Tuesday, November 24, 2009

(Myspace Repost) CoC: NEPA Coal Country Game #1

Since I haven't consistently been on Myspace for more than a year, I figured the smartest thing to do was to repost some of the good gaming blog entries onto a "real" blog. Some entries just don't translate well in copy-and-paste method, so I hope if Larry gets into another RPGA brawl at Mepacon next year, I can reference his story from April '08. Until then, here's the first game of our Call of Cthulhu NEPA Coal Country campaign (April 26, 2008):

Call of Cthulhu was going to be as simple as I could make it. Each player was going to run the 1920's version of themselves. We had Adam Mosher, congressional aide to Rep James P Casey (D). Rep Casey's shot for re-election was pretty bad so Adam was looking to pick up some extra money. Brian Nichols was a crooked bookkeeper with minor organized crime ties and a penchant for cheap booze and quick cash. They were both part of a team with noted parapsychologist and author Dr. Nathaniel Millheim.

For those of you who haven't played Call of Cthulhu, much less played The Haunting, go google the quick start rules for the system, find some people and play that scenario (it's included). Then come back so you're not spoiled. You won't be disapointed.

The three of them are hired by a slumlord named Francisco to investigate some peculiar goings-ons in his recently purchased property on Fell St in Wilkes-Barre. It seems his last tenants went mad and had to be sent to a sanitarium, and right after that episode he heard rumors of the house being haunted for many years previous. Armed with the keys, the address, a $100 advance, and Nichol's holdout pistol, they begin their investigation.

Now I was worried that the group would jump right into the house and get completely overwhelmed. Boy, was I wrong! They spent so much time researching the property they didn't even pass BY the house until Day 3! They did a good job thinking of info to look up and places to check out without Idea rolls, and they made MOST of their Library Use roll. You could tell Balls had played, he was the only one who put a good pile of points into that skill. Day one and two was trips to the Times-Leader, the courthouse, and the library, picking up useful tidbits of information, then meeting at the closest greasy spoon to have lunch/dinner and go over their information. They found records of insanity within the house since 1880, and a long line of landlords who quickly resold the properties running all the way back to 1866. They found out that the owner previous to the episodes was a Walter Corbitt, whose only mention in their reseach was a lawsuit by the NEIGHBORHOOD back in 1855 to force him to move due to his "inauspicous demeanor." His obituary listed a Rev Michael Thomas of the Chapel of Contemplation and Catholic Church of Our Lord as the executor of his will, so they decided to go visit the church (again, even before looking at the house).

They were shocked to find the church in ruins: the building was a collection of blocks of granite and burnt timber, with years of overgrowth covering it up. There was some odd "occultish" symbol that on the wall, so Dr. Millheim started snapping pictures of it. Suddenly the ground gave way next to him and Adam plunged into a secret basement (first damage inflicted!). As he dusted himself off he was shocked to find to skeletons dressed in robes laying on the ground (first lost sanity!). He couldn't anything of interest in the rotted file cabinents in the basement, but he did discover a large leather worm-eaten book, apparently written in Latin (hmmmm...) Despite Dr. Millheim's capable skill in Latin, he thought it best to get a priest to read the book for him (it was a Catholic Church anyway). The priests at a nearby rectory denied the Chapel of Contemplation was ever a Catholic church, but one priest was willing to go over the book they had found, a few minutes later the same priest was screaming bloody murder at the top of his lungs, and a younger priest was escorting them out of the church "for their own safety." It took some phenomenal rolls by Dr. Millheim to convince the younger priest that they needed the book back.

A quick trip back to the courthouse to check the Register of Churches and find that it was built before 1850 and was closed in 1912 by the county with no additonal information, they decide to spend the afternoon at the house (oh, after they stop off at another greasy spoon to discuss their info and their options). After looking around the non-descript two-story brick house, they knock on the door of the next store neighbor, the "Old Polish Lady". She's very old, very nervous with three big guys come to the door, speaking perfect English, and wasn't very helpful, yet the group spent a good 15 minutes trying to get info out of her. They finally gave up and went inside the house. As they walked through the living quarters nothing out of the ordinary caught their eye (that is, except the fine quality furniture and mahogany dining room table that a working class guy could afford, but that was never followed up on). Some storerooms netted some old journals which would be read later. The upstairs seemed normal, an empty unused bedroom, with a metal bed frame/springs and dresser, a children's room for the two boys the couple had, and a master bedroom for the husband and wife with nothing of great note in any. As the guys were standing in the master bedroom, a loud thumping noise could be heard down the hall, they investigate and they get closer to the empty bedroom the thumping stops. Thinking it was triggered in the master bedroom, they have Brian walk back down the hall into that room. There is then a scratching sound coming from the window in the empty room. Adam goes to investigate that, with the good doctor wielding his camera to get a picture of any odd activity. He might have gotten a good picture to, if the far wall didn't begin dripping blood. That caught him off guard as he stared at it, going, "What the???" Adam turned around, only to see the bed fly towards him, forcing him through the window and down the sideyard below. With the blink of an eye, the blood is gone, and the bed is back in it's orginal position. Going outside to retrieve him (and give him a little first aid). They attempt to recreate the scene with Brian at the window with no success.
The basement being the only thing left, they worked their way down the rickety stairs to a small dirt basement. The fact that one wall in the basement was made of wood, and the large ammount tools all about the room was the immediate focus of the group. Brian starting trying to tear the wall apart. They were all shocked when a large dagger floated out of the junk in the room and began attacking them (yeah, more SAN loss). Brian was simply amazed (minimal San loss, just shocked), Dr Millheim was trying to capture the phenomena in a an ash can, and Adam being the most direct of the group, spent many rounds trying to grab the thing out of midair. A few bloody rounds later (and some first aid on his cut hands), the dagger was no longer a problem. They finally managed to rip apart the wall, only to find a a two foot "crawl space" and another wooden wall inside. And let's not mention the rats. The group decided the best thing to do was open all the downstairs windows, go home and develop the (blurry) pictures and read the journals.

The next morning, they found another way to delay the inevitable, as Dr Millheim got a response from a letter he had written to the Sanitarium the parents were placed in Clarks Summit. They spent a good portion of the day driving their and didn't get much out of the experience, except the wife would mention an "evil presence" and it would throw dishes at her from time to time.

It was finally time to open up the other wall and with Brian and the good Doctor using tools in the basement, and Adam using a recently purchased pickaxe, they ripped apart the wall in record time. The other side a large room with a number of large pallets with a body on top. The body was quite dead, but it's skin still intact and tightly stretechd. Then body began to move. The group did whatever any heroic group would do: Brian threw their lantern at the creature, then Brian and Dr Millheim ran up the stairs, with Adam and his pickaxe took up the rear. At the top of the cellar steps, they locked the door and threw the three deadbolts, and moved upstairs to find the family's Bible (like THAT'S oh so going to frickin' help!) The creature burst through the cellar door and worked it's way up the stairs. When the creature got halfway up the stair, Brian pulled out his one-shot revolver, pointed it at the monster, and then quickly turned around and shot at Dr. Millheim, missing at point blank range. (Dominate spells are so much fun). Adam then swung the pick axe at Brian, thinking he had gone mad. The creature started tearing into Dr. Millheim, whose only defense was throwing salt at it. Brian crawled down the hallway, his only thought was jumping out a window in the Master bedroom to get away. Adam began wailling away at the creature, but taking tremendous damage from its claws. As Brian locked the door to the bedroom he heard a horrible death scream, as the creature ripped out Adam's lungs. (Having lost 5 SAN in the game he just made his roll to keep his senses to prevent him from being the second member of the fly-out-the-closed-window club). The creature made quick work of Dr. Millheim. *fade to black*

When the Wilkes-Barre Police arrived at the house, responding to multiple reports of gunfire, they found a bloody mess. The eviscerated remains of Adam Mosher, Congressional Aide lay in the upstairs hallway. They managed to revive an unconscious Dr. Nathaniel Millheim. It took a considerable ammount to fast-talking and persuasion for police to remove Dr. Millheim as a suspect. They are still trying to find Brian Nichols as a possible susptect in the murder of Mr. Mosher. Dr. Millheim was smart enough not to mention any sort of monster/creature, and once Francisco was reached he did vouch for the good doctor. About two weeks later a slightly remodelled rental property found a new tenant.

In other news, Olga Buchashevsky of N. Fell St in Wilkes-Barre has been reported missing. Police notice the forced entry of her front door, as they were investigating shots fired at a neighboring property. The elderly Polish woman, who has rarely left her house since her husband passed away in 1903, was not found in house and no one knows where she could be. If police can't find the woman within the next month, the county may seize the property in trust.

And there we have it. By the time I looked at the clock it was 9:30pm. Three very happy players and a pretty awesome ending (even better knowing that the creature only had one point left) I was impressed seeing Liberal Adam play a 1920's xenophobic version of himself. And I was kinda impressed with, given that (ahem) I had never run CoC before...ever.

Looks like this could be a good thing.


  1. I've been meaning to read your CoC write-ups for some time. If they carry on in this vein I have a great ahead!

    1. Thanks Edwin!

      I make no guarantees as you work through the entries, but running these scenarios were a hoot.