Session 5 | New York | Meat is Murder

chakota

The hungry thing in the subway…

Game system: Call of Cthulhu 6th ed

Dramatis personae

Justin Case | NYPD Detective | 32 yrs | Djuro

Carl Blackwater | Foreign correspondant | 31 yrs | Martin

Edward Foxworthy | Big game hunter | 34 yrs | Flan

Ulla Bengtsson | Professor (Chemistry) Columbia Uni | 48 yrs | Berndt

Absent this session

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

Link to background stories and portraits


Meat is Murder

New York, Sunday January 18th, 1925 | about 1.00 a.m.

This goes way up…

Ju Ju House African Curio Shop, Harlem.

The last shots and screams have just echoed out as poe-lice sirens in the distance signal the approach of several squad cars. H.P, Edward, Carl and Ulla quickly hide in the abandoned laundry shop while Lt. Case and the Kid stay to greet their colleagues only to find themselves surrounded by twenty armed cops led by Inspector Macceroni who tells them that they are relieved of their duties and that his team will take over from here. Case tries to protest but is convinced otherwise by Capt. Malone who confirms that “the brass” have appointed Macceroni from the Special Task Squad to take over the investigation of the “Harlem cult murders” (as they have been named by the tabloids). Case and the Kid are ordered back to police HQ. As they drive away the see Macceroni smile as he enters the shop.

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Capt. Terrence “Pretty Boy” Macceroni

In the car, Case reviews what he knows of Macceroni who is an up-and-coming star in the police force. The man comes from a wealthy background and has studied law at Harvard. He is also the youngest ever to attain his high rank and has a reputation of being very correct and for doing things by the book. Other than that – nothing.

Getting the shaft

18th-of-januari-1925

Anger. Hostility towards the opposition.

Entering the Captain’s office, Malone is furious and starts yelling like never before about recklessness, property damage and unnecessary violence. And police harrassment of an innocent African culture club.  He then asks Case to take a vacation until things blow over but when Case tries to persuade him he goes into a fit of rage, spitting sour saliva across the room:

“- You are suspended, Case! Leave your badge and gun on my desk. Now! And that goes for Rennfarth as well!”

Case gets a feeling that the good Captain is under external pressure – someone with power must somehow be connected to this bizarre cult.

Before leaving the police HQ Case asks the Kid to keep an eye open to figure out who is pulling the strings here and decides to unravel some buried dirt on “Pretty Boy” Macceroni. He also takes a quick look at some city maps to see if the subway tunnel under Fat Maybelle’s might possibly be connected to the cellar of the Ju Ju House.

The plan is simple – get back to the cellar of Ju Ju House and finish those occultists once and for all.

Bebop laundry shop

Hidden in the abandoned laundry (that no one knows that they are hiring), Ulla, H.P, Carl and Edward observe the police from Special Task Squad “clean” the Ju Ju House of all evidence! Body bags and other objects are carried out from the premises and people go in with cleaning utensils, led by a smirking Inspector Macceroni.

The bastards!

If the plan doesn’t work – try a Molotov

It is past 12.30 a.m. when Case gets back to the laundry. The others inform him of the dirty police officers and their little cleanup operation. The PCs decide to go back to Fat Maybelle’s and check out the hidden subway tunnel.

Back at the dark and boarded up speakeasy, they take the door under the stair to the cellar and then the circular tunnel down to the service tunnel. Cautiously they traverse the subway tracks and remove the blankets and plywood boards that conceal another circular dark entrance. Torches and weapons ready, they head into the unknown. After a few meters, the tunnel opens up to a rectangular cave with a mystical symbol on the floor, drawn with lime paint. In the back of the cave there’s a colorful drape. A faint moaning sound can be heard… Ulla slides the drape aside with her Tommy gun and the investigators find themselves staring into the myriad eyes of a strange wormlike horror, made of human faces!

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The sanity-blasting sight makes Case so terrified that he involuntarily soils himself*, while Carl manages to keep his stuff in, but in his battered mind he develops a different coping solution to this otherworldly horror*. Edward and Ulla are also shaken but keep their heads cool. After a few seconds (that feels like an eternity) of frozen screaming all the investigators pull their triggers and send a volley of hot lead towards the creature. Carl and Case just keep pressing the triggers of their Tommy guns and empties their 100-round clips into the beast in pure panic. But all those bullets seems to have no effect on the creature who attacks Case. With amazing speed it lashes out and three faces take bites out of the panic strucken police detective!

Retreating, Ulla throws a booze molotov at the roof over the beast, raining broken glass and fire upon it and while the bullets didn’t seem to do anything besides making it angry, the fire seems to actually do some damage! Ulla screams to the others to use their molotovs and while falling back, trying to lure the beast out to the tracks to electrocute it, Carl readies another molotov, but in his nervousness the bottle slips from his sweaty hands, shattering at his feet, setting his shoes and legs on fire, sending him into a merry jig to put out the flames.

The creature is slow so it is no problem to get out into the subway tunnel, but the creature won’t follow pursuit out of the cave. Sensing the vibrations of an approaching subway train, the PCs man up and go in again, throwing molotovs at the creature:

-You don’t like fire huh? Take this you ugly piece of shit!

The creature retreats, but it has nowhere to go to and it succumbs to the flames, spreading a popcorn-like smell as it burns.

The investigators are searching the cave and photographing the creature’s faces to compare with missing persons records when Edward turns around, finding Carl kneeling beside the creature, chomping on something. Edward realizes that Carl has a knife in one hand and three human eyes in the other, pried from the beast…

-We must eat the eyes so that they can’t see us! *chomp chomp*

Edward slaps Carls hand and turns away in disgust…

*[GM comment: Carl and Case failed their SAN checks and lost 8 SAN each, sending them into a short temporary insanity. Case got delusional, seeing familiar faces on the beast while Carl developed another coping mechanism where eating the eyes of the monster would make everything normal again…].

Behind the drape is a smaller cave where the creature has gnawed out a shallow depression, creating a lair of sorts. In the bottom of the lair, there’s yet another round tunnel running deeper into the ground…

Masquerade

The narrow tunnel goes deeper into the rock before levelling out and running fairly straight. The walls are glistening with moisture and sometimes a faint rumble can be felt in the stone. After walking for a long time the tunnel slopes upwards and exits into a small cave with a colorful drape. Faint sounds like someone is whistleling a merry tune can be heard. Learning from previous mistakes, Edward cautiously peaks behind the drape, only to find himself face-to-face with one of the zombie-like creatures from Ju Ju House! He quickly pulls back in the hope he wasn’t noticed.

The investigators come up with the brilliant plan of putting on the silly occultist hats that they took from Jackson Elias’s killers at the Chelsea Hotel. As they only have two, Ulla and Edward puts them on and enters the zombie room. Nothing happens. Searching the small area they find a shaman’s feathered robe on the wall, along with a pair of clawed gloves and two more silly tentacle hats. In a leopard skin bundle they find a book – Africa’s Dark Sects – stolen from the Widener Collection at Harvard University! Also, in the bundle, is a strange African tribal mask with no straps attached.

Ulla and Edward return to the tunnel and they investigate their finds. In a “Look, frost“-moment, Case puts the mask to his face. It immediately attaches itself, forming after his face. The others see Case struggling for air, falling to the ground while clawing to get the mask off. Suddenly the mask changes, as adapting to the new face and Case’s eyes and mouth become visible in the mask. The eyes roll up, showing the whites and Case slumps to the ground, lifeless…

After about 30 seconds, the mask falls off and with some slapping Case comes to senses again, telling that he suddenly found himself in a grey featureless place. There was an old bearded man and winged creatures swirling in the misty sky. Case tried to talk to the man who replied in a booming voice:

You must utter the right words.

And then he was back in the tunnel again. The old man didn’t feel malicious but very alien and Case feels somehow enlightened [GM comment: +1 Cthulhu Mythos skill].

The stalwart investigators put on the new stolen cult hats and proceed into the zombie room, where they tie up the zombies, including their shoelaces. From behind the drape they hear the merry whistling and a sloshing sound. Ulla dares a peak and realizes that she is looking into the cult room below the Ju Ju House, but from across the room. The door they previously entered from is open and sounds can be heard from outside the room. In the center of the cult room, Inspector “Pretty Boy” Macceroni is mopping the floor with a broom and a bucket, while whistling on “Bam, Bam, Bamy Shore” by Mort Dixon. No traces of the previous massacre can be seen. It has all been taken care of…

A plan is devised – to run into the room, grab Macceroni and make him talk. However, as they prepare to run into the room, Mr. Mukunga, dressed in a fancy suit steps into the room.

“-Almost done here, Mr. Mukunga” says Macceroni. “-Hell of a job, but someone’s gotta do it, right?” And with a last splosh he throws the red stained wash cloth into the bucket.

Brass knuckles on one hand and shotgun in the other, Case runs into the room and punches Mukunga’s jaw, telling him to shut the fuck up. They know what magic powers Mukunga has, so they’re taking no risks with the African sorcerer. Simultaneously, Edward rushes at Macceroni and places his gun at the police detective’s forehead, making it clear that silence is of the essence. Ulla and Carl takes up post at the corridor door, making sure that no one comes that way.

Macceroni acts very surprised, but Mukunga starts chanting in some African language. Afraid of the fireballs and zombies, Case shoots him, point plank in the face, sending blood and brain matter over the newly cleaned floor and walls. Mukunga falls backwards, his head a bloody mess.

“-I told you to shut the fuck up…” Case is breathing hard, adrenaline pumping…

Macceroni starts to whine about his mighty contacts and how the investigators will end up in jail and the electric chair and that no one will believe them before the word of him, the successful Inspector Macceroni. His monologue is ended abruptly when Case’s brass knuckles dig into his cheekbone, sending him sprawling on the semi-wet flagstone floor. The investigators try to question him, aided by punches and general slap-around techniques, but Macceroni spills nothing. Only when the zombies are released to feast on Mukunga’s carcass does he start to look frightened and blathers something of “the Cult of the Bloody Tongue” and how the cult will hunt them down and kill them in imaginable ways.

After some harsh questioning, it is evident that Macceroni won’t talk. His aspirations to power dies right there on the stone floor as Case and Edward put some bullets in him, leaving the carcass to be disposed of by the two zombies, along with Mukunga’s corpse. Before they release the monsters, the heroes make sure that no traces of evidence are left that could lead back to them.

The sounds of the zombie’s ripping and tearing and feasting on the cultists’ flesh echo in their ears as they leave the cult room the same way as they came…

A quick look at their wrist-watches shows that it is almost Sunday morning – 5.30 a.m. Tired and bleeding, stumbling from exhaustion and shocked by the recent events the investigators walk in silence as in a drug haze they slowly move back to Fat Maybelle’s to get their car and drive back to the abandoned laundry which now has to become their new base of operations as no one knows about it. Rennfarth’s bookshop has been compromised, and their apartments are surely under surveillance.

The Laundry it is.


To be continued…

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Session 5 – Crimmor/Stoneheart Valley (Lost Lands)

Flying rats… [Torchbearer Stirge by David Petersen: http://davidpetersen.blogspot.se/2014/01/more-torchbearer-beasts.html]

Game System | Blood & Treasure Complete

Setting/World | The Lost Lands by Frog God & Necromancer Games

Dramatis Personae

The Old Sleaze | Human Sorcerer 2 | Martin

Make Me | Human Paladin 1 | Martin

Blitz Dunkelsturm | Mountain Dwarf Cleric of Jamboor 3 [Death domain] | Berndt

Hrunkah | Half Orc Thief 1 | Berndt

Angelina d’Monica III | Human Assassin 1 [Acrobat variant] | Djuro

Absent this session

Hoder | Ogre Fighter 2 [Brute variant] | Flan

Fenrir the Vain | Human Barbarian 1 [Thane variant] | Flan

Session Five – It bites!

This session, the PC ranks were enhanced by: 

Make Me the human paladin, of whom we don’t really know much yet. But that can’t be his real name, can it?

Sleaze-O leveled up (Sorceror 2) as did Blitz ze Pückelhübe (Cleric 3).


The session began with the PCs in the relative safety of the room just above what they suspected to be the Crypt of Eralion. The half-orc thief was severely weakened and exhausted by the evil magics of the crypt and after some debate the PCs decide that they aren’t strong enough to face the shady vampire yet, and that they’d do better to return when they’re stronger (read: leveled up).

Instead, they search the desecrated Chapel again, looking for clues on how to take on the old wizard, but find nothing.

Next, they decide to:

  1. Return to the townhouse and let Hrunkah rest.
  2. Talk to Arden about selling rugs. (As a fact, Arden knows of a man – Torgil Rodbrok – who deals in antiques, and will talk to him on the matter when he’s in town again).
  3. Ask Shandril the elven cleric of Freya to help resecrate the chapel of Thyr in the Keep.
  4. Buy horses
  5. Travel to Crimmor village to search for Voril the smith’s lost daughter. What they know is that she is a red haired young lady in her twenties and that she’s named Arialle. She went to Crimmor a few weeks ago and haven’t returned.

After talking to people and outfitting, our heroes go on the road to Crimmor (about a day’s ride through the wilderness).

Hrunkah, Hoder and Fenrir stays in Fairhill to rest and oversee work at the Keep.

In the middle of nowhere they are ambushed by an Ogre bandit and his 4 goblin henchmen, demanding tribute in order to use “their” road. The goblins are shooting arrows from camouflaged foxholes. At first, the battle goes against our heroes, but then Blitz manages to lay a Hold spell on the ogre, making the rest of the battle a walk over. After “debriefing” the ogre and one surviving gobbo (I will refrain from mentioning the details here, let’s just say it involved physical coercion methods and squashing of body parts, making him a very dead ogre), the PCs made the goblin show them the way to their hidden lair. Sadly, the lair did not contain much of value, but at least now the world contain a few less hoodlums…

After this detour, the party travelled on, arriving in Crimmor-On-the-Lake in the evening. Once a blossoming fishing village, the place seemed to have receded into squalor and poverty.

They find an inn and talk to people in the tavern. There they learn that:

  • Arialle is apparently a bard. She played a gig and then went home the next day. No one has seen her since.
  • Something – maybe ghosts of drowned fishermen – has taken all the fish. That’s why the village income now has dwindled so much
  • For a month or so, the village has been attacked by stirges every night. Now the villagers must keep inside at night. The Stirges probably come from Stirgewood, and rumor has that they have been sent here by the Necromancer of Stirgewood.

The PCs decide to help the villagers with the stirge menace. With the help of the villagers they make these huge traps from old fishing nets, and helps battle the Stirges for two nights in a row, killing about 35 of the foul flying things in the process.


And there we had to end the session!

Level up attained this session: Hrunkah, Thief 2

Recap of Session 5 – “Age of the Raven”

In the grooveyard…

Dramatis Personae

Slingbill | Human Monster Hunter | Mats

Sigurd Slapptask | Human Bounty Hunter | Flan

Quatsing | Caliban Avenger | Martin

Ernie ”MacWyvern” Lint | Elf Survivalist | Berndt

 

Absent this session (a.k.a “gone to the loo”):

Iznogoud | Caliban Dashing Rogue | Djuro

 

Session Five – In the Grooveyard

The session started in media res with Iznogoud and Slingbill in the graveyard in the middle of the night, battling a howling storm… Last session they had heard strange noises from one of the tombs, and sneaking closer, they noticed that the mausoleum doors were ajar. Our heroes quickly decided to withdraw and return with more troops.

After going back to the Full Moon Inn to fetch the rest of the crew they returned to the graveyard and entered the same way as last time. Quatsing and Iznogoud was entrusted to stay by the cemetery wall and keep watch.

The tomb was silent now. They cautiously snuck in and found the empty coffin belonging to a certain Jazeel Thoreng lying on the stone floor. The chains had been ripped apart as had the padlock on the doors to the tomb. Someone, or something had let out the dead from the coffin…

Subsequently, they tried to break into the d’Tarascon family mausoleum, but failed horribly due to the lack of lock picks.

The group decided to split up: MacFly was to try to track the putrid trail outside the wall; Slingbill and Sigurd was to investigate the caretaker’s office by the cemetery gates.

With a loud crash, Sigurd kicked in the door and they searched the place looking for the keys to the Old Cemetery and the funeral ledgers. They found the wanted items as well as keys to all the padlocks and on top of that, Sigurd stole old Pierot’s 12 silver ducats without hesitation. Suddenly, loud voices was heard outside the gates – someone had heard the crash from the kicked-in door, and now they were coming to investigate. Sigurd and Slingbill retreated the same way they had entered.

Meanwhile outside the wall, Ernie managed to pick up the track of the stinking creature and managed to follow the track to the eastern side of the graveyard before losing it again. Trying to pick up the trail again, he instead found a small triangular opening in the cemetery hill, surrounded by two stone slabs and hidden behind some vegetation.

The group decided to immediately investigate the opening, which turned out to be a 100-120 foot long low tunnel dug in the moist earth, leading into the Old Cemetery. (Quatsing and Iznogoud was still on the outside keeping watch). They also found a strange six-star pattern engraved in one of the stones at the tunnel opening.

The PCs exited the tunnel from under the base of a broken statue of an angel holding a spear. In front of them: a huge mausoleum. To the right: more tombs. Lots of them. All hidden in dense vegetation and the ground covered in century old leaves and rotting debris. As they approached the smaller tomb to the right, there was a luminous flash, followed by ear-deafening thunder. And the rain began to fall. Like a monsoon. The flash also revealed a six-star pattern on the slightly ajar doors of the nearest tomb. Sigurd listened at the door, and hearing nothing he entered the dusty tomb with a lantern in his hand, trying to find any clues. Suddenly, he realised that he wasn’t alone! In the corner, a tall zombie-like thing armed with two axes, was staring at him with its red glowing eyes… Sigurd dropped the lantern and ran outside again, where the the PCs drew their arms and braced themselves for the upcoming battle. The thing swung at them with its axes, but being faster and better armed, the PCs quickly managed to damage the thing badly with sword and spear and finally a mighty blow from Sigurd’s greatsword clove the abomination. As they stood there, regaining breath, a sigh was heard from the right and another undead thing came shuffling towards them through the debris. Slingbill attacked, cleaving its ugly head in a few swooping cuts.

The PCs investigated the tomb, finding a coffin marked with the six-star sign. It was also evident that someone had been here disturbing the coffin recently. In the coffin they found an empty ivory scroll case, but no corpse.

Then the PCs heard a commotion to the northwest, and observed a large mob of moaning and shuffling things making their way towards the cemetery gates (to the new cemetery), taking no interest in our heroes. Realising that the undead horde was probably on their way to the village, Ernie ran to the wall to tell Quatsing and Iznogoud what was happening, urging them to warn the villagers of the imminent danger.

At the same time, Slingbill and Sigurd investigated the larger building. They saw a sickly yellow light escaping the inside from small-paned windows high above and carved stone steps leading to a pair of large stone doors. Sigurd pushed the doors open and was greeted with a horrendous sight: a large hall, floor covered by broken bones and rotting carrion. In the center, a raised platform made of bones and on the platform a throne made of more bones, all illuminated by the moon through a huge glass dome in the roof. Two braziers made from human skulls flanked the platform. And sitting on the throne: a most hideous zombie-thing in an expensive but tattered red robe. And most offensive of all: the stench of decay, death and week-old rot. Our heroes tried to resist the stench, but couldn’t, which resulted in Slingbill losing physical strength (-1 to CON) and Sigurd feeling weary and distanced (-2 to CHA). Despite the reflex to run away, the brave warriors stepped into the room, weapons drawn, only to realise that the Marcel thing had company. Lots of them – six zombies and two of the greyish red-eyed zombies armed with longbows.

The thing spoke, claiming to be Marcel d’Tarascon, Lord of the Undead and followed by demanding that they return a certain “scroll of the six signs”. At the same time the six undead attacked the PCs. Our heroes fell back just outside the doors to create a choke point and bravely fought the monsters, killing two of them. Then they drew to the side and the Undead Lord himself decided to step in and finish our heroes. Some lucky rolls and wise use of combat manoeuvres repelled its attack and forced it to retreat, but it was too late. A combination of sword chops decapitated the Lord of the Undead! The undead thralls hesitated but resumed their attack.

At this point, a tremendous flash struck down from the skies and shattered the glass dome of the tomb. At the same time, the moon above was seemingly swallowed by a giant maw and turned all red! The undead lost all initiative and just stood dumb-founded, looking at the moon, giving the PCs the opportunity to cut them down without resistance.

Meanwhile, after warning their friends, Ernie was to return to the others when he heard a sound behind him. A crazed man looking a bit like Luc, dressed in a black cloak and brandishing a large curved dagger came at him, slashing in the moist air. Ernie cast a spell and teleported out of danger, up on the cemetery wall. The crazy man turned around and ran towards the others. MacFly tried another spell, but failed and the man reached the others outside the big mausoleum. He assailed Slingbill, causing a deep cut in his arm. Sling bill missed his riposte but Sigurd struck the madman with the flat side of his sword, beating him unconscious.

After a brief search of the old cemetery and the fallen foes, our heroes returned to the village.

There were much death and destruction, but the villagers had managed to stave off the attacks, much thanks to the warning provided by Quatsing and Iznogoud. Constable Gremin also told them that the undead had stopped fighting when the moon turned red and that the villagers had been able to cut them down while they were in a trance-like state.

The undead threat had been averted, but many questions still remain:

1. What is this scroll Marcel was talking about?

2. What is going on on the d’Tarascon plantation?

3. What happened to the brothers that night a month ago?

4. What was happening with the moon?

5. What about the shady priest with the 3-eyed raven?

6. More?