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Everything posted by agarrett

  1. Curtain Call Awakening "The world is a stage, but the play is badly cast." Yes, I have moved on from Shakespeare and now give you Oscar Wilde. I cannot express just how bad this play was; how deadly boring. I whisper Mr. Wilde's quote to my companion, a young girl named Wendy. "They know all their words," she whispers back, "just not how to say them." It is a solid answer and true, but it applies as well to her. The spirits of the world avoid her. I am not sure if they hate her or fear her, but their absence is telling. She is ever haunted by their lack, even if she doesn't know the cause. She is, however, one of all too few people in this state willing to treat me as though I exist. In time I relax, convinced I was wrong about this play. A poor performance like this cannot excite any harm. I must have misinterpreted the spirits' direction, not for the first time. The actors' drone, when you don't bother to pay attention to the words, is surprisingly soothing. "Wake up," hisses in my ear. Wendy shakes me gently. "Do you see this too?" A very odd way to phrase it. But then, it's an odd scene. The theater, that is. The stage is empty, dusty, long abandoned. The few remaining in the audience, save Wendy and me, are dead. Rotting flesh with no flies, bone peaking through as the muscle sloughs away. But no blood on the chairs or on the floor. And nothing from the other world. What spirits haunt this theater have left it alone. Or perhaps they suffered the same fate as the corpses around us. "Move," Wendy whispers loudly, nearly pushing me from my seat. It's too easy to be trapped in reverie when you see the spirit world so easily. I take the girl's advice and move. I was expecting trouble, and had taken the precaution of stashing some useful trinkets in the lobby, so I went to retrieve them. It was only after I'd grabbed my kit that I realized the girl Wendy had gone in the other direction. I can hear her thrashing around behind the stage, but before I can do anything to help her a small swarm of rats burst forth from the wall. Are they running towards the corpses, I wonder, or away from something worse? Either way, rats are not unknown in my country, and a few broad sweeps convince them to move onward. Moving further from my friend, I look in the box where they light the stage, but then stop. Something is wrong. My pack, my stored possessions, they've been tampered with. By who? Or worse, by what? "And if thy eye offend thee; pluck it out." I throw my bag out, and everything else with it. Was it enough? I must be careful, each step chosen with utmost care. My enemies are not just in this world but in the next, the surround me unseen. I look beyond at the spirits and see them, and must step through their fiendish traps, but it also tells me much - they are avoiding wide swaths of the theater. I know more, even if I fear far more than that. Wendy's yell pierces my soul. Something has come in to the theater, something big, something hideous, and something that even the spirits of our world cannot abide. Where do they flee? That I must know, even more than I must help my friend. I move slowly past lines no one else can see, cautiously back to the lobby and into the room where the actors take their ease. What I see, only for a second, in the theater is a creature of darkness and night, grown to great size because the world does not want to tie it down and keep it close. There I find the first other living human since falling asleep at the play. He's dressed in red robes and holds a knife. "It's here," he shouts with joy, "The Royal Emissary is here! Let all mankind rejoice and despair." I have no time for his madness, and call on words of emptiness to shrivel his body to match his soul. He fades away, and I head towards the theater to help my friend. To my great surprise, she is not alone. The Stranger "Wendy, who are those people? Where did they come from?" I yell in the empty theater. I think the corpses lining the seats will forgive my rudeness. There is a gangly man with a dark complexion and a burly young college man with her, rummaging around the Dressing Room and studiously avoiding the Stranger from the play, who stands there like a statue, maybe laughing under that disturbing mask. Wendy is about to yell back her answer, but instead her eyes go wide. "Look out." Maybe my voice was too loud. Maybe I woke up one of the corpses. Or maybe he'd been hiding and waiting for just this opportunity. Or maybe it was something far worse. The man had a pale yellow robe draped casually about his painfully thin form. There was no hair on him, not on his head, arms, eyebrows, and perhaps under his robe as well. "You do not belong here. You cannot stop the Great Work or His Dread Return." A spell that worked on one man will work as well on another, and a broken spirit deserves a broken body. But they are evil spirits I must call on to do this work, and this time they leave their mark on me as well. But more on him. He will not bother anyone again. I struggle to reach my friend, but it is hard, for it means going through the night creature, what the first man called the Royal Emissary. If this monster is an emissary, I pray to old gods and new that I never meet its king. While Wendy and her friends scramble through the dressing room, the thing turns towards me. I call on every spirit I know, mumbling names I learned at my Grandmother's knee and that never graced the books of my British teachers. And it works. The thing meets my gaze and turns aside, it's blow stopped in mid stride and turned against itself. The same spell I've used before I use again against this creature, and though the spirits quake, they do their work and it is gone. Gone, but not forgotten. I can hear it whisper in my mind, telling me it will return. The whispers overwhelm and I have to look in every corner, but I do move and join Wendy and her friends. With some encouragement, Wendy speaks to the Stranger, and convinces him to leave and take the monsters with them. He does. "No. He's a liar," Wendy hisses. "A dirty, rotten, liar. Look, he's in the Lobby. Aah, fire." She points, and she is right on both counts. The Stranger is still here, still in the theater, and it is burning. Curtain Call "Mine," Wendy shouted and took off across the theater. I am unsure whether she is brave or just doesn't care about what happens to her. Her friends follow her, more slowly and certainly with more caution. I was too far away to hear what she said to the Stranger, and her friends would never tell me. She looked mad, and I swear I saw surprise in the Stranger's bearing - just for an instant. He turned and left. Wendy looked at me, almost sadly, as the night beast, the Royal Emissary, crashed back into the burning theater and the flames spread to encompass even the back rooms where I was. She looked sad, but left the theater. She looked surprised when I joined her a few moments later, slightly singed but otherwise none the worse for wear. Her friend Peter wanted to tell the police, but no one else thought that a good idea. When we looked back, there was no fire, but the Stranger was there. We tried to chase him down, only finding an invitation to an after party. Maybe there will be some answers there. Behind the Scenes
  2. Path to Carcosa Setup That which is not may yet be. This I have heard from those who have gone before. The idea scares them. And for the guiding spirits to be scared, well, this is a frightening thing. I've heard them since I was a young girl. They frightened me when I first heard them at night, but soon I learned to listen, and they frightened me less. Then I learned that not everything living beyond was friendly, and I learned to fear again. Now I hear despair from even the kindly ones, and yes, I worry. "All the world's a stage; And all the men and women merely players." This. Your Master Shakespeare's words, drive them to a frenzy. An aside; of course I know Shakespeare. My teachers were British, and would hardly have left him out. The West may not respect the culture and traditions of my home, but they are very generous in sharing theirs and I learned it well. In truth, there is great value in it and I am very thankful for my education. I just wish they could learn the other half of the world, and what they miss. I will not claim any great insight into the spirits' thinking. From that first clue it took months of questions and work to lead me here, to the United States, and the play the spirits fear, the King In Yellow.
  3. I'm glad you're enjoying it. We're going to see family for the holidays, and won't be bringing cards with us, so it'll be a few weeks until the next installment. Thanks for reading it, and hope you keep enjoying it.
  4. Lost in Time and Space Out of This World Man Travels Beyond the Heavens - Bad Idea I'm continuing to write my notes partly out of habit, and partly to convince myself there's still a reason. I have no idea how these will ever get into the hands of another human being. When I went through Whately's portal, that hideous door into these realms beyond, I knew my odds were poor, but didn't know just how poor. I barely understand what's going on, I'm not even sure if you can call where I am a place. Wendy is here too. I thought I'd left her behind. I meant to. This isn't a place for people, it's not a place you come back from. She followed anyway. What's done is done, and I'll take the help. It would help to ground you, my pretend future-reader, if I could describe where I was. Sadly, I can't. Where we are changes around us, as kaleidoscope visions of every place I've been, and so many I haven't, take form around us. It's a dizzying, sickening display of form and color. Somehow, in the middle of all this chaos, we need to find the other side of the portal we came through. You'd think we were there already, since we just came through it. No. Doesn't work that way. Concentrating helped sometimes, and hurt others. At one point, concentrating hard on a point, I saw a tear, a rip in space, and darted through. I don't know how, but I was somewhere else, and could almost see the shape of things. Then the rip sealed, and I was back where I started, only with a much bigger headache. At least something had happened. It's hard to imagine how much that meant to me, we could do something. I tried again, and found myself on a bridge - it stretched beyond my vision, but it was a bridge. Wendy was having a harder time, but was also learning to move about here. The sheer range of what we were seeing, the huge and vast expanse that was both empty and not came close to overwhelming me, but with everything at stake, I managed to hold myself together. The bridge was, as far as I could tell, endless. But I found another tear, a hole, in space, and entered it, seeing the bridge fade into nothingness behind me. From my new vantage point, I could see an end to this place. That, I knew, was where we had to go. I had to hope Wendy was faring well too, I had no way to get back to her, but then again, maybe our paths would cross more in this strange place. And yes, to my reader, I truly hope one day someone is reading this. It means you still exist. Into the Beyond The End Is Here To say this place messes with your perceptions is to understate things badly. I saw a path, a way to the end of, well, everything. The wall around the universe, the place where Heaven finally ends. No, it's not a metaphor. Or maybe it is, but metaphors are real wherever we are now. I pull myself into an area of brightly cascading colors, where I'd seen Wendy from the Bridge. She wasn't there, or maybe she was, but I couldn't find her in the swirl of color. I took a few moments to reorient myself, and get what form of bearings I could. It's hard to find the right words for what I did, since it's so different from moving around back home, where physical rules are not optional. I found my path, and moved back into that tear in reality, found Wendy, and told her the path. She warned me to watch out. She had found her old friend Leo deLuca, and he'd been accompanying her, only to find that he was only a figment of her imagination and he vanished. I wondered briefly if Wendy was real, and then wondered if anything I'd ever known was real, or if it was all a delusion given form by this awful place. That was too terrible a thought to think about for long. So I gave it up and got moving again. Movement here isn't quite what it was. I got ahead of Wendy to the Bridge, only to find her ahead of me as she raced through to the very edge of reality. Close the Rift Rift Stays Open. World Still Doomed. It looks bad. But there's always a silver lining. It's one I've already said a few times. If you're reading this, it means the worst didn't happen. If not, then these words are just for me. No one will ever see them, because there will be no one left. I wonder how many dough-boys wrote something similar when they were over in Europe. Probably quite a few. Guess I'm in good company. Hope this turns out as well. When I caught up with Wendy at last, she was already fighting. Someone else was here, or maybe our dark dreams had become real. It looked almost human, like the one we'd faced on Sentinel Hill. A human-ish thing given form by the things that live here, who don't really understand what a human is. Wendy had already left it bleeding, and a few splashes of my acid mixture sufficed to finish it off. And here we were, at the very edge of reality. Beyond this point, it ended. This was the other side of the portal. We could see Sentinel Hill through it. We also weren't alone. A glowing mass with tentacles spiraling around it, a bright red-white glare that hurt to look at, was there. It didn't want us there at all. I can't imagine it was interested in the portal, as we were. I doubt we could understand its purpose, any more than it could ours. Wendy hit it, boldly, but I told her to ignore it, to close the portal. I finished it off with the last of my acid solution and tried to help her. Standing there, at the portal, I could hear chanting from the other side. The noise grabbed me, held me, and somehow made me recite the same lines. The portal didn't close. The edge of the universe retreated. It left us back in the midst of shifting uncertainty. And once again we were not alone. A beast that looked like a giant crab on fire was there with us. With the portal gone, I was inclined to let it have its way. Finding a New Way Hi. This is Wendy. Rex gave me his notes, and I guess I have to finish the story. I was fighting some things. Really big ones. Rex saw a way out. He was going between being really sad and really hopeful. Not like me. I just tried to survive, he was the one with the plans. I miss him. He ran off, but it was good 'cause I told him to. The things were too big to see me well, and I caught up to him. Rex showed me the way to another hole in the sky. This one was different, but I'm not really sure how. Just different. More green? The hole doesn't want me to go through it, but it sort of yields if I push on it. So maybe if I push from the right spot I can get through. I keep trying. Rex tried to follow me, but wherever he was went away, and I saw him falling. It's the last time I ever saw him. I found my way through. I was back in Dunwich, and no one had ever heard of Seth Bishop, or the gate, or any of it. I'm keeping Rex's notes. Someone has to remember him.
  5. Where Doom Awaits The Path to the Hill The Road Less Traveled So. I've been writing a lot of strange things here, seen beasts that simply don't belong in the world, broken up what can only be called magic rituals. This is not something that happens in this century. But I write it anyway, because it's what happened. There is, however, one bit I've left out. A name. One I'd never heard before and yet it still gives me chills to hear it, triggering memories of fire and darkness even though they aren't my memories. Yog-Sothoth. Once is enough. It is this being that Will Whately tried to revive some months back, and now Seth continue his work. Or at least, so I am assured by Dr. Armitage and Zebulon Whately's writings. Now Seth Whately is trying to continue his work, and he needs to do it from a local landmark, Sentinel Hill. Now, you'd think that would mean we'd go out there, climb to the top of the hill, and stop him. Or, you'd think that if you haven't read the rest of this journal. We got to the hill, only to find the path was hidden. We'd climb the hill, only to get turned around and back where we started, or we'd run into a tree that wasn't there and find our way up blocked. It was like multiple versions of Sentinel Hill existed together at the same time, and we were never sure which one we were in. Dr. Christopher had recovered better than we expected, and was willing to join us again, even though he was a little more skittish this time around. Together, we found a trail, but it lead to a iced over spring. Now, we sometimes have cold Springs up here, but this wasn't one of them, the temperature was quite nice. But this one was frozen solid, despite the warmth. Wendy followed us up, and was similarly dumb-founded. We looked around, at least enough to satisfy ourselves that wherever we were, it wasn't somewhere leading to the top of the hill. Retreating back to base, Wendy found the next path, only to cry out in horror when she got there. There were hosts of dead men hanging rotten from the trees. Her cries seemed to awaken something. Or maybe it was my bad luck, or just a coincidence. Either way, the woods about her faded, and she ran back to the base, where she saw me under attack by vines holding spheres or glowing acid - yes, like the one we'd seen what seems like so long ago at the Clover Club. I've heard you can fight fire with fire, so I thought to fight acid with acid, and pulled out what's become my trusted monster-killer. It worked too. If we live through this, I may yet bottle and sell this stuff. Wendy found another path, this one to a strange glade where sound was swallowed up, but another voice echoed to your own. Well, that was her description. I didn't see it, as something she did twisted the path, and suddenly the way up was clear. Ascending the Hill World Ending - It's Too Late You know, despite the headline I'd put on this, I was starting to feel pretty good about this for a while. Whatever Seth was doing was messing up the world, but we were figuring it out, and I didn't give him long odds once we got up there. Well, that's what I thought at the time, anyway. I started going up the path towards the summit. Yet again, everything was twisted in on itself, but now we knew what to look for. Overconfidence is another way to set yourself up to fall. The area I found, like the ones further down the hill, was like another world imposed on our own, but in this case it was more like a rip, a tear in reality itself. And what was beyond could be the original vision of ****. A madman stepped out of that rift, ranting about getting or protecting the key. His raving in a strange language infected my mind even as he beat me to the ground, but then he just stopped and started climbing the hill. I was pretty sure it was a bad idea to let him get up there. Fortunately Wendy was on the case, and led him off the path and left him wandering lost, even as we were both tortured by nightmare visions of other worlds crowding in on us. I saw myself dead so many times. However, I couldn't let Wendy handle the madman on her own, so after a cursory search, I joined her and used the last of my acid solution to destroy the lunatic. If, at this point, you're thinking that we had things well under control, that we were working as a team and tearing down our opponents, I can understand that. I was thinking much the same thing at the time. Then the light changed. The moon was the same as before, but the light was brighter, harsher, and it felt somehow wrong. Whatever Seth Whately was up to, it was already having greater effects than we'd thought. It was reaching well beyond this small hill. I quickly found another path, into another strange version of our world. In this case, the path was broken, and there was a gap, a tear, where there simply wasn't anything. Not just a missing path, no ground, no world, nothing. Not even the glimpse of **** I'd gotten earlier. This was just absence. I quickly determined that was not the right path, but before I returned, Wendy showed up. A man in robes, claiming to be a wizard, had showed up. At this point, we were not willing to just write it off. She gathered her courage, and before I could stop her she ran back to distract the wizard, just long enough for me to return and find the right way up to the peak. And how I wish I hadn't. Seth was there, raving and distorted from the heat and cold that blasted from a portal to someplace man was never meant to go. I stared at it, and it stared back. And for a few moments, I wasn't myself. I couldn't remember who I was, what I was doing there. It was all a blank. I'd already lost. The Gate Opens Reporter Vanished. World In Peril. I leave these notes on Sentinel Peak, in the hopes some one finds them. If some one does, it means the world still exists. I came back to myself, still not sure what happened. I was injured, Seth had done something, but I had a Fire Axe and a will to destroy. Maybe a berserker rage does lurk in all of us. As far as I was concerned, there was nothing in the world except me, Seth, and an ax. I know Wendy showed up at some point, but I truthfully could not tell you what she did. It wasn't until Seth lay dead on the ground that I looked around to find that he wasn't alone. Wendy was keeping his associate - no, if this thing was once human, it wasn't anymore. She was keeping his pet - no, I don't think this thing belonged to Seth. She was keeping the evil being's pet occupied. It fell to me to figure out how to close the gate. It fell to me to save the world. Another man showed up to stop us, and I have to give Wendy credit for keeping them off of me. She did everything anyone could ever expect and more. It wasn't enough. There was no way to close the gate. From this side. Good Bye.
  6. Undimensioned and Unseen Saracenic Script In Those Days, Giants Walked the Earth A Biblical headline is all too appropriate, since I have this sinking feeling we're facing Armageddon. Things just keep getting worse. We put a stop to the cult, the ritual sacrifice in Dunwich Village. Writing that sentence, ritual sacrifice, feels truly odd. That's something from deepest, darkest Africa, or something from the Middle Ages, not from modern New England. It shouldn't happen. But it did. And they'd done something. There were beasts - giant, lumbering things covered in eyeballs and tentacles moving about the countryside. Dr. Armitage, now back together with his friends, was more animated that I've seen him before, and was convinced we could stop these things. They'd done it before, he claimed, though I remain amazed that no sign of these previous adventures ever made it to the papers. Well, maybe not quite so amazed. I'm not so sure I'll ever submit this, if I wish to keep my job and not be thrown out on the streets. Memoirs, maybe, or fiction. Worth keeping the notes, just in case. Or maybe we won't stop them, and none of this will matter. Either way, Wendy and I set out while Henry tried to recreate his formula to stop these things. Dr. Christopher came along with me, while Wendy brought along another of the cult's victims, a University student named Peter something or other. Big guy, but dumb as a rock - I don't give him much of a chance. Anyway, it wasn't hard to find traces of the things in the village, it's where they'd started, apparently. Well, my effort to track the beasts bore fruit and were irrelevant at the same time. One of them lumbered in on us. It was bigger than a steer, but there was something about it that made you turn away. It hurt to look at it, so giving a full description is harder than it should have been. Even the color is hard to bring to mind. I want to say green, but then I know there were times I saw red, or violet. None of us wanted to spend time near it. As she does so often, Wendy took the lead, distracting the creature and leading it off a narrow path before doubling back and telling us to get out of Dodge. Which, naturally, we did. We ran to the Blasted Heath, an area of hills near the Village where, for whatever reason, nothing grows. Out of habit, I comb the ground, looking for signs that the creatures had passed this way. They had. But what concentration I could muster through my worry was soon disturbed. Yes, another of those blasted whippoorwills. Should this all end, and I survive it, I shall look into founding an organization dedicated to opposing the Audubon Society in all matters until such time as that species of bird is utterly and completely exterminated. And one of the beasts followed us up to the Heath. If I concentrate more on the bird than the giant thing trying to kill us, well, that should tell you something about just how dreadful the bird has become. However warped my priorities are, Wendy has kept her head on straight, and once again led the beast - the big one with tentacles, not the bird - on a wild goose chase, while the rest of us made our escape to the Devil's Hop Yard. Named after the plant, not (at least as far as I know) after Old Scratch. Once again I find signs that the creatures have been through here, but this time I notice something new. These tracks are older, not from the last day or so. They've been here before, they come from the old Whately Manor, which fits well with Henry's tale of that Will Whately. We have a new goal, beyond fleeing these beasts. But before we head there, I cannot resist using my acid concoction against the blasted whippoorwill. It dissolves most satisfyingly. Whately Manor fulfills our expectations. There are detailed notebooks on the creatures, and the information lets Henry finish his concoction. We have a way to strike back at the dreadful beasts. Now we just need to take it. They Must Be Destroyed Doom A very tabloid headline, to be sure. I picture it on the front page, in giant 48, or even 60 point font. That it's accurate is a sad side effect, but you know, front page... Over the years, I've developed a bit of cynicism about bad luck, since it always seems to come my way. Try to make light of it, as the best way to get through the day. Please don't think I'm glib, though. This is bad, maybe as bad as it gets. So, on to the details. I pull as many of the notebooks as I can find in the Manor. Among them are some truly excellent maps of the surrounding areas, with many good shortcuts to take. I can hope they'll be monster-free shortcuts, but know better than to count on it. As Wendy and I make plans, something descends on her. It is a huge cross between a bird and a lizard, with a hint in the scales that it is related, or a side effect, of the giant monsters ravaging the countryside. It attacks Wendy, but she urges me on to stick to the plan, and I do. By the time I reach Dunwich Village, she's already there, using Dr. Armitage's formula against one of the huge creatures. It's already badly damaged, which is a promising sign. I make my first stab at using the ritual. It feels strange to recite words and throw powders, like I'm a witch doctor or voodoo priest, but I can't deny it works. The thing is angry and, just maybe, scared. As the powders I throw hit it, they ignite and burrow under its skin, glowing red hot. It moves about spastically, finally collapsing in a decaying heap. Well, by now I'm sure you know that any moment of triumph is going to be short lived. And so it was here. Another thing showed up - not one of the giant beasts, but one of its side-effects, like the bird. This one, though, was a wolf-lizard beast. I hate to admit it, but I was wrapped up in our victory over the huge beast, and didn't see it coming.Dr. Christopher did, and intercepted it, but at great cost. He is, I'm told, recovering. But I'm afraid his taste for these adventures just might be at an end. I hope I can convince him to return to the trail. His assistance has truly been invaluable. We got what revenge we could on the wolf. My acid solution is useless against the giant beasts, but the wolf is much smaller, and a good dose of it is more than enough to drive it away, hopefully to die somewhere, but it's enough to get it out of our way. There are more of the great beasts, and now we know we can beat them. While I follow the paths in my notebooks to look for their trails, Wendy stays behind to prepare. And then, as usually happens, things took a turn for the worse. One of the things came to me. I did what I could with the Professor's formula, and I did hurt the beast, but not nearly enough, given its huge size. As much as you can read them, I think it was annoyed, and slapped out at me, throwing me across the ground. The slime stuck to me, and I swear it was moving about on my skin. I panicked, and got off what I could, but by then the creature had simply abandoned me and moved on. I'd learn later that Wendy heard the fight, but had been ambushed by the bird-lizard from earlier. While she did kill it, she was not able to make it over to help me. We made another plan, sure we could take out another of the beasts. More of the villagers were coming out, and I wish I could tell you how helpful they were - banding together, helping forestall doom and destruction. But no, they stood and stared, as though they had no part in this, and it was all our fault. I went back to the Manor, where I was sure I could exert some control over these beasts, while Wendy sought out favorable ground for an ambush. Against all odds, it works. I use the instructions in the notebooks, and can feel the beast move, right towards Wendy. I rush up there, where she has already set things up, and assault the creature that beat me so badly. This time Wendy finishes it off, but the main point is that it dies, lying in a heap and rapidly turning to rot. We agree to finish this as quickly as possible. Wendy sets off to reach the last of the great beasts, but just as I'm about to follow, another bird-lizard assaults me. This time I was ready - it was just a hunch, but I was right. I moved aside as it leapt at me, grabbed its leg and threw it into the decaying rot that was the giant beast. The bird squawked loudly enough to wake the dead, but it couldn't escape that heap. The bird's skin burst and a sickly gray fluid leaked out to join the rest of the rot. That fight delayed me, but I was able to join Wendy and see that she'd already made progress against the thing. I wish I could say I contributed and killed the thing, but I was shaking too badly, and did nothing. The villagers' stares bored into my mind, leaving me feeling guilty and shaken. It's never bad enough that things can't get worse. The ground started moving, and another of the giant beasts grew right around us, flailing about and throwing both Wendy and I back. The slime covered both of us, and I screamed as it crawled over and around my skin. When another of the whippoorwills showed up, I threw more of my acid solution at it to drive it away rather than attack the beasts. In my defense, I truly think that was a panic reaction. Together, Wendy and I were able to take down the already wounded beast while luring the newcomer away, but we were in sad shape at this time. The newcomer wandered away, but we had, I'm sad to say, nothing left in us. Exhaustion, panic, loss of friends. It was too much. We killed three of the great beasts, and that was all we could contribute. Let the villagers who spend their time in recrimination handle the rest. Or not, and see where they eventually move to. If they reach your town, you will know who to blame.
  7. I will say that your experience is fairly typical. The first campaign has a very steep difficulty ramp. Night of the Zealot is fairly easy, great for teaching the rules and getting a good victory with lots of xp. Second scenario is tougher, more choices, and largely a lesson in knowing when to stop with what you've got. Then the third one is there to kill everyone off. Winning it is tough. The other campaigns do not follow that model. I really like Carcosa, it's my favorite campaign so far. Several truly great adventures, none that seemed terrible or unfair - though Unspeakable Oath is a bit on the difficult side, but so fun anyway. So, yeah, go for it, and enjoy.
  8. Blood on the Altar Searching for Answers When whippoorwills call We made it to Dunwich. None of us were in much shape to continue, but our hosts, Zebulon Whately and Earl Sawyer, were able to accommodate us. A day's rest at Whately's home before beginning our investigations in earnest would do us all good. Yes, I should have known better. We all should. Especially when Mr. Sawyer complained about the noise of the whippoorwills. But I was too tired at the time to pick up on it. So we rested, and woke in the evening to an empty house. Again, if you think we were overreacting to someone who might, after all, just have stepped out for a drink; well, consider what we've gone through these last few days, and all that we've seen. Zebulon, for all his fine manners, is related to the Wilbur Whately that Henry assures us was behind the last bout of craziness. So, if we overreact and find him down at the pub, we'll all relax, look embarrassed, and get on with it. Not that I expect that. Wendy and I split up, as has become our habit. She is simply too competent to stay behind me the whole time as her frail frame might suggest. I go the old schoolhouse - a horrid building colder on the inside than the out. The shadows move in the dark, and I imagine generations of students sitting on the hard benches yearning to get back to the fields. The slate, aside from being more white from erased chalk than black, is broken at a corner, and it is clear there is something beyond. It takes a bit of time to move it, but there is a chamber beyond, with a locked door I know is beyond me - I suspect it is beyond Wendy. It might be a stretch, but where there is a door, there's also a key. We'll find it. And someone doesn't want that. I see a shadow move and as I dart to follow it, something bangs on the back of my skull. By the time I shake it off, whoever did it was long gone. But I grab a fire axe to be better prepared as I head to the general store. The store isn't locked, though it also isn't manned. I'm not in the city anymore. On the other hand, it would hardly be worth the effort to rob this place, and with the number of unlabeled cans I wouldn't know what I had gotten. As I look through more carefully, I disturb the first of the whippoorwills, and am as disturbed by their sound as I was back at the University. It follows me, always at a safe distance, as I seek out Wendy at Bishop's Brook. If you've followed my adventures to date, you might be disappointed so far. Nothing in Dunwich has been inexplicable or monstrous. The people are sullen, and might have tried to attack me, but this is not so far out of most people's experience. Whippoorwills, despite their association with death, and their disturbing sound at night, are something you've probably seen. That changed. Something grabbed me from above. I know it grabbed me because I started moving, lifted off the ground. But I felt, and I say this truly, I felt nothing at all. I couldn't tell you where it touched me except by the way my shirt pulled at the shoulders. Looking up showed me great, leathery wings and a sere face with the barest hint of a beak, but it dropped me before I could see more. Probably for the best, I don't think I really wanted to see more. Back at the village green, I ran back to the brook and swung wildly at the songbird. I was convinced it had alerted the thing that pulled me. Well, it wasn't me who did the bird in, but Wendy, drawn to the same spot by its call. She smiled, also reassured to be back together. Only to have another whippoorwill fly in and take its place singing over the brook. It wasn't alone. Villagers lurked in the shadows, watching resentfully from rocks and trees, neither helping nor hindering us, just... watching. It wasn't healthy to stay here. Wendy took care of the new bird and moved on. I spent a bit more time, possibly just to spite my watchers, making sure I'd covered the grounds thoroughly. I was taken, momentarily, by an urge to throw myself on the rocks from atop a tree, wondering how it would feel. But only momentarily. A small urge, normally not worth noticing. But given everything else, I had to wonder. We both went to a burned out ruin. Dunwich is a poor village, and the scent of decay lies over the place like a fog. But this building, whatever it once was, could have been a source for it, the despair poured off the ashen timbers. I looked at Wendy, and could tell we shared the same thought - we'd both been avoiding this place, and knew we'd have to come here. It jumped me. What was it? I'm getting tired of saying I couldn't describe it. I'm a newspaperman, it's my job. Start with a man, maybe a little taller than average. Strip away the face, just a blank bit of skin where it should have been. Burnish the skin a dull, mottled gold, such that you can't quite tell if it's metallic or leathery - just a little in between. Pull the arms a bit out of joint, so they stretch a hand too far from the shoulders, and pull the fingers into long, sharp claws. And from the back, extend a tail, as from a lizard, long enough to wrap twice around it. And with no mouth to utter a word, no eyes to show expression, still make sure that the thing hates - you, me, everything. That is what we saw there. Wendy leapt backwards, tripped, and knocked a timber down, only to find a dirty but ornate key leaning against that very piece of wood. She grabbed it, and with a nod, she left the creature to me. How can I fail such confidence? Well, I got away. It wasn't pretty, and I'm as happy she didn't see it, but it will take the thing a little bit of time to dig its way out. We met at the Commons to go to the schoolhouse together. Accompanied, I'm sad to say, by yet another of those screeching, hideous whippoorwills. The key opened the door, as we both knew it would. As we both should have feared. Inside was a man? Maybe at one time. Growths, massive boils, grew from every part of his body, but those boils had their own mouths that gasped and gaped in the night air, and hungered for more. They'd doubled his size, or more, and slowed him down, but the sheer bulk was enough to destroy us, if we let it. The Chamber of the Beast The Walls Have Eyes (and Mouths) I am not sure what I planned to do, whether I'd rush in and help Wendy take the beast apart, or advise her to wait and watch. I never got the chance. The flying beast, whatever it was, grabbed at me again, and carried me off, roughly, to the Village Commons. This time there was company, a creature that bore a suspicious resemblance to what we'd seen in the hidden room. It was far smaller, and didn't look much like it was ever human, but had the same growths all over it, each with its own hungry mouth. There was no elegance or plan to my assault, just a fire axe and a tired and angry reporter hacking away. It worked, the thing died. But as it did, I'd swear one of the mouths whispered to me. It told me that the secret to defeating the thing was hidden in the chamber with it. Not the most reliable source, but it was the best - well, the only - lead we had. Do you remember the faceless, gaunt creature I left behind in the burned building? I'd forgotten it. Bad mistake. It caught up with me before I could carry our lead anywhere. Its claws ripped my arm and my blood sprayed out as I had to clasp at it to hold in any fluid. Something in its hand was a poison? I had my own answer, my chemical concoction, at hand, and tossed as much as I could with my good arm. The thing burned - at least there was that. While it flailed about at the acidic mix, I finished it off with an axe blow and at last rejoined Wendy at the school. A dead whippoorwill lay nearby, its head twisted backwards cruelly but finally. I told her my news. We had a plan, of sorts. We had to search the beast's room quickly, taking advantage of its bulk and leaving before it could catch up with us. It was a good plan. Not to be. The faceless creature I thought I'd killed was back. Or was it a different one? They looked the same, but without a face, it's hard to tell. It launched itself at me, but Wendy got in its way. Brave girl, she knows I can search out papers far more quickly than her. I ducked inside and rifled everything I could, taking just a moment to lob a bit more of my acid solution at the beast. It wasn't as effective against its vast size, sadly. The townsfolk began gathering outside the school while we fought to save them. No appreciation, just flat, convicting stares. The faceless creature was gaining ground against Wendy. She's proved so very capable it's easy to forget she's still a young girl, and no match for a monster. I want to help her, but know we'll be overwhelmed in time if we don't drive off the source of the evil, so back into the beast's chamber I go. This time I'll come out victorious or not at all. It's almost not at all. I'm light on my feet, but that thing hits hard. Its mouth, or several of them, latched on to my leg and I had to bite my lip to prevent myself thinking of all the disease it could be infecting me with. Dragging bits of it with me, I found the single page I needed, a page torn from the Necronomicon. I read it, quickly, and the beast shook, quivered, and shrank. It was gone. The faceless creature and the townsfolk with it, though the townsfolk vanished rather more prosaically by walking back to their homes. We found Dr. Armitage's friends in a connecting chamber, both Dr. Morgan and Dr. Rice. Earl Sawyer too. Our host, Zebulon Whately, well, we were too late for him. Some of the blood around the beast's mouth was his. All three of those we rescued volunteered to accompany us, strangely eager to face the foes who'd nearly destroyed them completely. I think I might have been that way just a few days ago. Now I'd stop in a second if I thought I could, but too many things would come after me on their own. I'm stuck. They might be too, soon, but it's their choice. Wendy and I will discuss it later. After we clean up.
  9. The Essex County Express Run! Murder(s) on the Essex Express Before I begin, and especially before I begin receiving outraged phone calls from Essex County Express management, let me state that I do not believe our experience aboard this train is in any way typical. I am absolutely certain of this, as there's no way the company could survive if this were in any way a common experience. You might have already heard part of this story in other papers. A faulty bridge leading to an unfortunate accident with several train cars lost and a regrettable number of fatalities. Authorities are questioning those involved while fire and police stations supervise rescue and cleanup. Don't believe it. I was there. We were heading to Dunwich via train, when the sky behind us simply opened up. There was a hole in the air, and we could see a different sky behind it, darker than any night we've ever known. It pulled, like it was angry it had missed us, and the train actually slowed. The it got worse, the engine stopped. The rear cars broke off and went hurtling into that void. I do not like to admit this, but in my heart I hope we never find out where they went. We were in the parlor, and knew our only hope was to get forward, to get to the engine and start it going again. The other passengers were in a panic. I suppose I would have been too, if not for everything I witnessed over the last three days. We had to bribe the attendants to open the door for us, though what use they'll have for money where they are now I can only imagine. Something flew at us from the void, a great mass of green goo. As it got closer I could see eyes, faces, and maybe limbs, like it had partly dissolved people. It flew into the car and grabbed hold of Wendy. As she tore herself loose I grabbed one of the passengers, a young boy who was crying for his mother and who I couldn't bear to leave to this creature. I flew forward into the next car, only to have the people there claw and bite at me like wounded animals. Wendy followed, injured from the creature. Another one spews forth from the void, this one headed straight for me, and its grasp is among the worst things I have felt. It clung to me like nettles, and as I struggled free of its grasp young Wendy pushed forward, only to have the one she'd left behind claw into her again. Let me stress that it was at her urging I moved forward without her. Both of the creatures had hold of her, and I do not know how it is she escaped to join me in the next car. That wasn't her trying to be mysterious, though I know she does, rather it was because I was transfixed by the horror in the next car. The people in there were dead, or they should have been. Their skin wasn't there, but they still breathed, their hearts still beat, and they screamed. Oh, they screamed. No. Stop thinking about it. May you never see, or even dream, anything like it. Wendy tried to shake me out of it but knew better than to wait too long as she hurried forward. The creatures, both of them, grabbed me again. That slimy stickiness broke me out of my horrified reverie. I had to act, and I did. The noise of the back car breaking loose and careening into the void shook the car and I slammed into the window, breaking it and forcing one of the horrific creatures outside, where it was carried away. The second one loosened its grip - could these things be surprised? - and I used the opportunity to slip away. As I moved forward I saw the void flash and felt a portion of my future ripped away from me. I soon catch up with my companion as the horrific thing continues to give chase. We hear another car rip away from us and know all too well that the people in there will never be seen again. It's hard to keep from breaking down and weeping. Both of us are at the end of our ropes. We have, somewhere along the way, both picked up friends who are traveling with us. Wendy is with the Cajun Leo deLuca, while I am grateful to have found Dr. Christopher in all this chaos. Dr. Armitage is around, and I hope he's still alive, though we have no idea where he might be. We push forward and hold the door while poor Miss Adams climbs out and onto the engine. A flying creature, a human lizard with wings like a pterodactyl, comes screeching down on her, but she swings out of its grasp and into the engine room itself. While I'm grateful she is up there, the blobbish horror that has been following us has caught up, and only Dr. Christopher's last minute intervention saved my life. Get the Engine Running Steam Power to the Rescue The goo dissolved faces that plagued us through our mad dash up the train are not, it turns out, the worst thing we will face today. I was able, barely, to get away from the hideous thing that held me, only to join Wendy in the engine room and see something growing out of the floor. It was ropy vines, but not of plant matter, rather of rotting meat and sinew. It gathered darkness around it, but the darkness was solid and... hungry. There's simply no better way to describe it. It hated light and life and hope, and if it grew large enough it would swallow them all. Wendy stabbed at it madly while it grew, even while trying desperately - and may I add, with more success than I'd have dared dream - to get the engines started. I had on me a combination of chemicals of a less than entirely legal mixture that I was saving for extreme need. Well, the odds of anything worse coming along were low, so I threw that in the growing morass and watched it dissolve away. Only to see it start growing again on the other wall. Time was not on our side. I dashed to the controls and finished Wendy's work. The train started moving, slowly at first, and with the hole in the sky working against us. But we picked up steam and speed and moved away from that hellish sky. The growing creature sunk back, the vines ripped apart and the darkness scattered. It needed something that came from that hole, our world didn't want it here, and it left. I couldn't tell you for certain what happened next. I collapsed, somewhere between exhaustion and delirium. When I came back to myself, we were already pulling into the station. I limped away, hoping for at least a little time to recover.
  10. I think the point was that, if you actually keep drawing mulligans hoping for the God-Hand, you're going to get tired of it. Eventually you'll take one that's just "good enough." So playing strictly by the rules and actually doing the mulligans prevents some of the abuse possibility you pointed out. It also goes against one of the design maxims, "Never give the player the choice between feeling bored or feeling stupid," but I still think that was his point.
  11. The Miskatonic Museum Finding a Way Inside Miskatonic Museum by Moonlight - A Private Tour I've lived in Arkham now for what, 8 years? Been a reporter almost the whole time, worked my way up from reporting on PTA meetings to the current dizzying heights of a small town's star reporter. In all that time, I don't think I've ever been to the museum. Huh. It's a nice building, clean and well repaired. Probably should look into the budget, see if anyone's skimming. It's also locked. Of course, it's closed, and they've got some expensive exhibits. That's why we're here. Professor Armitage wasn't entirely surprised we didn't find his friends. He told us a wild tale about a creature that rampaged through Dunwich a few months back, but he and his friends helped put a stop to it. He's concerned it's not over yet. Again, if I hadn't run into creatures that clearly don't belong in this world already, I might have a bit more skepticism. The Professor was concerned enough to come with us. And, I've got to say, I think he's far more concerned about Wendy's well being than he really needs to be. She's much tougher than I think he imagines. On the other hand, he's another hand, whatever his misplaced concerns. So we're here to recover an Arabic copy of the Necronomicon. The door might be locked, but there's also a guard. Takes a bit of sweet talk, promise of his picture in the paper, and he lets us in. He trusts me - I've got that kind of face - but decides to keep a close eye on Wendy. They dash off to his office. Night at the Museum Museum Maze Mystifies Somehow I thought that once we were inside, we'd go to the restricted collection, maybe look the other way while Wendy "checks" that the door is unlocked, grab the book and leave. What was I thinking? It seems that the private collections are locked up each night, the doors are not labeled, and our friendly guard had no idea where anything was. He and Wendy went inside to start looking around, and that's when things got worse. I've told you about enough horrible creatures that another shouldn't be a surprise. This one was hard to describe, part lizard and part smoke, like it could come apart and put itself back together on a whim. I'm not a brave man, I ran. I'm also not a stupid one, I grabbed a fire axe off the wall. Wendy called out for some help from the Security Office, so I went there. The mess and large number of open panels told me she'd been busy already. I looked around, and we soon had the equipment turned on so we could scan the museum. Mr. Lynch knew how to work the equipment, so we could hope to make more rapid progress. First, though, we had to deal with the horror, the smoke-reptile that was still chasing us. As soon as I approached it, I began to get visions of the future, the crumbling museum full of dead bodies. But I've seen so much more tonight that this couldn't phase me. Instead I chopped the creature up, anticipating its movements, until it dissipated entirely into smoke. With Wendy and the guard manning the office, they sent me to the hideous Medusa Exhibit. I can't really recommend it, but was soon able to confirm the Necronomicon was not there. As I went back to the central area, I discovered to my displeasure that the smoke creature had reformed, exactly as I feared. I still had my axe, but it had learned from my previous attack. This was just brutal hacking and hoping for the best, no elegance at all. It did, however, suffice to send the thing back where it came from. Briefly. I heard Wendy yell from the admin office that the thing was back, and before I know it she was with me in the rotunda. She'd picked up Dr. Armitage somewhere, and we said a quick hello before I went to the Egyptian Exhibit and they moved to the Halls of the Dead. While I made rapid progress eliminating any chance that the book was in my exhibit, Wendy, for all her skills, is a bit less diligent, so I had to check that room as well. She, on the other hand, continued to show a remarkable talent at getting our pursuers into tight spots that they couldn't get out of easily. There was a locked container in the Halls that I really wanted Wendy's help to go through. She was busy with her own problems, including keeping the smoke-thing away from me. Still, my time as a reported has occasionally included getting into places where I'm not wanted. It might take me more time than Miss Adams, but I did get into the container, but it wasn't what we needed. High hopes are too easily dashed. The next room I tried was clearly what we needed, no shadow of a doubt. Row after row of books, labeled by collection. The smoke-thing appeared just as I entered, ready to attack. Wendy came in to distract it, but this time it was too quick for her. Dr. Armitage, always ready to protect his ward, collapsed to its bite, his labored wheezing the background to our showdown. Searching for the Tome Death of the Book of the Dead The creature came at us with a renewed strength, and I was left shaking at the thought of what poisons might lurk in its mouth. Both Wendy and I were harmed, but I couldn't let it go on. I lay about with my ax, hoping again to cause it to dissipate. It manages to bite me again, but while its mouth is attached it's also solid and I whack it with all my strength. It fades once again to smoke as it drifts away. Wendy, bless her, does not waste time as I try to recover my breath. She begins frantically searching the shelves, looking for our goal. Dr. Armitage lays nearby, his labored breath the timing for our search. And then it happens. The smoke thing returns, forming up even larger than before. It stops Wendy from searching the shelves. There is a way, though it pains me to do it. I push Wendy out back to the central halls, leaving an opening the thing takes. I hope, truly I hope, that she can forgive me. But that buys me time. I know better than her how to find a single book, especially with Dr. Christopher helping me. We find, at last, the battered copy of the Necronomicon. The black text feels oily in my hands. No one should possess this. Not even a museum. A trashcan and a match takes care of it, and with a faint screech the thing returns to its smoky form and dissipates. We did what we needed, but it doesn't feel like a triumph. I carry Dr. Armitage out of the museum for the rest he'll need, while our security guard stays behind to erase any evidence of the night's work.
  12. The House Always Wins Beginner's Luck Clover Club Caper Comes Together I have no regrets about following Miss Adams's advice and warning the students at the University. Nonetheless, it means we were unable to find Henry's friend Dr. Rice. We have another chance to do my old teacher a favor and find Dr. Morgan. He, however, has been spending time at the rather infamous Clover Club. I'd like to say they remember me from my devastating expose on the gambling and drinking that goes on there, except that story never saw print. It is entirely likely the O'Bannion gang put some pressure on my editors to ensure that. It is also entirely likely that they haven't forgotten. So, since I wasn't expecting them to welcome me with open arms, I made a few preparations before we got there. Just to be ready for anything. I wasn't far off. Wendy and I asked around outside to see if anyone had seen Dr. Morgan go in. Didn't take long at all before the pit boss came outside to "see what was going on," and just happened to hover over me. Any other night, he'd be more intimidating, but when you've seen an eight foot high science monstrosity rampaging around the Uni, a mere six footer in a tuxedo just doesn't cut it. Well, if he's going to follow me around - and he made it very clear he intended to do just that - I might as well take advantage. Wendy has impressed me at every turn with her skill and her independence, so we split up. I make a quick pass to get my stash, and then follow the time honored tradition of reporters everywhere by heading for the bar. The O'Bannion's don't let moss grow on them, and one of their thugs was there at the bar waiting for me. On the plus side, they aren't willing to start fights in their own club. It scares off the clientele. On the down side, I'm not too sure how long that will last. So, a few quick drinks and then I join Wendy at the tables before the pit boss shows up to shoo me off. Turns out to be a good night for both of us, and since everyone wants to be around winners to see if they can soak up some of the luck, we start hearing about Francis Morgan. He was gambling in the back rooms, and since we're winning, someone points out the way so we can join him. Score. Behind the Scenes We know this is a highly luck-dependent scenario, so we send Wendy to the tables where she can use her chaos token re-draw to pull in the clues quickly. At least, that's the plan. Turns out we get through the first act fast, but not the way we planned. Rex pulls a Fire Axe and searches outside, but only gets one clue. Wendy gets the other and moves to the lounge. The pit boss comes outside after Rex. Wendy does draw her Abandoned and Alone, getting some horror on her. Turn two, Rex gets Hunted Down, which does nothing as yet, while Wendy gets Cursed Luck. Rex uses his Emergency Cache for more money and moves to the bar, while Wendy goes to the card table, gambles twice but only wins once. Turn three sees Rex get an O'Bannion's Thug in the bar, and Wendy gets another Cursed Luck. Rex drinks, goes to the card table, gambles and gets the elder sign. That's enough to advance the act. Wendy passes the O'Bannion's Thug in the darkened hall, goes into the back room and searches, but fails. Skin Game Monsters Maul Mobsters Of course the O'Bannions knew who I was. They probably knew as soon as I walked in, they just weren't sure what I was up to. I'd bet it would have gone a whole lot easier if I just explained the situation to them, told them it had nothing to do with them or their club. Yeah. I know better. They keep coming out of every shadow to tail me, and I'm pretty sure they put something in my drink. My stomach just won't stay down. I try to catch up with Wendy, only to see her sweeping her baseball bat around to keep the rats back. If you've read this far, it's no longer worth saying you won't believe something. By this point you will either believe me or you already think I'm a lunatic. The screams from the lounge alerted us that something was up. I could just see back there, and the room was filled with - well, let's say it was filled with moving vines wrapped around spheres of glowing, multicolored acid. It moved, and it destroyed. When the spheres broke they ate away at whatever the liquid spilled on. Bad enough when it's furniture, but when it's people... Dr. Christopher finally catches up to me near the exit, and we look for any signs that Dr. Morgan left this way. I don't think the door was opened all night, so probably not. But it did give the Pit Boss time to catch up with us, and naturally he blamed me for everything going on in the club. (To be perfectly fair here, I'm starting to think he might have had a point.) But frankly, I'm tired of this, and I've got their fire axe and he's just got height on me. I win. Wendy and I look into the hall at the thing, only to see one of the O'Bannions come after us. Ran right into the spheres. I'd like to say he went so fast he didn't know what was happening. I'd really like to say that. Wendy took the lead, and danced around the room as the spheres came tantalizingly close, until they wrapped around a coat rack and got tangled up, giving us time to slip into the VIP room hoping to find Francis Morgan. The sphere-thing hadn't gotten there first, I can say that. It dissolves the bodies more than the scene that met our eye. Five men, carved by knives and left. None of them Dr. Morgan. We both hear screams coming from the bar, "Help, there's another of these things. Help." There's someone still here. Maybe we'll get lucky for a change, and he'll know something. Behind the Scenes We flipped the agenda and got a Conglomeration of Spheres in the lounge, and mobsters are no longer aloof. Rex drew a Rotting Remains but passed it easily, while Wendy took a damage from a Twist of Fate. Rex put out Milan Christopher, searched and got both clues, and drew a card rather than run into the Pit Boss. Wendy got a resource and investigated for both clues. The Pit Boss ran to Rex and damaged him. Turn six saw Rex take a damage from Twist of Fate, while Wendy was Frozen in Fear. Rex attacked with the Fire Axe, spent all his money over the round, and killed the Pit Boss. Wendy put out her amulet, drew a card, and got a resource. Rex drew his curse, and Wendy shook off Frozen in Fear. Turn seven saw both investigators draw Hunted, so the one remaining mobster ran into the Conglomeration and died. Wendy moved into the Darkened Hall, evaded the conglomeration, and moved to the VIP room, the last unrevealed back room. Rex did the same, without needing to evade, searched, got both clues, and flipped the act. This put Peter Clover and another conglomeration in the bar. Fold Snake Eyes - Morgan Missing Some people have said I'm unlucky. Some people have also said the Sun rises in the East. Another of those sphere things was in the bar with the survivor. Rats poured out of the wall in the VIP room, and Wendy waltzed out the door. OK, by now I should know better than to doubt my companion. She raced to engage the acidic thing right outside the door, once again tying it in knots before doing the exact same thing to the other one as well. That freed me up to scare off a few measly rats with a fire ax before following her. I think I finally managed to surprise her when I got ahead of her - I have been here before, you know, and know a few of the staff passages. The man at the bar was already injured, almost dead. I could see the acid burns clearly enough, and now another swarm of rats were trying to take what was left. I drove them off, but the man would not follow me. Fear, I suppose, given everything that had been going on. I tried to convince him I was not here to harm him, and could get him out. It took more time than I like, but I must have gotten through to him eventually since he did come with me. His name was Peter Clover, and I wish I'd committed his face to memory more than I did, since it turns out he's the owner of the Clover Club and connected, somehow, to the O'Bannions. At the time, I had other things on my mind. Wendy, champion that she is, spun her way back through the acid spheres, leaving them tangled up in each other. While those things tried to separate themselves, Peter and I were able to waltz through them to the exit. I'll give Peter credit for this much, the dead bodies we passed barely phased him. It was when we were all safe outside that I learned Clover owned the club. A limo pulled up and a woman named Naomi took charge of him. She sent her guards into the club to take care of things, and would not listen as I tried to tell her what they'd be facing. We left before either the guns started firing or the police showed up to ask questions. Behind the Scenes We flipped the act at the end of the turn, so the second Conglomeration moved and Peter took a damage before we could do anything. Rex drew Cursed Luck, which wouldn't last long, and Wendy got Rats, but used Think on Her Feet to move out into the hall and engage the first Conglomeration. She evaded it, moved one space to the next, and evaded it too. Rex killed the rats, then moved and used a Shortcut to get to the bar. Turn 9 Rex got more Rats, while Wendy got Dissonant Voices. Rex killed the rats, then parlayed with Peter until he joined. Wendy evaded the Spheres and then attacked it, doing one damage. The other one would move over and attack her in turn. Rex drew Rex's Curse during upkeep. Turn 10 was heading to the end. Rex got another Cursed Luck, while Wendy saw another Dissonant Voices. Wendy evaded both Spheres and moved to the Darkened Hallway, while Rex used all his moves to get to the Back Alley. The last turn Rex got Rotting Remains and passed it, with Wendy losing the last of her resources to Arousing Suspicions. Both got to the VIP room and resigned. They earned 4xp, 1 for the Pit Boss, and 3 for clearing all the back rooms.
  13. If you don't mind the question, in Return to the Midnight Masks, why did you resign so early? I didn't see any obvious reason for it, and hoped to understand better.
  14. Extracurricular Activities Behind the Scenes While we know this tends to go better if you do The House Always Wins first, we did it that way last time. Besides, we're on standard difficulty, so let's try something different. Also, I told my wife she could make the choice and she did. After Hours Linguist Lost - Unseen at University I like Miskatonic U. Always a source for stories, or an easy place to get quotes about any subject I need. Professors love seeing their names in the papers, so they're as friendly as can be. Their students, well, they might have other opinions. But to me, they're great people. So I figure we can use a hand, and I pick up Dr. Christopher. He studies insects but has opinions on every bloody thing, and best of all he knows the University well. For all my worries about escorting Wendy around, she proved to be much less trouble than I'd feared. She's used to being on her own, she tells me, and we can cover twice the ground if we split up. Works for me, and there's no reason to give Armitage too many details. I figure the Humanities Building is the best place to look for Dr. Rice, seeing as he works there. It's late, but there are a few students around, so I start asking them. This part's hard to describe - not the best thing for a reporter to admit, I grant you. Sometimes, when listening to their answers, I'd get distracted. I could see them as adults, some in suits, a few in rags. It was like time had skipped a beat and showed me glimpses of what's to come, but I could feel the cost being drained from my own future. So, I still don't know why Henry got so excited so quickly about his friends, but I'm starting to think he might be on to something here. And that, my friends, means a story. Not a wasted night after all. If, that is, I survive it. You see, not all those visions were entirely passive. In one case, the young man I was talking to triggered a vision. I saw him with a long unkempt beard, wearing dirty robes that might once have been white. He turned to me and yelled something incoherent, but when the vision ended, the young man had changed. There was something blank or missing in his eyes, and he hunched over slightly as he lunged at me. Though this was extreme, I've had bad reactions to interviews before, and I always have a plan. In this case a simple one, as I tangled him in his own chair and flipped the table on him while he tried to get out. It's a heavy table, and should let him calm down while I went elsewhere. When Wendy finally got in touch with me, I could see that her night had not been going well either. She was shaking, and not from cold. No one's seen Rice. The janitor, Jazz Mulligan, can let us in some locked doors. He's the guy we need. Behind the Scenes An early Milan Christopher is a nice bonus, while Wendy got out Lone Wolf right at the beginning. Money will not be a big problem this game (I hope.) Otherwise it's just flipping over a few locations. Our first mythos phase sees Rex get Visions of Future Past and discard 4 cards. Wendy gets Beyond the Veil, so running out of her deck will be bad, and then she pulls a Thrall, which goes after Rex in the Humanities Building. Rex kills it easily enough with I've Got a Plan, and then starts clearing out the clues in there. Wendy gets a Baseball Bat, and then starts searching the Student Union. Turn three sees Rex pull another Visions of Future Past and lose 2 cards, while Wendy gets an Offer of Power and takes the two horror. Rex clears the Humanities, brings out a Strange Solution, and moves to the Library, which he'll try to clear next turn. Wendy clears the student union and flips the act, so now we're looking for Jazz. Rice's Whereabouts Miskatonic Mess Needs Cleanup There's never a janitor around when you need one. Seriously, I know Jazz. He's a good guy, can point me in the right direction when I'm looking for someone. But at night, he's been known to find an office in the back and, well, take it a bit easy. So I know he might be a bit tough to find, but really... Oh, and aside from having a hard time finding the man, the weird stuff never stopped. That's way too simple, so let me walk you through it one step at a time. A weird light appeared around the door out of the library. Green, sickly light, right at the edge, but making anything you put near it look half dead. Well, that's a problem for later. I start looking through the library to find Jazz, but he's not holed up in here. The light coming in the window was bright, much brighter than it should be. I've got to admit I wondered if it was connected to the light at the door, but they looked so different. The moonlight was so clear, almost searing, and looking right at the moon was painful. It was time to move, and even though the door was disturbing, it wasn't enough to slow me down. I knew Wendy was handling the science building, so I went to the Administration Building. Not like it would be busy. No one there would ever work overtime and the students try to avoid it even while it's open. Unfortunately, it's locked. Fortunately, I wasn't alone. Wendy showed up to help. She'd picked up a friend somewhere, a Cajun fellow named Leo, who didn't seem happy to be back in Arkham - claimed to have seen some trouble here last fall. Anyway, the lock didn't slow Wendy down much. I carefully looked the other way so I wouldn't have to tell Armitage any tales out of school. Not like I'm above a little lock breaking for a story either, after all. It takes much longer than I would have expected to look in all the offices there. There were just so many. Wendy helped, but mostly tried to get rid of the annoying whippoorwill that kept flitting about the building. I didn't know they flew around at night, but the noise even one can make is quite distracting. Finally found old Jazz, and just as I suspected, he'd nipped off for a bit of a rest. Now, this next part I might have imagined. I don't think I did, but even with everything else that's gone on tonight it just doesn't make sense. As Wendy chased the whippoorwill out, I could swear it made me an offer. Choices now for a shorter future. I refused, of course, but then it struck me that I'd just heard an offer from a bird, and I remembered stories my mother told of how those birds speak to those who are about to die. It was hard to shake. I had to shake it off, though, as I woke Jazz up and he agreed to help us out. Behind the Scenes That took far longer than I'd hoped. We shuffled Jazz into the encounter deck, and he wound up third from the bottom. We had to go through everything to get to him. Turn four, Rex drew an Arcane Barrier that would try to hold him in the library, but that he'd wind up passing easily. Wendy drew another Thrall. Rex searched, succeeded by 3, so got both clues in the library, so he also used an action to search for Jazz. Wendy killed the thrall, got Leo, and searched the Science Building. Next turn Rex got the Light of Aforgomon, which he put on the act. We'd keep drawing this card, so it'll be around all game. Wendy pulled an Ancient Evils. Rex got his magnifying glass, failed to find Jazz again, and moved to the admin building. Wendy spent her clues doing the same, and moved to the Student Union. Rex drew his curse, but as of yet it hasn't taken effect - he's either failed everything first try, or succeeded twice in a row. Turn six got Rex a Beyond the Veil, so he's in trouble if he runs out of cards, and then a Locked Door in Administration. Wendy got Eager for Death, but passed the test. Wendy came over to pick the lock, but she and Rex failed every test to search the building. Wendy got her weakness, so she's up to four horror now, and everything is direct. Turn seven saw the agenda flip and Rex took some horror. He drew another Light of Aforgomon, and Wendy pulled a Whippoorwill. She fought and killed the bird, then left to the main quad. Rex searched the administration building, finished it, and finally found Jazz. He drew his basic weakness, Hypochondriac, at the end of the turn. At the start of turn eight, Rex got an Offer of Power and took the horror, while Wendy saw a Terror From Beyond and killed all our assets. Rex successfully parlayed with Jazz, flipping the act. Campus Safety Sinister Science Menaces Campus - Students Saved Yeah. The headline pretty much says it all. No need to read further. But these notes are the first draft of history, so I'll elaborate. Jazz let us in to the Faculty Offices. Someone beat us there, and if it was a student, they really need to improve the cafeteria food. Warped, bent, it looked like the person's arm had been badly burned. And it was mad. I did what I could against it, but it was Wendy who came to my rescue by getting behind it and... well, and not acting like a lady. To my everlasting relief. Our progress in learning about Dr. Rice was only momentarily interrupted by the locks on cabinets, for which I once again owe my companion my thanks. What we learned there, I'm afraid, confirmed every one of Henry Armitage's fears. Someone was hunting Dr. Rice, and certainly intended him harm. We had, I think, time to find him, but young Wendy had other ideas. We could hear the disruption in the science building. Whatever was knocking around back there was big and dangerous. The students may be responsible for regular mischief and even property damage, but they deserve better from us. And yes, I could not tell her no. May Rice and Armitage forgive me. We hurried to the dorms as fast as we could. Our glimpses of the thing from the labs were enough to make it clear we were doing the right thing. Seven, maybe eight foot tall. Its mouth was crocodilian. Terrifying, even from our distance. At this point I doubt it will surprise you to learn that reaching the dorms did not end our problems. But if I tell you the thing that escaped the labs was terrifying, I can at least describe its shape, its form, even its purpose. The thing in the dorms is beyond that. Tentacles that passed through the walls as though they were simply in the wrong place. A bulbous body that glowed a bright bluish-green, or gray, or white; my eyes refused to settle on one color. I told you once I was proud of having a plan to deal with a violent interviewee. No one could have a plan for this thing, but a plan once made might work in any other situation. So I hit it with a fire extinguisher, wrapped the cord on its tentacle, and slammed a door shut on it. Somewhat to my surprise, it worked. If the creature wasn't dead it was, at the least, somewhere else. The door to the women's dorm was, of course, locked. I tried my hand at it, but Wendy simply laughed at my feeble efforts before taking care of the problem for me. Better she goes in there anyway. Our efforts proved successful, as we got everyone out in time. Certainly the University denies anything happened, and I do not have any photographs to prove my case, but strange though the story is, I assure you it happened just as I said. Including, to my sorrow, the fact that we did not find Dr. Rice. Behind the Scenes After parlaying with Jazz, Rex went to the Faculty Office and spawned a Thrall. He was able to damage it, but Wendy finished it off with a Backstab (and Lucky.) We drew a Locked Door and Light of Aforgomon (too many of them, we couldn't get rid of them all.) Wendy picked the lock and moved out to the Admin Building, while Rex cleared the room of clues and joined her. We were light on victory points, had no chance against the Experiment, but also weren't pressed. Turn 10 flipped the agenda, so the Experiment started moving. We got a Terror From Beyond and a Thrall. There were no clues on the board, so we put the Thrall in the Library. The two of us headed over to the dorms. Turn 11 got us a Locked Door and a Yithian Observer on Rex. Rex attacked with I've Got a Plan and every skill card he had and killed it in one blow. He tried to pick the lock but failed miserably. Wendy got it open and started searching, doing quite well. The last turn saw another Terror From Beyond and Wendy got a Push From Beyond, losing Lone Wolf but no more horror. Rex cleared the room of clues and finished researching the Strange Solution before ending the game. Both investigators earned 4 xp.
  15. The Dunwich Legacy Setup Missing Men Mystery Mesmerizes Miskatonic Librarian Start with the headline. To be fair, that is not one of Dr. Armitage's (the librarian mentioned) lessons, and he'd probably be horrified if I told him that's how I work. That's one of the lessons you pick up in the field, not in schools. A good headline moves your story up at least two pages, so always have one in mind when you talk to the editor. Hopefully it's worked and you've seen my byline. Rex Murphy. Armitage always emphasized the story and writing it clearly. Keep it clear, keep it simple. And that part I agree with. Get the story in the first two paragraphs, because most of your readers won't go beyond that. The rest of the story is for those who will, but you still need to get all the important stuff in up front. That's why it's so surprising to me that it takes him so long to get to the point. I've kept in touch with the professor over the years, and even beyond him teaching me the ropes, he's been a good source on multiple occasions. So I owe him. When he says he needs to talk to me and it's urgent, I drop my plans and head over there. But then, nothing. He goes on about whippoorwills, and something from five years ago, and familiar patterns, but doesn't tell me what is going on. I'm patient, I've out-listened many a source before, but it dawns on me that Henry Armitage is nervous. He doesn't want to get to the point. It takes a while to get there, but two of his friends, or at least two people he knows (he was purposefully vague there, didn't want to say how well he knew them) are missing. They're both professors too, one Francis Morgan and Warren Rice. They haven't been gone long enough to trouble the police, but lucky me, he knows a reporter who's passably good at finding people who don't want to be found. Well, I do owe him, so I'm on it. Maybe I'll get lucky, and one of them'll have been murdered. Good stories in murders. Page One stories. Except. Except that he asks me to take along a young lady he's been helping out. An orphan girl named Wendy. Sure. Wouldn't want her to see anything grisly, so I'll just hope I find them fast and can get back to writing tomorrow's press. Behind the Scenes So, a disastrous ending to Night of the Zealot means we need two new investigators for Dunwich. I decide to bring in Rex Murphy for some serious clue-gathering ability. My wife was looking at Ashcan Pete, which would do passably for some strength, but then changes her mind and goes for Wendy Adams. So we're very low on firepower, and we'll see how this works out. We rolled the dice for difficulty, and we'll be playing this one on standard difficulty. Hopefully that helps us out some. We drew basic weaknesses, and Wendy started with Indebted, which seems appropriate for the orphan. Rex is a Hypochondriac.
  16. The Devourer Below Investigating the Trail Every day, for a few hours after noon, the Sun comes through the windows of my cell. For those few hours, I am free of the doom I brought to Arkham. Then the shadows come back, deeper and darker than they were the day before. Every day, it gets a little stronger. It hunts for Lita Chantler, who abandoned me when I most needed her, and once it finds her it will come for me. I suppose Skids, if he is still alive, will also be on its list. After that, I don't know. The rest of the world? The cultists were deep in the woods outside town, ready to bring forth... it. I'll not write its name. Skids had Leo de Luca accompanying him again, and Lita promised to meet us in the woods as soon as she got her equipment. We checked the various paths, and Skids was excited over some of the signs he saw. Then they struck back. More of the dead creatures, the ghouls, came out of the woods, but they had new things with them. There was a creature, and though none of the doctors will ever believe me I swear it is true, it was a creature with a goat's head on the body of a man. I took the ghoul, while Skids fled from the goat thing. The chanting picked up, I'm not sure it had ever stopped, but it echoed in my head while fear came in with the cold. Another of the ghouls jumped out at me, while something dark, deadly, and utterly foreign to the world tried to destroy Skids. Even while the relentless chanting and bitter cold weakened us, our foes got stronger, and more numerous. More of the goat creatures arrived, and my aim was not able to keep up with my fear. And yet it was not the beasts that destroyed me. I moved to put my back to a tree and limit their approach, only to stumble on a rotting corpse. This one did not move, it was dead, the way a corpse should be dead. And yet I knew that figure. It was me, dead over three weeks, easily. Was I one of them? I could not understand it, yet the horror washed over me, left me immobile and subject to their whims. And they left me alone. When the Sun came up I was still there, still in the woods, and still unable to move. I know the Sun set that night with me still there and rose again. I don't know how long it was until someone found me, and brought me here to the doctors in the Asylum. This is my home now. I think I'll never leave. Behind the Scenes I've never done well on this scenario, and this wasn't an exception. It started off pretty well. Roland brought out a magnifying glass and a .45, moved into the woods and revealed the path where you find clues using your agility, so he moved back to the main path. Skids brought out Leo, went up there, and promptly cleaned out the clues. The next turn saw us both draw enemies. A ghoul minion for Roland and a Goat Spawn for Skids. Roland killed the ghoul minion and went into a different woods, while Skids evaded the goat, moved into the woods himself, and found another clue. Now things started turning bad. Roland got Dissonant Voices and Skids got Frozen in Fear, which he'd keep for the rest of the game. Both kept searching the woods, and neither made any progress. On turn 4, Roland drew a ghoul minion, and Skids got a relentless dark young. Roland could kill the minion easily enough, while Skids kept trying to evade the dark young, only succeeding on his last attempt for the turn. So no progress there. Then the agenda flipped, bringing us another Goat Spawn on the main path, and making them all stronger. Roland had a goat spawn on him, but he didn't manage to hit it even once. Skids evaded easily, and searched to get the last clue from his spot. He stayed where he was rather than move onto the goat spawn. Turn 6 saw Roland draw a Rotting Remains, and pull a -3. He took 3 horror and went insane - out of the game. Skids got away from the dark young, and tried to move to the unrevealed woods, but was facing the goat spawn. On turn 7 he drew yet another goat spawn, and quickly died to their damage. Both investigators are killed, so we’ll start new investigators completely for Dunwich Legacy.
  17. The Midnight Masks Uncovering the Conspiracy There's no rest for the wicked. Can't say I considered myself that bad, but here I am working with a crook and a... Well, I'm not sure what Lita is, except that I doubt she's entirely on the up-and-up. She insists we can't wait, and have to find the cultists behind the ghoul attacks now, before they complete their plan. The smoldering embers of my house cry out for some time to mourn, but doing that might mean someone else mourns their house by morning too. With Lita by our side, Skids and I started the search in Riverside. Not really sure what we were looking for, but that dame Lita didn't look like she was willing to wait. Skids is still a crook, but he stuck it out through that whole mess at my house. So I'm willing to trust him a bit as we go our separate ways while the evening fog moves in on the river. I go Southside, near Ma's Boarding House, where there's a weird guy in robes chanting in the alley, just out of sight. "That's him," whispers Lita. Like I wouldn't have known otherwise. But with him nicely out of sight, and two of us against one of him, it doesn't take too long before he's singing like a canary. Ruth Turner, Nurse Ruth, is a member of the cult. She knows me, so Skids heads over there instead. I probably don't want too many details since I'll be back at the bureau soon enough, but Skids gets hold of her files and out without her noticing. Enough to put her away for a long time. Lita and I keep searching out the cultists. As long as they have the decency to announce themselves in those robe, I figure it'd be a crime not to take advantage. We meet one at the University, but he proves untalkative. Another up Northside seemed promising, but before he gave it up he raised some tablet, and the writing on it moved, shook my head real bad. At least we ensured he wouldn't do that again. Behind the Scenes Roland bought out Lita, Skids pulled out a .41. Between the two of them they cleared the two clues on Riverside first turn and Skids was able to move over to the University. Roland pulled Obscuring Fog, but getting that on the now-empty Riverside was practically a gift. Skids then got a Locked Door at the University, less good. Roland moved to Southside to kill the starting cultist, and a quick search to empty that area too. That gave us four clues, so Skids turned them in and found Ruth Turner as our cultist. He moved down there, used On The Lam and Unexpected Courage to evade her and add her to the victory display. (It seemed a lot of cards to me, but that Amnesia last game annoyed my wife, so she figured it was better to use the cards while you have them.) Roland pulled a False Lead, but they had just used all their clues to find Ruth, so he pulled again and put a Locked Door on St. Mary's. Skids pulled Mysterious Chanting, giving us an acolyte at the University. Roland equipped his .45, but didn't use it when he moved to the University and defeated the acolyte. An Evidence card got another clue without bothering with the Locked Door. Skids, meanwhile, opened the Locked Door at St. Mary's, but only managed a single clue over this turn and the next, with one more still to go. On the fourth turn, Roland got Mysterious Chanting, putting another Acolyte in play in Northside, while Skids got Crypt Chill and wound up losing his derringer. Roland fought the acolyte, but pulled a tablet, so lost all his clues. He was then able to kill the acolyte and get one back. Skids tried and failed to get the last clue in St. Mary's. Uncovering some more The night is not kind to us. It spins us round as every passing stranger gets a cloak of darkness and it is all too easy to follow the innocent instead of the guilty. Too many rumors, of friends and long acquaintances. How well did I really know my neighbors? Not as well as I thought. I hear of another robed figure Downtown, near the bank, and Lita and I dash off again, but this one proves a cannier adversary and fades back into the night as we approach, leaving us dancing with the shadows. But just as I think our prey are learning to avoid us, they go and change the rules. Something, some horrible shadow, soars down from above. It cast a shadow onto darkness, and it was hot and wet, like a panting animal. It grabbed me, I know it did because I was moving, quickly, a flight through the air. But where it touched me I felt nothing. Nothing at all. The absence of sensation. It doesn't bear thinking of, not for long. The cultist I was seeking was long gone as I was back by the river, Lita soon caught up. Skids was shouting from the University, but he was gone by the time we got there. A vicious man in a pig-mask (again, how I hope it's just a mask) was tearing at the dumpsters looking for the vanished crook, but the knife wound in its back spoke to Skids' work. I didn't waste time. A few shots, Lita's help, and the Hunter wound up our prey. Now our foes were on the move. Every shadow, and there are so many of them, could conceal one of them. Soon we learned not to look too close. There are worse things than mortal men hiding in the shadows. Lita's firm resolve gave way. Never thought tunnel vision would be a survival skill. Wish my old director at the bureau were here. Yeah, I really hated that guy. We catch up with Skids in Northtown and he tells us the dame Victoria Devereux is one of them. He figures we can buy her off by purchasing part of her collection, get her tied up in the sales. I figure there's easier ways, and the night's been too long already. Bullets do the job nicely. It seems like ages ago since I thought I was better than Skids just because he's a crook. Not just this afternoon. Whatever's got this cult stirred up isn't stopping. We get reports of another robed guy in Easttown, and then that flying -- that thing shows up right in front of us. Tries to grab Skids, but I'm not having it. My .45 is empty, but I've got my old reliable .38 on hand. I don't miss, and the thing vanishes. Really. Just fades out like it wasn't there. Skids heads off to the bank to take care of the robed guy there. Hope he manages it, we're getting way too many of these freaks running around. Behind the Scenes On turn 5, Roland loses his last clue to a False Lead, while Skids puts an Acolyte in Downtown. Roland moves to Downtown, but fails to land any hits on the Acolyte. Skids brings out First Aid, finishes collecting all the clues in St. Mary's, and moves to the University. Next turn flips the agenda, and The Masked Hunter goes after Skids, with his two clues. Roland gets Wings of Horror and is dumped in Rivertown with damage and horror, while Skids sees Obscuring Mist roll into the University, adding to the Locked Door already there. Skids evades the Hunter, uses a Sneak Attack, and moves to Northtown. Roland goes to the University, attacks and kills the Hunter, and then Works a Hunch to clear out all the clues in that area. In drawing cards, Skids pulls out his Hospital Debts again. After seeing that last time, my wife is very mad and resolved not to lose experience again. For turn 7, Roland and Skids both pull Hunting Shadows, with Roland putting the damage on Lita. Skids pays the clues to reveal Victoria as a cultist, who he then has to evade. He pays 2 resources to his debts. Roland moves to Northtown, empties his .45 and kills Victoria. The next turn sees a Hunting Nightgaunt on Skids, and another Acolyte for Roland, this one in Easttown. Roland pulls his .38 Special and kills the Nightgaunt. Skids goes to Downtown, and with the help of an Overpower kills the acolyte there and pays another 2 resources on his debts. Uncovering Yet More The night gets colder with each passing hour. It's more than the season, this is a chill that set on the soul. There's no way I could write that in any bureau report, but there's just no other way to describe it. Old friends turn out to be members of a cult, the dead rise, and the chill sinks into your bones. It's the best way I know to explain my carelessness as I start leaving tools behind. I've no idea how or when I lost my magnifying glass, but it's not as needed as my guns, so no tears. At least the leader, I hope, of the order makes his appearance. In the Graveyard, of course. Skids makes a run for the one we heard about in Easttown while I head to the cemetery. Nothing can ever be that easy, of course. Whatever that thing was that patrols the sky, shooting it doesn't make it stay dead. It returned for round 2. It never touched the ground, always staying overhead and looking for an opening, but hours of practice at the range pay off and I find the openings first. Again there's no corpse, just a flash of red and it disappears. It leaves the path clear to the wizard, who is performing some foul rite over the tombstones, with the words he chants hurting my ears. I don't let that stop me. I shoot my last bullet at him, and it doesn't even come close. The wind, the cold, the incessant chanting, I don't know. But he doesn't know everything either. I've been carrying the answer to most problems with me all along. A slim red tube with a short fuse. A big enough explosion solves everything. Sure, it'll hurt, but I can take it. He can't. The explosion does its damage. One day I'll need to make a donation to the Church, repair some broken tombstones, but I figure the Lord'll forgive me. It was done in a good cause. Lita, well, I hope she forgives me too, someday. For now, she's out of the fight, and it might take some time in St. Mary's until she's back on her feet. But I got a name. Professor Peter Warren. Miskatonic U. Skids goes after him, figures he can trade secrets with the egghead, lead him off track, and wrap him up. I keep hoping there's more to find in the Graveyard, now that too many of the graves are open again. Don't find anything useful though. Time passes, and we still haven't found the reason for the order. But we have enough information and not enough time. So we move on. Behind the Scenes Much closer than I like, we got greedy and almost paid for it. Turn 9 saw a Crypt Chill, and Roland lost his magnifying glass, while Skids brought in the Wizard of the Order in the Graveyard. Skids got money from the bank and paid off his hospital debts, then moved to Easttown and killed the acolyte. Roland pulled out a flashlight and made it to Rivertown. Turn 10 saw another Hunting Nightgaunt attack Roland, while Skids took 2 damage from a Hunting Shadow. Roland killed the Nightgaunt and moved to the Graveyard successfully. Skids pulled out Leo de Luca and searched Easttown, gaining a few clues. At this point we were determined to get one more cultist, but were running out of time with the wizard accumulating doom. He had to go. Roland attacked and missed, so he used a Dynamite Blast to finish off the wizard, letting Lita take some of the damage but killing her too. They had enough clues now to get the next cultist, Peter Warren. Skids headed that way, picking up a clue along the way to pay him off. Turn 12 saw Roland actually beat a Wings of the Night by pulling the Elder Sign, while Skids lost his First Aid to a Crypt Chill. Roland searched the Graveyard, hoping for yet one more victory point (I did say we were getting greedy, right?) Skids moved to the University, paid off Peter, moved back to Northtown and tried to search too, but failed. So, turn 13 had to be our last turn. Roland saw a False Lead and lost his only clue while Skids took damage from another Hunting Shadow. There were 2 clues on the Graveyard, so Roland tried to search twice, and succeeded in both, so resigned with that empty. Skids just resigned. That left us with 7 experience for the 4 cultists, plus the Graveyard and Miskatonic University.
  18. The Gathering Setup It was raining somewhere. Had to be. Should have been raining here, a big thunderstorm that makes you fear the world is coming to an end. After all, it is. But no, it was a crisp clear day. An early frost had long since burned off, leaves spilled from the trees and blew across streets and lawns carelessly. Look out on the town and it looks normal. Kids throwing a ball for their dog, mothers pushing strollers, a car pulled off to the side while the driver changes a flat. Normal. Unless you've seen... things. Then you look closer. The kids throw their ball near a dead tree, and the dog won't go near it. He growls at the boy when the young kid tries to pull him closer to the tree. One of the young women pushing her stroller keeps her child bundled tightly, turning away her neighbor when she wants to look under the blanket. The driver puts the flat tire in the back, but first carefully rubs a cloth over it, erasing a mark on the ruined rubber. Everywhere you look, there's something. Talk like that too much and you get vacation time. The bureau isn't exactly close minded, so much as that they're very open minded to the things that are in the rule books. So it's back to Arkham for six weeks "rest time," then a re-evaluation before I become Agent Banks again. Time's not for the wasting, so they say. Lots of files cross your desk while you're in the bureau, and some of them make for interesting reading. Skids O'Toole's a petty criminal, and his testimony about his cell mate's death is completely unbelievable -- to the rest of the bureau. Best of all, he's close. An invitation with a hint that it's not really a request, and he'll come by. Maybe then we can learn what's really going on. Behind The Scenes I am playing Roland Banks, with my wife playing Skids O'Toole. We rolled a dice and will be playing Night of the Zealot on hard difficulty. Only cards from the base set are allowed, but we will proxy cards that we both want if we don't have enough of them. Trapped Never trust a crook. You'll pay every time. At least, that's what I thought when I heard the noise downstairs. Someone moving, someone chanting, and the lights died. I saw O'Toole's face, the shock and surprise. Could have been an act, but truth is he's just not that good an actor. Don't think anyone is. "Follow me," I bark and pull open the door. And come to a quick halt. The door's there, but it opens to a blank wall. Oh, this is not good. "Fine." Project confidence, even when you don't have any. "There's got to be a way in and out - we can hear someone moving. Find out how to get to them." O'Toole looked surly, like he was going to object, but then he ducked his head and got to it, rifling my father's desk like a pro. A second later, "Look, don't hold it against me or nothing, but I wasn't so sure of you so I brought a friend." What? A confession, so soon. I snapped on my flashlight to get a better look. A tall dark man stepped out from the closet. "His name's Leo. DeLuca," Skids said simply. A Louisiana gambler, so they say, well known for always being near criminal activity, yet somehow never quite getting a record. Beggars can't be choosers, and he's as stuck as the rest of us, so a nod is all he gets. He's Skids' problem. We're not gentle while searching, and I wince at the damage I'll need to fix. Yeah, I take a bit of care taking down granddad's picture, but otherwise I'm nearly as bad as the crooks. Skids yells to wake the dead when he checks the filing cabinet - swears to God there was a decaying head in there, but when I look there's nothing. I've already seen enough to know that doesn't mean it wasn't true. In the end, it's the mud that gives it away. The rug's new, and none of us dragged in the mud, so how'd it get on the rug? We pull it back, and there's a door in the floor. Open it up, and there's a hole leading down into the hallway. It's out of this trap anyway, so a quick jump and we're down. The door, now overhead, closes on its own, and it's gone. Stupid chanting gets in my head, we've got to get out fast. Behind the Scenes First turn Roland played a flashlight, and found a clue. Skids drew a resource, played Leo, and also found a clue. For encounter cards, Roland got Dissonant Voices while Skids found Rotting Remains and then drew the tentacle, taking 3 horror. The next turn Roland found two more clues, one with the flashlight and one without. That was enough for them to turn over the act and move to the hallway. The Barrier I'm a lousy housekeeper. My mother would not approve of the state I keep the house in. But it's not this bad. The floors are wood, not dirt. As it is, they're not just covered in dirt, they go all the way down. The way out is through the parlor, but a bright glowing light hovers in front of the door, and I know better than to try going through. "Shut it," I snap at O'Toole before he jumps in. "I've got the attic. You. Cellars. Now." I'd be nicer if the bloody voices would just shut it for a few minutes. They do. After I climb the stairs into the stench of rot and see some dead beast swinging from the rafters, hacked so much you can't tell what it once was. God above, I hope it was a beast. I hear Skids down below yelling in triumph and terror. He needs to learn to be quiet, but at least this way I know he's still alive. Stupid but alive. The carcass falls to the ground with a dull thud. There's a - a sign, a circle carved into the wood where the beast once hung. Something inside it, warping, and then disappearing. It's hard to describe, but it carries away something of me - my choices are narrower than they were. I pull out my gun, a good solid .45, and hope it will do me some good, while I comb the attic looking for anything useful. The attic gets hotter as I search and I know, just know, something is watching me. When I realize how much time I'm spending looking over my shoulder I force myself to stop. If something is watching me, well, it's better than something trying to eat me. No sooner do I think it than something jumps from the corners to try to eat me. How to describe it? Its breath was the stink of meat left to rot so much that the maggots had given it up. Its dull gray flesh spoke of something two weeks dead, but it had a twisted, sinewy strength about it. I didn't want it to get its hands on me, let alone its teeth, for fear I'd never break away from it. My gun echoed through the attic, my ears would be ringing for days, but the creature finally went down after taking shots to the gut and the head. How it stayed up so long I'll never know. Maybe it was dead already? Maybe I shouldn't think too hard about the dead returning. It does something, as the corpse - if that's the right word for something that might already have been dead - grabbed at my ankle, which seared from the cold. I'd gotten all I could from here, it was time to rejoin the crook downstairs, leaving a barrel on the landing. The ice covered stairs proved treacherous and I tumbled down them. Skids didn't take the time to laugh at my misfortune as he shivered almost helplessly in the fog and freezing air. His friend Leo was nearby but in no better shape. They were facing another of the rotting creatures, nowhere near as large as the one in the attic, but with the same stench of too old meat coming from its mouth. I panicked in the face of the knowledge that there was more than one of these. Fortunately, this time the crook didn't panic. He pulled his .41, almost a toy, and fired it until the creature stopped moving. With a nod to me, he went back up the stairs to the hallway. After the quickest look around I could spare, I joined him. We filled the barrel with ice from the cellar and pushed it through the glowing barrier. With a flash it vanished. The light blinded us for a second, but when it faded, we found there were more of the ghouls. This one was the biggest yet. Behind the Scenes We decided to separate and try to clear the rooms independently. Roland went to the attic. Skids went to the cellar, used On the Lam as a skill card and found a clue. From there on, he'd prove unable to do much, as he was digging through his deck for First Aid or a Flashlight - neither of which he'd find. On turn three we each flipped an Ancient Evils, advancing the agenda and each discarding a card at random. Roland did a good job picking up clues, getting two of them. The next turn Roland was Frozen in Fear, but would get rid of it at the end of the turn, while Skids heard the Dissonant Voices. Roland was unable to get any clues that round, while Leo drew cards, resources, and one failed search. Turn five had Roland draw the Flesh-Eater, while Skids saw more Rotten Remains, losing two more horror - he took it himself so only has one left, barring what Leo can take. Roland killed the ghoul, using 3 ammo, but getting a clue for his efforts. Skids tried to search, failed, drew some cards and put out pickpocket. Turn six saw Roland pulling Grasping Hands and taking a damage, while Skids drew Obscuring Fog, which largely put clearing the cellar out of reach. Roland did clear out all the clues from the attic, and then went down to the cellar to do what he could. Aside from the usual draws, Leo tried searching, got a skull and failed, so spawned in a ghoul minion. He had a Dodge card to avoid any damage. Turn seven saw Roland draw Frozen in Fear, which he'd keep at the end of this round, while Skids for a Crypt Chill, and discarded his Pickpocket. Skids attacked the ghoul and killed it with two shots from the .41, then played an Evidence card to get a clue, so we had enough to advance. He moved up to the hallway. Roland played Working a Hunch, because you never know when another clue will come in handy, and also moved to the hallway - frozen in fear so that cost two actions. Skids, unfortunately, drew his Amnesia weakness, so all that drawing cards goes to waste as he discarded everything except Backstab. What Have You Done? The thing, the monster, the ghoul, was bigger than any that had come before. It towered over us, but it wasn't the sight so much as the smell that nearly drove us to our knees. Nothing, ever, can prepare you for something like that. Skids ran for the parlor. Fine, I'll admit it. My opinion of him was wrong. He wasn't running away, he was running towards something. He'd seen a woman over there, and maybe he hoped for help. It worked, too. She came back with him, while his pal Leo bolted out the door. Her name, I'd learn later, was Lita Chantler. Whoever she was, she knew what was going on. She joined in the fight, working with me while I shot the creature, taking bits of it off even while the fear gnawed away at me and kept me from being my best. The dead need to stay that way, this was wrong, and I was hideously afraid that there was something behind them, pushing the dead out of the graves they should rest in. My weapon empty, I drew a spare and kept firing. It wasn't enough and I was waiting for the final blow, only to see Skids step out from where he was hiding to stab the ghoul from behind. The giant collapsed, but we could all hear more moving around down in the cellar. The front door beckoned and none of us could resist. Outside, Lita insisted we burn the house down. The glowing light into the parlor we destroyed was a ward of some sorts, locking the undead in place. My family had lived in this house for three generations, I was raised here. But whatever was rising had tainted that beyond recognition. I would weep for my memories, but it had to go. Behind the Scenes That went faster. Roland drew Obscuring Mist, which is fine at this point, while Skids drew Grasping Hands, got a bad draw and took 3 damage. Skids moved to the parlor and drew a card, hoping for and getting a lore skill icon. He used that to parlay with Lita, and got a lucky success. He had to replace Leo, but used his own ability to spend two resources for an extra action to move back to the hallway. Roland shot his last bullet, then attacked normally, with both hitting. Due to Frozen in Fear, he only had the two shots. He tested Frozen in Fear, using Guts, and succeeded. Unfortunately, he then drew his weakness, Cover Up. At this point there was no chance of finishing it, so we take the trauma. He did have a Dodge, so didn't take the Ghoul Priest's attack. The agenda flipped, and we wound up with the Icy Ghoul in the cellar, but were pretty committed to ending the Priest at this point. After all the work getting rid of Frozen in Fear, Roland drew another one. Skids got Crypt Chill, failed, and lost his derringer. Roland drew another .45 and took the Ghoul Priest's attack. He then attacked it and hit, with a total of 8 damage on the priest. Skids drew cards hoping for agility icons to use his backstab. He got one, then drew Hospital Debts, and again there was no hope of finishing it off. His backstab did go off, killing the priest. We chose to burn the house down, so Roland gets to add Lita to his deck, but has two mental trauma (one from the house, one from Cover Up.) Roland has six xp, Skids only four (due to Hospital Debts.)
  19. The Idea As a combination gaming/writing project, my wife and I will run through all the existing Arkham Horror LCG scenarios, and I will write them up from an in-character view. Nothing much more to it than that. For me, an excuse to practice writing in a genre I rather enjoy, and for both of us an excuse to game a bit more and in a structured fashion. While I enjoy Lovecraft and noir fiction, I have not read FFG's novellas, so the voice I give the characters might be different than the published ones. I will use the backgrounds I have on them from the card game and board games. The Rules We will play the campaigns in the order they were published. So, Night of the Zealot first, followed by Dunwich Legacy, Path to Carcosa, Return to Night of the Zealot, and the Forgotten Age. For each campaign, we will only use cards that were published up to that point, though all the expansion packs will be considered fair game at the start of their campaign. We will not re-use investigators. If they're killed or retired, they're gone. They can continue between campaigns but carry their deck with all weaknesses and trauma. An investigator cannot retire unless he has at least one half of his maximum physical or mental trauma. Finally, just for amusement, we'll decide the difficulty of each campaign randomly - excluding the easy difficulty only. While this is mostly for amusement, we'll consider the campaign won if we ever catch up with FFG's current schedule, and we'll consider it lost if we run out of investigators. Given how we play, the latter is far more likely.
  20. My wife is my main opponent as well, so I can speak to this. It is not, generally, much of a problem - but it does come up on some occasions. We coordinate our main and splash clans so there's no overlap on those points. That eliminates a lot of possible problems right there. There was one point where we both wanted to do a Crab splash, which might or might not have worked out, but I just switched my splash to avoid any problems. We do have to share the same pool of neutral cards. With just the three cores, we did occasionally have to argue over cards (and I almost always lost those arguments...) Even with just the Imperial cycle done, that happens a lot more rarely - a combination of more clan and neutral cards to deal with. So, if you're buying in with everything, I suspect you'll be fine. If you decide to start with a few core sets to try out the game, you might have a few problems with your neutral cards, but it's still manageable. I would advise coordinating on your clans and trying not to have any overlap, though. Trying to build with the same splash clan probably would still cause some problems.
  21. Haven't started this yet, but it does bring up a question? How do you all choose basic weaknesses? Do you use them from all the sets you possess (in which case the odds of getting Doomed are getting progressively lower) or some other system. We were thinking of choosing from Forgotten Age + Core Set weaknesses only, but haven't actually decided yet.
  22. Come come now. Let's go full dragon - make it unnecessarily complicated and hard to use.. Dragon Sword +2/+2 If the sum of the printed costs of all characters on the board is even, attached character gains +1 MIL unless the attached character's printed cost is also even. If the sum of the printed costs of all characters on the board is odd, attached characters gains +1 POL unless the attached character's printed cost is also odd. If attached to a Champion: Action: Challenge an opposing character with equal or higher glory to your choice of a MIL or POL duel, ignoring honored or dishonored status. Dishonor the loser.
  23. Many other cultures have been mentioned in fictions. I don't know any details of the sale, and what FFG owns or doesn't. Still, my advice is to stay away from other cultures. The isolation of Rokugan is part of who they are. The eternal backbiting and fighting within the clans is exacerbated by the lack of an external enemy (which is why AEG's regular outside enemy attacks fictions wound up damaging the world, aside from being repetitive.) The Shadowlands is still there, but they're not such an overt threat most of the time - unless you're a Crab, of course The old AEG line worked really well, where Rokugan knew gaijin cultures existed. They'd fought them, and won, centuries ago, thus proving their inevitable and obvious superiority, and now they'd just put them out of their minds and never concern themselves with them again. And then the bloody Unicorn had to come back and spoil all that - unforgivable, really.
  24. You're a bit off on the timeline there. The Scorpion Clan Coup was pre-Clan Wars, and led to the Scorpion being simply destroyed. A few scattered members survived and did their thing - Kachiko as Imperial Consort, Aramoro as her servant, and a few others. During Hidden Emperor, after Clan War, with Toturi on the throne, Toturi vanished and the Scorpion were blamed. At this point, they were disbanded again, and this time they went into exile in the Burning Sands. It was a bit too much of a repeat of the setup for Clan Wars, and didn't prove to be one of their best stories, despite leaving us with several very memorable moments.
  25. Sorry for the digression, but does anyone know what stories this one is based on? I've read a lot of the reference materials for the other campaigns while I was in the middle of them, and found that I missed the reasons behind a lot of the cards, so I wanted to get ahead of the ball this time around. Thanks.
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