• Far Beyond My Capacity
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  • Far Beyond My Capacity
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  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Masks of Nyarlathotep Campaign Journal: Chapter 30 - An Unexpected Ally

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The investigators were tired, wounded and feeling frail after the long walk through the darkness of the ancient city and their encounters with the cultists last session. Things would not get much better, though they would find an unusual potential ally as they continued their explorations.

Deciding to quickly move on from the site of their recent battle with the zombified miners the investigators left the red plaza for the grey dullness of the light bulb trail through the darkness of the alien and mysterious constructions. Hubert was still acting strangely (and the players were taking advantage of the fact that Hubert's player would not be joining us for the first half of the session, starting with suggesting they leave poor Hubert behind).

Deeper into the buried city
They wandered dully on, almost like zombies themselves as they mechanically put one foot in front of the other. Rodrigo checked his compass, but found the needle was slowly spinning round and round. Eventually they found their way blocked once again by fallen masonry. They clambered over, hardly finding the energy to complain when Sebastian tripped and tore open his wounds from the earlier battle.

On they went through the monotonous halls, their initial wonder at the alien splendour of the City now replaced with dulled senses. It was as though they were wandering through a terrible dream, with no end in sight. The eventual sound of another diesel generator at least gave some relief from the never-ending silence and dust of their path.

They arrived at the generator some time later, and found themselves faced with another decision. The line of bulbs continued on, but a branch line lead off to the right, into yet more darkness. George felt a twinge of excitement at the new path. He felt sure there was something down there that felt familiar, something almost welcoming. It wasn't much, but it was enough to persuade the others to head that way.

They were rewarded with a change to the unending cold stone and dust of the passageway when it ended after a short while in a small, but fully lit room. The walls, floor and ceiling were dressed in plain stone and the floor was covered in crates and equipment of an electrical nature. Transformers, cables, switches, junction and fuse boxes, vacuum tubes and control panels lay strewn amongst the packages, though the exact nature and purpose of it remained a mystery to the investigators. Hubert went to examine the switches and started pressing buttons at random.


They continued on into a second room. In it stood an enormous and fashionably black control board covered with knobs, dials, gauges, handles, displays, and impressive sets of relays and junctions, and it was flanked by a few monitor lights and gauges. One portion of the control board was open: conduits and connections simply dangling from the open panel.

At one point the long control panel was interrupted by a comfortable leather daybed (the sort of couch associated with Freudian analysts) built into it. An elaborate chromium headset and a series of hand-held controls were connected to the control board and rested on the couch, suggesting that the couch’s purpose was central to the device. Nearby was an operating table equipped with hand, foot, and body restraints. A version of the same chromium headset rested there, and cables lead into the control board at a point close to that of the first headset.

Beyond this room a short passageway lead into another dimly-lit chamber. Hubert went to examine the strange chrome headpiece, whilst George and Rodrigo went to explore the third room. George had a sense of something or someone waiting in the far room, something he felt an unexplained urge to see. As he went to have a look Rodrigo suddenly grabbed him and dragged him back. Thanks to a successful Spot Hidden roll he had spotted a suspicious series of holes in the walls around the entrance to the room. It was obviously a trap. George's response was a whispered, "don't tell Hubert"!

The group sensed a trap, and Rodrigo rolled an apple from his pack into the short passageway that connected the rooms. Nothing happened, though the apple rolled under the first set of holes in the walls. They then pushed a large crate into the passageway, and as soon as it passed the holes there was a blinding flash as an electrical lit up, burning a black smoking hole in the side of the crate. In response to the light and noise something large stirred in the dark recesses of the room beyond.

Suddenly the entire group felt a presence in their minds. A voice spoke to them without the need to broadcast sound through the air. The voice spoke in English, except to Rodrigo, who heard a Spanish voice. It had a strange, alien quality to it and a sense of extreme age.

"FREE ME."

George heard something else. "I KNOW YOU!"

After a brief moment of panic Rodrigo asked, "How? Who are you?".

"FREE ME. I CAN HELP YOU".

"I CAN HELP YOU IN YOUR QUEST SEBASTIAN CRIBBINS".

"REMOVE THE FIELD OF FORCE".

Finally they got the idea and began to look for ways to remove the force field from the passageway entrance. A quick search revealed a locked fuse box to one side of the passageway, and Sebastian's hacksaw made quick work of the padlock.

"I AM KAKAKATAK, GEORGE KIRKHAM. WE HAVE MET BEFORE".

The thing moved forwards into the light. Here I shall let the Master describe what the investigators saw.
"At last I could trace their monstrous outlines with uncomfortable ease. They seemed to be enormous, iridescent cones, about ten feet high and ten feet wide at the base, and made up of some ridgy, scaly, semi-elastic matter. From their apexes projected four flexible, cylindrical members, each a foot thick, and of a ridgy substance like that of the cones themselves.

These members were sometimes contracted almost to nothing, and sometimes extended to any distance up to about ten feet. Terminating two of them were enormous claws or nippers. At the end of a third were four red, trumpetlike appendages. The fourth terminated in an irregular yellowish globe some two feet in diameter and having three great dark eyes ranged along its central circumference.

Surmounting this head were four slender grey stalks bearing flower-like appendages, whilst from its nether side dangled eight greenish antennae or tentacles. The great base of the central cone was fringed with a rubbery, grey substance which moved the whole entity through expansion and contraction.

Their actions, though harmless, horrified me even more than their appearance--for it is not wholesome to watch monstrous objects doing what one had known only human beings to do."

The Shadow Out of Time - H.P. Lovecraft
The utterly alien aspect of the creature had a big impact on Hubert's already shaky sanity, and Sebastian only managed to hold onto his wits by using a Pulp Point. George was sure he had seen such a being before, but more worryingly he clearly remembered seeing such the alien creature whilst looking into a mirrored surface!

Kakakatak!
In one of it's claws the creature, Kakakatak, held an odd mechanical device. George felt sure that the device was what enabled the creature to communicate with their minds.

They investigators tried to figure out the fuse box. Hubert strode up and started tearing cables out of it at random, only stopping when a huge electrical jolt ran through the system. I took pity on him, as his player had not yet arrived, and allowed Hubert to use a Pulp Point to avoid death by electrocution. That didn't stop Hubert however, who tried to continue ripping out the cables, only being stopped from doing so by George grappling him.

Rodrigo fired his lightning gun at the fuse box, and that seemed to do the trick, the box exploding in a shower of sparks. Kakakatak slid into the room, and began to speak to the investigators. He wanted their help in returning to his own time. He would need them to help clear the way to some of the libraries hidden in the deepest parts of the City.

In return Kakakatak told them how they could stop their enemies. He revealed that Dr Robert Huston was behind the recent excavations in the City, but that getting rid of him would not help them stop the plans of the Black Pharaoh. In order to foil Nyarlathotep's plans they would need an Eye of Light and Darkness, much like the one they had prepared for the assault on Grey Dragon Island.

The investigators had three chances to stop the Gates opening. One had already been wasted on Grey Dragon Island. Unless they had an Eye of Light and Darkness here, the chance to stop the Australian cult would also slip away. The final chance would lie somewhere in the Dark Continent. They would need to create an Eye using the Seven Cryptical Books of Hsan, and take it to the right place at the right time, activating it in order to stop the Gate opening.

The investigators were thankful for Kakakatak's advice and agreed to help him find the scrolls he would need to return to his own time. The alien creature seemed pleased, and lead them back towards the last diesel generator. Instead of following one of the strings of light bulbs however Kakakatak lead the group into the darkness, up several ramps, and inside one of the huge buildings, the investigators lighting their way via their torches.

Kakakatak pressed several spots on one of the runed walls and a hidden compartment slid open. He reached his clawed appendages inside and withdrew three lightning guns. He passed two of them to the group and slung the other across his conical frame. "WE WILL NEED THESE TO FIGHT THE LIVING WINDS".

At the mention of living winds George felt a shiver down his spine. Something in the phrase terrified him. He remembered visions of a huge trapdoor bound by heavy metal seals, and something fighting to escape, something that filled all of Kakakatak's race with utter dread, that they feared above everything else.

Kakakatak explained that the search for the libraries might take several weeks. This threw the investigators. They had neither the food nor equipment required for such a long expedition under the sands of the desert. They were in a quandary. They asked Kakakatak if there was anywhere they could find provisions, and the strange creature told them that there was a place - where the Doctor had his camp.

The investigators headed back to the closest diesel generator. There Kakakatak told them where to find Dr Huston's camp, and told them he would wait there for them to return. So the investigators set off once again, following the line of light bulbs through the oppressive darkness.

Rodrigo's hand-drawn map of the Great City. Unfortunately it's not accurate...
After several hours walking they investigators began to doubt what they had seen. They had not slept for what seemed like days, were hungry, thirsty, and on the edge of madness. Surely the strange alien being had been nothing more than a hallucination brought on by their plight. George was the only one who knew that what they had encountered was truly real, a thing from across the eons.

Their walk came to an end when they saw a large, newly constructed, wood-frame building ahead, next to an intersection of several strings of light bulbs. It was three floors high, and all three floors were lit from inside. A ramp of metal bars ran up one side of the building affording entrance to each of the floors.

The group stopped and discussed how to proceed. Hubert volunteered to scout out the building, and indeed had already pulled his last remaining stick of dynamite from his pack. George, sensing the danger of Hubert's unhinged mind asked if he could borrow Hubert's lighter, to light up a cigarette before they faced Dr Huston.

Hubert reluctantly agreed, but was angry when George refused to give it back to him. He angrily threatened to light the dynamite using his flare gun instead, and strode off to the building to investigate alone.

The others quickly followed. As Hubert (failing his Sneak roll) went to one of the openings on the ground floor the others quietly began to make their way up the ramp, leaving Hubert alone to face whatever was inside the building.

Luckily for Hubert, his player actually turned up at this point, a little late but just in time. Having second thoughts about abandoning Hubert to his own devices now that his player had arrived, the others came back down the ramp to help. It was too late however; Hubert had already found the ground floor to be inhabited by a group of zombified miners and a couple of cultists.

A fight ensued. Despite the group having access to lightning guns they did not cause much damage with them, finding them difficult to use accurately. Instead they relied more on their conventional weapons, and managed to defeat the cultists without too much trouble (though Hubert had to use a handful of Pulp Points to survive).

A bang from above signified that the noise from the brief but bloody fight had attracted the attention of whatever was resident on the higher floors of the building. Finding out what it was would have to wait until the next session however...


A video of the session is embedded below.

"Get those knees high boys!"

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