Masks of Nyarlathotep: Cairo Chapter, Pt. 3
by, 27th October 2010 at 02:30 PM (801 Views)
At a certain point, the real question becomes, "How low can you go?"
The party tucked the pyramidion fragment into Slick's ever-present steamer trunk and headed off toward the train, painfully aware of the sandstorm bearing down on El Wasta, and even more painfully aware that Slick had to be on the Cairo-bound train before nightfall lest all Hell break loose. They began to hurry back through the narrow, dusty streets of that Nile town toward the station and I described the locals hurrying inside and battening down their hatches ahead of the storm. Then the following exchange occurred:
Me: OK, Slick, you guys are running down the street and you see a group of six or seven locals coming your way, and they look awfully dangerous and untrustworthy. And they all have cult symbols around their necks.
Bedlam: (sighing, assuming that this was another of Slick's hallucinations) And what do I see when I look at them?
Me: You see a bunch of guys with inverted ankhs around their necks and short, spiked clubs in their hands, running straight toward you.
All players: ****!
The group darted down a cross-street that the navigator Gams determined could get them back to the station, but the cultists were hot on their heels -- especially given that Slick was carrying his steamer trunk. Before they could get far, a group of four more cultists stepped out to bar their path. Dave, guns in hand, started blasting -- every shot hit, and every shot inflicted between 1 and 3 points of damage. Ooops. One cultist took five shots to down and a swirling melee was on. Slick desperately pawed at Dave's pocket to retrieve his .25 (they still hadn't given him his gun back from the time where he tried to kill them all) and took a brutal club hit to the chest, barely staying conscious. Dave, dodging clubs like a saint walking between raindrops, finally began to roll decent damage and started to drop cultists -- three in one turn! -- while shrugging off the attacks of the cult leader, The World's Most Ineffectual Sorcerer. Bedlam, impotently wielding a syringe full of knockout juice as a weapon, managed to break through the swirl and dart for the train station, but he had to turn back and assist when Gams and Slick, struggling with Slick's trunk, were once more overtaken by cultists. Finally deciding to abandon the trunk entirely, Slick grabbed the pyramidion out of it and ran off. Gams decided to stay and try to grab the case containing the scrolls recovered from the Penhew Foundation's basement, but was swarmed by cultists and battered to within an inch of her life (more on this below). Finally Dave blasted her free and they all made it back to the train station a few steps ahead of their pursuers --
Where Slick hallucinated that the train car was covered in cult symbols. Bedlam, in no mood for this, drove the knockout syringe into Slick's neck. The remaining investigators bundled Slick into the car and they made off for the safety of Sheapherds.
Once there, it was determined that a week's rest was in order to heal up. It was also determined that Gams should have been killed in the melee but for the fact that Lori -- who is a not a crunch person -- had failed to take the final step in determining her HP and therefore believed Gams had 21 HP instead of 10. I wasn't going to retroactively kill her, so I chalked her survival up to a miracle and moved on.
The next afternoon they were visited by Janwillem Vanheuvelen, who told them off the identity and strange disappearance of Nitocris' mummy and the hieroglyphic commands that her corpse be guarded lest she return to life. He also told them that Martin Winfield and Johannes Sprech are Really Nice Guys, and cheerfully wrote them a letter of introduction in return for money and lots of good booze. The party decided not to follow up on Janwillem's broad hints about his current doings, so the fact that they're suddenly seeing cats everywhere is a mystery to them.
That evening Ali Kafour visited and outlined the significance of the pyramidion, telling them that if the Black Pharaoh had already been released they would certainly know it, which suggested that they still had time. He also helped Slick decipher the remaining scrolls, all of which contained spells. Slick promptly spent the next two days learning Dread Curse of Azathoth, lost more than half his remaining SAN in so doing, and collapsed into a four-day catatonia (technically it should have been another indefinite insanity, but he already has FOUR of those so I decided to give him a longer-term temporary). The next morning Bedlam discovered him drooling at his desk and put him to bed, which would have been fine except for two things: 1) He didn't leave a light on, meaning that Slick spent every night in the endless dark, fully aware of what was happening but unable to move, and 2) A cat took to curling up on his chest, and Slick botched an Archaeology roll and thus believes that the Egyptians considered cats to be harbingers of death who guided malign spirits to consume the souls of the living. I'm such a bastard.
Bedlam finished reading the Liber Ivonis and decided to learn some spells himself, deciding on Eibon's Wheel of Mist and Contact Nodens as his first two. Since he's now down into single-digit sanity (and up to 23 Cthulhu Mythos!) after all this, I can't wait for him to actually try contacting a god.
Meanwhile Gams finished Life as a God, lost a trifling 1 Sanity, and wonders what the heck the big deal is with these books anyway.
Once Slick awoke, it was decided by the group that they would go to Dashur and investigate the Bent and Red Pyramids. Which should be fun. What will also be fun is that Bedlam and Slick are each an unexpected south-southwesterly breeze from Permanent Insanity, and will certainly fall into it at the first rude shock, meaning that fully half the party is going to go mad at once. Wheeee!