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Coal Cracker Cthulhu #9 Dust to Dust



Late April 1923 -


After a rough start to the year, our intrepid investigators settled back into their more mundane roles. Steven O'Hara concentrated on his teaching, and ignoring his nagging wife's requests. Dr. Millheim had little for work for Brian, so Mr. Nichols gently eased his way back into being a crooked bookkeeper. There were those two murder raps he needed to avoid, so things needed to be done... delicately. And Dr. Millheim, he spent most of his days writing, although no one knew what the topic of his next book would be. With Smitty back up with his new business partner in Boston, the old comraderie just wasn't there. Life was painstakingly normal for once.


That all changed with one story in the paper. It appeared that body of Selwyn Robards had been dug up and taken from the cemetery. Selwyn had been the long-time legal counsel for Dr. Millheim, dealing primarily in his tresspassing and breach of contract allegations. He had just recently passed away, a few months after the investigators helped solve the murder of his nephew Jeremy Lombard (see post #3).


Graverobbing was not an area of expertise to Dr. Millheim. Hell, it was a bad time for the group. Steven had an only an extended weekend to help out, and Nichols was unavailable, swamped with unethical activities. But Selwyn was the one friend Dr. Millheim could count on when he was starting out (for a modest fee, of course), and the article mentioned other sites getting robbed west of the Susquehanna.


Dr. Millheim briefed Steven, and they hit the trails of the unspeakable acts.




The towns of Kingston, West Wyoming, Shavertown, Dallas, and Ruggles where the graverobberies were located, were within a few miles of one another, but each one had different police jurisdiction. Those jurisdictions were not cooperating with anyone, even the State Police (LOTS of failed rolls on the parts of the players, even Idea and Luck rolls failed miserably.) The only consistancies that could be assertained were that all the sites were dug up by hand (no walking dead clawing their way out) and two sites reported a beat up pick-up truck at the scene.


On Tuesday, low on clues, the duo even tried to connect the graverobberies on a map to find a supernatural pattern or desidng, no luck.


On Wednesday, Steven returned to his job, but stayed in contact with Dr. Millheim in case any research in town was needed. That morning's paper reported another graverobbery, this time further north in the resort town of Harvey's Lake. Dr. Millheim hopped the next train up to the lake and interviewed Michael Felder, the town pharmacist and former husband of the deceased, as well as Constable Owen Tabler. Felder wished him well, but was indifferent to the heinous crime, which might have been caused by the copious ammounts of alcohol coming off his breath.


The Constable was as helpful as he could be detailing Mrs. Felder's accidental demise by drowning, Mr. Felder's history, and also clarifying newspaper reports of "The Harvey's Lake Prowler." It seemed like a deranged vagrant missing his right hand had called the lake home over the last two months and occasionally harrassed boaters, children, and other locals. He doubted the two were connected, but two problems like this before the tourists come back would be bad for business.


On Thursday, Dr. Millheim hopped a train for Binghamton to meet with Dr. Hamilton Fabry, the father of Mrs. Felder. Mr Fabry was very curt with him, repeating the offer of a $1000 reward and not being forthcoming at all with any additional information. The offer was withdrawn after Dr. Millheim was caught tailing him for any clues.


Late Thursday night, Dr. Millheim received a strange, garbled call from someone claiming to be Selwyn Robards. They sounded confused and claimed he was in a house by a lake. The line then went dead.


Friday evening, Millheim and O'Hara were back up in Harvey's Lake. The previous day the Harvey's Lake Prowler had killed a five year old girl. Constable Tabler was still wary to request help from the State Police without any leads. The townsfolk were wary of outsiders. It was a bad weekend for the pair.


Early Sunday afternoon, Steven gave up on the endeavour, packing up and leaving on the noon train. Dr. Millheim walked the banks of the lake, desperate for any leads, when he heard a shrill scream. He saw a little girl being chased by a lumbering form of a man. He quickly snapped two photographs, but moral decency caught the best of him and he ran down to distract the man and save the girl. The man was horribly disfigured, unable to communicate, and missing his right hand! Despite having twice as many hands, Dr. Millheim was quickly overcome by this savage brute, and if not for a lucky shot with a nearby 2x4, we may have been talking of funeral arrangements for the Dr. and a new character for Nate.


Dr. Millheim scrambled as fast as he could back to the hotel, and in a moment of panic, patched himself up and headed out on the final train of the day at 3pm to Wilkes-Barre.


The papers next week were all aflutter with the chaos at Harvey's Lake. While Dr. Millheim had been boarding the train, some townsfolk had surrounded the Prowler and killed him outright. When others went to visit the pharmacist at his home for medicine for the injuries to the young girl, they discovered the body of Michael Felder in the basement. It had been ripped to shreds as if animals had attacked it. The open door for the furnace revealed human bones...


Keeper Notes: I'll never say the main group of investigator PCs is the most competent I've even GM'ed, but this was the first time the group suffered abject failure on such a level (Outside of nearly getting sacrificed by Klan cultists, the backup characters saved the day). Neither social nor research skill rolls were getting anything close to a success. With the chief lockpicker of the group (Steven) not convinced the drunk pharmacist was hiding something, and that he insisted going back to his teaching job, a normally bumbling parapsychologist was nearly exposed for the man he actually was.


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