentions the suicide of a certain Miss Imelda Bosch, who was Dr. Hustons ex-girlfriend and who apparently ended her own life after Huston broke up with her. As he was a famous psychiatrist, the suicide of his ex-girlfriend would, of course, be a scoop for the tabloids. This might be the reason for Carlyle’s blackmail.

Keeper note: Handout #24a – added  to Dropbox

Lunch with Bradley Grey

After convincing Mr. Grey that he represents some foreign investors having business interests with the Carlyle financial sphere, Grey agrees to meet for lunch at the Ritz. Shady manages to convince Grey (critical Persuasion roll!) into arranging a meeting with Miss Carlyle, as he has vital intelligence on a recent big business deal that is to be concluded soon, and it is imperative that he meets her in person on behalf of his employers. Shady suggests that they can meet tonight at the party at her estate and even manages to convince the lawyer to arrange for four invitations to the party as he must bring his associates as well. Grey agrees to send the invitations to Shady’s downtown fancy offices ASAP. Good man.

Tuxedo or Evening attire?

The PCs meet up and share what they have found. They also realize that they must hurry to rent some decent evening wear for the party!


And here we had to stop for the evening. To be continued.

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3 Comments

  1. I love how the Players are interacting with the surrounding world and not just following the clue trail, its making everything interesting, new and different from all the other Masks games out there.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    1. Thanks Mr. Butters! Well, I’ve decided to let the dogs of improvisation free on this one. And I usually do that when it comes to CoC. For some reason, this game is unique in its ability to engage the players. Two of them work at the same company and they told me that they had spent a whole lunch discussin clues and what the next move should be. That never happens when we play other games. Anyway, thanks for commenting and see you Sunday 🙂

      Like

      Reply

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