Dead Leaves Fall (Scenario)

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Details

Pages: 14

Author(s): Simon Yee

Artist(s): Simon Yee

Setting: 1920s Arkham, Halloween

Appears in: Dead Leaves Fall and Other Halloween Horrors

Campaign: (none)

Summary

Halloween brings to mind candy and spooky costumes, where wearing a mask and saying the magic words, “trick or treat,” rewards those naïve hunters in costume a bounty of future tooth decay. But for some adults it is a time of transition both physically and spiritually. The earth is shedding its skin like dead leaves falling and men reflect in fear on the past gone by. A time when the connection between our meaningless existence and the divine (or damned, as it may be) is at its closest. It is during this time that the investigators are being called forth to recover five brittle pieces of paper taken from an ancient book…


Links

Spoilers - Keepers Eyes Only

Players should not read any further.

Synopsis

 Spoiler Section (Highlight to Read)

The investigators are called in to recover 5 pages cut from a rare version of the Cthäat Aquadingen which were taken by someone who borrowed the book, actually a cultist who undergoes a nightmarish change on Halloween and believes he is the descendant of creatures described in the book and hopes to learn more about his ancestry and how to contact his supernatural ancestors and flee from Earth and persecution. To complicate matters, the cultists are being hunted down and slain by their former doctor, who upon seeing a transformation was converted from believing his patients' claims to be a shared delusion to fanatically purging his former patients from the world. The investigators will find themselves posed with a moral dilemma about which side to take in pursuing an ambiguous investigation where not everything is as it seems.


References

Player Handouts:

  • Findings from Research and Rumors about Poles Farm (not presented as handouts, but could be copied/printed and cut out for use as handouts)
  • Portraits of NPCs
  • Map of Foxfield
  • Map of the Poles Farm
  • Diagram of the Poles Farmhouse

Locations:

  • 1920s Arkham
  • Foxfield, Massachusetts (about 25 miles NW of Arkham)
    • Foxfield Unitarian Church
    • Foxfield General Store
    • The Poles Farm
  • Chicago, Illinois (off-screen, unless the investigators want to role-play returning the pages, getting the job in person, or investigating their client in person)

Creatures:

Tomes and Artifacts:

Campaigns / Scenarios: (none)

Comments

Acknowledgments: "My wife Danielle for editing. The Foxfield setting was drawn from: “Proof of Life”, 2008 by Keith Herber, in New Tales of the Miskatonic Valley, published by Miskatonic River Press. The interpretation of Chaat from Brian Lumley’s Chaat Aquadingen was from: “The Plague of St. James Infirmary”, 2005 by Ken Asamatsu, in Night Voices, Night Journeys: Lairs of the Hidden Gods, volume one, published by Kurodahan Press. My Monday gaming group, called Champions: Sam Carter, Andy Blanchard, Chris Czerniak, John Armstrong, and Albert Park."

Keeper Comments

Comments to Keepers about this scenario; Possibly how to run it successfully. Keep general DISCUSSION on the talk page.

Setting: 1920s Lovecraft Country, but should be easy to move to other eras and locations.

Special Notes: With sympathetic monsters and a fanatical and nearly insane investigator as a mentor, this may be an interesting way to introduce a new group of players to the Call of Cthulhu RPG, as it sets an unusual tone in which it's not always clear what the right thing to do or the right side to take is. The "Children of Chaat" and the Great Old One they follow are essentially Deep One hybrids and Dagon or Cthulhu, and some keepers may get find it useful to blur the distinctions a bit. Keepers may prefer to change the nature of the sacrifice demanded by the Deep Ones (traditionally, these monsters could find more unwholesome and practical uses for a catatonic woman than to simply cut out her beating heart), which could add some nice complexity to the nature of the hybrids' dilemma in keeping with the rest of the scenario ("Chaat", or the Deep Ones, may be willing to permit some of the hybrids to escape from Earth, but may demand that the women remain behind for use as Deep One Breeding stock, and if the cultists refuse, the catatonic nurse might be demanded instead); this change could suggest a sub-plot in which the Deep Ones have also been pursuing and persecuting the hybrids.

Dependence on Halloween: Minimal. The hybrids' transformation is narratively linked to Halloween, but could as easily be linked to any other date or event with almost no rewriting: "The event that connects these poor individuals together is the time period of October 31 every year. During this annual phenomenon these individuals undergo an acute transformation and get closer to their true form... The reason that this specific date is the trigger for the transformation is unknown and probably beyond human comprehension. One may speculate that the spell to call forth Chaat is only done on this date and that the spell itself holds significance to linking the date with the transformation."