Friday, February 13, 2015

CoC #25: Masks of Nyarlathotep #5 Let's Go to the Zoo!

March 8, 1925
After putting the Shipley house to the torch, they attempted to regroup.   

The major concern was to find Brian Nichols.  Bob went back to Soho, checked out the rubble of the Shipley house.  After a few hours walking about, he did find Nichols’ cap in an alley, covered in blood.    He then fell upon a murder scene a few blocks aways.   A woman in her  early twenties had been killed.   The Bobbies were tight-lipped about the details, but one was convinced that Miles Shipley had committed the murders.  Rumor had it that they had found a body in the rubble of the Shipley home and identified it as the grandmother.  Little did they know, the serpent people posing as the grandmother and dissolved into a primordial green ooze and the body they had found was that of another missing girl that had been slowly turned to soup.    Bob was worried that this act could be a deranged Nichols.   He did a horrible job pretending to be a fresh-off- the-boat International correspondent  for an American paper (he failed all his rolls.)

Bob went back to Scotland Yard and revisited James Barrington, filed a missing persons report for Nichols with different detective, and tried to offer services as a consultant.  Gavigan declined.
Doc Millheim, doing his own research, went to London Zoo, went to an ethnological exhibition, to try to find Africans who might have knowledge in the Cult of the Bloody Tongue.  Most thought he was a crazy guy, except for one person who tried to run away.    Doc talked to the curator and convinced him to get a translator so he could interview him.

The interview went exceedingly well, with the "exhibited" dressed in western attire.  His people had once lived closer to modern-day Kenya, but as legend had it, a group of savages would raid it periodically for slaves and whatnot.  No one ever managed to escape.  In response, the village was moved further and further west and when the raids stopped occurring they were in the Congo.

March 9, 1925
The group decided to spend an entire day in their hotel rooms to recover.

March 10, 1925
They swung by to see Mickey Mahoney at the Daily Scoop.  The Scoop's headline read:  “Famed Artist on Murderous Rampage in Soho.”  It seemed that this storyline was picked up by most of the papers, putting the heat off of Nichols as a suspect. 
Anthony Parks visited the Petrie Museum, a foundation with academic only access.  Most of their staff refused to talk to him, except Dr Randall Ward, an Egyptologist with interest in, but no knowledge of, cults.  Parks and Wards got along fine and he was indoctrinated into the group by Ward after a few rounds of drinks. 

May 11, 1925
Ward and Parks failed many Library Use rolls to glean any information, but Wintermute had an idea.  He revisited Barrington and offered the services of Ward and Park, "true experts of the occult" for a chance to look at the body of the woman in the Shipley murder.  Barrington agreed and arranged a meeting for the 13th.

May 12, 1925
Another day of rest for the group, although Steven O'Hara left the hotel and did not come back.

May 13, 1925
The group revisited Scotland Yard and examined the body.  Despite Ward's background, he couldn't make anything out of it, in fact, he lost his composure simply looking at the mutilated corpse.  Doc Millheim and Dr Wintermute managed to ascertain that beyond the multiple contusions, there were numerous puncture wounds with something that was not a knife.   After further examination, they determined that a large blunt object... like a large paint brush... was the murder weapon.  Scotland Yard agreed to this revelation and Miles Shipley was confirmed as the murderer, exonerating Brian Nichols.

Barrington did not have the manpower to search for either Shipley or Nichols.   However, Wintermute was forced to file his second missing persons report in a week, with the disappearance of Steven

Barrington:  "Doctor, you've lost another one of your friends?

After a quick lunch off-site to compare notes, the investigators inquired about the Egyptian ritual killings.  Barrington provided some autopsy photos.  Ward failed to glean anything of note, but Dr Wintermute realized that the cuts on the bodies were identical to a ritual to prepare the bodies of servants of the Pharaohs who would be spending eternity with them.  Barrington finally began to trust the investigators and went over the previous investigation.  He admitted that they only used the Penhew Foundation and some odd spice merchant, Twyfek al-Sayid for their consulting and that when Jackson Elias had swung by he was ranting about a Brotherhood of the Black Pharaoh, but Gavigan and al-Sayid denied any knowledge of the Brotherhood/cult.

Most evidence pointed to the Blue Pyramid Club.  Although Steve was still missing, they decided to visit the club, so they unpacked their tuxedos, save Doc Millheim's white Seersucker suit. 

The second the taxi dropped them off, they realized that they were horribly overdressed and sticking up like a sore thumb.  Lucky for them, the staff took them as silly American tourists, so they unloosed some times, ate some food, drank a bit, and enjoyed the company of belly dancers.

The overdressed Americans tried to engage in small talk with the staff, dancers, and clientele, at last getting one, a dancer named Yaleshia, to agree to talk after work. 

The intoxicated crew stumbled, hooted and hollered towards their clandestine meeting point.  Yaleshia explained that her boyfriend had been one of the victims of the Egyptian murders and that strange things involving a large truck were occurring after hours at the Blue Pyramid. 

May 14, 1925
Steven showed up at breakfast, slightly disheveled.

Steven had decided that he wanted to go racing.  Although he could not get into a prominent racing club, he found illegal racers outside of London... riding motorcycles.    Early on in his first race he wiped out on the slick road and ended up in a canal.  By sheer miracle he survived the wreck and spent the next days in the hospital
NOT Steven O'Hara
They gave Steven a few minutes to wash up and put on fresh clothes, and they were off to visit Barrington again!   They spilled a small portion of the beans, relying on the belly dancer's claim, and much to everyone's surprise, Barrington stood up, pulled a service revolver out of a desk drawer and said, "I need to talk to a few people and get cars."   Apparently he was willing to do this outside the normal purview of SY.   He would meet them around eleven o'clock that night in the back of the hotel.

The investigators waited for Barrington in the hotel back alley and were met by three sedans, Barrington driving the lead car.  The second driver, obviously Scotland Yard, got out of his car and into the third, and that car backed out of the alley and drove off.  The team had two of Scotland Yard's cars and neither had been properly signed out.

At the stake of the Blue Pyramid, they saw the staff get "pushed" out the front door right after close, mere minutes before a large truck with a tarp pull up to back.  A number of people came out the side doors of the Blue Pyramid into the truck and it drove off.    Our team followed them through the streets of London and out into the countryside.

After over an hour, the truck pulled off onto a sketchy dirt road and a definite scent of sea air could be smelled.  As the road went over a ridge, the cars slowed to a crawl and the investigators could see a high wall with a gate blocking the road.  There were some form of guards letting the truck through.

This is where they concocted their most brilliant idea to date.  The majority of the group would try to sneak through over the wall quite a distance from the guard(s).  Parks and his trusty rifle would be closer and he would try to snipe at them.  While this was put into action, Steven successfully created  the piece de resistance.   He jury-rigged the steering wheel and gas pedal to let it drive down the ruts of the road, either injuring or at least distracting the guards.   Oh yes, he also shoved a flaming rag in the gas tank. 

The car drew the attention of at least five guards, who drew their guns and opened fire.  The car exploded early, but the frame was still intact, so it rolled through the gate and stopped atop a wooden bridge on the other side!

The rest that had scaled the wall (save Bob, who got stuck on the wall for awhile) and realized that the other side was only another ten feet and then a sharp drop into an inlet of water. 

Parks began firing, dropping a few guards, while Steven tried to slink down the other side of the road.  One guard managed a glancing shot on Steven (dropping him back down to 4 hit points).  Steven managed to low crawl his way to the wall. 

The wall group spied a guard working a turnstile which caused the bridge to rotate!  They assaulted the guard successfully, and proceeded to push the burning car into the water.    One guard from the shack ran past them on the bridge, heading to the island(?) and Barrington pulled out his revolver and shot him in the back!    The last guard surrendered and was tied up without interrogation. 

A quick search of the rather large guard shack discovered little, save an old Great War telephone connected to whatever was on the other side of the bridge.  The investigators grabbed the guards' jackets and dashed off for a wooded area.    Getting into a safe position, they saw a large manor house dominating this island, as well as the same large truck getting loaded with more people and heading back towards the bridge.

Next:  Masks Part 6: A Visit to Misr House

Keeper Notes:  This was a great session, lots of action and investigation... and some of it actually pertained the printed campaign! 

The Ethnological Exhibit was perhaps the most uncomfortable moments role-playing in my life.  The concept was so outrageous that every joke we tried to make in light of the situation had far more racist undertones than intended (I hope.)

I forced them to go through all their notes, starting from the first session of Masks.  They were ready and raring to go to Cairo and start their investigation there. Within the last session they had just started taking better notes, so they needed a good revision.  Somehow, we had missed the three articles pulled from the dead file and that, couple with Barrington being the lead investigator in the Egyptian murders became a pretty big idea. 

I did find belly dancing music on Pandora for the atmosphere of the Blue Pyramid.  It worked very well.

Finally, who could image that with a firefight capping off the session, the most dangerous rolls of the afternoon involved a guy racing a motorcycle.  Steve continues to surprise *faceplam*.

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