I am a novice to Call of Cthulhu. I have never played the game, let alone GMed. Of my five players at the table only one has ever played a Cthulhu game before so the way I ran the game may not be in the style of seasoned Cthulhu GMs (especially as I did not want to break the atmosphere built up in the game by continually stopping to look up rules that I wasn’t sure of…I improvised at times).
Changes deliberately made for the first session:
I remade the five pre-generated characters to give what I believe to be a better spread of skills and gave two of them Arabic as a language, which none of the scenario pregens had.
I was going to have the investigators arrive by train as I believe there were no commercial flights as yet in 1926 Egypt. But in the end ran the arrival (mostly) as written in the scenario. I didn’t want my novice players falling at the first hurdle by having them fall foul of the waiting police, so I was generous in allowing Fast Talk and Bargain rolls despite one or two faltering excuses given to evade immediate arrest after getting of the aeroplane.
I deliberately allowed the investigators to spend a fair bit of time at Chicago House before the arrival of the police so that they could gather much of the available evidence.
I posted the following ‘session recap’ on our club website for the players
Luxor- 3rd September 1926
It is already dark when the investigators arrive in Luxor. Thunder resounds and lightning streaks across the sky. Each of you is here at the behest of Professor Bollacher (well most of you).
Greeting you on arrival in Luxor is a car to take you to Chicago House but also a car of police officers who ask all travellers to show their identification papers and state their purpose in visiting Luxor. Oliver Palmerston, a man well versed in the culture of Egypt, immediately becomes alert to this unusual attention from the Luxor police. The investigators each give their excuses without revealing any specific information about themselves or their purpose. Having evading the over zealous attentions of the Luxor police the investigators are chauffeured to Chicago House, overlooking the Nile.
The rain is pouring down and lightning flashes but the investigators are left standing outside the building, there does not appear to be anybody home. After discussing the situation, one of the party sheepishly suggests picking the lock to the door. At first the suggestion is rebuffed, until the entire party is soaked through by the rain – all of a sudden picking the lock doesn’t sound such a bad idea after all.
The scene within Chicago House is that of a massacre. A total of five bodies and one live servant driven mad. The servant had locked himself in his room with a revolver for protection. Confronted by the strangers, he screams out and repeatedly pulls the trigger of the revolver. His firing is wild and without aim. Nobody was hurt. After being overcome by the investigators, the servant fell into an unconscious stupor. He was then disarmed, tied and locked in his room.
Various clues around the house enabled the investigators to identify the bodies of five of the seven team members billeted at Chicago House. Professor Bollacher was found hanged, hands and clothes covered in blood and his forehead anointed with an oil, later identified as Mrryh. A bloodied knife was found tucked in his pocket. Two more bodies were found in the library: William Loomis and Timothy Lowe were found slumped in chairs by the library fireplace. The body of Professor Jamison lay in his room, his throat cut and Reginald Smithson was found naked in the shower room, stabbed in the chest and fingers and thumbs removed.
Keystone A granite stone is found in the house, Dr Kenneth Burns identifies it as a keystone of sorts. He translates the relief: “Hold back the sacred Hapi, secure the Great Green, the waters rise, the ancient one returns”. “A reference to the Nile?” suggests Abigail Whatmore.
Photo A darkroom within the house has been trashed. Cameras smashed, no photographs found or negatives left hanging. Jack Lavender finds a reel of film still within one of the broken cameras and sets about developing it. A single photograph is recovered, though nobody can really make out what it shows.
Diary Professor Jamison’s diary was found. The last entries read:
August 5 Resumed work on the Great Wall of Medinet Habu. Hieroglyphs near impossible to decipher, but Bollacher has faith.
August 18 Bollacher away. Rose and I working on a new translation. Delight to work with someone other than old Bull.
August 25 Breakthrough! Translation and map to new crypt. Bollacher returning this week. Rose refuses to help w/opening crypt.
September 1 Bollacher led expedition to new crypt. Rose anguished, threatening to leave. Bollacher returns with keystone. Something’s changed – I wonder if he knows?
Palmerston wonders if Jamison was maybe seeing Rose, Jack Lavender is quick to concur. In fact, Lavender seems to be very sure……
Letter In Jamison’s room, where his body is discovered. A half packed suitcase lies on a footlocker. On top of the folded clothes is a letter:
I’m sorry, but I cannot tolerate any more of Aaron’s madness. I know what I saw in the crypt. I respect your decision to stand by him, though my heart breaks in two. If you reconsider, I will be waiting at Ali Baba’s, at 9 o’clock tomorrow night. Come with me to Spain – we can leave behind the hell of Luxor and our thoughts will never again dwell on its immortal wickedness.
- I will wait for you.
The investigators try to compare the handwriting of the letter to Jamison’s signature in his passport but it proved difficult to equate Jamison’s flourish to the writing of the letter. The investigators were unable to prove one way or the other who might have written it. Though they agreed if it wasn’t Jamison, it may very well have been Rose Bollacher.
Fireplace Smithson’s fingers and thumbs were found on the hearth of the library fireplace. Their odd placement was identified by Ms Clothespin as reminiscent of a Germanic rune signifying death by drowning. There was also a cube of incense burning. What looks like fragments of papers, photos and reels of negatives were burned among the ashes. Across the mantle, written in blood was a strange jumble of letters. Oliver Palmerston deciphered the message: Awaken Old Ones, Flooding Nile.
Missing Apart from the madman locked in his room, no servants were found in the house (tough the investigators didn’t get to search every room). The children’s rooms (presumably Bollacher’s twins) were empty and two of the members of the team photograph were missing (the other five all being found dead in the house). The two missing team members are Rose Bollacher and Jack Saul. Abigail Whatmore noticed a suitcase missing from a luggage set in the mess of the Bollachers’ wrecked bedroom. Though the personal affects were found for the murdered interns there was no passport or wallet discovered for the missing Jack Saul.
Items taken from the house - Palmerston takes the incense found in the library and packets it within a sheet of paper. Two stopped glass vials of oil, identified as Mrryh (some of which the Professor’s forehead had been anointed with). A handful of recently sharpened wooden stakes (a peculiar type of wood). A bottle of Bourbon, two flashlights and a 0.38 revolver (with no ammunition). The strange photograph. Also, a slip of paper upon which is written: Alexis’ place, Carlisle, 1005, Shari El Matar.
The crashing and splintering sound of wood is heard, the scuffle of feet and mumbled voices. Palmerston looks out of the window to see a row of black sedan cars in the street. The police had arrived. The investigators decided that they didn’t want to be caught at the scene. They escaped through a side window. The drop was not too high but none the less one or two investigators stumbled and suffered some minor scrapes and bruises. Palmertson twisted his ankle on landing in the grounds below the window. When the bruising comes out, he is certain to entertain a discomforting limp for a day or two.
The investigators disappear into the Luxor night and determine themselves to seek accommodation. It’s a shame their luggage was left behind at Chicago House. That night Abigail Whatmore is disturbed by a dream; sitting atop an ancient ruin she imagines that she can see shadowy humanoid forms slipping out of a crypt and slinking away into the darkness.
'Gentlemen, we're in the stickiest situation since Sticky the stick insect got stuck on a sticky bun'. - Capt. E. Blackadder.
Last edited by Garuda on Fri Jan 30, 2009 6:09 am, edited 2 times in total.