Session 6 | New York | Hart Island

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The Bathtub of Evil

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

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

Absent this session

Carl Blackwater | Foreign correspondant | 31 yrs | Martin

Edward Foxworthy | Big game hunter | 34 yrs | Flan

Link to background stories and portraits


Hart Island

New York, Monday January 19th, 1925 | about 4 a.m

I could sleep for a thousand years…

After having raided the cult’s base below Ju Ju House, the PCs decide to retreat to the laundry to tend to their wounds and get some well deserved rest. The place includes a large basement area where they have put mattresses and basic survival gear. It’s not nice, cosy or warm, but it will keep them off the cult’s radar as well as the police’s…

Roadtrip

Around midday, they have some egg sandwiches and whiskey reinforced coffee to steady their nerves and then H.P, Ulla and Case takes Case’s car and drive through the snow-laden streets all the way out to the Bronx and City Island where they plan to visit a marina and charter a boat to get them to the restricted Hart Island. The ride takes about 2 hrs in the crappy weather.

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Winter in the Bronx

Getting someone willing to get them to the island is harder than anticipated. Several burly fishermen stop talking to them when they mention their destination, but eventually old Sam Hopkins, captain of the small fishing boat “Hopkins” agrees to take them there and back for a…shall we say…inappropriate amount of cash.

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Captain Sam Hopkins

“Garr… There are plenty o’risks with that. What about the ol’ missus if I should end up in jail, eh?” Capt. S. Hopkins

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The Hopkins in a happier time

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Aerial view of City Island (left) and Hart Island (right)

What they know about Hart Island is that it is a restricted area, run by the Department of Correction and that the small island (1.6 km long, 0.4 km wide) has been used as a massive potter’s field for many years. As of now, there is a Reformatory Prison for criminals deemed mentally unfit, drug addicts, aged, homeless and any combination thereof. The inmates work the burying detail, overseen by prison guards. However, the prison is under liquidation, moving over to the larger facility at Riker’s Island, and there are only about 50 prisoners left along with a skeleton crew of staff. The island also hold an abandoned mental asylum and on the south tip the eerie overgrown ruins of a never finished amusement park stretch skeletal against the grey sky.

After a short but salty sea voyage freezing outside the small boat’s cabin, the Hopkins arrives at the port facility of Hart Island. During the cruise, the PCs try to negotiate a deal with pipe-smoking Hopkins to pick them up and it is settled on three hours (approximately 3 p.m).

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Modern pic of the port. The guard shed was situated to the right of the road, about where the tree is in the pic.

Hopkins approaches the landing just near enough so that the passengers can jump ashore, then the boat leaves in a hurry.

Just after the landing is a grey wooden shed with an open door. A fat prison guard steps out. “Whoa there! This is restricted area for civilians!

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Officer White

Justin Case whips out Inspector Macceroni’s police badge, stolen from the corpse and bluffs the guard that they are on official police business, searching for a missing police officer, believed to be on the island, and asks if the guard has seen anything unusual in the past days. Officer White tells them that he heard strange sounds in the south part of the island a few nights ago, and that there are rumours among the prisoners of a huge winged bird that has flown over the island, but that is of course only superstitious rubbish. He did hear sounds however, which he thinks was smugglers or whatever. As he speaks, he glances back to his cosy shed with his newspaper, baloney sandwich and cuppa coffee, and waves the clearly demented PCs through.

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Player map of the island

The abandoned asylum

The players follow the gravel road along the west coastline, passing the prison proper. In the north they see people working in the “fields”, but the center and south part of the island is dead silent. After some 500 m they reach the old asylum, now overgrown with 60 years of foliage and covered in decades of dirt.

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Asylum exterior I

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Asylum exterior II

 The only sounds are of the leaves rustling in the wind. No animals are seen. After a scouting detour around the house, the PCs decide to enter via the main entrance. Weapons drawn, they open the half rotten doors and enter the decrepit building. Inside, all is chaos, as if someone suddenly decided to move out. The valuable items and equipment are gone but old rusty bedframes, battered desks and broken chairs are scattered everywhere.

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Asylum

The structure consist of an L-shaped building with central corridors, lined with many doors, some open, some closed. The first floor turns out to be mostly remains of offices, staff areas and various treatment rooms. Suddenly, a sound is heard from a room down the corridor. Ulla and Case enters the room, while H.P stands guard in the corridor, watching the rear.

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Corridors…

It turns out to be some kind of tiled water treatment room, complete with water hoses and a dirty bathtub with a tarp cover leaving space for the head (on the floor). Nothing can be heard in the room, except the flapping of the shredded curtains in the destroyed windows.

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Water treatment room

Ulla and Case does a grisly finding in the bathtub. A severed hand, covered in grime. It looks old, as if it has been broken off from a body in a grave or something. Both PCs go to fetch H.P but upon returning they notice that the hand is gone! Only a slimy trail going over the edge of the bathtub and towards the window can be seen.

Ulla runs over to the window and sticks her head out only to see the hand coming at her, running on the wall like some hideous spider! It jumps at her, grabbing her throat, jamming a finger up her nose.

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The Hand!

The investigator stumbles back, clawing at the thing and biting a finger off it, but it doesn’t release it’s grip. Case tries to help by trying to pry off the hand and punching it but to no avail. Ulla’s strength is ebbing out and her struggle gets feebler and weaker until she passes out on the tiles. Case finally manages to pry off the hand from her unmoving body, throwing it into a corner and shooting it to pieces with his gun.

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H.P looks down the corridor…

While the struggle is at hand (heh!), H.P hears a strange wailing noise from the corridor and runs down to the corridor main doors to investigate. Peaking outside, he sees a bone chilling sight! A complete spinal column with a one-eyed brain attached is crawling towards him through the debris on the floor! The pure horror has his brain short circuiting and screaming in panic he fires a long burst of shots with his Tommy gun, obliterating the thing along with half the corridor, sending splinters of glass, plaster and wood flying…

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The Brain Thing

[Keeper note: H.P failed his SAN check, losing 5 SAN but then he manged his Idea roll so his mind failed to realize the mind-shattering horror of what he just witnessed].

When the dust settles, he runs to the others, seeing Case kneeling on the floor, trying to resciciutate Ulla, but to no avail. H.P tries to shake life into her as well, but Ulla is dead, a look of dread and disbelief in her eyes…

Shocked, sitting on the floor beside Ulla’s body, the investigator’s suddenly hear a wailing sound from above and decide to investigate. After sneaking up the stone stairs they discover that most of the second floor is inaccessible due to locked steel doors sealing the corridors. However, the stairs lead further up to a third floor.

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Third floor power

The third floor is an attic of sorts. One large empty room. In the far end they spot a human figure strapped to a chair. The head is hanging, drool slowly dripping down on the floor. Moving closer they see that it’s Lt. Poole! The man has been beaten and is now clearly out of his mind, mumbling about “the wings, the wings”.

The investigators untie him and bring him down the stairs to the first floor, where they spotted a semi-busted wheelchair before. Poole is parked in the chair and the men go looking for a second wheelchair for Ulla’s body. That is when they find it – the stair to the basement…

After some discussion they decide to make a quick check in the basement and see if they can find a wheelchair. Downstairs, they find a rickety wheelchair in a room full of broken furniture and hospital gear. Two rusty, locked steel doors lead out of the room. Faint scuttling sounds can be heard from behind the west door…

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Basement…

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Boiler room

Case decides to try the door and manages to pick the lock. The door swings open on rusty creaking hinges. It’s the boiler room and is dominated by a huge coal fulelled iron furnace from the last century. In a corner there’s a huge pile of coal. Suddenly, the boiler fires up, bathing the room in red-orange firelight! H.P and Case quickly decides to withdraw, locking the door and fleeing upstairs. They place Ulla’s stiffening body in the wheelchair and hastily exit the building, heading the short walk back to the harbour.

The prison guard looks at them suspiciously but decides against arguing with such distinguished law enforcement professionals and return to his shed with a sigh. Shortly after, the Hopkins arrives to take the now decimated band of investigators back to the civilisation.

They load up the insane police detective and dead Ulla in the back seat and drive back to the laundry to brief the others. The Kid is there, warning them that Macceroni apparently has disappeared and that the disappearance, along with that of Lt. Poole and the “Cult Killings case” now has been given to a Lt. Dingle.

Hospital

Case and H.P then drives to the Bellevue Hospital Center with insane Lt. Poole and dead Ulla. They then call Capt. Malone who arrives shortly. The suspended policemen tell Malone about the island and how they found Poole, leaving out all things supernatural. Malone is glad to have Poole back, but the suspension is still in place as far as the police PCs are concerned. Malone teels them to drop the case and stay low until further notice.

The Medical Affairs Board

In early evening (about 7 p.m), Case and H.P decide to follow up on the lead regarding Dr. Robert Huston’s psychiatric patient files on Roger Carlyle. As Dr. Huston was a member of the Carlyle expedition and is presumed dead, his patient files are stored at the Medical Affairs Board on Park Avenue at 61st Street. This is a posh address and after showing Macceroni’s badge to the guard in the lobby, the PCs are admitted into Suite 1002 where the Board Offices reside. The place is officially closed as it’s Sunday evening, but since the secretary is there working with some overdue tasks he agrees to see the PCs briefly. They are met by a most snobbish and annoying Mr. Adrian Ferris, Secretary to the board. Despite their best attempt at talking Ferris into letting them read the records, Ferris declines their proposition stating in a most condescending way that if they’re not (a) relatives, (b) fellow psychiatrists or (c) have a warrant from a judge, he will not let them access the records. Period.

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Adrian Ferris. Snobbish a**hole…

Case considers letting Ferris make himself aquanted with his police baton, but decides against it and the investigators are forced to leave the Medical Board none the wiser. As they exit they see Ferris wiping his hands as if he had touched something very dirty…

The City Morgue

Driven by the failure at the Medical Affairs Board, the policemen decide to follow up on another lead as they read in the papers that bodies have been disappearing from the City Morgue (which is at Bellevue Hospital, East 26th Street). Meeting up with the first assistant to the chief medical examiner (Dr. Drüber-Halle), they get the names of the disappeared bodies:

  • Michael Conley – longshoreman
  • Adolf Thurmond – stock broker at Wall Street
  • Damir Kharzov – burnt-to-crisp low life criminal

It appears that the bodies just vanished into thin air. No signs of forced entry. No suspicious people seen in the morgue. No nothing…

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

The in-game time stamp is about 9 p.m (21.00) Sunday 18th of January 1925


Since we had our first killed investigator, I’ve started a new page called “The Gallery of Honor“, where those unnamed heroes that lose their lives or minds battling the great evil will be remembered…

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Session 6 – Crimmor/Stoneheart Valley (Lost Lands)

Karigror the Mean Troll (by mf_jeff @ deviantart)

Game System | Blood & Treasure Complete

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

Dramatis Personae

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

Hrunkah | Half Orc Thief 2 | Berndt

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

Alba Dayanite | Half Elf Psychic 1/ Magic-User 1 | Djuro

 

Meatshields & NPCs

Men-At-Arms | Darkwolf | Fuldo | Garfield | Garfunkel

Torchbearers | Ranulf | Wee Dingwall

NPC | Runar Asbeard

 

Absent this session

Hoder | Ogre Fighter 2 [Brute variant] | Flan

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

The Old Sleaze | Human Sorcerer 2 | Martin

Make Me | Human Paladin 1 | Martin

 

Session Six – Trolls, pigs and one-legged ladies

WARNING! Will contain traces of spoilers.

A new PC entered the scene – Alba Dayanite, a half elf multiclassed Psychic/Magic-User from the Order of the Crimson Locust. All we know of her is that she shaves her head partially and that she likes to walk around half naked and act all weird. Those Psychics…

[In this campaign, psionic PCs are uncommon in the extreme. They are all of human or half elven descent and belong to one of a few Psychic Orders – much like monks that concentrate on the powers of the mind. Of course, there are other more monstrous people with the same powers…].

Hrunkah leveled up (Thief 3), as did Angelina (Assassin 3).


The story began in the run-down village of Crimmor, by Lake Crimmor. After having helped the villagers with the stirge menace our heroes needed to rest and wait for the rest of the gang to join them from Fairhill. The R&R period was spent looking for clues on the missing young woman’s (Arialle‘s) doings last she was seen. Our heroes also put up signs advertising for henchmen (read: arrow-fodder), which resulted in a rag-tag bunch of losers joining them for their excursion into the wilds. This also resulted in meeting a young lad called Runar Asbeard, who had good intel on Arialles whereabouts. Young Runar is deeply infatuated with Arialle, but sadly she is more into bad-boy wizard wannabee Felix Longbottom. Runar overheard Felix and his gang of no-good companeros when they discussed a plan to go hunting the fabled Feather-Pig in the mountains to the north. Apparently, a foreign alchemist called Unraga Praag had offered them top coin for certain anatomical parts of that particular beast.

The PCs coerce Runar to join them in their search for Arialle, claiming that he now has a chance to show her what a hero he is.

After bying supplies and renting a cart & mule, the four PCs, Runar and six henchmen leave Crimmor. Their plan is to travel north to the foot of the Stoneheart Mountains, which amounts to about a day of travel. The landscape is wide plains with occasional hills and groves of trees. To the east they can see the Crimmor River and to the west is the Fairhill Forest.

In the early afternoon, they decide to take a break in a forested area beside a small crystal clear pond, fed by a small creek from the nearby hills. The serenity of the place is overwhelming and everyone is enjoying the break from travelling. Suddenly the peace is broken, when Blitz sees humanoid skeleton parts covering the bottom of the small pond. It turns out that there’s a lot of them! The PCs start surveying the area, weapons drawn, spotting a cave opening some 75 yards away, up on a rocky hill.

On apporaching the cave they see a wooden scaffolding with two human bodies dressed in chain, hanging upside down. Someone is aging meat it seems…

Carefully, they continue the approach from two directions when suddenly a huge green head peaks out, gnarling on a human femur. Several members of the party looses arrows and crossbow bolts and the troll is hit in the arm. Then it attacks, clawing wildly and biting down on poor Darkwolf‘s head, ripping it off and ferociously spitting it against the rock wall. The bastard son of some country Duke ends his life headless in the mud outside a troll’s cave… Prospects look grim but Alba manages to cast a successful Sleep spell, causing the troll to fall to the ground with a meaty thud. The PCs immediately chops off it’s head and keeps it well away from the body. They can now call themselves Troll Slayers, which is a mighty cool thing.

The cave is dark and very filthy but after some searching our heroes come out with some coin and other treasure, and they benevolently grant the henchmen a hefty part of the copper coins.

After throwing the dead bodies of both victims and troll into the cave and sealing it with the large round rock that acts as a door, the journey continues.

After a few more hours they reach the foothills of the mountain proper and starting the ascent into the rocky landscape they hear a horse neigh in the distance. Angelina and Hrunkah, the rogues, scout ahead and in the last rays of the setting sun they come upon an open meadow in front of a rock wall with a small cave. There’s a small grove of trees with two tethered horses and the remains of what seems to be a campsite. Checking out the campsite they see a face-down body under a black hooded cape, and beside the fireplace there’s a worn backpack with a strange object strapped on the outside.

The body is a youngish human male, half his face and hand swollen and meaty, deformed and full of large blister-like things. The rogues are very careful not to touch the body with their hands. The others join up, and Runar says that this is indeed the sad remains of Herr Felix Longbottom, the Wizard, but no one can tell what has happened here. The PCs decide to make camp and wait for the next day before entering the cave. Blitz the dwarven cleric can confirm that the strange object is of dwarven manufacture, but he does not know what it is. It is a near perfect sphere made of cast iron, with a 3 foot chain attached to one end and intricate brass patterns going around its circumference. On one side is a brass dial. Apart from standard adventurer gear they also find a rolled case of rough fabric containing a brass needle contraption and a wax-sealed glass vial containing a green liquid in the backpack. No sign of Felix’s colleagues or Arialle, except a love letter to Felix, also found in the backpack.

After an uneventful night, the PCs finally venture into the cave. Two henchmen are left outside to guard the horses and equipment. The cave mouth leads to a damp and dark cave, smelling of moisture and some other intangible scent. There’s a large opening straigt ahead and two smaller ones to the sides. While the main group stay in the main cave, Angelina and Blitz crawl into the small opening to the right. After a small chamber with the remains of a camp fire and a heap of faeces, the cramped corridor continue about 40-50 feet before opening up to a bigger (but still small) oblong chamber. There’s a patch of greenish goo covering the ground and beyond that, something is gleaming like gold in the torchlight. Blitz retreats out but Angelina tries to set the patch on fire using oil and alchemist’s fire. After a botched try, she makes it but has to retreat due to the heat and smoke completely filling the cramped corridor.

Next, Blitz squeezes into the even smaller opening in the left wall of the main cave. It’s a very narrow, but slightly taller crevice in the rock, winding in a wide curve for about 60-70 feet before ending in a cave-in. The area of the cave in opens up to a height of about 20 feet or so and there’s a sharp smell of ashes and burnt flesh in the air. On the cave floor there’s a female boot, with the lower leg still attached. While Blitz stands there, he hears a panting sound and the sharp clang of metal hitting rock, sending a shower of stone fragments his way. Climbing the stones of the cave-in, he finds a desperate and wounded one-legged woman perched on a small ledge beside a burnt-out fire. After having helped her get out of the cave she tells her story. Her name is Elspeth Montesquieu and she is a member of Felix’s merry gang of adventurers, who had been hired by some alchemist to retrieve some of the skin sacks that the Feather Pig produce while in their winter sleep. The alchemist had also provided devices for injecting a sleep poison to keep the creatures still while doing the surgical procedure (and how to do it was a secret that Felix kept to himself). However, they never got to complete their mission as the party was attacked by something very fast and hideous as they entered the inner parts of the cave system. In mere seconds, all her friends were slaughtered, torn to pieces by something in the cave. Something very fast and very strong. The things nearly tore her leg off but with her last strength she managed to escape and find refuge on the small ledge in the very narrow crevice. Up there, she carved off the last pieces of tissue still keeping her lower leg attached and burned the leg stump in a small fire. Elspeth says that something is wrong, that she can feel something moving under her charred and rotting scar tissue. Something living.

After hearing Elspeth’s story, our heroes started a discussion on what to do next, ending in a half-lame plan to return to Crimmor or Fairhill to ensure that Elspeth gets care before it’s too late and also to bring the rest of the PCs before returning to the cave.

Anyhow, we had to break for the day and I’m not sure that anything definite was decided upon…

Recap of Session 6 – “Age of the Raven”

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Dramatis Personae

Slingbill | Human Monster Hunter | Mats

Sigurd Slapptask | Human Bounty Hunter | Flan

Quatsing | Caliban Avenger | Martin

Ernie ”MacWyvern” Lint | Elf Survivalist | Berndt

Iznogoud | Caliban Dashing Rogue | Djuro

 

Session Six – Dead by Dawn

After having talked to Constable Gremin, you went to pay a visit to the village Priest – Shaman Brucian. Dawn was beginning and the extent of the damage and violence from the passing night became evident in a much visceral way. Dead and undead bodies everywhere, where they had fallen in battle. No one answered at the priest’s house, so you invited yourselves and searched the house, but no evidence of foul play was uncovered. Next, you went to the church nearby. A lot of villagers was laying out rows of bodies in various states of decay in front of the church. You found the priest inside, working to help his flock.

The Priest told you about the fateful night a month ago:

  • Jean and Luc had come in the middle of the night with the horribly mangled and dead Marcel on a cart.
  • Brucian had attempted a Raise Dead spell from his scroll, but it had not worked.
  • After the failed resurrection attempt, Luc and Jean had stormed away from the church.
  • This was the last time he had seen Jean or Marcel, although a letter from Jean had told him about Luc being sent away to the stilt house in the swamp (by Jean).

Meanwhile, Slingbill and Quatsing have gone to the Full Moon Inn, where they discover that young Luc seems to have awakened from his insanity as from a bad dream.

After having talked to Shaman Brucian, everyone gathered at the Inn where Luc recounted the story of Marcel’s obsession with the Scroll of Hyskosa and his frantic search for the fabled document. He also told them of the fateful night when he and Marcel found the scroll and how they got attacked by the ancient undead in the Old Cemetery, and how they were saved in the last moment by Jean.

The PCs and Luc went to the d’Tarascon Townhouse to search for the scroll, which was found hidden behind a bookcase on the second story of the eerily silent and empty house. They also found a black cloak with red liquorice in the pockets. The meaning of the cryptic text on the scroll was however impossible to figure out.

After a brief discussion the PCs decided to search the d’Tarascon Mansion for further clues, well aware of the monsters waiting there in the dark rooms…

Well armed, and ready for battle, our heroes enter the abandoned mansion through the front doors. Finding nothing they proceeded to the left (south) finding…nothing. Then, after searching the large ballroom with the stairs (where they fought last time) they were suddenly attacked by ten snarling things coming out of several doors and attacking from all directions! The battle was furious with lots of wounds dealt to the heroes, but at last all the abominations lay dead and mangled on the floor.

This was another type of monster: fast, cunning with a blood-curdling shriek, razor sharp claws and a vicious poison bite that would paralyse a large man in seconds! Curiously, all the monsters wore the remnants of servant or field worker clothes…

We left of just when the head of the last of the beasts thumped to the floor with a dull thud…leaving our heroes drenched in blood and gore, wounded and scared…