Call of Cthulhu Actual Play - Still Waters
Though based in Boston, the investigators do make occasional forays. When an opportunity to acquire a forbidden tome in Biloxi, Mississippi arises, the Watch and Ward Society sends one of their agents and her allies. Professor Victor Davies was willing to donate the Vishakhapatnam Fragment to Harvard University in return for access to some of Harvard's restricted texts. Not a perfect deal, but the chance to take the Fragment out of circulation could not be ignored.
Based on the adventure "Still Waters" by L.N. Isynwill and Doug Lyons from Chaosium's The Great Old Ones book.
Setting: Boston. Tuesday, October 13 - Wednesday, October 14, 1914, Davies Landing, Mississippi.
Cast of Characters:
- Colin O'Connor: Civil engineer from Dunmore, Ireland. Employed as a civil engineer by the city of Boston.
- Lola Diaz Azar: Archaeologist hailing from Puerto Rico, born of a Puerto Rican mother and Middle Eastern father. Agent of the New England Watch and Ward Society, specializing in occult tomes.
- Nathaniel Quincy, MD, Captain, US Army (Ret.) Former army doctor, served in Nicaragua and the Philippines. Now working as a medical examiner for Essex County.
- Victor Davies, bibliophile and historian
- Philippa Davies, Victor's daughter. Former classmate of Lola
- Claude Lareen - Townsperson in Davies' Landing
- Raymond Brown, Davies' butler
- Adele Brown. Raymond's wife
As the investigators prepped for their train ride, Lola received a telegram from Philippa, a former university classmate, looking forward to seeing her again and telling her there would be a car waiting to take them to Sunset Hall, their modest mansion, on the evening of October 13.
They completed a long train ride, with a transfer in New Orleans, and reached Davies' Landing on schedule. It was a cold, drizzly evening - unseasonably chill. There was no car waiting for them. No one got off with them. The small town was not electrified - a small dangling light bulb at the platform was powered by a gasoline generator. A little after 7 PM, the sun had set and the last remnants of twilight were fading.
They worked their way into the small town, with all the windows dark. Sunset Hall was perhaps three miles away - certainly walkable, but not a pleasant walk in the rain and with their baggage. Dogs noticed their arrival and barked - and barked, and barked. Eventually one of the houses opened to them, owned by Mr. Claude Lareen. Claude lit his stove and made the investigators some coffee, offering to take them to Sunset Hall. His wife was less than thrilled, worried about "Old Bill" - supposedly a giant alligator that preys on animals and people - a legend Claude assured them - a small donation helped smooth things over - for the church of course.
The ride was not by automobile but by horse drawn wagon. Reaching the estate they saw the garage doors open and the garage empty, with tire tracks showing there was normally a vehicle there. A generator provided electricity to the estate.
Within they found some horrors - Raymond and Adele Brown both dead, their internal organs removed and piled neatly. An investigation by Nathanial estimated they'd been dead for perhaps a day.
An investigation of the house did not turn up the Davies. It did turn up some interesting and disturbing clues however:
- A number of minor Mythos tomes in the library.
- Acquisitions logs showing willingness to steal and kill for getting new books.
- A truck in a barn (but not the Davies' Packard).
- An obsession with competitors - competitors supposedly based out of the supposedly Rosethorne Mansion, only a few miles away.
- An obsession with the Rosethorne family - Patricia and Nathaly, twin sisters, were supposedly the last of them. Brody Rosethorne was a slave trader and then a prominent Klansman after the Civil War. He and his wife died in 1875. The twins then lived with distant relatives in Florida and are recorded as having died of typhoid in 1879.
- A spell to quicken mental faculties - requiring incestuous activities - which photos indicate did take place between the two Davies.
- A record for a copy of a key to the Rosethorne Mansion.
- A memo to ready the Fragments for pickup - they were indeed expected.
Claude went to summon the sheriff while the investigators got the truck running (it was in mediocre shape) and drove to the Rosethorne Mansion, arriving around midnight.
Near the mansion they found the Davies' Packard, hidden in the woods. In the trunk of the Packard were the Fragments - a series of metal plates with Sanskrit writing. They parked by it and approached the mansion. It was nearly empty but in a fireplace they found a hidden stairwell down, requiring two people to open the door. On an iron tablet made visible by the door were a pair of inscriptions:
Dedicatory To Our Flesh: Daughters, look once upon this and preserve. A Great Power gives your dying parents leave to ward back
Death at a price paid gladly, for the clay is cold and wormy. Now taken from this place, yet you shall return when the years are right.
We mark our path for you. There is life below, as you shall know, and in the still waters, and in the sea. We shall meet again.
Around the Dedicatory flowed a different script in Roman letters:
Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyehDescending the steps they found living chambers - with the Davies at a table, dead and mutilated, nailed in place. On Victor was a paper saying "I Liked Books Too Much" and on Philippa a note saying "I Am A Naughty Book Grabber!".
Then they were visited pair of hideous, squid-like women. Patricia and Nataly, alive and... somewhat well. They weren't like the fish-men from Innsmouth they had seen, they were more... alien. The sight of them was too much for Colin who found himself enamored of all things of the sea. He pledged himself to them. Nathaly charged at them while Patricia played a alien-sounding organ, singing songs of their imminent death.
Nathaniel tried dragging Colin away, without much success, as he dodged the non-human claws of Nathaly. Lola fled to their vehicles and grabbed a gasoline can, igniting the place on fire. That broke the spell for Colin, who allowed himself to be dragged away. The sisters fled deeper into the basement.
The fire damaged the mansion, but did not destroy it, owing to the rain. Returning to it they discovered the sisters had an escape route - a tunnel leading into the river - and an emptied out library. They also learned a yacht departed Davies Landing in the early morning of the 14th, after the fire - the Nathaly. The squid-women were free and at sea.
Nevertheless they took some solace in obtaining a number of tomes and removing them from circulation.
Aside from the move to an earlier period (from the 1920s to 1914), I found the geography a bit odd. Biloxi was listed as the closest city but the adventure also was on the Chickasway River - I assume that's fictional, though there is a Chickaswhay River (slightly different spelling) but it does not reach the Gulf. I decided to move this to the Biloxi River.