Session 13 | London/Essex | Tea and biscuits

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Marvellous art by Christine Mitzuk

Game system: Call of Cthulhu 6th ed

Dramatis personae

Carl Blackwater | Foreign correspondent | 31 yrs | Martin

Slim Shady | Attorney | 46 yrs | Djuro

Absent this session

Kent Bengtsson | Aviator | 38 yrs | Berndt

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

Edward Foxworthy | Big game hunter | 34 yrs | Flan

Link to background stories and portraits


Trying to make sense of things

London, UK, Thursday, February 5th, 1925 | morning

The morning after the terrible events at Gavigan’s Essex mansion finds the investigators tired and weary. Over breakfast tea and too-hard scones, they read about a grisly murder in the Daily Chronicle (Clue #27a), a grisly murder that pertains to them, as the victim is none other than Mr. Tewfik! The article states that the man was stabbed as well as shot in his Bethnal Green home – facts that the investigators know for sure have been fabricated. The article also mentions witnesses and three men disappearing in a London cab… Which means that someone is on their trail…

Securing the loot

They also discuss the possibility to arrange for shipping of the hitherto found artifacts to New York for safekeeping in the reinforced basement of Rennfarth’s antique store and end up calling Mr. Emerson of Emerson Import and Export in N.Y. Mr. Emerson promises to make inquiries with his London contacts about this and will call back the next day.

In preparation for the shipping, the PCs decide which items they will keep with them and which ones to ship home. They also cut loose the antediluvian swamp painting (that absorbed Slim Shady) and roll it up, stuffing it into a leather map field tube that Foxworthy bought. That way they can have the painting on hand at all times.

British Museum

British Museum, London, 1929

British Museum

They also decide to pay a visit to the scholars at British Museum to see if someone can help with identifying the black sphinx from the Ju-Ju shop. After some of the usual red tape, coupled with dreadful tea and dry biscuits, they get to see the head of the Egyptology department – museum curator John Hattersleigh. This polite but peculiar man is reserved at first, but when he lays eyes upon the black sphinx he becomes most excited. After a first look he says that he can’t decipher the most unusual hieroglyphs and demands the aid of the foremost expert on all things Egyptian, a Mr. Reginald C. Thorpe, Ph. D. Now, Dr. Thorpe is as confounded as Dr. Hattersleigh, so the consult Mr. Walter Frunck, Ph. D in Sumerology. Together they conclude that:

  • The hieroglyphs are unusual and probably very old
  • They show some similarities with Sumerian
  • More time is needed to study the glyphs properly
  • It is definitely the real deal and no newly made fake

 

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British Museum curator John Hattersleigh

 

It is decided that the academics may borrow the sphinx for about 48 hours after which the investigators will get it back along with any new insights pertaining the strange inscriptions or its origins.

 

The Penhew Foundation

The next stop is a second visit to the Penhew Foundation. Apparently, the staff on duty has no clue as to the whereabouts of Mr. Gavigan. It is claimed that he is ill at home and not available. Slim sees a chance and starts arguing about a fictive “most valuable statuette” that was left in Mr. Gavigan’s tender care at the time of their last visit and wouldn’t the staff now let them into Gavigan’s office to retrieve said statuette because they must return to the US this very day! Needless to say, the Foundation staff does not fall for Slim’s bluff and the whole thing ends up with the shady attorney literally being thrown out of the premises by security staff.

 

Gavigan’s residence

Not deterred by the debacle at the Penhew Foundation, our intrepid investigators locate a pub, where they consult the Metropolitan telephone registry over a pint, searching for Mr. Gavigan’s private address. It turns out that the man lives in a flat in the posh Mayfair area. Armed with this new knowledge, the PCs hail a cab and travel there. Gavigan lives in a three-story townhouse which is all deserted when they bang the door with a large brass lion knocker. To avoid unwanted attention, the investigators abstain from breaking and entering. Instead, they knock on the left neighbor’s door instead. A surly manservant opens the door, asking their business and is talked into getting the master of the house, a retired army colonel by the name of James St. John (pronounced sinjin).

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Gavigan’s residence in Mayfair

Despite his age, St. John is a most energic man, tall and imposing, with that obvious presence produced by a life of command. The old man orders tea and biscuits and invites the PCs to his library, complete with dusty hunting trophies and age-old unread tomes with leather covers.

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James St. John, complete with swagger stick

 

Other than the odd war story and assertions about what a “jolly good chap” Gavigan is, nothing new is learned from the colonel. The PCs leave the townhouse with nothing more than stomachs rumbling from extensive consumption of tea and biscuits…

Before leaving, the sneak into the back garden of Gavigan’s house, where they find a patio and a locked rear entrance. Keeping a low profile, they do not risk breaking into the house. This time.

After having spent most of the day visiting various places in London, learning next to nothing, the PCs decide that they need to go to the Essex Mansion again, to investigate the main building., as they had to flee a throng of crazed cultists last time.

 

Scotland Yard

Before going back to the hotel to equip themselves for their nightly mission to Essex, the PCs go to see Inspector Barrington about leaving for Derby later. The Inspector is suspicious at first, but having heard about the strange killings in Derby and Elias’s interest in the case, he agrees to the idea. Barrington also cautions them about using force or intimidation up there, stating that “the Yard has eyes and ears everywhere”.

 

Back to Essex

London, UK, Thursday, February 5th, 1925 | about 5 pm

After calling for Pete the cab driver and gearing up, the investigators leave for Essex as the sun sets. It is dark, cold and foggy as they leave the big city…

Pete parks the cab at a distance from the gates and the PCs sneak the last bit. From a small knoll, they reconnoiter the place. The gate has been temporarily mended and from what they can see, there’s only one guard at the gate. In the distance, lights can be seen in the mansion.

Climbing over the wall some 100 meters from the gate, the PCs sneak along the wall until they come to the gate. They manage to knock out the Egyptian guard without a sound and proceed by giving him a coup de grace. In the small guard shed next to the gate, they discover a phone. The guards probably use it to communicate with the main building, so the investigators disable it by cutting the cable. The dead guard is hidden by rolling his body into the muddy water nearby before moving towards the mansion through the mists…


And that’s where we had to stop for the day. Stay tuned for next session of Masks of Nyarlahotep, Fist of d20’s style! 

 

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Session 13 – The Stoneheart Dungeon IV (Lost Lands)

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Deep dungeons….

Game System | Blood & Treasure Complete

Setting/World | The Lost Lands by Frog God Games

Dramatis Personae

Blitz Dunkelsturm | Mountain Dwarf Cleric of Jamboor 5 [Death domain] | Berndt

Haxxl Rosethorne | Wild Elf Duelist 5 | Berndt

The Old Sleaze | Human Sorcerer 4 | Martin

Make Me | Human Paladin 4 | Martin

Hoder | Ogre Fighter 4 [Brute variant] | Flan

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

Meatshields & NPCs

Men-At-Arms | Garfield

Torchbearers | Ranulf | Wee Dingwall

Absent this session

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

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

Rektolas | High Elf Fighter 4 | Mats

Nitrolas | High Elf Magic-User 4 | Mats


Session Thirteen – Purple Haze

No level-ups this session.

Obituaries

After having rested near the entrance, the PCs delve into the dark deeps again. This time, Hoder the Ogre fighter and Fenrir the vain barbarian join in while Angelina, Alba, Nitrolas and Rektolas stay by the entrance. The plan is to go back to the big cavern where they fought the creature from below, but it turns out that the ogre is too large to pass the narrow passage into the cavern. The party then decide to split up (always a jolly good idea ;)). Team A (Hoder, Blitz, Sleaze and hirelings Wee and Ranulf + zombie Garulf) go west through the singing corridor to investigate the Y-section with the obviously man-made heaps of rock. Team B (Make Me, Fenrir, Haxxl and hireling Garfield) go east to the big cavern and then into the passage they found in the pit where the monster attacked. Zombie-boy Garulf tags along group B as a moving lantern-holder.

Team Alpha

Upon returning to the Y-section the PCs start to check the little cavern before the two blocked passages more thoroughly, but nothing is found except for semi-hidden extra tunnel going south and ending in a dead-end. They then decide to take the right passage. Wee is left behind to guard the left passage.

Since the passage is so narrow they must proceed single-file (Hoder, Ranulf, Blitz, Sleaze,  Garulf the zombie) and everyone except Hoder must climb over the stone heaps blocking the passage. As the point of the file is negotiating the second stone obstacle, they find a narrow passage going south-west into the rock. Ranulf is coerced to get in there in search of gold and glory. Blitz cast a light spell on a smaller rock and Ranulf throws it into the passage that turns out to be quite long (∼60-70 feet) before it sharply turns north. As Ranulf slowly advances into the dark, Blitz sits on the heap of stones keeping his eyes open for trouble.

Suddenly, a savage roar is heard from behind them as a huge scarred ogre leaps over the rear stone heap and smashes the head of poor Garulf the zombie! Next in line is Sleaze the sorcerer who tries to turn and fight, but instead gets hit in the chest by a vicious sweep of the ogre’s huge and very evil-looking morning star, sending him crashing into the stone wall of the passage. Things look bleak for our protagonists, but Sleaz-o manages to cast a Sleep spell with a good effect, sending the ogre to a sudden slumber, arching backwards over the stone heap. The ogre is quickly put down of with multiple coup-de-grȃce stabbings and Hoder steals its Mad-Max style armor as well as the evil-looking morning star. Checking on Wee the rear guard, he must have been surprised by a sneak attack as he is on his back, his head caved in to a mushy pulp.

Before they get to rest or properly assess the situation, a group of blood-smeared skeleton warriors armed with shields and swords attack from behind! The fight is quickly finished however, as the dwarf cleric manages to turn them. When the skeletons flee, the PCs follow and cut some them down with little resistance.

[Did we play this group any more here??]

Team Bravo

Meanwhile, the other group has snuck down to the cavern where they found the illusory wall and entrance to the hidden Temple of Muir. The high-roofed cavern has two exit points – one goes north-east and is situated high up on the wall. The other goes south east and is a continuation of the cave. Our boys go south east, keeping a low profile. The cavern is narrowing and widening again, branching off a at several places, creating a quite elaborate cave system with many side tunnels. As they are edging along into the caves, they suddenly become aware that a strange creature is looking at them. A large centipede like beast with tentacles surrounding it’s mandible area. The creature just stands there, emitting an annoying hum and following their every move, slowly closing in… Out of the blue, it rushes to attack. Simultaneously, two more of the things appear.

Haxxl the wild elf duelist leaps and attacks, slaying the first beast. After this he makes an acrobatic move and jumps out of the centipede’s melee range. Make Me charges into the battle and manages to score a few good hits, but is getting hit on the hands by several tentacles and topples over, unable to move. Fenrir also charges in and fights valiantly, slaying a beast but is hit in the melee and falls, paralysed. Meanwhile, Haxxl stands back and shoots arrows at the monsters. At last, everyone except Haxxl and one of the beasts is lying on the ground. Before the beast is able to strike, Haxxl manages to hit the creature, killing it instantly. The wild elf checks the rest of the party, finding that they are alive, but unable to move and sits down to wait for them to “wake up”. After over an hour of anxious wait, they start moving again and after a rest with bandaging and healing our now shaken heroes continue deeper into the caves, where they find a stash of many coins in leather bags hidden under a heap of revolting offal.

Running directly east is a passage that turns south after some 90 feet, ending in a curved stairway leading down to a T-section with yet more passages, one of them filled with a purple haze*. The PCs decide to backtrack and take another route that they saw earlier. In the most southern (west) part of the cavern system is a passage leading down, featuring a short stair cut directly from the rock. At the bottom they find a T-intersection going west to a dead-end and south east to a passage filled with a moist and cold purple haze. It seems they have to negotiate the mist anyhow they turn…

Fenrir ventures into the mist, following the left wall. Upon reaching a turn, he is suddenly hit by a sharp object, wounding him in the torso. Returning out of the haze it is apparent that he has been hit by a trap or weapon. Since he is better armoured, Make Me is chosen to venture into the haze, a rope attached to his waist. Inside the haze, vision is restricted to just a few feet and even then it is blurry. After following the wall for a short distance Make Me is hit squarely in the abdomen by a sharp object just like Fenrir before him. Make Me retaliates and swings his sword blindly, connecting to something! After some confused bling fighting [we used old school -4 to hit, but I later saw that B&T states a hard -10 to hit when fighting blind, which we will use henceforth] the paladin manages to slay whatever is attacking in the haze. After searching along the cave floor he finds the assailant and a weapon. It turns out to be a zombie-like creature, dressed in chain armour and a once white tunic emblazoned with a spider-like symbol, armed with a nasty-looking pole arm.

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Spider, spider on the wall….

Haxxl ventures back in, now unassailed, finding a branching system of narrow tunnels leading east. After some 120 feet the tunnels widen up and form a cross with passages going north, south, west (where they come from) and east. He then follows the rope back to the others and the whole party advances to the cross-section where they decide to stop while Make Me and Haxxl scout on eastward, where the haze dissolves. After about 50 feet, there’s a side tunnel leaving north (which is not explored) and some 40 feet further into the narrow tunnel it seems that the tunnel is blocked by a mass of stone boulders, like after a cave in. When they investigate the cave in, they notice that it is merely an illusion and that the passage continues beyond, ending in a well-cleaned little cave with two wooden barrels and a little-used backpack. The tunnel enters the room about 5 feet over the room’s floor level. After visually scanning the room, Haxxl goes in. The backpack contains adventuring gear and the barrels contain water and wine respectively. The only exit from the little cave is an obviously man-made perfectly straight tunnel going south-east. The PCs decide to leave the backpack and barrels untouched and goes back to the tunnel going north, which turns out to lead to the area (marked * in the text above) they decided to skip a while back. They go into the purple haze again where they defeat yet another of the spider symbol adorned zombie-things.

And here we had to break for the session. To be continued…. \m/