• Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity

Friday, July 04, 2014

Masks of Nyarlathotep Campaign Journal: Chapter 31 - Keeper Frustrations

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The investigators were going to meet some true horrors this session. Flying polyps and powerful wizards favoured by the Old Gods would not prove to be their end however. Instead modern technology gave them (and me) the most trouble...

We started in the aftermath of the battle with the cultists at Huston's headquarters, from the end of last session. The group decided to make a quick search of the area, and Hubert soon uncovered a large, padlocked lock box. Using Sebastian's hacksaw he quickly got it open and was overjoyed to see it was packed full of dynamite sticks, fuses and blasting caps. The rest of the team were not so happy about it! A quick search of the bodies (along with a successful Luck roll) meant that Hubert also found a replacement cigarette lighter. They also found several large packs of rations and water canteens, which they took for provisions for their intended journey into the depths of the City with Kakakatak.

Hubert strikes lucky.

After a brief discussion about whether to use the dynamite to blow up the building all of the investigators apart from Hubert made their way up the steel ramp structure to the second floor. Hubert stayed at the bottom of the ramp, keeping a look out. Peeking around the corner of the doorway to the second floor, Rodrigo saw an unfurnished room containing four large steel cages.

Inside the cages were several Koori prisoners, all of whom looked much the worse for wear. Baskets of rotten yams and buckets of brown water rested near the cages. One of the cages held three heavily pregnant Koori women. As Rodrigo ducked back around the corner a great yammering went up from the prisoners, who had spied him.

Rodrigo went back into the room to try and calm them down, but their shouting only increased. He inspected the locks on the cages but found them to be of an unusual metallic design, with no obvious keyhole. Shouting "get back!" he unslung his lightning gun and unleashed a stream of electricity at one of the locks. It had two effects. The lock disintegrated in a blaze of white heat. Unfortunately the electricity also shocked two of the prisoners who were still grasping the metal bars of the cage, causing their limbs to jolt, their hair and skin to burn and their eyes to boil in their sockets!

After narrowly passing his Sanity Check, Rodrigo then decided to try the same thing again on a second cage, with predictable results. One disintegrated lock and one fried prisoner later, he decided he had best leave the others to their fate. One of the escaped prisoners backed slowly away from the group of investigators, clearly driven insane by his treatment at the hands of his captors. He slipped, and fell from the ramp, landing with a sickening crunch next to a startled Hubert! Things were not going quite as planned.

Leaving the other prisoners to their fate the investigators proceeded up the ramp once more, to the third and top floor of the building. This floor housed a well-furnished room informally divided into several sections; living, scientific experiment, and relaxed study. From one wall extended a large, firm bed. Not far away was a primitive electric kitchen. There were several long tables, and assorted decks and shelves. Hundreds of Great Race document cases were heaped against another wall.

It was here that the first of my frustrations with the session began. Fantasy Grounds (the software we use to play the game online) crashed, and when we all tried to get back in Rodrigo's player could not connect. The crash had corrupted his install. It took nearly an hour of fiddling before we were able to carry on, which unfortunately killed some of the atmosphere for such an important encounter. Worse was to come however (for me at least).

So, we eventually restarted with the investigators about to enter the lair of Dr Robert Huston, primary big-bad of the Australian chapter. I had been looking forwards to this encounter for a long time. Sat at the desk in the room was the moderate-sized greying man, neat in his khaki bush gear, pale from living underground. He stood and smiled at the investigators.

"Welcome my friends," he said pleasantly. "I've been expecting you. Why don't you come in?"

On the desk next to him was a steaming cup of tea, a lightning gun and a sheaf of papers that bulged as though hiding a firearm.

George lifted his .38 and shot Huston in the head, killing him instantly.

I had a whole speech planned. I had wanted to see how the investigators would react to Huston's megalomania, how they would consider the terrible plan he had concocted in the service of Nyarlathotep. It would demoralise the investigators, make them question their motives, and remove all hope. It was to be the epic encounter to cap their adventures in Australia, as Huston dominated their minds and made them fight each other.

But no, they just immediately shot him instead.

Huston looked down at the slowly blossoming red in his chest, shock etched on his face.

"I don't... my Lord.... No!". He slumped down on the desk.

It was very, very frustrating!

Never mind, I was sure that worse fates would lie in store for them. For now however they had scored a victory. They searched Huston's room carefully. They uncovered many large scroll cases that contained strange documents written in the ancient language of the city, and decided to take the few they could carry back to Kakakatak on the off-chance they could help him. Rodrigo found a strange chrome helmet with electrical pads attached. He resisted the urge to try it on.

In a locked drawer of Huston's desk they found a large, typed manuscript, some 600 pages in length. It began as follows:

Gods of Reality by Doctor Robert Huston.

“Madness is the mark of gods, the response to the whisper of ancient secrets, and the unseen hand that turns the world in its disordered course. With it, I have peered beyond mere dream and pattern, beyond childhood impetuosity and adult grief, beyond the analysis of which other men are capable. Accepting madness, I accept the gods and rule well with their gifts thereby.”

It would take several hours to read the whole thing, so Rodrigo took the document to study later.

Deciding not to push their luck any further the investigators left the building, and after meeting back up with Hubert they headed back into the darkness, retracing their steps back towards the generator where Kakakatak was waiting.

After an hour or two trudging through the dim light of the bulbs they found the alien creature where they had left him. He was as still as a statue, and for a moment they wondered if he had passed away. Suddenly the beast moved, extending it's strange limbs as though stretching.

"YOU HAVE RETURNED," it stated.

Rodrigo's sketch of Kakakatak
Kakakatak was eager to continue his search for the library and the scrolls that would help him return to his own time. He lead the investigators off into the inky blackness, away from the lines of light bulbs and deeper into the mysterious city.

They walked for hours, becoming completely lost in the shallow light of their torches, as they moved from huge building to plaza to towering corridor. Only Kakakatak seemed to know what direction they should head in. No-one talked and the silence grew heavy.

Suddenly Kakakatak stopped. Everyone tensed and there was a hint of something terrible in the air. Up ahead the searching torch beams found a huge trapdoor in the floor. On seeing this George began to shiver. He dimly remembered such a trapdoor, possibly from a dream. He knew that beneath it lay something so terrible and dangerous that even the members of Kakakatak's ancient race had lived in dread should it escape.

What really brought a cold lump to George's throat however was that the torchlight showed the lid of the trapdoor lay bent and broken next to it, as though something had smashed and broken it with great force from the inside.

A slight breeze blew in the formerly still air. Little clouds of dust could be seen forming from the wind, which seemed to be emanating from the hole in the floor. Kakakatak unslung his lightning gun and gripped it in his two large claws, which almost seemed to be shaking with fear. Then from the trapdoor, it emerged.

From the nightmares of the ancients it loomed out from the trapdoor.  Half-polypous and utterly alien, it phased in and out of visibility. A huge form of polyps, eyeballs and huge gaping maws, blinking in and out of existence. Long tentacles trailed behind it, and a vast wind boiled up behind it.

Flying Polyp by BorjaPindad
On seeing the creature Rodrigo immediately sank to his knees and pressed his face into the dirt, covering his head with one arm and shovelling the dust into his mouth with the other, his sanity blasted by the impossible monster. George used a Pulp Point to pass his Sanity Check.

George raised his lightning gun and fired it at the abomination. The jet of electricity blasted right past the thing, which twisted in its wind. Hubert began to fit fuses to his dynamite in preparation.

The thing blinked back into vision and unleashed a huge blast of cold, cutting wind at the group. And so, the final frustration of the evening began. The attack missed most of the investigators, and George dodged behind some rubble. Only Kakakatak was wounded by the attack, the wind tearing strips from his body and causing his arms and tentacles to flail wildly.

Kakakatak and Sebastian both fired their lightning guns, but trying to get a good aim in the howling wind was difficult and they both missed.

Finally George took aim. A beam of electricity shot from his weapon and struck the terrible monstrosity in one of it's eyeballs. It screamed as the electricity arced around it. It blinked in and out of vision, eyes appearing along it's length, all staring with hatred at George. Then it was gone.

Yet again the mild mannered diplomat had managed to defeat one of the Mythos' finest.

"WE WERE LUCKY. THERE WILL BE MORE," Kakakatak uttered ominously.

It had been an evening of frustrations for the Keeper. Technical issues, along with George's uncanny ability to immediately defeat the most terrible of opponents had made for an unusual session. You can view a video of the session in the embedded video below.


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