Never fear, Doc Savage is here!!
This adventure takes place during my; The Path to Carcosa Campaign, between The Unspeakable Oath and A Phantom of Truth, as a side scenario.
Investigators : Mark Harrigan; Minh Thi Phan.
Standard Difficulty, each investigator has accrued 12 XP and used them all. Chaos bag is the one used during TPtC at the end of TUO.
Curse of the Rougarou.
Minh Thi Phan stumbled in her new boots, trying to keep up with her abrasive associate.
''Mr Harrigan, can we stop a few minutes ?'' He was striding purposely along one of the narrow pavement side roads in the Riverside district of New Orleans. He glanced over his shoulder, Minh was holding onto the wall with one boot off, massaging her left foot. ''I have corns.''
Harrigan sighed and leant against the wall of the refinery, lighting up a Lucky.
''Remind me why we're here again'', Minh asked, trying to adjust her spectacles and massage her foot at the same time.
Harrigan glanced around cautiously, ''To take the heat off.''
Minh snorted, ''We should have gone to the police, as I advised.''
Harrigan smiled sardonically, ''And what exactly would we have told them ? Yes, officer, he is the escaped inmate from the asylum, No officer, I have no idea how he wound up dead in my room. You say descriptions matching the two of us were seen aiding him over the wall...see where this is going Minh ?''
She huffed in aquiesence, ''Still, what happened to the body ?''
''I threw it in the river, weighted down.''
Minh's eyes opened widly, ''You did what ? That's illegal, hiding evidence.''
'' Breaking out a dangerous patient isn't ? He raised an eyebrow, ''I suppose I could have dumped it on the doorstep of the poilice station.'' He rubbed his chin and smiled wryly.
Minh huffed again and slipped her boot back on.
''Can we get on with this now, my idea of a good time isn't trudging around in a swamp either...''
Minh cut in, ''It's a Bayou, not a swamp.''
Harrigan sighed again, flicking the Lucky into the gutter, pointing, ''This way, I think. ''
They set off towards the Riverside Bayou, Harrigan slowed his pace a little, Minh was a pain sometimes, but a damn fine detective and investigator, she didn't miss much in a squeeze.
Minh appreciated Harrigan's effort to let her keep up, often he was arrogant leaning towards impossible, but what he didn't know about close combat could have been written on a postage stamp, and if some suggestions she made seemed like a good idea, he'd listen.
''Hey Minh'', the gruff voice of Peter Sylvestre, star footballer of the Miskatonic team, hailed her, getting up off a bench.
Minh smiled, ''Peter, you made it.''
Harrigan did a double take.
''Peter, this is Mr Harrigan, the former soldier I told you about.''
Harrigan looked from Minh to Sylvestre, You told him... !!''
It was Minh's turn to cut in, ''Peter is a friend I met at a football game, he was visiting New Orleans and I asked him if he'd mind giving a hand in out pursuits.'' She smiled at Harrigan.
Harrigan squinted at Minh, she was full of surprises, ''You go to football games ?''
Peter Sylvestre held out his right hand, ''Pleased to meet you, Mr Harrigan, Minh's told me a lot about you.''
Harrigan looked up at Sylvestre's smiling visage, he had to, Sylvester was nearly six inches taller than him.
He grasped his hand, ''She has, has she ?'' He glanced at Minh, who shook her head imperceptively. ''Well I suppose, we could use all the help we can get.''
''Happy to be here.''
''Let's be off then.'' Minh said, leading the way.
A Little later.
''She is supposed to be around here somewhere, Lady Esprit.''
''Wonderful.'' Harrigan continued hacking away the undergrowth and over hanging branches with his machete. They had wandered around for a while, but seen nothing resembling a shack and to add to things, a strange, spectral mist had rolled in where they had stopped.
In the clearing, Minh pointed, ''Audubon Park is that way, I'll scout around with Peter, you see if you can find anything useful that may help us in out. '' Without waiting for a reply they stalked off.
Harrigan looked around, he'd have insisted on going with her, but the big guy looked more than capable. Clearing a few more branches, something caught his eye. Thrown over a decripit fence was a discarded fishing net. He waded across, sure footed. ''This might come in handy, Sophie'', he mumbled to himself and slung it over his shoulder.
The mist was getting thicker, Harrigan shivered, despite his trench coat and suddenly had a vision of a huge many limbed monstrosity in the growing darkness, but he merely shrugged it off as swirling shapes made by the encraoching mist, he wasn't being fooled this time by an over active imagination, one of his weaknesses when he was tired and usually after blood had been spilt.
However, there was a slight splashing that caught his attention. ''Minh, Peter ?'' He called out. No reply.
The gator reared up, not 10 feet away, moving swiftly though the murkiness. Harrigan stood his ground, vital seconds could be lost by looking around for egress. The thick hide would be impenitrable with the machete, so as it closed in, he changed his hold on it, so that he could solicite a swift sideward blow to the soft flesh behind it's gaping jaws. Assuming he could avoid the sharp pointed rows of teeth, ''Here we go Sophie'',he lauched himself at the animal.
It all happened in the blink of an eye, his aim spot on, using his natural strength and his dead wife's inspiration, he forced the hacking blade as someone ordinarily would brandish a pointed knife, it entered just as he intended and he twisted it upward. The animal spasmed , the hideous wound gushing red, Harrigan rolled with it and continued the hacking without fully withdrawing the machete. He finished up sitting astride the gators back. All was still, the animal's life blood mingling with the brackish water. ''Hell of a team Sophie.'' He shouted.
More splashing, he turned to see Minh and Peter emerging from a different direction than they had left by. Minh adjusted her spectacles, ''Making friends, Mr Harrigan ?''
He stood up, half soaked and grinned,''Party crasher, didn't have the entrance money, you appear to know your way around, he nodded to where they had left.'' Minh and Peter laughed.
''I have excellent pathfinding skills as you well know .''
''Any luck ?'' Harrigan asked.
Minh nodded, ''This way.
2. Lady Esprit.
She had of course been expecting them.
Harrigan warmed himself by the fire, listening, drying his wet coat and water logged boots. Minh and Peter sat on a log, listening intently to the history of the alleged 'Rougarou', how it was once a man, cursed by Shub Niggurath, (which Peter simply nodded at, with an air of polite incomprehension.) now bound to hunt and eat all it could find in the Bayous and surrounding areas of New Orleans.
''Your task is no simple one, therefore I have prepared a few things that may help in your quest. She handed Harrigan a bag, You seem to attract trouble, these items may help.''
Harrigan emptied it on the floor of the cabin. ''I would be careful if I were you. ''Lady Esprit glanced at the stick of dynamite that had fallen out, with some bandages and a....pipe.
''Hmm, what's the pipe for ?'' Harrigan turned it over in his hands.
''You are strong Mr Harrigan, but your will is fragile, therefore, smoke the herbs, they will refocus your mind.'' He simply grunted.
''Ms Phan, you have already encountered my first gift, she nooded slightly at Peter, here is something else you shall need.'' She placed her right hand on Minh's arm, drawning two distinct signs with her left forefinger. They glowed briefly, then faded.
''One shall bring you luck, the other insight. To what, I cannot see, as your paths are divided.
''How so ?'' Minh asked.
''Mr Harrigan wishes to kill the creature, you wish to study it, you shall both know when the time comes which to do.''
Minh breathed in and exhaled, nodding.
Harrigan stood up, his boots laced and shrugged his coat on. ''Anything else we should know ?''
Lady Esprit nodded, '' There is a policeman searching for a missing collegue somewhere north of here, he wishes to find him and kill the beast. Go with caution, he seemed somewhat agitated, he has a gun.''
Harrigan grunted, ''Noted.''
They stepped out of the cabin, Harrigan was about to suggest going north, when Minh suddenly pitched forward onto her hands and knees groaning gutterally. The two men quickly knelt beside her.
''What is it, Minh ?'' Harrigan asked, his brow creasing with worry.
She lifted her head and looked at him, ''Jesus, Minh !!'' He shuffled back a little. The irises of her eyes were glowing bright red, and he noticed also, (or was it the mist, now settled, that was distorting his vision ?), a clenching of her teeth...and her canines seemed pointed..
''Insatiable hunger.'' She muttered. Minh shook her head, when she looked back up at him, she had returned to herself.
''The curse has chosen her, Lady Esprit spoke calmly from the open cabin door, you must begone, time is not on your side. If you do not catch it, or kill it, she will turn into one of them.''
Harrigan nodded and pulled Minh to her feet, ''Ok to move on ?''
Minh smiled a little weakly, ''Yes.''
Harrigan nodded to Peter, who acknowleged with a shrug.
3. The Hunt.
They trudged a little way north, the mist seemed less encroaching, the ground more solid underfoot. All at once, a figure stepped out about twenty feet along the path, gun raised.
''Hold it right there, identify yourselves.''
Given what Lady Esprit had said, Harrigan was in no mood for idle chit chat, ''I'm Harrigan, the lady is Minh and the hunk is Peter Sylvestre. We're looking for a monster. That do you ? You're the cop Lady Esprit mentioned.'' He said it as a statement of fact.
The cop looked left and right, then lowered his gun. ''I could use some help, I think I've spotted it, but I can't take it down on my own.''
Minh approached him, ''You have ? Please sir, show us.''
The cop nodded, ''This way.''
The path led to some open ground on the outskirts of New Orleans. There were a number of dilapidated gambrel roofed houses. From this distance they could vaguely see a humanoid form crouching behind some thick briars. They quickly sheltered behind some decaying trees, out of sight.
''There.'' The cop pointed.
Harrigan squinted, ''Hmm, could be a bum.''
The cop shook his head, ''No one comes out here during the evening since the attacks.''
''I'm packing, a tramp wouldn't be. You packing ?'' He asked as an after thought.
Harrigan showed him the machete, ''Kind of, I've got some dynamite too.''
The cop smiled dryly, ''Then what are we waiting for... ?''
''Wait, what if you're wrong'', Minh whispered, ''they could be, conceivably, an innocent person ? You're supposed to apply and uphold the law, not guess if it's applicable.''
The cop looked at her, nodding doubtfully, ''What do you suggest ma'am ?
Minh pulled herself up to her full five feet two, '' I will scout ahead, get closer and try to discern what it is we are dealing with.''
The cop's jaw dropped, ''You're joking right ?''
Minh looked at him sternly, ''I most certainly am not.''
He looked at Harrigan, ''She's joking....r..i..g..h..t ?''
Harrigan looked at Minh then back at the cop, ''She says she can do it, believe me, she can do it.''
Minh huffed, ''I don't need....'' Harrigan butted in, ''I'm not Minh, but he needs convincing, we don't have much time, just go, we'll keep an eye from here.''
The cop raised his hands, ''Ok, but be careful ma'am.''
Minh shot him a withering look, ''I'm always...'' Harrigan cut in, ''Minh, just do your stuff.''
She nodded, adjusting her spectacles for the umpteenth time, ''Come on Peter,'' she briefly surveyed the undergrowth and the surrounds, ''this way will be the quickest.''
Harrigan pulled out a Lucky, ''Just you and me'', he offered the pack to the cop, ''smoke ?''
''Sure, where'd you find her ?'' He glanced over his shoulder in the direction Minh had taken.
Harrigan drew on the Lucky, ''You wouldn't believe me if I told you.'' He coughed.
The cop exhaled, ''Try me, we got a little time to kill.''
''If you want..''
End of Chapter 1.
Never fear, Doc Savage is here!!
Re: On the Road with Mark and Minh. : Curse of the Rougarou: Looking for trouble...
Chapter 2. Contact (of sorts)
Minh led the way, stopping briefly a few times to gain her bearings. They eventually came out of the tangled trees not far from a large antiquated house, seeing no way around, they cut through the back yard, entering a large delapidated green house. A strange doll caught Minh's eye, propped up on one of the crumbling work benches.
Something scratched away at her subconscious. She picked it up and put it in her satchel. ''This way.'' She motioned to Peter.
They came out of the yard not twenty feet from the crouching figure. It obviously wasn't human, but some large bipedal animal resembling a wolf. Minh nodded as if coming to a decision. Holding a hand out to Peter, ''Stay here.''
Slowly, she moved out into the open and appraoched it, she was sure of herself, but hoped her trembling knees would hold out all the same.
The creature sniffed the air, Minh approached, taking the doll out of her satchel and held it to her chest, she noticed abstractly that her hands were also trembling.
''I'm not going to hurt you.'' She whispered, wondering with irony, exactly what she could do to hurt it anyway. The creature let out a low growl.
She was now no more than 5 feet away, she had a feeling the creature was observing her, though it's eyes were shrouded in shadow, waiting for her to do something. What, she had no idea. For some reason, she held out the strange doll. ''Here, do you want it ?''
The creature began to stand up and took a step towards her, she noted even in a half crouch, it was at least a head and a half taller, it let out a soft whimpering growl and stretched out a claw. Minh was mesmerised and barely heard the stick of dynamite land a few yards behind it. Peter ,however, was already up and running. He pulled Minh backwards and bundled her into the thick briar.
There was a roar and then a loud bang, another roar, the creature sprinted off into the overhanging trees, then running footsteps approaching.
''You two ok ?'' Harrigan asked, a little breathless.
Minh struggled to her feet, ''You're going to tell me that was necessary !!'' She fumed, ''I was getting through to it..''
Harrigan grunted, ''Later Minh, we need to follow it while it's wounded'', he turned to go.
Minh pulled his coat sleeve, ''No, I believe if I can find out more about it, we might be able to take it without a fight. You follow it with the policeman. We'll look around here and join you later at Lady Esprits cabin. We won't take long.''
Harrigan nodded, ''Right, lets go.'' With that, they ran off in the direction the beast had taken.
Making their way through the underbrush Harrigan could hear the creature crashing through the swamp, then silence.
They stopped to get their bearings. A dhole covered in slime padded quickly towards them, looking for food and prey.
''I don't have time for this.'' With that Harrigan took it head on. It was a short, furious, fight, the dhole falling to two arcing slashes of his machete. ''Remind me not to get on your bad side,'' the cop quipped.
Harrigan brushed some of the slime and weeds off his coat, then gave it up as a waste of time. ''Come on.'' With that they pushed on.
''I think I have all we need,'' Minh looked distastfully at the collection of droppings, soil samples and a piece of bloodstained cloth, found near where they had encountered the Rougarou.
She had also discovered it had been eating a wild rabbit, which almost confirmed her theory that it only attacked if it felt threatened.
Suddenly, she was overcome by the red veil and nausea again, she fell to her knees, her satchel falling to the ground.
Peter placed a reassuring hand on her arm, ''We'll get through this, don't worry.'' She looked up at him, the red glow was already fading from her eyes. She smiled weakly, ''Yes, we shall.''
Peter bent to pick up her satchel, a book had fallen out of it. ''Hmm, The King in Yellow, any good ?'' He went to pick it up.
Minh quickly interceded and took it first, ''N..n.no, I, er, it was a present from an old friend, I keep it to remind me of them.'' She took the satchel and packed the book and the samples away, ''Let's catch up with Mr Harrigan, she had quickly regained her self assurance and set off at a brisk pace.
Peter didn't press the issue, but he had seen the slight flinch as she had touched the book. With that thought, he followed.