Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Cthulhu: Waterworks

Dramatis personae:
Liam, longtime and astonishingly sane survivor of quite a few adventures. Liam's a professional poker player with ties to the Irish mob. He saw his two best friends die not so long ago...actually, one of them committed suicide right in front of Liam and he killed the other one by accident, in an attempt to save both their lives. Long story.
Let's just say Liam is tired, struggles to keep a grip on reality and basically just wants to be left alone. Especially since his last encounter with the supernatural was just two days ago.

Shane: a Catholic priest with ties to some strange organisation. The parish is plagued by money problems, but Shane has refused an offer by Irish mobster O'Bannion to rent out the cellar of the rectory.

Ian: stuntman and odd job man - too old for Hollywood. Is offered work sometimes by a director friend of his.

The three characters have been through one adventure together prior to this. It all takes place in Arkham in 1923.

NPCs:
Danny Baker: sergeant of the Arkham PD with a lot of experience and street smarts. He has seen quite a bit of Arkham's less pretty side and knows Liam well, but at the moment he would prefer it if he didn't see Liam for a while. Too many strange things have happened.
Seamus: Liam's best friend for the last 30 years or so. Their friendship has suffered a bit when Liam found out not too long ago that Seamus is a warlock (although one who fights evil). They still are friends and Liam trusts him, but it's no longer the blind trust he had before.


Shane's hopes for a quiet evening are squashed when he finds out that one of the nuns. Sister Susan, who work for the church has disappeared. He tries to report her missing, but the officer is very much not interested and tells him to come back when she's still missing tomorrow.

click to read the whole adventure

Liam doesn't get the chance to relax either. He gets a call from McDeath (one of the mob's most feared enforcers) about a body that has been found, McDeath wants his opinion. After all Liam's been through, he's something of the go to-guy for strange things, even though people only know half of what has really happened.
The body looks like it has been suck dry of any moisture and the two fist-sized holes in his chest can't have been good for his health either. Liam notices something like spider webs in the mouth of the corpse and for a moment it looks as though they move. He has never seen anything like this before, but agrees to keep his eyes open. McDeath also tells him that there's a new drug on the streets, something that targets people who were before known to be teetotallers and even children.

Ian gets a job offer by his friend and an invitation for breakfast, along with the lead actor of the planned movie. Both movie and breakfast are cancelled when the actor collapses and dies after two spiders come out of his mouth.Ian manages to squash one of the spiders under his boot and quickly has to get rid of the boot when the spider's blood starts to eat through the leather. Rattled by the experience, he calls Shane.

Shane has just been told by his housekeeper that she accepted O'Bannion's offer after all to finally get the money she needs to keep the church and rectory in shape, not to mention to buy food. He's furious, but not furious enough to refuse the dinner she made. He has too much on his hands in any case because he gets a call by Sergeant Danny Baker, who tells him that Sister Susan has been found dead. Shane goes to identify the body, which looks almost exactly like the one Liam has seen. Danny looks exhausted and seems to have too many things on his mind. He can tell Shane that Sister Susan was fished out of the Miskatonic by a Chinese fisherman and that she was probably abducted somewhere at the docks, where she went to buy fish.

Liam takes a stroll and he does notice quite a few people who seem drunk or drugged. He notices one of them drinking from a bottle and when the man sit down in a doorway in a drunken stupor, it's fairly easy to steal the bottle. The liquid is clear and smells of nothing much. Liam calls in a favour with a private investigator he knows to get the stuff analysed, but it will take some time. In the meantime, there's another body to see, this one with a rambling letter talking about dreams and visions and mentioning the name Yao Tien.

Shane and Ian decide to call Liam to see if he has heard anything and he agrees to meet them at the rectory. They exchange information and come to the conclusion that it would be very easy to mix the drug into the Arkham's water - especially since there have been problems with the water supply and the waterworks are doing repairs at the moment. They decide to go to Danny Baker with their suspicion. Liam says that it might be better if he didn't get involved with Danny just now and waits outside with Ian.

Shane talks to Danny Baker and tells him about Yao Tien - a name Danny knows and he asks why Shane knows it. Before Shane has to lie, Liam and Ian burst into the room. While Danny is not overjoyed to see him, he at least agrees to share what he knows with them and tells them that Yao Tien is probably the one who manufactures the new drug, but the liquid Liam found is probably something different. When he mentions the Dreamlands, Liam goes very quiet, staring Danny down until he sends the others out of the room. Danny has seen a bit too much over the last few months and while he blames Liam for some of it, at least he can talk to him freely.

Danny knows that there are plans to poison the water supply of Arkham, although he cannot prove it. He would be willing to go with them to the waterworks, along with some other policemen he trusts, but he warns Liam that this may well end with the destruction of the waterworks, which would mean a catastrophe for Arkham (the water of the Miskatonic is not fit to be drunk). After some deliberation with Shane and Ian they decide to go through with their plan next night.

Liam goes to visit Seamus to ask him about the Dreamlands and Seamus tells him that he can bring them into the Dreamlands where they could fight their enemies without risking Arkham. Their lives would be very much at risk, though. Liam feels that he hasn't much to loose in any case and wants to go. Shane and Ian are not so convinced when he talks to them and ask to meet Seamus.

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Liam has been my character for a very long time...well, at least for Call of Cthulhu. I've been playing him for almost two years now, over the course of a lot of adventures. He was lucky enough to retain a healthy chunk of his sanity, as far as game mechanics are concerned. But at this moment, he's just mentally exhausted from all the things he has seen. He used to lead a fairly comfortable and secure life, despite or maybe because of his association with the Irish mob. Over the course of the last eight months or so this changed: he discovered that there are very unpleasant things lurking just around the next corner and he feels that he cannot escape. And while he still trusts Seamus, the discovery that his best friend has lead a double life for who knows how long has not helped with restoring his faith in the world.

I have a distinct feeling that Liam will not survive this adventure or if he does, he will be insane. That's actually pretty awesome - I never thought he would last as long as he did and it is such a lot of fun to play his slow slide into madness and chaos. I will probably retire him even if he does survive and stays sane, but I would prefer him to die or at least go mad.

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