Apr. 19th, 2017

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So a few weeks ago I volunteered to run a game via Skype on a day we couldn't D&D. It was entirely for my benefit because I didn't have a way to print a new character sheet and it's hard to play a card game through video. So we played tremulus. Unlike the classic Call of Cthulhu however, the game is 100% narrative based. The Keeper rolls no dice (bonus for me) and the players direct the action. It's also absurdly easy to set up, instead of a bunch of math all you do is plug in one of a few different sets of number for whatever character you pick. It's easy.

The problem is that I completely screwed myself for when I run my longer game (whenever that will be). For the basis of the game, I used a printed scenario called The Condemned. It's about an immortal wizard from the 1700s who was sealed inside of a bridge near Arkham. A powerful storm destroyed the bridge and releases him. His broken, useless body is washed up where a pair of university students were camping and riding out the storm. He performed a mind transfer spell and switched bodies with one of them. He murdered the other and buried the body and his useless body in a hole not far from camp. I wanted to use this in the bigger campaign in Arkham, but it's very open ended and perfect for a narrative based system. So send the guys off on a mission and let it unfold. Easy. But my group isn't really familiar with Lovecraftian settings, so I'm giving away a few surprises depending on how they approach the investigation.

So we have:
Mike - Tommy Stone, a detective
Dan - Roy Kellog, an antiquarian
Rob - Skelly Hatfield, a doctor (an old joke Mike made on a Star Trek character Rob played.)

So Roy and Skelly are lifetime residents of Arkham and when it was announced that a search party was being put together to find two local college students who were missing after the big storm. Tommy served with Skelly in the Great War and decided to settle down there and open a private investigation agency. He had less civic pride and opted out of joining the search party. He got involved a little while after the searchers left when one of the two missing students, Henry Atwater, wandered into town appearing dazed and confused. The Arkham police let Tommy in on this fact and asked him to let the search party know one of the two had been found.

Roy and Skelly found the campsite along with some debris from the destroyed bridge. Searching around the found the grave containing the corpse of the other student and were supremely freaked out when what looked like another corpse grabbed at them. The living mummy cried out "Henry Atwater" and then collapsed. This body was transported to the hospital as Tommy arrived to let them know Atwater had been found. They were weirded out at the idea of there basically being an extra body on the scene.

They decided to talk with Atwater to find out what happened. Atwater had been moved to Arkham Sanitarium after exhibiting some strange behavior that was attributed to stress. He claimed to have no knowledge of what happened, but seemed to talk in a strange dialect. They urged the doctor to keep him locked up, though he informed them he was only under observation. They attributed his behavior to shock and stress from everything that had happened.

They next opted to speak with the living body that they found buried in the shallow grave. He was delirious, but they managed to glean from him that he was claiming to be Henry Atwater. The body should be dead by rights: it seemed to be hundreds of years old and all it's limbs and spine were broken. They had a vague notion of what was happening, but needed confirmation. So they began some research, starting with the area around the bridge.

They start turning up fluff pieces in the newspapers talking about an old story during the witch trial days. The bridge was known as Bishop Bridge, as the legend claims that a group of vigilante witch hunters from Arkham executed one Sermon Bishop from the bridge. Some accounts claimed it was by hanging, some claimed it was by drowning. Further digging in Roy's antique library turned up the journal of one Ethan Williams, which told the story of how he and a group of six other men stood up to Bishop who was honest to god an immortal wizard. They found they could not kill him, so after stealing a magic tome he possessed (The Caramagos) they learned a way to at least trap him. In the process of doing this, Bishop swore revenge even if it would be on his captor's tormentors. The Caramagos also supposedly possessed the means with which Bishop obtained his immortality and Williams and the rest felt they were damned enough casting the binding spell without making use of an immortality spell.

So this was seemingly confirmation for them of the thing claiming to be Atwater in the hospital was the victim and the man in the nut house was actually Bishop. Unfortunately, their research cost them the rest of their daylight on top of yet another unnaturally powerful storm hitting Arkham. They fully expected Bishop/Atwater to be gone when they returned to the sanitarium in the morning and they were right. Apparently, one of the orderlies had been compelled to release Bishop and walk him out the front door. So now there was a 18th century wizard running around Arkham in a brand new Atwater suit and a bad hangover.

They reasoned out that while Bishop's original body was immortal, he was currently vulnerable inside Atwater's body. Thus, one of his main objectives was retrieving The Caramagos so he can regain his immortality. They also nailed down that Ethan William's descendant was an Elizabeth Williams-Hope, who had written one of the articles about the Bishop Bridge legend they had found. Since Williams spoke of possessing The Caramagos last, they reason that she might still have it. So they made for her home right away.

Too late of course, they found her dead and her library ransacked. A search through her records showed that she did not have The Caramagos, but they were able to find a list of the people who had joined in the pact against Bishop. They now had a way to try to figure out Bishop's hit list, but needed to find the book before he did.

They left off in the middle of a crime scene, but with a very clear goal in mind. Next time we have a free day for a one shot, we'll continue the story. I'll actually embed the podcast (don't mind the inappropriate music) this time around. It's a little rough, but I hadn't exactly slept good enough for getting up at 3:30am to think on the fly lol.


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