The Post-Modern Masks of Nyarlathotep

Episode XIII: The Sea So Deep and Blind (Part 1)

Monday, 24 August 1925

It takes a few days, but eventually Freddie, Jimmy, and a raving Charleston arrive in Durban, South Africa. Francis has been there for a few weeks, preparing a safe house and transport to Australia and equipping the group. (This mostly involves buying guns.) He has found them a small, rundown hotel near the waterfront to lay low in.

Jimmy has loved his time in Durban. He likes the mix of architectures—African, Dutch, and English—and especially the long beaches. He spends most of his time there, swimming or watching the sun rise over the Indian Ocean. He buys a New York paper one morning and discovers this headline:

BRADLEY GREY SHOT

ASSASSIN KILLS TWO, LEAVES CANDIDATE NEAR DEATH
NEW YORK – Bradley Grey, who last month declared his intention to run for District Attorney of New York, was shot twice outside Pennsylvania Station in Midtown last evening.

Grey had just left a cab on 33rd Street between 7th and 8th Avenues at approximately 5:15 pm when between six to ten shots rang out. Grey was struck twice in the back and immediately collapsed, bleeding profusely. Frank Mulroney, an off-duty policeman that Grey had apparently hired as a bodyguard was shot three times in the chest while attempting to move Grey out of the line of fire.
Freddie hires a young English RN named Melissa Ford to care for Charleston, who has not stopped being alternately delirious or scarily sober since Noor’s death. While Miss Ford seems rather prim, she is a veteran of the Great War’s nursing corps and skilled at dealing with “shell shock” which is the best diagnosis anyone has come up with for what ails Charleston.

Having accomplished that, Freddie sets off to go to the British Consulate, to try and sort out this situation, even though he’s aware that their most likely course is to arrest him and deport him back to Britain. He also may be a bit drunk. Well, more than a bit really.

He has just come in sight of the Consulate when a man bumps into him. “Ah, sorry sir. But you’re precisely where I want you to be. Please come with me.”

Before Freddie knows what is happening, he is sitting at a lovely outdoor café table with his cousin Bertram Wooster.

“Bertie, what are you doing in South Africa?”

“That’s just the pip, isn’t it? The Aunties are rather distressed. Something about disgracing the family name—apparently high treason is the bar for them. So me and my man Jeeves here—”

“Good day, sir,” says the quiet man who bumped into Freddie.

“—popped down here to intercept you. I’m supposed to ask you to surrender.”

“If I may, sir,” interjects Jeeves, “surrendering now would severely curtail your freedom.”

“They’re going to hang you, old boy,” says Bertie. “Bit of a dashed business if you ask me.”

“I’ve taken the liberty of providing you with some identity papers,” continues Jeeves. “Your name is now Count Orlok, a former subject of the Russian Empire, currently a subject of the Kingdom of Siam. I would not subject these papers to much scrutiny, but they should suffice for now.”

“Well, thank you. By the way, have you heard from Auntie M?”

“Sorry sir? Do you mean Wilhelmina Murray. I have the fortune to be acquainted slightly with the young lady.”

“Unless you’re much older than you look, James—”

“—Jeeves, sir.”

“Jeeves, then. I think she’s significantly older than you.”

“Possibly, sir. I have found it is an excellent policy to never inquire after a woman’s age. She sends her best regards; in fact, she asked me to look into your matter. Now, if you gentlemen could excuse me, I have one or two matters to take care of in this regard.”

[FP explicitly set out to play Bertie Wooster, so I figured it was an excellent time for him and Jeeves to make a cameo. Plus, it let me set one or two ideas in motion…]

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Episode XII: Fire on the Mountain (Part 10)

Saturday, 15 August 1925

They hike through the jungle, heading vaguely east and south, hoping to eventually find a friendly settlement or the sea. After several days, they strike a very eerie clearing.

It is an empty plot of dead ground. Nothing grows on it. No birds seem to fly across it. A deathly silence fills the air.

They realize they have found the site of the Carlyle massacre.

Charleston finds various occult signs carved into the trees around the site. Many are tribal hex signs, but some mean…“worship the god for what he did here”, “we offer blood and sacrifice to you.” Many of those are recent.

[Occult use by CP.]

Parizeau finds enough potsherds and evidence of firepit use to make a rough estimate that the place has been used for worship for centuries…maybe millennia. There’s enough Egyptian influence that he can suspect that the Cult of the Bloody Tongue is involved.

[Archaeology, Theology by PP.]

Jimmy finds signs that Europeans seem to have visited recently—survey marks, old cigarettes. They seem to have been looking to build something here…something quite heavy, like some kind of industrial installation.

[Evidence Collection, Physics, Architecture by JP.]

Freddie notices a man standing in the middle of the clearing. A man who wasn’t there just a minute ago.

The man has deeply black skin, and is wearing a large fetish mask.

“What ho!” says Freddie, in Swahili.

“You profane this place with your presence.”

“I was under the impression it was unholy.”

“It is holy…to me.”

Charleston notes that the mask the man is wearing resembles the mask Mukunga was wearing in New York, but much more elaborate.

“I suppose you are not into forgiveness, are you?” says Freddie.

“It has never been one of my qualities,” says the man.

“We’re going to have to fight now, aren’t we?”

“I don’t think you should do that, Mr. Blakely.”

“What, does everybody know my name?”

“We’ve already met.”

“Why…are you Shakhti Bey?”

“You dishonor me with the name of a servant.”

“Ah. The illustrious Mr. N—”

There is a thunderclap. A black beam lances into Freddie and throws him halfway across the clearing.

“Leave us!” says Parizeau in Ancient Egyptian. He begins scrambling through his memory for an exorcism ritual.

“Who are you?” says the Black Man. “You remind me vaguely of someone.”

“I’m like no one you’ve ever dealt with before. And you need to leave this place.”

“Wrong again.”

Parizeau is struck by a black beam and thrown clear into the trees. He collapses, unconscious and bleeding badly. Freddie limps over to help him.

“Ah, Charleston,” says the Black Man. “Last chance. Will you not come worship with us? I understand you are having difficulties with your current boss.”

“Yeah, the trouble is he’s my boss. Look around. See what good work I’ve been doing as an independent contractor—”

“As you wish.”

And Noor is struck by a black beam and thrown into the air. Hideously, ironically, she is turned inside out before she smashes into a tree with a sickening squelching noise.

“Blakely, give up on your pursuit now. You have meddled in my affairs too long.”

“I don’t even know what you’re up to? I—”

At that point Freddie notices the large group of locals who have circled the clearing.

“If we meet again,” says the Black Man, “it will go badly for you.” He vanishes, and the locals charge.

Charleston, shrieking in rage, fills the air with tentacled projectiles. The all flee into the woods, Freddie and Jimmy taking turns lugging Parizeau. After several hours they manage to lose their pursuers.

Sunday, 16 August 1925

The next day, Okongu and Sam Mariga find them wandering in the woods and arrange safe passage to South Africa. By then, Charleston has already begun to rave uncontrollably, having sunk into delirium and madness.

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Episode XII: Fire on the Mountain (Part 9)

The group spends a while bathing and changing clothes. Jimmy, freshly scrubbed, takes a walk around the grounds. He finds some unusual tracks on the ground, like no animal he knows.

[Jimmy has Outdoorsman.]

Jacques asks Charleston for a book to read.

“Are you trying to drive this man insane?” demands Noor. “I just want to know the intent, because if you did, you should give him this book. It can teach you how to turn a dog inside out! I’m not sure how that is useful, but it is something I have learned how to do.”

After dinner, Freddie leads the rest of the group into the living room to talk to the Colonel.

“Yes, Blakely?” the Colonel whispers.

“Don’t you think it’s time for this charade to end? The one where you pretend to be the Colonel? Why don’t you take off the hat?”

“I don’t think I can, Mr. Blakely. And I don’t think you should try to take them off me—I am quite contagious.”

“What did you see when you went on this mountain?”

“Beings from another world, the likes of which cannot be described in words found in the English language. They are wonderful creatures, very very wise. They can fly between the spaces between the stars. And they work with many humans. Sometimes they take them with them. Obviously, your form would not survive. It is very simple. They take your brain, and place it in a cylinder. With marvelous devices you can see and hear and speak! And you are quite, quite safe!”

“Have you taken one of these journeys?” asks Charleston.

“I will soon. As will some of you—especially you, Charleston Chiu.”

Freddie takes down an elephant rifle from the wall. He finds a couple of shells behind a chair.

Jimmy starts to back away slowly. Suddenly he senses a…presence behind him. He gulps.

Then he draws his gun and fires it under his arm into whatever is behind him, without turning.

Everyone except Jimmy turns in the direction of the gunshot. A…creature is standing behind Jimmy. It resembles some horrid cross between a crustacean and a flying insect. Pincers and multiple legs wave sickeningly in the air, and horrid, foul-smelling ichor spurts from the gunshot wound in its abdomen.

“A Mi-Go,” sighs Noor.

The creature slashes at Jimmy, who stumbles forward.

“I see my friends have arrived,” says the Colonel. “Enjoy your trip to Yuggoth, old man.”

Parizeau cowers behind a davenport.

Freddie raises the elephant gun and blasts the creature in its chest. It collapses into the hallway, making a hideous shrieking noise that slowly peters out.

Charleston looks out of the window. He sees three more Mi-Go flying down from the mountain.

“You can’t hope to win, old man,” says the Colonel. Freddie grabs a saber off of the wall and runs the Colonel through.

He quickly realizes that there’s nothing but a stuffed bolster in Endicott’s clothes. His head, however, tumbles off. It’s the Colonel’s head, all right. The brain has been removed from the skull.

Behind the armchair they find a cylinder hooked up to several devices. The voice they’ve been hearing comes from one of these devices. There are also cylinders labeled “Blakely” and “Chiu.”

Parizeau mutters, “It is said the Mi-Go worship a god named Nyarlathotep…”

[Cthulhu Mythos spend by PP.]

Jimmy runs out and grabs a large can of coal oil. He and Charleston start turning the empty cylinders into firebombs. They have just finished when a Mi-Go crashes through the window into the living room. Parizeau lobs the firebomb at the alien, which catches on fire but seems to have been merely made angry. It buzzes around, setting the room on fire. Charleston gives an anguished cry as the precious alien devices begin to malfunction in the heat.

[CP complained that only Bad Luck ever seems to come in play as a Drive; fair enough, so I offered him a soft driver to go and save the alien equipment. He turned it down.]

Charleston points his eldritch machine gun at the creature and blasts it. The sound of a hideous violin solo fills the air, and the Mi-Go crashes to ground.

Freddie suddenly feels a horrid, murderous chill spreading over his body. He turns and sees a Mi-Go standing at the end of the hall, filling it with a black mist it fires from some kind of gun.

Jimmy scrambles up onto a trophy rack, nervously eyeing the fire. Parizeau tries to jump through the window, but his sleeve catches and soon is on fire.

Freddie scrambles up the mannequin of the Colonel. His elephant rifle tumbles from his grasp.

Charleston blasts the Mi-Go at the end of the hall, which screams horribly but continues laying down the black mist. Jimmy leans out from the wall and fires his pistol at the alien, but can’t get a bead.

Parizeau manages to put out the fire, but the mist flows over his legs. He shrieks in agony as the cold of interstellar space sears his flesh.

Freddie grabs an assegai from the wall and hurls it down the hall, just as his old Oxford chum Prince Ismail taught him. The spear catches the alien dead between the eyes. It stumbles back and lands on its back. The mist spews up in the air, flowing over the fallen Mi-Go.

Just then the wall behind Jimmy explodes.

He is thrown through the window and tumbles to the ground. In the air above him, he sees the third Mi-Go raise a weapon and fire a rocket into the lodge. Another explosion rips through the building.

Freddie scoops up the gun, jumps on a davenport, and tumbles out the window, landing neatly on his feet. Just like that time in, oh, let’s say, Rome.

Parizeau tumbles out the window, flopping down by Jimmy. Charleston tears down the hallway, reaching the back door just as the living room explodes.

Freddie gets a bead on the flying creature and blasts it. The creature turns towards him. It raises the strange weapon—

—and Jimmy Wright rolls up in front of Freddie, pushing him out of the way as he empties the clip of his pistol into the alien.

There is a shriek, and the last Mi-Go plunges out of the sky and lands at his feet.

[I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: Big Damn Hero.]

CP and JP wanted to lift the alien RPG, which was attached to the Mi-Go’s arm.]

Freddie dashes into the pantry and grabs some supplies before the room catches on fire. He convinces his companions to flee down the side of the crater and into the night.

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Episode XII: Fire on the Mountain (Part 8)

Monday, 10 August 1925

It’s a steep climb up the side of the massive volcanic crater that forms Ngorongoro, but well worth it. A veritable lost world is spread out below them. Even from this height they can see herds of antelope and wildebeest, as well as elephants and giraffes. Occasionally a distant roar suggests that a pride of lions is somewhere below. A rather ominous mountain rises from one edge of the crater.

They finally locate Colonel Endicott’s lodge. They are greeted by Joe, the strangely silent African who seems to be the Colonel’s only servant.

They are shown their rooms. The Colonel does not greet them himself, but Freddie finds him in the drawing room, crammed into one corner, wearing a hat and dark glasses. He is wrapped in blankets and swaddled with mosquito netting.

“You must forgive me,” says the Colonel in an uncharacteristic hoarse whisper. He does not get up. “I have contracted a tropical disease. Please do not come close, I may still be contagious. No, I’m doing fine and soon will be better. I am glad you have come. You are looking for the Mountain of the Black Wind? I have had visitors, Blakely, mystic visitors. I did not believe Jarmyn’s stories about white gorillas, but there are beings on the mountain—not gorillas, but something more astounding. I will tell you more tomorrow. Please relax in your rooms. Joe will help you—he never speaks, but he understands English. Thank you, old man.”

[My players are not that well-versed in the Lovecraft canon, or this setup would have been a dead giveaway.]

Freddie goes back to his room and summons his companions. “Now, maybe I’m just suspicious because of all the people who have tried to kill us over the last year, but I think the Colonel is acting quite suspiciously, and in fact may not even be the Colonel, and we are all in grave danger.”

“When’s dinner?” asks Charleston. Freddie summons Joe, who merely points to a bell, implying he will ring it when it is time.

“Thank you, Joe,” says Freddie. “How long have you worked for the Colonel? It seems to me that you’re the man who runs this establishment, and are clearly the most intelligent person here. How long has the Colonel been ill?”

Joe sizes Freddie up, hesitates, and then says in a strong, clear voice: “The Colonel has been acting most unusual lately.”

[Flattery use by FP]

Freddie blinks, then asks how long it has been going on. Joe explains that the Colonel started going on the mountain during the night, supposedly to help his friend Jarmyn. Joe, who does not live with the Colonel—for reasons of aural health—discovered the Colonel one morning much the same way Freddie found him. He brings Endicott food, which he leaves out for a long time, but it is eventually eaten.

Freddie recommends Joe make himself scarce that evening.


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Episode XII: Fire on the Mountain (Part 7)

“Well Charleston, I suppose we should talk about this next session,” says Mwimbe when she enters the hospital.

“Let’s try and make sure there is another session. Listen, did you think this was going to happen when I was reading from my books?”

“I did not think it would happen on this scale. But then, I did not sell my soul to the Dark Powers.”

“Neither did I!”

“Yes. You keep loving that rabbit.”

Over in the corral, Jimmy Wright watches Freddie and Sam Mariga enter the hospital. He runs to the rock he keeps his stash of tools under and takes them out. Charcoal. White dust. Some grease.

He uses it to assemble a disguise, hoping to pass as a cultist. After all, he is Jimmy Wright—master of disguise.

[Disguise check, and a Reassurance spend shortly.]

“Brother! We have made a mistake and imprisoned you! We’re very busy, we’re bringing the Great One tonight!” says one of the guards when Jimmy catches his attention.

“Great, that’s great…”

“We have just brought some sacrifices. Would you like the honor?”

He leads Jimmy to a huge altar made of human and animal skulls. Tied to it is an eight year-old boy.

This is a pickle, thinks Jimmy.

[CP: I like how we’re all laughing.
FP: That’s because when Jimmy Wright is on screen, it’s comedy. I’m farce, he’s comedy…you’re some kind of dark psychodrama…
CP: Like Dexter. Lots of interior monologue.
Me: That’s it! YOU’RE DEXTER!]

In the crowd, Parizeau suddenly comes to himself. He is wearing a grass skirt and white and black paint on his body. He realizes that he’s spent the last several days dancing around and probably having sex with people.

“This is awkward,” he says.

Jimmy steps up to the altar. “Don’t worry, kid,” he whispers. He raises the knife. “Wait! I have a better idea! We shall corrupt!”

“I don’t know,” says the cultist who lead him to the altar. “We’ve got a lot of sacrifices to get through. And there’s so many preliminaries…”

“Yes, but what is the purpose of quantity if you don’t have quality? You must prepare the sacrifices.”

“Let me go talk to the high priest,” says the cultist dubiously.

As soon as no one is looking at him, Jimmy cuts the ropes tying the child down. The boy slips over the back of the altar and runs for the forest. Jimmy jumps down, grabs Parizeau, and slips into the hospital.

“Jacques, you are so sunburnt it’s ridiculous,” says Charleston.

“Does someone have a change of clothes?” asks Parizeau.

“I think you might want to keep those. Well Noor, I can’t evade responsibility for this even though it is not my fault. Prepare to summon…The Hunting Horror!”

[PP: Why don’t I just drive them all insane?

Me: Yeah…that ship already sailed…]

Freddie takes post in the window, holding the Enfield, a cigarette dangling out of his mouth. He watches as Jimmy grabs a cigar box and takes a gun out of it.

“Bloody hell!”

“Where else would you keep it?” says Jimmy.

“…I’m going to summon the Hunting Horror,” insists Charleston. “He will make the sergeant…retire. During the ensuing chaos, we can free the captives.”

Noor points out that the spell requires a sacrifice of a sentient being. And waiting until darkness.

They huddle. Charleston decides to use the Hoy-Dhin chant to asphyxiate the sergeant, while Parizeau unleashes the Howl of Pan to stun them.

Jimmy watches while the cultists butcher some cattle. The blood pours into pits dug near the altar.

“Oh, it’s for the blood!” he mutters.

Freddie asks Charleston if he still has his machine gun.

“Welll…the gun is more like a pet…”

“Wait. Have you turned your machine gun into some sort of horrible soul-eating machine.”

“No, it doesn’t eat souls. That’s horrifying. Actually, it’s no longer a weapon in of itself. It’s actually a tiny, extradimensional portal. See I got tired of carrying things, because I never have what I need, so I made an extradimensional portal that I could carry around in my vest. Turns out once I opened up the portal, tiny little egg sacs fell out and hatched into spiders. Except instead of legs they have tentacles. Well, this is no good, I said, they’re consuming the flesh of all they encounter. How can I harvest this and make it into an advantage? And I was like, I know! I’ll make a spigot. And I’ll use my machine gun as the spigot. And you can open the spigot and close the spigot. Well, it turns out you can open the spigot, but closing the spigot doesn’t turn out so great. Aaand the butt stock that goes into your arm? Sometimes turns into a carnivorous squid and tries to eat your arm.”

“So I take this to mean that you no longer have a functional machine gun but some eldritch weapon of horror.”

“Well, functionally its a machine gun, so an eldritch machine gun of horror.”

“All right, I’m just going to stand over here and make a Stability check.”

[Couldn’t resist leaving that line in, because FP said it in character. I said it was pretty much the definition of a Mythos shock.]

The cultists gather before the altar, playing drums and flutes made of the bones of their previous victims. Jimmy slips out the door and joins them, still in his disguise.

[…and fails his Stealth check]

Unfortunately he runs into his old friend, the one who “freed” him from the corral. “Hey brothers! Here he is, the guy who told us the RIGHT way to do the sacrifices! And he’s been talking to the Master!”

They lead him in front of the altar and the steaming pools of blood. Captives are being tied to stakes. “Right,” says the former sergeant, “We’ve figured this out: one of us breaks the neck, one of us slices his belly open, and one of us stabs him in the heart. Brother,” he says to Jimmy, “Which one do you want to do?”

From the hospital building, a singing of unearthly beauty begins. “The Master sings!” shout the cultists.

[CP began singing Bohemian Rhapsody, which is appropriate since Freddie Mercury was born in Zanzibar.]

Jacques runs out of the hospital building at this point, takes a huge breath, and then shouts, a wordless cry of terror and pain—that despite being wordless caries a sense of ceaseless horror and menace.

[Howl of Pan spell—fail your Stability test & you’re temporarily blasted.]

Cultists drop to the ground, howling themselves. A few manage to stay up, including the three “faction” leaders. Freddie takes aim at one of them and cooly blows his head off with a well-placed Enfield shot.

[Picture Freddie cooly standing next to the window, a cigarette dangling from his mouth. It’s one of my favorite images from the campaign.]

Jimmy sprints for the captive pens. “Brother,” says the guard there, “I’ve prepared them all, tied up and everything.”

“Great! Fantastic! You’re awesome! You’re missing out! Let me take over and you can join in while the Master blesses the chief!”

“Thank you brother!” shouts the guard, already running off towards the altar.

Jimmy opens the corral and starts shoving people out. One of them grabs Jimmy. “Thank you, brother! Now I can join the ceremony! We have to stop them, bring them to the altar!” Obviously, he’s suffering from Stockholm…er, Tanganyika syndrome.

Jimmy brings up his pistol and swings the butt at the deluded captive. He ducks away. “Are you not of the body?” he says incredulously.

Back at the altar, black ichor has begun to rain down on the former sergeant. It coats his face and body, blinding him. He begins to scream, but it flows down his throat, blocking his airway.

Freddie shoots another faction leader, who takes a nasty flesh wound but continues marching towards the hospital. Freddie fires again and blows his head off. With his last round, he shoots the sergeant, putting him out of his misery.

With great sorrow, Jimmy spins the gun in his hand and shoots his assailant in the gut.

Freddie, Charleston, Parizeau, Noor and Mwimbe catch up with him and together they dash into the woods. “Follow me!” says Freddie. “I’ve got a compass!”

The next day they reach a small village, the home to several of the freed captives.

After resting for a few days, they resume their journey to Ngorongoro. The weather is very fine, and at night the sky is full of thousands of stars. Jimmy feels that something about them bothers him, but he can’t put his finger on it. Maybe it’s the frequent meteor showers.

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Episode XII: Fire on the Mountain (Part 6)

“Cthulhu!” mutters Charleston. “I hate that guy. Say, did you see a magistrate when you got here?”

“I think we can presume that he is either on his way, or was killed,” says Freddie.

“So there’s a silver lining here.”

“That’s really not the term I would use to describe what’s happened here!”

“What do you think the plan is here, Freddie? I’m really not up for mowing down an entire village of people who don’t appreciate the brilliance of my work.”

“You’ve turned an entire village of otherwise peaceful Africans into a shining beacon of magical madness.”

“I don’t want to make things awkward between us, but I can’t help but notice that the head guy prancing around there is in the uniform of a British soldier. Not to go slander your former homeland, but I think the root cause of this is pretty obvious.”

[White people crazy.]

“I’m sympathetic to your anti-colonial argument…look, couldn’t you have summoned a demon? It would have resulted in significantly less death and carnage.”

“But I don’t want that! This is not what I wanted! I mean, let’s say that I summoned a demon, and it cavorted among them…”

“You can’t do that!” says Noor. “You’d have to wait for darkness.”

“I don’t want to do that!”

“I’m just saying, it would solve several of our problems,” says Noor.

“Charleston, I believe if we don’t resolve this situation, the other villages are going to kill you.”

“Great, so now everyone in England, everyone in Zanzibar, and everyone in…what is the country called?”

“Tanganyika.”

“Right. Want to kill me. Anyway, even if we could give them back their sanity, suppose you had painted your face and murdered people—would you really want it back? We should talk to Mwimbe, she’s the expert at making people uninsane.”

[Me: Mass psychotherapy? Great, you’ve invented EST.]

Charleston calls out to one of the grovelers. “Fetch Mwimbe! Muh wim bay.”

“Arglebargle! Master come out! Master we have finished the great work! We have done what you read to us!”

“What do you plan to do?”

“We have already done the preliminary sacrifices! As soon as we are done with the Great Sacrifices we will complete the Summoning!”

“Who’s the guest of honor?”

“Why, the Great Master! He Who Lies Beneath The Waves!”

“You’ve convinced me,” says Charleston. “We better do this before tonight.”

[JP arrived at this point.


Me: Charleston has driven an entire African village insane.


JP: I’m not surprised.]

Freddie pokes around the hospital. He finds one of the Enfields left by the British. It is, of course, unloaded. He searches for a while and finally finds a single clip of bullets that fell behind a file cabinet.

[Preparedness by FP; he found the rifle, but Bad Luck kept him from finding itloaded. He made an Evidence Collection spend to find the bullets.]

He spends some time watching the cultists. He identifies about fifteen of them, and that there seem to be three main factions. The largest is lead by the sergeant, but he thinks there are doctrinal differences between them.

[Anthropology use by FP.]

Freddie sighs, strips to the waist and sneaks out, hoping to blend in with the crowd outside. After a while he locates the hut Dr. Mwimbe is hiding in.

“What an interesting look for you, Mr. Blakely. You lead the most adventurous life. We seem to have a situation here.”

“Charleston has driven the entire village mad.”

“To be honest, is anyone surprised? I suppose the neighboring villages are planning to attack.”

“Indeed. Charleston would like to speak to you about restoring the sanity of the individuals here.”

“I think that would be quite entertaining. Let us go to the hospital.”

On the way back, someone clubs Freddie from behind. “Arglebargle! Arglebargle!”

Freddie stabs him with the bayonet.

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Episode XII: Fire on the Mountain (Part 5)

Sunday, 26 July 1925

“Visitors,” says the village headman to Freddie. Two men enter.

“Mr. Blakely, my name is Sam Mariga; I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Wright in Zanzibar. This is Okongu, a man who may be able to help you.”

“Is it true, Mr. Blakely, that you wish to combat the Black Wind?” asks Okongu.

“Not really. But I find that I must as they say, sack up and fight it.”

“I represent someone who could be of great assistance to you. But he does not trust just anyone, and especially not a white man. Perhaps you could assist us, however, as a sign of good faith.”

“What is it you need me to do?”

“Your companion, Mr. Charleston? Something terrible is happening in the village he is recuperating in. Witchcraft. We would like you to go there and stop it from happening.”

They spend a few days hiking cross country. And then they reach the village…



Wednesday, 29 July 1925

There are skulls, human skulls, mounted on poles outside the mission village.

“Sam, is this normal?”

“No, it is not. Some say the Black Wind is here, but I think it is something different. Something worse.”

They circle around and manage to sneak closer. They see an altar in the middle of the village, made out of skulls. A man with his face painted with white and black paint and wearing a grass skirt is dancing in front of an altar.

He is also wearing the uniform coat of a British sergeant.

The other people in the village have their faces painted in a similar way. Some are having sex, some are hitting each other with clubs, many are chanting—sometimes while doing the other things. There is a large pen or corral in one corner of the village filled with a nervous crowd of people, most of whom are weeping or wailing.

Freddie enters the hospital room. “Charleston!”

“Freddie! Thank goodness you are here! This place is going to the dogs!”

“Yes. Charleston, did you know that they’re sacrificing to the dark gods outside?”

“What? I didn’t know that, the doctors stopped showing up a while ago.”

“Didn’t you hear the chanting?”

“This is Africa, isn’t it? How was I to know what’s normal. Hey Freddie, we’re in trouble, they’ve sent for a magistrate and they’re going to hang us.”

“I think there’s a rather more serious issue. Many of the natives think that you’re some kind of a witch.”

“I didn’t want them to think that! Noor and I were just sitting in here, waiting for me to recover. I was reading my books, trying to occupy the time. In fact some of those chaps took an interest…oh.”

“Noor, is it possible that Charleston was reading in a loud voice, so that the whole hospital could hear him?”

“It is not only possible, it is what he did!” she says.

“Is there any way to stop them?” asks Freddie.

“There’s a way to stop them…” says Charleston.

“Short of death.”

“I think you have too delicate a stomach. Wheel me to the window and open the shades.”

Several people stare at Charleston and babble something. Then they begin to bow to him. Charleston realizes that they are giving the obeisance normally due…to a high priest of Cthulhu.

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Episode XII: Fire on the Mountain (Part 4)

Monday, 20 July 1925

Charleston is propped up in bed, reading with Noor. Outside, Parizeau tries to keep himself amused; there is nothing much to do here. Some of the mercenaries have gone forward already.

He sees a dust cloud approaching the village, and soon a truck pulls up. Several British soldiers jump out of the back. They speak to the doctor in charge of the hospital, and then start marching towards the building Charleston is lying in with a look of grim determination.

“The patient in there is very contagious,” he tells the sergeant.

“Roight. We’ll have to shoot him out ’ere.”

“Let me go check on him,” says Parizeau. He enters the room and quickly bandages Charleston’s face.

The soldiers push in. “Just ’oo are you,” says the sergeant. “You ’is doctor?”

“Sometimes.”

“We’re ’ere to arrest ’im and the terrorist Freddie Blakely,”

“There’s no Blakely here. And those two are inseparable, so you are, as you say, barking up the wrong tree.”

“P’raps we should just arrest the lot of you.”

“How typically English of you! Rather than using your brain, you run around making conjectures. We are here doing incredibly important research, and my friend was wounded by natives.”

“I’m sure they’ll sort it out in Zanzibar. Our orders weren’t concerned with ’is welfare.”

“And if it was the wrong man? That would be terrible for your career.”

The sergeant talks with his squad. Two take the truck and head back to the coast, to bring help (and a magistrate), while the sergeant and two other soldiers remain. They post a guard on Charleston’s bed.

“Excellent,” says Charleston. “Noor, listen to this passage.” He begins to read aloud from his books.

He reads aloud every day, even after the guards stops showing up.

[Brilliantly funny bit by CP, and like a flash I realized what had to happen next…]


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Episode XII: Fire on the Mountain (Part 3)

Friday, 17 July 1925

Freddie makes several attempts to circle back towards camp, but by daylight he realizes he is totally lost. Fishing around in the pockets of his dressing gown, he finds a small compass and tries to use it to strike out towards where they were headed.

[Preparedness roll by FP]

“How positively Robinson Crusoe,” he mutters.

After about half a day, he strikes a village. The inhabitants stare at him cautiously. Several men emerge with large prangas, the machete-like local swords.

“Does anyone speak Swahili?”

“I speak Swahili,” says one of the men.

“Well, I went out from my camp the other night, and was set upon by some Indian fellows. I’ve been wandering ever since and could use some help.”

“I see,” says the man.

They tie Freddie up and throw him in a hut.

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Episode XII: Fire on the Mountain (Part 2)

Thursday, 16 July 1925

“There’s no question about it,” says Freddie. “We’re being followed.”

“Any idea who and how many?” asks Charleston.

“Haven’t the foggiest. Do you think we could ambush them?”

Charleston shrugs and looks at his violin case.

“Well, let’s just wait for them tonight, and then ask them to come in and have a chat.”

Parizeau shakes his head. “I agree with all that except for the parley part; I think we should just kill them.”

“What school of the Sorbonne do you teach at, again?” asks Freddie.

[Outdoorsman let Freddie know they were being followed, but he was out of spends for it so he couldn’t get much more detail than that.]




That night when Freddie steps out to relieve himself, two men grab him and drag him off into the woods.

“Bloody hell, about time you showed up!” he says.

They mutter something in an Indian language, and then stab him.

Freddie tears off into the woods, heedless of direction. He can hear the men following hard on his heels as he dashes through the dark, almost moonless night. After what seems like hours, he finally eludes them.

Collapsing against a tree, he realizes that he is completely lost in the African jungle. And wearing his slippers and a dressing gown.




Charleston is patrolling the perimeter when he is set upon by two men with kukris. They slash at him viciously, and he slowly dodges them, taking several lacerations. Their eyes flash beneath their turbans.

[Sikh assassins, chosen by Thakur because they didn’t speak English.]

He fires off his eldritch machinegun, but the assassins melt dodge into the shadows. The sounds of a screeching violin solo fills the air unnervingly.

His assailants dance in again, their knives flashing, stabbing and hacking at Charleston, who collapses in a pool of blood. He tries to feebly get up, but falls down again almost immediately.

[Yeah. The Sikhs (and yes, I know Sikhs don’t use kukris, these guys were just hardasses) were Hit Threshold 4, and CP only spent two points to shoot them—somewhat characteristic of CPs play, he tends to underspend in these situations and it cost him when he rolled a 1. Also, he could have gone full-auto, but wasn’t really up on the rules even though I’ve distributed them multiple times. So…


The kukris were -1 weapons, but the Sikhs hit him four times and did a total of 16 points of damage, knocking him down to -9 and then for whatever reason CP spent 2 points on the unconsciousness roll, knocking him down to -11; not a useful buy, as he couldn’t have done anything even if he had stayed conscious.]

Parizeau, tracking down the sound of the violin solo, finds Charleston and the expedition medic helps stabilize him. Realizing how close he is to death, they head for a nearby mission hospital where he can recuperate.

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