At this point the first of my long cons paid off. Finally got to run the homebrewed Cthulhu adventure I've been planning for months - the one that ties together all the clues about Boston crime bosses, stolen gold, the Miskatonic U. library's lending policy on the Necronomicon, and the reclusive 'Mr Smith' that I'd been dropping in between the scenarios
Me : "That reminds me - I have to do some research on vampires before Saturday's game"
My wife : "What kind of vampires?"
Me : "All kinds - hungry ghosts, vampire tools, hair-eating Burmese vampires, blood-sucking squash..."
My wife : "If any of them sparkle, they're getting staked on the spot"
Me : "No, no sparkles - well, there may be fireworks, but no sparkles."
And to my utter pleasure, and no little thanks to deliberate red herrings such as the quote above, they went in armed for vampires, and got Vitus
.Vitus Drhazz ur Kashrak ul Rraschd
is a character I've played in a three other campaigns and game systems. He's a gnoll sorceror & somewhat notorious at the games club. For example
Me : I wish you'd stop saying he's a casual killer. He's an extremely deliberate killer.
Me : He's not amoral. He's quite ethical. It's just that his moral compass is slightly skewed.
Other GM : Slightly skewed???? It's so perpendicular a Hound of Tindalos would be impaled on the point!
The rest of the players from the previous campaign, invited over to spectate on the reveal, were all vastly amused or grudgingly impressed. Players currently involved in this
campaign, not so much
My wife, player of Lucy Smith and in another campaign, Vitus's concubine: Oh, you ****er. You ****ing ****er. Come here so I can slap you. AND you're sleeping on the couch tonight.
My wife, for the rest of the evening : Bastard
Me : But am I a magnificent bastard?
It was an understandable error on the investigators part- weirdo moves into country house, he never comes out during the day, he's never been seen by anybody
other than his assistant, who goes into town to buy strange chemicals, rare books, and human blood by the bottle...
They just didn't know it was the assistant that drank the blood.In case anybody thinks having Vitus turn up is a Cthulhu game is out-of-genre, I point out that dimension-hopping animal-headed sorcerers are not only Chaosium-canon they're Lovecraft-canon, too! Through The Gate of the Silver Key, anyone? And the tapir-snouted Swami from Yaddith had the advantage of his own TARDIS - Vitus had to find his own way to the Great Library in the Pleiades.
But that was all at the end of the session - Game opens with the PCs
waiting at one of the Arkham cinemas for their friend the PI 'Hammer' Dragovic, before they go in to see the evening movie - Nosferatu.
It just so happened to be released that year, by a happy coincidence -
. He's a no-show - apparently he had a hot lead on $40,000 worth of stolen mob bullion. He doesn't show up the next day, either, and his friends start getting nervous.
Elsewhere, Sydney Delthorn is delivering the Miskatonic U's copy of the John Dee Necronomicon
to the farmhouse 'Mr Smith' is renting. Months of negotiations between 'Smith' and Armitage, through the intermediary of 'Smith''s assistant one Edwin Masters, and with some $35,000 of gold offered as a surety against it's safe return, has finally paid off. As Mr Masters takes the book upstairs to the unseen 'Smith's' room, he hears what might be muffled shouts and thumping coming from the root cellar. He later discusses his fears with his colleagues.
Paddy OOC: Are you sure it wasn't a raccoon-camel? (referring to the party's theories about the Thing in the Attic, last session)
Paddy: I'm just the glorified chauffeur around here
Lucy : ...and don't you forget it
Lucy doesn't feel up to anything energetic - she's still recovering from being slashed half open by her great-uncle Gregory last session.
Lucy : Going to the flicks is one thing - dancing is right out - I wouldn't want my guts to fall out on the dancefloor
Me, GM : Yes, the 20's gave us so many great dances - the Charleston, the Foxtrot, the Intestine Skid...
Alexei : I was down at the speakeasy feeling merry. Then Mary left.
Me, GM : what will the neighbours think of you leaving a strange man on the doorstep?
Lucy : That I've got standards.
Me, GM : Lucy? Standards? When did that happen?
Their choice of movie viewing colours their theories about what's actually going on at the farmhouse. My efforts to dissuade them do nothing but strengthen their conviction that they're up against a vampire. BWAHAHAHAHA
Me, GM : Why are you leaping to all these conclusions? Because you just saw Nosferatu? Just as well you didn't see The Circus, or you'd think you the upstairs room was full of murderous clowns. Or A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court - is there a bunch of knights on bicycles in the bedroom too?
Sydney : But the noise was coming from the basement
Me, GM : Ah, that makes sense - there's more room down there.
I will make no comment about the PCs
lewd theories about what Hammer Dragovic was really up to, other than to say Dr Horrible's Sing-along Blog got a reference, and party raised eyebrows when they discovered Hammer had pulled off into a side-street.
Alexei : *trying to get back in to Lucy's good books* We brought the beautiful scenery with us
Paddy : Stop blowing smoke up her arse or I'll have to start calling her a chimney
Group starts planning ways to get to the house - an isolated farmhouse with open fields on every side, and neighbours certain to notice any shenanigans that occur during daylight hours.
Paddy : Gottit! Protestant doorknockers
Me, GM : You already got a pair of Catholic knockers here *points at Lucy*
Lucy: Lapsed Catholic
Alexei : You know a better bra will stop them lapsing so far. Lapse any further and the underwear will be a camel toe.
Me, GM : Raccoon-camel toe.
Underwear also feature when they finally manage to get to the house, at 2 in the morning on a moonless night, and realise they've left the lockpicking tools back in the truck. Lucy suggests they use the underwire from her bra. They don't even think about the wisdom on trying to sneak up on a suspected vampire in the middle of night
until they're already at the house. Arguments get increasingly heated, and loud, but that's all irrelevant - Vitus has been awake and watching them from the bedroom window since they fell into the drainage ditch earlier. Not that they realise this until too late. The PCs
belatedly realise they really should be trying to be stealthy, and pretend to be chickens.
Me, GM : *long look at Lucy's player* As far as I know chicken don't go *uck *uck *uck *uck. Although maybe Lucy chickens do?
The Guild gets a bit chilly in winter - Alexei's & Lucy's players rug up under one blanket
Paddy's player : Oh look, it's the Siamese Idiots
Alexei's & Lucy's players : *sing the Siamese cat song from Lady and The Tramp, complete with dance moves*
They discover that the kitchen door has already been kicked in anyway. Paddy privately thinks that this is a good thing, since it means his three 'business partners' from the Mob have already been, and obviously three armed men against one will easily beat anybody that was in the house. There's no need to be stealthy anymore. Then they discover the three mobsters beaten unconscious in the root cellar.
Paddy : ****
Dragovic is there too, chained to the wall & gagged. His first words once they get the gag off is "Run! For the love of God run!" Alexei, Lucy, & Sydney consider this eminently wise advice and flee for their lives. Paddy, on the other hand, elects to stick around.
Lucy, later : That's Dragovic for you - always thinking of others. Unlike that Irish bastard McGinty, who throws grenades into the kitchen the rest of us are already in
Paddy still expecting Nosferatu: I'm waiting for a creepy bald head to come round the corner. Then I'm going to blow it off.
Of course I wanted to be fair to the players - Vitus was not going to use any magic with two exceptions ( and in the end didn't even need to use those) and his physical skills all wound down to merely competent. I also scripted his actions and responses in advance, unless the players did something silly to give themselves away ( happily, they did). On the other hand, I did split the players up, so that they couldn't use player-knowledge to inform their reactions, when, say, their point-man sticks his head around a corner, screams, and starts blazing away at something on the stairs. It upped the panic wonderfully. The enchanted knife they picked up in the Corbitt House would have been an advantage - if they had remembered to bring it.
Me, GM : The bullet whines off into the darkness
Alexei : Stupid whinging bullets
Vitus takes them down hard, leaving half of them with broken jaws, hairline skull fractures, and so on. He used a length of pipe for most of it. It's not pretty. They resign themselves to a dramatic fade to black, and are quite surprised to wake up in the basement.
Me, GM : It would appear the werewolf-thing has run out of chain. But that's ok, since you so thoughtfully brought all that rope with you.
Vitus is standing in a chalk circle consulting the Miskatonic copy of the Necronomicon
he 'borrowed', chanting and gesturing violently in a bestial tongue.
Alexei : *looking at Lucy, understandably worried* you're not a virgin are you? *thinks this statement through for a moment, visibly dismisses it, and turns to Sydney instead*
Vitus pierces his own palm with the tip of a dagger, and presses the bloody palm to the foreheads of the eight captives, and snarls. I act all this out, of course, circling the table.
"Take heed, humans. Should you ever raise your hand against me again, I have given my creatures leave to drink your soul. Every flea, every louse, every tick and bedbug and floor maggot will be free to pierce your skin and kill you by degrees. One bite, and every chill and fever is more of your being gone to feed their kind. Do not cross me - for I am Wrath, and every crawling creature of your your world can be my eyes."
And then left town, leaving the Necronomicon behind, since the starmaps Dee re-drew for his edition are uselessly inaccurate for his purposes. Not that the PCs
know this, and they now fully intend to read the book cover to cover to find out just what that bastard did to them - BWAHAHAHAHAHA
And the best thing about this? It's all a total bluff. The chant was Vitus's commentary on the PC's incestuous ancestry, and what he'd like to do to them, in his native tongue. Sure, there are enchantments and geases
he could have used but Vitus is prejudiced against that particular college of magic.
Anyway, I prepared a Mythos CYOA, in advance -
Anyone would have made the same error - the reclusive SCHOLAR, who never left his HOUSE in the DAY, and his regular order of human blood from the SANITARIUM. Of course you thought he was a VAMPIRE. Who would have expected an alien WEREWOLF-thing, who now has you and your ALLIES chained in the basement for further SPELL research?
Heroic Adventure, +8, +3 San