Here is our session report for Scenario 3 in story format!
Mandy Thomson knew something was wrong. Something was always wrong in Arkham, but this was something knew. Her research had led her to meet a girl named Cindy Fleming at the Historical Society. Cindy was nice... too nice. Something about her smile looked pasted on. When Cindy told Mandy there was something she just had to see at the Black Cave, Mandy took a pass. That’s when Cindy showed her true colors; a pulsating green energy surrounded her and Mandy found herself on the edge of a great Abyss.
Diana Stanley knew she was right. That didn’t mean she liked it. A cult was active in Arkham, all the signs were there for someone who knew what to look for. She started out heading to the Graveyard, the place where it had all ended for her, the perfect place for it to start again. She found nothing there but one of those awful Hounds of Tindalos. It wasn’t seeking her so she waited quietly while it went on its way and contemplated her next move. Not that there was any question, there was only one place to go to find out for sure what was going on, but could she really go back there?
Wilson Richards stepped off the train with a mission. He headed straight for the newspaper and told the editor how it was: Wilson had evidence something strange was happening in Dunwich; the editor would cover his expenses and Wilson would get the scoop for him. The editor could hardly refuse the intimidating man. With some time to kill before the next train, Wilson went to Independence Square to get his fortune read by the gypsies there. Then he though better of it: he would make his own fortune. He took the next train to Dunwich and then did what he did so well: do whatever needed doing, blend in and watch.
Darrell Simons knew he had a scoop: Madness in Arkham. It was coming, he’d seen the signs before, he still carried an Elder Sign as a token, but the editor wouldn’t listen to him. The editor figured Darrell’d had too much to drink, but Darrell realized it wasn’t enough. Over at Hibb’s Roadhouse he got a scotch and soda and lucked out when an inquisitive Ryan Dean approached him. Darrell’s extensive knowledge of Mythos Lore impressed Dean. In exchange Dean told him of something interesting he’d seen on the Unvisited Isle.
Jenny Jones stepped off the train and immediately went to work: shopping. She browsed the nearby Curiosity Shop for awhile, eventually settling on an interesting looking crystal ball. The shop keeper was saying some blah, blah, blah about somebody named Mortlan; Jenny just figured the crystal would make a nice gift for Aunt Gertrude.
You wouldn’t know it looking at him, but Pete loved to read. All the other drifters loved to hear him relate tales of legend and Lore. Pete himself secretly chuckled at the double meaning of his nickname, “Ashcan”, every time he rifled through some cheaply produced pulp novel. His first night in Arkham he found a nice, abandoned building to take shelter from the summer heat in. That wasn’t nearly as surprising as finding a hand-written manuscript hidden in the room he had chosen. It was quite a tale: dark conspiracies, a doorway to a frozen city, the hero kept prisoner, passing time playing chess with his jailer, and a growing sense of terror as the hero realized he was to be the first sacrifice to a great monster with an insatiable hunger. It was a good tale; Pete thought about getting it published; if only he could find the last chapter. The next morning he was woken by a scraping sound. It was the chess board in the corner, with the pieces moving by themselves! This was too much and he ran out to the street only to be greeted by snow flurries and icy winds. It occurred to Pete that the manuscript might not have been a story.
On a lark, Jenny picked a book off the shelf and read out a love spell. She was having a good laugh about that when a handsome young man entered the shop and walked right up to her. He introduced himself as Eric Colt and whispered in her ear that he had something for her. She was less than giddy with excitement when he showed her what it was: a Flamethrower. He was talking about evil things coming and how they needed her to help fight. She vowed to herself never to be so stupid as to read anything labeled as a magical spell again when the cold snap struck.
Diana was standing outside the Silver Twilight Lodge when the blizzard hit. She watched the frost appear on the grass. She watched people in their summer clothes go running for cover from a sudden arctic wind and then the snow. She had no choice. She walked straight back into the sanctum, she knew no one would question her. Paul was there, if he knew where she had been the past several months, he gave no sign. She found out what was going on: Tsathoggua had been brought to the Black Cave, and now they were gathering food for his unending hunger. Paul even told her she could join a group in the Uptown streets that were snagging people for sacrifice. Diana thanked him, and while no one was looking tried to sneak out, but there was a Dhole warding the street; she was trapped. Instead she grabbed a book she knew off the shelf and began to undermine their plans.
Mandy could not see the stars but knew she was no longer on Earth. She saw Cindy there, along with other strange, robed people and they were dragging cages of what could only be described as monsters back through the portal to Earth. They were bound for the Black Cave to be fed to something even more monstrous, she learned by eavesdropping. She crept through pitch black shadows to sneak past the crazed cultists and back through the portal. When she got to the other side, the pendant she had found in the Library became burning hot. She threw it down and the portal vanished, trapping Cindy on the other side. Good riddance, she thought.
Darrell and Ryan Dean took a boat out to the paradoxically named Unvisited Isle. There Darrell saw new patterns of stars and something stuck itself into his brain; a ray of hope he did his best to hold onto until later. Talking together, the men decided that if Darrell was interested in madness the best place to check was the Asylum. When they got back to the mainland, they were surprised to see an Arkham summer had turned into a winter horrorland. They made their way to the Asylum as quickly as they could over the now perilous roads.
Pete was grateful for the rifle he had found in Boston, even if his ammunition was limited. He was extremely grateful when he came across a crazed man dragging a moving corpse. The man said all kind of crazy things about a Black Cave and a dark future before Pete shot him dead. He made sure the corpse stopped moving too. If all that wasn’t strange enough, he was approached by a young man with a very rich looking woman carrying an army surplus Flamethrower. After a short conversation, Pete realized Colt knew what was happening and had a plan. Colt asked Jenny to give Pete the ancient book she had brought to Arkham to have appraised (and promptly forgot about). Jenny agreed, but she quickly torched a tree, taking a charcoal stick and scribbling her name in the front before handing it over. Pete thought it was funny that Jenny seemed to find it creepier to be talking to a bum than to be fighting evil, undead monsters.
Thanks to a spell in the book, Pete found himself drawn to the Woods south of the city. Colt led the way to the French Hill streets, where Jenny almost lost it when she saw the giant worm. Colt told her to use the flamethrower, and once it was a sizzling worm carcass, she didn’t find it as scary anymore.
Mandy understood now, more gateways were opening throughout Arkham, more worlds for the madmen to plunder for living things to feed some creature’s growing hunger. She had to find them, especially because the pendant had magically implanted in her mind a method to seal the gates. She grabbed her makeshift Flamethrower and made her way across town through a freak blizzard that had gripped Arkham. Snow in July, something was definitely wrong.
At the Silver Twilight Lodge, Diana read a simple incantation to bring an open gateway to her. A quick look through into Lost Carcosa was all she needed to confirm her suspicions: they were also traveling to other worlds and capturing creatures to be fed to the Great One. She read the next line and the gate began to collapse. A quick step to the other side and she threw the book into the collapsing portal; good luck getting that one open again. Now she had to leave, and in a hurry. Fortunately the Dhole had been turned into barbeque by someone.
Pete was halfway to the Woods when he saw something that chilled his blood even more than the unseasonably frigid weather: Leo. He’d met Leo in Boston and knew what he was: a killer, a Strangler. Pete had sent the Boston police after Leo and thought that was the end of it. Now it was up to him to end it. He spotted another attractive woman carrying a Flamethrower and figured that couldn’t be coincidence. He gave Mandy the book with the gate spell and followed Leo. Leo took him all the way to Ma’s Boarding House. There, in the shadows, Pete’s rifle put an end to the threat of Leo. But now what?
Wilson didn’t see much in Bishop’s Brook Bridge, or at that place they called the Devil’s Hopyard. But when he was making his way through the Backwoods Country, a ghost attacked him. He was ready for this, and threw the bag of Ib’n Gazzi powder he’d been holding onto for just such an occasion. Poof, no more ghost. Then he saw something very strange: a man in robes using a stick like a lion-tamer’s whip to drive along a bright-red, tentacled monster. Wilson hid behind a tree and observed as they went past. Then the tree moved. Fortunately it was as vulnerable to a shotgun blast as anything else. Just then an ill wind blew down from Silent Hill. That would have to wait; Wilson tracked back the strange man to where he had come from at the top of Wizard’s Hill.
Darrell disguised himself as an asylum patient – and he honestly felt better after bluffing his way through a session with a doctor – and snuck into the offices for a look through the files. He couldn’t find anything conclusive, but did notice that a large number of recent patients had come from the small town of Dunwich.
In the French Hill streets Diana ran into a drifter who was begging everyone he saw to get out of the streets and trust no one. That was all she needed to know. She gave Pete some money and told him to go buy some things they could use for the fight to come. He thought that was a good idea, but balked at the amount of money; could she really afford that? She smiled at his concern, but no; it was the Alchemy spell she had found that convinced her she could survive on her own to begin with so money wasn’t a problem for her.
Pete took the money to the General Store but couldn’t find anything to fight with. He picked up a Cross, figuring it couldn’t hurt, and a map of the city, showing a couple other stores of interest. At that point the proprietor kicked him out and shut up the shop, telling Pete not to come back. Pete figured he’d be closed for the Fourth of July but as he looked at the strange shapes moving in the sky, he figured there were other reasons too.
A strange glow drew Wilson to a crack in the rocks at the top of Wizard’s Hill. He found himself pulled through and looked around to see the world changed. A future world where cars too big for any garage drove at deadly speeds through cyclopean cities of metal and glass. Where millions of people spent their days listening to nothing but lies and eating nothing but poison. Wilson’s sanity snapped. The next thing he knew, he was back in Arkham, in the Asylum. He looked at the book where he had written down everything he had seen, but it seemed nothing more than Delirious ramblings now. He gave up on selling any of this to the newspaper, but knew that he had to get back to that gate on Wizard’s Hill.
Darrell and Dean hopped on the next train to Dunwich. While checking out Gardner’s Place, Dean pointed out a strange piece of metal in the ground. When Darrell touched it, it transformed into an arabic-looking lamp. With Dean now jokingly calling him “Aladdin”, the men continued their investigation of Dunwich. A strange and disturbing wind blowing from Silent Hill drew the men to the Whately Farm. In the barn, a shadowed figure mumbled some words at them and they found themselves at sea in a cyclopean city buffeted by hurricane winds. Darrell is certain he would have died there if not for Dean’s help. Eventually the men found the gate back to the farm and Darrell’s Elder Sign fairly exploded with energy, taking the gate with it.
In Independence Square Mandy found another gate, this one to a great and ancient City. She was grateful for the book, for it helped her escape the city in mere moments and she sealed it as well. There was not a moment to spare; gates were everywhere.
Diana headed for the Uptown streets and put a stop to the cultists working there. There would be more, but her fount of information was dried up; time to make the long, cold trip to the Police Station and warn the authorities. It was so cold it was hard to believe tomorrow would be the Fourth of July. The police were grateful for the information and the idiot deputy was sorry for almost shooting her, so they let her spend the night there.
Darrell and Dean followed the exodus of people, trying to flee from whatever was happening on Silent Hill, to Bishop’s Brook Bridge. Darrell couldn’t help but notice a man trying to fit in but definitely not moving with the crowd. Rightly taking him for an investigator, Darrell struck up a conversation and convinced Wilson to meet him for a drink when this was all done. It was starting to look like Darrell wouldn’t be able to get a seat on the train, maybe for days, when the sheriff recognized him and offered to give him and Dean a lift back to town. Unfortunately along the way Darrell actually answered the sheriff’s curiosity about what was going on. The sheriff knew right where to take him: the Asylum.
Pete used his map to guide him to the Curiosity Shop. That shop owner wanted to close up as well, but he squeezed in just long enough to buy a book at random off the shelf. It was late and it was too cold to sleep in the streets tonight. That left one option, the sanitarium, Arkham Asylum. He could check himself in for the night, fake his way through a session with a doctor and then sneak out the next day. They bunked him with a reporter, Darrell, who confided in Pete he had similar plans himself. They shared their stories and realized they were both working on the same thing. They promised to meet up again at the road house if they managed to survive.
Before crashing for the night, Pete read the book he had picked up, something called “De Vermis” something or other. There it was: a spell for closing gates. He read the incantation and went to sleep figuring that would be the end of it. No such luck, in the morning the streets were still frozen and people still cowered from the strange shapes in the sky. Worse, his book was gone. Keeping to their plan, he and Darrell snuck away, Darrell heading to the Black Cave and Pete heading back to the Curiosity Shop. The proprietor wanted to be out of there, but he wanted Pete’s money more. He was in luck, there was another copy of “De Vermis” on the shelves, along with something else called “The King in Yellow” that looked promising.
The next morning Diana wasn’t sure what to do, she’d used up all her leads. She headed over to the Curiosity Shop. The owner looked nervous; things were getting bad. He was open on Independence Day to pick up a few last sales before leaving town. The drifter was there, using the money she’d given him to good use buying books. On the shelves she found an Obscene Statue she recognized. Her heart felt heavy as she realized what a fool she had been. Her first instincts were right: this was going to end in the Graveyard.
Colt then took Jenny on a whirlwind tour: buying a Red Sign at the Magic Shop, and ironically burning a Witch in the Easttown streets. Mandy found her path to the next gate blocked by a horrible monster, which Jenny quickly dispatched. They introduced themselves, nervously eyeing each other’s flamethrower. Even more curiously, Mandy had the book she had given the bum. Colt convinced her that this was a sign she could be trusted. He gave her a kiss and told her he would wait for her return. She and Mandy walked through the gate, and found themselves enveloped in darkness and Jenny was immediately lost. When Mandy crawled out, she was afraid her new friend was lost forever, and she didn’t do a very good job of closing the gate.
Diana hurried to the Graveyard and found it this time: a vast yet hidden gateway to the City of the Great Race. That City existing partly out of time and partly in Antarctica; that’s where this cold weather was coming from.
When Jenny found her way through the darkness, she found that she had completely lost Mandy and was alone in some strange, giant, and very cold city. A strange woman in a hooded cloak was there who told her to get back to Arkham as quickly as she could. Jenny protested that she didn’t know how, so Diana grabbed the ancient book and showed her the spell to read. The Glass of Mortlan glowed and the next thing she knew, Jenny was standing in a graveyard, and Colt was there.
Diana had some business to attend to. Paul was there, ready to take revenge for her earlier betrayal. Her guilty heart and her doubts made her arm feel heavy, but she swung the sword with skill; Paul was dead before he hit the ground.
Over the proprietor’s complaints that the shop wasn’t a library, Pete read the incantation again. Then he handed the proprietor his money and let him close up. Still, the world outside hadn’t changed. Maybe the whole idea of spells was ridiculous after all. It was the Fourth of July and there was a parade going on. Pete headed down to watch it, when he heard screams. He ran the rest of the way, finding a long-legged horror terrifying the crowd. The last of his ammo took care of the creature, and brought him the accolades of the people around him.
Saddened she had failed Jenny, but determined, Mandy made her way to the Unvisited Isle, ready to go through another gate, but as she approached it, it collapsed.
Wilson, still ignoring the evil wind from Silent Hill, went back to Wizard’s Hill and went through the gate to Another Time again. This time, keeping thoughts of home in mind it was not nearly so scary. He found another of the robed men here, doing something strange at an altar. He took the man hostage at gunpoint and took him with him back to Dunwich. There he convinced the man to close the gate, shoving the man into it while it was collapsing.
Outside the Black Cave, Darrell saw monsters being herded in. A Zombie broke away from its captors and attacked Darrell, which was when he learned that magical lamp was an effective weapon. Darrell released the ray of hope he had been holding onto and prepared to fight for his life
Diana took a long time searching the City for what she needed to end the terror and despaired of ever finding it. That was when she felt a magical hope fill her heart. She took what she needed, walked back through the gate and chanted the words that would close the gate forever. It collapsed and she felt the world shake as dimensions snapped back to alignment.
The cold wave snapped, Darrell watched as the monsters devoured their captors and the Cave collapsed in on itself. Darrell slipped away, grateful that his prayers had been answered.
Then Colt broke Jenny’s heart telling her he had to leave, but she should go with Diana and meet the others at Hibb’s Roadhouse. There would be other challenges and she would need friends.