gbsteve (gbsteve) wrote,

Gaming - On the Trail of Occult London

I'm running a new Trail of Cthulhu game with my regular group. I decided to use the material I put together but didn't use at Games Expo (it was about Harry Grindell Matthews, check him out on Wikipedia or the Fortean Times, it's mad), coupled with chilledchimp's as yet unpublished Guide to Occult London in the Thirties (pending from Pelgrane Press). As it turned out, I didn't need to use any of my material, there was plenty to go on in the guide. I've also downloaded it to my DEXT, making use of a free Word viewer app so I refer to it in game.

The action starts in 1934.

Dr Fitzgerald (played by Dave) interviewed a patient with whom, according to the good Doc's dream diary, he shared a dream nine years ago in March 1925. The patient, a police inspector, had recently been terrified by something he experienced in the underground and was now unwilling to stay in London. He was convalescing in Margate. He experienced his terror when looking at an old plague pit which had been uncovered by workers under Embankment Gardens seeking to extend the Piccadilly branch line from Aldwych.

The doctor advertised in the newspaper for others with similar experiences to come forwards. Three credible responses were received. Although there were many who seemed to have had weird dreams around that time, none had the same elements as the doctor and the policeman, to wit a tea shop staffed by monks which was harbouring some massive embalmed creature subsequently washed out by a jet of water into the Thames.
The three were:
- a journalist (Beth) who saw the strange object in the Thames that evening
- an archaeologist (Simon) who saw monks
- an Eastend wideboy (John) who had been on a drinking bout in the area and woken up naked in Surrey three days later, his drinking companion Royston never to be seen again.

I had the players make up their own weird occurences and, with a bit of creatvie licence, linked them together. Some of them are dreams, some real experiences, and some difficult to classify.

It avered, from looking at past newspapers and talking to the cook in the tea shop, that nine years ago a water main exploded in Embankment Gardens, flooding the tea room with bones and some large embalmed object, as well as carrying off a man. The hole was repaired and the bones burned by workmen. The wideboy was placed at the scene through the use of hypnotism, he even remembers the large object swallowing his friend.

Now, the tube extension has rediscovered the plague pit and archaeologists from nearby Kings' College are running a dig there. They have uncovered a mass of bones from the nearby Blackfriars Abbey (Dominican) who purported to have died of plague in 1520. Medical examination revealed that these bones had instead been subjected to horrific twisting and warping, the elongated skulls had sharpen teeth, some had grown like that, some had been sharpened (perhaps in imitation). The binding of a book is discovered, Liber Ivonis it says on the bronze spine. If there were any pages in the binding they have dissolved over time, or been torn out recently.

The other curious thing is that someone else is on the case. They have false journalistic credentials obtain by bribing the office boy at the Jewish Chronicle. They have been to the tea shop and have also been to the dig, for photographs.

Finally, whatever the embalmed object was, it washed up in the Albert Dock were it drove a man insane, he's now in Bedlam. He claimed that it had a leg poking out of its tentacled mouth and knocked him into the dock before disappearing.

Plot elements used directly from Paula's book were:
- the plague pit in the Tube (although moved from Aldgate to the Embankment to match the dreams) and the policeman
- the other mysterious men on the case

Location elements in the book:
- Freemasons' Hall
- Bedlam in Beckemham

Next week's episode will seriously up the ante, pulp-wise.
Tags: gaming, trail

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