John "The Gneech" Robey (the_gneech) wrote,
John "The Gneech" Robey
the_gneech

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Things That Go Bump In the Night (Part Two)

(Continued from Part One...)

Unfortunately, it was over a week ago now and I've lost a lot of the details of the first session — there were so many! But as I recall...

The first thing that impressed everyone about the house, and in fact the entire block around the house, was its noxious smell, somewhere between sewage and rotting garbage. The lawyer Pickman (sirfox), having the key, unlocked the front door and they all went in, opening windows to air out the place as they went. They found the house more-or-less as it had been when the Macarios abandoned it, including many of their possessions still strewn about the place. In the living room they found something rather incongruous, in the form of a surrealist modern painting by Nelson Blakely of Kingsport deliberately hung over the faces of a classical painting of the Madonna and Child. The painting, an unpleasant thing depicting a world with a yellow sky and two purple suns that gave one a headache to look at, rather baffled the investigators and eventually Dr. Jurgens (laurie_robey) decided to burn it in the franklin stove.

In an otherwise uninteresting "junk room," they found what turned out to be the diaries of Walter Corbitt and a ratty, largely-ruined book on demonology, both of which piqued their interest. Sherman (jamesbarrett) eventually determined large portions of the demonology book to be bunk, but was interested in its references to an organization called the Knights of the Silver Twilight. (This book, like the painting, were references dropped into the adventure to plant campaign seeds using various Chaosium books. I left them in for flavor, even though this adventure was intended as a one-shot. However, they did end up being tied into the story as it went along, which pleased me.) The diaries were too hard to read quickly, although the investigators did come upon references to the Chapel of Contemplation, "he who waits at the gate," and the phrase "YOG-SOTHOTH" in big letters.

The kitchen turned out to be a major source of the stench, as it was filthy and full of rotting, rat-eaten food, not to mention rotting rat droppings. Pickman gave the kitchen a cursory cleaning (mostly by shoving the worst stuff out the back window into the alley), and the investigators went upstairs. There they found the easily-identified Macario bedrooms, which still showed signs of Vittorio's berserk rampage with a knife that led to their incarceration. They also found the infamous "third bedroom," which contained a bloodstained rug, an empty desk, and a bare bed-frame. Peeling back a bit of the wallpaper revealed bloodstains on the walls underneath, apparently badly covered by the Macarios in an attempt to preserve their sanity. The investigators opened all the windows and headed back down to check the cellar.

Wham!

Upstairs, the window in the third bedroom had fallen shut. They wedged a bit of debris in it and went back down to check the cellar again.

WHAM! (clatter)

Upstairs, the window in the third bedroom had fallen shut again, the piece of debris apparently having slipped. The investigators decided, "Fine, let it be shut!" and headed down to check the cellar again.

Rattle rattle rattle rattle rattle!

Sherman and Dr. Jurgens didn't bother to look around; while Pickman waited down below they just went straight up to the third bedroom, where something seemed to be rattling the window frame. Sherman went over to check out what it was, and suddenly the bed-frame flew through the air, smashing Sherman through the window — he rolled across the sloped first-floor roof immediately outside the window and tumbled down onto the sidewalk below, seriously injured and very confused. (jamesbarrett: "Did I really just get kicked out a window by a bed?") Upstairs, Dr. Jurgens managed with some difficulty to keep her composure and ran down to collect Pickman and explain what had happened as best she could as the two of them ran out to tend to the battered and bleeding author. After applying what first aid they could, Pickman locked up the house and closed the windows again (except for the upstairs bedroom window, which no longer had glass or half of its frame), and they drove Sherman to the hospital, deciding from there to go home and get the closest thing they could to a night's sleep.

Day Three (Sunday) began with Jackson Elias returning Arhtur Pickman's phone call. He told them the gruesome story of the burning of the Church of Contemplation, inlcuding their rites designed to "free their god from his prison" by means of "blood of the innocent" (i.e., sacrificing the kidnapped children). When asked about William Corbitt, Elias had little useful information, noting that his name was still on the active rolls of the church even though he was long dead. So then the investigators headed over to the lot where the church had stood; hidden by some overgrown weeds they found a peculiar symbol like the letter "Y" repeated three times to make a pyramid shape out of the top arms, with an eye in the center of the pyramid. Besides the peculiar fact that looking at this symbol physically hurt, as if their eyes were being forcibly crossed, they also noticed that this symbol had relatively fresh paint, as if it had been maintained over the years and fairly recently.

Sherman, once again getting himself right into the thick of it, discovered a hidden basement the hard way — by falling through rotten floorboards down into it. In the basement was a desk, chained to which was a large book; also in the basement were two skeletons, apparently of cultists who'd fled to the basement during the police raid in 1912 and become trapped there when a cave-in blocked the stairs. From the position of the skeletons, it appeared that they'd died of smoke inhalation rather than succumbing to more possibly-gruesome fates that might have afflicted them. The large book turned out to be a Latin manuscript titled Liber Ivonis, or The Book of Eibon; the investigators tucked that away for reference later and called the police to report finding the skeletons.

From there they went to St. Matthew's, the church the Macarios used to attend (which they'd heard from both Tony and Mrs. Méche) to talk to the priest, Father Sarducci. [1] He remembered the Macarios well and the investigators had a long discussion with him about the circumstances around Vittorio's incident, the house, the Church of Contemplation, Walter Corbitt, the Book of Eibon (Father Sarducci: "The book is evil! Burn it! Burn it!"), and the strange incident of the Ejector Bed. They eventually came to the conclusion that an exorcism might be in order, a thing which Father Sarducci knew little about and had to research. They left Corbitt's diaries with him [2] and, lacking any better plan at this stage, returned to the house.

Somehow, while they were away, a bunch of junk had gotten piled behind the front door. They shoved their way in through that mess and poked around the house to see if anything else had changed, and discovered to their revulsion that the third bedroom was bleeding — blood running down the walls, blood seeping out across the ceiling through the light fixture, blood pooling inside the exposed light bulb, and so on. This gave them the willies, but didn't actually seem to do anything, so they continued their efforts to get down into the cellar. The basement light had gone out (Everyone at the Table: "Of course."), but that was easily fixed by a replacement bulb. So finally, they started going down the rickety stairs.

One of the steps immediately gave way, tumbling Pickman painfully down into the cellar. (jamesbarrett: "Hey, it wasn't me this time!") The rest of the characters managed to get down without disaster and administered first aid to their employer, then they all began to investigate. The basement was filled with smashed furniture, broken pipes, hardware (nails, screws, nuts, bolts) and so on — just the thing you want to see when investigating a house occupied by a malignant poltergiest. Their eyes were caught by a shining glint in the rubble, which turned out to be a wicked-looking ceremonial knife. Sherman went to pick it up, only to have it leap into the air and attack him.

There followed a brief and harrowing struggle resembling nothing so much as the Knights of Camelot vs. the Killer Rabbit, with the investigators as the hapless knights and the magic knife in the role of the rabbit. The knife rolled impale after impale; everyone went down at least once, and at the end of the fight Dr. Jurgens lay dead. When Sherman pulled the knife out of her body, it was inert. Sherman and Pickman, bloodied and somewhat in emotional shock, tried to come up with what they should do next. As they did so, Pickman found himself experiencing a strange, dreamy quality and found the tips of his fingers and toes tingling as if they had fallen asleep. Looking over at Sherman, he saw the author gaining a fearsome, demonic cast as his voice took on an unholy sound. Convinced that the knife was somehow taking possession of Sherman, Pickman yanked it away in a panic and drove it into a plank with a handy length of steel pipe. (This left Sherman baffled — he certainly didn't feel possessed. But he did want a cigarette.)

Realizing that they were in way over their heads, they collected the body of Dr. Jurgens and drove to the hospital, after coming up with a vague story of having been attacked in the basement by assailants unknown. There they faced cops, doctors, and painful stitches — but it was better than spending any more time in the Corbitt house.

Thus ended the first session, on November 1st. This past Saturday's session, in which Sherman and Pickman gathered two more allies but faced even greater horror, will be written up when I get the chance...

-The Gneech

[1] Hey, it was a rush name! ;D
[2] Which turned out to be a tragic mistake — more on that next time!
Tags: gaming, uncanny midnight tales, yog-sothothery
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