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Subject: The R'lyeh Disk—A solo game of Mythos rss

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I played a solo game of Mythos, using The Lurking Horror, my own solo variant. I've long wanted to make a deck centred around Cthulhu, which is not easy because the locations involved are difficult, and because you need to bring quite a few special cards in play to win.

There were 3 Adventures in my deck: The Curious Parcel, The Secret of Power and Glory is Yours!, and Summon Great Cthulhu. I modified the last adventure slightly: I couldn't find a "Secret Society" card so omitted that, and made it compulsory to play Cthulhu at R'lyeh (not just any Island). I also made it compulsory to play that Adventure after either one of the other.

My Mythos deck consisted of 53 cards, with an Event Deck of 15 cards and a Monster deck of 20. The game was set mostly in Providence and the South Pacific.

My investigator was the Capable Graduate Student. The cards that I played are highlighted in bold. I have not mentioned any of the Monster cards I played. I played Monsters as usual, according to my solo variant rules, but only used them in storytelling to signal the effect on Sanity (both my investigator's, and my allies').

What I came up with isn't the best of stories, and it is fairly rudimentary, but it got me very absorbed in the story. I was surprised by how timely some cards were played (particularly the phobias, which made so much sense!). I wrote a rough draft of what follows while I played, and edited afterwards (but keeping all the elements of the story I developed as I played).

***


ROUND 1 (Sanity 14)

I received news that my uncle died. He was a professor at Brown, and had published some books on the culture of the Pacific Islands. He lived in Providence where I once spent a summer when my parents went through their divorce. My (childless) aunt and uncle took me in, and cared for me like their own son. Strange man, my uncle, but a very kind man. That summer had a great impact on me, and later inspired me to pursue an academic career myself. To a kid their house was spooky, though—and old house with creaky stairs and strange rooms filled with books and fantastic artefacts from exotic isles. But I liked my aunt and uncle, and kept in touch with him. I had not seen my uncle in some years, though. The last time was at my aunt's funeral, some years ago. After that I got too caught up in my studies to travel much, and lost touch with my uncle.

I travelled to Providence for the funeral, which was held at King's Church Cemetery, a beautiful, peaceful place. The service was performed by Fr. Samuel Winsor. During the reception after the funeral, he came over to me, who did not know anyone there, and introduced himself to me as a friend of my uncle. I asked him more about my uncle, about his last years, and Fr. Winsor answered some simple questions, but then called over a young man, who, he said, would be able to answer my questions. The man was William Channing Webb, who also taught at Brown and introduced himself as a former student of my uncle.

Because of my interest in my uncle's life, he offered to take me to my uncle's house. We walked the short distance to his home (The House on Olney Court, -1 sanity), and I realised that my childhood memories of the strange house were no exaggeration . The building still filled me with fear, that was now not alleviated by the kind presence of my aunt and uncle.

The three of us went into his study, and Prof. Webb began to talk about my uncle's illustrious academic career. At one point he began talking about my uncle's latest research project, which he began after my aunt died, and showed me an old tome (Eltdown Shards) and a strange artifact—what seemed like the fragment of a disk (R'lyeh Disk: Right Fragment). Both of these made me feel very uneasy. "What are they," I asked Prof. Webb, but he said he did not know. He had not yet been able to decipher the glyphs of the book, and did not know what the artifact was from or what it was meant for.

At that point, Ann White, my uncle's housekeeper came by. I chatted a bit with her about my uncle. She was visibly upset by his sudden death, but said he had grown reclusive in the past year, obsessed with deciphering that book and disk that Prof. Webb had shown me. As she was talking about my uncle's last days, she became very agitated, and suddenly ran off, not quite herself (buried Ann White due to combat).

ROUND 2 (Sanity 6)

Ms. White's strange behaviour made us all on edge ourselves, and me particularly so. We decided to leave. Prof. Webb could show me where my uncle often researched, if I liked. He picked up a Shotgun—I wasn't quite sure why, but it did make me feel more at ease—and pocketed some of my uncle's medicine (Dr. Hammon's Nerve & Brain Tablets). As we left the house, we bumped into Edgar Allen Poe, an acquaintance of Prof. Webb. A sullen, neurotic man, I thought. He advised us to meet Dr. Allen, a scholar of the occult, who might be able to shed more light on what my uncle had been working on.

After a long walk, we arrived at a large wooden house. "This is locally known as The Shunned House," Fr. Winsor whispered to me as we walked up to the door. He seemed equally ill at ease as I was. Poe knocked on the door and a few moments later a lean man opened the door, whom Poe introduced to us a s Dr. Allen. He made a strong impression on me (-1 sanity)

Dr. Allen was a frightening man, but he did help with both the tome. He managed to decipher some of the glyphs of the book: they taught how to Create Time Warp. But he could not make much of the rest. He could not help with the shard, and was not sure what to make of it.

As Dr. Allen investigates the artifact, the gloomy room seems to grow even more oppressive. I feel as if shadowy fingers claw at me, and for a moment I think I am imagining things, but when I look at Fr. Winsor and Prof. Webb, I can tell they feel the same.

Suddenly, Dr. Allen gets up and storms out the door, without a word (lost Dr. Allen in combat).

ROUND 3 (Sanity 2)

The rest of us sat there for a moment in silence. I'm losing my nerves. As we were leaving, Prof. Webb picked up the disk fragment, but realised he had found another one, which Dr. Allen possessed (gained R'lyeh Disk: Top Fragment). Seeing that second section made me very uneasy (-1 sanity)—what were these things for?

On the advice of Fr. Wilson, I travelled to Kingsport, to stay in the Congregational Hospital. The journey was pleasant, and coincided with the Dawn of Solstice, which lifted my spirits. The electroshock therapy I underwent there was successful: it erased my most difficult memories of Olney Court (discarded The House on Olney Court).

After my spirits were somewhat raised, I travelled back to Providence, and visited the The Athenaeum, where Prof. Webb and my uncle often worked on their research. Before I reached there, I got news of a Dysentry epidemic that had spread through town and had affected poor old Poe (flipped down, the others saved by Dr. Hammon's Tablets).

I wanted to know more about the disk fragments that instilled such terror in me and that had agitated Dr. Allen so. Prof. Webb did not want to talk there, and so we go for a long walk, towards the North Burial Ground in the country. The walk did not do me much good—the more we talked, the more I dreaded to know what this was all about (drew Efficiophobia, which makes you lose 2 sanity when completing an adventure).

Prof. Webb suggested I travel with him to the South Pacific, where my uncle spent a lot of his life. "It is like paradise there," he said, and convinced me it would indeed be good for my nerves.

We boarded a Tramp Steamer a few days later, in search of warmer, sunnier climes. At first the change of scenery did uplift me a bit, but as we got closer to our destination, Prof. Webb started acting very erratically, and one night stormed into our cabin, and seemingly possessed, attacked me who had been sleeping (I drew Succumb to Temptation, which causes one of your allies to attack you). We struggled, and I managed to overcome him, at which point he ran off. I did not see him for the rest of the night, but when I saw him in the morning, he was his old self again. I began to question my sanity, and wondered whether this had been a dream.

But then we arrived at Otaheite—what a place! My mind lifted. The first days on the island I spent some time with Fr. Winsor, who helped me overcome my fears (remove Efficiophobia).

ROUND 4 (Sanity 2)

As I got to know the island and its people better, I understood how my uncle (and Prof. Webb) could dedicate their lives to studying this culture, and I regained some sanity (played The Curious Parcel, +2 Sanity).

Poe bought a Shotgun (+1 Sanity)—again I'm not sure why; did he want to go hunting? Later that day I met Wakalea, a native priest of some sort. He said he knew my uncle, and said if I wanted to understand more of his work, I should travel to Easter Island. We decided to do so, and booked passage on a ship.

The night before our departure, however, Poe ran off with his shotgun (lost in Combat). We searched for him, but could not find him. Wakalea said he'd ask some friends to keep looking for him.

ROUND 5 (Sanity 5)

With the help of Wakalea, Prof. Webb has been able to decipher more of the manuscript: one section contains a spell to Fly! We board the Tramp Steamer and as Evening falls we reach Easter Island, an unsettling place that vaguely reminded me of the dread I experienced in Providence.

ROUND 6 (Sanity 5)

We found little of interest there. We have not had any news of Poe, but a native said he thought he might have boarded a ship back to the US. We bid goodbye to Wakalea (I decided it would not make much sense to take him back to Providence, so I flipped him face down, until I returned to the South Pacific), and boarded another Tramp Steamer.

The long journey was dreadful. I could not stop thinking about what happened to Poe, and at night the openness of the ocean terrified me—what looms behind the horizon? what lurks in the deep? (I drew Agoraphobia).

When we arrived in the US, I returned immediately to the Congregational Hospital in Kingsport. I underwent more electroshock therapy, but it seemed to have an adverse effect: my pleasant memories of Otaheite were fading, and I was left only with memories of Easter Island (Otaheite discarded). It did help with my new Agoraphobia, though (discarded).

I was becoming more obsessed by my uncle's research, and so I returned to Olney Court. I arrived there at High Noon, and again met Ann White, the housekeeper, who still looked upset. She told me of another acquaintance of my uncle, Robert Blake, who might be able to tell me more. We travelled to his home (Robert Blake's Study), but no one answered the door. I walk to the back of the property, to see if he might be in the garden, but it was obvious no one is home. When I get back to the street, I notice Fr. Winsor and Ann White are gone (lost in combat). Fr. Webb was visibly shaken, but did not tell me what happened. I was, once again, overcome with fear. What was going on?

ROUND 7 (Sanity 2)

I returned with Prof. Webb to The Athenaeum. There we met George Gammell Angell, who was, with my uncle, perhaps one of the greatest authorities on the cults of the South Pacific. He might be able to help with the disks.

As he and Prof. Webb talk, I returned to King's Church Cemetery, to see if Fr. Winsor might be there. But there is no one there. It is nice to be in a peaceful place for a moment, though, and you recollect your thoughts.

As I walked back to town I passed The Shunned House, Dr. Allen's residence. Since he had one of the shards, perhaps he could help? I knocked at the door, but there was no answer. And now the Professors were gone too! (lost Angell and Webb in Combat) What is going on?

ROUND 8 (Sanity 2)

Just as I was leaving his home, I did run into Dr. Allen. He still made me uneasy (-1 Sanity), especially now that I was so on edge. Seeing my frayed nerves, Dr. Allen proposes we go to Thurston's Tavern, a quiet pub nearby. We order some drinks, and I go to the bathroom. I splash some water on my face and try to compose myself. "I'm sure Dr. Allen will be able to tell me what is going on," I tell myself. But when I come back out, I notice Dr. Allen is gone! (Lost in Combat). I panick (1 Sanity left after Combat!)

ROUND 9 (Sanity 1)

I decided to visit Brown University, and went to the Brown University John Hay Library. There I met Mercy Dexter, a strong-willed lady, but she had little to tell me and did not know what happened to my friends.

There was little reason to stay in Providence, and I decided to return to the South Pacific. Perhaps Wakelea would help me. Remembering my last dreadful ocean journey, I decided to travel by Seaplane to Retoka, but by the time I arrived, having spent so much time in that small cabin, I had real Claustrophobia!

In Retoka, I met Wakalea (flip back up). When I discussed with him the latest events, and slowly I began to understand a bit more (played the Adventure The Secret of Power and Glory is Yours!, +3 Sanity). I am encouraged, and feel like I am close to understanding what this is all about.

That night, I noticed the moon is waxing (play Waxing Moon). Wakalea told me that this is a dreadful time in the South Pacific, when the spirits from the sea grow stronger. That night, Wakelea disappears, and Mercy Dexter went mad (lost in Combat).

ROUND 10 (Sanity 2)

All alone, and quickly losing my sanity, I board a Tramp Steamer for Providence. But the journey does not alleviate my dread—quite the contrary. The entire ship seems to be caught in some strange nightmare (drew Children Have Nightmares). Was Wakalea right about the spirits of the sea rising?

Back in the US, I returned to King's Church Cemetery. There was no one there, but the peaceful place helped me overcome some of my fears (buried Claustrophobia). I returned to The Athenaeum, in the hope of meeting Prof. Webb there, and did find him there (William Channing Webb), researching frantically.

He had indeed discovered something. We talked late into the night, and both of us lost our sanity! (both eliminated in Combat).

***


I lost the game, but I was very close to completing the third adventure: I had all cards I needed either in play or in hand, except the final fragment of the R'lyeh disk. By Round 8, however, I figured I was not going to win this. This was a long game, because it included 3 long adventures, but the overlap in locations for 2 of these made it manageable. The deck was mostly fine; I'll make some small adjustments (a second tome, for example, and perhaps a few more useful spells). I should have added another Sanatorium in the deck, and I need to fine tune the Monster deck a little; I had too many strong monsters in there, which made me lose a lot of sanity early in the game.
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