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2012 CoC Horror on the Orient Express CJ


Campaign Journals

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Brother Faust the Elder wrote:

I must add a correction. The ship of the line called upon was from memory playing Hearts of Iron 2 ...

The actual capitol ship called upon is the Dante Alighieri battleship.

Note that the main armaments are 12 12-inch guns in 4 turrets...

~squiggle~

Am i correct that "Dante Alighieri" is from Dante's 'Inferno'?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Killer_GM wrote:
Brother Faust the Elder wrote:

I must add a correction. The ship of the line called upon was from memory playing Hearts of Iron 2 ...

The actual capitol ship called upon is the Dante Alighieri battleship.

Note that the main armaments are 12 12-inch guns in 4 turrets...

~squiggle~

Am i correct that "Dante Alighieri" is from Dante's 'Inferno'?

Dante Alighieri authored 'Inferno'. ;)

~squiggle~


Not just Inferno, but Purgatory and Paradisio as the whole of his Divine Comedy (though Inferno is by far the most "popular" book of the greater work).

[/pedant]

Anyway, I greatly look forward to reading the aftermath of next weekend's bloodbath of investigators!


Le Artiste and KGM wussed out of the game for various personal reasons.

Agent S had some kind of family thing going on.

This left Haru and Agent J to carry the torch for this session.

Luckily for all concerned Agent J's Missus graced me with creating her first ever TTRPG character as a CoC Investigator.

Haru's investigator from the previous session died miserably, strung from a lamp post. His attempts to locate a doctor just outside of the city limits of Venice wound up with his being found by a Fascist loyalist Doctor, who sedated him, then called in the Party.

A failed Persuade attempt in the wrong language didn't convince the Fascists that he was 'the wrong guy'. The several bullet wounds and so conveniently matching the description of one of the five men sought after just hours before, combined with not speaking a lick of Italian, pretty much sealed his fate.

The US Ambassador was on holiday ... Haru's effects (trunk with simulacrum parts and the combined journals of the predecessor investigators) were posted to Texas.

Haru's new investigator is inspired by Teddy Roosevelt.

Agent J's parapsychologist worked on Mr. Smith's parapsychologist team in putting together the photography presented at the 1922 Challenger lecture. He is horribly scarred from the Great War (APP 4).

Agent J's Better Half's investigator is a West Virginia Suffrage Movement woman who is a crack shot with a rifle, rather homely (APP 8 or 9), strong willed and proud of her fur-gathering prowess.

They managed to survive the travails in Triest and retrieve the fourth piece of the Sedefkar Simulacrum (the Right Leg), narrowly averting death and disaster with a Lliogor, cultists of the Skin, cultists of the Lliogor and general mayhem.

Agent J bonded with the Medallion of Ithaqua - presently he is a ticking time bomb, doomed to a foul fate at the Arctic Circle unless he finds a way to cleanse himself of the Wendigo's Taint as his SAN slowly disintegrates under the assault of the northern wind's howling in his mind. The immunity to cold and cold winds is pretty nice though.

Sadly, no one thought to "test" the diary that currently is Agent J's best hope of finding a 'cure' before heading North...

~squiggle~


I very much regret the absence, but it could not be helped. I was at home all morning & afternoon with my children. The Mrs. actually appologized not only to me, but (to me) to the other participants in the group for my absence. That is unprecedented. The good result is that it likely bought me an additional 6+ months to attend the game. The Mrs. had been pounding the drum for me to get out of the game by early 2013. My leash has apparently be extended for a little while longer... I look forward to continuing in December.


At the present pace we probably will not need another 6 months, although who's to say what fickle role Fate has in store for the investigators.

It will be interesting to see what new meat shields are rolled up as the Crazy Train continues rolling along..

~squiggle~


Brother Faust the Elder wrote:

At the present pace we probably will not need another 6 months, although who's to say what fickle role Fate has in store for the investigators.

It will be interesting to see what new meat shields are rolled up as the Crazy Train continues rolling along..

~squiggle~

Does that mean?

a) We complete the campaign in less than six months.
b) We have missed enough clues/material that we won't be able to achieve the objectives requisite for success.
c) The players will throw in the towel for reasons yet unknown.
d) You will finally tire of our idiotic & inadequate attempts to get through ten minutes of game time without buying the farm, and you'll mercifully throw in the towel in our behalf.


Answer "a", good sir. The Mountains of Madness loom ahead in a few months I'm thinking. Granted, if you've but six months of freedom left ...

~squiggle~


Killer_GM wrote:
Brother Faust the Elder wrote:

At the present pace we probably will not need another 6 months, although who's to say what fickle role Fate has in store for the investigators.

It will be interesting to see what new meat shields are rolled up as the Crazy Train continues rolling along..

~squiggle~

Does that mean?

a) We complete the campaign in less than six months.
b) We have missed enough clues/material that we won't be able to achieve the objectives requisite for success.
c) The players will throw in the towel for reasons yet unknown.
d) You will finally tire of our idiotic & inadequate attempts to get through ten minutes of game time without buying the farm, and you'll mercifully throw in the towel in our behalf.

To further clarify:

My impression is that the group has a good chance of finishing the Horror on the Orient Express in less than six months. (Answer A)

The group may wuss out (answer C) - as Le Artiste seems to have already done - on their own accord.

The Great Old Ones don't accept the wuss of heart among their ranks, so answer D is not an option. The Investigators can wuss out, the Keeper is not permitted that luxury.

~squiggle~


I'll work on the Resident Artist. My time line is still, as of the moment, an unknown, but I do have at least another 6 months...


This coming Saturday 8th December our monthly shellacking of investigators resumes once more.

I daresay there will be more than a single investigator demise...

~squiggle~


Huzzah! Ia! Ia!!


In pursuit of the Right Arm of the Sedefkar Simulacrum, our impetuous investigators resumed the task assigned to them during the Christmas holiday of 1922, now in late February 1923.

The trip from Triest to Belgrade is uneventful, a brief respite before the next round of horrors.

Today's team of investigators is KGMs latest meat snack of indeterminate occupation, Agent J's investigator from the previous session, Haru's investigator from the previous session and Agent S's private investigator, attempting to fathom what happened to the sorry Munchausen kid. The lead takes them to the curator of the Belgrade Museum, requiring purchasing of an "artifact recovery permit". The bribe was more than thrice the requisite amount, thusly securing "recreational hunting firearms permits" for all of them. With the first permit secured, the curator bade them travel to a small village in the country to discuss with the Father of the village his contact for antique statuary.

There was some minor noise made in the Bazaar, involving lucky misses with sidearm and shotgun, a few knife wounds, a nasty bruised rib and what turned out to be not the Arm they were looking for. Nothing is ever that easy, is it?

So armed, they took the train to the boonies in a village of near to no consequence. Indoor plumbing is a novelty, electricity is rare and only a telegraph office connects the place to the larger world. En route KGM's hapless investigator, returning from relieving himself over the side of the caboose, found a large black rooster defiantly eyeing him from his seat. KGM attempted to delicately move the antagonistic avian over to one side to resume his seat only to have his face ripped up something fierce by the rooster's spurs and beak. Furious, he lept up, cleared his double-barreled shotgun from beneath his overcoat and blasted the bird in a spray of feathers and ruined dinner out the window.

The passengers were aghast at what he had done - but not for the reasons one might expect. The other passengers cleared as much room from around KGM's investigator as they could for the remainder of the trip.

Arriving in BFE Serbo-Croatia, our investigators, relying on Haru's barely adequate command of Serbo-Croatian, manage to kip with 23 other people in the village headman's house, 2 crash with the village Father and his shrew of a wife, the other 2 find a comfortable spot next to the hearth to zonk for the night.

The village Father described that they needed to meet with 'Grandmother' in her cottage deep in the trackless woods to acquire antique statuary such as they sought. If she does not have what they seek, he had no other idea as to where they could get such artifacts anywhere close to Belgrade.

The headman's daughter pressed upon Haru's POW 15 investigator a comb measuring some 6 inches by 4 inches of early Byzantine design, exorting him to use it if he must if pursued by something in the woods into which they had to pass to 'the old woman's cottage in the woods'. The comb is of bone, felt old, simply and elegantly carved. Its four long tines are intricately carved with tentacular-like vines.

An hour's hike from the village found our erstwhile investigators at a pleasant thatch-roofed cottage with an off-white fence, its windows shuttered and doors closed. Approaching the house, a smoking hot young 'gypsy woman' answered the door and bade them enter. They supped on fresh-baked bread slathered in churned butter, sipped hot tea and waited for Grandmother while the granddaughter prepared a hog-sized basting pan in the large oven, restoking the kindling and wood while Grandmother was expected.

Once Grandmother arrived, she discussed the investigators with Granddaughter in a tongue none of the investigators could discern. As it turns out, this was most likely in Proto-Slavic. Grandmother settled into her chair near the door, listening to the investigators' description of the Arm that they sought, peering throughout her rafters and shelves so stuffed full of antiquities that it took some time. While relaying the information Granddaughter settled the hog-sized basting pan into the oven, a perimeter of onions, carrots, potatoes and other vegetables setting the stage for roasting a still-absent meat.

Haru wondered as to where they would acquire the pig or hog to be roasted as he had seen none on their way in to the cottage.

Grandmother began rocking side to side, humming an unintelligible ditty when she directed Agent J and Agent S to retrieve the Arm far above two cabinets in the rafters. Agent J laid his hand upon the Right Arm when everything went decidedly pear-shaped.

While the Arm came free, a marble arm's fingers and the toes of an adjacent leg flexed and grabbed onto Agent J. The other investigators, looking upward, suddenly realized that the roof is not thatched - it is lined with the hair of hundreds of skulls leering down at them as cacaphonous laughter erupted from all about them.

Grandmother stood to her full height of over seven feet, her suddenly full mouth of teeth had no ordinary human teeth, but gleaming and wickedly sharp fangs that glinted in the oven light as she laughed. Quick as a whistle she slid the flat of the bread shovel under Agent S's feet and *whoosh!* into the oven the sorry bastard went, roasting alive and screaming.

The oven itself animates, gaping huge as its maw expands to fill half the cottage, gulping Agent S whole as he sailed in from Grandmother's bread shovel. The scent of sizzling long pork fills the air of the cottage.

The cottage itself lurches to a height over 10 feet, the door widly opening and slamming shut in its gyrations. Granddaughter, holding a kitchen knife suitable for use as a short sword, smiles merrily as she advanced on KGM.

Luckily, KGM's newest investigator (as do most of them) are packing respectable Dodge skills, so he handily avoids getting gutted by the Granddaughter. The shelves, parts of the floors, walls and doorjams animate graps and reach at clothing, limbs, hair ... a constant annoyance and hindrance to the already imperiled investigators. Sometimes the investigators can see the open door, sometimes they cannot. The fence outside - now visible to Haru - is clearly comprised of arm and leg bones of "Grandmother's" many victims, each "post" topped with a hairless skull. These too are animating, further threatening life and sanity.

Agent S could not get his bearings at all and so was left to thrash and wail as he continued to roast alive in the animate oven. Down 8 out of 11 hit points thusfar. Haru hastily escaped the cottage first, taking a rough landing and readied his elephant gun. Agent J whipped out his first Chicago Typewriter, intent on lighting up Grandmother only to throw a 99 - the submachinegun jams! Grandmother merely scoffs at the weapon. This was this character's third jam with the same weapon between the previous session and this session. Disgusted, he tosses the Thompson to the floor. KGM extends his shotgun barrels-first into the oven, intent on offering Agent S something to grab onto in a heroic attempt to retrieve an ally from a certainly horrible death.

At some point Haru parried a blow, greatly damaging his elephant gun (9 out of 12 hit points - it will need repair work before it can be combat re-loaded.)

The Hut attempted to stomp Haru like a grape, narrowly missing. Agent S cooks some more, now down to his last conscious hit point. Grandmother whiffed in her attempt to shovel KGM into the oven, dodged by KGM's DEX 3 investigator investing skill points into Dodge is always a Good Thing. KGM's trusty shotgun was not long for this world however as Granddaughter's supernaturally sharp 'knife' cleaved the man's shotgun in twain as a result of his successfully parrying the 'knife' with his shotgun. Agent S finally flopped out of the oven onto the floor of his own accord. Haru took off at a sprint, desperate to gain some distance between himself and the cottage stomping about on enormous chicken legs. Agent J after hosing Grandmother down with a 15-round burst from his second Tommy Gun - and seeing the 8 rounds that struck her fall out of her garments, flat discs all, wised up and dove out of the cottage, taking a couple of points of damage for his trouble. KGM was not so fortunate, having completely lost his bearing before at last espying the lone door and almost made his way to the exit before his oh-so-clumsy feet betrayed him, dropping him to the floor as something caught on something else.

Grandmother casually shoveled Agent S once more back into the oven, finishing the poor bastard off in a howling spray of boiling fluids. KGM missed the one chance he had to escape on his dodge roll against the impaling 'knife' that threw boxcars and shishkebobbed him to the floor at -1 hit point (12 damage in one blow against KGM's stalwart 11 hit points). The Hut attempted to stomp on Agent J, missing by a good several feet.

Haru took a shot at the house to no avail somewhere in all of this - he similarly took a shot at Granddaughter, only to see the bullet flatten on her forehead and fall off, barely rocking her head back on her neck a bit. After seeing two very high caliber bullets do nothing at all, he began to beat a hasty retreat into the fetid woods around Grandmother's 'lot'. Agent J tore into the woods hot on his heels. Granddaughter waved to Haru before extricating her 'knife' from KGM's back before Grandmother shoveled KGM's unconscious form into the ever-hungry maw of the animate oven. The Hut gave pursuit, weaving between the darkened, shadowed trees of the forest.

A short distance in Haru tossed the comb at the Hut as instructed by the headman's daughter. 7 horrid shadowy tentacled things exploded forth from the tumescent undergrowth of the forest between the two surviving investigators and the Hut pursuing them. Haru luckily did not get a good view of the Things in the Woods behind him.

Agent J was nowhere nearly so fortunate, blazing mighty successes on his Spot Hidden and Idea rolls. Doing so he caught full views of the seven Dark Young of Shub-Niggurath that vomited from the forest floor ... and more importantly, his mind comprehended that these blasphemous Things from time before antiquity were quite real and quite deadly to mere men. Having already lost 4 SAN during the horrific course of events of the evening, the additional 16 SAN shattered his fragile mind sending Agent J's investigator into the happy-happy-joy-joy realm of "indefinitely insane".

Even with gaining 4 SAN from recovering the Right Arm, this poor sod currently stands at somewhere between 25 and 29 current SAN. The nightly nightmares that he has had to endure since touching the Medallion of Ithaqua are combined with these latest horrors now etched into his mortal mind. He now has the long-term / indefinite insanity of "hallucinations".

And so our two surviving investigators barely escape the clutches of Baba Yaga, boarding the Orient Express once more en route to Sofia. They realize that not even the Things of the Woods could stop their horrible foe as a Hut astride chicken legs kept pace with the train for a time, even Grandmother in her bronze pestle bonging its belly with her stone mortar flew through the darkened sky above. They are safe from Her wrath so long as they remain aboard the train in Slavic lands, the ribbon of iron upon which the train rides as well as the iron cars themselves nearly proof against even beings of such power as Grandmother. They reckon that if they could hit Her with the train itself it might be sufficient to destroy Her. Maybe.

Baba Yaga certainly did eat well, two grown men for supper, all tasty with the marinades of adrenaline, fear and pain - yum!

At the last stop before the border they spot a small white-washed cottage by a stream in the nearby woods. As the train whistle howls its departure across the border, the receding hut seems as pale as bone, waiting perhaps for their return.

Of course, the worst is yet to come.

~squiggle~

P.S. Agent S inquired as to my being the Keeper for Delta Green madness, mayhem and violence after the Horror on the Orient Express is concluded. An interesting concept to be sure.


The body count thusfar stands at an impressive total of 14: 5 for KGM, 2 for Le Artiste, 2 for Haru, 2 for Agent J and 3 for Agent S.

~squiggle~


The game was a really good one. Quite chilling and sinister, which I like. What made it even better was that I was almost convinced that I was going to make it out alive, only to have it snatched away from me in the end, in horrifying manner. It was WONDERFUL. I only wish I could replicate this sort of event in the future on some of my past and future players also. Ineptus, get those dice ready!

I had hoped to pursuade Haru to get to some woods ASAP and drop the comb, hoping that might save the rest of the group. Sadly, he elected to shoot at the hut. I don't know if there were trees close enough by to count as 'woods' that he could have possibly gotten to, but I didn't survive long enough to find out, as I got impaled to the damn floor by some alternate ego/psycho-b***h version of Baba Yaga.

Humorously enough, every time I have tried to help one of my comrades in trouble in this campaign, I have died horribly. Therefore, in the future, I proudly say: Screw Altruism! It's every rat bastard for himself from now on!

On a GM'ing note, folks, Call of Cthulu is wonderful. There are NO Character Levels. Characters have ONLY about a dozen Hit Points, if they're lucky. The players are desperately trying to save their bacon in EVERY game session! It's fantastic. I SHOULD HAVE BEEN RUNNING THIS TYPE OF GAME SYSTEM YEARS AGO!


Had Haru dropped the comb upon first entering the woods, the Dark Young of Shub-Niggurath would have stood between the remaining PCs and their only escape from Baba Yaga, the Hut and her Third Aspect. Most likely Haru would have been summarily dismembered while Agent J dodged getting stomped into Hut-sized chicken toe jam. The Dark Young don't leave the forest into which they are called by the comb...

~squiggle~


Delicious.


As an additional side note, if my recollection is accurate, they had the trunk of "statuary" with them when they went to the Hut to retrieve the Right Leg. This would have promptly ended the campaign as not even any other "interested parties" are likely to be successful in contesting Her ownership of them...

~squiggle~


Brother Faust the Elder wrote:

As an additional side note, if my recollection is accurate, they had the trunk of "statuary" with them when they went to the Hut to retrieve the Right Leg. This would have promptly ended the campaign as not even any other "interested parties" are likely to be successful in contesting Her ownership of them...

~squiggle~

D'oh


Killer_GM wrote:
Brother Faust the Elder wrote:

As an additional side note, if my recollection is accurate, they had the trunk of "statuary" with them when they went to the Hut to retrieve the Right Leg. This would have promptly ended the campaign as not even any other "interested parties" are likely to be successful in contesting Her ownership of them...

~squiggle~

D'oh

Indeed.... contemplate this on the Tree of Woe....

~squiggle~


1 person marked this as a favorite.

The stars will be right!

Phn'glui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wagn'nagl fhtagn!!

Or, if the stars are not quite right just yet this coming Friday, enjoy your "Happy Holidays" while you still can ...

~squiggle~


Brother Faust the Elder wrote:

As an additional side note, if my recollection is accurate, they had the trunk of "statuary" with them when they went to the Hut to retrieve the Right Leg. This would have promptly ended the campaign as not even any other "interested parties" are likely to be successful in contesting Her ownership of them...

~squiggle~

So, what's next? Since Horror on the Orient Express seems to have resulted in the return of the Great Old Ones (if my use of the Mythos is correct), does that mean Turin returns to the land of Golarion for Carrion Crown? Is KGM forcibly retired from RPGs entirely?

Woe is us readers!


The Orient Express has not yet derailed, Macharius. KGM should have through April of 2013.

Unless the stars come right of course.

We have yet to determine the next session in January 2013.

~squiggle~


When are we rolling in January for CoC?


K_GM wrote:

When are we rolling in January for CoC?

Depending upon how cooperative Mother Nature is, the 12th or 19th of January 2013.

~squiggle~


Happy New Year 2013 ...

~squiggle~


After reading emails from the lads, it appears the 19th is the likely date.


Macharius wrote:


So, what's next? Since Horror on the Orient Express seems to have resulted in the return of the Great Old Ones (if my use of the Mythos is correct), does that mean Turin returns to the land of Golarion for Carrion Crown? Is KGM forcibly retired from RPGs entirely?

I'd do Carrion Crown following the Orient Express. I don't own the adventures. Turin?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
K_GM wrote:
Macharius wrote:


So, what's next? Since Horror on the Orient Express seems to have resulted in the return of the Great Old Ones (if my use of the Mythos is correct), does that mean Turin returns to the land of Golarion for Carrion Crown? Is KGM forcibly retired from RPGs entirely?

I'd do Carrion Crown following the Orient Express. I don't own the adventures. Turin?

Carrion Crown is a fun AP. 'twould be rather fitting to GM their sorry asses through the meatgrinders awaiting them. 60 point pool for ability score buy... best hope that they don't wrangle up 10 players!

Which obviously means that I own the set. ^_____^


Delta Green ... Carrion Crown ... decisions, decisions ...

In the meanwhile, our intrepid investigators should be resuming their ... exploits ... around 19th January 2013.

~squiggle~


I like that Baba Yaga's hut made an appearance. I've always been a fan of Baba Yaga for some reason. I even have big painting I did of her hut in my living room.

It looks like it's been a fun game. I've run some Call of Cthulhu, but never a full campaign. My most recent attempt was one of the Goodman Games, Age of Cthulhu series "Death in Luxor." It was a fun adventure; they managed to escape a shoggoth, but the characters got severely injured in an alley fight with some cultists and basically couldn't continue with the adventure, so they jumped on a plane back to America, which was a bit unfortunately since all the real "fun stuff" was still ahead of them.

I like the game, but the rules are pretty harsh so it's easy to end up with PCs that aren't dead, but permanently maimed or gibbering; thus ending their ability to be functional. In game terms they might as well be dead.


Chaosium did a kickstarter to reprint, expand and add tons o' props to the 2013 edition of Horror on the Orient Express due out this coming August. If you didn't snag yourself a copy of HotOE through the kickstarter, nab one come August. The new version is expanded across history to tell the tale entire.

The nice thing about it is they make clear that the investigators that start are unlikely to see it through to the end. ^_____^

~squiggle~


Late February 1923, Sofia, Bulgaria

Our intrepid band of investigators acquire more reinforcements. Calamity Anne (Missus J - from 2 sessions previous), Criminal / Lunatic #6 (KGM - new investigator) and Ronnie McDogmeat (Agent S - new investigator) join Agent J's mentally mangled Chicago Typewriter toting investigator.

Unbeknownst to our erstwhile investigators, a lone cultist had infiltrated the crew of the Orient Express determined to acquire a head. Catching Ronnie McDogmeat unawares in one of the roomier lavatories aboard the train, he slapped a chokehold on him with one arm, temporarily thwarting pansy screams for help.

Ronnie's right eye and socket however, was not so fortunate as Cultist #47 has a 90% skill with a surgical-grade hooked knife - which said cultist promptly used to carve that beautiful blue eye clean out of the socket, optic nerve and all. Thoroughly traumatized, Ronnie wasn't in much shape to go after the psychotic nutjob that just took his eye.

However, Number 6 is packing a loaded elephant gun in his trenchcoat. Combined with Calamity Anne's longarm they proceeded to blow away the cultist before he absconded with McDogmeat's lovely blue eye.

In Sofia proper our investigators made their way to hopefully acquire the last piece of the Simulacrum in peace from the university. As they were accompanying the English Professor with the Self Propelled Plot Device Guy, they entered the room wherein the Head had until a few minutes before resided.

Therein a horrid sight greeted them. Three men were felled - one had been messily decapitated, blood still spurting from the stump. The second had been bludgeoned to death, his skull decidedly resembling a watermelon in a Gallagher show, whilst the third had succumbed to a thorough melon clubbing but still breathed and lived.

Being ever enterprising Men of Action, they blew their checks to notice what Calamity Anne noticed right away: a car speeding away. At the distance they were firing the odds were very poor of hitting, but a lucky bullet from Agent J nicked the radiator after ricocheting about the engine compartment. The boys promptly left Calamity Anne behind, commandeering another car and attempting to catch them.

Sadly, Plot Contrivance thwarted catching the minions before they got to where the Really Cool and Gruesome Scene was set to greet them.

Agent J, Number 6 and McDogmeat disembarked from the car after hiding it out of sight of the cave mouth. Descending several hundred yards into the cave, it opened into a cave heated by a hot spring. DOZENS of men in various dress - a mixture of dress suits and classical Cultist Robe were strewn about the cavern in an indiscriminate poutpurri of heads, appendages, torsos and viscera. In the middle of the cavern an impossible pyramids of skulls (on the bottom) and heads (towards the flat top) loomed above. Not skipping a beat, Number 6 I believe ascended to the top of the pyramid of noggins to discover a gold altar with a very spiffy pillow that showed the indentation of having held the Head of the Sedefkar Simulacrum upon it.

Sadly the one investigator having taken the Track skill was Calamity Anne, who was at the university-museum settling things in order for the Sofian authorities.

Nonetheless, our sorry bunch of merry misogynists managed to track blood from amidst the grue and gristle to an opening barely big enough for the Head to have passed through, let alone whatever it was that slaughtered more than two dozen magically educated men - all of whom had various dead body bits grafted onto them from other dead men - in a matter of moments. Agent J going on memory peered out the hole and saw a clear view of where they had parked the car. Which was driving off!

The trio of troublemakers beat a hasty-ish retreat back out of the cave, jury-rigged a repair to the radiator of the cultistmobile that was still outside of the cave mouth, washed all the gwilch off of their galoshes and sped off after the heinous villain.

At a fork - the left branch leading back to the university-museum, the straight branch continuing back to the city a few miles off - they found the investigatormobile abandoned on the side of the road.

In the snow on the roof they noticed a head-shaped indentation ... and odd prints about that indentation. Wisely electing to finally retrieve Calamity Anne from the clutches off the NPCs, they did so and returned to the abandoned vehicle. She was able to determine, along with McDogmeat's EYE for detail, that a giant bat apparently made off with the Head.

Trailing oversized bat guano droppings through town, the investigators quickly determined that the bat-that-can-drive-a-car-and-fit-through-really-small-holes was aboard the Orient Express currently waiting to depart. It was about 3 a.m. local time at this point, so Calamity Anne and Number 6 ascended to the roof while Agent J and McDogmeat went aboard the train. They worked from the first fourgon car to the rear of the train. Things didn't get interesting until they entered the rear fourgon car just before the caboose.

In the midsdt of the fourgon car there is a general purpose sliding door with a window permitting one to view outside. The door is sized enough to permit fairly large loads onto and off of the car. Although they didn't notice what was peering in, Agent J was the unfortunate recipient of a Gaze from a CoC Vampire - one that's even nastier than the 'generic' one in the rulebook. Sadly, at a quick read at least, CoC vampires do not appear to have any form of armor or immunity to mundane weapon damage.

Agent J's mind was dominated by Comte Fenalik, Really Really Old Vampire. Agent J strode forward and flung open the loading door in question. McDogmeat saw, Calamity Anne and Number 6 heard, the door opening. With the highest DEX, Fenalik went first, snatching Agent J from inside the car and preparing to disembowel him. Agent J failed to thwart the 'charm' of the vampire. Number 6 - held by the belt by Calamity Anne so that the recoil of firing the elephant gun didn't fling him from the snow-covered roof of the car - fired a shot that Fenalik handily dodged and straight up missed with his second shot. At 3d6+4 damage, very few creatures want anything to do with getting shot by a .600 Express round. McDogmeat, packing Number 6's trusty Luger, blew Fenalik into a cloud of mist with two shots.

Amazingly, everyone flubbed their Spot Hidden checks attempting to figure out where Fenalik's gaseous form had gotten off to. Once they clambered into the fourgon car, closed the door and resumed searching, they found Fenalik's coffin beneath the crew lounge couch - Fenalik having replaced the main support of the 8-foot-long couch with his coffin and some respectable work in the art of containment fabrication. That the crew was fond of using fresh flowers in this compartment aided Fenalik's hiding place considerably.

Continuing to largely botch their Spot Hidden and Listen checks, the investigators very nearly got jumped on again by Fenalik. Number 6 beat Fenalik's Sneak roll by ONE percentile point. This was a Very Good Thing, as Fenalik was padding up the hallway from their rear in TIGER form, intending to ambush these pukes that had so conveniently collected the other five pieces of the Simulacrum for him.

Number 6 dodged Fenalik-Tiger's bite while the Fenalik-Tiger's claws very nearly destroyed his elephant gun. As with many things involving violence and large calibre munitions, close only counts with horseshoes and hand grenades. Number 6 proceeded to miss with his first shot (having a really high Dodge is nice) but thoroughly impale Fenalik with his second shot. The 34 points of damage turned Fenalik's head into a canoe, his headless body flopping in the hallway as it transformed back to humanoid form.

Successfull Occult rolls were made and they dragged his coffin and corpse out of the train, staked the torso, retrieved the Head from the coffin, burned the corpse and coffin in a firepit and scattered the ashes along the nearby river.

The investigators finally deciphered the scroll and learned the Ritual of Cleansing. They performed this ritual on Agent J, which stripped the geas of the Medallion of Ithaqua - as well as the accompanying imperviousness to cold and wind. Agent J seemed relieved anyway.

Next stop: Constantinople.

The Horror on the Orient Express is 1 or 2 sessions away from its conclusion. Stay tuned for the horror and carnage to unfold in February!

~squiggle~


How come Cthulhu games always seem to "degenerate" into investigators packing elephant guns in their trench coats (or sticks of dynamite)?


P.H. Dungeon wrote:
How come Cthulhu games always seem to "degenerate" into investigators packing elephant guns in their trench coats (or sticks of dynamite)?

Mostly when it seems like hella fun to turn heads into canoes. In the end, it really doesn't matter. ^_____^

~squiggle~


As long as everyone's having fun, though it does make it a little difficult to maintain any real sense of horror. However, I've always found it really hard to do horror well in rpgs. I've never been able to do it- so much potty humour in my group. Running a more pulpy style of Cthulhu game generally works better (at least that's how my Cthulhu games have always gone), unless you've got a group of players that can really help maintain the horror mood and rp it in their characters. This would never happen with my group; there's just way too many jokes being cracked all the time.


P.H. Dungeon wrote:
As long as everyone's having fun, though it does make it a little difficult to maintain any real sense of horror. However, I've always found it really hard to do horror well in rpgs. I've never been able to do it- so much potty humour in my group. Running a more pulpy style of Cthulhu game generally works better (at least that's how my Cthulhu games have always gone), unless you've got a group of players that can really help maintain the horror mood and rp it in their characters. This would never happen with my group; there's just way too many jokes being cracked all the time.

Best I hope for is that the revelations of what the nefarious antagonists have been up to - or such things as creative mutilations - make a lasting impression on one or more of the players. Several of the group loves the investigative aspects of Call of Cthulhu. I think that when a group gets to a certain threshold the desire to blow things up/shoot them with really big bullets/hack things into chunky salsa and loot the corpses comes to a boil, necessitating some good old fashioned foolishness, mayhem and violence.

Once that 'need' has been sated, then the investigations and horrible mind-rending, sanity-shattering goodies can slither out of the woodwork once more.

HotOE has been exceptionally good at leaving "WTF?!?!" impressions on many of the players in terms of the messed up stuff that the antagonists have perpetrated. It's not as good at letting the investigators get some stress-relieving mayhem and violence unleashed before the next monstrous situation comes up. I'm hoping that the revised version coming out in August will address that situation. If not, I fully intend to modify it for the next time it is run. (Hopefully for my primary Pathfinder group when they're ready for a real change of pace!)

~squiggle~


I have a fever...

And the only cure is...

Moar CULTIST!!!!


Crazed Cultist wrote:

I have a fever...

And the only cure is...

Moar CULTIST!!!!

That cure is definitely on the agenda for the February session.

~squiggle~


A small note - the time keeping on my end is rather horrible. It is now closing in on the end of the first week of March 1923 in game time. Winter still inhales. ;)

~squiggle~


K_GM wrote:
Macharius wrote:


So, what's next? Since Horror on the Orient Express seems to have resulted in the return of the Great Old Ones (if my use of the Mythos is correct), does that mean Turin returns to the land of Golarion for Carrion Crown? Is KGM forcibly retired from RPGs entirely?

I'd do Carrion Crown following the Orient Express. I don't own the adventures. Turin?

A thought just occurred: were you expecting to GM Carrion Crown or be a player?


Brother Faust the Elder wrote:
K_GM wrote:
Macharius wrote:


So, what's next? Since Horror on the Orient Express seems to have resulted in the return of the Great Old Ones (if my use of the Mythos is correct), does that mean Turin returns to the land of Golarion for Carrion Crown? Is KGM forcibly retired from RPGs entirely?

I'd do Carrion Crown following the Orient Express. I don't own the adventures. Turin?
A thought just occurred: were you expecting to GM Carrion Crown or be a player?

Were we to do Carrior Crown, I was expecting to be a player. If I were to GM, I would either do a modified Serpent's Skull, or a homebrew.


P.H. Dungeon wrote:
How come Cthulhu games always seem to "degenerate" into investigators packing elephant guns in their trench coats (or sticks of dynamite)?

To survive I suppose. The RP'ing angle comes through trying not to get smeared.

For me, I'm not much of a "role-player." If I survive, and have a decent time doing so, I'm pleased. With Cthulu, even surviving for me isn't a prerequisite any longer, because it's basically understood in a CoC game that you aren't going to survive long, it's just a question of how, when and by whom. I imagine that's not a popular sentiment among players, but I like it.


All, We're next up to play this coming Saturday, Feb. 16.


K_GM wrote:
All, We're next up to play this coming Saturday, Feb. 16.

We may not. Agent J and Calamity Anne got the approval letter for the home that they're buying. Timing may require that they do a home inspection and meet one or more contractors there on the 16th. I have yet to get confirmation one way or the other just yet.


As things stand, Agent J and Calamity Anne are having a Very Important Thing happen fairly early tomorrow morning in the form of the aforementioned home inspection. If all goes well for them, they'll be settling in to their new digs not long after the March 2013 game session. Or the weekend before, you never quite know with these matters.

Whilst this prevents the ensuing Horror on the Orient Express foolishness, mayhem and violence, the upside is that the entire gang - or almost the entire gang - online and ready to rampage for 16th March 2013. I am hoping that we can wrap up the campaign entire on that auspicious date (the day before Saint Patty's Day 2013). We will see.

Hopefully I can pull off a dose of GM Awesomesauce. Only 4 weeks to go ...

~squiggle~


HUZZAH! And there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth!


Brother Faust the Elder wrote:

As things stand, Agent J and Calamity Anne are having a Very Important Thing happen fairly early tomorrow morning in the form of the aforementioned home inspection. If all goes well for them, they'll be settling in to their new digs not long after the March 2013 game session. Or the weekend before, you never quite know with these matters.

Whilst this prevents the ensuing Horror on the Orient Express foolishness, mayhem and violence, the upside is that the entire gang - or almost the entire gang - online and ready to rampage for 16th March 2013. I am hoping that we can wrap up the campaign entire on that auspicious date (the day before Saint Patty's Day 2013). We will see.

Hopefully I can pull off a dose of GM Awesomesauce. Only 4 weeks to go ...

~squiggle~

Turin, I will endeavor to come with one or two additional rolled up player victims for use; and I suggest that you either recommend that the rest of the meatheads do likewise, or just roll them up for the crew (taking special attention to omit any really good characters you roll up), so we can plow forward irregardless of how many times we get crushed, and not lose valuable time rolling up new characters.


I don't know what we'll play after this campaign ends, but I've thoroughly enjoyed the masochistic ride on the Orient Express. Can't recommend it enough to all. Particularly fellow killer GMs. The CoC rules system ROCKS. There are NO character levels. Any PC is one or two lousy rolls away from a shallow grave. It rules!


MissingNo wrote:
HUZZAH! And there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth!

You know more than you know.

~squiggle~

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