Greetings from PDX AGE. http://www.pdxage.com/age/
I like this Con. It is pretty low key and relaxing. I am running Mr. Corbett, an adventure from Mansions of Madness twice here. I am also running a homespun Savage Worlds adventure.
The Mansions of Madness book for Call of Cthulhu is pretty much full on awesome.
The game started last night with three players, each of which had never played COC before. Two were avid GURPS players and one was an avid D&D player, looking for something new to try.
Sam played Rick “Shifty” Sylvan, a drifter with a Thompson submachine gun… After Rutger Hauer already took the Hobo With A Shotgun TM.
Kenny played Erin Jones, an investigator. Kenny didn’t figure out that Erin was a female until almost all the way through the game. It pays to read the character sheet. It didn’t matter, Erin couldn’t hit the broadside of a barn with her .38 automatic, mainly because the d100 liked rolling 85 and up.
Hank played Sean Taylor, an engineer. Sean was pretty smart but couldn’t roll low on notice rolls to save his life…
So the adventure starts, and the friends are at Sean’s house, a nice craftsman home in a relatively new, comfortable neighborhood in Arkham. As they are making Sunday dinner, Shifty notices the neighbor across the street walk up to his front door and struggle with his packages as he attempts to unlock the front door. The Neighbor, Mr. Corbitt drop some a foot long white paper wrapped cylindrical object, open the door pick up the object and hustle inside and close the door. A few minutes later, Mr. Corbett comes back out with a bucket of soapy water and a brush and begins scrubbing down the porch. Erin notices that the water spilling off the steps has a slight pinkish hue.
The group decides to go an investigate. Mr. Corbitt is very nervous around the three people, and acts skittish, declining any help, demanding that the people leave him alone, after all, he has done nothing wrong. While Erin and Shifty find this to be rather odd, Sean, who has been a neighbor of Mr. Corbitt for several years thinks little or nothing of the socially odd reaction to an offer of help. Mr. Corbitt is a loner, who became a recluse after his wife died in childbirth. Mr. Corbitt may not be an ideal neighbor, but he is quiet, keeps his yard well tended and occasionally offers baskets of beautiful vegetables from his garden. He also provides orchid flowers to his neighbors. Mr. Corbitt has a greenhouse that he grows amazing plants from exotic locales, along with bright red tomatoes year round.
So the party leaves Mr. Corbitt alone, and goes back to Sean’s house to finish making dinner. After a short while, there is a knock on the door. Mr. Corbitt is standing on the porch, with a basket of vegetables in his arms, apologizing for his rudeness. Shifty and Erin find this odd, but Sean knows of Mr. Corbitt’s hot and cold type of interaction. Mr. Corbitt asks Sean to look after his greenhouse while he goes on a trip to New York to work out some issues with a shipment for his import / export business. He should be gone for about a week. Mr. Corbitt would like Sean to go into the greenhouse in the morning and open up the roof vents, and then go back late afternoon and close the vents up again. This will help regulate the temperature for his plants in the greenhouse.
So Shifty takes a couple of the perfect zucchini and chops them up, then sautéed it with butter and garlic. Shifty botched his spot hidden roll, so he didn’t see the pin prick in the flesh of the vegetable. The party sat down and ate a delicious meal of pot roast, potatoes and fried zucchini.
Then bad things happened. Shifty and Erin sank into a hallucination and saw the dark sky night ripped open with a thunderous roar. Then giant tentacles reached through the rift and struck the souls of Shifty and Erin. The tentacles ripped pieces out of their souls, and they observed themselves transform into insect creatures who were pawns under the old one’s battle to bring ruin and chaos to this world.
Sean was pretty freaked out, watching his friends writhing in pain, grunting and trumpeting in his living room. He hauled each of his friends to his car and drove them to the hospital.
At the hospital, the doctors are convinced that the two are suffering from hallucinations, of the type that poison mushrooms would provide, but in a far worse case than they ever saw before. They want to know if Sean used any wild mushrooms in the dinner, and what Sean are differently than the two friends.
After a while of talking to the medical staff, Sean sees Mr. Corbitt walking down the hall. Sean follows after Mr. Corbitt as he enters a side door off the hall. This is the Morgue. Mr. Corbitt is talking to another person, a greasy pale man who twitches slightly when he talks in a high nasally tone. The new man in the morgue is dressed in the type of clothing you would see a hospital orderly would wear.
Sean busts into the Morgue, and confronts Mr. Corbett and the other man. He accuses Mr. Corbett of poisoning his friends. Mr. Corbett feigns a complete lack of knowledge of what Sean is talking about. Sean Demands Mr. Corbett go and talk with the doctors and police. Mr. Corbett declines, and the orderly becomes noticeably nervous, demanding that both of them leave the morgue, after all, it is a restricted area.
Mr. Corbett accompanies Sean to meet with the doctors. Sean rants about how Mr. Corbett poisoned his friends with zucchini. Mr. Corbett explained to the doctors that Sean is distraught, and obviously needs someone to blame for the unsanitary conditions in his kitchen.
A quick discussion occurred about the difference between causation and correlation. Then Mr. Corbett took his leave.
After a day, Erin and Shifty were well enough to be released. They went back to Sean’s home and decided to check out the Corbett house. After all, Mr. Corbett did ask Sean to look over his greenhouse. So all three trooped over to Mr. Corbett’s house. They looked in the trash, and found it was full of butcher paper with bloody residue on one side. The off thing was that there were no butchers marks on the paper. Usually, the butcher marks the cut of meat, the price, or something on the paper in grease pencil. The butcher paper had no marks.
As they passed the garden on the way to the greenhouse, they observed that the soil in the garden was very dark, almost black. This was amazing soil for a garden in Arkham. Most of the yards were rock strewn, and Mr. Corbett must have spent an amazing amount of time adding nutrients to the soil to get the garden this rich.
After looking at the garbage, the party went to the greenhouse. It was unlocked. They entered and opened the vents. As they looked around, they saw a beautiful array of orchids and other exotic plants. The party spent quite a bit of time looking at the exotic flowers and amazing tomato plants. They observed a large plant with vines, the leaves were orange and blue. The leaves were waxy. Sean had read a lot of National Geographic magazines, and had recognized some of the exotic plants, but no one had ever heard of a plant that had orange and blue variegated leaves. Erin took a couple of leaf cuttings from the plant, and notice that the sap was thick and dark red. It smelled coppery metallic.
After a while, the plant sap stopped flowing. Sean decided to look in the roots and soil of the plant. As he dug around in the soil, he felt something hard and cylindrical. As he dug more, he pulled out what looked like the bones making up a human forearm. The hand included a woman’s wedding ring. The roots of the plant were wrapped around the bones of the arm.
Recoiling in horror, Sean stood up, and all three noticed another odd plant, whose flowers looked like they were swiveling around to face them. The plant had spiked blue green leaves and the flower was a large purple and white fleshy mass. All three party members thought it would be a good idea to back away. As they backed away, the purple and white flower belched out a cloud of spores that missed the party, but landed on the nearby plants. The nearby plants immediately began to wither and die.
The gang decided to leave. Shifty had the presence of mind to close the vents back up before leaving.
So, the party was convinced something was not right, here at the Corbett home. Shifty decided to look into the front windows. They saw something moving quickly through the room, like a cat. This was odd, because in a previous discussion with Mr. Corbett, he assured Sean that there were no pets in the house. Mr. Corbett specifically stated that he had no cat.
Intrigued, the party decided that they should investigate. After all, it isn’t really a B&E if you can tell the cops that you broke in because you saw a cat, and you were sure that the house had no cat, right?
So Shifty used his lock picks and got into the front door in a couple of seconds. Erin went in first. The house was dark.they saw the “cat” at the end of a dark hallway, running from one room to the other. It was hard to see because it was dark, but it was probably the strangest cat ever, it didn’t lope along, it seemed to waddle back and forth, making slapping sounds on the floor was it plodded along.
Erin crept up and saw it first. The “Cat” was actually a severed female human head, upside down with child’s legs grafted onto the sides where the woman’s ears should have been. It was very disturbing. It ran by the party and proceeded to flap / run around upstairs. What followed was a long discussion as to whether the head thing was dangerous or not.
The party ended up chasing the poor head/leg thing into a closet, and it repeatedly banged on the door, trying to get out. It would seem that Mr. Corbitt was telling the truth, he did not have a cat. After a while, the party decided to search the house. They started upstairs and found nothing of particular interest. There was a master bedroom, two unused bedrooms and a nursery. The nursery was likely for the baby who died during childbirth. The nursery was very dusty, and it looked like Mr. Corbitt had not been in here much, if not at all over the last seven or eight years.
After some time, the party went downstairs and looked for anything that could help them understand what was going on here. Erin found a small stack of journals on a desk. This appeared to tell a lot of what was going on.
Now, as the party read through the journals, the faces of the players started to register surprise, shock and horror. Here are some excerpts.
Yup, it got pretty Wierd here at the Corbitt house.
So the intrepid party members decided that they should check out the basement. The basement door was in the Kitchen, opposite the back door of the house. So they opened the door to the basement and turned on the light. As they descended the stairs, they could clearly hear the slapping of feet on the wood closet floor. Was it morse code?
At the bottom of the stairs, the party entered the laundry. Dirty laundry was in hampers. Clean laundry was hanging from string lines across the room. The next room was a simple storage area. The Party kept plugging along, and found the third basement room, a laboratory.
This room was a confused mess something between a botanists work area and a surgeons workshop. The room was immaculately clean. One shelf case on one wall had a variety of medical tools, sutures, bone saws, scalpels and so forth. As Sean approached, he heard a small compressor whirring away. Sean looked down and the bottom part of the case had a drawer. When Sean opened up the drawer, he found carefully prepared ligaments, muscles, nerve clusters and skin grafts. It was unpleasant.
Shifty was inspecting one storage closet, and found a false door in the back. The closet had a fetid, rotting odor. As Shifty opened to false for, he heard a mewling cooing sound coming from within.
Then all hell broke loose.
A nasty creature with a body made from thick mucus, which allowed a partial view of the insides of the monster broke out. It ran on ten human legs grafted on to the bottom of the body. Fifteen human arms were grafted onto the top, waiving wildly grasping at nothing. The creature breathed out of a hole in the front, and each breath sounded like a wet sucking sound followed by a hideous gasp. The creatures mouth was on the bottom, near the feet. The bile and other ejected materials exited out of an sphincter on the top of the body’s between all of the arms.
The creature waddled around the room, squealing like a hungry pig, and squatted down every few feet, with the bottom mouth slurping the floor for food. The top sphincter spewing out greenish yellow diarrhea.
The party freaked. Sanity was lost. It was not pretty. Shifty decided to shoot his gun. He got a shot off and hit the creature. The creature responded by tackling Shifty and trying to eat him. The party went all Wild West and started shooting at the critter. They hit it a few times, and the creature skittered away, through the rooms and up the stairs. The party looked at each other asking what in God’s name was that. The players looked at each other and asked what the frack was going on.
The critter bashed on the outside door, and got through and exited the house, ran around the front and up the road. The party was in hot pursuit. Many neighbors were looking out the front windows and porches,and observed the many legged, many armed creature scamper up the road. Erin pulled out her gun and one-shot killed it. Well, the creature was already pretty damaged from the gun play in the basement.
As the creature collapsed on the road, shocked neighbors stood and gawked. Lots of strange things happened in Arkham, but this was noteworthy.
The local police and Feds concocted a story about how an infected contagious cow escaped, and had to be put down, and torching the Corbitt house would reduce the risk to the community.
Mr. Corbitt lost it when his lovely child was murdered, and he went to the asylum to recuperate.
All of Sean’s neighbors looked at Sean a little differently after that fateful day.