So, this came after a extra long break due to various work and recreation conflicts among the group. The game opened with the somewhat belated relaization that the group hadn't utilized thier downtime very effectively (I gave them the chance to do research, but nobody did so) and it was a great example of "time passes quicker than you realized" - just like it happens in real-life sometimes.
They realized that they hadn't checked up on poor Rupert Merriweather in awhile, so Luck rolls to see who dropped by first and it was Helen, the Antiquitarian who is potentially infected with Opener of the Ways ichor. So in she popped to his now private room (that raised a couple of eyebrows, those were/are expensive) and was surprised to find her old acquaintance Captain Ronald Hooper - formerly of Military Intelligence (even some involvement with the Naval "P-Division" which she wasn't supposed to even know about but her expertise with codes and role during the Great War had revealed the name though little more). Evidently Mr. Merriweather was an employee of his family, and he had known him for years. There was some back-and-forth, while Rupert lay there in a coma, and Helen caught a level of suspicious interest from the Captain even while she caught him making some sort of sigil or something on Rupert's forehead right before he left. Trying to discover what the Captain had done, Helen was evidently able to shift her perceptions enough to see an aura of white light around Rupert.
Alarmed, and at a loss to explain ("A gas leak..?" - the player is playing the investigator with a great faith in science and the rational), Helen called on Ophelia (the Medium) at her apartment to discuss matters. Meanwhile the Michael (the PI) got a message from the Captain, using a code that meant to contact him immediately. Meeting briefly, Michael filled the Captain in on what had been going on, also explaining why he'd been asking about his copy of De Vermis Mysteries - to which the Captain indicated he would investigate what he could but that he wasn't thrilled to grant access to such a tome to the charlatan that Ophelia was held out to be (noting Michael's suggestion that she was anything but) and urging Michael to keep an eye on Helen as "there was something odd about her now." Rendezvousing with Helen and Ophelia at the hospital, Michael declined to mention his conversation with the Captain - and the three went to see Rupert in his coma and tried to have Helen reconstructed what she had done and perceived.
Trying carefully to do what she did before, Helen managed to shift her perceptions again - noting the white light around Rupert - but at the same time noting that (unlike the nurse passing by, or the rest of the room) Michael was light by a fiery corona of grey flame or light, while Ophelia's locket (her Favored Item, that she cannot open, cannot remember where it comes from, but knows it vitally, vitally important to her and that she must not lose it) was, for lack of a better term, "hyper-defined" to the extant that it brought even Ophelia into sharper focus. These last two revelations proved too much, and Helen was shaken back into her normal perceptions. She relayed this information to Michael and Ophelia, and Ophelia was able to see just how closely Rupert was to death - perhaps staying present out of sheer force of will.
The decision was made to travel to the old ruined farmhouse immediately, and a call was placed to Luigi (the Mafioso), letting him know.
Noting some of the troubles that the group had had transporting everyone to and fro relative to the old Corbitt House, Luigi asked around if there was a truck he could borrow. The Luck roll was failed, so of course there was one - complete with a dead body wrapped in a rug in back that needed to be disposed of. With a smile that looked more like a grimace, he was happy to help the family out with the clean-up. After a little more prep on everyone's part, the group headed up to Ross' Corner, IL on the Wisconsin border. The trip itself was uneventful, and they found the long abandoned farmhouse with little difficulty - though they were not pleased that it was so exposed to the road (as well as their passage through the long-overgrown drive.
Investigating the outside, they noted the occult symbols on the lintels, as well as the somewhat forced back door. They also discovered a dead raccoon, killed in curious fashion that had the Investigators dealing with a sense of foreboding - discussion of the possibility of another Opener of the Ways being present was bandied about. After some discussion, the group used their keep to enter the front door, and explored the two rooms to little effect - noting the possible presence of a hobo. Though, in doing so, they heard noises coming from the basement. Slowly, Luigi, Henry (the handyman), and Ophelia all made their way down the narrow cellar steps - only to be attacked by a crazed hobo hiding in a corner.
Luigi was easily able to handle himself, quickly and brutally subduing the man, who babbled incoherently, while the party tried to decide what to do. Perhaps sparked by something that was said, the hobo sprang up again and he and Luigi were soon wrestling for control of Luigi's sawed-off shotgun. In the fight, even as Henry tried to help, the hobo somehow managed to turn the shotgun on the handyman at pointblank range and unleash both barrels!
To little effect (minimum damage on both shots, 8 points total - not even a major wound) - and in a rage Henry lashed out with his axe and killed him. Completely justified in his own mind, Henry paid little attention to the rest of the party as he calmly picked the buckshot out of his chest, using the hobo's soupcan to collect it all. The rest of the party was somewhat shaken by not only the sight of Henry's calm in the face of his wounds, the utter lack thereof (Luigi especially would have expected Henry to have been blown in half), but also the grim realization that they were all now murders or accessories to murder if they didn't turn Henry into the authorities...
Pushing that uncomfortable thought aside for the moment, the party decided to investigate the attic as it was the one location un-searched thusfar - so Michael climbed up and pushed his way into the opening - and falling back and the snarling and scrabbling Thing That Could Not Quite Be Seen rushed toward him. Landing with a hard thump, the party listened as the Thing pounced and snarled - and wondered what they would do next...
And that's where I called it!
This was a fun session, people are all starting to freak out because they don't quite know what to expect. Helen and Henry's characters have mysteries associated with them that are slowly starting to play out, and there are hints that things are different about Ophelia and Michael - Luigi seems to be the most normal of the bunch! I've now managed to introduce Captain Hooper, he's my planned "patron" for the group, his family fortune is tied up in a series of organizations that are (quietly) quite sincerely dedicated to fighting the occult and the unnatural. He and Michael (and Sergeant Cullen, who saved Henry's life in the trenches) all had quite the experiences in the tunnels and catacombs of Paris during the Great War, and the Captain has been much more active in his family's legacy than his father was.
And Luigi has a secret also, it just hasn't come up yet!
So, I have to say that this is one of the things I've been most looking forward to - the addition of concrete backstory elements in character creation was great, but the suggestion if not mandate to mess with these in some way when characters go insane is a fantastic.
So, I had three characters go insane last session (two temporarily and one indefinitely) - so here is how I resolved to amend thier Backstories.
Luigi, the Mafia hitman, was the simplest. He's a Honorable as a trait, so I simply added the PC who slew the Opener of Ways (Dimensional Shambler) as an Important Person because he now owed his life to this man. It's basic, kind of boring, but will continue to provide the character a hook to continue with this group once the initial adventure is finished.
That man, Henry, the Handyman started off the game with a phobia of zombies and the walking dead (Backstory, as combination of his War Experience and Mythos Experience he witnessed the dead rising in the trenches) so I actually added a scar to his story - a mysterious, large Y-shaped scar that spans his torso. He can't really remember when or where he got it, probably the Great War, he just knows that he doesn't like thinking about it and tries to ignore it all the time...
This ties into this characters secret pulp nature that I have not revealed to the player, but that from the look on his face he probably guessed at least part of it when I told him this.
Lastly, Helen, the Antiquarian, has gone indefinitely insane. She almost died, but blew all her Luck (ala the Pulp rules) to prevent this from happening, but was also essentially drenched in the blood and ichor from the Opener of the Ways. Her Backstory was amended with the note in Encounters with Strange Entities: "The Opener of the Way, it killed me, but I passed through it and I did not die."
For this character this actually lets me start to build up a pulpier character (and/or watch her descend into madness and worse) and I plan to start building up some abilities that riff off her comingling of blood and essence with said Opener of Ways. The player struggles a bit with role-playing, so I'm hoping that this provides some meat for her Investigator/Hero to grow and be more than simply a researcher.
Today was a good day and everyone had loads of fun. First the PI bribed the desk sergeant enough money to actually just give him the file on the police raid (Based on the contents I'm surprised it hadn't "gone missing" before frankly) thenhe got called off to work (because the player had to go to work) and the rest of the party tromped over to the Corbitt house to investigate it - being slightly spooked to find out that it had been all locked up again (they currently suspect the missing pastor from the Church of Contemplation), breaking in they investigated the ground floor again, and then the upper floor - where the antiquarian and the Mafioso were first puzzled by blood dripping from the ceiling, and then after hearing noises outside the window went over to investigate - both then being knocked out by the moving bed...
Cue more shenanigans that finally culminated with the local beat cop interrogating them, falling for the "we're looking to buy the place and accidently broke a window" (the APP80/Charm75 Femme Fatale Occultist batted her eyelashes at him) but escorted them away after the Mafioso managed to stealth his way past him after nearly being knocked out of the window by the table again. The next day the antiquarian met with the owner of the Corbitt House, Mr. Knott, while the Mafioso tried to discover what he could about the Macarrio's by talking to "Father Matteo" his local priest who seemed convinced that they'd gotten what they had coming, while the Medium/Occultist wandered over to the ruins of the Chapel of Contemplation and discovered it's secrets - which also included that many, many more people had died there and for many more years than was in the police report - most of the Africans. On a whim I merely placed it on the unspecified edge of Lincoln Park (the actual park), which also means it is built near to the mass graves of cholera/typhus victims.
They continue to build up an idea via rumors and heresay that both the Corbitts, plus Marion Allen, were very bad news - and that Church was as bad or worse. They are definitely getting a bit paranoid with the level of cover-up regarding the raid, and with the vehemence with which people speak poorly of everyone involved 10+ years on.
The party still has not gotten back into the basement of the Corbitt House...
EDIT: On a last note, one of players today not only organized a player's journal to help her organize her own thoughts, but also spent several hours putting together her character's handwritten journal (this included a trip to two stores to find the right leather journal...). She is loving the mystery aspect of the game and is quite excited to be doing this level of detail work for her character. She's also going to pick up an appropriate locket to represent her characters favored/key possession.
I had a flash of inspiration as I was figuring out how the group knew each other (some did, some didn't), and decided to run The Haunting and Edge of Darkness as one longer, interlinked scenario.
I led with Edge of Darkness, and the quest giver mentioned that he feared that you would need hidden papers that belonged to the former leader of his group. Quest-Giver is lingering to allow some additional time to do research that leads to Haunting. Said former leader lived for a period of time in the house from Haunting for reasons. I kind of mixed the timelines up a bit as I riffed on the history from both Haunting and Edge when one player (the Occultist) talked to one of her contacts who was horrified that she was evening thinking about around the affairs of said deceased leader - and gave some details of the history of Haunting that should to lead to further investigation. Since they haven't done any real research on the inhabitants of the Haunting yet, I can tweak the dates to make sense.
Comments were made that leader of the group and former inhabitant of the house had been, *ahem*, cohabitating together - And Things Were Said About That In Polite Society.