The Armitage Papers

Game Master greg white 722

7th ed. 'Call of Cthulhu'.

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This is the Gameplay thread for my 'Armitage Papers' campaign for 7th Ed. CoC.

So, because of your backgrounds, and your prior brushes with 'the unnatural', you have been surreptitiously recruited into something called 'The Amritage Inquiry', a cabal of professors, students, and other members of the Mikastonic University academic body, investigating inimical, supernatural threats.

This group is lead by the former head librarian, Henry Armitage.

Armitage gave up that post just a year ago, though he is still a library trustee, and he still keeps an office on campus.

You know from whispered rumors that two years ago, a correspondent of
Dr. Armitage, an adolescent from rural, isolated Dunwich, one Wilbur Whatley, was killed by a guard dog outside the school library, apparently while attempting to break into the Special Collection Vault (which has security that many banks would envy).

From the fragmentary stories you've managed to piece together, Dr. Armitage, and several other members of the faculty, visited Dunwich, and put down some supernatural threat there; this was apparently the genesis of the Armitage Inquiry.

Now you are awaiting in anteroom outside Dr. Armitage's office.

The Inquiry has a mission for you.

It is the afternoon of August 21. The day is hot, though thunderclouds are piling up on the horizon.

Jimmy surveys those around the hallway by Dr. Armitage's office.
"Boy, it sure is a hot one." Jimmy states somewhat loudly, hoping to see if he can collect someone into a conversation.

So yeah, if you want to introduce yourself, or make small-talk with the other characters, go ahead and do so.

A fly drones in one corner of the room, while through a thickly paneled door you hear the mutter of several voices.

"You got that right," Lawrence replies, wiping his brow. It wasn't the hottest or most uncomfortable day he'd experienced, but that did little to comfort him now. He glares in the general direction of the buzzing sound coming from the corner. For a moment Lawrence contemplates fetching a newspaper to swat the thing. He sighs. Better not to.

"Who do you suppose is in there?" he asks.

"Not sure. I'd imagine Dr. Armitage for one but it does sound like a few more chaps are beyond the door." Jimmy, also, fixates on the buzzing sound. He ponders if the fly is as uncomfortable as he is at this very moment.

After a brief pause to look about the room, he looks back at the gentleman that had answered his query earlier, "Pardon my lack of manners, it appears the heat has gotten the better of me. I'm Jimmy Knutson, the physio for the school's athletic endeavors."

Blakesmith, Atwood, you still with us?

Do they know we started?

Perhaps not.

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There is a lull in the the conversation, and the inner door is opened by the Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Dr. Tyler Freeborn.

Dr. Freeborn : "If you gentlemen could step inside please. "

He ushers you into a long conference room. Book-shelves line the walls, and busts of great thinkers and artists look on with stern gravitas.

Dr. Freeborn : "Please be seated."

He himself takes a seat, besides the Associate Professor of Archaeology, Dr. Ferdinand Ashley.

The others at the table are:

Cyrus Llanfer | Head Librarian
Albert Wilmarth | Folklorist & Associate Professor
William Dyer | Geologist
Warren Rice | Professor of Classical Languages
William Moore | Geology
Nathaniel Peaslee | Psychologist

Finally, at the far end of the table, are the Inquiry's three 'core members', the trio that went to Dunwich, and faced some horrible incursion from another reality.

Henry Armitage, former head librarian.
Warren Rice | Professor of Classical Languages
Francis Morgan | Professor of Medicine

Choose any Inquiry Member, other than the core trio, Freeborn, or Ashley, to have been your character's sponsor'; the individual that recruited you into the Inquiry.

Turns out I did not know we had started! Remedied!

Ronnie Blakesmith fans himself with his fedora, held in one hand while the other opens the door to the room. "Apologies for my late arrival, gentlemen! Traffic was quite harsh: two cows and one very confused goat! I assume we're tangling again with more creepy-crawlies and things that go BUMP in the night?" His accent is hard to place, South African twinged with Bostonian, but his face is handsome enough and his smile contagious.

"Dr. Peaslee! Good to see you again, sir." Jimmy gestures towards the Psychologist as he takes a seat.

"Not at all. I'm Lawrence Pritchard, a student of archaeology here. Pleased to meet you." Lawrence nods to Jimmy, introducing himself.

When the door opens, he files into the office with the others. He nods in particular to Dr. William Dyer.

Dr. Armitage : {Looking somewhat tired ad haggard). "All right gentlemen, let's begin."

He nods towards Professor Llanfer.

Dr. Llanfer : "A week ago today I discovered, among the papers in my valise, a badly scorched envelope, sealed with an apparently home-made glue. Inside the envelope were several sheets of scribbled writing, and a mutilated photograph. I showed these unusual documents to Henry the following day, who confirmed, that the handwriting in the document, while showing signs of haste, and considerable stress, is in fact his hand-writing. "

He slides a folder to your end of your table.

Dr. Llanfer : "There are the original documents, as well as a transcription."

Dr. Armitage : "Further documents have since arrived, but perhaps you would like to first examine the the first of these 'communications'."

See Discussion for links to the documents and transcription

Lawrence takes a minute to look over the originals as well as the transcription, comparing the two, trying to make sense of it where there seems to be very little.

"Instructions from the future, perhaps? Honestly it makes little sense." he says, brow furrowed. "It's your handwriting, Dr. Armitage, but does it strike you as your diction, your words? Do you know any of the names referenced in these pages?"

Dr. Armitage : "The phrasing is a little florid, a little exaggerated, but it's not entirely out of character."

"Oliver Gardiner, is, I'm told, a friend of this institution of learning, and our paths have no doubt crossed several times at the occasional fund-raising gala; though I do not believe that I have met the man face to face."

He thinks for a minute, his brow furrowed with concentration.

"Kittrell and Walsh, those names are unknown to me."

Dr. Llanfer : "I've put a query out to a friend I have at the Gazette city desk: Austin Kittrell, is most likely of the Boston Kittrells, and heir to a vast fortune, from their interests in several manufacturing and chemical companies. "

"Diamond Walsh is a well known gangster and bootlegger, particularly active in the Mission Hill area of Boston."

Dr. Armitage watches you across the table, as you puzzle over the strange documents.

Dr. Armitage : "Tuesday I discovered more of these disturbing pages, tucked under my desk blotter. "

Another folder is passed to you.

I know it's a bit of an info-dump, to begin with, but the thing to remember is that this essentially a sand-box; the threads that you choose to follow will be the threads that I will develop and build on. So don't let the sheer amount of material intimidate or paralyze you.

Dr. Rice : "The possibility that you created these documents, in the present, while in some disassociative state cannot be discounted."

Dr. Armitage nods glumly.

Dr. Armitage: : "Yes, that could be the case. Will has suggested that I be watched around the clock, to 'catch me out'. Still, where did these references to these 'Boston ne'er-do-wells' come from. A gangster, and a rake from a tremendously wealthy family? Where would I have heard these names before? "

Dyer : "A brief reference in the society pages? A bit of gossip in a hallway conversation? The mind accumulates information like sediment gathering at the bottom of a lake."

Anybody still here?

Still here, I just wanted to see if anyone else wanted to chime in. I can keep going though.

Ok. We'll push on, and see if anybody comes back on-board.

Sounds good. I'll have a post up a little later this evening.

We can easily focus on a single investigator and the path of their research, if we must.

Lawrence continues to shuffle through the sheets of paper placed in front of him. "I assume," he begins, "that, like the other documents, these don't represent any experiences you can actually recall. But let's assume for a moment these documents aren't the product of a temporary insanity of some sort." He taps a finger on the pages from the second set of documents. "These seem considerably less... frantic, for lack of a better word. Like notes on possible leads, perhaps on whatever led to this set of documents being produced." He gestures to the first set Dr. Armitage had presented.

"N.E.L.A.A., circus strongmen, this encyclopedia salesman, and a certain apocryphal book. It sounds as if whoever wrote these notes was pursuing some kind of cult, given what is referenced here." Lawrence pauses, then points at something in particular. "What is this black goat of the woods? Some kind of pagan deity? "

Wilmarth : "Ahh, 'Shub-Niggurath', the 'Black Mother', 'Tiamat',
'Hecate,': a kind of perverse fertility deity, a figure representing nature savage and consuming."

Rice : "It would be a very interesting set of encyclopedias that referenced that particular goddess!"

Armitage : "It would perhaps be a comfort to think that I wrote these pages, while in some fit or spell, but consider the possibility that they do in fact tell the truth: they seem to hint at some terrible and imminent apocalypse!"

Sorry, still around just struggling through work load. Will post soon.

Ok HB.

Llanfer : "Of course all possibilities must be investigated! All of us in this room understand the terrible and real danger that threatens our reality!"

He looks significantly at you.

"Our newest members of our little cabal, not having our professional obligations, and the prejudices of our advanced years, can perhaps untangle the many sinister threads of the disturbing narrative presented in these pages."

Armitage : "To address Mr. Pritchard's point, the first document, if we're to trust its 'author', was in fact written last; and its author appears to be under not un-considerable duress at that point in time in which it was written."

"In the past I might have just dismissed all this as the product of a madman's imagination, but..." Lawrence's voice trails off, and his eyes drop for a moment, as if recalling some disturbing memory. "Apocalypse or not, there's something very wrong going on here."

He nods to Dr. Llanfer. "I'm sure any delays in finishing my dissertation can be handled, given the nature of our business here. It really becomes a matter of deciding which of these leads is most worth pursuing. What do the rest of you think? Do we have any information that might suggest one is more worthwhile than the others?"

Jimmy sits there, pondering over the documentation and collecting his thoughts, not quite sure what to think of all that is in front of him. He looks towards Dr. Peaslee with a quizzical look on his face.

Llanfer : "It is quite a bewildering labyrinth of mystery and secrets."

Peaslee : "We must be careful be and methodical, everything in these documents must be sifted, weighed, at this point everything must be given equal attention; we simply do not know enough now to know what might or might not be important."

Armitage : "That might not be the most practical advice, Nathaniel, given the great number of possible clues these documents represent: our investigations must start somewhere; it simply won't be possible to take up every threat at once."

Just to reiterate: don't overthink things, pick something to to focus on, and we'll develop that. It is a sand-box.

If nothing else, you could always roll some dice, or I suppose the 'senior members' could assign something if you're completely stumped.

Armitage : "What do your instincts tells you? Does anything in this enigmatic knot catch and compel your attention?"

"I find the idea of the occult text quite interesting, but there's not much to go on besides a title and an insistence that it must not be real." Lawrence pauses. "Perhaps the encyclopedia salesman? Though we don't have a company name here..."

Anyone else have any thoughts?

Armitage : "Well, our itinerant seller of reference materials did seem to think that the deadly ritual he witnessed was done behind the facade of some Masonic fraternity, perhaps branches of the same group: the 'Circle Rite Lodge' and the 'Helping Hands' society."

Llanfer : "Both those groups are active in this city. Several years ago I remember attending a dinner fund-raiser organized by the 'Helping Hands', I believe they were raising money for young polio victims. There was certainly nothing sinister on display at that I event, I can assure you!"

"The sanitarium is what sticks out the most to me gentlemen. Maybe a gut instinct but I sense we may be able to gleam a good start there. Additionally, the yacht club but given the lies that were notated in the documentation, it may prove ill-gotten to go there first unless we have some other clues." states Jimmy before a brief pause to catch his breath, "Furthermore, I don't care much for clowns and the ill-gotten denizens of the comedic variety."

Lawrence nods, again shifting a few sheets of paper in his hands. "Yes, the first set of documents does say that the sanatorium would be a good place to start. And if it's to be trusted, the circus angle is likely a dead end." He scratches his head. "It also says this may be a deception caused by mind wasps. Still, it's as good a place as any to start. Are we all agreed?"

Peaslee : "I can write up a letter of introduction, for Dr. Havingshill, the director at the MorningRise sanatorium. What reason shall I give for you visiting the facility?"

Llanfer : "Perhaps agents of a possible donor? Such a place will always need patrons with very deep pockets."

Armitage : "I recall from pictures of the place, as printed in the Gazette, following the completion of its construction, that is a pretty open place, with only a low fence surrounding the grounds."

Peaslee : "Well yes, it is part of the institution's guiding philosophy, to avoid anything that suggests a prison, or the 'typical asylum'. It should also be noted that they don't generally accept patients with a potential for violent or dangerous behavior."

"Are you suggesting trespass?"

Armitage shrugs.

Armitage : "Sometimes you have to enter uninvited to truly see what is going on in a place; but I defer to the judgement of our young friends."

Rice: (Somewhat haughtily) "Sounds like a way to get invited into a jail cell to me."

Ronnie looks up from what appears to be a deep sleep. "What? Huh? Yeah, I'm all for the Sanatoria-whatsit. Circus sounds nice, too. D'you think they have clowns? I'm not much for clowns. Crazy people might be a better bet."

There's a strident rapping at the room's outer door.

Llanfer : (With a wry grin) "No doubt that that's Dr. Mayfield, I swear that the man will be late for his own funeral."

Llanfer gets up and goes to the door.

"I can't say I'd considered breaking in," Lawrence says, rubbing his chin. He looks at the others who were called in. "Do any of you gentlemen have any experience with that sort of thing?"

When he hears a knocking at the door, Lawrence turns in his seat and follows Dr. Llanfer as he goes to the door. He looks back at Dr. Armitage. "Dr. Mayfield?"

"I'm not gifted with lock picking or anything of the sort. I do suggest that we go in under the guise of either potential patrons or someone that may be interested in admitting a relative?"

Knutson looks about awaiting a hopeful glance.

Armitage : "Dr. Mayfield, a professor of ancient Greek and Hebrew language, he has been asked to join our little group."

Our latest recruit, joining at the last possible minute.

Armitage : "Cyrus' (Llanfer) suggestion does have much to recommend it: money, and good press, are cream to the cat, as it were, to such institutions."

Llanfer : "So what will it be gentlemen: shall you approach them as potential donors, or relations of a 'troubled soul' looking for a 'safe harbor' for that unfortunate, suffering one."

"Donors make more sense to me, old chums. I can play like I have money; I've been playing that role since birth. If we take a madman for help, we run the risk of leaving them behind quite legally. I want no part of committing anyone least of all myself!"

"I do believe there is some merit in the approach of money. It may provide more 'cover'." Jimmy looks about the room before continuing, "We should delve further into the plan to avoid any potential pitfalls due to a lack of communication."

Peaslee : "Donors arriving in a 'committee', would not be too unusual, and it should give you considerable access. As I said I can write a letter of introduction."

"Usually the 'benefactor' will try to remain to anonymous, until of course monies are awarded, but it may make your performance more convincing if you appear to let 'slip' vague hints."

Llanfer is admitting someone into the room.

Peaslee continues: "I can write up the letter, and send it over by courier tomorrow. They should be ready to receive you Monday."

So it is Thursday (in game time). You can prep the details of your cover story, aliases used and the such, and then describe any special prep or research you want to do before going out to the sanatorium, or anything out of the ordinary that you might want to do over the week-end.

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