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Investigators in Jail/Committed in MoN London

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#1 Nebten

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Posted 22 October 2017 - 05:09 AM

Hey All.

 

So I'm running MoN and my investigators ambushed

Spoiler

 

Everybody's hands are dirty. If they didn't shoot somebody, they used their knife to coup de grace. I gave them 6 rounds until the bobby's started blowing their whistles then another 2 before they start showing up. However two of the PCs started searching through the shop while the other two wen to hunt down G. To make a long story short, after a few failed Luck & Fast Talk Rolls, the party has been arrested. After being caught with illegal firearms, bloody clothes, stolen artifacts, it doesn't look good. Oh and G is a witness to the murder by these American & German foreigners.

 

What I'm looking for is a scenario set in a Jail or a Sanitarium (because the Investigators keep saying that G is part of a death cult and used magic on them). Hopefully a scenario that the ending is them escaping and can be done in one night. I don't want to deal with legalese protocol of 1920's London. Especially since one of my players is an attorney. Or any other suggestions would be nice.

 

I do want to penalize them a bit because one investigator goes out of his way all the time to find a gun and has a very shoot first mentality (we all primarily play Pathfinder/D&D but have spent a year playing CoC). It seems like any cult leader/wizard is paper compared to 3 shots from a gun. Since we are using Pulp/Luck rules, I always have to drain the leader's Luck to get into the second round. Or am I missing something?

 

Thank you ahead of time for your recommendations.




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#2 Gaffer

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Posted 22 October 2017 - 12:54 PM

This is a pretty mess. If it were my game, I'd bring in the back-up characters, because there is no way to avoid lengthy legal proceedings (short of guilty pleas) and almost certain lengthy incarceration (if not execution). But you don't want them to suffer consequences, so lets see what we can do.

 

Presumably, Gavigan won't want to get involved and tied to whatever might be uncovered in Tewfik's shop. If any of the investigators is prominent/wealthy it might be possible that their embassies get involved and pull some diplomatic strings. Since the victim is a non-white foreigner, they could simply get tossed out of England and banned from any British territory. Your attorney player may scoff at this solution as wildly unrealistic --they could hardly escape being charged with manslaughter at least-- but will probably accept it. Of course, this puts paid to these investigators doing any more about Gavigan and the cult, but they could presumably call on friends/hirelings to take up that aspect of the story. Then they can get false papers to carry on in Kenya, Australia, and Hong Kong. All this should use up all of their Luck and a lot of money.

 

Alternatively, Gavigan could arrange for them to be murdered while locked up. Then you can start with new characters. Hopefully, smarter ones.


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#3 yronimoswhateley

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Posted 22 October 2017 - 06:27 PM

Remember that your players are an important part of your creative team.

 

With that in mind, present the situation as you see it as clearly as possible to the players, explain to them any of the logical outcomes you can think of, and ask them if they see a better way out of the corner they've painted themselves into than anything you've thought of.

 

Your players might think of something you haven't, which is always cool. 

 

At the very least, they get to spend a few moments in your shoes, trying to think of a way out of the problems they have caused that will be fun for everyone.  Which is also cool.  It also gives you a bit of a much-needed break for a moment, while the players play a game of "what if?", and try their hand at writing, which is still cool.

 

Your players might agree they want to run an investigators-in-prison scenario, which might not be to everyone's taste, but captures your group's imagination, and inspired them to present a cool plot to you, which is also cool, or at least fast-forward a few years until the characters have served their time and trouble has blown over, which might require you to adjust the scenario/campaign plot a bit, but should also work.

 

Even if your players may reach the same conclusions that Gaffer touched on, and agree that it's best to write off their losses, and pick up with a replacement cast of investigators who are a little wiser than the previous one, it's alright - you can at least move on knowing that your players are on the same page you are, which is still a win.

 

And, at worst, your players may come up with some sort of half-baked, sloppy, careless, or ill-conceived scheme that nobody would really have fun with, in which case you are perfectly in your rights to veto their decision, and try to talk them into something more reasonable and fun, until the group reaches a consensus on the best way forward.  However, I think most groups will want to come up with something everyone can agree will be fun to do, and will do so without too much trouble, so I have a feeling the worst-case scenario probably won't appear unless your group has bigger problems (and I have no reason to think they do).

 

So, run the situation by your players, and see what happens.  Let us know what they think - I'm curious to see what they come up with!


"I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time." - Blaise Pascal


#4 dulcamara

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Posted 22 October 2017 - 09:31 PM

In my opinion this is a classic TPK type situation in CoC (to borrow a D&D term) - being caught red-handed for what appears to be premeditated murder.

 

It's almost as neat a campaign ender as being killed by abomination or having everyone's sanity blasted beyond repair, and this is one of the great things that sets it apart from heroic fantasy D&D type games where the only real failure you need to be careful of is getting knocked to 0 hit points. Unless there was some obvious mitigating factor, I'd "retire" those players and start with a newer (wiser) set picking up the threads of the campaign.

 

So much of the tension in CoC is about the investigators discovering and ultimately doing unspeakable things against the backdrop of a society & legal system that won't believe them and would probably be hostile to their actions. If you let them get away with a bloodbath with some legal deus ex machina or handwaved prison escape, that will undermine that tension going forward which could weaken the campaign long-term. Players not used to this might react a little indignantly at first, but I'd guess most of them would understand once they thought about it. When you go in guns blazing, there are more risks than just creatures immune to firearms.

 

That's just how I'd play it. Maybe talk to your players about the situation in this light and see if they'd be amenable to a new set of investigators.



#5 Gaffer

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Posted 23 October 2017 - 12:16 AM

Yronimus, I love the idea of a group of wizened old codgers in 1956, breathing free air for the first time in decades. One of them looks at the rest and says, "Now where were we?"

Another possibility is to briefly narrate their trial and the press sensation and their group hanging. Then offering a choice between rewinding to the morning they went off the rails or rolling up a new batch of characters.
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#6 Taavi

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Posted 23 October 2017 - 01:01 AM

Just for dealing with your trigger-happy investigator in future; you might want to give a sorcerer a Ring of the Anziques (provides complete immunity to bullets, requires ritual cannibalism - from Delta Green) or just a Flesh Ward spell or two. Or a ghoul/byakhee/dimensional shambler/etc bodyguard.


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#7 Nebten

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Posted 23 October 2017 - 01:18 AM

Thank you everybody so far for the suggestions.

 

While some great points have been made, I don't want to just end the campaign stating they all were hung for murder, etc, etc. And then make all new characters. I did state to the group that once they go all dead/insane (and now incarcerated) that the campaign would be over.

 

I was planning on setting this campaign on hiatus anyways since I'm getting burned out and the holiday season is very busy for my business. This coming Saturday was going to be my last game for awhile. If the PCs die/go insane because of the one-shot, so be it. If they escape, great and we can deal with that when I start running CoC again.

 

So far, I found from Terrors from Beyond the scenario A METHOD TO MADNESS. From the wiki description it might work. I want to at least give the investigators some sort of fighting chance because I feel the ending was anti-climatic for a campaign that I've been running & building for a year. If anybody else can recommend any other scenarios which the PCs are held against their will (like a sanitarium or prison) that I can use as a template, I would greatly appreciate it.



#8 wharfedalehome

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Posted 23 October 2017 - 03:15 PM

Nebten - I sympathise with you... You've obviously put a lot of effort into what should be a long and fantastic campaign. Players can make mistakes (we all can, right?) but it sounds like cold (calculated?) murder to me in a game of subtlety, complexity and depth. So you've done the right thing by locking them up. Now it has been pointed out above that Players should ultimately be prepared to do the unthinkable sometimes for the greater good. But if they do then they had better disappear sharpish (if they wish to fight another day) or accept the consequences (if made of noble stuff). It seems like neither response occurred to them. Am I right? So what's worrying me, is have these guys learned from their experience? Are they likely to be more circumspect (or faster - lol) next time? If not it might be helpful to weave into your prison scenario  some wise old lag who tells them a few home truths (just think Shawshank Redemption here) on what they can  or cannot get away with in dear old Blighty next time - if there is one.

 

So to your current dilemma - the Investigators in prison. If the above suggestions (ie: murdered in prison, Hanged for their crimes, pulling strings to get released, pleading manslaughter etc. don't work out) then you're left with either (a) serve long prison terms or (B) escape. Of course your Players may come up with a better plan as has also been suggested, but I'm willing to bet that the same sharp minds that got them into this mess may well not have a decent plan to recover the situation without some help. 

 

So assuming it's the escape then.... I don't think you really do need a scenario. It's quite a straightforward think (from a Keeper's perspective). Instead I think you need:

 

  • Place - A plan of a prison (I dimly recollect one in an old CoC Supplement called, I think, Old Oak Prison?). You can also find plans on-line of British prisons to inspire you. Or just draw your own. Just include: cells (lots!), Wings, landings, guard station, laundry, recreation hall, woodworking room, kitchens, refectory, treadmill (yes I know they're obsolete, but such a great idea - lol), exercise yard, boiler room, wash rooms, cisterns, midden, sick ward, vegetable garden, chapel etc. Don't forget to include heating ducts, waste and water pipe ducts (to crawl through!) Enough different things to give them some ideas on how to plan an escape.
  • People - you need to create some new NPCs - Jailers, governor, old lags, a stoolie, some crims, governor, chaplain, visitors, cooks, laundry skivvies, doctor, nurse etc. They can get information, objects, influence etc. to help with their escape.
  • Events - daily routines (slopping out, exercisde, feeding, association, punishment etc.) but also incidents - visits by dignitaries, fights, medical inspections, new arrivals, punishments, laundry details, deliveries, night soil removed etc. All to give them more ideas on how to use activities.
  • Objects - thanhs to help them escape that they must acquire, remove, avoid etc. These could included: woodworking tools, laundry carts, sets of keys, ropes made from bed sheets, forged documents, stolen money etc. All of which they will need to beg, borrow, make or steal.
  • Complications - have some local cultists incarcerated there, who might  (a) try to kill the Characters or (B) misunderstand and think they are cultists too and try to help them escape.
  • Films - just grab ideas from plots of films like PapillonShawshank RedemptionMan in the Iron MaskGreen MileEscape from Alcatraz etc.

Just a few ideas - and I hope your Players have learned something. Good Luck!



#9 yronimoswhateley

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Posted 23 October 2017 - 06:03 PM

Yronimus, I love the idea of a group of wizened old codgers in 1956, breathing free air for the first time in decades. One of them looks at the rest and says, "Now where were we?"

Another possibility is to briefly narrate their trial and the press sensation and their group hanging. Then offering a choice between rewinding to the morning they went off the rails or rolling up a new batch of characters.

 

It might not be to everyone's taste, but I think that old-codgers-freed-from-prison thing could be a lot of twisted fun... sort of a twist on Stephen King's "IT", except instead of children returning to the scene of the horror as adults to finish what they started, you've got adult investigators returning to the scene of the horror as washed-up old has-beens who are the only hope humanity has against a nightmare that has been secretly festering and growing stronger in their home town over the decades of the best years of their lives that they've wasted in prison and in mental hospitals....

 

Yet another alternative is presented in the 2002 film Maléfique, in which a group of prisoners discover a mythos tome hidden in the wall of their cell, and use it to escape out of the frying pan, and into the fire....  Spin it as Nyarlathotep (or Nodens or the Great Race or some other likely entity) pulling cosmic strings to get its investigator pawns back on track for its own incomprehensible reasons, and not necessarily reasons that are in the best interest of the investigators or even the human race....


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#10 Gaffer

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Posted 23 October 2017 - 06:42 PM

Nice ideas, Y. I once played a con event as old investigators in a nursing home (kind of Bubba Hotepish). They oversold, so instead of one of a geezer character (one a brain in a Mi-Go case), I got to play the maintenance man. Much fun.

Hastur as spoiler for Nyarlathotep could work. Maybe the local parish players arrive to perform a panto --no one knows why-- and the investigators depart in their stead. (see After the Fox)

Wharf lays out a nice outline for an escape scenario. Just remember, they will be wanted by the British Crown for... well, for the rest of their lives.
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#11 yronimoswhateley

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Posted 23 October 2017 - 09:48 PM

It sounds like it was a blast - "Bubba Hotep" was a fun movie, and a CoC scenario in that spirit would be right up my alley.

 

And, now that you've mentioned it, Hastur, the King in Yellow, and the Chambers "mythos" do seem to have gone in fashion recently and remind me of another option I don't think anyone mentioned yet:  the investigators may be in different prisons, mad houses, or even being executed for whatever they've done, but their minds are still free to dream. 

 

I'm not familiar with the MoN campaign and don't want to spoil it for myself, but perhaps there is a way for the investigators to wrap up the campaign in the Dreamland of Carcosa instead, by "reskinning" any waking world locations as cities in Dream.  You could play off of any Nyarlathotep/Hastur rivalry, or you might instead replace Nyarlathotep and his schemes and style with Hastur instead, as one of Nyarlathotep's mask in Carcosa.  Or, rather than finishing the campaign in Carcosa, perhaps successfully defeating Hastur/Nyarlathotep in Dream would allow the investigators the opportunity to reshape reality enough to escape from their earthly fates, and continue the campaign - say, by rewinding to the morning that things ran off the rails, or by taking the places of the "King in Yellow" performers (I like that idea!  Perhaps after solving the Carcosa adventure, the investigators awaken to find that they were never criminals, but are actually the performers in a strange, hallucinatory play about a group of criminals who dreamed that they were sent to prison for trying to foil a Hastur conspiracy, only for the actors to find that the Hastur plotline from their play is an all-too-real plot concerning Nyarlathotep, and now only the actors can stop it.  It wouldn't be much more mind-screwy than the average King-in-Yellow-inspired scenario....)


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#12 JS113

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Posted 23 October 2017 - 10:18 PM

Too bad it's after the time they stopped shipping convicts to Australia!

 

You can full pulp and have them broken out of jail by a rival faction to the Nyarlathotep cultists - perhaps even a Moriarty or Fu Manchu criminal mastermind who is getting worried about all the strange goings-on in "his" city...

 

Or they could even be hanged and brought back to life under the control of a necromancer/sorcerer, or their deaths could be faked... off the record agents recruited by an MI6/La Femme Nikita type group who DOES know there are occult happenings afoot...



#13 mvincent

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Posted 24 October 2017 - 09:46 PM

What I'm looking for is a scenario set in a Jail or a Sanitarium (because the Investigators keep saying that G is part of a death cult and used magic on them). Hopefully a scenario that the ending is them escaping and can be done in one night.

 

I personally would have Gavigan use his pull (and minions) to have the PC's released... into the custody of the cult, where they will sacrificed during the big ritual. Then maybe have a group of backup characters (new PCs or previously introduced friendly NPCs) investigate... possibly saving (some of) the old PC's during a climatic battle during the ritual.

 

But be brutal: this is a game of horror, and they earned it... PC's are supposed to die or be put into horrible, impossible circumstances.



#14 Gaffer

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Posted 25 October 2017 - 04:16 AM

I personally would have Gavigan use his pull (and minions) to have the PC's released... into the custody of the cult, where they will sacrificed during the big ritual. Then maybe have a group of backup characters (new PCs or previously introduced friendly NPCs) investigate... possibly saving (some of) the old PC's during a climatic battle during the ritual.

 

But be brutal: this is a game of horror, and they earned it... PC's are supposed to die or be put into horrible, impossible circumstances.

 

The PCs, shackled and manacled, are taken from the lockup by a pair of detectives in Gavigan's pay. They expect to turn their prisoners over to the cult near Misr House, collect a fat payoff, and get whisked away to a retirement in a warm and sunny place. Instead they are brutally murdered and the PCs taken to Misr House and sacrificed. The brutal murders of the detectives is blamed on the 'escaped' PCs.

 

Except one PC who was in the prison hospital for a legitimate illness who pleads guilty to a lesser offense and paroled to the US Ambassador, then deported. This lone survivor can take up the quest.


"Two in the head, you know he's dead." <heh-heh>

#15 MonkeyPrime

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Posted 01 November 2017 - 12:13 PM

If you wanted to keep the same investigators and were prepared to go pulpy, I would bring in N from World War Cthulhu.

N leads a shadowy spy organisation that deals with the mythos called Network N in World War 2. You could have this be a precursor to it a la The Suicide Squad. Network N doesn't exist yet but the government is more than happy to pass sensitive matters for him to deal with. He is preparing for darker times and is progressing a shadowy network across the globe in preparation. His big question is how to handle things when he needs dirty work done.

As they led into the prison and into their execution cells, N meets with them. He offers them a chance to carry on with their mission but their old identities are dead, he has some "volunteers" who will stand in for their bodies. The belongings and information are returned to them, if they are caught they will be cyphers as they are dead, having been executed in England and here are the bodies to prove it.

Agreeing to it, A large sideboard is moved to one side, revealing the gallows. A number of hooded men equal to the party are there. They are led out past the coffins and as they leave by the door the bodies will be taken away from, they hear the trapdoors under the men opening and the sudden drop of bodies (SAN loss). They are taken in trucks to London, to an upper room above a battered bookshop in Piccadilly and N tells them to disappear.

Their old lives are gone, old contacts gone up in smoke. They have to start again with a new identity but the same character.

Just a very pulpy though! The execution cell was based on Crumlin ROad Jail in Belfast, the execution cell had a sideboard that was on wheels that was pushed to one side to reveal the gallows!

Edited by MonkeyPrime, 01 November 2017 - 12:17 PM.

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#16 Nebten

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Posted 01 November 2017 - 06:38 PM

An update.

 

Due to the short turn around time of wanting to play another CoC game the weekend before Halloween, I went with a mashup of "The Sanitorium" and "Methods to Madness."

 

All and all, I feel it went very well. Everybody was happy not to receive any emailed a newspaper clipping of how their characters were found guilty and hanged. While the scenario did end with all of the investigators dying, they were able to go down fighting a creature of the Mythos. With their sacrifices they were able to witness the creature be defeated as they slip off into Death's Embrace.

 

I would like to think lessons were learned as the other players were putting pressure on the trigger happy player to relax his ways since that is what got them there in the first place. We shall see next time ...



#17 Necrothesp

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Posted 09 November 2017 - 11:48 AM

The execution cell was based on Crumlin ROad Jail in Belfast, the execution cell had a sideboard that was on wheels that was pushed to one side to reveal the gallows!

 

This was actually the norm for execution suites in Britain. The whole execution lasted a matter of seconds from the execution party (usually the prison governor, the chaplain, the hangman and his assistant(s) and two prison officers) entering the condemned person's cell to the hangman pushing (not pulling!) the lever.


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#18 Shanty

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Posted 09 November 2017 - 03:28 PM

Ran into a similar situation in my Masks. The crew told friendly old Eddie Gavigan where they were staying while in London, so he could forward Penhew's letters to them. They arrived home to find their landlady murdered amid a pile of planted evidence and paid-off bobbies, and one of them didn't have the wit to disappear into the night. I had that character tied up in legal issues until the rest of the gang were able to find evidence of foul play. Was able to resolve it within that session.

 

In the end, the players forced Tewfik (who was impatient with Gavigan's subtle methods) to show the cult's involvement by sending cult killers after the investigators in front of reliable witnesses. They made it out of the situation relatively unscathed, having lost only a lot of time and any trust they might otherwise have had for future helpful NPCs.



#19 MonkeyPrime

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Posted 10 November 2017 - 11:02 AM

This was actually the norm for execution suites in Britain. The whole execution lasted a matter of seconds from the execution party (usually the prison governor, the chaplain, the hangman and his assistant(s) and two prison officers) entering the condemned person's cell to the hangman pushing (not pulling!) the lever.


Cheers I thought it probably was but didn't want to make a generalisation!
"Give me pony, or give me death.... or quiche actually that would be nice as well"





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