Version: A mix of the standard with liberal portions of Justin Alexander’s remix added and a one-shot side trip to Germany
Storyteller: Jeff, age 40, forensic psychologist
Real-Life Players: 1) Jason, age 40, a professor of religious studies, living in Egpyt for over half the campaign, 2) Scott S., age 40, vice president of a corporate landscape company, living in Virgina, 3) Scott R., age 39, working in finance and private equity, living in Germany. Roughly 74 years of education between us, as well as 3 children, and 4 pets.
Actual Length of campaign: Started December 6th, 2014 and ended October 29th, 2017 (2 years and 11 months), 16 sessions with an average play time of 7 hours a session (over 100 hours), longest session was around 10 hours, shortest was around 5
In-game time for campaign: Started on December 29th, 1936, ended on June 23th, 1937 (about 5 months)
Method of gaming: Hosted on D20Pro and Skype, across 3 time zones and as many continents
Starting PCs: 1) “Fingers” Cumberbatch, lowlife crook with amnesia, linked to ‘24 cult (played by Jason), 2) Sam Clifford, private investigator with a drinking problem (played by Scott S.), 3) Sydney Hess, German physicist working at Miskatonic University (played by Scott R.)
Alternate PCS (played in Severn Valley): 1) Husain Soliman, occult archaeologist, played by Jason, 2) Phajol Khadpo, Tibetan mystic, played by Scott S., 3) Luc Fauche, French fixer, played by Scott R.
PC Deaths (see below): 4, Fingers and Sam, (both in Tibet) Luc and Hussain (both in Severn Valley)
Replacement PCs: 1) Phajol Khapo, Tibetan mystic, working for Savitree, joined PCs after Severn Valley, played by Scott S., 2) Father Ian McCouglin, Catholic priest and friend to Fingers, played by Jason
Clues: Around 130 printed, folded, stamped, aged, stained, cut, stapled, burned, 3-dimensional, props of various types to serve as clues for the campaign, made in 4 sets, three of which were sent out to the players around the world and one kept by me for reference. Drew heavily from the Yog-Sothoth forum boards, Justin Alexander’s remix, and my own creative skills
Notes: Over 180 pages of notes by the storyteller to prepare and track adventure, as well as 200+ emails between the players and myself to do downtime scenes, discuss updates and directions for the next session, including numerous downtime scenes described in narrative (60+ pages of PDFs)
Course of adventure: Intro -> Savannah, GA -> Los Angeles, CA -> Mexico City -> Yucatan -> Germany side-trip -> Ethiopia -> Bangkok -> Severn Valley (with alternate PCs) -> Tibet -> FInale
Differences from established story or interesting turns:
Since anyone reading this is intimately familiar with this campaign, I won’t rehash the campaign framework, but rather speak briefly about how our play differed from what was written by discussing each locale and noting major twists.
1) Savannah, GA: No major changes/differences here. They attempted to keep Henslow’s journal safe by keeping it under a mattress, and away from the guardian Stone, resulting in a night fire when the Liar turned its attention to it.
2) Los Angeles, CA: Investigation went as laid out, 2 PCs snuck into Trammel’s mansion during a party, posing as guests, had their first encounter with the minor Mouths and got the hell out of Dodge. They returned at night, stole some “random” occult books, Trammels’s journal, some Nectar, and thought about sneaking into the basement, although they panicked when a minor Mouth took a nibble. They ended up leaving LA without meeting Trammel or confronting the Major Mouth. The books they grabbed were The Gaze of Azathoth, Unspeakable Cults, and Mysteries of Asia. They planned to return to LA when they understood more of what was going on.
3) Mexico City, Mexico: Pretty much as written. They ended up blowing up the catacombs around Brooks and de la Luz’s lair, believing that they had destroyed the Mexico City Major Mouth, but they were trapped as well. Hess, the physicist, ended up being forced to learn how to open a Hyperspatial Gateway spell so they could escape before running out of air.
4) Yucatan: Played as written. The questions they asked of Gol-Goroth: What Are You?, What is the Liar?, How Do We Defeat The Liar? Where is The Liar? This allowed me to hint at the Devouring Mountain and also the name “The Prisoner of Glaaki” as an important alias for the Liar. All three agreed to learn the summoning spell for Gol-Goroth, so they could call upon it to destroy the Liar, once they found the Devouring Mountain.
5) Germany (side adventure): During their time with Gol-Goroth, the PCS were confronted with visions of their worst deeds. Hess saw his family and cousin in Germany and feared that their Jewish heritage would result in the worst. He used a Gateway to travel there with Fingers and they were able to rescue his family from a German occultist who sought to sue them as bait to obtain a copy of the Gaze of Azathoth. End result was Hess rescuing his family and bringing them all back to the US via a Gateway.
6) Ethiopia: During the preceding downtime scene, the PCs had received the Waterlogged Tome from the sketchy old man, as a wedding “gift” at a PCs wedding and worked on understanding it throughout this locale. While I was worried about how this one would play out, it ended up as a group favorite, with a seriously creepy vibe. Played up the nascent Mouth that was being summoned and the PCs chucked a couple of grenades on it before fleeing on camel back. Rescued by Ayers, but they didn’t spend much time with the Rituals of Denial, as no one had been infected with a Mouth (yet). Attempt to travel back to US via Gateway, once Hess was well enough to cast.
7) Bangkok: So far, my PCs had been doing pretty well. One PC got married and was a happy newlywed, one was uncovering his forgotten past with the cult and clues about Eccavaria, and the 3rd had stayed away from the sauce since the start. We needed some antagonist reactions. Savitree, our occultist, had figured out what was up with the PCs running around throwing spanners into the cult’s works- in part because when the PCs stole Trammel’s journal, he told the cult to find and kill the PCs. So she beseeched the Lair, via ritual magic, to turn its attention upon the “flesh of Yog-Sothoth,” i.e. the gateways and divert them to Bangkok. So when the PCs fled Ethiopia, they ended up teleported to Ko Krok Island where they were immediately captured by Savitree.
We then played a “mini-game” based on Savitree torturing the characters for information. I gave them all a set of about 20 questions and the following rules: “For each refusal/lie the first PC gives he’ll lose a point of health and stability. Then, I’ll send new questions, based on the first PCs answers, to either of the next 2 PCs for round two. Assuming you get tortured, you lose a permanent point of Sanity.”
This mini-game got us to do some downtime writing with horrific torture that we didn’t have to play out “at the table,” which allowed me to be extra-sketchy and also alleviating the issue of the PCs feeling overly stifled at their inability to escape and being subjected to both physical and magical mistreatment.
After being tortured and Savitree learning about their investigations, she dumped them all in the fighting pits to die. Once there the adventure when back on track and the PCs survived the fighting pits and destroyed their first Major Mouth thanks Xuc Pramoj. They then tried to flee Bangkok, but Savitree sent minor Mouth manifestations at them until Fingers was blasted by hearing the Tongue of the Liar and losing the ability to speak. They decided that they had to return to Ko Krok and deal with Savitree, which they did, earning themselves an Asian base of operations with mega-occult library. During the fight Savitree, Sam had a mouth open on his upper left shoulder/chest and relapsed on the drink. They confirm that the Devouring Mountain is in Tibet. Also from here until the Liar was destroyed no more Gateways- which helped me prevent the characters from shortcutting the journey to Tibet!
8 ) Severn Valley: So here’s something completely different! So, at the end of Bangkok, 1 PC is only speaking in Tongues, 1 PC has a hungry Mouth open on his chest and is drunk 24/7, and 1 PC is struggling to hold it together. Figure the guys need a break, so we shift to Justin Alexander’s Severn Valley locale, but NOT with the PCs.
At roughly the same time as the PCs are in Bangkok, based on Savitree’s torture of them, she sends the EBA to England to find the identity of the Prisoner of Glaaki. The players took over as the EBA investigating for Savitree, thus I shifted up Justin’s write up to make it more of a straight up investigation checking out both the White Isle and Deepfall Lake, as well as uncover any copies of the Revelations they can find. The EBA loses Kramer to Glaaki (becomes a Glakeen) in Deepfall Lake and Husain loses a face to the Sentinels. Eventually Hussain and Luc die getting Phajol, Tricia Piper, and her Revelations out of the asylum and away from the Terminator like Kramer, and back to Bangkok.
Back at Bangkok the PCs receive a chest of clues shipped by the EBA to Savitree, thus they learn everything they just did- and have Tricia and Phajol show up at the island expecting Savitree. The PCs convince them to lend a hand and destroy the Liar and join the party as backup PCs! Also showing up to swell the groups numbers are Sylvia, Hess’s wife and Father Ian McCoughlin, Finger’s source of stability. Fingers relapses on Nectar use, by getting Sam’s chest Mouth to spit up Nectar when he speaks to it in the Tongue. The major clue here is the true identity of the Prisoner of Glaaki found in Tricia’s Revelations.
9) Tibet: So now, the expanded group travel to Tibet, but Sam and Fingers are in a bad situation, and the players are looking for new PCs, so I resolved to finish off Fingers and Sam. Fingers continued to “milk” Sam for Nectar, but triggered the chest Mouth (now so close to the physical Lair itself) into slowly eating Sam and itself (like the ouroboros) and driving Fingers insane. Fingers fled to the mountain top, while the players take on new PCs (Jason took over Father McCoughlin and Scott S. took over Phajol). They continue their journey to the mountain top where Fingers waits, trying to kill them so they don’t accidently summon Azathoth, but is killed by the PCs. The PCs destroy the Liar via summoning Gol-Goroth, Hess losing a leg and Tricia Piper in the process.
10) Finale: Mostly as written, after recovering, they returned to LA and Trammel’s mansion to inspect the picture of the Gaze (which mirrored what they saw in the sky) and found a copy of Eccavaria’s 1924 two-layered ritual on the back that was only visible under the Gaze. Between Savitree’s notes on the ritual (written up by Justin Alexander), the Gaze of Azathoth book, and reviewing the adventure, they went to Job. After taking Job, voluntarily, to find Ayers in Ethopia, they convinced him, for the good of the planet, to step through to the sun that orbited Golxumal. At the last minute he had an attack of the nerves and Father McCoughlin volunteered to join him on the one way trip. And thus, the world was saved!
Thank yous: I just wanted to thank the writers of this wonderful adventure, my players, Justin Alexander, and everyone in this forum who jointly contributed to make this monster happen! Almost 3 years of gaming and a hell of a lot of work, I think it paid off in spades and I had a blast! So now the only question is, “What’s next?”
Edited by jeffpalmer, 30 October 2017 - 10:01 PM.