Yellow Dawn Session Notes 28th July 2012 ¦ Horror on the Orient Express # 13

Sofia – Istanbul

Yellow Dawn – The Age of Hastur, first published in 2007,  is an RPG written by sci-fi & dark fantasy author David J Rodger – it blends the Cthulhu Mythos and cyberpunk genres in a post-apocalyptic setting. Learn more…

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RESUME

17th Feb @ University of Sofia

The team begin to display dark veins and diseased discolouration to their faces and heads. It is a clear sign that the head of the statue is now within their domain.

The team are arrested by a thuggish Detective Ratuk:
I know about your journey across Europe and the blood you’ve left spilled in every destination. You might not be the Orient Ripper but he travels with you – and yet knowing this you still come here?

Human eyeball plucked from character's head after attacked by cultist from Brotherhood of Skin

Image from lolailo.co.uk – Orient Express Diary 1920s CoC – Click to go there

Meanwhile, Josh continues to have horrendous visions through his eye, that was plucked from his skull by a mad cultist – and then insanely implanted in the cultist’s head. Josh is viewing momentary glimpses of what this cultist can see.
– inside a cavern lit with oil burning bowls.
– a massive crowd of men in ceremonial robes / middle eastern theme – but with bare chests to expose torsos covered with different patches of flesh, badly fused – the arms of different bodies stitched or fused onto others.
– a mountain of severed heads piled up on the floor, the oldest, lowest ones now skulls – with moist, decomposing ones one top.
– a blurred figure attacking these people, comes into focus
– It’s Count Drogo in his true form, twisted, blackened and stiff like bark from some ancient tree, the centuries of corruption (from the statue) and being locked away are evident in his deformed figure.  He is wild, a Thing of nightmares and molded by madness – he butchers everyone – takes the head of the statue, AND rips away the head of the cultist containing Josh’s eye… and departs.

Josh, in a police van with Marcus, conveys what he has seen happening. He is barely able to stay sane, gibbering, horrified.

Marcus is worried that Drogo, who now has the head and who knows where the rest of the statue is being stored – can come and get it as and when he wants.

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Head of the Sedefkar Simulacrum Statue - potent Cthulhu Mythos artefact associated with Skinless One - Brotherhood of the Skin - Nyarlathotep image by sirylok

Head of the Sedefkar Simulacrum Statue – image by sirylok

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Josh gets another vision:
Drogo arriving at the hotel suite – assembling the statue, kneeling before it, simpering, holding it, cradling it – and then the young female receptionist comes up into suite thinking Marcus has returned. Drogo – tears her apart.

In the police station, Marcus, Josh and Paul Bishop are roughed up and threatened; Detective Ratuk wants money to let them go.  Josh and Paul get a heavy beating.

A representative of the British government arrives and ensures their speedy release. “Charles Parker says hello and sends his gratitude”.

Back  the hotel, the media are buzzing.

Marcus, Josh and Paul go up to the suite with trepidation.

Blood on the floor and walls. Gore dripping from the assembled statue. Half-eaten carcass of the receptionist in the bathroom.

The team begin to act – they need to leave, and quickly.

Drogo emerges on the balcony outside.

Josh goes to talk to him, and does not yield to his demands of servitude; Drogo nearly eviscerates him with one powerful slash of his claws.

There is a media drone hovering above. Recording.

A huge fight takes place, that stops and starts each time Drogo is driven back – but not away. Marcus has the back of his thigh sliced open.  Paul gets into a hand-to-hand tussle with Drogo, both of them clinging onto one assault rifle; which Drogo then uses to batter Paul in the face.  Josh lays down several three round bursts from another assault rifle into Drogo.  It takes the characters a while (too long) to realise that Drogo will NOT leave but merely lurk, licking his wounds, waiting for an opportunity. Drogo attacks to wound and not to kill; he’s plucking chunks of flesh from the characters – wearing them down, fulfilling the ancient code of his kind – the Great Magi – but not really; his version of the code is twisted and corrupted, as his flesh and soul, because of centuries of exposure to the statue.

Police sirens begin to converge on the hotel. The fight is attracting a lot of attention.

During this fight, Josh is ready to create a portal out of there – taking the statue and the body of the receptionist with them (Paul scooped her shredded remains into a hotel duvet and dragged them to the edge of the prepared portal).  Marcus creates an incendiary device with the contents of the cleaning cupboard (LUCK ROLL) and a chemistry skill check (- double zero, whoops – )

MIxing the contents together in a waste-basket, the steaming hissing gas acts like poison. Marcus collapses, muscles going into spasm, barely able to communicate or breathe -lungs on fire. The gas also affects the main room of the hotel – Paul Bishop collapses, going into cardiac fibrillation. Josh can barely move -but manages to drag Paul out onto the balcony and snaps his and Paul’s ArmWatch Medivac account cards – countdown to rescue is 5 minutes. Paul starts going into cardiac arrest.

Josh crawls back into the hotel to find Marcus – when they return to the balcony they find Drogo feasting on the interior of Paul’s chest, now cracked open, chewing on his heart.

It’s gruesome. Shocking to behold.

Josh drops to his knees with the horror of it – he left Paul out there, this is partially his fault.

Marcus snaps his Armwatch medivac account card.

And then a figure drops down from the roof of the hotel suite. A humanoid that looks similar to how Drogo may have looked before his corruption. Another Great Magi. A powerful one of its kind that has become enraged by Drogo’s activities and blatant disregard for their cultural traditions. This thing kills Drogo.

Then Armwatch arrive.  Aerodynes hovering overhead whilst armoured troops descend on zip lines, accompanied by paramedics.  Paul is bundled into a cryo-tank, his brain’s vital signs stabilised and his body, what’s left of it, put into stasis.

The team regain consciousness 7 days later in a private medical facility, somewhere in Bulgaria.

Josh and Marcus are in adjoining beds, handcuffed.  Paul is in a fridge in the corner. There’s an official in a suit waiting to talk to them.  Things might have been different, even with the fuzzy, badly degraded video footage of Drogo attacking them, if it hadn’t been for personal intervention by Fargas Laslo, who put his reputation on the line to vouch whole-heartedly for the innocence of the team.  “They’re better men,” stated Laslo.

Things are not all great. The corruption of their physical bodies, caused by prolonged association to the statue, is now dramatically worse.  Marcus loses 1 INT and 1 APP; Josh loses 2 POW; Paul loses 1 INT. And it’s accelerating. They can’t lounge around. They need to destroy the statue – as planned – by taking it to the Shunned Mosque in Istanbul.

After some final red-tape bureaucracy..

Josh and Marcus are flown by covert military helicopter out of Bulgaria and deposited at an airbase in Turkey.  Paul remains in Bulgaria, his mind active within a virt, awaiting major surgical operations to replace his rib-cage, lungs and heart, and repair surrounding tissue damage. This will take many many weeks to complete surgery and post-op recovery.

{tony leaves game at this point}

Istanbul Turkey Sultan Ahmed Mosque

Istanbul Turkey Sultan Ahmed Mosque

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Josh and Marcus are greeted by a senior Turkish military official who begrudgingly asks no questions.  They make their way to a rough part of Istanbul and check into a run down hotel.  Josh is adamant he wants to recover magical artefacts from the cavern-scene he witnessed through his severed eyeball.  He creates a portal that he and Marcus step through, and which closes directly behind them. The cavern is not abandoned as Josh had assumed. There is a brief combat.  Marcus and Josh return with a chest of items. One of these is a cube that Josh accidentally activates – he is hurled back through time, witnesses the artificial creation of this “bubble universe” by  Duc Des Essain!!!! and then further back, through the space-time stream of the true universe – to a primordial age before dinosaurs – where Serpent Men and then before them, the Elder Things, roamed. Bad luck for Josh – he is spotted by a Hound of Tindalos. Josh accelerates forward through time again. Returns to the hotel room where Marcus has only blinked in all the “time” Josh has been away. Josh starts to jabber, panicking, about “something is coming!!!! Get ready!” And sure enough, the Hound soon comes through. It’s a repulsive fight but with Marcus’ magic pop gun and Josh hurling energy bolts at it – they drive it away (for now?).

A fitful night of sleep in the slums of Istanbul.

Next day, they check into the Great Istanbul Hotel, against the wishes of Josh because this place is part of the Orient Express itinerary. And sure enough, their arrival there triggers a number of “flags”.

The manager welcomes them personally, like old friends, and shows them the gold that their benefactor  – Mr Solomon Kane – has deposited in the hotel safe for them.

Upstairs, Josh and Marcus enjoy a brief afternoon of luxury – until the Brotherhood of the Skin arrive to “collect them” – and the statue. It’s strange, it’s as if the Brotherhood believe Josh and Marcus are working for them. They are transported to the Shunned Mosque in the belly flap of an obscene “flying thing” made of once human flesh.

At the mosque there is a diabolical ceremony around the now assembled statue: Josh and Marcus experience horrors that cannot be described here but certainly left characters and players sickened and losing significant COOL points through failed Anxiety checks. Duc Des Essain is there – Josh and Marcus are exceptionally wary of this “god like” figure, but are also baffled by his friendly response – and his surprise that the characters are in fact “one of them”.

At the point in the ceremony where the leader of the Brotherhood (Selim) is about to activate / invoke the power of the statue, he is murdered by his son, who is then blasted and killed by Duc Des Essain – who is seen sprinting towards the statue. Only…

Josh and Marcus suddenly phase out of this world and return to the world of Yellow Dawn. The mosque now empty, derelict and flooded by moonlight streaming through a shattered dome. And there is the statue, fully assembled, glaring back them, radiating menace.

And in their wake… comes a seam of light, and the Duc Des Essain steps through. He’s followed their magical trail.  But as he emerges, he realises exactly where he is. Not in some other part of the universe he created, but in the universe he fled from (the characters discover this later, that  Duc Des Essain fled this universe, from Nyarlathotep, by creating a realm where Nyarlathotep did not exist).

The Duc Des Essain whirls around in a panic, looking for some point to exit by. And is then frozen.  The Skinless One – an semi-human aspect of Nyarlathotep – steps forward and condemns Duc Des Essain.  Josh and Marcus witness a gruesome, grisly end to the great sorcerer.

The Skinless One glances over at Josh and Marcus, then departs.

Josh and Marcus hear the sounds of a vast surge of Infected sprinting towards the mosque. They seen  Duc Des Essain’s briefcase and his horse-hair lasso (used for porting). The briefcase contains scrolls! All the scrolls of the statue.

They use the lasso to return to Little Boston. Quite an emotional and surreal moment, to find themselves standing outside their settlement on the main road, beyond the driveway – watching the storm that started when they came here [ a year of game play, we started this campaign in July 2011 ] now fading and diminishing.

On the roof of Little Boston, Josh attempts to perform the Ritual of Cleansing.

Only to find Nyarlathotep had another little trick up his sleeve.

Bearing in mind that it was Marcus who murdered / destroyed Rahmun Sada – the human aspect of Nyarlathotep in this universe (At the end of Shadows of the Quantinex) as they unravelled the truth behind what caused Yellow Dawn to happen – and what new and nightmarish plot has been lined up against humanity.

Nyarlathotep has been able to manipulate and use the characters to a) destroy Duc Des Essain  and b) re-install a human aspect of Itself within this Universe and c) see the Activation of the statue take place.

RESUME

<>RECONNECT WITH LITTLE BOSTON Settlement and characters.
<>Deal with return of Paul Bishop (arrives in a huge metal steam engine with a replica of the Orient Express train attached – and some very strange phenonemon about it). He has a mechanical right arm and mechanical chest (brass like fittings with steampunk tech).
<> RANK ROLLS  (note all players had rank rolls at end of Sofia and JOsh also had his character birthday roll).
<> Follow up idea of heading back to Sofia – Dead City Run – to find the gold left at the hotel.
<> Understand the consequences for Josh of what has happened to him with the statue being activated – Nyarlathoteps little sting in the table surprise.

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David J Rodger – DATA

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2 thoughts on “Yellow Dawn Session Notes 28th July 2012 ¦ Horror on the Orient Express # 13

    • Yeah, it was interesting being the GM and having to respond to your terrible rolls. Everything seemed to be heading towards your doom and destruction – a bum ending after such a long hard struggle to survive. Glad you all came out of it (in more than one piece). Looking forward to mind f__king you all with what happens next.

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