Horror on the Orient Express - Total Recap!

Madame Bruja
Scenario 5, The Dreamlands Express - session 7

Active Investigators: Colonel Johan Williams, Lord Fyrom Squibb, Professor Walter Scott, Ian Flannigan.

The investigators hade finally made Madame Bruja open up her heart. Their brave stance against that spell-casting burnt corps who probably was The Sorcerer had made them bond. He was a powerful being and Boris Vasilji was impressive (and perhaps lucky) to withstand two mental spell-casting attacks in swift sequence. The Russian bear was not only physically stout but also had immense mental strength from the Siberian tundra.

The investigators were now deep in conversation with Madame Bruja in her compartment. Just prior to this she had been alone with Colonel Williams and accounted for her sad history.

The_Lover_s_Heart.png

She confirmed that she was the Crone and that the Sorcerer would never give up until he had laid his hands on the heart. Lord Squibb specifically asked Madame Bruja if she, or the Sorcerer, had any knowledge about the Sedafkar Simulacrum. She did not know and as far as the Sorcerer went she could neither verify nor deny, but he was a sorcerer of great potency and there was certainly a possibility. Colonel Williams asked her what her mission was? Madame Bruja replied without hesitation that she would travel all the way to the Gulf of Nodens and throw away the heart and therefor forever denying the sorcerer the precious heart. That would mean eternal victory over him.

The_Sorcerer.jpg

Above: Mirror image of the Sorcerer

The investigators parleyed how to handle this. The Sorcerer was without hesitation a very evil and powerful being. He had to be stopped! The players rolled ferociously for Occult, Cthulhu Mythos, and Dream Lore. They got poor results and no breaking news really. Their Cthulhu Mythos expert Hermann Müller was greatly missed back in the Wakening world. After the players had parleyed they decided to have 4 investigators stay on the Dreamlands Express the whole way to the Gulf of Nodens and escort Madame Bruja. They were well aware of the fact that these four investigators would never be able to return to the Dreamlands Express after that. Hence they would prioritize investigators like Edvard Night and Day who had curable phobias and insanity, and would reap benefits from the great sacrifice.

To be continued…

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The Sorcerer
Scenario 5, The Dreamlands Express - session 6

Active investigators this session:

Boris Vasilji
Ian Flannigan
Professor Scott
Colonel Williams

Mironim-Mer laid unconscious on the floor. Boris slapped him in the face and Ian poured cold water on him. Henry and the investigators parleyed what to do with him. They used the Dreaming skill to produce manacles and cuff Mironim-Mer for security concerns. They decided to lock him up in his compartment on the train. But how should he be punished?

The players rolled for Idea and and came up with three different alternatives:

1) Execute him here on the train.
2) Let the cats in Ulthar have him and punish him.
3) Let King Kuranes make the ruling on his penalty.

The investigators voted. Boris and Ian voted for option 2 the cats of Ulthar. Colonel Williams opted for the 3rd alternative, King Kuranes. Professor Scott yielded his vote but supported the majority decision. The cats in Ulthar would decide on Mironim-Mer’s fate.

Colonel Williams stressed the point that Mironim-Mer was not responsible for his actions since he was either under the influence of someone, or quite mad.

Experience was due and since this scenario is long it is divided in separate sections for experience according to the authors. And we play RAW. As written.

The players received the max amount of +1d6 Sanity Points with an additional +1d2 San points to Boris who helped save the Madman (Psychoanalysis and conveying Henry to let him onboard the Dreamlands Express). Well done! We also rolled experience checks for skills. Investigators will soon be updated and published here on Obsidian Portal for your reference.

The Dreamlands Express arrived in the small harbor town of Aphorat at 7 pm and soon they would be served the Second Banquet. Aphorat was a beautiful small town with limestone ruins framing the outskirts and a bluish light marveling upon it’s high walls from the sea. No one was embarking or disembarking but Henry loaded off the colorful flowers that he had picked up at Zar and imported lovely pottery in turn.

All but Colonel Williams had smokings ready and the Colonel kindly asked for their help using the Dreaming skill to produce his outfit. “Befitting for the occasion I would prefer a blood red fez as accessory to my smoking.” The investigators focused and Colonel Williams looked quite exotic with his Turkish fez on.

The Second Banquet was on and Henry did impress yet again.

2nd_Banquet_Menu.png

The guests would be served soup, poultry, fish, camel and dromedary, rounding off with fruits and nuts. The wines were as always delicious especially the exquisite Sarrubian wine which left a weird sensation considering who had delivered them to this train and feast… (Guess who?)

The guests were:

The investigators: Boris, Ian, Colonel Williams, Professor Scott.

The Saarnathians: (males) Theophed (the leader), Amor, Caromel, (and females) Besweet, Ibex, Dulce.

Miss Zsusza the artist

Karakov the arms dealer

MacKenzie the courier

Madame Bruja

The guests were split up into two groups. The Saarnathians kept their distance and talking to themselves. Politely nodding when glances met. Miss Zsusza was entertained by Karaoke and MacKenzie, and later Madame Bruja who as always arrived late. The investigators used skills to get a grasp of the situation. They used Listen to listen in any topics of interest, especially looking for words like “Black Jack” or anything connected to the murder. Nothing happened. They also rolled for Psychology, Spot Hidden and Credit Rating (Colonel Williams on Madame Bruja). There was somewhat of a slow night with everyone a bit careful considering the circumstances.

Colonel Williams made a critical success on his Credit Rating roll with Madame Bruja and the ice cold lady opened up somewhat. She was happy to make conversation especially with Miss Zsusza who reminded her of her daughter that “was gone”. The investigators were not sure if “gone” meant diseased or just missing. They waited for an opportunity to ask.

Henry shortly interrupted the banquet to informed that the killer of Black Jack had been contained and he thanked the investigators for their assistance. Applause were due though somewhat passive.

After dinner small groups were spontaneously engaged in deep conversations encouraged by the delicious wines that continue to be served. Boris was approached by the Saarnathians leader Theophed who wanted the investigators support in brokering a deal with the Beings of Ib. “Their demands are ridiculously lavish” he complained. “We only defended our country against their invasion” he summarized their moral stance. Boris offered to help and negotiations followed.

The_Doomed_Cities_of_Saarnath_and_Ib.png

To be successful in the negotiations, the investigators had to succeed with either Law or Persuade for each of the three major points:

1) 10.000 rubins and saphires in war damage compensation
2) An official apology from the King of Saarnathia
3) Return of the statue of the lizard god Bokrog

Professor Scott was drunk and fumbled his Persuade roll. Theophed was angered by his clumsy remarks and they would now need 2 successful rolls to succeed with point 2! Boris failed his first roll for Persuade but raised the stakes and pushed his roll. He did it! With no investigator having more than 5 % Law they were acting with a knife against their throats. Colonel Williams saved the day when he rolled a perfect "01"and made his Law check. The players (and Game Keeper) cheered. A treaty had been brokered! The Saarnathians would accept the suggested path.

However, it angered the investigators that as they were brokering a peace, Karakov was in the midst selling weapons to the other members of the Saarnathian enclave. Boris complained to Theophed who guaranteed the treaty would be respected but also at the same time making clear that Saarnathia was a sovereign country that had a lawful right to defend themselves against aggression. Boris ended the parley with warnings regarding Karakov. “A man that cannot be trusted.”

The Dreamlands Express was about to enter the city of Thalarion and the wide plains were populated by wild horses chased by purple wolves. Birds with human hands were flying high in the sky. Thalarion was another port city and Henry was since in his voice when he warned any passenger to disembark at Thalarion. “We only stop there to save any lost dreamers.” Boris wanted explained why. Henry pulled him close. “Because therein walk only demons and mad things that are no longer men, and the streets are white with the unburried bones of those that have looked upon the eidolon Lahti, that reigns over the city.”

Madame Bruja had left the banquet early but returned to the banquet wagon as the train pulled into Thalarion. Someone, or rather somewhat, was waiting alone at the station. The investigators looked carefully as Henry went to great the passenger. But instead of greeting it seemed like Henry tried to keep this creature out of the train. Boris had followed Henry to cover his back. He could see that the creature was a human coprse, charcoal black as if burnt with bones open to see here and there. In the empty eye sockets were red glowing light. Henry seemed to passively give in, his arms falling lame along his side and he froze as if momentarily catatonic. Boris did not approve of the development as the black corpse moved toward the ladder and started climbing up towards the banquet wagon. Inside the wagon Ian never hesitated. “I run to my compartment for my crossbow.” Madame Bruja froze to ice and shouted “It is him! he has come for me!” She started running away towards her compartment further ahead in the train. Boris tried to block the path but was challenged by some kind of mental attack. We rolled for opposed POW and Boris made it! But he chose to step aside so the creature could pass him into the banquet wagon. Carefully he drew his sword from the cane. A stab in the back would taste good. As the corpse moved into the banquet wagon panic started to spread. Madame Bruja was running full speed with Colonel Williams following her tail. The corpse followed suit. Would they make it?

We rolled for chase (names in order of position heading for carriage 5 (sleep wagon #1) from carriage 8 (banquet wagon):

Ian (failed roll)
Madame Bruja (succeeded roll)
Colonel Williams (hard success roll)
Black Corpse (failed roll)
Professor Scott (fumbled, fell on floor -1 round)
Boris (failed)

Madame Bruja and Colonel Williams caught Ian and distanced themselves from the corpse. Ian decided to stay in the Men’s Saloon (carriage 7) and make a stance. Perhaps he could give Colonel Williams and Madame Bruja some much needed time to escape. Colonel Williams and Ian tore down tables and chairs to block the corpse from advancing without delay from the Men’s saloon.

The corpse entered the Men’s saloon. On the other side of the rubble as Ian now with a broken chair leg winded with some cloth on fire. Ian wavered it in front of the coprse trying to scare him off with the burning flames. Boris came up from behind. we checked for initiative:

1) Ian
2) Boris
3) The Corpse

Ian used his round to lit the chair leg. Boris thrusted his piercing sword in the back of the corpse trying to hit the kidneys. If there were any kidneys… He rolled a crit! and it was also an impale for 2d8+2+1d4 damage, maximizing the first die (13) for a total of 22 damage! The corpse was still standing though. It seemed that the damage was minimal despite the fantastic hit. The corpse turned toward Boris and uttered a few short sentences in a language not known to man. A sudden pain hit Boris inside his head. He rolled for opposed POW a second time and again beat this fearsome creature. Suddenly the creature was gone.

Who,,,,, what was that thing??” screamed Ian still holding his burning stick. “That my dear friend was the Sorcerer” replied Boris calmly. “He has come to fetch what is his and he will not give up until he has taken it.”

Colonel Williams and Madame Bruja had reached her compartment in carriage nr 5, just next to the investigators compartment. “Madame Bruja, you must tell us what is going on. Please!”

we rolled for Persuade and Colonel Williams (89 %) made a hard success. “Alright, come with me inside my compartment. I shall tell you my story” she said.

To be continued…

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Boris on the dreamlands
A psychoanalasys Dr. Freud would be proud of

Come in, come in. Have a seat! Can I offer you some Vodka? No? Shame, spirits relaxes the mind and opens up its defenses for new ideas beyond the conventional horizon. While that is usually how charlatans and priests ply their trade, spirits should be applied with concideration to the company. But I am neither a priest nor a charlatan, I am Boris Vasiljev, court alienist to his imperial majesty Nikolaj the second of Mother Russia. I was trained by Dr Freud himself in Vienna and have held tenure att several of Europes most prestigous universities! And as for the spirits, I did not recommend it for the great number of benefits to your health and constitution, but because the things I will tell you in the hour or so to come is well beyond the pale when it comes to our understanding of the world.

The dreamlands my friends, a fantastic world where technology does not excist in any meaningfull sense of the word. Cameras, cars, electric lanterns and other marvels of technology cannto exist. Races of talking, sentient cats, marverlous wines and trains upon the backs of tentacled monstrosities can however. A place where you can will things into existance with training. But that is a tale for another time, what I wish to disseminate to you are the psycological implications of such a place.

In his masterfull piece “die Traumedeutung” or the “interpitation of dreams” Dr Freud wrote that dreams are the “royal road to the unconscious”. When we sleep and dream many of our egos defenses are down which allows some of our repressed thoughts and emotions to surface. While this is invaluable to our understanding of the self it is at the same time difficult and should be interpitated with care. The dream is manifested in two layers: The manifest content which is the wish fullfilment of our conscious mind and the symbolic meaning which is the message from our unconscious mind.

Now, how is this relevant you might ask? Well, because when you will something to exist in the dreamlands the result is the sum of your will, and the will is constituted by the conscious as well as the unconscious and the id. This means that what you get is bot always what you consciously wanted but what you unconsciously wanted. Case in point, my dear friend Edward Natt och Dag got a pink balle tutu instead of a parade uniform. While I am certain that he does not desire to escape to Molin Rouge and dress up as a man whom dresses up as a woman whom dresses up as a man, the rigors of a disciplined military life will create a repressed desire for the opposite as the mind seeks balance between it’s components. In short, we could end up getting what our unconscious needs instead of what our conscious wants. And this is nothing to be dismissed. If the dissonance is great enought the result could very well be something lethal. Repression does not follow the dictates of the rational mind, it is simply a primal function, a reaction to our way of life. A body and mind worked too hard for too long could very well unconsciously wish for a comatoes state as a counter-reaction to the extreme of the conscious strive towards even more exertion. Repression is dangerous and potent.

One should always be careful when whishing for things as they might just come true.
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Murder on the Dreamlands Express
Scenario 5, The Dreamlands Express - session 5

The Dreamlands Express left Zar and after a while the investigators went to check on the madman. He was well tied up in the baggage compartment. They tried to question him but he was long gone the poor soul. “He does not constitute a danger to the passengers but for now I rather have him separated from them until he gets treatment” said Boris with a firm voice
(89 % Psychoanalysis rolling 3 on 1d3 for Sanity Points).

They could again hear the scratching sound from inside Karakov’s trunk but neglected to open it due to the smell of mustard gas. Heading back Professor Scott lost 2 Sanity for seeing a Being of Ib stuck in the ceiling corner. They notified Henry who had his suspicions who it could be behind this.

Black Jack was still missing and the investigators were bothered about this. Eventually Henry and Black Jack’s mother came to the investigators as they were enjoying the swimming pool and drinks, asking if they could help ut finding him. The investigators got dressed and walked around in the train looking for Black Jack.

They visited Karakov and asked him about his injury to his right hand. He said he had grabbed his knife under duress due to artillery fire. No one else had heard the artillery but Ian played along. A Psychology check revealed that Karakov was nervous and afraid of something. But he was reluctant to share any more details.

The kitchen was self-served by invisible powers, cleaning, making the dishes and taking care of the cloths. Professor Scott stole a knife and armed himself just in case. The kitchen lacked flooring and the hideous beast inunder had an eye ramming about the hide. Unnerving they left and visited the cats who seemed disturbed as Blackjack was missing.

In the Ladies’ Parlor they again met with the lovely Zsusza who repeated her promise to sing for them after the banquet tonight. She seemed relaxed and joyful but got concerned when they asked her about Blackjack. She had not seen him since breakfast.

The Sarnathians had stopped singing and as the investigators entered their huge salon they were offered grapes, wine, and cheese. They told the investigators more about their errand. They were to travel to Sona-Nyl and there meet with King Kuranes for a verdict on arbitration between them and the Beings of Ib. A conflict would finally be resolved and the Beings of Ib were looking for war damage retribution from Sarnath. The Sarnathinas kindly asked the investigators if they could help them negotiate themselves out of these demands, or even better, “neutralize” the problem all together. Edvard Night & Day told them that killing the Beings of Ib would look bad and raise suspicions for the meeting with King Kuranes. The Sarnathians seemed to think that if the Beings of Ib were not to show up at the conference in Sona-Nyl they would benefit from it. As a gesture of good faith the Sarnathians produced two crossbows (using Dreaming skill) and gave it to Frank and Ian. "Perhaps these can aid you in fixing the problem?

Back at their cabin Professor Scott noticed traces of smeared blood on their trunk. He opened it and almost fell to the floor as if something had hit him. Blackjack’s little bodie lay their dead with three large stabbing wounds. There was not enough blood at the location so he must have been killed elsewhere and then put here to incriminate the investigators. But who wanted Blackjack dead and why blame the investigators? They investigated the area and found tracks leading to the window and out on both sides. Could be two different assailants or one that came and went different directions. The marks looked identical. Edvard climbed out and followed them along the outside wall to Madame Bruja’s compartment. Her curtains were closed but he managed to get a sneak peak of her sitting by her desk writing. The heart shaped valise by her side as always.

Edvard tried to follow the marks going the other directions but missed his Climb check, and even fumbled twice! He lost his grip and fell hard towards the ground as the train sped on along the rocky coastline. The player held his breath and spent 5 Luck Points. In the last minute before hitting those hard rocks further down, a swift tentacle grabbed him by his ankle and put him safely back. Henry was right. The train beasts were instructed to not let anything fall off the train. That would help them in finding the murder weapon and solve this hideous crime.

Returning back and informing the others Professor Scott lost in and ran over to Madame Bruja’s compartment busting her door open. The others ran after to stop him and some what of a frackas was initiated. Madame Bruja was greatly annoyed and shut the door violently. “Get out of my compartment!”

We need to calm down and assess this meticulously” said Frank getting into his police detective role that he knew so well. “We have no evidence against Madame Bruja and the tracks do not only lead to her compartment, but also elsewhere. Let us investigate the other tracks and see where they lead to. Also we need to inform Henry about this” The investigators agreed and Professor Scott had cooled down. Henry was called and he gave the investigators the task of finding the murderer and as official investigators they now had the right to interview any of the passengers and staff, and search the entire premises. The Dreamlands Express was at their mercy for now.

Hermann climbed out the train now and followed the other tracks to the window of Mironim-Mer. “I knew it” he concluded. “I always suspected him of being up to no good”. Hermann climbed back and the investigators went to Mironim-Mer without any further ado.

The investigators had noticed that the rug was pulled back and disturbed. Professor Scott pulled away the rug and there was traces of blood and a skin carcass. Mironim-Mer denied any knowledge of it. The investigators asked Henry to bring the cats and identify the blood. It was cat blood. They also informed that the skin carcass was from a Shapechanger. The investigators pressed Mironim-Mer hard and accused him of the murder. He then admitted under duress to the murder but told them he had been in an alien monster form and in that form he had killed the kitten. His yellow eyes caught a red iris or a red dot inside it and he was struggling with himself ushering a few words before collapsing unconscious: “….I was mesmerized…. Her enemy….”

The investigators considered the Sorcerer. Was it him again? And who was it that Madame Bruja feared? That some one who wanted something that was hers? Or was Madame Bruja the sorcerer hidden in a female disguise? After all “Bruja” means “witch” in Spanish.

Hermann rolled for Cthulhu Mythos and Professor Scott for Occult (89 %). Their presumption was that Mironim-Mer was possessed hence the red iris in his eyes. The best way to free Mironim-Mer was to find the creature possessing him and killing it.

Mironim-Mer.png

To be continued…

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Lost dreams in Zar
Scenario 5, The Dreamlands Express - session 4

The train left Dylath-Leen and the investigators got their much rewarded sleep. Waking up early the next day there was Frank, Hermann, Boris and Edvard. Odd how the Dreamlands manifestations interchanged the investigators…

Boris Vasilijev
Frank Patterson
Edvard Natt och Dag
Hermann Müller

They decided to look up that odd looking thin, pale man. They found him in the Men’s Saloon grabbing breakfast. With him were two of the Sarnathians and they seemed eager to talk to the man as well. They were pushing him on some matter but hesitated as the investigators walked in. “May we join you?” asked Boris as the man sat down. “Yes, my pleasure” he replied courteously. His name was Mironim-Mer and he was a Sarrubian wine merchant of the finest quality. The investigators remembered him slipping a bottle to Henry as he boarded last night in Dylath-Leen. He was courteous but distant and not much was conveyed. He did warn the investigators to get off at Zar as it was a dangerous place of broken dreams.

The Sarnathians were listening in to the conversation trying to catch the eye of the investigators, who were well aware of that. “I ignore them” said Boris player and tried to pump Mironim-Mer without success. Eventually the Sarnathians introduced themselves as Theophed and Caromel. “We are here on an important errand. And who might you be?” They were as always courteous but somewhat cool, almost arrogant with finesse. The conversation was short and polite and the Sarnathians seemed to have a delicate interest in the Waking World.

The Dreamland Express entered Zar and the investigators had a chat with Henry. Frank could not resist but had to ask him about the gloves and mask. “You did not wear them last time we saw you in 1893. What happened to you?” Frank’s player even rolled for Persuade whilst Boris and Edvard refused as they did not want to hurt or offend their friend Henry. “I had an accident” he said sadly. “There was a fire in 1895 aboard the train. I had to help my passengers. A woman and her daughter. Unfortunately I did not make it myself and hence got these severe burns.” Henry became rather distraught so the investigators quickly changed topic. Zar was no good! Henry warned them to get off there. “You might not return and we only stop there to save any lost dreamers.” Boris and Edvard smiled wryly. “Of course we have to get off there now that everyone warns us from it.

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As the train pulled into Zar train station they could see the broken palaces and pillars that looked like ancient Greece. Not so many people, here and there they could spot a lone soul. Surprisingly at the station there was a man waiting. He looked odd in tattered clothes and wild hair. In his hand the remains of some paper note, perhaps a ticket. His eyes… There were no eyes. Just empty sockets. The investigators opened the window trying to see more and keep an eye on him as Henry went out to greet his new passenger. Suddenly the wild man tried to strangle Henry! The investigators went bananas with Edvard and Hermann jumping out the window to Henry’s rescue. Frank and Boris ran out through the ladder. The madman continued to strangle Henry who was turning blue. Hermann succeeded with a fighting maneuver (end strangle hold) and Henry was released. Frank drew his sword and cut him down over the left shoulder and arm for 9 damage. The madman fell prone to the ground (failed CON-roll due to massive damage). The tentacles intervened and hold the madman to the ground in all of his four limbs. Boris successfully applied First Aid to him so they could interrogate him. But he was long gone, mad from his time in Zar. “The things I have seen!” he cried. “I tore my own eyes out, yet I can still see!” He clutched his broken ticket that had bite marks all over it.

Henry did not want to take the madman aboard his train fearing the safety of his passengers. But the investigators insisted. Boris succeeded with Pyschoanalysis and cooled the madman down so they could put manacles on him. Boris diagnosis was that he could cure the madman so he would calm down for longer periods at least. With that the players rolled for Persuade with a bonus die and again succeeded. Henry let them take the madman aboard. They chose between the Padded Compartment or the Baggage area. Henry told them about the “odd creatures” in the Padded Compartment and so the investigators chose the Baggage area where the madman was tied to his manacles and a post railing.

The investigators decided to investigate Zar despite all the warnings. As the wanted off the train and walked around the city of broken dreams their mind was affected negatively and they had to roll for Sanity. All succeeded (1 Sanity point penalty) except for Hermann who got 3 Sanity point penalty (1d4). They met with some lost dreamers, poets, artisans and artists. They were mellow almost sad. Nothing and nothing just an empty void. But when Boris asked about the Sorcerer they suddenly woke up. “Beware of the Sorcerer” they said. “Beware of the Sorcerer.” Boris asked them where the Sorcerer was but they did not know.

Back at the train they noticed a slimy, jelly creature stuck up at the corner of the ceiling. It was just stuck there looking at them. It had tender claws but did not say anything or even move. The stench and foulness surrounding the creature was so bad that the investigators had to make a CON-roll. Again it was Hermann who failed and got nausea so he had to leave (penalty die on all skill checks for now) immediately back to the compartment. As they were moving about Karakov came running from his sleeping car (Car nr 6) with his hand in bandage and it looked like blood as well. He ran past them in haste.

As the investigators were about to enter their compartment they heard the Sarnathians sing and play guitar in their compartment. A party was going on. “Perhaps we should join them?” said Boris and smiled hoping to see vodka in their bar.

To be continued…

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Call of Cthulhu "Keeper Deck"
Enter cards of the mythos

I am happy to inform the followers of our campaign that we are from now on using the Call of Cthulhu “Keeper Cards” that add a bit of excitement and tension to the game. These cards are divided onto four different decks that can be played out in different circumstances. They can be played immediately or at any later time during the game according to the instructions of the Game Keeper of Lore. That is I, Caligula.

CoC_Cards.JPG

The decks are:

’’Curious Characters Deck" that add NPCs to the game in different places and encounters. They can be both allies or enemies. Sometimes you cannot tell until after a while…

“The Weapons and Artifacts Deck”. Finding treasure and alien creations have never been more exciting. But be careful, do not press that red button just yet…

“The Unfortunate Events Deck”. Oh sorry, did you fumble again, said you? Pull a card and see what happens…

“The Phobia Deck”. That sanity problem again… Only one investigator in the group has developed a phobia so far. Edvard Night & Day after the scar in his face when he destroyed the blood red fezes. He got Agrophobia, fear that everybody is staring at his scarred face…

The cards will be implemented from tonight’s extra session at 21:00 CET. We play until midnight. Muahahahaha!

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Zsusza and the Sarnathians
Scenario 5, The Dreamlands Express - session 3

Due to extensive travel among the group we played this session using Google Hangouts. It worked quite well and we will continue playing online next Tuesday 4/4 as well. We actually play four Call of Cthulhu sessions in five weeks which is a new record. The session today was shorter than usual, only two hours. About half the normal sessions. Next Tuesday we will play a full length 4-5 hour session again.

The_carriages_Dreamland_Express.png

Above: The Carriages of the Dreamland Express. The investigators are residing in Sleeping Car #1 (Carriage nr 5) together with Madame Bruja, Miss Zsusza and the pale thin man (name unknown). The Sarnathians, Karakov, and MacKenzie are residing in Sleeping Car #2 (Carriage nr 6).

As the monster-train started to leave Dylath-Leen the investigators peeked out the window and saw a figure running after it. “Hey, wait for me!”. It was a young woman in a black cloak and sporty wear underneath. She ran like the wind but the train was too fast and she struggled to make it. Professor Scott wanting to help her tried using the “Dreaming” skill to make the tentacles help her. He failed the roll. The young woman ran all along the station but failed to catch the train. As a last resort she jumped for it but missed…. As she dived towards the ground, one of the long tentacles simply caught her in motion and put her on board the train with grace.

Zsusza.png

Above: Zsusza enters the train.

The investigators rushed to the last carriage (nr 10, the cats’ compartment) to see how she fared. She was already talking to the conductor Henry who was still wearing his odd mask. The young woman was introduced as Zsusza and she kissed the investigators for trying to help her. Henry had explained Professor Scott’s trial with Dreaming. How did he know…?

Blackjack, the little kitten, stuck his nose inside the cats’ carriage and seemed to want company. Professor Scott picked him up and the two friends were back together. A student by the name of Alexander Briarwood (new investigator played by Jesper, see “Characters” here at Obsidian) entered also and fascinated by the investigators he decided to join them. He was a student, an intern, with specialization in forensics (89%) and chemistry. The brawling and fighting? No, he preferred to avoid those elements (Dodge 89 %).

It was now past 2 am and Ian Flannery decided to call it quits. The others remained up and went to the Men’s Saloon for a drink. After a while the elegant group of six people that boarded in Dylath-Leen with some locomotion came in singing and partying. They poured drinks and danced spontaneously. Professor Scott and Alexander tried to converse them and they responded politely, yet with a distance. They told the investigators they were Sarnathians and they had an errand to attend to, hence taking the Dreamlands Express. Both Alexander and Professor Scott tried to dig deeper (rolled for Spot Hidden, Listen, Psychology – all failed!) but did not succeed to penetrate the Sarnathians polite facade.

The clock was getting closer to 4 am and the remaining two investigators decided to end the night. As a last thing Alexander drew a sketch of the woman he had been talking to mostly, a certain Besweet. There was something about this group of people. They were so handsome, intelligent, highly civilized yet arrogant and cool. They looked like people but where did they come from?

Alexander kept wondering where he was as his eyes closed and he was swept away in the night of the Dreamlands…

To be continued…

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Next stop Dylath-Leen
Scenario 5, The Dreamlands Express - session 2

How odd” thought Ian Flannery and pulled out a flower bouquet from under his coat.
I am sure I had my revolver in the shoulder holster”. The stiletto and brass knuckles were also gone exchanged for a pen and a spoon. Professor Walter’s revolver had morphed into a make-up set. Lord Fyrom Squibb however was pleased to see that his magic artifact, a trumpet taken from the musician Leroy Turner in Chicago, was still intact. Playing it would make dead men stomp…

With the investigator’s in the banquet hall was only MacKenzie, the British government courier; Henry the Belgian conductor wearing his hideous mask; Blackjack the cute little kitten; and of course the ever eager tentacles who were cleaning the table through the windows and the floor. Noices came from the kitchen as the Dream Express porcelain and crystal was cleansed and cared for.

MacKenzie bid good night and walked off to his compartment in wagon nr 6. He looked more tired than drunk (successful Spot Hidden followed with Psychology_). “What if we kill him and then play the trumpet?” Suggested Ian Flannery well aware of the trumpet’s magic capability to restore the dead to the after life. “I won’t have that!” countered a seemingly shocked Lord Squibb. "_Murdering a member of His Majesty’s government? Heavens Flannery, get your act together!" Ian clenched his fists in his pocket thinking of a free Ireland (Ian Flannery belongs to the Irish resistance, the prequel to the IRA).

The investigators were a little bit lost about what to do. They were indeed curious on MacKenzie’s portfolio but he seemed so nice. Professor Scott was caressing little Blackjack who was now on his lap purring. “Lets roll for Occult and target cats” suggested one player (Mats). Someone succeeded, I think it was Professor Scott, and they found out several interesting facts on cats in the occult:

1) The cat is cryptic and close to things that man cannot see.
2) The Sphinx is the cat’s cousin and they speak his language. Cats are older than the Sphinx and can remember things he long forgotten.
3) Cats have nine lives and with each life they may board the Dreamland Express, hence more cats.

To delve deeper into the cats connection to the Dreamlands and the Dreamland Express they needed success with Dreamland Lore but no one succeeded unfortunately.

Ian FLannery wanted to try the music box again but this way reverting the ram and turning it backwards counter-clockwise. In Ulthar they received four train tickets but this time a note came out. “Beware of the sorcerer” it said.

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Wwat? Who is this? Where do the notes come from? The investigators became somewhat disturbed. “Perhaps it is Madame Bruja” someone said and thought that her heart shaped box that she was carrying with her all the time might be some kind of phylactery shielding her soul or spirit. Lord Squibb rolled for History and defined her clothing as a mixture of different times ranging from the 1500s to the 1700s. “Perhaps she is stuck on this train going round in a loop century after century” he speculated. “The sorcerer is probably the nicest person, the one we least suspect!” concluded another player.

The train had reached the coast and they could see the sea bathing in silver as the moon lit up the surface. Soon they arrived inside Dylath-Leen and great sailing ships were anchored in the harbor waiting to load and unload their goods. It was midnight and the train would depart again at 02:00 am. They could see shadows moving about the harbor and the train station, an elephant walked slowly by idling its own business. “Lets stay in the compartment so we do not get lost in the dark” said Professor Scott and tried to get a better angle to see what was going on outside.

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A thin man with pale skin and dark hair arrived at the train and greeted Henry. Succeeding with a Spot Hidden, Colonel Williams saw the man handing over a bottle to Henry who discreetly hid it under his coat. There was also a loud group of snobby people dressed for party and singing and dancing to random music accords. There were six of them, three men and three women and they had immense amounts of luggage being carried onboard by an army of Dreamland Express staff.

Almost an hour later the investigators noticed Henry whispering towards some oddly shaped figures at the far side of the train station outside. They looked like large chunks of jelly almost floating forward as a special landing was lowered to make them enter the luggage compartment. A high pitch shriek seemed to come from one of the jelly monsters answering Henry and then they disappeared aboard the train. Lord Squibb tried for Cthulhu Mythos but failed. What in heavens was going on here? The clock approached 02:00 a.m. and it was time for departure.

To be continued…

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Cultists among us...
The secret room

I shall inform you that one of my players has gone over to the dark side. He has built a secret antechamber where he worships his foul Gods and read secret tomes since long forgotten. Written in blood, bound by human flesh and bone.

I cannot reveal the payers name but I see him outside my home at nights after midnight has struck. He waits there for me. For the next session. However, I managed to take a picture with my hidden camera and share it here now with you. I f something happens to me please use the picture to track his whereabouts.

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Caligula

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The Dreamlands Express
Scenario 5 - Session 1

It was Saturday 26th of January 1923 and the Orient Express would part from Paris 22:53 the same evening.

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Boris was carrying the first recovered body part of the Sedefkar Simulacrum in his bag. His body had started to ache and feeling uncomfortable. Apparently the sadistic magic of the Sedafkar Simulacrum was affecting him already. No matter what they still had to assemble all of the parts and find the ancient scrolls that would initiate the sacred ritual to destroy it. And it all had to be done inside the shunned mosque deep inside Istanbul. Probably surrounded by violent thugs and cultists. Piece of cake!

As they boarded the Orient Express yet again they were tired and went straight to their compartments. They changed and slipped into the velvet sheets. Soon they were asleep. Deep asleep. Deep…. Deep….. Zzzzzzz.

A town. Full with cats in the cobbled street and a mist hiding its features. Professor Walter Scott JR bent down and caressed a beautiful siamese. It purred. Ian, Boris, and Edvard were almost tripping over the cats as they were all around, 30-40 perhaps 50 of them. But as Prof. Scott caressed the cat the others dispersed and they could move freely along.

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They saw a sign, Ulthar. They had never heard of the town. As Ian produced his camera he was shocked to see that it had turned into a small toy, a carousel that played music. He tried to play it and out came four tickets to the Dreamlands Express.

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The players realized they had entered the Dreamlands. We hence added the skills Dreaming (1/5 Power) and Dream Lore (1/2 Cthulhu Mythos) to their investigator sheets. Unfortunately none of todays investigators had any Cthulhu Mythos so the Dream Lore skills were left blank at zero skill points.

The investigators:

Ian Flannery
Boris Vasilijev
Edvard Natt och Dag
Professor Walter Scott JR

As they approached the northern limits of the town they saw a platform and a train station. There was a VIP-section for cats and the large community of cats gracefully entered the velvet ropes that was entertained by staff from the Dreamlands Express. The investigators entered the platform and were duly greeted and tickets controlled. Strangely, there were no rail tracks just thick grass covered in moist and weird signs cut into it. There were three more humans waiting for the train.

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Above: MacKenzie, a jovial courier for the British government. Keen on food and drink, wanting to become a poet. At all times carrying a briefcase locked to his arm with a chain.

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Above: Karakov, a Russian arms dealer rumored to be in poor health. His arms deals supported the bloody conflict on the Western Front during the Great War.

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Above: Madame Bruja, from another time, another world. Dressed in Elizabethan collar from the 1700s. Difficult to engage and sticks to herself. Carries a heart shaped case at all times.

Suddenly the ground shook and something was penetrating the mist. A terrible monster train or rather huge beings clung together with tethering tentacles. Was it a huge spider king, a mass of shapeless octopus, or what was it? There were several of them and the tentacles moved it forward. Huge eyes and several maws that were full with razor sharp teeth, opened and blinked all over the jelly shaped body mass. On top of these entities there were carriages and ladders that came down for the passengers. “Hello, hello, welcome my name is Henry, how can I help you?

The investigators were flabbergasted as they fully recognized Henry from the 1893 Orient Express mission that thwarted the Blood Red Fez cult (see earlier posts). But this version of Henry wore a mask covering his entire face. Using Spot Hidden and Psychology they still were confident that it was him. Asking him about it he acknowledged he had been on the Orient Express “a long time ago” but did not convey further on the issue. Despite the mask they could see (Spot Hidden) that his face was deformed and discolored at the edges of the mask as if something terrible had happened to him. But they refrained from asking at this point.

Entering their compartment it was certainly in lavish style and Henry told them that there would be a welcoming banquet before sunset in just a little bit. The investigators should get ready and wear formal dinner attire. “The Dreamlands Express take you all the way to the Gulf of Noden where you can through away all of your fears.” Henry smiled seeming to be the same perfect servant as back in 1893 on the Orient Express.

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Get rid of all of my fears?” thought Edvard. His agoraphobia that he inflicted after having destroyed the master blood red fez certainly was not a pleasure.

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The investigators were put off. They only had the clothes that they were wearing. But they could use the Dreaming skill to create objects. They tried. All but Professor Walter Scott JR failed. The professor even failed terribly. Suddenly he wore a pink women dress! The others laughed. Henry was called yet again to help them out and the huge tentacles delivered their wanted clothing through the windows. The tentacles were swift and agile and clearly controlled everything within the carriages from the outside with their great reach.

The investigators went to look around the train and entered the bath area. They were accompanied by a little black kitten called Black Jack and Professor Scott immediately was very affectionate to it. Henry arrived with some drinks and told them that Black Jack’s mommy Sophie wondered where he was and now could tell her that he was in good company with the cat loving investigators. Henry talked to Black Jack in cat language, making weird miaowing sounds. “Here in the Dreamlands the cats have their own language” he informed.

The investigators tried the nicely smelling water, a smell of roses and jasmine. Deliciously scented and salted. Nice drinks were served by Henry as well, wine of the most exquisite vintages and not from the world as we know it.

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After the bath they went to the Banquet Hall carriage together with their new acquaintances MacKenzie, Karakov, and Madame Bruja. MacKenzie brought his portfolio with him still locked around his ankle. It was apparent that MacKenzie and Karakov knew each other from before hand even though they kept a courteous distance. Madame Bruja kept her distance and the heart shaped box was in her hands continuously. The dinner was amazing and started with turtle soup. MacKenzie and Karakov enjoyed their wine and temperature and the sound of conversation rose accordingly. During a break between dishes, Ian approached Karakov by the window overseeing the vast landscape of the Dreamlands.

I wonder why he is carrying that briefcase with him at all times, and why is it locked to his arm? Would you know?Ian asked Karakov carefully when no one else was listening. Karakov smiled wryly. “I have no clue, but being the curious person that I am I would probably pay a handsome fee to anyone acquiring that very briefcase. Let us say…. 500 roubles?Ian looked at Karakov who kept his smile locked in position. Was he a communist spy perhaps? He looked nouveau riche with his fur jacket and fingers full of rings in expensive metals. “Perhaps when he sleeps…” said Ian playing along. “Sounds like a terrific idea” concurred Karakov. “500 roubles” he repeated and returned to his seat next to the presumptuous victim MacKenzie.

Dinner continued and the atmosphere went from good to great. Even Madame Bruja opened up to Edvard Night and Day who charmed her (Credit Rating). “He will not have what is mine. I know he wants it. I will never give it to him!” She talked in riddles and also mentioned she had lost her daughter in terrible circumstances. Edvard tried to pry further but did not succeed (failed Persuade roll). The cute little kitten Black Jack was carried out from the kitchen from time to time after a casserole or two hit the floor with a bang. Henry was very patient however and explained to Black Jack softly in cat language that the kitchen was off his premises.

MacKenzie was easier to parley and he admitted working for the British government as a courier traveling back and forth often using the Orient Express for fast connection. He had met Karakov there on many occasions. “But I don’t like him. He is a warmonger. Might even be a spy!Ian tried to ask him what was in the briefcase but the questions were not appreciated and Ian retreated from the subject despite his journalist core.

Time to get Karakov drunk”, Boris thought to himself and started a long row of toasts to the Russian revolution. Karakov drank and drank dutyfully and after couple of hours (opposed CON-rolls) they had to carry him to his quarters. Boris noticed that Karakov did not seem to be in great physical shape as he went under the wagon just a bit too fast. Boris and Ian took care of business. In Karakov’s compartment they searched the premises and found a receipt for checked in luggage in the baggage compartment wagon. They went there and looked for the trunk. A huge piece. It was locked with a padlock and tight ropes were all around it. Someone wanted it to be sealed to a great extent. They felt a weird smell. Ian identified it as mustard gas. What? Here on the train? They could also hear scratching noises from the inside and distant whining. Was somebody or something locked inside the trunk? Boris tried to stick a bayonet inside it but it was too tightly configured and he failed.

The little kitten Black Jack was as ever very curious and came up to them. Boris lifted the kitten up towards the trunk and he clawed and screamed obviously scared by the trunk and its content. The investigators returned to Karakov’s compartment and returned the receipt. They went back to the banquet where all were friends by now. Edvard escorted Madame Bruja to her compartment through the lavish gardens and fountains of the Ladies parlor wagon. MacKenzie was really drunk and started to look tired. Was this the moment? The investigators looked at each other. “Perhaps it is time to call it for the day?” MacKenzie nodded. Soon he would be in deep slumber and the briefcase perhaps lose from his arm…

To be continued…

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