Session 25| Egypt |Chtonian echoes

 

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Can you say Cuh-tho-nian?

Game system: Call of Cthulhu 6th ed

Dramatis personae

Carl Blackwater | Foreign correspondent | 31 yrs | Martin

Edward Foxworthy | Big game hunter | 34 yrs | Flan

Slim Shady | Attorney | 46 yrs | Djuro

Walter Wannabi | Explorer| 44 yrs | Flan

Preben van Task | Treasure hunter| 40 yrs | Djuro

Herrman Germain | Spy| 42 yrs | Martin

Absent this session

Kent Bengtsson | Aviator | 38 yrs | Berndt (in New York)

H.P Rennfarth | NYPD Forensics Specialist | 27 yrs | Mats (in Egypt)

Link to background stories and portraits

Written under the influence of Elliott Smith


Cairo, Wednesday, March 4th, 1925 | midnight (i.e. very early morning)

Das ist ein groovy party, ja?

Still, shell shocked from the orgiastic ritual beneath the sands, Germain and Walter find themselves back in the desert night near the great sphinx of Giza, among the throng of cultists going back to Cairo or wherever they came from. Walter catch a glimpse of the German he met earlier and decides to strike up a conversation. The fellow countrymen decide to discuss culty things over a bier or two. Walter gets to tag along as well, I mean we are all cultists here, right?

Sprech offers Herrman and Walter a ride back in his Mercedes. Arriving in Cairo Walter suggests that they go for a drink at the Gentlemen Club. I mean, who can sleep after such a glorious orgy? Dressed in djellabas, the men set out for a night in town…

Sprech turns out to be a friendly and likable fellow and it’s hard to imagine him as a die-hard cultist. Despite trying to get him drunk and spill some vital information, the man only reveals that he’s an archaeologist and that he works for the Clive Expedition at their dig site since 5 months, over at Memphis. It also becomes evident that Sprech is a health and physical culture enthusiast. The man is ripped and doesn’t drink nearly as much as the PCs had in mind.

After an hour or so of conversation, Sprech excuses himself as he has to get to bed:

“-Early morning desert run tomorrow you know!”

A little disappointing on the info, but the PCs manage to secure an invitation to visit the Clive Expedition’s dig site, should they be in the vicinity of Memphis.

Picking up the pieces

After what feels like an endless drive through the desert night the rest of the PCs finally manage to hobble back to the hotel, where they crash into bed. Since they suspect that Omar Shakti’s Duesenberg might be a tad conspicuous in the streets of Cairo, they decide to hide the car in an old garage on the outskirts of Cairo. After covering the glorious car under a dirty tarp they all make the last leg of the ride in the old truck.

Cairo, Wednesday, March 24th, 1925 | morning

Damage control

After a late breakfast the next morning, Mohammed is tasked with returning the old truck to Hassan’s Garage for repairs and then search for clues about the missing Dutch archaeologist Janwillem Vanheuvelen, who they have learned was fired from the Clive Expedition on the grounds of excessive drinking and related incompetence. Rumor has it that the man is still in Cairo due to monetary issues (i.e. he couldn’t afford a ticket home). Maybe the man knows something?

The wounded men (Preben and Slim) then calls for a physician to patch them up as good as is possible.

Walter walks to the British Soldier Pub, where he hopes to find some semi-drunk grunt to talk into selling him more ammunition for the Maxim MG. Walter manages to hook up with a not-too-fussy Scotsman who will investigate the “possibilities for a mutually beneficial business agreement”. They agree to meet in the pub the next day – maybe to make a deal.

Chthonian echoes

The PCs suspect that the tunnel under the Mosque of Ibn-Tulun might connect with the cultist temple under the Sphinx. Only one way to find out, right?

Without much ado, Walter, Carl, and Slim decide to return to the mosque to investigate the tunnel. No one is guarding the police barriers, so it’s easy to get into the tunnel.

They follow the circular tunnel for about a kilometer before it turns. Maybe in the direction of the desert and Giza. It’s hard to determine the underground.

Suddenly the men become aware of a weak buzzing sound. It’s almost as if something is in their heads. Then the ground starts to vibrate. First almost un-perceptible, then definitely perceptible. The men decide to haul ass, but about halfway back to the exit, they are hit by a gush of hot air as if a subway train is moving towards them in the tunnel.

Then they see the monstrous thing that comes steaming through the tunnel at a high speed. As there’s no time to get away, the men turn around and fire away at the giant slug-like thing. Luckily, Slim brought the Maxim MG with him. And this time he actually hits! Shooting from the hip, emptying a band of rounds into the thing’s jelly-like flesh, shooting away large chunks of stinky slug tissue.

But this doesn’t stop the assault. Both Carl and Walter is hit by the creature’s tentacles, taking serious damage in the process. Despite this, all three continue the barrage of lead and eventually the thing stops moving, completely obstructing the tunnel. The pressure in their heads vanishes the moment the creature stops moving.

The men exit the tunnel, where curious locals have gathered. As the dirty and bloody foreigners exit the rubble, people make signs to keep away djinni. The fear is however short-lasting when they realize that the men offer them money to dig out the creature in the tunnel. The men also pay a boy from the street to run and get Nigel Wassif from The Cairo Bulletin. There’s a scoop to be made here.

However, before Wassif arrives, police, fire department and medical personnel arrive at the scene and put an end to the digging. In order to escape capture, the PC:s discretely disappear from the scene…

  • Herrman and Slim take up a position in the rented hovel of a house, across the street from the mosque of Ibn-Tulun.
  • Walter is taken to the hospital for medical care, where Edward is also recuperating.
  • Preben and Carl go back to the hotel after having left Walter at the hospital.

Later that evening, Mohammed returns to the hotel with the news that he has found Janwillem Vanheuvelen’s address: Street of the Moths.

Cairo, Thursday, March 5th, 1925 | morning

Seek me here, seek me there…

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The Old City

Rising early, the PCs leave the hotel for a meeting with Janwillem Vanheuvelen. The Street of the Moths turns out to be located in one of the poorest sections of the Old City, and the PCs are quite the attraction, as no tourists ever find their way here.

The address turns out to be a tailor’s shop. As the PCs arrive, they see a proper old gentleman shooing out cats from a well-kept but low-budget tailor’s shop. When the man sees the foreigners, he lights up in a broad smile and invites them into the shop, offering exquisite (but old-fashioned) suits for the effendi‘s.

When the tailor realizes that the PCs are there to meet Vanheuvelen, he becomes surly and points to a red door in the back of the shop. The door is opened by an unkempt and nervous man who introduces himself as Herr Vanheuvelen with a breath that smells of old booze.

 

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The Dutchman

The room is minimal and the air is stale. There’s a small cot, a crude table with books on archaeology and a likewise crude chair. Light is provided by candles stuck in old wine bottles. Suspicious at first, the man lights up when offered food and a drink and not before long, they are in a cheap restaurant, interviewing the Dutch archaeologist.

In pace with Slim filling up Vanehuvelen’s wine glass, the man spills his story:

  • He started working with the Clive Expedition when they arrived in Cairo.
  • He was working with them in Giza when the tomb with the unidentified female mummy was discovered.
  • He thinks that the mummy was a once great ruler named “Nitocris”.
  • He tells the story about how the mummy mysteriously disappeared one night, along with the guards and says that they also found a gold chest containing some very interesting scrolls in good shape.
  • He claims that he was fired based on cut expenses.
  • Vanheuvelen has nothing but praise for the members of the Clive Expedition, especially one Martin Winfield and Johannes Sprech. The other two, Agatha Broadmoor and James Gardner are also both nice and competent, but the Dutchman adds that he feels that their theories about ancient Egypt and the occult are a bit far-fetched.
  • As disappointed as he is with not working with the expedition anymore, the Dutchman also says that he has made another find that will make him rich and famous. In a tiny temple, he has found a set of scrolls containing an unknown tract setting forth ancient Egyptian rituals. The scrolls must be at least 13th century, if not earlier. He’s translating them now and in a few days, maybe a week he will have it finished.
  • The man shows them a hand-written notebook (complete with wine stains), written in Dutch. Herrmann doesn’t understand too much but can deduce that the title is Black Rites of Luveh-Keraph.

As Vanheuvelen tells his story, the PCs notices that on several occasions, cats enter the restaurant and strolls over to him. The man seems scared of the cats and scares them away by tossing things at them. As they exit the restaurant, they observe that a large group of cats (maybe 10-15) has converged outside the place, and they seem to watch and follow the Dutchman as he walks home…

And this is where we had to break for the evening. Don’t miss the next session of our Masks of Nyarlahotep game!

Summary of PC:s physical and mental health

  • Edward – wounded and hospitalized
  • Walter – wounded and hospitalized
  • Carl – wounded, but still active
  • Herrmann – reasonably healthy and still active
  • Slim – wounded, but healing at an uncanny rate and still active
  • Preben – wounded, but still active

Action! Suspense! Bizarre humor! Mystery!

Be sure to follow A Fistful of d20’s continued struggle against the God of a Thousand Faces! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Session 24 | Egypt | What happens in Giza stays in Giza

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Game system: Call of Cthulhu 6th ed

Dramatis personae

Carl Blackwater | Foreign correspondent | 31 yrs | Martin

Edward Foxworthy | Big game hunter | 34 yrs | Flan

Slim Shady | Attorney | 46 yrs | Djuro

Walter Wannabi | Explorer| 44 yrs | Flan

Preben van Task | Treasure hunter| 40 yrs | Djuro

Herrman Germain | Spy| 42 yrs | Martin

Absent this session

Kent Bengtsson | Aviator | 38 yrs | Berndt (in New York)

H.P Rennfarth | NYPD Forensics Specialist | 27 yrs | Mats (in Egypt)

Link to background stories and portraits

Written under the influence of Dorothy


 

Cairo, Wednesday, March 4th, 1925 | very early morning (night between Tuesday and Wednesday)

Killer eyes

Last session we left off in the middle of the night assault on Omar Shakti’s river Nile mansion. Present are Carl and Slim and the new guys: Preben, Herrmann, and Walter. Edward is in the hospital due to the grave wounds he received when fighting the underground tentacled horror under the Mosque of Ibn Tulun.

Walter and Carl are inside the house, looking for clues and evidence for Shakti’s involvement in the theft of the Girdle of Nitocris, while the rest are fighting hordes of cultists (or farmers?) outside.

MoN tactical map

Tactical map. Red triangles are PC kill zones.

Inside the mansion I

Inside the house, Carl and Walter are advancing cautiously from room to room. When they enter the main hallway a servant starts shooting from the stairway up. Carl and Walter return fire and sends the man sprawling against the wall. A sound is heard from the salon. Inside, a housemaid is hiding behind a sofa, hiding something behind her back. When she won’t put her hands in the air, Walter shoots her dead.

“-Better safe than sorry, right?” he nods to Carl, who turns away in disgust.

“-Maybe she just didn’t understand English?”

Turning the body over, they see that she was hiding a large kitchen knife behind her back…

“-See, Carl. You can’t trust anyone these days.”

As the search of the 1st floor turns yields no interesting results, the trigger-happy investigators advance up the stairs, carefully stepping over the dead servant in the stairs…

Outside I

After some fruitless frontal attacks, the enemies outside have resorted to more advanced tactics. Instead of charging straight at the house over open ground en masse, smaller groups of cultists try to flank the defending PCs. One group is advancing along the east wall of the living quarters while another has dug in at the northwest corner of the cotton warehouse and the battle now has changed to a situation more akin to trench fighting. The attackers outnumber the PCs greatly but they are lousy shots and both Herrmann and Preben manage to pick off several sneaky bastards while only receiving minor scratches. Slim fires away with the Maxim machine gun but manages to hit almost nothing to his great dismay.

Inside the mansion II

Carl and Walter sweep the silent upper floor of the mansion. The rooms are ordinary – several neat and clean bedrooms and a bathroom. The most interesting area is the study, complete with a huge jacaranda writing desk and what looks like expensive art adorning the walls. As the PCs enter, Walter hears a sound from the direction of the desk. Looking closer, it is evident that someone is hiding under the desk. Walter walks up to the desk, crouches, and fires both shotgun barrels through the front of the desk… There is a silent thud and blood starts seeping out. Dragging the body out reveals a well-groomed and good-looking young man in an expensive off-white suit. Walter mutters that this must be a secretary or something akin. Behind one of the paintings, the PCs find an old French safe built into the wall. Carl remembers that the German chap found a key on what was left of Shakti’s body and runs down to get it.

The key works. Inside the safe, they find business records, 250 Egyptian Pounds and a handwritten log book which lists 5 years of international shipments of Egyptian artifacts sent to Ho Fong Imports, 15 Kaoyang Street, Shanghai or to Randolph Shipping Company, Port Darwin, Australia. Inside the book are also a hand-written note from someone named “A.P.” to Omar Shakti (Clue #30).

Searching the last bedrooms, they also come upon a servant, hiding in a pillow fort. It doesn’t help against Walter’s shotgun though…

As the men search the pillow fort room, Carls spots something going on outside. It seems that the cultists have reinforced a 2-wheel wagon by adding metal plates to the front and sides, effectively creating a huge shield on wheels, which they use to advance across the open space in front of the house, while simultaneously launching new attacks on the east and west flanks.

Outside II

After some time of much more intermittent shooting, suddenly the cultist attacks become more ferocious again. Black-clad fanatics shoot from the western flank and on the eastern flank, they attack again. And in the courtyard area, a new attack is launched, where many cultists advance over the open ground protected by a steel-reinforced cart that they push ahead of them!

On the east flank, Preben has valiantly held off many attackers but now his luck runs out as he is hit pretty bad by two bullets, sending him reeling to the ground, unconscious (0 hp).

Meanwhile, Slim and Herrmann shoots away at the cart, but to no avail as they can’t see any targets.

Suddenly, there’s the sound of broken glass as Carl and Walter join the fight from their elevated position in the house. Luckily, they can shoot over the cart and hit the men hiding behind it, thus breaking up the assault. Slim sees that Preben is lying on the ground and moves the MG to Preben’s spot, pushing back the attackers with a spray of bullets before trying to patch up Preben’s wounds.

The increased resistance seems to break the morale of the attacking fellahin, who retreat and dig in, creating a Mexican standoff situation of sorts.

 Inside the mansion III

Having searched the upper floor, Carl and Walter ventures down again, where they find an entrance to a hidden basement. Down there, they find a dungeon complete with BDSM-style paraphernalia. In a cage, they find a dead man in a gimp outfit. By the looks of it, the man has been starved to death…

Burn motherfucker, burn

Disgusted by the whole affair, the PC:s decide to burn the place to the ground and get the hell out of Dodge. The mansion is doused with whatever burnable stuff they can find and as the flames claim the vile mansion along with any evidence of them being there, the PCs sneak out the back, stealing Shakti’s Duesenberg and disappear into the night, like desert djinni, with the old truck following behind.

Duesenburg (1)

Duesenberg Model J

What happens in Giza, stay in Giza…

Preben and Slim are badly wounded, but manage to get back to the hidden truck with the help of their comrades. As they prepare to leave for Cairo, Germain spots lights moving in the distance. Looking closer, it looks like a long line of lights, moving through the desert towards the Sphinx. Something is afoot, and despite having two wounded men in the group, the PC:s decide to investigate.

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The Sphinx at night

They drive as close as they can without risking to be spotted. Parking behind a sand dune, Carl stays behind guarding the car and taking care of the wounded men, while Germain and Walter trudge on. Moving closer, they soon realize that the line of lights is a large group of people walking towards the Sphinx, carrying torches and lanterns. The people seem to be both men and women, in varying ages but most are wearing simple kaftans or robes. The group is led by several men in black robes, carrying large golden inverted ankh necklaces.

As the long trail of people comes nearer the Sphinx, the leaders stop in front of the dream stele and start chanting. Towards the end of the line, the PC:s employ a most cunning plan, luring away two persons to a secluded area where they knock them out and take their kaftans. Strangely, both of them are naked under the robes.

“-Hmm. These chaps must be rather sweaty, I suppose” Walter says as he dons one of the stolen kaftans

Dressed in their new, err… airy garments, Germain and Walter rejoin the marching row of people. It’s hard to see what’s going up further up the line, but it seems as if people are entering the stele and disappear!

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The Dream Stele in front of the Sphinx

When they enter the stele, which is now translucent and completely aetheric, the PC:s instantly find themselves in a round stone chamber which exits into a tunnel, into which the cultists continue. The only light is produced by the lanterns of the walkers.

There is a feeling of immense weight and semi-claustrophobia in the tunnels, which are obviously man-made. Sometimes side tunnels open up into the darkness, but the crowd marches straight on, following the leaders. Along the tunnel, loathsome images adorn the walls, depicting men with the heads of animals, animals with human limbs and alien entities performing cruel, disgusting and obscene activities. Despite the oppressive and creepy feeling, the cultists seem joyous and almost ecstatic as they walk on.

After what feels like a very long time they arrive at an intersection guarded by people dressed up as the animal-things they saw earlier on the walls.

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Children of the Sphinx – obviously very clever costumes

“-Blimey, those costumes are most realistic!” Walter proclaims as he nods to a huge rhinoceros-clad gentleman as they descend the wide steps leading down to an immense hall (it’s so large so they can’t see the walls or the ceiling).

In the hall, thousands of robe-clad figures have gathered on the jet black smooth marble floor. The hall is only lit by a few wall-mounted torches along with the light sources that the cultists have brought. Somewhere up front, something emits a sickly red light that reflects from the smooth walls, but the PC:s can’t see the source.

In the opposite end of the great hall, a huge altar and a raised throne with sculpted tentacles, both made in some green stone, can be seen. Both are lit by several torches burning with a very strong vile yellow light.

Walter and Germain opt to remain near the exit as the crowd slowly moves nearer the altar. Everything goes quiet as a procession emerges along a bridgeway high in the air, leading to the throne. Four white-robed figures lead the procession, followed by two naked men and women and two animal-masked figures.

The figures in white all wear black inverted ankh necklaces. When they reach the center of the bridgeway they stop and address the crowd in a mix of Arabic, English, French and an unknown language. As the crowd cheers, they cast back their hoods, revealing two men and two women and point at the naked figures.

-“Let the Black Pharaoh have his prize!”

At this point, the animal-clad figures step forward and beat the naked ones, who do not resist at all. One by one, they are bludgeoned to death and thrown down to the floor, while the crowd screams in joy and ecstasy, dancing frantically and tearing off their robes, making obscene moves.

The experience is most disturbing, but even more disturbing is the fact that one of the white-clad priests is none other than Omar Shakti!

However, our friends have other things to bother about as the crowd around them explodes into an orgy of the flesh of unprecedented size, and while they try to sneak out in a most discreet manner, that is discouraged by the animal-men guarding the exit, meaning that Walter and Germain is forced to participate in the orgy (or so they say at least) in order not to be revealed as infidels, meaning sure death or worse.

Afterward, both men solemnly conclude that “what happens in Giza stay in Giza”…

Shame, shame, shame

After the orgy, the participants don their robes and head back the same way that they came. In contrast to before, the atmosphere is happy and almost giddy and people are discussing mundane things. The PC:s notice that the cultists seem to come from all walks of life and station. Poor or rich doesn’t matter in the eyes of the Pharaoh. The majority are naturally Egyptian, but quite a few turn out to be Europeans and even American accents can be heard.

As the exit the stele, entering the cold Sahara night, Germain lay his eyes on a blond Germanic-looking figure that he and starts a conversation. It turns out that the man is indeed German, a fellow named Johannes Sprech. Johannes is glad to meet a fellow countryman and tells Germain that he is an archaeologist currently working with the Clive Expedition. After some chit chat and discussion about the current affairs in Germany, the men decide to meet the following day for a bier and to discuss further.

The session ends with the PC:s driving through the desert night towards the lights of Cairo. And yes, they kept the Duesenberg…

And this is where we have to break for the evening. Don’t miss the next session of our Masks of Nyarlahotep game!


Action! Suspense! Bizarre humor! Mystery!

Be sure to follow A Fistful of d20’s continued struggle against the God of a Thousand Faces!