Five Men and a Moron (Updated 24 May 2005)

Session 1 - 2 May 2005

My players: Please do NOT read the "spoiler" text hidden by the buttons. Thanks!

Five Men and a Moron

Keeper's Note: This title is not an aspersion on any one player. Most of them had at least one moment where he earned the title "moron" during this adventure. Basically, I believe they all role-played beginning investigators very well. Bravo, team!

WARNING: This story hour contains spoilers for "The Haunting" (a.k.a. "The Haunted House") scenario contained in the main rule Call of Cthulhu BRP rule book.

Cast of Characters

The spoiler text is the plot hook I gave to the player. Each player had their own plot hook and did not share them with the others.

Joseph Baldwin, age 29. After 11 years in the Army, he returns to his native home of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for a time working as a clerk in his father's hardware store. In 1920 He moves to New York City under employment as a Stocks & Bonds salesman. Joseph is married, however; does not live with his wife, and has no children. Joseph Baldwin's plot hook: [sblock]A lawyer friend of yours, Dan Walker, has asked you to help him with a small investigation. He doesn't necessarily need your particular skills on this assignment, but if successful he feels that since you are a veteran, his client may be inclined to buy stocks and bonds through you. He is just doing you a small favor, hoping to help you increase your sales.

Dan did not provide any details, except the time and place of the meeting where you will meet your companions and get the assignment.[/sblock]

Aidan Gallagher, age 29, is a jack-of-all-trades kind of guy: Pickpocket, Safe Cracker, Wheelman, Intimidate. He did all kinds of odd jobs, none of them on the up-and-up. Now, he's a chauffeur/body guard for a boxing promoter. His nickname is 'The Red Death'. He is a redhead. Aidan Gallagher's plot hook: [sblock]Your lawyer "friend" Dan Walker has another little job for you. Nothing spectacular; in fact, you'll be part of a group this time, instead of working solo. You're part of the group to provide some muscle. You know what to do if something bad happens.

Dan did not provide any details, except the time and place of the meeting where you will meet your companions and get the assignment.[/sblock]

Willhelm Ostmueller, age 46, is a slight man with graying hair and spectacles. He had been a professor of archeology in Stuttgart, but after a short stint in the German Army as a logistics officer, he immigrated to America, where he took up a residence in Brooklyn and is now back to teaching his beloved archeology to students at the City College of New York. Willhelm Ostmueller's plot hook: [sblock]The lawyer who helped you with your immigration papers, Dan Walker, has asked you to for a small favor. He has a minor investigatory task at hand, and has assembled a few hard-working guys to perform the work.

But he needs someone he can trust. You see, a nosy reported has sort of weaseled his way onto the team, and Dan doesn't trust him. He wants someone he can trust to oversee the investigation and make sure they group acts in a professional and courteous manner when dealing with other people. Once the journalist got involved, Dan wanted someone with some credibility to tag along in case he needs to refute whatever the journalist writes in his newspaper. Your interest in Anthropology can be your cover—perhaps you are writing an article on some urban topic…

Dan did not provide any details, except the time and place of the meeting where you will meet your companions and get the assignment.[/sblock]

James William Pearson, age 35, lives in Nutley New Jersey. Trained in aerial warfare at the French school, served in both the French and American armed forces during The Great War. Upon returning from the war, he discovered his fiancée pregnant and married to another man. Pearson moved to New York, began drinking heavily, and took on the role of private eye to make a few extra dollars. He specializes in cases where the husband suspects infidelity. James Pearson's plot hook: [sblock]Your kind acquaintance and occasional employer Dan Walker has asked you to work on another case. He has told you that this is not a typical "domestic surveillance" case as he usually gives you, and that he will have some helpers working along with you on the case. He did not provide any other details, except the time and place of the meeting where you will meet your companions and get the assignment.[/sblock]

Wesely Jordan, age 35, is a reporter for Hearst papers based in Boston. His stories sometimes involve the Occult. Wesely Jordan's plot hook: [sblock]You overheard a legal acquaintance, Dan Walker, talking to someone about investigating a house. You know him from some stories in the past where you have interviewed him. He seems like a nice enough person, but you're not sure if he's really friendly or just putting on an act (as many lawyers do).

Emboldened by the thought of a juicy story*, you sort of bullied you way into an assignment. Dan did not provide any details, except the time and place of the meeting where you will meet your companions and get the assignment.

*Oppression of the working class? Property swindle? A land speculation scam? Shoddy/unsafe housing?[/sblock]

Robert Brooks, age 47, attended Yale University, graduating with both law and business degrees in 1900. He enlisted the aid of several friends, with whom he attended Yale, in opening a legal firm. It came to his attention in 1908; the government had created a new department of investigations call the Bureau of Investigations. This intrigued Robert and though his legal firm was a successful venture, his constant inclination for challenge and I dare say adventure took him in a new direction with employment as one of the Bureau’s agents. In 1914 he received the notice of Mr. William Allen, the acting chief. After their meeting, Brooks’ prestige within the department rose quickly. His ambition even went so far as to become chief of the bureau. Robert thought his chance had finally come in 1919 when he was reviewed to become the new chief, but was passed over by a man whom he was not particularly fond of, William Flynn. The feeling was mutual. Brooks felt betrayed. He believed that it was due to the fact he had no wife, which had at times, been a subject of some controversy. Robert, since then became ever further disillusioned with the bureau. Robert Brooks' plot hook: [sblock]I have no freakin' idea why you're there. (That's what you get for getting me your character blurb later than everyone else.) Think of something, or you're the first to die.

You know that a lawyer, Dan Walker, has tasked a small group of men to do some investigatory work for him. You don't know any details, except the time and place of the meeting where the group will get the assignment.

Will you crash the meeting? Tail the group when they leave? Beat up the lawyer after the group departs? Decide what you want to do and let me know (in writing—keep it secret from everyone else).[/sblock]

Five gentlemen were called in, for various reasons, by a lawyer and charged with a small task. Before he can begin discussing the assignment, a sixth gentleman (Robert Brooks) shows up, saying that he has been requested to attend the meeting. He shows the lawyer the letter requesting his attendance, but Dan Walker says that he did not write the letter. Believing that he has been treated rudely by someone he was going to assist, Robert leaves in a huff. (Note: this player was going to play a coal miner, but changed his mind at the last minute. As a result, I basically forced him to role play his rather awkward bluff to "crash" the meeting since I had no plot hook for him. He did a great job and it was a fun scene to role-play.).

Dan begins the meeting. A landlord client of his has trouble renting out a house, and wants to make sure everything is on the up and up. The last tenants left and he hasn't been able to rent it since. He gives them the address, keys to the house, and a $50 advance. He hands these items to William Ostmueller, the man he most trusts.

The group spends a few minutes in the lawyer's office planning what to do. Journalist Wesely Jordan asks for a lift to a hotel, as he has come directly from the train station to the meeting (he lives in Boston). Jimmy Pearson has a car, and offers to drive him to the Knickerbocker hotel. It's only a few blocks away, and the others decide to walk and meet them there for lunch, as Wesely's luggage takes up most of the back seat of Jimmy's Model T.

As Joseph, Willhelm, and Aidan walk to the hotel, they engage in conversation. In discussing their backgrounds, Adain casually mentions that he was in "the pen" for a while. When pressed by Joseph, he simply says that he has paid his debt to society and is looking to move on.

Jimmy drives like a maniac to the hotel, but he and Wesely arrive safely.

Neither group notices the car following them.

At the hotel, the group sits down to luncheon. As they discuss what to do, several ideas are floated: research the property at the library, check City Hall for records concerning the property, look in back issues of newspapers for clues, etc. Sadly for them, but rather happily for The Keeper, all of these fine suggestions are ignored and the group decides to proceed directly to the house. They pile into Jimmy's car and head for the house. (Note: all three of those places are explicitly mentioned in the scenario with pertinent information; it was difficult not to laugh or grin maniacally when they ignored all three ideas!)

Willhelm unlocks the front door and opens it. He, and the others crowding by the front door, see a long hallway with no lights. It looks like there are six doors, three on each side of the hallway. Wesely steps into the house with Willhelm. They enter the first door on the left, which is apparently a storage room. There is a large cupboard, which is boarded up, in the room. Since there is no light in the house, Willhelm goes outside to undo the shutters. Aidan just stands in the doorway, waiting to see what everyone else does.

(Now, at this point, it gets a bit confusing, so some of this may be incorrect--but you get the gist. I think I will record the next session to get the details correct.)

Jimmy and Joseph decide to go upstairs (even though they have seen no stairs yet). Willhelm has entered the building, and then left to go outside and open the shutters. Meanwhile, Robert Brooks has gotten out of his car (parked about 100 feet away) and approached the house. Willhelm sees him, and shouts out a pleasant greeting, "Herr Brooks!"

On the way to the stairs, Jimmy decides to take a quick peek into each room. He looks into the first door on the right and sees a normal living room. Hearing the shout, Joseph goes outside. After Willhelm greets Robert, Joseph begins to grill Mr. Brooks about his motives and reasons for being at the house.

Wesely leaves the house, and wanders the area searching for locals who may know something about the house. No one really knows much about the house, but a cigar vender recalls some "bad business" with the "Church of Contemplation" a few years back.

Joseph, satisfied with Mr. Brooks' answers, also leaves the house and goes to one of the office buildings next door. He uses a phone to call the lawyer and get the name and phone number of the house's owner. He calls the owner, Sam Brody, and asks some questions about the last tenants of the house. Joseph learns that both the husband and the wife went insane and are both committed to Bellevue. The children have been sent to live with relatives in Baltimore.

Willhelm moves around the house and undoes the shutter. He then remains outside, continuing toward the back of the house. There are no more windows on this side, but there is a door. Since Willhelm has the keys, he begins unlocking the various locks on the side door.

Aidan explores the storage room on the left, and Jimmy looks around the living and takes a cross from the many religious gee-gaws decorating the room. He then exits and living room and continues down the hall to try the next door (which is on the left). It opens into another storeroom. The next door is on the left and he moves toward it.

No one has seen Willhelm in a short while.

Robert who satisfactorily answered Joseph's questions several minutes ago, finally proceeds into the house. Robert then decides to go into the cellar.

As Jimmy opens the third door on the left, he is blinded by some (relatively) bright light flooding into the dark house. After his eyes adjust to the illumination, he sees Willhelm opening a door from the outside. The room is apparently a small mud room; nothing much to see here.

Jimmy proceeds to the third door on the right. He enters the kitchen.

Willhelm starts locking the multitude of locks on the mud room door.

Robert finds the door leading to the cellar heads down the cellar stairs.

Just as Wesely and Joseph return to the house, everyone hears a crash, followed by a gun shot. Everyone runs to the end of the hallway, where the door to the cellar is ajar.

Keeper's note: Robert has failed his DEX roll to make it down the stairs safely. His player asks, "Does my gun go off?" Granting his wish, I ask for a Luck roll. He fails, so his gun goes off. I ask for another Luck roll, to see if his gun might hit him. He fails, so it's pointing at a body part. I have him make a Firearms roll--it's a hit. Thankfully, it's not an impale. Still, he takes 1 point of falling damage (yay for min damage!) and 7 points from the gun (on a d8 roll--yay for almost max damage!). He fails his shock roll and is unconscious. Some quick First Aid helps him but he remains unconscious.

Everyone sees his crumpled body at the foot of the stairs. They head down to help him and Willhelm falls down the stairs. (With two confirmed attacks, the group declares the basement stair case their arch-enemy. They finally manage to get Robert up the stairs. Wesely and Jimmy put the unconscious Federal agent into Jimmy's car and he takes off for the hospital.

George, Robert's chauffeur, approaches the house and asks the investigators what they're doing with his boss. Professor Ostmueller tells him that Robert fell down the stairs, discharging his gun, and they are taking him to the hospital. Aidan and Joseph decide to stay at the house, as Willhelm goes with George to the hospital. Willhelm has left the front door unlocked, so Aidan and Joseph can enter and exit the house as they wish; he assumes they will lock the door if they leave.

Jimmy's driving doesn't get any better during an emergency. (Note: The player put a lot of skill points into Drive, but usually rolled just above his % in that skill.) He crashes his car into a lamppost. Jimmy tries to commandeer a passing motorist's car, but fails miserably despite flashing agent Brooks' badge and claiming to be a federal agent (rolled 100 on his Fast Talk). Unfortunately for him, the passing motorist is a police officer who notes his license plate and heads to the station house to get a couple of uniformed officers to look into the nut case with the badge. Wesely flags down a motorist, who offers to take Mr. Brooks to the hospital. Jimmy remembers a garage nearby and calls them to tow his car into the shop as Wesely and the unconscious Robert head for the nearest hospital. Luckily for Jimmy, the tow truck arrives before the cops show up (rolled 01 on a Luck roll; this was the most hysterical set of rolls in our group's history).

Meanwhile, at the hospital, Robert gets settled in and receives some decent medical care.

Aidan and Joseph decide to track down the former tenants, and go visit the local insane asylum. They leave the house unlocked when they depart. They meet both the husband (Vittorio Macario) and his wife (Gabriela). Vittorio does not communicate at all, but they do learn that the wife believes there is "a presence" in the house, an evil presence which tried to kill them. She gets upset and the men are asked to leave as an orderly attempts to calm her down. They decide to stop by a hardware store on the way back to the house, and purchases a crowbar and a light (a very heavy, cumbersome crude set-up--a battery with a feeble lamp on top).

Convinced that Robert is in good hands, Wesely and Willhelm journey back to the house. As they pull up in a taxi, Aidan and Joseph return from the asylum. Jimmy soon shows up, walking from the garage which is repairing his car.

Our intrepid investigators decide to finish going through the house.

They start to venture upstairs, but then re-think their strategy. They look for a fuse box and find one in the kitchen. What's more, there are fuses in one of the cupboards! There are only four fuses and there are six sockets, but Willhelm manages to get the power turned on in both the kitchen and upstairs.

They finally (!!) open up the boarded-up cupboard in the storage room. In it, they find three books--apparently it's a diary of someone named "W. Corbitt" who once lived at the house. Wesely (the journalist), Joseph (the bonds broker), and Willhelm (the professor) each take one of the volumes for later perusal.

The group heads upstairs.

There are four doors in the upstairs hallway; they decide to open them in order. They check out the lavatory, with no surprising findings. The next room has an empty bed frame, a night stand, and a dresser. As they stand around, blood starts to drip down the walls in three different spots. Wesely takes a picture or two of the blood. Willhelm goes into the next room to see if the blood appears on the other side of the wall; it does not. He returns to the first bedroom. The window starts rattling. Everyone decides to move on, and Willhelm decides to look at the window before leaving. As he does, the bed slams into him, knocking him out the window. Hearing the loud noises, everyone rushes in and see the professor lying on the ground outside the window. They hurriedly go outside and tend to him. He's injured and unconscious.

Another trip to the hospital. Aidan stays with the professor, to get the keys when he wakes up. But the professor does not regain consciousness, so Aidan leaves.

Three investigators return to the house. Fortunately, Willhelm (being unconscious) did not lock the front door when he left and they can enter the building easily.

The next two bedrooms are nondescript: a children's room and a parent's bedroom. Nothing of much interest, but Wesely does take a breviary from the night stand, and Jimmy takes a few more religious icons.

The three remaining investigators finally decide to venture into the basement. The fiddle with the fuses to make sure the light is on downstairs. They head down the stairs. Jimmy takes extra care going down the steps and proceeds without a problem. Wesely scoots down the stairs on his butt and, also, has no problem. Joseph, lugging the heavy battery/light in one hand, and his gun in the other, is not lucky and falls down the rickety stairs. (Third successful attack by the stairs.)

Jimmy heads for the opposite wall, as Wesely begins searching through the mess in the room and Joseph rubs his aching fanny.

Wesely finds an odd, ornamental dagger in the debris scattered around the room. As he is handing the dagger to Jimmy for closer inspection, the weapon suddenly leaps out of his hands, attacking the former pilot! Surprised by the dagger, Jimmy tries to shoot it (bad Idea roll), to no avail. Wesely and Joseph, too, are surprised and not sure what to do. The dagger attacks Jimmy again--and hits again. He grabs a trash can lid and tries to defend himself againt the dagger. Wesely, after snapping a photograph of the knife attacking Jimmy, grabs a box and attempts to grapple the knife to the ground, but fails. Joseph is not sure what to do. Wesely manages to hit the dagger, and so the vile blade tries to attack him. Fortunately for him, the dagger misses. Jimmy dashes upstairs and brings down the bread box from the kitchen. After a few more ineffectual attacks by the dagger, Wesely ensnares the dagger with his box trap!

As Jimmy puts the vile blade in the metal box for safekeeping, Wesely bends over, picks up a piece of pipe, and bashes Joseph with it. Startled, the gentleman cries out in pain and asks Wesely what he's doing! Joseph also notices that Wesely's eyes seem glazed over. In self-defense, Joseph draws his gun and begins shooting at Wesely, eventually hitting but not felling the (possessed?) journalist. Jimmy hits the journalist with a cross taken from upstairs, but the holy symbol has no visible effect. In desperation, Jimmy decks Wesely, sending the journalist slumping to the floor and his camera sliding into the debris. Joseph begins dragging Wesely's body up the stairs, going slowly so he won't fall off. Almost at the top, Joseph's eyes roll back for a second and Jimmy watches in horror as Joseph's eyes glaze over and he pushes Wesely's body off the stairs. ("Does that count as a fourth attack by the stair case?" Jimmy's player wonders.)

Frantic to save the journalist's life, Jimmy rushes over and gives some quick, but life-saving, First Aid. (Thankfully, he rolled a 17. Whew!). He then punches Joseph, knocking him out. He manages to drag both bodies out of the basement and out of the house. He runs to a phone and calmly asks the operator to send an ambulance and squad car to the address. Wesely and Joseph end up at the hospital. Where, now, four out of the six original investigators are patients.

Wesely is unconscious and appears to be muttering in delirium. No one pays much attention to his fevered whispers of "my camera....get my camera....."

The next day, Aidan calls on Dan Walker (the lawyer) and tells him the house can not be rented because it's haunted. He asks for payment and Dan, a bit confused, replies that when they've gotten rid of the ghost(s), they'll get paid. Aidan leaves in a huff.

Jimmy seeks out a psychic, to see what information can be learned about the knife. The psychic he finds tells him that the knife is evil. Switching the subject, Jimmy asks if she knows anything about ghosts. She replies that ghosts are her specialty. Jimmy asks if she knows how to get rid of them. The psychic replies that ghosts are bound to the earth in the spot of some horrible trauma. To release the ghost, you must undo the trauma. Jimmy, a bit puzzled, asks how it's possible to undo something that has already happened. The psychic replies that no one has ever figured that out; that is why you can not get rid of ghosts. Desperate for some help, Jimmy asks if she knows of anything that can help against possession. She replies that she can give him an ingredient list for a protective charm to help avoid possession. Some of the ingredients are rather unusual, but Jimmy has time to track them down and the psychic helpfully gives him the names of a few select shops which should have the ingredients in stock. He sets out to buy enough ingredients to make six such charms.

While Wesely, Willhelm, and Joseph recuperate in the hospital, they all read the diary. It describes the occult life of a man named "Walter Corbitt, Esq." and details his magical experiments. The thoughts of the writer are so horrific, that each man feels uneasy after reading the diary. And they are all surprised to find instructions to perform some sort of summoning ritual, but they're not sure exactly what the ritual will bring forth.

After recuperating a week, Wesely and the others decide to do some research on the house. Robert Brooks is still hospitalized, but the others feel well enough to leave. In searching the local newspaper clippings (the "morgue"), City Hall records, court records, and the library, they find out some interesting facts. The house was built around 1835 and purchased by a Walter Corbitt. Years later, his neighbors sued to force him to move out, but there is no record of whether or not that suit was successful. The leader of a local church (which turned out to be a cult) is named the executor of Corbitt's will. The church/cult was raided eight years ago (neighbors suspected the group in the disappearance of several local children), and several people died in the debacle--three policemen and seventeen cult members. The pastor was caught, convicted of second-degree murder, and imprisoned, but escaped three years ago. Additionally, the autopsies on the victims are curiously cursory. Reading all the data with a critical eye, Wesely suspects some sort of cover-up by powerful individuals--why else would such a tragedy not have made national headlines?

Jimmy then leads the group to the coroner's office, where the coroner who worked on the case is still employed. He answers questions as best he can, but offers no new insight.

And that's where we called it a night. We spent about an hour finishing up characters (the backstories were all done, and two of the players made their characters in advance). We then spent about 4.5 hours gaming and it was a blast! The next session is in two weeks.
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Five Men and a Moron, chapter 2

Five Men and a Moron, Chapter 2

Keeper's Note: This title is not an aspersion on any one player. Each had moments where they earned the title "moron" during this adventure. Basically, I believe they all role-played beginning investigators very well. Bravo, team! We are having a contest among the players to come up with a better name, but they all seem to like this title for now.

WARNING: This story hour contains spoilers for "The Haunting" (a.k.a. "The Haunted House") scenario contained in the main Call of Cthulhu BRP rule book.

Wesely suggests the group go to City Hall to track the property transactions and trace its ownership. He also thinks they should check out the landlord's history. Joseph suggests they find out what happened to other tenants (besides the last occupants), and concurs that they should talk to the landlord more extensively.

At City Hall, the group discovers that a James Culver sold the house to Sam Brody less than two years ago. They find no death records for Brody, Culver, or Walter Corbitt. Keeper's Note: I don't know why they wanted to search for Death Records for the current landlord!

They decide to head to the "Chapel of Contemplation." Everyone begins to feel an irritating tingle in their foreheads and Wesely snaps a photo of a strange symbol which appears to be freshly painted on the ruins. No one recognizes the symbol.

Poking around the ruins, three men fall into a former basement as the grounds gives way. Joseph and Willhelm lie crumpled on the ground. Aidan is also injured, but remains conscious.

In the room, they also see two skeletons wearing robes.

Wesely descends carefully into the hole, providing First Aid to Professor Ostmueller and bringing him to consciousness. He, unfortunately, is not successful at rousing Joseph. Aidan tends to Joseph's wounds, but his ministrations are not enough to wake the salesman.

They find some moldering church records, including a well-hidden journal of cult activities. The journal mentions that Walter Corbitt was buried in his basement, according to his wishes as well as the wishes of "The One That Waits in the Dark." Chained to a rotting desk, is a large volume. With horror, they realize that the book is bound in human skin! It appears to be hand-written in Latin and much of the book is riddled with worm holes. It is apparently called the Liber Ivonis. The group tries to pick the lock holding the chain in place, to no avail. So, they smash the desk until they can work the chain free and take the book. They find nothing else of interest and leave the area, but first Jimmy provides some First Aid to Aidan.

Remembering something the clerk at the Hall of Records had mentioned, Wesely says that they should check out any legal records that may exist at the police station.

They head to the hospital, so Joseph can get proper medical attention, and then the remaining investigators go to see Sam Brody. He tells them that he owns no other rental properties and he's hoping they can "clean out" his house so he can rent it. Telling him that they believe someone is buried in the basement, Mr. Brody is shocked and asks if they can exhume the body and bury it somewhere else. Wesely says that they can do that—they just need a shovel. Mr. Brody is very excited by this turn of events. When asked what he knows of the "Chapel of Contemplation," Mr. Brody responds that he has never heard of it. Returning to the subject of the house, Mr. Brody answers the rest of their questions—no, he has not made any improvements to the house; the Macario children went to live with relatives. Satisfied that he is telling the truth, the group leaves.

Jimmy suggests they return to the basement to move the body, but Wesely would like to check out some more legal records first. Fast-talking his way into the police records room, Wesely learns a lot about the Chapel. It was raided due to complaints that the "church" was involved in the disappearance of several neighborhood children. Three police officers and seventeen cultists died. Additionally, 54 cultists were arrested, yet all but eight were released. The lack of public knowledge about the raid suggests that someone important intervened to cover-up the raid and its aftermath.

Jimmy suggests that Michael Thomas, the pastor of the church who escaped from prison three years ago, may be living in the house. Wesely scoffs at the idea, saying that would not explain the floating dagger. Jimmy hypothesizes that perhaps Thomas is using foul magicks to animate the dagger.

In the hospital, Joseph Baldwin relates the exploits of the group to Robert Brooks. When pressed about his interest in the house, Robert offers no new information. The conversation denigrates into petty bickering, which accomplishes nothing. Robert apologizes, blaming his behavior on his wounds. It has been several hours since their companions left the hospital, and Robert and Joseph begin to worry. They decide to check themselves out, against doctor's orders, and track down their friends.

Wesely develops the pictures he has been taking with Jimmy's camera. Jimmy takes a picture of the symbol from the ruined chapel to his psychic acquaintance, who declares that it is a symbol of great evil. She will say no more about the symbol.

Jimmy, determined to return to the house, acquires some gear which may be appropriate to transporting a body to a new grave. Returning to the house, they decide to tie a rope around someone who will then enter the basement. Aidan volunteers for the job. As he descends into the basement, Wesley asks if his camera is down there. Aidan nearly steps on the camera, but fortune smiles on him and his foot merely brushes the delicate instrument. He returns the camera to Wesely and then returns to the basement.

Aidan checks out the empty storage room, probably used for coal in previous times. Nothing of interest is there, so he moves toward the back wall. He clears a path, tossing junk out of the way noisily. He also notices a faint smell. With some room cleared, Aidan retrieves the pick and begins swinging at the wall. After he's knocked down a few boards, he notices a crawlspace behind the wall. Aidan doesn't have time to react, as a swarm of rats pours out of the hole and attacks him.

Retreating carefully up the stair to avoid falling, the rats continue to gnaw at Aidan. "Get these rats off me!" he cries out, beseeching his friends for help. Some of the rats have retreated back into the hole, but there are still several swarming over the young man. As he finishes his slow trek up the stairs, the remaining rats desert the young man for the safety of their crawl space. Aidan refuses to go back down until the rats are dealt with.

Debating several ideas, the investigators decide to try smoking out the rats to they can investigate the crawl space. They light a broom, producing a nice smoke which will probably do the trick. Wesely, brandishing the broom in front of him, approaches the wall. Looking through the hole, he notices that the phrase "Chapel of Contemplation" is scratched into the inside wall. Willhelm clears more junk, allowing him to approach the wall. Taking the pick Aidan dropped, Willhelm starts enlarging the hole. The rats, held at bay by the smoke, now overcome their reluctance and swarm out of the hole once again. Jimmy rushes up to help attack the rats. As the investigators kill rats, the rest of the rodents scurry away under the junk piles in the basement.

Jimmy and Wesely enter the crawl space, as Willhelm watches for rats.

Jimmy digs in the earthen floor, looking for a shallow grave. Finding nothing, he decides to try breaking through the back wall, which is also wooden. Wesely calls up to Aidan that the rats are dispersed, and the young man carefully makes his way down the stairs and toward the crawl space.

Finding a secret room, Jimmy enters it, intrigued by the body he sees lying on a pallet. Wesley and Willhelm follow him into the room. As Aidan enters the secret chamber, they all recoil in horror as the body begins to move, rising up menacingly.

The only person with a gun ready is Aidan, who shoots at the foul beast, but misses. Jimmy draws his gun and shoots as well. He, too, misses. Wesely picks up the pick and waits to attack the corpse when it gets closer. Professor Ostmueller draws his Luger and hits the beast with a shot. The bullet seems to just chip off part of his body rather than actually damage it. Enraged, the creature attacks Aidan, raking him with a disgusting claw. The young man crumples to the ground.

Jimmy shoots again, hitting the monster. Willhelm also hits the beast. Both hits seems to do minimal damage to the undead monstrosity. Wesely misses with the pick, and then Jimmy misses with his gun. The good professor shoots again, but also misses. The corpse of Corbitt hits Jimmy with both claws, sending him to the ground unconscious.

Professor Ostmueller misses with his gun on the first shot, but his the second time. The beast is injured, but still up. He attacks Wesley with a claw, sending the journalist to the ground unconscious. Thus concludes the worst set of Shock rolls in the group's brief history—Corbitt has managed to take down three people in just three rounds, even though no one dropped low enough to die outright..

The professor shoots again, doing more damage but still not enough to fell the beast. And with his next shot, his gun jams. 100! Fortunately for him, the corpse stumbles over Wesely's body and misses the professor.

Their macabre dance continues. Willhelm scoops up Aidan's gun and fires a shot. It's another hit and the beast is barely standing—but it still stands. Once again, the beast misses the Professor. Willhelm shoots again and misses, but the corpse also misses him with its claw attack! Just as the professor thinks luck is with him, his next shots fail to hit Corbitt and the beast attacks again. It hits and downs the German professor.

As Corbitt bends down to feast on the professor, Joseph and Robert sneak down the stairs.

As Robert, in a panic, calls out the names of his fallen companions, Joseph keeps his senses and shoots at the undead fiend. His aim is true, and with a single bullet to the thorax Corbitt is no more. Joseph and Robert tend to t heir wounded friends, and then fetch Robert's chauffeur George to help move them to the car for transport to the hospital. A cursory inspection of the room reveals only some papers on the table and a necklace on the corpse of William Corbitt. As Joseph touches the papers, they crumble to dust. Robert has noticed that the papers had common Astronomy symbols on them, but that is all he glimpsed before the papers were ruined. Robert takes the necklace, and feels a warm presence enter his body as it, too, crumbles to dust.

After much discussion, Robert and Joseph decide to put Corbitt's body in a box. Robert's chauffeur, George, lashes the box to the top of Mr. Brooks' car. They then pile their unconscious friends into the Packard and head to the hospital. After dropping off the injured investigators, they return to the house for the body of Willhelm Ostmueller. Robert then contacts an undertaker acquaintance he knows from his Bureau work. For a small sum, the man agrees to cremate both bodies, no questions asked. Robert empties Willhelm's pockets and they bid farewell to the professor. Their sad task finished, they head home for rest.

The next day, Robert and Joseph meet Dan Walker. They report their findings and declare the house safe for human habitation. Dan arranges to meet them later and give them the promised payment. Since it took so long—eleven days—the pay is $340. The landlord is happy to pay it, now that he will be able to rent out his property.

The college is notified of Willhelm's death and Wesely publishes a brief obituary in one of the local papers.

At the hospital, the three injured investigators do not recover quickly. The talons of their undead attacker have, apparently, infected them with a foul disease! Fortunately, all three of them seem to survive the disease, which eventually fades away. During their convalescence, they happen to mention to the hospital staff that they would like to find someone who can read Latin. Later, Dr. Al-Akbar strides into their room to check on his patients. He tells them that he knows Latin, as he has heard the were asking around for such a person. Jimmy tells him that they have a book written in Latin, which they would like translated. He asks the doctor how long that would take. Dr. Al-Akbar replies that it will depend on how long the book is, as well as how well he remembers his Latin.

In the meantime, Robert Brooks has received a letter. It is postmarked "Rowley, Mass.," a town where Robert knows no one. It bears no return address.

This was not the end of the session, but pretty much wrapped up "The Haunting" for this group. I'll post the adventure to Rowley later.

The Rowley Incident (chapter 3)

WARNING: This story hour contains spoilers for scenario "Old Acquaintance" contained in the Call of Cthulhu BRP book Before the Fall.

Keeper's Note: The title reflects the team's growth as investigators. They are morons no more!

When Robert opens the mysterious letter from Rowley, he recognizes the handwriting. The letter contains a plea for help from a soldier who served in Robert's unit during The Great War. Willie Harsen seems to be on the verge of a breakdown--he begs Robert for help saying that he has seen things man was not meant to see. He also gives a cryptic warning not to travel through Innsmouth on the journey to his home. Willie has also included a rough map to show the way.

Robert remembers Willie, a farmer from Dunwich, as a jovial young man. Appealing to the ladies, Willie was strong-willed and completely in control of his emotion. Perhaps life in the trenches of France have changed him somewhat? Robert also notes that the letter is written in Harsen's fine cursive writing, but the envelope is written in a very basic, child-like style. Not sure exactly what is wrong, Robert asks his fellow investigators if they will accompany him on a short journey.

Robert Brooks finds that his new friends are willing to travel with him to assist Willie Harsen.

As the three investigators finish their convalescence, their doctor informs them that he understands they are seeking someone who knows Latin. The good doctor knows the classical tongue, and it willing to help out. Dr. Al-Akbar, agreed to accompany them on the short journey to Rowley, since they did not want the book out of their site. The doctor is horrified to see that the book is bound in human skin. Wesely tries to convince him that it is just very fine pigskin, but the doctor is not so easily persuaded. He tells them it will cost $15 to translate the book for them and it will take several weeks. Relieved to have someone who understands Latin on their team, they eagerly agree to Dr. Al-Akbar's terms.

Jimmy buys a motorcycle.

The group heads for Rowley. Wesely offers to drive Jimmy's car for him, but Jimmy declines.

George drives Mr. Brooks' Packard, and Jimmy takes the wheel of his own Model T. George makes the drive without a problem, but Jimmy suffers the ignominy of a flat tire. Other than that, there is no trouble getting to Rowley, Mass.

The group stops at a diner for dinner, and talks to the waitress. The name "Willie Harsen" does not ring a bell. When asked what is farmed around here, she replies tentatively, "Apples? Cranberries?" She also gives directions to a hotel when asked. Joseph orders a cup of coffee, and the waitress is obviously relieved to have an order to put on her ticket. Dr. Al-Akbar orders some baba-ganoush and falafel. The waitress replies, "Sir, it's Thursday. It's meatloaf Thursday. We have meatloaf." Pressed further, she replies with exasperation, "We have meatloaf, we have mashed potatoes, we have coffee, and we have water, and we have milk for the kids." The good doctor orders some meatloaf. Robert Brooks tries to order roast beef. "Sir, it's Thursday. It's meatloaf Thursday. We have meatloaf and mashed potatoes that go with the meatloaf." He, too, orders meatloaf.

Wesely wants to wait until morning to move on to Willie's farm, but remembering the urgency in Willie's letter prompts Jimmy to declare they should press on immediately after dinner.

After some delicious meatloaf, the groups heads out to Willie's farm, passing through a salty marsh on the way.

Jimmy hears a loud 'cracking' sound as he hits a pot hole. He stops to inspect the damage. It's relatively minor--just a spoke on one of wheels has snapped--but as he checks out his vehicle he must endure the ignominy of Robert's car swerving around him and continuing on without him.

Pulling into the spot marked on Willie's map, the investigators notice that a truck parked out front has damaged grill-work. Omar asks Jimmy if he has been driving the truck, but gets no answer.

They walk up the decrepit stairs of the porch and knock on the door. A voice calls out, "Who's there?" Robert recognizes Willie's voice and calls out cheerfully, "Harsen, it's Brooks. You know, Robert Brooks." Willie excitedly opens the door and the group is stunned by his disfigured face. Seeing the shock on their faces, Willie apologizes for not warning them; he is used to his disfigurement and often forgets that his visage may startle other people. A shotgun held casually at his side, Willie ushers them into the crumbling structure and offers them some jerky which he has been eating for dinner. Robert offers Willie some left-over meatloaf from the diner, which the man gratefully accepts. Willie is very happy the investigators have arrived; in fact, he seems excessively happy to those in the group who possess keen insight into the human mind.

Harsen locks the door once everyone is inside; his awkward gait worsened by his wooden leg. Once everyone is seated, he tells his tale.

After the war, Willie thought he would return to Dunwich and continue farming. But he was not happy there, so he threw his meager belongings into his truck and wandered away. Willie didn't pay attention to what he was doing or where he was going. Eventually, his gas tank was running low. Luckily for him, he drove by this farm, which someone had abandoned many years before. With his bad leg, Willie did not want to walk back to Rowley for more gasoline. A friendly neighbor named Nick Casper noticed the truck and made Willie's acquaintance. He got Willie some gas, but Willie decided to stay and farm this land. Nick also warned Willie to stay away from Innsmouth and its inbred locals.

About a week ago, Willie needed some groceries and it was too late to drive to Rowley. With one eye missing, he explained that he doesn't like to drive on these bad roads at night and did not have time to make it to Rowley and back. So he ventured to the grocery store in Innsmouth. Leaving the store, Willie got lost and ended up at the harbor in Innsmouth after sundown. He hit a dog with his truck. When he stopped to help the dog, or at least find its owner if the dog was wearing a tag, he was horrified to see that it wasn't actually a dog--but some oddly deformed child that barely appeared human. Worse, altered by his screams, some adult residents of Innsmouth had begun to gather and were staring at Willie with hatred in their eyes. Fearing for his life, Willie fled the scene. He has been waiting ever since for the residents of Innsmouth to assault him. Now, with an entire group of friends at his place, Willie feels confident that he is safe and the townsfolk will not dare attack.

Willie doesn't know why the foul folk of Innsmouth have not come for him yet, but he's sure they're out there watching and waiting....

Jimmy suggests that the group stay the night and leave first thing in the morning. Some members of the group want to leave right away, but ultimately they decide to wait until morning when they can see the roads on which they'll be driving.

As they talk with Willie, Robert notices that Willie is wearing a wedding ring. When Mr. Brooks broaches subject, Willie looks sadly as his ring for a long time. Jimmy says, "Sir, you don't have to say anything. Here's my business card," and hands him a card. Willie finally speaks, saying that his wife left him when she saw what the war had done to him. "Time heals all wounds," Robert offers in an optimistic tone. Jimmy count points coolly, "Women--you can't trust them."

Sensitively changing the subject, Jimmy asks Willie if he has any moonshine to help them relax. When Willie emphatically says, "No, sir, that would be illegal!" Jimmy then asks if there is any water. "Well, yeah, there's a pump out back," responds Willie. Shaking his head, Jimmy responds, "No, you know, water water." "Uh, no," responds Willie.

Wesely questions Jimmy for a few minutes, but learns nothing new. The poor man has seen nothing else unusual, and has not even checked for foot prints outside his house to see if someone really is skulking about after him. When Willie mumbles, "Maybe I should have looked for footprints," Robert admonishes him: "You don't go alone, now." "I'm not goin' outside; it's dark out!" responds Willie. "Well, we'll take a look tomorrow," offers Wesely. Willie seems relieved, not wanting to go outside after dark since he feels the Innsmouth residents would sneak up in the darkness just as Huns did during The Great War....

Wesely asks if there is anywhere to bunk, since it's getting late. Willie cheerfully leads them through the messy kitchen to the bedroom, which he offers as a resting place for his weary visitors. When Willie explains that he will stay in the living room to guard with his shot gun, Jimmy offers to guard with him. With a tear in his eye, Willie thanks Robert for coming to his rescue and then heads for the living room. George, Robert's chauffeur, also joins them in the dingy room. Due to the crowded conditions in the bed room, Wesely sleeps in the very barren spare room.

Early in the morning, the clatter of boxes falling down in the kitchen wakes up George and Omar. As they enter the kitchen from opposite directions (George from the living room and Omar from the bedroom), they are horrified to see Willie Harsen collapsed on the floor, his body somehow looking even more grotesque due to swelling. His limbs seem barely able to function, as Willie struggles to avoid complete immobilization.

Omar cries out in horror, "Oh my god, he's been poisoned!" But the good doctor can not tell what specific type of poison is involved. Willie needs immediate medical attention, and the contents of Omar's doctor's satchel are probably not sufficient to help the poor man. Omar suggests they get to the nearest town--Innsmouth--as quickly as possible, and further reasons that perhaps the friendly neighbor (Nick Casper) can direct them to the doctor's location in town.

Not surprisingly, Jimmy offers to drive. As the group leaves the house, they all notice small crab-like creatures crawling over Willie's shotgun, which is lying on the ground next to his truck. Wesely picks up the shotgun, and gets bitten by one of the crabs. He can't seem to get the tiny beast off his arm. Robert tries to grab the crab off Wesely but fails. Jimmy pulls his gun and shoots at the crab, finally obliterating the foul beast. (It's an impale!)

The excitement of the crab attack over, Robert notices a yellow piece of paper on the ground. It is a Coast Guard-issued Commercial Fisherman permit. There is no name on the card as it is a bearer document.

(Thus ended the session. Next session is June 1st.)
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SOME DAY, I will get this done. This will be the conclusion of the adventure in Rowley, Old Acquaintance. And we'll have further adventures in New York City, the Dead Man's Stomp. But, for now, skip forward to the most recent chapter--the personal journal of Samuel Hopkins, as our intrepid investigators encounter Spirits over Arkham. (And note the title change!)

WARNING: This section of the story hour (whenever it gets posted) will contain spoilers for scenario "Old Acquaintance" contained in the Call of Cthulhu BRP book Before the Fall.

And Then There Were Three

WARNING: This portion of the story hour, an in-character journal, contains spoilers for the adventure "Spirits over Arkham" available for download at

Memoirs of Samuel Hopkins

Our team consisted of Wesley from the Boston Globe, and Omar the Egyptian doctor, and myself—Samuel from the New York Sun.

Friday September 10th-Thursday September 23rd, 1920

I received a call from Wesley, whom I had met the summer before when I was following up on a story about some gangsters and some strange tales about a man who was presumed dead but turned out to be alive. He called me asking if I would like a chance to help him investigate something for Mr. Walker, a lawyer from New York. Walker was also the man that had contacted Wesley to do the Corbitt house investigation. I told Wesley that I would enjoy helping him with the investigation and we arranged to meet Mr. Walker together in New York. When I went to New York I met Wesley and he had an Egyptian doctor named Omar with him. Speaking with Omar was difficult due to his thick accent, and I wondered why he had been brought into this strange business.

The three of us met with Walker and he asked us if we could investigate the suicide of Jeremy Lombard who leaped from the 4th floor of his apartment a week ago. Jeremy’s uncle would pay us a flat rate for the job, since the Corbitt pay-per-day debacle had cost Walker a fortune. Jeremy was a reporter for the Arkham Newspaper which intrigued Wesley and me that one of our fellow newsman may have met with foul play. We rushed to Arkham to talk to his editor and found that he was working on a big story on the East side of Arkham farm country. No one at the newspaper knew what the hot story was about so we drove to his apartment to search for more clues.

At Jeremy’s apartment we found nothing out of the ordinary on the outside. No windows were broken on the fourth floor and there were no signs outside of a police investigation. Going inside we decided to talk to the landlady first to see if we could get the key to Jeremy’s place. She was very worried until we greased her palms a little bit. Even then she said that the police had closed the apartment and said that it wasn’t to be disturbed. While Wesley busied her making tea I looked the place over a little but found nothing. Omar sweet-talked her with his Egyptian ways, and some money, and we left her apartment with Jeremy’s key in hand.

Heading up to Jeremy’s place we searched the place top to bottom and found some good leads. We found a diary, a date book, and an expensive cigar butt resting in an ash tray. The cigar butt captured my attention because of dad’s tobacco factory. The wrapper and filler smelled sweet and expensive and the rolling looked good. I didn’t pay much attention to dad when he was explaining the cigar biz to me, but this didn’t look like the cheap cigar of a small town reporter. Flipping through the diary we saw some interesting entries:

“Monday August 16th Isaiah Turnbull loss of cow, blood in field

Wed Sept 1st 2 chickens –blood

Friday Sept 3rd truck goes past the house once a week

Monday Sept 6th Hoesynth place”

The page for Friday 10th and Saturday 11th, the day of the suicide, was torn out. I used a pencil to rub the page underneath and found the words “Liquor” and “New York City”. I found myself wondering how deep this mystery was, and what I was getting myself into.

We took the cigar butt to David Goodnow, the local tobacconist, for examination. He knew of my father’s factory and told us that it was an expensive cigar as I had suspected. He said that Mr. Verducci who owned the Hoesynth house was the only one in town who smoked such expensive cigars. Mr. Verducci became our prime suspect.

Heading back to the Arkham newspaper morgue, we found that Jeremy had recently done some work following local Arkham legends about the “Burning Man” and the Arkham Gargoyle. Both of these legends centered around the Hoesynth house, and we knew that eventually our investigation would lead there.

Our research on the house revealed that Captain Norris, a local militia leader in 1712, burnt the house that was there to drive out a hive of gargoyles and witches. These creatures were called 6’ tall demons with blood spattered maws and that fire drove them out.

The legend of the burning man was started in 1826 when the house was burnt down by the figure of a burning man came out of the house and drove off some vagrants. The house as it stands today was built by Hoesynth in 1846.

With that information we decided to talk Isaiah Turnbull in order to see what Jeremy’s last story was about. When we got there we were worried that we may be shot at for trespassing by the irate farmer, but he turned out to be very calm although angry for the loss of some cows and chickens. He offered us the generous sum of $25 for their return and we gladly accepted looking forward to the money and a good reason to poke around the area. We turned our attention to the other nearby farmhouses and found mostly good farmer folk who complained of bonfires at the Denbigh's deserted farm, strange lights from the tower near the Hoesynth house, and frequent trips of a car every Thursday morning to the Hoesynth house.

Not wanting to confront the Hoesynth house first, we stopped by the Denbeigh farm and found the bonfire site, Turnbull’s dead livestock, and 3 dirty vagrants that were squatting at the Denbigh's. Wesley had a brief confrontation with the vagrants but they did not seem keen to coming any closer to us. The mystery of the missing livestock was solved, but we were more concerned with the Hoesynth house and did not bother to tell farmer Turnbull.

Researching more, and talking to anyone in town that would give us the time of day, we looked for more history and clues. We talked to the police station to get the suicide note of Jeremy and confirmed that it was not his handwriting. The local historical society told us that Jasmine Hoesynth had been murdered in the house and a police officer driven insane in the basement. I even interviewed the officer who had found Jasmine because the knife she was killed with had not been checked into evidence. The other members of the Hoesynth family were put in an asylum at that time but were now dead.

We finally decided to chance a look at the house. Sneaking up close so that I could see through the windows, I barely managed to avoid being seen. Spying four people in the house I returned to my companions and told them the news. We decided to wait and see when they left and on Friday the 17th they finally did. Omar and I crept up to the house and did not see anyone through the windows, but could hear someone’s creaking footsteps. We entered through the unlocked garage and made our way through the kitchen. We heard a sound behind us. Turning, we saw a dark haired Italian man, badly shaken, with a shotgun leveled in our direction. Omar went for his tommy-gun, but didn’t point it at the man. I backed up and raised my arms. We knew the man was Emilio from a description from one of the farm folk. Emilio told us to leave and Omar and I walked through the kitchen door with him following us. When we got through the door Omar tried to talk to Emilio and he opened fire with both barrels of his shotgun. Both shots missed Omar and he responded by firing several rounds into Emilio. Blood splattered everywhere and he fell to the floor dead. Aghast at this loss of life, I wished that we could have avoided this deadly confrontation. We carefully searched the house and found a shotgun, a key, a coded ledger and a wad of 10,000 dollars. Omar stuffed the money into his shirt and I worried about angering mobsters that had already murdered one meddling reporter.

We looked out the windows, hoping that the mobsters wouldn’t return while we were in the house. We decided to search the basement, the source of most of the supernatural activity. Opening the old wooden door we saw just a coal pile and an old furnace. I cautiously went to the furnace and opened the door, and I peered into the sooty blackness. From behind me, Omar made a short scream and held his ears. I turned but didn’t see anything to cause him pain. Then I heard it. A sharp piercing sound that reverberated in my brain. Omar and I took the stairs out of the basement and into the house. Again and again the noise hit us like an icy dagger in the brain. We burst out the side door and onto the lawn, Omar collapsed. The sound stopped and I looked at Omar. There was blood and a clear fluid intermingled coming out of his ears. My stomach felt filled with rocks. I tried what first aid I knew, though I had never seen anything like this. In sort of a panic I lit a cigar and fanned the smoke towards him, thinking maybe the smell would awaken him. After a few minutes I knew he was gone from this world. Acting quickly, I covered any tracks that would indicate more than one person being in the house. I threw the shotgun through the open window, put a pistol I took onto Omar’s body, and left the wad of cash on him. The only things I kept were the key and the coded ledger, hoping that I could incriminate the mobsters and gain access to the tower.

Eager to make the most of my time before the mobsters returned, I headed off to the ominous black tower to the west of the house. The key opened the door, and I was able to search the entire structure. On its very top I found a giant slab of magnetite with metal shackles and dried blood on it. Disturbed, I left the top of the tower and checked the tower basement. I found a number of iron cages with bones inside that I attributed to the gargoyles destroyed by the militia. I felt tired and worn from my ordeal, and having found no solution to the screaming ghost I went to the hotel for the night to await the return of Wesley.

The next day Wesley returned and I met a strange man named Billy Bob that had apparently acquired the tommy gun and stash of money that I had left on Omar’s body. I did not trust Billy Bob after that and it was an impression that would stay with me for a long time. In this situation, however, I felt it was best to bring him with us to face this difficult mystery. Returning to the Hoesynth house carefully we spied the gangsters had returned to the mansion. We ran into a man near the house and Wesley recognized him as his friend Aidan. Aidan apparently was working with the gangsters and was driving truck and doing guard work for them. We explained to him the death of Omar and Emilio and asked him to let us know when the gangsters would be out of the mansion.

Our only recourse was to wait. We had only one clue left and that was to check out the site of the second witch burning in Chatham. Driving to Chatham we found a house and a tower that were a mirror image of the one in Arkham. Apparently Hobart and a group he lead called the Astral Church was burned and destroyed there in 1712. Hobart, however, was also seen as his house in Arkham 80 miles away on the same day when the Arkham towers were raided. Wesley also found an ornamental necklace, which he took, I have no idea what significance this necklace may have had to the Astral Church.

A week later the gangsters pulled out of the mansion and Aidan contacted us to tell us it was safe to return. We looked over the tower again and this time found a secret door. Opening it we saw two skeletons standing at attention on both sides of the hallway. Starting into the room we looked in horror as the skeletons began to move, and we saw that they both clutched rapiers as the bore down on us. Aidan slammed the secret door shut and we talked of what we would do next. I came up with a plan to trap one of the skeletons in the door. I opened the door a crack and waited for one of the skeletons arms to come through, then slammed the door on its vile appendage. My companions hacked the arm off. I tried the trick again but the skeleton with the missing arm snuck through and began to attack us. If any read this but myself you will not believe, but a skeleton that I could see right through was trying to skewer us with its rusty rapier! We managed to destroy both of them eventually using improvised clubs. Moving on we found a small laboratory full of chemicals and Wesley spotted a key inside a massive lizard-like skeleton. He stuck his hand inside to take the key and to my horror the skull bit into Wesley’s arm. Wesley yelled in pain and I could see the teeth went deep into his arm. Aidan managed to pry the skull off of Wesley but his arm was badly damaged. Looking through a desk we found a few vials of red medicinal smelling liquid and a clear glass rectangle. Being curious whether this was some type of lens I looked into it.

My vision went dark. I felt I was floating through a dark starry void. I could hear a voice telling me things I did not want to know. I felt a deep stirring in my stomach as though I was falling and I could not get out. Terrible knowledge and visions filled my head during that time.

Then, when I became aware again, I was underneath the desk. Shameful as it is I am told by my companions that I acted like some sort of bug scuttling from the light. I drank some of the red fluid while I was in this state and later found my wounds healed.

The thing left for us to do was to return to the Hoesynth house. Aidan told us that he had received a terrible fright a few days earlier when a thing looking like a misty floating form of a burning man had passed through him and fled into the house. He also told us of a place in the basement that the gangsters used to store illegal alcohol. We asked him to show us this place and we found it behind a secret panel in the basement. We explored the basement and eventually came to a room with a blue glowing pentagram on the floor. I entered the room following Wesley and we saw an old desk with some papers on it. Wesley went to inspect the papers when a desk drawer flew out at him with great speed. Wesley was caught in the chest by the enraged furniture and took a solid blow. Wesley continued to fight the desk, trying to throw it into the blue pentagram. He also threw a book onto the pentagram and it disappeared suddenly without a trace. While being attacked by the desk I managed to scrub some of the pentagram off the floor and there was a blinding flash of blue light. The desk stopped moving, but the blue glow came back. Filled with curiosity, I felt compelled to see what standing on the blue pentagram would do. I’d like to say that I have become more cautious with experience, but really I am driven by my desire to know the truth. I attached a rope around my waist and tied myself off to the basement stairs. Walking onto the pentagram I found myself in another room that looked just like the one I was in with the rope around my waist severed after a few feet. Looking around I surmised that I was in the identical tower to the one near the Hoesynth house in Chatham, Massachusetts. Amazingly, I had traveled a few hundred miles in the blink of an eye. I returned back through the blue portal and thought for a moment about keeping the portal intact as a business opportunity to deliver goods. I thought the risk was not worth it, though, and we rubbed the pentagram completely off the floor.

After this there was no more supernatural activity around the house. We told Jeremy’s uncle that the gangsters killed Jeremy and we left out any mention of the ghost of the burning man. We told the uncle the name of the gangster so that he could pursue justice on his own and I gave information out of a ledger I found to help in his search. He paid us for all that we had been through and seemed relieved to know the truth.

We told farmer Turnbull that vagrants killed his animals and that we drove them off. He was somewhat upset that the vagrants weren’t arrested but the vagrants were friends of Billy Bob and it seemed the only agreeable thing to do.

I purchased the Hoesynth house as an investment opportunity since neither the gangsters nor anyone else in Arkham would want the building when it was considered haunted. I hope to eventually hide its tragic past and sell the building at a profit. At this writing three months later there has been no return of the ghost of the burning man.


First Post
Can I have some more, please, sir? :D

What about that deadly staircase? And just how did Omar get to be such a harda** with a tommy gun?

Deadly staircases have become a staple in this Cthulhu campaign. Every time some goes down a set of stairs--especially into a basement--they state very emphatically that they are "going down the stairs very carefully." I usually ask, "On your rump?" and someone always says, "Yes!" ;)

The character who wrote the journal is working on more....I have not yet decided on his in-game reward for the journal. Maybe I should give him some mythos books to read?! :eek:

Omar just got lucky with a burst of bullets from the Tommy Gun. The burst rules are one roll to hit, and then roll for the number of bullets that hit. Makes it very annoying if you have a high % in "Submachine gun" and miss. I think it was a burst of 8 bullets. Omar hit and rolled quite a few bullets on the hit. I think he hit with 5 bullets. Ouch! And, of course, the investigators got lucky that Emilio missed with both shot gun blasts. Poor Emilio! :p


First Post
I didn't even know this was here. Saw it in your sig.

Peace and smiles :)


p.s. When the Keeper says the serpent people have death rays, he means just that. Good thing that overall they were poor shots. Only one death. Now if I can figure out how to shoot one of these things...

Jaws said:
p.s. When the Keeper says the serpent people have death rays, he means just that. Good thing that overall they were poor shots. Only one death. Now if I can figure out how to shoot one of these things...

There will be no learning of Death Ray technology by PCs in my CoC game!!! :mad:

On the other hand, if you want to write an in-character journal to add here, I'll think about it! :]

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