Yellow Dawn Session Notes 16th February 2013 ¦ Roots #2 – end of a character group

Roots

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. It also now has two novels set within it, Dog Eat Dog and The Black Lake.

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RESUME 25th SEPT YD+1 (LATE EVENING )

Clint was visited in his jail cell by a local priest; a father Allberry. He took Clint back to the small house attached to the church (closed) and gave him a bed for the night. In his room he finds a curious photo of a lake, taken a sunset, with figures standing between trees – something ceremonial? A map on the wall shows there is a lake a few miles north. Clint was wary but exhaustion took hold and pulled him into sleep (or maybe something else did).

Paul is with Corrine. She makes him food (possibly drugged) but then seems to have a change of heart; throws away the meal before he can take a mouthful and takes him to the Diner.  Meets Stu Woolley and Chris KNight. She leaves him with them. They drink into the night.

Marcus is with his hostess for the night. A woman called Janine who “comes onto him” but then abruptly backs off – as if sensing something familiar about him.  Remember that Marcus has a potent Mythos Taint due to his encounter with Dark Young of Shub-Niggurath in Europe (Horror on the Orient Express). She says… “You have the Spirit within you – why are you here? In this settlement?”

Marcus isn’t too certain about her question but he goes with it.  She takes him to the edge of Lake Nemi where the fuck like wild things – biting – punching – shrieking. Exhausted but not finished, she takes him to what looks like a figure of an ancient satyr carved into the truck of an old tree – except the figure appears to be frozen in the act of emerging from the tree. There by the base is a wooden cup filled with a vile stinking fluid  – something that Marcus remembers intimately from his experience in Europe. She offers it to him, “Do you want to know your Spirit?”
He drinks.

27th Sept YD+1
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Josh wakes up in Daphne’s house and is unable to contact any of his team. He spends time in town trying to find them, becoming increasingly worried. Eventually he finds Clint at the church; he finds Paul hungover but rested at the Old Store…. but there is no sign of Marcus.  Later, Clint also vanishes again after going to find Father Allberry. Clint finds himself by an abandoned church at Owl Creek – he rings the bell but it’s daylight and nothing happens. Meanwhile, Josh and Paul have threatened Janine – grabbed her, tied her up, hurt her to make her talk – to learn where Marcus is. By the lake, she says. But Deputy Steel arrives to check up on her and all hell breaks loose. They disarm and tie up the Deputy. Intimidated by Paul – who clutches the deputy’s throat with his ornate brass-like robotic hand; the deputy explains that the town has always been this way. And that Karen, the missing girl, if she is anywhere will be by the tree (this transpires to be the deputy setting the characters up for a fall).  Later, Josh uses his profound occult powers to Possess the deputy and walk back to the sheriff office to recover their guns.  The Sheriff asks him what he’s doing and Josh (as the deputy) manages to talk a way out of the situation.

Josh and Paul escort the deputy out to the edge of the settlement, into the forest; the deputy leads them to the Lake – where they find Marcus, asleep and partially transmutated into wood, but he shifts back to human and wakes when his compatriots call to him.  Around now, Clint also makes his way to the lake having left the abandoned church to find the place he’d seen into the photograph.  Together again, the team make their way with the deputy leading to the Tree.

It’s a dark and foreboding place.

And as the sun concludes its descent towards nightfall – the place comes alive with the things that are normally dormant (sleeping, looking like wooden figures) during daylight.

It is an epic fight for survival.

But Marcus finds the Taint which has infected his psyche and his physical being since the traumatic encounter in Europe, has a profound and mesmerizing influence on him here. He becomes entranced by the tree – and the new fluids now coursing through his veins lead him to suffer an episode of wild, furious abandon.

The things, dozens of them, that come streaming out of the forest like a swarm of humanoid locusts take note of him and their leader stops to challenge this… would be imposter.  Marcus and the leader square off but Marcus loses the Alpha battle – however, he accepts the authority of the leader and so joins THEM.  Turning against his compatriots.

The other characters are firing assault rifles on full-auto. Burning up 9,000 credits of ammunition every 2 second pull of the trigger (emptying magazines).  They slaughter a couple dozen Things, but are eventually overwhelmed by them… grappled, disarmed, manhandled. Josh uses potent magic to blast them with energy bolts, but he too is finally grappled and dragged to the ground – he is stripped naked and finds himself the victim of the ugly lust and unrestrained passions of these monsters.

“An amusing moment with a lightening bolt.”

There is a fresh clash between Marcus and the leader. Marcus kills him with a blow to the skull – and finds himself becoming the new alpha of hundreds of these Things.

Josh, Paul and Clint find themselves chained to The Tree. Two women arrive. A female matriarch and the missing girl. “Choose one”, the matriarch says to the girl. Clint is chosen. Held down by the Things, he is stripped naked and mounted by the girl. She then cuts his throat at the final moment of climax.  Paul and Josh scream in horror – helpless and agonised by what they’re witnessing. They also lose a dramatic amount of Anxiety points. Clint’s corpse is torn apart by the bare clawed hands of the Things and eaten.

THe night passes and they are ignored. When daylight comes, the Things return to the state of being wood. Marcus is nowhere to be found.  The bloodied, shredded remains of Clint lie nearby… buzzing with flies.

As a fresh night approaches, Josh recalls a difficult occult operation  that he knows might free him. It enables him to flicker between different planes of reality. He tries it and remarkably succeeds – and then endures a terrible struggle to escape the “gravitational” pull of the monstrous entity that occupies the heart of the tree he is chained to. It pulls him IN, so that as the flicker operation ends he finds himself entombed within the solid core of the trunk. He would have died instantly, if it wasn’t for the properties given to him by the Sedefkar Simulacrum.

He tries again and after a mighty battle of wills, escapes. He frees Paul and they flicker, together, back to a safe place. But the forest starts to come alive with the Things which are in pursuit now.

Josh opens a portal. Back to Little Boston, Paul screams. But  Josh takes them back to the Sheriffs office. He wants his stuff. Stepping through, Paul and Josh enter a struggle with the deputy and then the sherif. Eventually overpowering them.

Josh steps into the sherif’s back office where the woman lies bleeding, but alive; and he skins her… taking her flesh.  He then does the same with the deputy. It is hard for Paul to keep his nerve.

But all this delay allows the THings to make a rare appearance in town, as the sun sets. And they crash through the doors, swarming into the office.  It all happens again. Paul and Josh are about to be overpowered. But then… like a miracle. A blaze of golden light fills the street. Outside – an incredibly ornate brass-like version of a steam train has materialised in the road with a figure stepping down, an outline of a human but filled with the fire of the sun, swirling clouds of plasma and energy within his outline… he points at Paul, and Paul comes.  Whilst the THings cower and harden back to wood in the light.  Josh tries to follow but the figure (an Elder God) refuses him to approach: you are accursed.

Paul vanishes with the God and the train.

Josh is surrounded by the swarms of wooden horrors now coming back to life. He flickers away to a safe distance, then makes another portal and returns to Little Boston.

Paul is not there.

Marcus has vanished too – no doubt living a life of indulgent passions of eating, fucking, hunting and killing in the forests around Gerlock.

Clint is remembered with sad fondness.

!!! NO RESUME !!!
This scenario marks the end of the Little Boston group for the foreseeable future. The group is now parked on ice. A fresh set of characters are going to be created – dirt poor and with back to square one with skills and abilities. Probably based outside the survivor settlement of Aigues-Mortes, a medieval crusader fort on the coast of the South of France (as featured in the Yellow Dawn novel, Dog Eat Dog.

<>Josh is planning on heading back into Space – taking the evil Sedekfar statue with him.
<>Paul will be experiencing adventures with Elder Gods – but is likely to reappear at Little Boston, in the train, as if no time has elapsed whatsoever.
<> Marcus is happy with his fate.

About ROOTS

Roots is a scenario written by Simon Brake for the RPG, Call of Cthulhu.  I gratefully received a beta version to play test.  Also demonstrating again how flexible the Yellow Dawn universe is to accommodate the storylines’ from other RPG systems.  Simon Brake will be making Roots commercially available later in 2013.

About Simon Brake

Graphic designer. Writer. Father. Happy go lucky. Trying to get more writing done nowadays, but it’s hard to find the time. Still, the words are trickling out into the world and people are liking what they read. This year’s goal: a novel?

Graphic designery person. There’s more info (and graphic designery stuff) on my MySpace page – www.myspace.com/breakerspace – but to be honest I’ve probably got more up to date stuff here nowadays. MySpace is self advertising. Facebook is for reconnecting with real life people. And Twitter… Twitter is where the real party is.

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David J Rodger – DATA

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Yellow Dawn Session Notes 15th September 2012 ¦ Return to Little Boston – Ghost Dog #1

Ghost Dog

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. It also now has two novels set within it, Dog Eat Dog and The Black Lake.

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Resume 17th Sept Y+1
The characters have returned from Horror on the Orient Express and settle back into the almost idyllic swing of life in Little Boston

  • Joshua Crow
  • Marcus Carfax
  • Paul Bishop – and his bizarre magical train

Everyone takes stock of what they have achieved and what they possess.

All other characters that having been “sitting on ice” within Little Boston community were reviewed.

All inventory items were reviewed.  Everything to do with Little Boston is up to date:

Caveat: output from food growing and fuel production needs to be checked at end of month, along with risks from bandits and other wilderness types who might take notice of such a prosperous survival settlement in the middle of nowhere.

Josh is worried about the satyr-like behaviour of Marcus Carfax – ever since he had a deep and potent interaction with  Dark Young of Shub-Niggurath in Belgrade (see relevant session notes here) he’s been seducing women left right and centre. To be so “corruptive” here in the closely knit community of the farm, which includes several woman – who are in relationships with other male workers, could be harmful to the smooth running of their food growing and fuel production business. The characters have made Little Boston self-sufficient in this respect.  It could be a disaster if things are disturbed by internal tensions.

Meanwhile, one of the farm hands, Chet, approaches another farm hand – Clint – about a favour, and this results in Clint getting the characters involved in a trip to New Boston (23 miles east on an eroded road, part of the interlink).

20th Sept Y+1

  • Josh, Marcus, Paul and Clint take the 2 1/2 ton truck to New Boston
  • They’ll nearly blasted off the road by a truck in convoy with armed outriders (Akinolo Odusola).
  • They talk to captain Kennedy – details of Marsha and her missing boyfriend Andrew (Sage), and the details behind Andrew being sectioned and his escape.
  • They observe and are observed by a couple thugs of the Bronte gang.
  • Paul asks around town and learns there are only about 20 thugs in the Bronte gang, that they resent the UDP coming in to take over; they make moonshine and run gambling nights including dog fighting (which is where Andrew was injured) – they’re aggressive but not known to be murderers – but Bronte himself looks like he’s trying to expand the local operation.
  • Team visit Marsha at the house she shares with Andrew:
    • - a friend called Patrick is there, hostile to their arrival. He’s skinny and stinks of bong smoke. He’s been sleeping on floor, whilst Marsha sleeps on sofa (she doesn’t want to be in her and Andrew’s room right now).
    • - Josh goes on Astral plane and encounters a hound by Andrew’s bed- it tries to attack him.
    • - Team get Andrew’s sketch book which shows a storm blasted tree, in a clearing in some kind of forest near a house (not drawn) and a large stone slab lying in overgrown grass with a massive black hound watching over it —– in the drawings the house is always looking AWAY from the viewer, as if it has seen something else arriving. Marsha says that Andrew has always dreamed of an old lady and this dog and that they’re normally nice but two weeks ago thinks started to change, the dreams turned bad, 7 days ago Andrew caught by Bronte’s filming the dog fighting, 3 days ago sectioned and escaped.
  • Team travel with Captain Kennedy to part of New Boston where clothes and food are going missing in neighbourhood. Clint finds Andrew (Sage) hiding in burned ruins. The team get him to a squalid B&B for safe-keeping, he’s exhausted and weak and badly injured (wounds with no blood)… something keeps attacking him in the in the night …. Andrew says “It doesn’t want to harm him, it’s being made to harm him.”  But the wounds are getting deeper and closer to vital organs.
  • That night, sleeping on straw and scratchy blankets in damp basement of B&B, Marcus discovers that Paul’s clockwork heart sneaks out of his mechanised torso and has a passion for sucking blood {think Chronos}.  It leaps onto Marcus’ thigh causing (-1 STR). There is much screaming – with result that owner and her beefy son come running downstairs demanding to know what’s going on. A bribe of 100 credits sends them away. Then an hour later in the wee hours of the night/morning Andrew has another dream attack that leaves him with new wounds visibly appearing in front of the characters eyes – an invisible, intangible assailant. Lot’s of screaming has them ejected from the B&B this time.
Ghost Hound - Hound of Baskervilles or a creature from Yellow Dawn - The Age of Hastur

Ghost Hound

RESUME
2 A.M on 21st Sept Y+1, turfed out onto the streets of New Boston, with Andrew.
Truck and weapons are locked up by main entrance.

GM NOTES:

  • Review Augustus Clay III actions within Little Boston / involvement with Captain Kennedy in a certain prohibited group activity and the proximity / attitude of the nearby UDP garrison.

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David J Rodger – DATA

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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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Yellow Dawn Session Notes 7th July 2012 ¦ Horror on the Orient Express # 12

Belgrade – Sofia

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

15 FEB – around 4 a.m.
The team are scheduled to board the Orient Express for 9.37 am departure to Sofia.
Roman has two satchels, 2 x FN-RAL assault rifles, one with 10 clips, one with 9 clips. 2 x laser scopes.  A bandolier of 5 frag grenades and 5 flash bangs.  Smart SCope goggles with IR and thermal vision.  He also has conduits to carry them across borders – but needs to be careful to ensure he follows protocols.

Characters have noticed black dogs, black cats, black insects…. observing them more of less continuously since fleeing the village.

The team are escorted to Orient Express departure lounge to watch the flux and flow of important and wealthy passengers arriving.

Many stories flicker within exchanged glances or rigid eye contact.

Team quietly discuss the big picture now forming.  There are four parties interested in them / the statue.

(1) Their employer. The man who pretended to be solicitor in London – Solomon Kane. The man who died three times in London. Mehmet Makryat.  A man capable of changing his appearance by killing victims and wearing their skin.  He is the reason the team are travelling across Europe in this train, gathering bits of statue on Mehmet’s behalf.  Why can’t Mehmet do this himself? Because his father, head of cult in Istanbul, Selim, is looking for him.  Mehmet told team that he wants to destroy the statue, to stop his father from activating it and unleashing a terror into the world.  Josh doesn’t buy this.
Query: if the characters phased into this universe – was it on Mehet’s request? Did Mehmet have the ability to make this happen or was it a “favour” from a powerful Outer God?

(2) Selim.  The father of Mehmet and leader of cult in Istanbul. Not much known about him or the cult.  The team are supposed to take statue there – to the cult’s mosque and destroy it by placing it within niches in the walls.  Selim has men scouring Europe looking for his son (to kill him?) and for the statue that he must now is being collected together.

(3) Count Drogo. Previous owner of the statue. A member of the race of the Great Magi. Drogo stole the statue from Sedefkar during the Crusades in the Middle East back in the 12th century.  Drogo survived for centuries, using the statue to walk within the realm of men… a predator concealed in the skin of his victims.  Drogo wants it back – but what has two centuries being bricked away in a wall in an asylum in Paris done to his mind?

(4) Duc Des Essain. The bloated, larger-than-life mad man from Lausanne who created his own “blister reality” where he was able to torment the inhabitants there.  When the Duc approached them in Belgrade, he said this world belonged to him.  What did he mean by that?  This world?  This entire parallel universe or…? Whatever the answer the characters realise he is possibly one of the most powerful and dangerous adversaries they face.  Marcus believes that the Duc wants to stop Selim – or anyone – else from getting the statue because its activation would shift the balance of power. Right now – in this reality – the Duc is king, perhaps?  And the Duc wants to keep it that way.

In the departure lounge, the team take notice of Charles Parker and Walter Protheroe and his assistant, Amy. There is some kind of sardonic dynamic in place between them.

On the train, luxury comfort and relief to be moving again. Characters won’t totally relax until they’re over the border and hopefully away from SPARSK assassins.

Marcus begins to exhibit Satyr-like qualities. An influence of his close encounter with the Dark Young of Shub-Niggurath. Women begin to act very strangely around him.

In salon car, team discover that Fargas Laslow (tall, glossy and highly groomed Italian) is riding with them: his job is to observe them and ensure no more massacres by the “Orient Ripper” take place.

Leaving the region of Belgrade, their following of black birds and insects fades away.  Josh thinks it was Baba-Yaga.

Later…

Walter Protheroe is found dead in his compartment. Shot through the head. Gun in right hand. Window locked and a pile of Arabic stim-pipes crowding a small ashtray.

Laslow puts his ego and desire to best the team, above the desire to properly solve the crime.

Marcus and Josh put together a solid line of reasoning and work through the clues, with a final twist of help coming from Paul Bishop “It’s a locked room case”.

A locked room. Of course.  The room was locked but there should have been a smell from all  the stim pipes.

Team discover a false witness statement and the fact Amy found Protheroe dead from suicide, but she re-arranged clues to try and have Parker (who she hated) accused of the murder – which nearly worked because Laslow followed her bait.

When the truth is revealed Laslow is gutted – and flits between drunkenly sneering or praising them.

The the Bulgarian border, Roman is removed from train by authorities. An issue over protocol; but he ensures the team still have the bags and the webbing.

An avalanche
stops train in the mountains, 2 hours from Sofia. Paul goes to front of train to take a look; Marcus goes with him and so does Josh – but Josh stops to grab a coat. Alone, trying to catch up with the others he is attacked by a maniac with a knife. The maniac gouges out his eye and runs off with it.

Later, a grisly discovery is made in the snow – tracks leading from train into forest… they find an eyeball, but it doesn’t belong to Josh.

Josh begins to experience flashed glimpses of another point of view.  His eyeball now in the head of the maniac.

It’s horrible.

Laslow comes up to Marcus and proffers to him a hardscreen loaded with latest newspaper; page 5, article about a strange ceramic head dug up yesterday by a farmer.  It is the head of the Simulacrum.  International paper.  Everybody who might be interested in it now knows the head is at the University of Sofia for study.

Bulgaria - Sofia - a view from the city looking up to mountains - resource of Horror on the Orient Express

Sofia

Arriving in Sofia the team are taken to their hotel, the Caravaggio. Marcus seduces the reception girl and gets a presidential suite. Private elevator, marble statues, a sunken lounge with window wall views across city, bullet-proof glass, gas-filtered air-vents.  A private fortress.  Josh and Paul refuse to pay the male receptionist “a surcharge of 500 per night, each” so are given “standard rooms”.  These are down in the lower floor of the hotel overlooking car park. They’re not impressed.  Eventually they go up to Marcus’ suite and sleep on sofas there.

They notice when Marcus comes out of shower, stark-bollock naked, he’s walking around as if he has hooves for feet and is stoking his thighs as if they’re covered in coarse matted hair.  It’s obvious this is what Marcus believes. Strange. Instead, Marcus just has the same skin deformity and scars and aching joints across his limbs and torso as the rest of the group (dire consequences of possessing the statue pieces).

17th Feb
Team leave hotel by extortionate taxi (again) and travel to University of Sofia. After much delay and procrastination by people who either wants bribes or don’t talk English, they finally get to meet the professor studying the recently found head.  Meanwhile – Josh is experiencing all manner of strange glimpses of the journey of the maniac who gouged out his eyeball. A river gorge. A cavern.  A ceremony…

The professor is intrigued by the character’s knowledge of the strange, unidentifiable ceramic material the head is made from. He agrees to show them the head.

However, when they walk into the work lab… a horror scene awaits them.

TO BE CONCLUDED NEXT SESSION

Bulgaria - Sofia - city centre - resource of Horror on the Orient Express played in modern cyerpunk era

Sofia city

GM NOTES:
() Next Rank Roll should be when they complete Sofia.  Laslow is in Sofia keeping tabs on them.
() All Cs have yet to experience TAINT from Dark Young
(!) Marcus has started experience something particularly potent due to his mind engaging with the things.The question is, where is this going to end up?

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DJR: thoughts for next session on local copy of these notes.

Yellow Dawn Session Notes 17th March 2012 ¦ Horror on the Orient Express # 10

Belgrade

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…

.

RESUME
6th FEB @ 5 A.M.
SUNDAY

The team have just got back to their hotel and crashed. Today is Sunday. They’ll have to kill time before going back to meet the professor at Belgrade Museum on Monday.  Josh is already gobbing off about they have to buy everything – but does come up with the smart suggestion they should convert the cash into precious metal or gems they can take back to their own true universe of Yellow Dawn – and not remain in this odd parallel universe where Yellow Dawn never happened.

Telfus has booked into a smaller, cheaper hotel and waiting to see what he does with his life now that he dealt with the killer of his sister.

The team grab some sleep then head down for a late breakfast; they agree to buy in:
() Vortek Personal Protection Fields (these are only 50,000 each rather than 500,000 as listed in Yellow Dawn rulebook, because this world is a blister reality where YD did not happen).

() Armwatch Security Cover – snapcards

() Executive quality suits with ballistic and stab resistant weave.

On news in story about assassination of Serbian minister of interior. SPARSK are mentioned. Nobody claimed responsibility but Croatian or Kosovo is picking up blame via speculation. Tensions in country are increasing.  SPARSK militia noted as mobilising across countryside.

They are hassled by a high-ranking journalist from WorldStar Media who wants to know how they bested Fargan Laslow last night – and what happened; but this appears to be more about digging for dirt on Marcus Hardman (wealthy host of last night’s party where the jewel was stolen by Countess Roskoff but recovered by characters).  Characters play silent. Journalist threatens to expose links between deaths and mayhem in Paris, Milan, Venice and Trieste and their arrival in each of those locations on the Orient Express – timescales overlap.

Team ring Marcus Hardman to warm him about journalist digging.

Marcus Hardman says thanks, repeats his promise to have minister of culture approve their paperwork for removing rare artefacts from Serbia.

Team contact Dimitri to ask about a favour. Dimitri was wanting to meet them anyway… Caterina wants to have lunch / dinner with the team before she has to head back to London for an opera.

They all meet at a posh warehouse eating place.  Dimitri arranges for a hacker called Viral 5 to contact characters – to satisfy their needs.

Heading to a cafe near bazaar later on, a car bomb goes off… dozens killed and many more injured. Dimitri hit in leg by shrapnel; everyone else blasted to ground; Paul is hit by shrapnel but it destroys his PA instead.  Then the driver of Dimitri’s SUV (who has a SPARSK tattoo) shoots the other bodyguard, shoots Dimitri and then shoots Caterina and flees.  Marcus and Paul chase after him (as does a drone) and catch him amongst tables and chairs of an indoor cafe (closed). Dimitri’s men arrive to shoo away police and take the prisoner.

Josh and Metz use magic and first aid to save Caterina’s life. Dimitri is ignored and dies from his wounds.

Police are grateful to characters and no awkward questions are asked.

Characters return to hotel to assess situation.

Barely there 30 minutes they’re summoned by a phone call with a modulated voice to meet at a sports stadium. Taxi there. They go in and meet a man in late 50′s.  A Serbian spook. Dimitri was helping internal security protect minister of interior… looks like his failure made him a target of SPARSK. Government spook says thanks for what you did and offers to grease the wheels a bit whilst they’re in Serbia: also says to be wary of SPARSK, now that they helped apprehend the assassin.

The spook leaves. The characters wait a few minutes, standing in the middle of the pitch surrounded by empty rows of stadium seats. As they’re about to leave… the lights fail. In fact, there are no lights ANYWHERE. With a chill horror they realise they’ve phased back into the world of Yellow DAwn.

There are Infected within the stadium – just visible in the moonlight.

Marcus uses his pop-gun to take a couple down. More surge in, attracted by the noise.

Metz falls victim to some kind of mesmerization, he stands there, not participating (caught within Influence of Hastur). The team try to get him out of there but more Infected are running towards them, shrieking and snarling. Marcus shoots. Paul wrestles one to the ground as it thrashes around in his desperate grip.  Josh slashes with his sword cane. Metz get’s tackled by an Infected and slammed to the ground, the Infected bites deep into Metz’s neck, tearing the flesh…

The lights snap back on.

They’ve phased out again; back into this strange blister reality where YD has not happened. And to their horror they can see Paul is still grappling an Infected; one of the things has come back through with them!!!!  It stops struggling and abruptly becomes alert. It looks at Paul and Paul sees a monstrous intelligence seeping into that rotting face… it looks around with growing delight as if sensing a whole new world to Infect. And then it disintegrates into golden glowing particles of dust and blows away. Spreading Infection or vanishing from this realm, nobody really knows. Then all attention turns to Metz who is sitting there clutching a wound to his neck and asking over and over – am I ok? Am I okay? Only a few seconds have elapsed. Josh approaches him, uses magick to heal the wound and steps back… watching cautiously.  The transformation is fast and brutal. Metz snarls, leaps up to attack… but then before anything else can happen he too disintegrates into golden particles of dust.

The team are traumatized to see a long-standing character become Infected and then to disappear like that.

They return to hotel, numb.

7th FEB
MONDAY

A government suit arrives at hotel and hands over paperwork authorising team to take artefacts from Serbia. Marcus goes to Belgrade museum and is told about the village where such artefacts may be found.

Team are driven by their new Serbian security man, Roman, in his jeep, out into the wild countryside to Oraszc.

Encounter the village. The priest and the headman.

A fertility rite takes place.

They sleep the night there.

8th FEB
TUESDAY

Team head out deeper into forest to see the old lady in the woods.
A terrifying encounter with an ancient spirit form – Baba Yaga takes place but the characters pass the test and are told where to find the RIGHT ARM of the statue.
Team head back and witness the beginning of a ceremony, a goat sacrificed on an altar stone and strange chanting.  Marcus and Paul wander down amongst the “cultists” as if to confront them when something large and monstrous emerges from the woods. A Dark Young of Shub-Niggurath.

Marcus throws down something given to him as a charm – but it’s a false gift, a trap, and TEN MORE Dark Young materialise!!!

Paul is grabbed by tentacles and hauled towards slobbering mouths.
Roman shoots dead the Headman and priestess, with the random consequences of allowing Marcus to take control of the TEN Dark Young – Marcus commands them to attack the solitary DARK YOUNG. Paul barely gets away with his life.
Marcus grabs the RIGHT ARM and everyone flees through village. They are not pursued. The TEN Dark Young chomp, grab, stamp and devour the cultists.

RESUME
8pm on 8th FEB, just leaving the area of the village in Roman’s jeep – driving like the wind, clutching the RIGHT ARM of the statue and everyone feeling very lucky to be alive. Roman’s right index finger now has a gnarly nail, since Baba Yaga bit it down to the bone and stripped the flesh from the finger (and Josh used magic to repair the finger as best he could).

As they accelerate, Roman has to brake hard and screech the jeep to a halt: a large black dog is on the road, staring back at them with intelligence that is far beyond what is normal.

The team need to get back to Belgrade and get on the next train to Sofia.

LEFT LEG, LEFT ARM, RIGHT LEG, TORSO at Excelsior hotel in Belgrade.  RIGHT ARM is with the team in the jeep as they’re blasting back towards Belgrade.

GM NOTES: all characters had Rank rolls with a +3 bonus.

DJR: thoughts for next session on local copy of these notes.

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Yellow Dawn Session Notes 4th Feb 2012 ¦ Horror on the Orient Express # 9

Trieste – Belgrade

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 3rd FEB @ 8PM
Josh and Telfus are in Trieste, clutching the RIGHT LEG now wrapped in a camping tarp that Telfus had in his backpack. They’re in a taxi heading to a cafe anywhere.  The Orient Express leaves in a few minutes. Next train is just after 8pm tomorrow night.  Telfus has started to show signs of the skin irritation on right leg, left leg, left arm and bad chesty cough.

Marcus, Paul and Metz are at Posthumia. Marcus is having shower in tourist facilities, washing away blood, but the wound to his head (1 HP) needs medical attention as Josh failed First Aid.

LEFT LEG and LEFT ARM at at Orient hotel in Trieste. TORSO is somewhere…?

# # #

AT THE TOURIST CENTRE: Metz and Paul can see signs of the remaining lloigor cultists regrouping, surrounding the isolated building; cutting the power and then turning on the lights of the coaches in the car park. They’ve just become trapped.

IN TRIESTE: Josh and Telfus sit in a cafe; Josh rings Marcus and then Paul – trying to persuade them to stay there until he’s able to make the 4 hour journey back to Posthumia. Both Marcus and Paul give their PA devices a WTF? look.

AT THE TOURIST CENTRE: Metz and Paul head outside; Metz gets into a fight with a cultist who has some weird tentacle appendage growing from the back of his head – wielding a knife. Metz gets a gash across his upper left arm.  Paul and Metz grapple the man to the ground and bludgeon him to death. Then Paul sneaks off and commandeers a coach.  Metz runs up to the back of it and clambers up the ladder; Marcus – who is now on the roof of the building – leaps off onto the coach before Paul manages to grind a few gears and pull away.  Dark and dangerous drive down through mountain roads. A brief chase by vehicles until Paul side-swipes one of them into crashing into the mountain side.

IN TRIESTE: Josh send Telfus back to the hotel with the RIGHT LEG. Then creates a portal into the cavern system, only to find the Lloigor are heavily active there feeding from all the power. He’s nearly unable to portal out due to the Lloigor boiling-off his magick points.  BACK IN THE HOTEL, he finds that all the statue components including the TORSO from Milan, has been placed in his room AND assembled. Eerie.

4th FEB
——–

Everyone regroups at the hotel and then camps down unwilling to risk going out. Taxi to the train station that night and abruptly into the luxury and safety of the Orient Express.

Leave Trieste with much relief.

A number of curious strangers on the train.

Marcus plays backgammon with a businessman who invites him to a party in Belgrade the following night.

5th FEB
——–

belgrade_urban

Belgrade

Arrive Belgrade. Heavy snow.  Calm atmosphere. A sense of something missing – they’re no longer being watched by Drogo? Is that possible?  There’s a lot of desperately poor people begging; scrawny kids try to take their bags. A tall teenager who’s made an effort to look presentable and who speaks good English chases them away and offers his services as a guide. The team take his number and haggle him down to 100 credits a day.

Check into Hotel Excelsior.  Then contact Belgrade Museum.  Meet the professor there.  He says he knows where the characters might find information about the strange statue – they’ve shown the professor the LEFT ARM. Baffling him. However, the professor will only reveal his source when characters come back with paperwork that authorises them to leave the country with artefacts.

THAT NIGHT:
Go to party of wealthy businessmen. Become involved in investigating a theft.  Encounter Caterine Cavelova and her boyfriend Dimitri again (very positive experience).  Marcus encounters a dangerous but beguiling jewel-thief… and cross-swords (playfully?).  They also encounter Fargan Laslow – the greatest detective in Europe?! – and he bows to the characters ability: Metz was responsible for finding the stolen jewels outside the property – although got shot by a long range taser rifle for his trouble.

Businessman provides a staggering reward; a cash value on a slice of black crystal.

belgrade

Belgrade

RESUME

6th FEB @ 5 A.M.
The team have just got back to their hotel and crashed. Today is Sunday. They’ll have to kill time before going back to meet the professor at Belgrade Museum on Monday.  Josh is already gobbing off about they have to buy everything – but does come up with the smart suggestion they should convert the cash into precious metal or gems they can take back to their own true universe of Yellow Dawn – and not remain in this odd parallel universe where Yellow Dawn never happened.

Telfus has booked into a smaller, cheaper hotel and waiting to see what he does with his life now that he dealt with the killer of his sister.

GM NOTES: all c’s had rank checks after leaving Trieste – but what Hero Bonus did Marcus take? How many Karma Points did he generate?   Team have RIGHT LEG, LEFT LEG, TORSO, LEFT ARM and are all displaying signs of skin irritation and illness in those body areas.  Interestingly, since arriving in Belgrade they’ve started to feel aches in their RIGHT ARM.  Marcus is carrying the black crystal slice with LOTS OF CASH.

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Yellow Dawn Session Notes 7th January 2012 ¦ Horror on the Orient Express #8

Trieste

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…

.

RESUME 8pm on 1st FEB
in hotel room, having just completed séance. Local news is talking about baffling disappearance of tram driver after a mysterious breakdown in tunnel. Foul play is suspected but so far no bodies have been found.  Brief reference to Venice, along the lines of “This is Not Venice” … but another local news feed suggests that the homeless people of the city are spreading rumours about a monster stalking amongst them, eating them and throwing remains into the sea.

Characters may wish to rest or head out to fetch the ring/

# # #

Deutsch: Werbeplakat des Orient-Express Englis...

-

Marcus heads downstairs to grab a drink, settle his nerves and get something on his stomach.
At dinner he is approached by Telfus Fleet – a British speaking, half-Thai character who looks slightly wired on stress and tension.  Skull sockets beneath his left ear distinguish him as involved in computing and technology.

He’s seen the team being watched and followed and thinks the same people are mixed up in the reason he’s in Trieste – hunting down the man who murdered his sister. Alfonso.

The Maitre’D is accosted by an unseen dinner guest and walks off in a strange daze – when he returns, there is something different about him; Marcus suspects this is the work of the man who killed and took the skin of their translator in Paris – perhaps the man who originally hired them to find the statue?

Later that night Telfus is driving across Trieste alone to meet with someone who says they have information on the killer.  He encounters [a man who is later recognised as Antoni Termona], in a plush house on the hill – and six other men [cultists of Lloigor] including Alfonso.  Telfus has to restrain himself: he’s warned off… told a few things… told his persistence and questions have made him an irritation but killing him is risky and they’d prefer to avoid the risk… leave Trieste and never ask about Alfonso again.  Later – Telfus is given an opportunity for ultimate and gruesome revenge… does he take it? There’s a monolith in a room with glass walls; a sense of great power and glimpses of another reality… deep underground caverns.

That same evening, Paul and Metz – having snuck out of the 5* Simplon Hotel with the others – avoiding the various tailing parties… find a new hotel and check in for the team.

THE LEFT ARM and THE LEFT LEG is back at Orient hotel; they suspect THE TORSO is on the train with them (Count Drogo?) due to the growing issues of health and irritation.

Also that same evening, Marcus and Josh – having escorted Telfus to the first rendezvous point and told to go away by the driver, find themselves in a bad part of town.  They avoid getting robbed by local kids and make their way to the location of the artefact hidden by W_____ more than 300 years ago. An abandoned house, shuttered and lost.  They break in. And after a few hours of digging around the ancient basement find the very thing Marcus saw during the séance… the ring buried under a flagstone. This is the object W____ had tried to bring to Things in the caverns at Posthumia… and the same object the cult here wanted to bring to the THings instead… and the reason W_____ was murdered all those centuries ago.  Now it is in the hands of Josh.

Everyone RV’s back at the new hotel.

2nd Feb
——-
The team want to get an early train to Posthumia… the plan is to take the ring there and hope the collection of occult artefacts supposed to reside with the Things will include a part of the statue.  However Josh demands everyone hangs around for most of the day whilst he inspects the ring, ultimately finding it is a Mythos object of minor power.

3pm – the team catch a train from Trieste to the nearest town to Posthumia… trying in vain to shake off the various tails that have caught up with them; also a brief phase back into the horror world of Yellow Dawn along with Telfus and a pickpocket.

7pm – get to the small town and half an unsettled nights sleep.

3rd Feb
——-

Team head to the caves.  Met by the tour operator, a swarthy looking man with a gold tooth; there’s a hundred or so other folks there for the tour – none of them look like tourists and many of them are missing limbs.  The team get a bad feeling about this.

lloiger-conceptual-art-of-the-cthulhu-mythos

A Lloiger phyiscal manifestation - click for artist link

The tour starts off nice enough but soon plunges into madness in the deepest darkest area of the cave complex; lights go off, men with torches hunt the characters down with knives and sticks; the party is split up several times; Marcus is grappled and man-handled away – only to be found a while later, unconscious with a gash to his head surrounded by a dozen shredded bodies…. it looks like the Turks have come down here and started killing the Lloigor cultists — and that something else {Drogo?} has been killing both Turks and cultists. It’s a blood bath. Meanwhile, Telfus takes the ring to THE CAVERN. Encounters The THings. Hands over the ring and is teleported – along with Josh – to the private vault of a collector – and there is the RIGHT LEG of the statue. The Things WANT the team to take the leg away because it is a blot on the energy of the area…

Josh grabs it – the alarms go off. Security guards come running. Then Telfus and Josh phase into the horror of Yellow Dawn – and have to make their way down into the centre of Trieste  (but now it’s a Dead City full of Infected).  They spend several hours by the side of a road, freezing, before phasing back.

NOTE: This is all entirely new to Telfus. He’s lost a lot of COOL points through Anxiety this session.

Marcus, Paul and Metz pick their way through the hundred or so murdered bodies in the caves and return to the surface – there to find a few survivors [Italians, Lloigor cultists] who approach them asking where the ring is… Marcus replies, “They, those things have it”.

The cultists seem battered and weary so head off. But for how long?

RESUME 3rd FEB @ 8PM
Josh and Telfus are in Trieste, clutching the RIGHT LEG now wrapped in a camping tarp that Telfus had in his backpack. They’re in a taxi heading to a cafe anywhere.  The Orient Express leaves in a few minutes. Next train is just after 8pm tomorrow night.  Telfus has started to show signs of the skin irritation on right leg, left leg, left arm and bad chesty cough.

Marcus, Paul and Metz are at Posthumia. Marcus is having shower in tourist facilities, washing away blood, but the wound to his head (1 HP) needs medical attention as Josh failed First Aid.

LEFT LEG and LEFT ARM at at Orient hotel in Trieste. TORSO is somewhere…?

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Yellow Dawn – The Age of Hastur continues with Horror on the Orient Express today…

Geeks incorporated.

Cthulhy Mythos Cyberpunk blend in post-apocalyptic setting - Yellow Dawn is written by David J Rodger - photo of game testers july 2011

Yellow Dawn Game Testers - photo taken July 2011

So this is part of the original Yellow Dawn RPG test crew, plus guest (Kelvin Wright) on the far left. They’re all coming over here later today to play Yellow Dawn and continue the epic campaign Horror On The Orient Express, that I’ve converted to work in a post-apocalyptic setting – complete with parallel universe “not affected” by Yellow Dawn… giving players the dread of phasing in and out and the worst possible moments, but also allowing characters to enjoy life as it could have been – and the luxury of the Simplon Orient… if the Hasturian virus hadn’t struck. You can read crude session notes here: https://davidjrodger.wordpress.com/category/yellow-dawn/yd-session-notes/

Have a great weekend, everyone.

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YD Session Notes 26th November 2011 ¦ Horror on the Orient Express #7

Djr note. The team just arrived in Trieste. Wow, what an excellent session. Venice was completed during the big gamers weekend away in Hayling Island and was an exceptionally visceral and powerful session, but I reckon I succeeded in bring Trieste to life here and introduce a range of local colours to confuse and disturb the players.  After the session we went out to join friends for cocktails at Hausbar but all night I couldn’t shake free of the idea of the Bora, and the sense I was actually still someplace else… in my imagination.

Trieste - 10

Trieste Harbour Area

RESUME:
29th Jan @ 8pm
They’re arriving in Trieste. The wind is howling and shrieking about the station; icicles are forming in near horizontal formations.
THEY HAVE THE LEFT ARM AND THE LEFT LEG; they suspect THE TORSO is on the train with them (Count Drogo?) due to the growing issues of health and irritation.

Once off the train they are harassed by a MOCID Cultural Attaché:
- “This is not Milan, Mr Bishop”
- “Where is Rossini?”
- “I will be watching you. I will not allow another Venice to happen here in Trieste.”

They also glimpse a short, slim figure in a thick padded coat and large hat dragging a travel trunk across the platform from the train.  They wonder: is this Drogo?

Taxi to Savoie Excelsior

Crash out to sound of wind howling around windows.

Central square, Trieste, Italy

Central Trieste

30th Jan
———
Josh buys a crate of zone to last him a month; has it delivered to a P.O.Box however had to use his ID to set this up.

Marcus discovers much about Johan W. And about his murder in 1768 and the diary that was sold at auction after this.

Team make contact with Antony Termona; they claim to be researchers, investigating a lost statue and the diary could be of use.  He invites them to dinner.

Down in hotel lobby, team discover several groups of watchers:
() KSK cadets, blatantly keeping an eye on them.
() Thin, wiry, east-european looking types in warm and comfortable clothing – watching the characters?  Later, this becomes a tall thin man with red hair and a shock of black streaked through it…
()  Three thuggish looking Arabic types in cheap suits and cheap leather jackets, all wearing that red hat they saw in Paris.  They seem to be watching the East Europeans… but then take notice of the characters.

Josh goes Astral and encounters something “there” all around, in the air. Scary.

Later again, the characters become aware of a partially deformed man, short, barrel chested, who seems to have his hands tucked inside sleeves of the cammo jacket he wears.

Trieste - 12

Dinner at Termona’s is a strange affair. The house is on the hill above the tunnel; wealthy and exclusive.  Termona hands them the diary for safe-keeping.  Termona is missing his right arm.

Outside, Paul discovers a KSK car is empty with a smashed passenger window. Also a car further down road with two shadowy figures watching: a brief stand-off between him and the car with its full beams on.

1st Feb
——-
Poor sleep last night.

There’s nothing on the news to indicate the same kind of insane violence is happening here as in Venice.  Venice is being discussed in detail by all the major news channels: something wrong with the water is being blamed for mass mania.

It seems only the MOCID cultural attaché knows there might be a link between characters and the Orient Ripper and What happened in Venice.

There’s a morning meeting with an associate of Termona, down in the harbour district. An academic called Montanelli.

They take a tram there; go through tunnel. Other side, lots of graffiti with a circular symbol; Josh recognises it and later discovers it is a Mythos symbol suggesting that worshippers of Lloigor are active in the area. It’s a frightening prospect.

Josh seems the East-european with the red hair following them off tram and then grabbed by one of the Arabic types… something done to him he collapses into a seat as the tram speeds off.

Montanelli is big, odd and missing a right leg.  Something about him is unpleasant.  He spends four hours giving the characters a summary translation of key sections of the diary (which is in archaic German). Montanelli says there is some kind of puzzle, perhaps revealing where W____ hid the ring.

The cafe is full of students from local university campus. There’s a strange vibe from them. Some of them are not… right.

It’s dark by time the characters leave the cafe.  They return to the tram where some kind of local seems to be planning on robbing them: only, as they enter the tunnel the tram stops, the lights go out and then [something] attacks him and drags him screaming from the train and kills him… it also kills the tram driver. The characters flee and get out of the tunnel on foot before anybody can notice them.

Seance Room

séance

Back at the hotel the power fails; in candlelight there are strange ghostly apparitions and experiences.  Is it W______?

Champagne is delivered by hotel staff, along with hand-written letter (in German) from the guest in the suite upstairs… it’s a letter from Drogo… a greeting, a thank-you and a warning.

Josh holds a séance to commune with W_____ and succeeds in having the ghost of W_____ draw a map of where the ring is hidden (Western quarter); Marcus also give staccato images showing the scene from 1768 when the ring was hidden!

RESUME 8pm on 1st FEB
in hotel room, having just completed séance. Local news is talking about baffling disappearance of tram driver after a mysterious breakdown in tunnel. Foul play is suspected but so far no bodies have been found.  Brief reference to Venice, along the lines of “This is Not Venice” … but another local news feed suggests that the homeless people of the city are spreading rumours about a monster stalking amongst them, eating them and throwing remains into the sea.

Characters may wish to rest or head out to fetch the ring.

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Reasons to like Lovecraft: Lloigor

If you’re a fan of H.P.Lovecraft you may recognise and hopefully enjoy seeing this. If you’re unaware of H.P.Lovecraft, then peel the rime off your eyeballs and get into this world of ultimate, sanity-blasting cosmic horror…

What investigators find is not meant to be found - Blair Reynolds - from CoC scenario about Lloigor

What investigators find is not meant to be found - image: Blair Reynolds

Another incredibly dark and disturbing facet of the Cthulhu Mythos – not one of H P Lovecraft’s creations but certainly belongs within the pantheon of Great Old Ones he originally… discovered.

On first glance there appears to be several disparate definitions of the Lloigor. These include August Derleth and Mark Schorer’s trans-dimensional, tentacled obscenity (along with twin Zhar); or Colin Wilson’s invisible vortices of psychic energy that can manifest in physical forms – such as reptilian beasts – giving rise to legends of Dragons and other monsters; or as the many-angled-ones presented by Grant Morrison as capable of taking possession of body & mind of other powerful beings in other parallel universes.

I feel that this lack of clarity is actually a facet of their non-physical nature, their ability to shift their physical appearance (persona) albeit that they tend to use the same one over millenia.

lloiger - race of Mythos Great Old Ones can manifest as dinosaur - image by Anti-Grav

lloiger can manifest as dinosaur - image: Anti-Grav

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Common perceptions:

These are threads that I feel work together; I’ve pulled them into one place and added some of my own interpretations for you to use or ignore, as you see fit:

lloiger - conceptual art of the Cthulhu Mythos

A Lloiger phyiscal manifestation - image: unknown

<> Lloigor are a race as a opposed to a single entity. Highly evolved, intelligent, shockingly cruel and malevolent.  They are timeless but currently a number of them exist here on Earth, “caught up” within the space-time continuum. They are in a weakened state, leaching minimal energy from lay-lines and psychic plexus; as such they reside in the nexus of such energy-feeding networks.  As such their historical “personas” have become warped and twisted into creatures that are obsessed on acquiring energy.  Worship of them is one way they can achieve this – through ceremonial sacrifices; and so, many Lloigor,  normally utterly self-focussed and instinctively brutal, have come to investigate and comprehend the “human condition” and so sometimes play on this to ultimately achieve what they want.

<> Those Lloigor currently on Earth came from the Andromeda Galaxy to the continent of Mu (a former landmass in the Atlantic ocean) and used humans as slaves.  Humans at this point were the evolutionary descendant of Australopithecus – which had migrated millions of years earlier as a new species from the flesh-rendering pits of the Elder Things in a region that would eventually become Antarctica.  Following the destruction of Mu, the Lloigor retreated below ground (due to diminished power following destruction of their power-providing network of temples and such-like) and left their former slaves to their own devices. These early humans migrated from Mu and populated the earth.

Lloigor can manifest in terrible ways - Blair Reynolds - from CoC scenario The Watcher in the Valley

Lloigor can manifest in terrible ways - image: Blair Reynolds

<> They are fundamentally energy beings. When they do take physical form, they take the form of other creatures they have encountered – and been impressed by.  The decision behind this is complex and discussed in a moment.  The statement “they take the form” is actually misleading.  They actually teleport “the being” from a point in (local) space & time, posses its mind and body, and so use it within any other point in (local) space & time.  This is something they’ve been doing for a very long time.  The creatures so used are effectively ensnared in psychic “aspic” until next brought into play.

<> They have the ability to skim the energy from people sleeping within a few miles of their centre of activity.  Such victims wake up feeling lethargic, ill and moody.  Depression, suicide and acts of depravity are significantly higher in these locales.  Lloigor have learned not to situate themselves near major settlements; despite the appeal of a rich feast of skimmed energy; because they’re wary of certain humans, knowledgeable in the ways of the Mythos, of recognising the symptoms and so tracking them down. Therefore the Lloigor prefer more remote areas where a few people turning into degenerates might not be so readily noticed.

<> The focus point or centre of Lloigor activity in any area unfortunate enough to suffer their presence is no random location.  The Lloigor can sense energy and feed from the natural currents (however feeble) of ley lines and other natural and preternatural plexus; they occupy the nexus of these places, where there is the highest convergence of disparate energy fields for them to bask within.

<> The Lloigor employ a variety of methods to infiltrate any local human population.  Such cults are composed of individuals drawn into committing acts that are vicious, violent and sadistic; anything that causes pain and terror, two states that generate a lot of energy for the Lloigor to feast from.  Cultists will often daub “curious and disturbing symbols” on walls of public places, sometimes looking like grim gang graffiti, extending the influence of the Lloigor in that area.  More potent acts of worship involve erecting stone obelisks at key locations – sometimes several, forming a pattern – to help channel energy to the Lloigor.

Strange carved object - portent to disaster - Blair Reynolds - from CoC scenario about Lloigor

Strange carved object, portent to disaster - image: Blair Reynolds

<> Choice of physical manifestation is based on a number of motives. One motive is to have the best possible chance of enforcing their will, through violence and terror, on a subjugated “work force”.  What better than to employ a Rauisuchidae (dinosaur) or the kind of creature referred to as a dragon?  Or one of the more Lovecraftian polyp-like monsters, a mass of pseudopods and ichor-dripping maws; giving rise to August Derleth’s Twin Obscenity.  Sometimes other motives come into play; Lloiger cast themselves as an almost human character – perhaps one of the Great Magi (Non-human species from Yellow Dawn rulebook).  Whatever the choice, it is something that the Lloigor will have encountered in more powerful days (historically long time ago) and been able to ‘capture’ as a physical host to use again and again through any time in the (local) space-time continuum.

<> The Lloigor can create these physical manifestations / teleportations throughout time – but relocating such entities in space (distance from the nexus, or centre of Lloigor activity) is not possible because of the amount of energy required.  Therefore these physical manifestations / teleportations occur in the same area – again and again – over time.

<> As such, in physical form, the Lloigor are unable (or unwilling) to travel far from the centre of their activity – the nexus of their power-gathering plexus.

<>  The fact that the Lloigor is using such extreme measures for a physical manifestation means that it is not likely (or unable) to use any other physical form.  This leads to a build up of sightings and local legends of the same “thing” in a contained region.

<> Lloiger can travel much further in astral form.  However, an unusual aspect to this creates a physical phenomenon, a cold wind that blows across the land as they move.  The wind can be as gentle as a chill breeze or a furious bora that can sweep adults off their feet; the reasons of what and when are down to individual GM.

Boston Society for American Indian Preservation - Blair Reynolds - from CoC scenario about Lloigor

Boston Society for American Indian Preservation - image: Blair Reynolds

<> Any character entering the Astral Plane to investigate what is there as the wind blows across them will encounter the sanity-crushing presence of the Lloiger in !!dispersed!! form.  Like a wind – the Lloigor flow through the Astral Plane.  This is effectively like encountering the Lloigor in its native state and is extremely dangerous.  Rule data: forces an ANXIETY check or loose 1/1d10 COOL points. Subsequent consequence of insanity, if it occurs, is always desire to commit suicide (through acute depression) or perform deranged acts of depravity.

<> Teleportation is one way in which they drag potential victims to them.  They are able to ‘lock on’ by travelling (astrally) and coalescing a [bubble] around the victim – who then vanishes in the blink of an eye; the victim is taken to the centre of Lloigor activity.  Note: the process of coalescing around the victim is not immediate, it takes time and generates noticeable effects such as – static electricity discharging off anybody in the area; an ice-cold tingling across the skin of the victim; a feeling of acute menace and overwhelming depression in the vicinity, experienced by everybody but most noticeable for the victim.  Rule data: chance of success is 80% – failure results in no effect but Lloigor loses the MPs; any character going onto the Astral Plane will encounter the Lloigor and can attempt to “fight” it away through POW attacks.

<> Kinetic detonation.  One of the Lloigor’s most devastating attacks.  It is a remote attack with a range of several miles.  They can focus on an area and cause a massive explosion (not chemical or fireball, but of raw energy, pushing out a shock wave); the attack is preceded by a buzzing that is more felt than heard; ears tingle and itch. Then boom. Bodies can be ripped apart; structural walls and floors can be blown out; at a further distance the concussion wave can rupture vital organs, cause temporary deafness; and scoop up debris from the surroundings and throw it forward much like a fragmentation grenade.  This does require a lot of energy so would only be used against a significant threat to the Lloigor.

<>  Spontaneous human combustion.  Lloigor can cause a victim’s fatty tissue to melt beneath the flesh and vital fluids to boil.  They use this to cause agonising pain – to their worshippers, or if prolonged, to melt and char limbs as punishment / coercion; and in extreme circumstances, can result in a runaway effect of total combustion: there are no flames, no smoke, and a victim, if touched, only feels a little warmer than normal – but beneath their skin they’re effervescing away until their core body temperature shuts down vital organs, and still they cook away, evaporating down to charred bone and hardened tissue.

<> The cults of Lloigor can vary across racial and cultural groupings. Worship can be pro-active, by individuals aware of the monster on the fringes of their society; or they can be passive – intrusive – with the Lloigor tampering with the thoughts and dreams of people via the Astral Plane.  Also – the Lloigor may not always physically manifest as a monster, which, let’s be frank, would cause quite a stir if witnessed by the common public; some Lloigor do take the form of human beings, or other non-human creatures who have taken the human form.  The Lloigor are masters of psychological and psychic torture – they revel in causing terror and pain because of the energy that leaks out of these states.  Cultists are battered, shocked, deranged and depraved.  They participate in abduction, torture, cannibalism, rape and torture.  Some have had limbs melted away; either amputated or left twisted and charred as permanent reminders of their failure to satisfy the monstrous pleasures of these invisible masters.  Some have had worse things done to them.  Others tattoo their flesh with the chilling iconography of the Lloigor language (if you can call it that).  Characters should certainly do everything they can to avoid falling into the hands of some heinous groups, where brutal savagery is merely a component of worship.

Lloigor can manifest in terrifying ways - Blair Reynolds - from CoC scenario The Watcher in the Valley

Lloigor can manifest in terrifying ways - image: Blair Reynolds

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Scenarios of note:

  • Watcher in the Valley.  Published by Chaosium within a collection of short scenarios called “Tales of the Miskatonic Valley” and is, I think, one of their classics and should not be missed. Written by Kevin Ross and featuring some stunning interior illustrations by Blair Reynolds.
  • The Mystery of Loch Feinn. Another Chaosium product. Written by Glenn Rahman.  There’s a bunch of nasty thugs living in a remote part of Scotland; there’s a series of strange standing stones; a Loch and a monster in it. (0)(-)
  • Horror on the Orient Express.  An absolutely legendary Chaosium product.  However, the chapter containing the Lloiger, written by Russell Waters, although containing brilliant background information about the location, I dislike the concept of the cult introduced here, I think more could have been made of the wickedness of the worshippers.

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Relevant Articles:

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Related Links:

  • Horror on the Orient Express in a post-apocalyptic setting? Call of Cthulhu to Yellow Dawn conversion, a case study – click

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David J. Rodger (born 1970 in Newcastle Upon Tyne) is a British science fiction & fantasy author and game designer best known for his novels set in a near-future world of corporate and political intrigue. So far he has published five novels; four that are set in the same world: God Seed; Dante’s Fool; Iron Man Project and Edge, and one, Dog Eat Dog, set within the post-apocalyptic world of Yellow Dawn.


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