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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David J Rodger – DATA

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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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David J Rodger – DATA

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

Enjoy Cthulhu Mythos Fiction?

Take a peek at my collection of novels – available in paperback, Amazon Kindle and iBook formats.  God Seed contains an avatar of Nyarlathotep; EDGE contains a new Great Old One; as does Dog Eat Dog – set in the post-apocalyptic world of “Yellow Dawn – The Age of Hastur”.

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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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