|This session our investigators find out that some art is bad... (P.S. Can you tell who this is supposed to be?)|
The session would prove to be just as deadly to the investigators as I had anticipated, though not in the manner I had thought. As ever they managed to surprise me.
So, this session started with a bang. Three of them in fact, from Sebastian's gun. The serpent beast had turned to Sebastian (who had triggered the transformation by shooting Bertha in the leg), waved his hands in the air, and incanted a spell. Transfixed by the serpent's gaze, Sebastian was unable to resist the Mesmerize spell, and he was forced to carry out the lizard's simple command - "shoot your friend".
Sebastian's arm moved as if by it's own will, and the gun came round to face Harry, who was still scrabbling in the dust a few feet away, oblivious to the danger. Sebastian fired three shots. He made all three to-hit rolls, but was lucky in that one of the effects of the Mesmerise spell is a halving of any physical skill abilities of the entranced character. This meant that only one of the three bullets actually hit Harry. Harry still took a nasty wound to the arm, and fell to the ground, though I determined that the shock of being shot by his friend had snapped him out of his temporary insanity
|Who shot first? Oh that's right, Sebastian did...|
Alerted by the shots, Tso, who was keeping watch outside the Shipley house, decided to intervene and made his way inside, heading upstairs to his friends.
Miles Shipley, screaming, decided to try and escape the mayhem. Still with his hands tied, he barrelled past Willard, who missed his attempt to grapple, and pelted down the stairs from the garret. He was met there by a shocked Tso Yoo, who tried to restrain the poor lunatic artist, but failed thanks to a hard head butt from Miles. Only a successful dodge roll avoided a broken nose for the chinaman.
Leaving Miles to escape Willard bravely threw himself at Sebastian in order to grapple the gun from him before he did any more damage. However he fumbled his roll and collided with the door frame of the garret closet instead. Sigh.
Ssathasaa, the serpent-man, reiterated his command to Sebastian. "Kill him". Now however Harry was alert, and very, very pissed off. Before Sebastian could react to the command, Harry had struggled to his feet and cocked his shotgun. The resulting blast all but deafened the investigators, but the close range and confined quarters meant he hit Ssathassa square in the chest. A massive damage roll ensured the death of the lizard, who flew back from the shot's impact and slid down the far wall of the closet with a gaping wound in it's chest.
Tso turned and chased after Miles who had reached the bottom of the stairs and was nearing the front door of the property. An impressive martial arts kick from Tso to the back of his head floored the unfortunate Miles, who was knocked unconscious. Despite my expectations the investigators had managed to survive their encounter with a most dangerous enemy.
A mile or so north-east of the Shipley residence, in the British Library, Mr Yoo was busily continuing his research of the Cult of the Bloody Tongue, but failed library use rolls meant he learned nothing new. His apparent safety by spending his time exploring books rather than the homes of homicidal serpent people would prove to be an illusion however.
Back at the Shipley house, after applying some field first aid to Harry and Miles, a search of the property began. Sebastian decided to investigate the mysterious "special painting" that Bertha had used to lure the group into her trap. The painting showed a small island in a swampy area at night, with a myriad of serpents crawling through the grass and around a stone altar.
As Sebastian stared at the painting it seemed to swim before his eyes, the snakes began to move and writhe. He made his POW resistance check however and immediately looked away from the strange piece of art. He took out his knife and cut the painting out of it's frame, then rolled it up to take with him.
Further explorations turned up a small, lacquered box in one of the bedrooms that contained a dirty syringe and a vial of strange, green liquid. Showing uncommon sense no-one in the group volunteered to try the unknown drug. The investigator's search eventually lead them down to the basement of the house, and in a concealed room they discovered Ssathasaa's lair.
Several scrolls in an unknown alphabet were recovered, along with some pots of unknown powder. In a stone tub they discovered the remains of Ssathasaa's last meal - the head of the poor girl that Miles had met in the Horned God pub. The subsequent round of sanity losses continued the slow erosion of the group's sanity, even though no-one went insane.
Whilst the rest of the team was searching the basement Sebastian and Harry took Miles upstairs and gave him a measure of the green drug. The artist swooned and fell asleep, but shortly afterwards awoke and began to paint a hideous image - a first-person view of being born to some unholy, monstrous mother. No sanity was lost, only a little lunch.
The events at the Shipley residence were drawing to a close. Rather than leave Miles free to kill again, and unsure what to do with him (they actually started to show him some pity - I didn't think them capable!), the group decided to take Miles Shipley with them.
They returned to their hotel where they met Mr Yoo, and appraised him of the day's events. They showed the old chinaman the scrolls, but he was unable to decipher them. They then showed him the painting. "I'm going to study it very closely," his player told me. "How long for?" I innocently asked. "At least five minutes," came the unwary reply!
After a moment Mr Yoo saw the image of the swampy island on the painting begin to sway and come to life, just like Sebastian had earlier. This time however he held his gaze, and stared at the altar. When he looked back up he was confronted with a starry sky and was surrounded by a swampy wasteland. He had been transported inside the painting.
The other investigators saw their ally fade away and reappear in the picture. Sanity loss all round, but yet again none great enough to cause any episodes of insanity. None of them were willing to spend long looking at Mr Yoo's plight, except for his brother, who gazed at the painting in horror. "My brother..." he muttered over and over, until he too faded and was transported to the strange isle. Where were they?!
The answer to where they were remained unresolved, but they soon gained an idea of when they were. A loud roar from the middle distance caused the two brothers to hide behind the altar, unsure of what to do. Crashing and banging through the tree beyond the swamp revealed a horror in the moonlight - a huge dinosaur!
|Cthulhu, meet T-Rex|
Panic set in. The investigators back in the hotel room were clueless as to how to proceed. They decided to sleep on things, and were still unsure of what to do with Miles (who was chuckling manically at the Yoo brothers' plight). So they decided to tie him up for the night. Harry stepped forwards and delivered a hefty blow to his temple with the butt of his shotgun "just to make sure".
On the island Mr Yoo and Tso Yoo were vainly trying anything to return to their own time and place. A sacrificed snake on the stone altar did nothing except make a mess. They were in deep, deep trouble...
We finished the session here. I informed the players that at this point the Yoo's must be considered lost. We discussed how to proceed and decided that both players would create new investigators. However, I gave them the option of trying to roleplay their way back out of the painting in a separate session, to which they heartily agreed. I warned them it would be exceedingly difficult, and they would likely die, but they wanted to give it a go anyway.
So now I have two Cthulhu games going on at the same time... I think, for once, my sanity is starting to shake.