Sunday 20 October 2019

Call of Cthulhu Session 5: Terror in Harlem

Picking up we left off last time, the party met up in the lobby of the Waldorf the morning of January 16, 1925 to plan their next step.

  • Detective Donato dos Reis- hardboiled Brasilian police detective
  • Dr. Gretta Von Flue- Parapsychologist and occult enthusiast
  • Dr. Warren Bedford- Professor of European History
  • Michael Hunt- 45 year old dilettante in search of diversions
  • Dr. Milka- medical doctor with a shotgun
  • Dr. Thomas Thompson- surgeon and occult enthusiast
  • Ms. Carmella Bates- jazz musician with gangland ties
  • Brad Johnson- Golfer/Businessman

They are waiting to hear back from the police and to meet up with one of Erica Carlyle's associates. For now they decided to follow up on the Emerson Imports lead.

This brought them to a subway to Harlem. Carmella ended up finding them a guide. At this point the party split with half of then following the guide and the others continuing on to 137th street in search of Silas. (Except for Dr. Milka who got lost in the subway and wandered off).

Carmella et al ended up eating Good Voodoo soup in a Hatian restaurant and hearing local street musicians on their way to 137th. Meanwhile, Donato, Michael, and Warren had a run in with the Bloody Tongue.

The three couldn't find the store, but noticed some shady-looking locals watching them. Michael, ever the murder-hobo, blasted a guy with his shotgun. Fortunately, the guy turned out to be a cultist. Unfortunately, he had a lot of friends. The three ended up surrounded by knife-wielding cultists and were soon tied up in Silas' basement...

When Carmella and the others arrived, the neighborhood was in an uproar over the shooting. They ditched their guide, Brad knocked out the cultist guard with a golf club, and they entered Silas' shop. They found the secret trap door, descended the stairs, and heard voices behind a heavy wooden door...

A Face of the Chakota
Jumping back to the scene of the first group's capture: Silas sent a couple messengers out(to call the priest of the cult). He began interrogating Michael, then showed him the creature in the pit when he refused to answer. Michael managed to hang on to his sanity. When he dragged Denato to the pit, the cop broke his bonds and attempted to grapple the cult leader. The heroic detective went down under a flurry of cultist knives!

Jumping back ahead to the rescuers' arrival: they busted open the door and came out guns blazing. Only Silas and the priest were there and they were easily dispatched. The party then opened the screen at the back of the room where they were met by the dead eyes of their friend Denato and several other zombies. After ineffectively shooting them, they lit them on fire and fled. Brad and Dr. Thompson lost some sanity from the experience.

The investigators discovered the cult's private stash of artifacts:
  • High priest's robes
  • Lion's Claw Gloves
  • Africa's Dark Sects book- from which several party members learned the Create Zombie spell
  • African Devil Mask
  • Burnished Copper Bowl
  • Wood Scepter
  • Metal Headband

The investigators left the horrors of the Ju Ju House, having saved two of their friends and having dealt the Cult of the Bloody Tongue a serious blow. On the other hand, the creature in the pit was left unmolested and no cult members were interrogated to find out why they had murdered Jackson Elias...

Sunday 6 October 2019

Heart of Cthulhu

A quick note about the first three sessions of our Call of Cthulhu campaign:

This last adventure was based on Don Coatar's adventure The God of Mitnal. It's a high-quality adventure for a fan-published work, but I found it a bit bland, with all the occult setup coming to nothing and explicit advice to go easy on the investigators. I was thinking how to spice it up and I thought of Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness. 

I always enjoyed Heart of Darkness, but found the climax to be, well, anti-climactic. After this descent into the semi-mythic underworld in the dark heart of Africa, our narrator finds... Kurtz dying of Malaria and the natives really bummed out about it. I'm sure there's some deep postmodern message in that. No quest object or beloved Eurydice awaits our Hero's at the end of his quest. It was all for naught as there is only a great void at the Heart of Things. That's a powerful theme but makes for a dull plot point. What was rally lacking there is for our narrator to find Kurtz at his prime just as he's about to perform the great ritual to awaken Cthulhu from his eons-long slumber! The ritual goes wrong, Kurtz is left shattered, he is loaded onto the river boat. Denouement continues from there. 

So in that spirit I made Kimbel the Kurtz character. Our slippery gun-runner has met his match in the form of the crystal skull of Au-Puch. He has spent too many hours staring into it's owlish eyes and with the loss of his sanity, it has persuaded him to perform the ancient ritual to break the seal and release Au-Puch, an ancient Cthonian deep under the ground. Unfortunately, Donato's Judo skills foiled that plan before things could really get interesting.

Call of Cthulhu Session 4: The Bloody Tongue

The investigators took a long rest after wrapping up their 1923 adventure in the Yucatan in Session 3.

We return to them in late 1924, when they receive a telegram from Elias:

The Investigators:
  • Detective Donato dos Reis- hardboiled Brasilian police detective
  • Dr. Gretta Von Flue- Parapsychologist and occult enthusiast
  • Dr. Warren Bedford- Professor of European History

The investigators agreed to meet-up on the morning of January 15 in the Lobby of the Waldorf Astoria. Until then, their researches turned up a number of clues regarding the Carlyle Expedition:

They were suspicious about the rapid apprehension and execution of the suspects. They managed to contact and receive a telegram from one Lt. Montgomery of the Africa Rifles who confirmed the gory details of the expedition and praised the speedy justice that was had.

New York, 1925

The party met up successfully at the planned time. Denato managed to contact Mr. Bradley Grey, close friend and confidante of Erica Carlyle, who suggested that they meet for drinks the following day at the Hotel Crowley.

That evening, the investigators converged on the Chelsea Hotel to meet Elias. After failing to rouse him, they found a maid to open the door. The unfortunate lady immediately had her throat slashed by one of the cultists ransacking the place, after having murdered Jackson Elias. The investigators managed to kill two of the assailants and capture a third. Before he passed out he warned them "The Bloody Tongue will get you!"

They collected a number of clues at the scene:

The party were interviewed briefly by police Lt. Poole and gave him their contact info in case he wishes to further question them. They also found a car idling nearby and recorded the license plate number. After leaving the scene they followed up on the NYU lecture handbill, but found out that it took place about a month in the past.

At that point they called it a night.