Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Tatters of the King

With Pathfinder temporarily on hold while Ben re-charges his batteries, Kelvin has kindly stepped up to the plate to run some Call of Cthulhu. As mentioned previously, I've generated a famous investigator, namely writer Ernest Hemingway, en route to Spain to do some research for his next book. You can read more about my char gen efforts here.

Hemingway aside, most of the other PCs have something to do with the arts or the psychology profession. We have Frannie Fitzpatrick, a professor of Italian medieval literature (Ric), Thaddeus Price, a somewhat overweight professor of psychology (Ben), Harold Fisher (Manoj), an artist and former pugilist interested in exploring dreams through his painting, and Jonathan Crust (Seb), an engineer.

"Have you seen the Yellow Sign?"
I'm not going to go into great detail on the plot, having missed one session myself. We started out attending a performance of the play, The King in Yellow, in London's West End, which ended in a riot. The investigators also got to rub shoulders with the cast and drink cocktails. Hemingway was then called away on a book signing tour (I missed the next session), while the rest of the party was called in to try to exonerate Alexander Robey, a lunatic who had apparently murdered his wealthy father and sister and was now interned in an asylum in Herefordshire.

It has swiftly become apparent that there is more to this Robey case than meets the eye: investigators are having odd dreams and premonitions, one of the staff at Robey's asylum was brutally murdered, and as Hemingway returned to the fray (and the party was reinforced with the addition of Crust), the party has become aware of Robey's membership of some kind of occult cabal which might once have practised dark rituals in a small village in Suffolk. One of the cabal, an antiques deal called Bacon, seems to be in the habit of murdering tramps in North London in order to prolong his longevity, and is dwelling in a fortified antiques shop in Islington which the party is loath to break into at the moment (despite Hemingway's urging - spineless Limeys!)

"Crust is toast!"

The visit to Clare Melford in Suffolk (a village, not a girl) could have gone better: our landlord, the owner of the local inn, turned out to be a cultist, but then seems to have been killed by a creature he summoned with a magic bone whistle, presumably to slay the investigators. SOMETHING  scrawled 'the king is coming' on the wall of the cellar the investigators had locked themselves into for safety, without tripping our alarms or anyone seeing or hearing it (Fisher slept in his room rather than cower in the cellar, but he sleeps beside an eazel as he has taken to painting strange and bizarre vistas in his sleep).

Things were not helped by the blizzard that descended on Suffolk, which prevented the police from getting through immediately. Investigating a suspect ritual site, the group found a grouchy farmer and some obelisks called the Nine Teeth. When the farmer confront the party and shot at them, he damaged an obelisk, precipitating an attack by winged beasties. The farmer was butchered immediately, his dogs fled, and in the battle that followed, Fitzpatrick and Price were badly hurt by gunfire and Crust was mauled (0 hps) by a monster. Hemingway proved useless, flailing around with his scythe, and it was really Crust and Fisher who put both critters down. The group sought refuge in the farmer's house, where Hemingway proceeded to fluff all his First Aid rolls, despite having 50%.

"It was a dog, constable..."

Eventually the law turned up, a village doctor was found, and investigators were patched up, and Fitzpatrick and Hemingway proceeded to empty the drinks cabinet at the inn. As soon as the trains were running again, they high-tailed it back into London.

"Did you bespeak the End of Day?"


"You fool Philippe, you poor, poor fool."

Reading/translation of some occult texts, including some poetry written by Robey in German, and a copy of The King in Yellow, has helped most of the investigators to boost their Cthulhu Mythos scores. An intern of Fitzpatrick's, who was doing some German translation, had to be tracked down when he failed to materialise, and was found to have gone mad, locked himself in his attic flat, and covered all his windows with newspaper. He was having premonition of his own death, brought on by learning a spell from the Robey text. Fisher has also learned the spell.

"This is the British Library sir, we do not accept bribes."

Hemingway and Crust liked the look of their shiny new guns

It seems as if the cabal may have an inside man intent on bringing down Bacon, possibly for personal reasons. We have learned that the Robey family doctor felt that Robey himself should not be released from the asylum, and was subsequently murdered in St James's Park, potentially by a man called Coombes, who acts as the cult's enforcer. We have failed to track down other members of the cabal, despite Hemingway's best efforts at the British Library to obtain the library card of one of them. It also looks as if the only cultist we have a serious lead on is Bacon, who despite surveillance, never seems to leave his abode.

Our new informat in the cabal, an individual called Gresty, who may/may not be a woman, has told us in a letter to Price that Bacon will leave the house on 27 November to again drain a vagrant of life energy. At this stage it looks like the team, which is already tooling up with firearms after the Clare Melford affair, means to do him some permanent harm. That is certainly what Gresty seems to want to happen. If Bacon does not meet his end on the 27th, the stars look as if they will be right on the 15th for some kind of summoning ritual to take place in Suffolk.

I'm really enjoying this campaign, helped I feel by the high standard of roleplaying from the group, and the easy atmosphere we seem able to conjure up. As we approach the end of the year, I think a mutual slap on the back is warranted, especially for those who still managed to participate despite spending a great deal of time in another part of the country, or are juggling additional family responsibilities. Well done all, and have a Merry Xmas! Here's to more fun in 2012.


  1. Excellent summary, thanks Stuart! I'm very much enjoying the game, despite the problematic text, and I think you're right that it's due to the way everyone is getting into their characters.

  2. Excellent Actual Play. Very entertaining. I love the ones that really give you a vibe for what the session was like.